- Bring the Game of Basketball to Your Home With the Best Basketball Hoop
- In Depth Best Indoor/Outdoor Basketball Reviews
- 1.) Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System
- 2.) Silverback In-Ground Basketball System
- 3.) Lifetime Mammoth Height Adjustable In-Ground Basketball System
- 4.) Lifetime 51544 Front Court Portable Basketball System
- 5.) Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System
- ListofFit Best Pick: Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System
- Factors Considered in Best Outdoor Basketball Ratings
- Why Selecting a Quality Basketball Hoop Matters
Bring the Game of Basketball to Your Home With the Best Basketball Hoop
To improve at any sport, it is critical that you have access to the materials needed to practice on a daily basis. In fact, one of the key tenants to mastering a skill according to the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, is to practice the skill with correct principles for 10,000 hours. Our point is that without having a basketball and basketball hoop close by, you are unlikely to be able to achieve such a large number of hours practicing and you will be very unlikely to develop the skill necessary to be a highly successful basketball player. Even if your goal is not to be the next Michael Jordan, a basketball hoop and basketball for your home can provide hours of fun and family enjoyment. Thankfully, today you can find a basketball hoop to meet almost any need. Hoops can range from low-priced recreational hoops that are portable and durable, to top of the line heavy-duty in-ground basketball systems that perform up to the level of a gym quality unit. We have compiled a list of the five best basketball hoops. Each of these hoops will be best suited for beginning players to serious ballers, so it is up to you the reader to determine which of these categories you best fit into.
- Portable or In-Ground?: Portable
- Backboard Material: Tempered Glass
- Backboard Size: 60 Inches
- Rim: Pro Image Breakaway Rim with Covered Springs
- Base Size: 50+ Gallons
- Price: +$1,000
- Bottom Line: The best portable basketball hoop, period. No other hoop offers the portability and performance of the Spalding Beast.
- Portable or In-Ground?: In-Ground
- Backboard Material: Tempered Glass
- Backboard Size: Comes in 54 and 60 Inches Versions
- Rim: High Quality Breakaway Rim That Protects Players and Backboard
- Base Size: N/A
- Price: ~$550-$800
- Bottom Line: One of the most popular in-ground basketball systems available today. Top level quality hoop for a moderate price.
- Portable or In-Ground?: In-Ground
- Backboard Material: Tempered Glass
- Backboard Size: Comes in 54, 60, and 72 Inch Versions
- Rim: Gym Quality Breakaway Rim That is Very Durable and Responsive to Rough Play
- Base Size: N/A
- Price: ~$1100-$1700
- Bottom Line: The most expensive and heavy-duty system to make our list. If you are willing to spend and need an in-ground hoop this is the one to get.
- Portable or In-Ground?: Portable
- Backboard Material: Polycarbonate
- Backboard Size: 50 Inches
- Rim: Light-Duty Breakaway Rim With Exposed Springs
- Base Size: 34 Gallons
- Price: ~$350
- Bottom Line: The best low-cost basketball hoop. A great choice for families with young children, and those just learning how to play the game.
- Portable or In-Ground?: Portable
- Backboard Material: Acrylic
- Backboard Size: 54 Inches
- Rim: Arena Slam Breakaway Rim With Springs That are Covered to Protect From Rusting
- Base Size: 40 Gallons
- Price: ~$600
- Bottom Line: The middle of the road for a great portable basketball system. The Spalding 54 inch portable basketball system does everything well, but nothing great.
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1.) Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System
The Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System is made from some of the best materials we’ve ever seen on a portable basketball hoop. The two inch square two-piece support pole is the best support pole that you can find for a portable basketball system. The pro image breakaway rim features two heavy-duty springs that are covered to reduce rust from moisture. The 50 gallon base is impressive and again the largest we’ve ever seen on a portable basketball system. The base also has a pull out handle and two small wheels that can be used to make moving the system a bit easier. The Spalding Beast also comes with a 60 inch tempered glass backboard that is 1/4 of an inch thick.
The Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball Hoop may not be cheap, as it usually costs somewhere between $1,000 and $1250, but that does not mean it’s a bad value. Actually, the Spalding Beast is a good value when you consider that this portable basketball hoop is on a completely different level compared to any other portable system currently available. If you want a portable basketball system, and can afford “The Beast,” then we recommend you get it.
The Beast offers wonderful performance for a portable basketball system. While most portable units have weaker three-piece support systems, this Spalding hoop’s two-piece system and extra large base give it the stability usually reserved for high-end in-ground basketball systems. The tempered glass on the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop is responsive and will allow players to get a feel for in-game rebounding. The basketball hoop is height-adjustable from 7.5 feet to 10 feet making it a great tool to use to teach young players proper shooting technique. We love that the support pole is angled which gives more room under the basketball hoop and makes running into the hoop less likely to occur. Our only (minor) gripe about this hoop is that it does not come with any backboard or support pole padding. However, if this is something you must have you can always buy the padding separate and add it to the Beast. Overall, this is the best portable basketball hoop money can buy. Spalding also has one of the best outdoor basketballs on the market.
2.) Silverback In-Ground Basketball System
Silverback is one of the premiere in-ground basketball hoop manufacturers today. Their flagship Silverback In-Ground Basketball System features top of the line tempered glass that performs like hoops you play on in the gym. There is also light-duty padding on the backboard and a support pole pad on the 60 inch backboard version (not included in the 54 inch version at the current time). The two-piece support pole is 4×4 inches, has above average stability, and comes with Dupont powder coating rust protection. You can get this hoop in both 54 inch backboard and 60 inch backboard versions.
It will be hard for anyone to find a basketball hoop that provides as much quality for the price as the Silverback In-Ground Basketball System. The 54 inch model is priced around $550, while the 60 inch version will set you back around $800. At the current prices we recommend the 54 inch model as 6 inches extra of backboard does not warrant a $250 price difference in our opinion, even with the added bonus of a support pole pad. However, either way, you are getting a great deal on this hoop compared to similar options.
Thanks to the large 4×4 inch support pole and backboard braces, this basketball hoop is quite responsive during use. The rim can give slightly more bounce than we like, but this is a minor note. The backboard overall performs well, but does have some slight vibrations on long jump shots. Having the easy to use crank system to adjust height allows for players of all ages to enjoy the Silverback hoop system. Each hoop has a 2.5 feet overhang allowing for play under the hoop without the support pole getting in the way.
3.) Lifetime Mammoth Height Adjustable In-Ground Basketball System
Holy smokes! This hoop is an animal all around. This basketball hoop comes in three backboard sizes: 54 inch, 60 inch, and the game regulation 72 inches. Each backboard is made of tempered glass with 0.4 inches of thickness. The support pole is a one piece 6×6 inch pole, making it a full 50% larger than the Silverback In-Ground System. The Lifetime Mammoth also has a spring-flex rim that features a steel cover to protect the springs from rusting over time. This basketball hoop uses a pump-like mechanism for height adjustment that ranges from 7.5 feet to 10 feet. Two heavy-duty full-width backboard support braces help to keep the entire hoop stable during shots. When you consider the quality, performance, and features of the Lifetime Mammoth In-Ground Basketball Hoop you see that this hoop is a good value despite its expensive price point. We do not recommend this basketball hoop to those who just want to shoot around from time to time recreationally with their family. For those individuals and families the Lifetime 51544 makes much more sense. But for advanced players whose goal is to be the best player on their high school team, or to earn a college basketball scholarship, then the Lifetime Mammoth is a great choice.
If you are willing to pay over $1000 for a basketball hoop then you should expect the system to perform well for shots, dunks, and rebounds. Thankfully, the Lifetime Mammoth can handle all of these areas well and is extremely durable. The rim on this hoop is near perfection in terms of feel and responsiveness.
Installing this hoop is a difficult task as it requires a 48 inch hole be dug into the ground! Because of this, hiring a company to install the hoop for you is a reasonable consideration and should set you back about another $300. This is the most stable backboard of any basketball hoop on this list. We feel this is mainly due to the two backboard braces that extend the whole width of the backboard, and the large one-piece support pole. Overall, playing on this basketball hoop is a joy and will make you think you are in the gym.
4.) Lifetime 51544 Front Court Portable Basketball System
While our first two entries both will set you back over $1000, and have the quality to back up the price, the Lifetime 51544 finds itself meant for a different type of basketball hoop buyer. For the price we do not believe you will find a better portable basketball system than the Lifetime 51544 Portable Basketball System. The backboard is 50 inches wide and is made of a polycarbonate material. While polycarbonate is the most durable backboard material it will not perform up to the standard of an acrylic or tempered glass backboard. This basketball hoop does come with a breakaway rim that is double-spring loaded. However, the springs are not covered which may result in rusting over time. Light-duty pole and backboard padding offer an added measure of safety to the Lifetime 51544 Portable Basketball System. The speed shift mechanism can easily adjust the height of this basketball system from 8 to 10 feet in 6 inch increments. Lastly, this hoop features a 34 gallon base tank to keep the hoop from tipping.
Again, for the price it will be hard to beat the Lifetime 51544. Currently, this basketball hoop is priced at just under $400. With a five year limited warranty, rest assured that this is a basketball system that you can trust to perform over time.
There is no doubt that the Lifetime 51544 performs well for the money, however, it just cannot stand up to the other choices on this list. Polycarbonate backboards are very unlikely to break, but they tend to be flimsy and shake during shots. Also, the Lifetime 51544 is designed with a three-piece support pole, which is common for lower cost basketball hoops. Three-piece poles tend to be less stable than two or especially one-piece poles. We do like that the two-wheeled base of this portable basketball hoop is relatively large at 34 gallons, and is heavier-duty than many other similar hoops. Because of these factors we recommend this system as a great beginning basketball hoop for families with children who are interested in learning the game of basketball.
5.) Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System
The Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System is the lighter-duty cousin of the Spalding Beast. The materials on the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System are good, with an acrylic backboard that is better than polycarbonate, but does not perform up to the level of tempered glass. This basketball hoop has a three piece support pole which is similar to other portable basketball systems. The base of the Spalding 54 Inch is 40 gallons, which is relatively large and does a nice job of keeping the hoop in place. With the screw-jack lift system you can adjust the height of this basketball hoop from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in a cinch. The Arena Slam breakaway rim is better than rims on lower priced hoops that leave the springs uncovered.
The price of this basketball system can vary over time, with the most recent price of the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System being around $600. This is certainly not the cheapest basketball hoop, but if you are looking for a higher-end system that is portable then this is a good choice. If you don’t have a preference between in-ground and portable basketball systems, then you may find that you can get more for your money with an in-ground basketball hoop.
When you play on the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System you’ll notice that the hoop does have some mild vibrations, which are due to the three-piece support pole and the fact that the backboard braces are not spread far enough apart. On the plus side the rim stays stable during most shooting until you go out beyond the three-point line where the force of the basketball is greater when it makes contact with the rim. The two small wheels make the hoop easier to transport, but are not very useful if you are trying the move the hoop through grass. We love the screw-jack height adjustment system and feel it is one of the best height adjustment mechanisms that are available. The acrylic backboard on the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball Hoop is a big step up from the polycarbonate backboard seen on lower priced hoops like the Lifetime 51544. We find that the Spalding 54 Inch Hoop is a good choice for those who are willing to spend a moderate amount of money, but don’t want the cost and hassle of installing an in-ground basketball system.
ListofFit Best Pick: Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System
Picking the perfect basketball hoop is a bit like picking the perfect basketball shoe. Because everyone’s foot is a different shape, you cannot say that the shoe will fit every player’s feet the same way. Basketball hoops are similar in that each person wants to buy a basketball hoop for differing reasons. For example, if you just want a low cost hoop for the kids then the Lifetime 51544 is probably the best portable basketball hoop for you. However, when we put all things together we feel that the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball Hoop is the overall best basketball hoop available today. It is the only portable basketball hoop that has comparable components to higher-end in-ground basketball systems, including tempered glass, two-piece support system, and a gym quality breakaway rim. While the Lifetime Mammoth Hoop is worthy of the best basketball hoop label in many ways, its difficulty in regard to installation and lack of portability may be an issue for some. Please take a look at all five basketball hoops we’ve listed here and see which will meet your needs closest.
Factors Considered in Best Outdoor Basketball Ratings
Recreational basketball hoops come with backboards that made of one of three materials: polycarbonate, acrylic, and tempered glass. Polycarbonate is the cheapest and most durable material. It is unlikely to break during hard use, but has a tendency to be flimsy when shots hit the backboard. Acrylic is a good middle of the road option as it is a significant improvement from polycarbonate. Still very durable, acrylic is a good choice if you want a balance of durability and performance. Lastly, tempered glass is the best quality backboard material and is what is used for gym quality basketball hoops all around the country. Tempered glass will shatter, so it may not be the best option for young children who may not understand proper basketball hoop care. Backboards also range in size. These vary greatly from under 40 inches for the cheapest portable systems, to 72 inches, which is the regulation size for high school, college, and NBA.
Back in the day, basketball rims were very simple. Just a steel ring with a net. Nowadays that’s all changed. The majority of basketball rims today now come with springs that allow for a breakaway mechanism that makes it less likely that the backboard will shatter during dunks. Low cost spring breakaway rims will have one or two springs that are uncovered. This can result in rusting over time. Higher quality breakaway rims will have heavy-duty springs and the springs will be covered to keep them protected.
Support Pole System
The support pole may be the most underrated component of an at-home basketball hoop. They work to keep the entire system stable during play and keep in-ground basketball hoops upright. Support poles come in one, two, and three-piece options. One-piece options are only found on high-end in-ground basketball hoops and offer ultimate stability. Two-piece support poles are found on moderately priced in-ground hoops and top of the line portable systems such as the Spalding Beast. Three-piece support poles offer the least stability and can be found on lower cost portable basketball hoops such as the Lifetime 51544 Portable Basketball System.
The fill base is only found on portable basketball systems, and is often filled with water or sand to keep the hoop upright. Generally speaking, the larger the fill base the better. These can range from under 30 gallon capacity to 50+ gallon capacity for top of the line portable basketball systems.
The price of basketball hoops varies greatly depending quality and components. On the low-end you can find entry level Lifetime systems for right around $100, while premium quality in-ground systems can cost more than $2,000! Our goal is to look at the price of the basketball hoop and compare it to the material and performance factors to determine a value rating. We rated the Silverback In-Ground Basketball System to be the best value in basketball hoops today.
When looking at a basketball hoop for your driveway or home court there are several performance factors to consider. The first factor that most people think about is how stable the basketball system is when shots hit the rim or backboard. Rims and backboards on lower quality hoops tend to vibrate a lot and have too much give, allowing shots that would not go in on the hoop in your high school gym to drop. Another performance factor is how the hoop holds up over time and during cold weather months. In testing, our goal is to see if over time does the basketball hoop’s support system rust. We also look to see if the rim breaks down or loses responsiveness after being used for several months. Lastly, on portable basketball hoops we test the quality of the base to see how likely it is to leak, and if it is large enough to keep the basketball hoop from tipping when filled.
Why Selecting a Quality Basketball Hoop Matters
There are certain things that can be found in almost all American households that have children, and one of those things is a basketball hoop. While most of these hoops are low cost budget hoops that allow you to shoot, they bear little resemblance to how indoor gym basketball hoops perform. They will have weak backboards and rims, and will not last more than a couple years. Getting a good basketball hoop will allow beginning players to develop their skills and offer performance that lasts. When buying a basketball hoop you should look to see what the backboard is made of, and lean toward buying one with an acrylic or tempered glass backboard. Also, check to see how firm the rim is and what the spring mechanism looks like. If you plan to lay cement to have a half or full court at your home, then we suggest investing in top of the line in-ground basketball hoops. If you are a family of beginning basketball players on a budget, then find a low cost hoop that has some good features.