10 Best In-Ground Basketball Hoops of 2019: Bringing the Game Home

When it comes to home hoops nothing can touch the performance of a premium in-ground basketball hoop. The single piece support poles paired with tempered glass backboards and gymnasium quality rims are unmatched by other hoop types. 

While portable hoops are easier to assemble, they do not have the stability that in-ground hoops offer. For those who have a dedicated backyard basketball court, there are many more high-end in-ground hoops to choose from to complete the project. If you are in this camp consider the Goalrilla FT, Spalding Arena View, or Goalsetter All-American. 

Most in-ground hoops are geared toward intermediate players and above. In-ground hoops are great for players who take the game seriously and want to use their hoop for drills and competitive practice sessions.

Within the last 10 years many of these $1,000+ units started offering bolt-on bases that allow you to move the hoop if you end up moving to a new home in the future. 

In this article I take a close look at each hoop in terms of several characteristics. These include the backboard, rim, support pole, and I offer an overall rating that you can see in the chart below.

You’ll also see that we have an exclusive basketball hoop quiz that will give you personalized in-ground hoop recommendations. No matter what you are looking for this article will give you the best in-ground basketball hoop for your home.

Best Low-Cost Hoop

Lifetime 71525

Best Mid-Tier Hoop

Silverback SB

Best High-End Hoop

Goalrilla FT


Basketball Hoop Quiz

Answer these 7 questions to get personalized basketball hoop recommendations that meet YOUR needs.

What type of hoops are you looking for?
What's your hoop budget?
What most important to you?
What's your available playing space?
Who will use this hoop?
This hoop will be used for?
What backboard material do you prefer?

In-Ground Basketball Hoops Summary Chart

Use our portable basketball hoops summary chart to fast track your way around this page to any hoop on our list that you are interested in.  To jump to a hoop simply click on the basketball hoop name.

Basketball HoopBackboard SizeBackboard MaterialSupport PoleRating (0/5)

Low-Cost ($0-$500)

    

Lifetime 90020

52 Inch

Polycarbonate

3 Piece

3.6

Lifetime 71525

54 Inch

Polycarbonate

3 Piece

3.3

Mid-Range ($500-$1,000)

    

Silverback SB60

60 Inch

Tempered Glass

2 Piece

4.3

Spalding In-Ground

60 Inch

Tempered Glass

2 Piece

3.8

High-End ($1,000+)

    

Lifetime Mammoth

54, 60, & 72 Inches

Tempered Glass

1 Piece

4.5

First Team Game Changer

60 Inch

Tempered Glass

1 Piece

4.5

Goalsetter All-American

60 Inch

Tempered Glass

1 Piece

4.6

Goalrilla FT

54, 60, & 72 Inches

Tempered Glass

1 Piece

4.6

Spalding 888

60 & 72 Inch

Tempered Glass

1 Piece

4.3

Least Expensive ($200-$500)

Lifetime 90020 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:48 Inches
Backboard Material:Makralon
Rim Type:Uncovered Breakaway
Offset:22 Inches
Support Pole:3-Piece, 3.5″ Diameter
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$200-$250

The first choice on our list is the Lifetime 90020 In Ground Basketball System. For the price this hoop has a lot to offer.  The frame and pole for this hoop are made of steel and it also features small padding that is attached to the bottom of the backboard for safety.

Backboard

The backboard is made 48 inches and made from makralon which is durable, but will not offer much in the way of responsiveness. Makralon is lightweight which does make the assembly process easier compared to more expensive systems that feature tempered glass. Graphics on this backboard are fade resistant and will offer rich color despite years of use.

One Amazon reviewer states that the backboard “does have a bit of a ‘thud’ noise” when the ball makes contact.

Rim

The rim is a good value with double compression springs that will be good for shooting sessions, but is not made to handle any type of dunking. Springs on this rim are uncovered and may rust in more moist environments.

Support Pole

The hoop can easily be adjusted from 7.5-10ft in increments of 6″. 

With the Lifetime 90020 you get a 3-piece support pole with a diameter of 3.5 inches. This is the standard support pole set up for a low-cost in-ground basketball hoop. Because of this and the extension arms that connect to the backboard there will be some shaking of the unit during shooting sessions.

The Lifetime 90020 has an offset of 22 inches when set at the regulation 10 feet height.

Assembly

For most of assembly you’ll be able to do most of the work yourself. However, there are certain parts of assembly where you’ll need one or two adults to help out. Just be sure to bring a case of beer as payment for these fine souls.

In addition to the hoop you’ll need a post pole digger and about 4 bags of concrete to complete assembly.

Overall, expect to spend about three hours to put this hoop together with sufficient helps.

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • One of the highest rated in ground basketball hoops in this price range
  • 22 inch offset gives players a little room to operate under the hoop

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Makralon backboards do not offer the same performance as acrylic or tempered glass
  • Three piece support pole means that this hoop will vibrate moderately when shots hit the rim

Lifetime 71525 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:54 Inches
Backboard Material:Polycarbonate
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:13 Inches
Support Pole:3-Piece, 3.5″ Diameter
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$300-$350

The Lifetime 71525 In-Ground Basketball Hoop is a nice hoop at a great price which is great for family games and developing your skills from the comfort of your home.  This system provides consistent performance due to its rim that features two compression springs.  The power-lift pole makes it so easy to adjust the hoop’s height that even kids can do it.

Support Pole

As with other sub $500 in-ground hoops, the Lifetime 71525 has a 3-piece 3.5 inch support pole. This is a light-duty pole and isn’t really meant to sustain dunking and other potentially damaging usage. 

The unit’s height adjusts anywhere from 7 and a half feet to the regulation 10 feet.  

Backboard

For a value priced hoop the backboard is exceptional as it is made of Makrolon polycarbonate, which is significantly stronger than acrylic. As with the other Lifetime hoop in this category the 71525 also has the added feature of a padded backboard to keep any elite jumpers safe.

Similar to the Lifetime 90020, the 71525’s backboard will shake during use. If you want a backboard that doesn’t have additional shaking, then you’ll want to consider spending a bit more money on your in-ground hoop.

Rim

The rim on the Lifetime 71525 is a strength for this in-ground hoop. It features double-compression springs that are protected by a metal cover to enhance lifespan. While not up to par with rims found on high-end hoops, this setup will satisfy almost any recreational hooper looking for some fun.

Assembly

I recommend this hoop to families with small driveways living in neighborhoods. Having a low-cost hoop is better in this case since you won’t be out as much if you have some unruly neighborhood kids who beat up the hoop while your gone.

Assembly will require two or three adults, which are mostly needed for putting the support pole into the concrete base.

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • Light-duty backboard padding helps to enhance the safety of this basketball hoop
  • For the price, the rim offers quality performance

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • While the backboard is strong it is not very responsive for optimal rebounding
  • Springs in the rim are exposed to the elements, which can make rusting an issue over time
Check out the full review of this hoop here.
 

Mid-Range ($500-$1000)

Spalding NBA In-Ground Basketball System

Backboard Size:54/60 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:24 Inches
Support Pole:2- Piece, 4″x4″ Squared
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$375-$450

The first entry into the mid-tier of the best in-ground hoops, the Spalding NBA In-Ground Basketball System.

Backboard

The backboard on this hoop is 60 by 34 inch and is made of tempered glass. Tempered glass is the best backboard material you can buy. It is super responsive and is the same material used for indoor gym basketball hoops. On the other hand, tempered glass is a very heavy material and hoops with this backboard material need to have a serious support pole to properly handle the weight.  

Aluminum trim incases the glass and offers additional reinforcement. There is no backboard padding which could be an issue for those wanting to take extra safety precautions. 

Support Pole

You get an upgrade in regard to the support pole when you go with a mid-tier in-ground hoop. The Spalding NBA features a 4″ x 4″ square two-piece support pole.

When you consider the 60 inch tempered glass backboard, this support pole is the minimum acceptable size that I’d recommend. Because of the weight of backboard, you will find that there is some shaking with this hoop. It is still much better than the low-cost in-ground hoops on this list. 

Similar to most modern recreational hoops the Spalding In-Ground Basketball System can be adjusted in height from 7 and a half-10 feet. Spalding makes a great breakaway rim and this hoop shows their expertise.  

There is an offset of two feet from pole to hoop so that you can work on your skills under the hoop. Because the hoop has a strong square steel support pole it will give you many great years of basketball performance.

With this basketball hoop you’ll still be directly inserting the support pole into the concrete base (no bolt-on mechanism).

Assembly

Across the board, this was the biggest complaint from Amazon reviewers when it came to this in-ground hoop. In particular, complaints revolve around putting the two-piece support pole together as the two pieces don’t seem to go together easily. For one reviewer this process took an hour alone! 
 
You’ll also find that you’re going to need help putting this stubborn support pole into the ground. I recommend two adult-sized friends to help you out.
 
Be prepared to spend a full afternoon putting this hoop together. Stay patient and it will be fine. If you want something that you can assemble quickly, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
 

Rim

The rim on the Spalding NBA In-Ground Hoop is also a plus. It features a Pro Image breakaway rim. Pro Image rims from Spalding have a spring mechanism and have a metal cover for protection. 

While the rim will bounce a bit, it is pretty close to a true gym quality basketball experience.

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • Tempered glass backboard offers solid responsiveness on rebounds
  • Spalding has some of the best rims at the mid to high price point
  • Square support pole is stronger than lower cost hoops with circular support poles

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • No padding on the support pole or on the backboard

Check out the full review of this hoop here.

Silverback SB In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:54/60 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:30 Inches
Support Pole:4″x4″ Square, Two-Piece
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$600-$825

The Silverback SB line of in-ground basketball hoops is one of the most successful models in terms of selling volume. With over 300 Amazon reviews and a cumulative rating of 4.1 this hoop has one of the strongest reputations for an in-ground system.

Support Pole

Similar to the Spalding NBA In-Ground Hoop, the Silverback SB utilizes a 4″ x 4″ two-piece support pole. For the 60 inch tempered glass backboard this support pole is on the lighter side.

Unlike the the Spalding NBA, the Silverback SB features a bolt-on system that makes assembly and moving the hoop in the future a much easier process.

You also get some medium-duty padding on the support pole that enhances safety for when players drive to the hoop.

This hoop is adjustable from 7.5 to 10 feet in infinite increments using a turning all-steel height adjustment actuator.

Backboard

Silverback SB In-Ground Hoops come in 54 and 60 inch backboard versions. Both of these backboard sizes are made from tempered glass.

Whether you choose the 54 or 60 inch backboard, you’ll be well under $1000 with your purchase. 

Rim

A quality covered spring breakaway rim, the basket on the SB is a step up from the rims found on the hoops we’ve discussed so far. While I still wouldn’t recommend hanging on this rim, it will be able to handle light dunks without causing long-term damage. 

Pricing

You can expect to pay around $700 for the 54 inch backboard, while the 60 inch backboard version will set you back around $850. At this price point the Silverback SB occupies a space not many other hoops can claim. If you want a more premium hoop without spending over a grand then this hoop is easily the best option.
 

Great for medium to large driveway spaces, the Silverback SB In-Ground Basketball Hoop is one of the safest bets in hoops.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • Two different backboard size options, both of which are made of tempered glass
  • Awesome backboard padding that gives parents peace of mind
  • A true breakaway rim with capacity for light to mid-pressure dunks
  • Anchor bolt system allows for you to take this hoop with you if you move

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Support pole may be on the smaller side for the 60″ backboard version causing some wobble

Check out the full review of this hoop here.

High-End ($1000+)

Lifetime Mammoth In-Ground Hoop

Backboard Size:54/60/72 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:33 Inches
Support Pole:1-Piece, 5×5 Inch Square
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$1000-$2000

Welcome to the top class of in ground basketball hoops.  This is where the high flyers, ballers, and those with just a sweet shooting stroke play.  Our first hoop for those that tickle the twine is the Lifetime Mammoth In-Ground Basketball System.

While Lifetime is often known for being able to provide a good hoop at a great price, this hoop shows that when they want to make a great premium hoop they know what real players are looking for.  The Lifetime Mammoth In-Ground Basketball System comes in 54, 60, and 72 inch backboard versions.  This goal can be adjusted from 7 and a half feet to 10 feet in infinite increments.

The bolt down pole is 5×5  to 6×6 inches depending on which backboard size you purchase, and is made of powder coated steel.  Because you can bolt down the pole to the cement it allows for easier leveling.  We know that anyone with game would love to own this hoop.

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • Comes in three different backboard size options allowing you to get a great hoop within a lower budget
  • Square one-piece support pole that is powder coated to reduce rusting
  • Bolt down anchor system allows you to take this hoop with you if you move

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • No padding on the support pole

Check out the full review of this hoop here.

First Team Game Changer In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:60 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:30 Inches
Support Pole:1-Piece, 5×5 Inch Square
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$1000-$1250

First Team is a smaller basketball hoop manufacturer that focuses on higher-end basketball systems.  Their First Team Game Changer Hoop is a great choice in terms of a balance between quality and value.

Backboard

This hoop comes with a 60 inch backboard that is 5/16ths of an inch thick. A backboard of this size will impress even serious hoopers with its performance and rebound.

Aligning the bottom of the backboard is padding that will be great for protecting any dunkers. 

Support Pole

With a one-piece 5″ x 5″ support pole, the First Team Game Changer brings serious stability and can effectively manage the heavy tempered glass backboard.

Four extension arms attach to two braces that are connected to the backboard. I do wish the connection points were a bit wider to give the backboard a bit more consistent performance. This should only be an issue when the ball hits the far right and left sides of the backboard.

Overall, this support pole provides a stable base for this in-ground hoop.

This goal can be adjusted from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in infinite increments. There is a 30 inch offset between the backboard and the support pole. 

Another feature that I really like on this hoop is the padding that runs up the support pole. If a player drives to the hoop they can be protected by this padding, which will help to avoid injury.

Rim

Moving on to the rim, you’ll find the First Team Hoop has a gym quality basket. The spring breakaway mechanism has the right mix of firm and forgiveness, allowing players to have an authentic basketball shooting experience.

Assembly

With the First Team Game Changer In-Ground Hoop you get anchor bolt system. This system helps make installation simpler.

You should expect to pour upwards of 900 pounds of concrete in the post hole. Amazon reviewers state that the direction for this hoop are clear and easy to follow.

Even still, expect to need three adults for the most difficult assembly steps. 

Pricing

At only $1200, this hoop is an above average value. This especially true when you consider the quality backboard and padding that come with this hoop. Overall, this is an underrated in-ground basketball hoop that should be on the radar of all potential buyers.
 

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • Given the top-tier quality of this hoop, the price is reasonable
  • Bolt down one-piece square support poles are the best in terms of durability and strength
  • 60 Inch tempered glass backboard offers great responsiveness

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Does not offer multiple backboard size options

Goalsetter All-American In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:60 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:36 Inches
Support Pole:1-Piece, 5×5 Inch Square
Height Adjustment:6-10 Feet
Price:$1650-$1750

Goalsetter may not be the first name you think of when you consider basketball hoops, but the Goalsetter All-American In-Ground Basketball Hoop may change that.  A 60 by 38 inch competition quality tempered glass backboard will make you think you are in the gym getting ready to take the last second shot.

Backboard

The Goalsetter All-American has the most options for backboards that I’ve seen on any in-ground hoop. 

You can get this hoop with either an acrylic backboard or with tempered glass. If you’re worried about the weight of the system or breakage, go with the acrylic. If you want the best performance, go with the tempered glass.

Support Pole

The support pole is a 5 inch square steel one-piece that can support monster dunks from the heaviest of rim shakers.  The hoop can adjust in height an insane 6 ft. to 10 ft., making it the most versatile hoop on our list.

You’ll notice by looking at this hoop that the support pole has a unique shape. It starts out vertical and then juts out at a about a 45 degree angle and then goes back running vertical. This ingenious design enhances weight distribution during rim hanging dunks.

There is no padding on the support pole for the Goalsetter All-American In-Ground Hoop. 

Rim

There are several rim options to choose from with the All-American. You can get a breakaway rim, single static rim, or a double static rim (think playground rims).

Personally, I’d opt for either the breakaway rim or the single static rim. Double rims are notoriously too firm and make for a frustrating shooting experience.

The breakaway rim on this hoop is quality. This rim performs similar to rims found at your local gym. Due to the support pole and rim, this is an in-ground system that can tolerate rim shaking dunks effectively.

Assembly

Using a ground-hinge anchor system, the All-American support pole bolt-in system is better than many other competitors.

This makes assembly easier. Still, if you plan to put together this hoop yourself plan on have a couple friends help.

In all, expect a 3-4 hour assembly process to get this bad boy up and ready for use.

Because of Goalsetter’s patented ground anchor hinge system the hoop can be fully assembled before being raised upright.  If you are ready to get serious about the game of basketball then it is time to seriously consider this hoop for your personal basketball heaven.

Pricing

Pricing for most of the options on the Goalsetter will run you anywhere from $1500-$2000. Certainly not a small amount, but the quality of this hoop means that this will be a one time cost for buyers. Made in the USA, this hoop will last an entire playing career. 

What We Like About This Hoop

  • Goalsetter All-American can be full assembled before being raised upright
  • Support pole is angled so that it distributes weight from dunks more effectively

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • No padding on the support pole or on the backboard

Check out the full review of this hoop here.

Goalrilla FT In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Backboard Size:54/60/72 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:36 Inches
Support Pole:1-Piece, 5×5 Inch Square
Height Adjustment:7.5-10 Feet
Price:$1350-$1850

Goalrilla is the big brother to the Silverback brand, and is the top brand for basketball hoops by Escalade. The FT is a newer model from Goalrilla and I am impressed by the quality and initial buyer reviews.

Backboard

This FT In-Ground Basketball Hoop comes in three different tempered glass backboard sizes: 54 inches, 60 inches, and the regulation 72 inches.  The backboard on this hoop performs as you’d expect from a gym quality hoop allowing for accurate bank shots. 

If you are planning to put this hoop in a driveway I’d recommend going with the 54 or 60 inch backboard. For those with a dedicated backyard court opt for the 60 or 72 inch versions.

Thickness for this in-ground hoop’s backboard is 3/8’s of an inch. At this thickness this backboard can handle a lot of punishment and will stand the test of time.

Many in-ground hoops come with backboards that have an aluminum trim. However, with the Goalrilla FT you get an aluminum trim that is anodized. Anodization protects the aluminum and is more resistant to chipping than regular painting.

Rim

As expected with high-end in-ground systems, the Goalrilla FT features a heavy-duty breakaway rim. A single monster spring controls the breakaway motion that occurs during dunks and rim hanging. Thanks to the high quality components on this hoop you will be able to dunk on this hoop without causing damage. That is, unless you are Shaq sized.

Support Pole

Let’s take a look at the support pole on the Goalrilla FT. With this hoop the support pole is a one-piece 5.5″ x 5.5″ squared. 

What I like most about this support pole is the braces that connect the support pole to the hoop are large and are designed in a way to maximize stability. There are three braces on the FT. One connects directly behind the rim, while the other two connect to the left and right edges of the backboard. 

At the bottom of the support pole is a bolt-on base that will connect to the concrete anchor keeping the hoop in place.

Assembly

Get ready for a serious assembly with the Goalrilla FT. It isn’t that the instructions are poor, but that this hoop is big and heavy. The entire unit weighs in at about 325 pounds.

Because of this I recommend at least three adults to handle assembly. But to be honest, even more help is better. 

If you aren’t handy, consider opting for a professional installer service either through Amazon or a third party. A hoop assembly like this can get overwhelming in a hurry if you don’t have the skill, tools, or hands on deck that are necessary.

Pricing

Because of the three backboard options for this in-ground hoop pricing varies widely. For the 54 inch backboard version, you can purchase the Goalrilla FT for ~$1350. At the other end expect to drop ~$1850 for the 72 inch backboard. 

Overall, this is a good value considering it is one of my favorite in-ground hoops that you purchase for your home.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • Three backboard size options allow for different budgets to purchase this hoop
  • Once of the best rims that can be found on an in-ground basketball hoop

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Minimal padding on the backboard
Check out the full review of this hoop here.

Spalding 888 In-Ground Hoop

Backboard Size:60/72 Inches
Backboard Material:Tempered Glass
Rim Type:Covered Breakaway
Offset:48 Inches
Support Pole:1-Piece, 8×8 Square
Height Adjustment:7-10 Feet
Price:$2000-$2500

One of the largest Spalding In-Ground models, the Spalding 888 brings some great features to the table. 

Backboard

You have a lot of choices when it comes to backboard sizes on the Spalding 888. This hoop has 54, 60, and 72 inch backboard options. Each version’s backboard is made from tempered glass and 3/8’s of an inch thick. Basically, you don’t have to worry about the quality of this backboard because it is top notch.

Support Pole

In terms of support pole size, the one found on the 888 is 6″ x 6″ squared. This one-piece support pole is a beast and will handle basically anything you can throw at it. As with all high-end in-ground hoops, the Spalding 888 has a bolt-on system that connects to a concrete base. This works to make for a simpler installation and opens the possibility for moving the hoop in the future.
 
The support pole and backboard are attached via four extension arms. These arms connect to an h-frame that is part of the back of the backboard.

Assembly

As with other hoops on the high-end list you’ll need help from friends or family to assembly this hoop. Without adequate help you’ll be in for a very frustrating assembly experience.
 
The other option is to hire an installer to do the assembly for your while you sip on some iced tea and sit on your porch.

 

Rim

 A flex breakaway rim is featured on the Spalding 888 In-Ground Basketball Hoop. This thing looks great and performs great as well. It has the right amount of firm feel and forgiveness to create an authentic basketball experience.

 

What We Like About This Hoop:

  • Comes in 54 inch, 60 inch, and 72 inch backboard versions
  • Extensive support pole padding
  • Square support pole is stronger than lower cost hoops with circular support poles

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • There is no backboard padding on this hoop

Check out the full review of this hoop here.

What Should You Look for In The Best In-Ground Basketball Hoops?

1. Backboards

Size

Portable basketball hoops come with backboards of different sizes and materials. Generally, the smallest backboard we could find on a portable basketball system is 44 inches.  

For residential portable basketball hoops 60 inches is likely to be the largest backboard you will find, like the one featured on the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball System.

The majority of homes looking for a portable hoop for recreational use will find a 52 inch backboard to be very satisfactory.

Material

While backboard size is the first feature that comes to mind for many buyers when looking to buy the best portable basketball hoop, we believe that an even more important factor is the portable basketball hoop’s backboard material.

Polycarbonate Backboards

Most inexpensive Lifetime and lower priced Spalding systems will have a backboard that is made of a polycarbonate material.  Polycarbonate is extremely durable and will be unlikely to break if tipped over or during rough play.

While durability is a strength for polycarbonate backboards, performance is a big weakness.

Portable basketball hoops with polycarbonate backboards often tend to have a “dead” feel when the basketball comes off the backboard during shots. This significantly changes the way rebounds play on cheaper polycarbonate backboards compared to top end tempered glass backboards.

Generally, we recommend portable basketball hoops with polycarbonate backboards for families who want to use the basketball hoop for recreational play and for young children learning the game.

Acrylic Backboards

The middle tier backboard material that is found on many portable basketball hoops today is acrylic. Acrylic backboards are less durable than their polycarbonate counterparts but perform much better.

Acrylic backboards are usually featured on middle priced portable basketball systems that offer a greater number of features.

If you take the game seriously but live in an area where severe weather, including high winds, can occur then we would suggest considering a portable basketball hoop with an acrylic backboard.

Tempered Glass Backboards

When you are ready to dig deep into your wallet and will only accept the best portable basketball system, then it is time to invest in a hoop with a tempered glass backboard. Tempered glass is the real deal and is the type of backboard used on indoor hoops across the country.

These backboards perform better than both acrylic and polycarbonate materials.  Portable basketball systems with tempered glass will have rebound performance that is superior and will be more game like.

The biggest issue with tempered glass backboards is that they are susceptible to shattering.  For this reason we would recommend that if you are going to spend the money to buy a portable basketball hoop with a tempered glass backboard that you closely assess the likelihood that hoop will be tipped or mistreated.

2. Rims

There are three main types of rims that you will see on modern portable basketball systems.  Each has pros and cons which are important to consider when selecting a hoop.

Standard Rim

The standard basketball rim has been around for several decades.  It has no compression springs making it more susceptible to breaking or warping if dunked on over time.

If you do not plan to use your hoop for dunking and do not plan to spend much money, then we would suggest you purchase a hoop with a standard rim over a portable basketball hoop with a cheap compression spring as the standard rim tends to have better performance than those with a cheap single compression spring.

Compression Breakaway Rim (No Cover)

The next step up from the standard rim is the breakaway rim that features compression springs that are exposed.  These rims are better able to take mild to moderate dunking without becoming damaged.  They are still not good for harder dunks or rim hanging.

These cheaper compression rims do have a tendency to be a bit more “bouncy” than we prefer.  Also, because the springs are exposed there is a greater chance that they will rust over time, which diminishes the rim’s performance.

Pro-Style Compression Breakaway Rim (Springs Covered)

When it comes to portable basketball systems, the best portable basketball hoops come with professional grade breakaway rims that have the springs protected in a box that connects to the backboard.

These rims are generally able to take a lot more punishment than the cheaper rims.  Even though this is the case we still recommend limiting the amount of rim hanging you do to avoid damage.

These pro-style rims will also bounce much less on a shot compared to the cheaper compression rims.

3. Base

In our opinion the base is a very underrated feature of the best portable basketball hoops.  The budget portable basketball systems come with bases that are generally 27 gallons.

This will keep the hoop upright during most circumstances, but could be tipped in high wind weather and when dunking.

Mid-priced portable basketball hoops will have bases that can hold up to between 35 and 40 gallons of water or sand.  These portable basketball systems will be harder to tip and will provide significantly more stability during play.

The best portable basketball hoops have bases that can be filled up to 50+ gallons.  These bad boys have maximum stability and will stay in place under almost any conditions.

A Couple Tips For The Base:

  • Be sure to check to see if the portable basketball system you are looking to buy has wheels on the base.  This will make any transporting of the system much easier.
  • If you live in a location where the weather gets cold, mix a little anti-freeze in the base if you fill it with water to keep the water from freezing and expanding which can destroy the base.
  • Lastly, look for a portable basketball hoop that has a protective plate in front of the base (like this one).  Many injuries occur due to players tripping or running into the base during games.

4. Support Pole System

Support Pole Design

Having a quality support pole system on a portable basketball hoop is central to keeping the whole system stable when in use.  There are three main support pole designs: three piece, two piece, and one piece.

Three piece support poles are typically found on budget and middle tier portable basketball hoops.  This is the cheapest design and will result in the most amount of hoop shaking during play.

Two Piece support poles are generally found on high end portable basketball systems.  These have significantly more stability compared to three piece support pole systems and will be able to take more abuse.

One piece support pole systems are unlikely to be found on portable basketball systems and are generally only found on the top of the line in ground basketball systems.

Backboard Bracing

A backboard’s performance can be enhanced when there is proper support bracing within the portable basketball hoop’s design.  These braces will generally be in the form of metal pieces that either connect to several portions of the backboard or lineup parallel to the backboard.

Other Factors To Consider For Portable Basketball Hoops

Local Weather

Because portable basketball hoops rely on the fill base to keep them upright it is important to consider the weather in your local area.

Do you sometimes have severe storms or high winds near your home?  If so, you’ll want to buy a portable basketball hoop with a base that is large enough to keep your hoop from tipping over during these weather events.

When the weather is bad in your area be sure to lower your hoop’s height to the lowest setting to give the system a lower center of gravity, making it harder to tip.

High rain and humidity areas may also cause your hoop to rust over time.  If you live in high humidity areas I recommend buying a hoop that has a rim with covered springs to protect the rim’s integrity from the elements.

Budget

It stinks, but the reality is that how much money you have to purchase a hoop will impact what system you buy.  Those with deeper pockets will have access to the nicest portable hoops like the Spalding Beast, while the rest of us may have to settle for a decent but less impressive Lifetime Hoop.

In my list, I’ve tried to compile the best portable hoops for each price range, so I hope that there is a hoop here that will meet your needs and your budget.

Your Hoop Needs

Not everyone needs the biggest and best basketball hoop for their home.  If you are a mom or dad and want a hoop for your kids to play on for fun, then by all means pick up a good lower cost hoop and watch them enjoy the game of basketball at a recreational level.

For those who are serious players or are committed to developing their skills, then make the portable system you buy a bigger priority by preparing to spend more for a better hoop. Look for hoops with enclosed spring rims, acrylic backboards or better, and a large fill base.

You’ll be spending hundreds of hours using this hoop and it is best to spend more now and get something that will last as you grow your skillset.

Be sure to consider all of these factors when choosing which portable basketball hoop to buy.  We hope this guide has been helpful and we welcome feedback using our Facebook page!

FAQ – Portable Basketball Hoops

1. How much time does it take to assemble a portable basketball hoop?

This really depends on the model of portable basketball hoop that you’ve purchased.  In general, cheaper units will take less time to assemble (~1-2 1/2 hours) while premium systems will take longer (~2 1/2-4 hours).

2. How many people do you recommend for the assembly process?

As with time, cheaper portable basketball systems will take less manpower than more expensive units.  For hoops under $500, most able bodied adults will get by on their own give or take a couple steps in the assembly process.

For a larger hoop, we recommend having two adults available to assemble.

3. Where should I put my hoop?

The best choice is a paved driveway or court that is fairly level. A street might work, but there are safety concerns given traffic. If nothing else a gravel driveway would work.

4. What height should I set the hoop for my child?

Here are our recommendations:

7 years of less – 6-7 feet

8-9 years – 8 feet

10 years – 9 feet

11 years and up – 10 feet

5. Which portable basketball hoops from the list are easiest to move?

A few of our top picks would be the Silverback NXTLifetime 1529, and Spalding Hybrid.

6. Any tips on putting the support pole together?

In my personal experience, this is the most difficult part of the hoop assembly process.

If you have difficult putting the support pole pieces together I recommend covering the pole with grease or WD40 to minimize friction.

7. How do I minimize hoop rust?

If possible, store the basketball hoop inside a garage during the cold season.

Every year coat the most susceptible areas of the hoop with this corrosion inhibitor from WD-40.  This includes any bolts, joints, and the rim.

8. Can I dunk on a portable basketball hoop?

I do not recommend dunking on any portable basketball hoop as a means to protect the system long-term.

However, the Spalding Beast is the only portable basketball hoop I know of that can withstand the force of dunking effectively.

Things To Consider When Purchasing an In-Ground Basketball Hoop

 1. Your Basketball Hoop Needs

It’s no secret that skilled ballers have needs that differ from those of a youngster learning the game.  In general, more advanced players that put the game of basketball at a higher priority should plan to invest more into a top of the line in-ground basketball hoop.

Advanced Players

I consider advanced players to at least be playing in high school, or those younger who are prospects.  If you are in this category (or have a son of daughter in this category) I recommend purchasing a hoop with the following features:

  • Tempered Glass Backboard
  • Gym Quality Breakaway Rim
  • Two or One-Piece Support Pole
  • A Backboard to Support Pole Offset of At Least Two Feet
  • An Anchor Bolt System so the Hoop Can Be Moved If Needed
  • Purchase Price of $750 or More

Intermediate Players

Intermediate players have expressed an interest in basketball and enjoy to play regularly.  They may one day play at the high school or recreational level, but are not trying to be the next hoops star.  There is no doubt their hoop will get used, but as a priority, basketball is not at the top of the list.

  • Acrylic or a Smaller Tempered Glass Backboard
  • Enclosed Breakaway Spring Rim
  • Two Piece Support Pole or Higher End Three Piece Support Pole
  • Purchase Price in the Range of $400-$1,000

44726786 – international friends standing in a row after basketball game outside during sunny summer day

Beginning Players

Beginning players are just learning the basics of the game of basketball, or want to learn.  They may or may not continue this interest beyond a year or two.  This is also the category for families with small children who would like a hoop for some laid back family fun.

  • Polycarbonate or Acrylic Backboard
  • Standard Rim or Basic Spring Rim
  • Price Point Below $500
  • Two or Three Piece Support Pole

2. Your Budget

There is no shame in admitting that you cannot afford the most expensive in-ground basketball hoop.  In fact, if you don’t have deep pockets it is better to admit than spend more than you are able.

That said to get an in-ground basketball hoop that will perform up to most players’ expectations be prepared to spend at least $500.

We’ve included several hoops in our low-cost category because they are certainly the best performing in-ground systems at their price point.  But do not expect any of these hoops to perform with the likes of the Lifetime Mammoth or Goalrilla FT.

If money is your number one priority, it may be worth considering a portable basketball hoop, as many are cheaper than their in-ground counterparts.

3. Your Residence

HOA and Community Regulations

For those living in areas with Home Owners Associations (HOAs) or within city limits be sure to see if there are any regulations that may prevent you from having a basketball hoop that is visible.  Most of these regulations will be named “Unsightly Nuisance” or something similar.

Installing an in-ground basketball hoop is a big undertaking, and it we stink if you did all the work only to find out that having the hoop will get you a daily fine.

Underground Utility Lines

With in-ground basketball hoops, installation is bound to involve some hole digging.  Make sure to call 811 to ensure that there are no underground pipes or power lines underground.  No hoop is worth taking a life threatening electric shock. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to be the guy who caused the power to go out in their neighborhood.

 

Available Space For Your Court

NBA basketball courts are 94 feet by 50 feet.  Unless you’ve spent a serious amount of dough to create an outdoor version of a full court sized playing surface, you will be most likely using your in-ground basketball hoop in a smaller space.

When selecting a basketball hoop consider the space you have available.  If you have a small space, it will make more sense to purchase a smaller basketball hoop that will take up less space.  For those with wide driveways or dedicated court space be prepared to spend more on a hoop that has a larger backboard (60 inches or greater) with a thicker support pole.

FAQ – In-Ground Hoops

1. How much time does it take to assemble a portable basketball hoop?

This really depends on the model of in-ground basketball hoop that you’ve purchased.  In general, cheaper units will take less time to assemble (~1-2 1/2 hours) while premium systems will take longer (~2 1/2-4 hours).

If you are not adept in assembly, we recommend hiring a professional to complete the installation of premium in-ground hoops.

2. How many people do you recommend for the assembly process?

As with time, cheaper in-ground basketball systems will take less manpower than more expensive units.  For hoops under $400, two people can easily complete the assembly.  

More expensive systems will require three adults.  This is mainly for setting the hoop upright, either into the cement base or the bolt-on system.

3. Where should I put my hoop?

For lower-cost hoops a standard driveway should do the job.  If you’ve spent big money on your in-ground hoop then we strongly recommend having a paved driveway or a cement court built on your property.  

4. What height should I set the hoop for my child?

Here are our recommendations:

7 years of less – 6-7 feet

8-9 years – 8 feet

10 years – 9 feet

11 years and up – 10 feet

5. Which in-ground basketball hoops from the list are easiest to move?

If you plan on moving often, I recommend purchasing a portable basketball hoop.  For those who are set on an in-ground hoop, be sure to purchase a system with a bolt-on feature that will allow you to attach the support pole to the ground without submerging in cement.

6. Any tips on putting the support pole together?

In my personal experience, this is one of the most difficult parts of the hoop assembly process. If you have difficult putting the support pole pieces together I recommend covering the pole with grease or WD40 to minimize friction.

7. How do I minimize hoop rust?

Every year coat the most susceptible areas of the hoop with this corrosion inhibitor from WD-40.  This includes any bolts, joints, and the rim.

8. Can I dunk on an in-ground basketball hoop?

Dunking should be no problem on the high-end hoops listed in this article.  Mid-range hoops will allow for light dunking (no hanging on the rim).  Low cost in-ground hoops should not be used for dunking.

More From Hoops Fiend