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The Portable Basketball Hoop Guide

Updated on January 7, 2011

So You Want A Portable Basketball Hoop?

Some people feel a house is not a home without a basketball hoop in their driveway. Manufacturers have made it easier than ever to find the type of setup that fits your space and playing style. The type of backboard system you buy depends on whether you're up for a serious game of basketball or you're just looking to shoot around, and it also depends on who will be playing on the basketball system.

Four Things To Do Before You Buy A Portable Basketball Goal

Important Steps To Prevent Mistakes

Take my advice...please...don't just march off to the nearest sporting goods store and purchase a basketball hoop without doing the four things outlined below:

(1) Determine What Kind Of Basketball Goal You Want

This is obvious...but you've got to decide what type of basketball hoop you want to invest in. I won't go into major detail here...but there are three main basketball system types: In Ground, Portable and Wall Mount. Since this site is about the portable variety, if you've decided to go with one of the other 2 can stop reading. ;-)

(2) Find Out What Your Homeowners Association Regulations Are

If you live in a neighborhood/subdivision with a Homeowners or Community Association, you'll want to make sure that you are permitted to put up the hoop. Many associations have by-laws limiting where you may place basketball goals and some even prohibit them altogether. So save yourself a headache and money by determining the rules first.

(3) See That Your Driveway or Backyard is a Good Fit

To truly enjoy your hoop, you need a satisfactory playing surface. Hilly areas are not conducive to creating good basketball courts. It doesn't have to be perfect but you do need a fair sized area of flat space. I think my driveway was is 16 feet by 40 feet. That means that I have enough length to enable decent baseline shooting and 16 feet directly in front of the basket for free throws and other stuff. DO NOT SET UP A HOOP ON AN INCLINE...!!!!!!!!!!!

(4) Make Sure Your Neighbors Won't Mind

Be a good neighbor. Ask those who live on either side of you if putting up a portable basketball goal will bother them. If they say that it will, find out why. Perhaps you can work out a compromise. You know something like…you won't play after 8:30pm when they are home...or that you'll limit the number of people who can play on it, etc. The bottom line is that you don't won't to offend those who live around you.

Spalding Portable Basketball Systems - ...Huffy Sports hoops are often co-branded Spalding products

Spalding is the leading manufacturer of residential, portable basketball goals. They make hoops for all levels of play.

Lifetime Portable Basketball Systems

Lifetime has been an innovator in portable basketball systems with pneumatic height adjustment systems and it's Slam-It rim combos.

Reebok Portable Basketball Systems - ...Reebok hoops are often co-branded Lifetime products

Mistakes People Make When Buying a Basketball Hoop

Be Sure You Don't Make The Same Ones

Drive down any street in suburban America and you will see rows and rows of basketball hoops in driveways. More often then not, these hoops are usually the wrong hoop for the user's needs. The biggest mistake anyone can make is buy a hoop before getting all your facts straight, yet this is what happens over and over.

Here the biggest mistakes most consumers make:

(1) Focusing only on Price

Look, if you only expect to play a year or less on your basketball goal, feel free to pinch pennies all you want. But if you want a goal that will still be there and still performed excellently as your kids grow and as their skills develop, then you are going to have to look beyond the price tag. You should instead look at durability, rigidity and backboard material. Spend a little more now, and you will thank yourself years from now.

(2) Buy a Fan Shaped Backboard

No, No, No. There is no reason for fan shaped basketball backboards to exist. They are the exact same price as square basketball goals, except that they offer less space on which to make bank shots. Always go with a square or rectangular basketball goal. They don't cost you any extra money, yet they come closer to pro play.

(3) Thinking More Advanced Technology is Better

When most people are faced with a choice between a simple, classic crank adjust system and a more advanced gas assisted pneumatic adjust system, most will go with the advanced model, because they assume it's better. The truth is that while pneumatic height adjustment systems can adjust a backboard more quickly, it actually takes more strength to use this kind of systems. So if you have a kid that you want to buy a hoop for, you might be better off buying the crank adjustment system so that they don't have to struggle with changing the height.

(4) Hiring a Professional Basketball Installer to Install Your Goal

When it comes time to install your basketball hoop, there is nothing wrong with paying someone else to do it. Installing a basketball hoop is difficult and time consuming, and there are lots of companies that can do a good job. But pro assemblers and installers can cost an arm and a leg. You are actually much better off opening your yellow pages and looking for a local handyman or fence installer. They can typically do just as good a job as the guys who specialize in basketball hoops, but for a much lower price.

Affordable Adjustable Basketball Goals - Hoops Under $500

Getting a portable basketball hoop doesn't have to be an expensive undertaking. You can find some great deals on Ebay.

Don't Get Ripped Off When You Buy Your Portable Basketball Goal

Make Sure You Get The Right Hoop

Basketball hoops are totally unlike any other kind of sports equipment. While equipment from other sports is fairly uniform in nature, the sheer variety of basketball hoops makes it very difficult to find the exact one for your specific needs. Most sales people at retail stores have absolutely no clue about what makes for a good basketball goal, so they always wind up recommending the wrong one. Here are some of the common reasons that you might have the wrong hoop in your driveway.

Wrong Size Backboard - Backboards can range in size anywhere from forty-two inches all the way up to the NBA regulation size of seventy-two inches (a full six feet across!) Yet you see people who have a decent budget with these dinky-sized hoops in their driveway. Usually, this is because they went to a store that didn't have any basketball goals with larger backboards on hand, so they just recommended a smaller size. This is sad, because if they had just ordered a larger hoop online and waited until it came, they could have had a Pro-worthy system.

Wrong Shape Backboard - One of the worst mistakes that anyone can make when purchasing a backboard is buying a fan shaped backboard. Fan shaped backboard are never more expensive than rectangle backboards, but fan shaped backboards have a lot loss area that you make bank shots off of. So why on earth would you spend the exact same amount of money for less backboard area?

Wrong Material Basketball Backboard - One of the saddest things that you can witness is someone buying an acrylic basketball hoop when there is a perfectly good polycarbonate basketball hoop for the exact same price. Polycarbonate is a lot like acrylic, except that is five times stronger, and therefore much harder to break. When facing a decision between acrylic and polycarbonate, always go with polycarbonate backboards.

Wrong Adjustment System - When salespeople recommend the pneumatic adjustment system over a hand crank system because it's easier, they have no clue what they are talking about. Hand crank systems might be less "advanced," but anyone who has used one can tell it tells a heck of lot less effort to raise a lower a basketball backboard with a hand crank system than with a gas powered adjustment system.

The only way to prevent yourself from getting ripped of and spending way too much money on an inferior hoop is by educate yourself on different basketball hoops and basketball hoop brands.

Winterizing Your Portable Basketball Goal

Cleaning, Base Protection and Coverage

If you live in an area that has temperatures that can dip below freezing during certain parts of the year you’ll be interested in “winterizing” your hoop.

Winterizing your basketball goal consists of three items: cleaning, base protection and coverage.

(1) Cleaning Your Basketball Hoop

In general, this is not a big deal. The purpose is to remove caked dirt, leaves, spider webs, etc. from your basketball goal before you put it away for the winter. You can use many multipurpose home cleaning solutions on your basketball hoop but I’d stay away from products that have a bleach base. If your hoop is not adjustable (can’t imagine how old yours is then!) you’ll need to use a broom to free the rim and areas around backboard of spider webs and other debris.

(2) Protecting the base of your Basketball Hoop

Unlike with an in-ground basketball goal…base care is a big deal for us portable owners. You’ll want to clean the base off just as you would the rim and backboard. Outside of that, if you’ve filled your base with water, you need to make sure that the water does not freeze. You can do that by purchasing a non-toxic antifreeze and add about 2 gallons to the water.

(3) Storing or Covering Your Basketball Hoop

It’s perfectly fine if you want to leave your basketball goal outdoors during the winter months. However, in doing so, you may want to cover your rim and net with several large plastic garbage bags. Don't’ forget to tie them off so that they don’t blow away.

NOTE: You also may want to lubricate any movable joints on your basketball goal such as those in the height adjustment system.

Got Some Portable Basketball Hoops Advice?

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