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Basketball Hoop Buying Guide

Updated on June 26, 2009

Portable, Wall Mounted Or In Ground Basketball Hoop?

The first question that you have to ask before you buy your basketball goal is whether your will buy a portable, wall mounted, or in ground basketball hoop.

Portable Basketball hoops are hoops that are stabilized by a large plastic container that can be filled with either sand or water.

Advantages: Much easier to assemble, great for kids, allows you to move the basketball hoop anywhere you choose.

Disadvantages: Not as stable as wall mounted or in grounds, backboards are usually smaller, can't dunk on them safely.

Wall mounted basketball hoops use a bracket to attach directly to your wall.

Advantages: No pole to deal with, can be installed right above your garage

Disadvantages: Need a sturdy wall at the right height

In Ground Basketball hoops have a pole that is either cemented straight into the ground or is bolted to an anchor plate that is cemented into the ground.

Advantages: Super sturdy and durable systems, most like NBA quality, last a long time

Disadvantages: Harder to install, can't remove the hoop very easily.

Backboard Material

The material of the backboard is probably the biggest factor in how rigid the backboard will be and how long it will last, so you have be extremely cautious is which one you will choose.

Molded Plastic basketball backboards, also sometimes called "eco composite" are the worst material, and should generally be avoided unless you are buying the basketball hoop for a kid or you just want a cheap hoop to play with.

Acrylic basketball backboards are made of a rigid clear material that performs better than eco composite, and also is more durable. You can find these on hoops ranging anywhere from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Polycarbonate basketball backboards are much more durable than acrylic in the lower price ranges. Polycarbonate looks, feels, and acts just like acrylic, but it take a lot more abuse and still look and play great.

Glass basketball backboards offer absolutely the best rebound that you can find anywhere, and is the same material that you see on NBA basketball hoops. Though they are only found on premium basketball goals, nothing feels as good as bouncing a basketball up against a glass board.

Backboard Size

You want to get the absolute largest basketball backboard that you can fit within your budget. The larger your backboard, the closer it will feel to a NBA quality basketball hoop, because you will be able to do cool moves like far corner bank shots.

An NBA regulation backboard is seventy two inches wide, forty two inches high, half an inch thick, and made of glass. While these kinds of basketball backboards give you the absolute most realistic play of anything that you can find, they are only found on the highest priced premium basketball goals.

If you have a good sized budget of about a thousand dollars and don't quite want the seventy two inch ones, you can still buy a very good sixty inch basketball backboard, such as those that are offered by brands such as Goalrilla, Mammoth, and First Team basketball hoops.

If your budget is under five hundred dollars, it is still possible to get a very high quality fifty four inch backboard made of either acrylic or polycarbonate. Some manufacturers even offer glass backboards in this price range.

If you are just looking to buy a basketball hoop for kids, or just want a cheap hoop to play with, you should consider just getting a forty four or forty eight inch basketball backboard. They are smaller, but they are OK for just shooting around in the driveway.

Basketball Pole

There are three questions you need to ask before you know everything about a basketball pole:

How Many Pieces is It?

What Shape is it?

How Big is it?

Poles on basketball hoops usually are either one piece or three piece. Three piece simply means that they are made of actually three pieces of steel that connect together.when you assemble it. One piece basketball poles are a single, solid piece of steel that extends from the ground to the backboard. One piece poles are better because they absorb vibration better and make for a more stable basketball hoop.

The shape of the basketball pole refers to whether it is round or square. Square basketball poles are better because they work harder to reduce shaking and vibration. You typically see round poles on lower end basketball hoops and square poles on premium goals, but there are a few institutional quality systems that use round poles.

Basketball pole size can range anywhere from 3.5 inches all the way up to eight inches across. The larger the pole, the more stable the hoop will be overall, so you want to get the absolute biggest pole that you can work into your budget.

Basketball Hoop Adjustment Systems

If you think that there will be a need to adjust the basketball hoop very frequently, then you should also pay attention to the basketball hoop adjustment system that is on the basketball goal that you are interested in.

The two main categories of adjustment systems are those that adjust in six inch increments and those that adjust in infinite increments. Those that adjust in six inch increments, just like the name implies, can only adjust at set points. So if a basketball hoop can adjust from 7.5 to 10 feet, then you would have the option of setting it at 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, and not anywhere in between those heights.

A basketball system that can adjust in infinte increments can adjust at any point in between the minimum and maximum height.  So you could adjust it to a height of 8.2 feet or 9.3 if you so choose.

There are five main types of adjustment systems are telescoping pole, broom stick adjust, trigger handle, pneumatic adjust, and crank handle.

Telescoping pole adjust systems are usually found on smaller basketball goals for kids, and work by having two poles: one that attaches to base and one that holds the backboard that can move in and out of the base pole.  The main disadvantage of these systems is that the backboard is attached straight to the pole, so there is no overhang

Broomstick handle adjust systems work by you taking some sort of long stick, using it unlock a ratchet mechanism behind the backboard, and using the stick to lower or raise it to the desired height.  These can be a bit tricky to use and are usually only found on cheaper hoops, so they are only recommended if you don't think you will adjust the backboard very often.

Trigger handle systems work by having handle with a trigger on the back of the the pole.  You unlock the mechanism by pulling on the trigger, and move the rim by moving the handle up and down.  When you are at your desired height, just release the trigger and the backboard will stabilize.

Pneumatic or "gas assisted" systems work a lot like trigger handle systems, but they use a chamber that harnesses gas pressure to both allow easier adjustment and infinite increments.

Crank handle systems you typically find on the highest quality basketball hoops.  Though they aren't as high tech as pneumatic systems, many find them easier to use, even if they take a little bit longer to adjust to the desired height.


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    • profile image

      Basketball Hoops & Goals 

      8 years ago

      Acrylic backboards tend to weigh less but glass offers a truer bounce.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Whatever you do, don't buy a double rimmed hoop.


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