Having the ability to play ball on your driveway at any time you want is a really awesome thing to have. No longer will you have to trek to the local court (and hope no-one’s using it) to shoot some hoops.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll review the 8 best portable, wall-mounted and in-ground basketball hoops as of 2021.
No time to waste? Use this table to quickly compare our top picks:
1221 Pro Court
5818 Basketball Rim
71281 In Ground Basketball Hoop
- Basketball Hoop Buyer’s Guide
- Best Portable Basketball Hoops
- Best Wall-Mounted Basketball Hoops
- Best In-Ground Basketball Hoops
Basketball hoop buyer’s guide
But first, let’s discuss some things to consider when selecting the perfect basketball hoop.
Different types of basketball hoops
Some of the best basketball hoops on the market at the moment in terms of value for money are portable hoops. Not only are they easy to set up, but these products are height-adjustable, making them suitable for children of all ages. The issue with them is they aren’t quite as stable as fixed-position hoops.
On the other hand, buying a wall-mounted hoop can be a good idea if you’ve got an adequate space available (above your garage, perhaps) at a good height. The disadvantage is that you’ll need to attach it securely, and it won’t be height adjustable.
Finally there are in-ground hoops, which must be cemented in place and are generally more expensive than portable or wall-mounted hoops. The good thing is that the hoop will be incredibly sturdy as well as height-adjustable, and the structure itself can add value to your property.
How hard is it to install an in-ground basketball hoop?
If you’ve used concrete before, it’s not actually that difficult. The video below gives a general outline of what’s involved:
However, it’s not something you want to get wrong – the last thing you need is the hoop falling over onto your car in high winds. If you’re not confident in your ability to do it properly, you can always hire a professional to install your in-ground basketball hoop.
Why not just get a portable basketball hoop?
Portable basketball hoops are very popular for very good reason. They’re super-easy to set up, and can be moved anywhere at any time. In the winter you can even put them away to protect them from the elements and save some space in your yard.
The issue with them is they can be a little bit flimsy. Portable hoop backboards won’t feel the exact same at an in-ground hoop’s backboard. Also, you can’t really dunk on them without shifting the base, which is a real issue for aspiring pros.
Ultimately, for kids, casual players, and those with no room for an in-ground hoop, portable options are the perfect solution. But they’re by no means perfect, which is why many families upgrade to something more permanent further down the line.
Which backboard material should I go for?
In the NBA, backboards are made of tempered glass. This stuff is as good as it gets – it offers an excellent rebound, and won’t lose its springiness over time.
Cheaper options like polyurethane also work well, especially on outdoor hoops which are exposed to rain, wind, and humid air. They won’t feel the exact same as proper glass, but still do an excellent job maintaining a consistent rebound.
Dealing with extreme weather
Assuming your new hoop is going to live outdoors, it’s going to have to deal with pretty harsh weather conditions, as we’ve discussed.
To prevent rusting, you’ll want something made of powder-coated steel, and to prevent fading, good manufacturers will include some sort of UV protection, especially on the frame.
If you live in an area which often faces extreme wind and rain, you’ve got to ensure that your hoop is extremely well-secured. The last thing you want is it tipping over and the backboard smashing. If you’ve got a portable hoop and you’re not sure that the base will keep it upright, empty it and lay the hoop carefully on its side before the wind picks up.
What else should I look for?
Here are some crucial things to keep an eye out for when selecting a basketball hoop:
- An extended warranty. The last thing you want with such an expensive purchase is it breaking after just a few months. A 3-5 year warranty is a good place to start.
- Excellent customer reviews, going back a number of years. The only way to truly tell how well a basketball hoop will hold up is using it in the real world. Fortunately, previous customers will have already tested the hoop for you.
- A shatterproof backboard, especially when buying one made of tempered glass/polyurethane.
Best portable basketball hoops
Who doesn’t love portability?
1. Lifetime 1269 Pro Court Basketball Hoop
Lifetime’s mid-budget option offers incredible value for money due to its shatterproof polyethylene backboard, similar to the plexiglass used in the NBA. Some other brands use metal or fiberglass backboards, a non-regulation material which can give an improper bounce. The product’s durability is backed up with a 5-year manufacturer warranty, and the frame is designed specifically to be weather-resistant.
The rim itself can be adjusted from 7.5 feet off the ground to the NBA standard 10 feet, making the hoop suitable for younger children as well as intermediate players and teenagers.
2. Lifetime 1221 Pro Court
This is the cheaper version of the Lifetime 1269 basketball hoop. So what do you miss out on for the cost saving? Surprisingly, not much. The 5-year warranty is still there, and the backboard is made of polyethylene. However, it is not advertised as “shatterproof,” instead Lifetime calls it “virtually unbreakable.” The product lives up to this description.
The frame is still adjustable, although the unit is a bit difficult to put together – you’ll probably need 2 people to attach the backboard due to its weight. Overall, the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court is one of the best basketball hoops available in terms of value for money.
3. Lifetime 51550 Portable Basketball Hoop
Finally, we’ve included Lifetime’s upper-budget product in this list as it also offers great value for money. The 5-year warranty is still available, but the backboard is 48 inches wide (rather than 44″). For the additional cost you also get a larger base for increased stability and a solid steel rim with welded net hooks for durability.
The downside is that the 51550 only adjusts from 8-10 feet rather than 7.5-10 feet, however Speed Shift technology enables a smoother adjustment of rim height.
4. Spalding Pro Slam 54″ Portable Basketball Hoop
Unlike Lifetime, Spalding doesn’t have a budget basketball hoop in their offering. However, their mid-range product is an excellent choice. It features a massive 34 gallon base and polycarbonate 54 inch backboard, giving more consistent rebounds. The frame is angled which makes the hoop more sturdy while allowing for play to occur under the rim.
The downside is that unlike Lifetime, Spalding only offers a 1 year warranty on this product. Still, its extra durability makes up for this somewhat. In our experience, issues normally occur in the first few months of owning the hoop due to a faulty part rather than long-term wear, assuming the hoop itself is relatively durable.
Best wall mounted basketball hoops
If you’re confident screwing your own basketball hoop onto a fixed surface and you’re sure you won’t want to adjust its height sometime down the line, a wall mounted rim or backboard and rim combo is probably your best bet.
You can either buy just a rim (great for if you’ve got a nice smooth surface for the ball to rebound off) or a backboard with a rim, which is a good idea if you want to avoid wear and tear on the area above the hoop. However, if you’re buying a backboard you’ll also need a bracket to affix it to your desired surface.
5. Lifetime 5818 Basketball Rim
Nothing beats the classic orange basketball rim. Lifetime’s product comes with handy bolt holes and an all-weather net, although you’ll have to supply the bolts yourself. The painted steel frame is incredibly sturdy, ensuring it will last for years of play while also withstanding harsh outdoor weather conditions.
As long as you’ve got your own makeshift backboard (or a proper one already installed), this is the ultimate basketball hoop solution: simple to install, cheap, and very durable.
6. Lifetime 73650 44 Inch Shatterproof Backboard and Rim Combo Kit
Lifetime also manufactures a backboard and rim combo kit if your surface isn’t suitable for a rim to be attached directly. This means you’ll need to buy a separate bracket to install the backboard on. For example, there are brackets for angled roofs as shown in this video:
What we’re reviewing here is the backboard/rim section, but the video shows a different product.
Although this may be a bit of a hassle to set up, the combo kit is incredibly durable, featuring a shatterproof backboard and all-weather net. The product also allows you the freedom to affix a hoop to pretty much any surface, assuming the correct bracket is chosen.
We recommend using Lifetime’s universal mounting kit to ensure compatibility with the brand’s hoop and rim combo kit.
As with Lifetime’s portable hoops. this product comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Best in-ground basketball hoops
7. Lifetime 71281 In Ground Power Lift Basketball Hoop
Although in-ground hoops are typically more expensive than portable hoops, they make up for the additional cost as they are more sturdy and generally have specifications which more closely match the official NBA hoops. The Lifetime 71281 has a 52″ shatterproof backboard, and like all the hoops we’ve reviewed from this company it includes a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Like Lifetime’s portable varieties, this in-ground hoop is adjustable from 7.5 all the way up to 10 feet and is weather resistant to fading and rusting.
8. Spalding NBA In-Ground Basketball Hoop
Spalding’s in-ground solution is the most expensive basketball hoop we’ve reviewed in this list. However, it is also the best basketball hoop available in terms of overall quality rather than value for money. The cost itself is actually not that unreasonable considering the durability and features provided.
This hoop has a 54″ tempered-glass backboard as used in the NBA to ensure solid rebounds on a consistent basis. The pole comes in two pieces rather than three for maximum stability, and features a heavy-duty rim. The ground sleeve anchor system allows for easy installation of the hoop, a major positive considering the hassle of cementing the pole into position.
The best basketball hoop for you will depend on your needs in terms of frame stability and the performance of the backboard. You must also consider your budget, although there are plenty of cheap, good-quality options available.
- Looking for something portable but inexpensive? Buy a portable hoop.
- Need a permanent structure without the hassle of cement? Get a wall mounted hoop.
- Want stability, excellent backboard performance, and something that will last for decades to come? Try an in-ground basketball system.
Was this guide helpful? Can we improve in any way? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂