Best Basketball Hoops
UPDATED AUGUST 2018
BOTTOM LINE
PROS
CONS
BEST OF THE BEST
Pro Dunk
Best Adjustable In-Ground
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BOTTOM LINE
If you want the biggest and most stable hoop but need flexibility on height adjustment, this choice is tough to beat.
PROS
1/2" thick glass and the thickest steel in the industry deliver performance as close to a pro set-up as you'll find. Effortless adjustment down to an industry low 5' perfect for young players
CONS
Expensive, but you are paying for a top-of-the-line hoop.
Lifetime
Pro court
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BOTTOM LINE
Flexible fun and a sturdy build for a fraction of the price of in-ground models. The best budget option available.
PROS
Durable, portable, and affordable; lots of game for a budget price. Shatterproof backboard and telescopic adjustment from 7.5 to 10 ft.
CONS
It's not pro quality, but for the price, you may not mind. Challenging to put together.
Hercules
Fixed-Height In-Ground
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BOTTOM LINE
Fixed height system is a good fit for older players already competing at a 10' rim height. Hercules' durable construction is perfect parks and playgrounds.
PROS
Rugged good looks are perfect for institutions looking for something durable that isn't an eyesore. Performs well with 1/2" glass backboard and break-away rim.
CONS
Requires special equipment for install, not for younger players
Bear
Best Outdoor Portable
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BOTTOM LINE
If you need a portable and don't want to compromise on performance or durability, look no further. Patented design delivers unmatched outdoor versatility.
PROS
Includes a high-perfroamnce glass board and break-away rim. Easily sets up off-road with 16" turf tires and four corner leveling.
CONS
Expensive but the only premium outdoor portable on the market.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Heavyweight
Best Value Glass
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BOTTOM LINE
Wanting something better than what's at your local store but don't need the best of the best? Heavyweight checks all the right boxes.
PROS
Glass backboard, dunkable rim and 50% thicker steel versus store brands delivers performance at a great price point.
CONS
Limited height adjustment not good for younger players.

How We Decide

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything for free.

104
Models
Considered
45
Hours
Spent
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Experts
Interviewed
158
Consumers
Consulted

Shopping Guide for Best Basketball Hoops

Get your family outside this season with a fun and healthy activity that promotes teamwork, competitiveness and self-improvement. Utilize the driveway space you already have or build a court in the backyard that you can use for all kinds of activities. Adjustable hoops allow children as young as two years old to play while premium hoops satisfy the most demanding high-school athletes with gymnasium quantity performance. Invest in a lifetime of basketball. Invest in your family.

About Us / Process

Guides is collection of topical experts that share their experience to help you find the best solution for your application. You can think of Guides as a sort of Wikipedia for topics that require more in depth explanation. We do not accept products free of charge and have tested each and every recommendation. Topics are regularly updated to reflect the most current options available.

Product in Depth

Pro Dunk In-Ground System

Features

Three key features set Pro Dunk apart from other hoops. First, and most importantly if you have younger competitors, is height adjustment. Pro Dunk systems can go as low as 5’ allowing everybody to get into the action unlike other systems that will only go down to 7’. Adjustment is also much easier thanks to a lift-assist mechanism that allow children as young as six years old to easily raise and lower the hoop.

Second is performance, thanks to a regulation ½” thick tempered glass backboard and the thickest main pole in the industry. Competitive players will appreciate the gym quality performance Pro Dunk delivers.

Lastly is the lifetime warranty. If you want to buy your last basketball goal, strongly consider Pro Dunk.

Choosing the Right Backboard

Backboard size and material is one of the biggest differences between basketball hoops and a key driver of price. As the board gets heavier everything behind it must get more stout as well which increases the amount of raw material needed and also increases shipping costs. Board size and material will be one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when selecting a basketball hoop. There are two key aspects that play a role in this decision beyond price which we’ll talk about below.

DID YOU KNOW?

A regulation backboard is 72” x 42” and made of ½” thick tempered glass. Most schools junior high and up will use backboards that meet these regulations. There are many outdoor hoops available that meet these regulations allowing you to practice at home just like you play in the gym.

Choosing the right Backboard

Backboard Size

From a basketball perspective, the larger the board, the closer to regulation you are, allowing for more bank shots. For example, you can step out to the side and get a bank shot in on a 60” board that would not be possible with a smaller 54” backboard. A larger board is not always the best solution. If you have a narrow area, it makes sense to get a narrower board. A general rule of thumb is below.

From an aesthetic perspective, you may not want a large backboard that detracts from the look of your home. If your basketball hoop will be installed in front of your house plainly visible from the street I’d consider 60” backboard or smaller. If the hoop will have low visibility from the street or the area that it will be installed is large I wouldn’t worry about aesthetics too much. Remember, the backboard is usually clear allowing you to see through it to the sky and trees and is not as obtrusive as you may think.

If you’re working with your HOA to receive an exception allowing you to install an in-ground basketball hoop here are a few tips.

Choosing the right Backboard

Backboard Material

There are three types of boards you’ll typically see for residential use including tempered glass, acrylic and polycarbonate. Each material has strengths and weaknesses.

Polycarbonate is a hard rigid material. It’s usually used as a light-weight solution for portables without much counterbalance. It’s a great choice for these applications delivering the best performance possible given the constraints. The downside is that polycarbonate will get brittle over time and break. Also, because these boards tend to be thin, performance is not good. For a starter hoop that you don’t expect to use for a long time this is a great solution.

Acrylic, like polycarbonate is a lighter material making it well suited for portables. The difference is that acrylic is softer which allows for a longer lifespan. The downside is that rebounds tend to be dead so performance is still a key issue. The softer acrylic will also accumulate scratches over time making the backboard opaque.

Tempered glass is a heavier, harder material and what’s used in gymnasiums. It weathers very well (same material used in the car’s windshield) and rebounds the ball solidly. The downside is that a glass board can be vandalized with a BB gun or rock which could shatter it. Although unlikely, it does happen. Look for a backboard replacement guarantee when purchasing your system to eliminate this risk.

DID YOU KNOW?

Backboards use tempered glass which is safety glass. Instead of breaking into shards like plate glass the tempering process forces the glass to break into many small pieces that cannot hurt players. A shattered board can be quite a sight because the whole board turns into a spiderweb of cracks. Rest assured this is by design helping to keep your players safe.

Other materials used for backboards include aluminum and steel which are primarily found in institutional outdoor applications where vandalism is likely. Durability takes precedence over everything else in these situations.

Product in Depth

Pro Dunk In-Ground System

Characteristics

Available in 54, 60 and 72 inch backboard sizes, Pro Dunk can be a great fit for driveway, backyard or park / playground courts. A sturdy one piece pole bolts onto a concrete footer providing a solid base of stability. The backboard is projected away from the pole between 3 and 5 feet depending on the model allowing for plenty of safe play area underneath the basket. The ½” thick regulation glass backboard is fully surrounded with a channeled aluminum and steel reinforcement. The competition grade break-away rim is made for dunking featuring welded gussets, dual springs calibrated for regulation 165 lbs of pressure and tubular net attachment just like the pros. You can definitely bring the gym home and practice like the pros with a Pro Dunk basketball hoop.

Choosing the right Backboard

Backboard Mounting

There are many methods manufacturers use to mount a backboard to the system’s pole. The most common methods include H-bracket and arena view (also called clear view).

Arena view was originally created for spectators at professional games allowing them to see the game through the backboard more easily. This allowed the arena to sell seats behind the hoop as unobstructed. Most outdoor applications will not benefit from this unless you plan to put in bleachers behind your hoop. Arena view does help systems with non-glass backboards or thin glass backboards by supporting them at the edges. Backboard with ⅜” thick glass or thicker doesn’t require the extra support because it does not bend.

Basketball hoops with a thicker glass board greatly benefit from the H-bracket mounting because it requires less steel at the most leveraged point of the system reducing load on the main pole. Arena view systems increase load on the main pole allowing it to bend which reduces the basketball hoop’s stability.

DID YOU KNOW?

Basketball hoops labeled as “Arena View” or “Clear View” can obstruct the view through the backboard more than H-bracket basketball hoops? The long outstretching arms streak across the full width of the backboard while making the whole structure look larger.

Product in Depth

Heavyweight

Delivering Value

The perfect mix of features and durability at a price point that makes sense for most families. Get features like a true glass backboard, adjustment down to 7’ and a dunkable break-away rim without having to pay for features you don’t need on premium hoops like Pro Dunk that costs $200.00 more on average. If you have children over 10 that are not playing on a competitive team, strongly consider Heavyweight as the last basketball hoop you’ll ever buy.

Warranty

When you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on something that’s going to be a permanent fixture at your home you’ll definitely want to consider warranty. There is a direct correlation between weight and durability. The heavier the system, the fewer problems you’ll have. Premium system will almost always carry a limited lifetime warranty. The limited part is where you’ll want to focus. You’ll discover some hoops allow dunking and hanging while others do not. Sometimes the adjustment mechanism and rim is limited in coverage as well.

The other key factor to consider is the company you’re doing business with. Smaller companies started under 10 years ago might be a risky proposition. Many brands have gone by the wayside over the years. You cannot get parts, let alone parts covered under the warranty, for these discontinued systems.

EXPERT TIP

The backboard is the most expensive part on your system. It can cost up to $900.00 to replace. Premium hoops will sometimes come with an unconditional replacement guarantee that will cover vandalism, trucks running into it and even a tree limb falling onto it. Look for this to eliminate unexpected costs with your basketball hoop.

Playability

Competitive players will want to strongly consider the key factors impacting performance. They’ll likely want something that plays as close to what they use in the gym so they can come home and practice just like they play. A great shortcut to look at when trying to determine a system’s playability is weight. The heavier the system, the more likely it is to play well. A regulation backboard is made of ½” thick tempered glass and is very heavy. A regulation board delivers solid rebounds but also requires the structure behind the system to be more rigid. The best basketball hoops use a 5ga thick steel one piece main pole while good systems use 7ga (33% thinner). The last factor to consider is a rim that delivers the ball action you’d expect in the gym. You’ll want a gusseted rim that can be calibrated for a 165lb break-away. Top brands like Pro Dunk (in-ground) and Bear (portable) will have a rim like this.

DID YOU KNOW?

Basketball hoops with an 8’ main post will flex less than systems with a longer post. The more rigid post helps create a more stable system that emulates the gym playing experience more closely.

Product in Depth

Hercules Fixed-Height In-Ground

Non-Adjustable Pros and Cons

Fixed-height systems may have some advantages over adjustable hoops. The first is a simpler design without moving parts which many believe will increase durability. This is true versus adjustable hoops in the sub $1,000.00 range. In contrast, premium adjustable hoops carry a lifetime warranty and deliver performance comparable to gymnasium systems.

The second advantage, which is derived from simplicity, is a lower cost. Lower material and labor requirements help drive down costs. Be careful with this assumption because market forces breed more competition and lower prices among the more popular adjustable hoops. There is usually not a large (if any) price difference between adjustable and fixed-height hoops.

Lastly, adjustable hoops can be much easier to install because the backboard is mounted from a standing position while the hoop is lowered requiring only two people and no special equipment. Fixed-height systems can require special equipment and several people. This makes a DIY install more difficult or the cost of hiring a professional higher.

Installation and Assembly

Self installation can be a great family project that’s rewarding and a way for children to genuinely contribute. Portables only require assembly while in-ground hoops require a bit more work including a 2 part process and concrete.

If you’re not comfortable doing installation yourself you can hire a professional which will cost between $200.00 and $500.00 on average. Portable basketball hoops will typically cost less to assemble because there are no material costs like concrete and they only require one trip out.

EXPERT TIP

Call the manufacturer or retailer before placing your order and request professional installers in your area or resources like an installation video that will aid in your D-I-Y install. Being prepared will ensure you do not get stuck with a basketball hoop you cannot get installed.

Product in Depth

Bear

Features

Bear is the first and only premium portable made for the outdoors. It contrasts most driveway portables made with lighter materials that lack the durability and performance many desire. Bear features all-steel construction, solid counterbalance, 16” turf tires and and four direction leveling for stable off-road setup. A thick glass backboard and gym quality break-away rim deliver performance even the most demanding athletes will appreciate. Effortless adjustment down to 4.5’ allows all competitors to get into the action. Lastly, an unmatched hot-dip galvanized finish and stainless steel hardware ensures years of use without worry of corrosion in harsh environments. If you’re in search of an outdoor portable that delivers gymnasium play, look no further.

Basketball Hoop Prices

Basketball hoops at different price points will help families fulfill different needs. For example, an AAU player would benefit more from a $1,000.00 basketball hoop versus a four year old unsure about sports. We’ve broken down some ranges to help you decide.

$300.00

If you have young children and want to see if they might be interested in basketball this could be a great solution for you. Ensure this hoop will adjust low enough for your child to shoot on. Hoops that don’t go low enough can frustrate players ensuring they’ll never be interested in basketball.

$500.00

If you’re not sure if basketball is in the cards but want something that’ll hold up to older children for a while this price range might be for you. These hoops don’t come with a lifetime warranty and don’t perform like gym hoops but can be a great source of recreation.

$1,000.00

If you think somebody might get serious about basketball or if you just want to install a basketball hoop once instead of replacing your hoop ever couple of years this might be the price range for you. In-ground hoops that cost $1,000 plus can deliver gym performance and last a lifetime.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some manufacturers sell their hoops direct instead of through resellers like your local sporting goods store. Typically you’ll get more for your money with these brands because the reseller isn’t taking a cut. Some of the hoops on our table are sold manufacturer direct including Pro Dunk and Heavyweight.

Basketball Hoops FAQ

Q: How do I maintain my basketball goal?

A: Keep mulch and grass trimmings away from the base as this can accelerate corrosion weakening the main post. If you have an area that is rusting, clean, sand and apply two coats of outdoor paint. You can bring padding in during the winter months to increase its lifespan. Glass backboards can be cleaned with warm soapy water (no chemicals) and a soft cloth.

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