Ultimate Basketball Hoop Buying Guide

Basketball is among the most popular sports games in the world. It was invented by Dr. James Naismith back in 1981. Naismith was a professor in physical education and an instructor who worked with YMCA in a training institute in Massachusetts. Basketball was first played using a soccer ball.

The thinking behind the game was simple. Dr. Naismith, being a physical education expert, wanted to create an indoor sport that could be rigorous enough to keep people fit even in times when due to the weather they couldn’t engage in outdoor sports. Basketball is regulated by the FIBA , an international body that’s responsible for governing the game.

Buying the best basketball goals is more than just stepping into a store and getting what you need. There are so many different brands out there but very few can offer you the quality that you are looking for. Everyone loves basketball but not everyone has the time to make their way to the local court and enjoy a game with friends.

As a result, the popularity of driveway basketball using wall mount hoops on the garage door can be a great option for people who love this game. There are two things you need for this; a basketball hoop and the driveway, of course.

Everything You Need to Know: Before Buying a Basketball Hoop

Types of Basketball Hoops

There are quite a number of basketball hoops that you can use for your driveway or any other place you want. Each of these different types has its own pros and cons. In light of this, you will need to carefully assess each option before settling on the best one for your needs and your budget.

In case you are planning to hit the shops for a top basketball hoop, this buying guide will help you pick just the right one for you.

Portable Basketball Hoops

Portable Basketball Hoops

Portable basketball hoops are perhaps the most popular in the market today. Just as the name suggests, the portable hoops don’t need to be stuck somewhere on the driveway or on the court. You can carry them anywhere you want.

The portable basketball goals usually come with a pre designed base that can be filled with anything to provide stability. You can use sand or even water. All you need is a stable place and you will be good to go. The portable hoops come at various sizes and prices.

The biggest advantage you’ll get with portable hoops is that they areeasy to transport. Even when you are moving, you can easily pick them up, move to your new location, reset the entire system, and start enjoying a game.

In-Ground Basketball Hoop

In-Ground Basketball Hoop

The In-ground basketball hoops or out door hoops come with supporting poles that are dug into the ground and supported by concrete. This gives them better stability and strength compared to the portable hoops. Ideally, the in-ground hoops are designed for people who want to play basketball professionally.

They are also ideal for schools and other institutions. Because of the strength that the hoops offer and the stability, the cost will be relatively higher.

Nonetheless, they will be full value for your money. The in-ground hoops offer the best possible playing experience.

Wall Mounted or Mini Basketball Hoops

Mini Basketball Hoops

The mounted basketball hoops are designed for the wall. In other words, all you need is to mount the hoop above the garage door or on any other wall and you are good to go. However, even though there are still some people who prefer the wall-mounted hoops, over the years, they have been overtaken by the portable hoops. This is simply because portable hoops tend to offer better flexibility and are far much easier to install. They are also cheaper compared to the wall-mounted hoops.

Basketball Hoops By Rims

Other than the working mechanism, basketball hoops can also be categorized in terms of the rims. And why not, the rims are probably the most important part of any hoop and they are central to the overall experience of each player. If you are going to buy a basketball hoop, you can overlook everything else but the rims.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the different rims various basketball hoops come with and the features they offer:

The Standard Rim

standard rim

The standard rim is very common in practically all available basketball hoops. However, the professional and more advanced hoops don’t have standard rims. The advent of spring loaded breakaway rims has seen many standard rims go out of the market but for the low priced hoops designed for simple basketball for leisure, you will do just fine with this type of rim.

Standard rims don’t have a breakaway mechanism and as such, they are going to bend easily. They may also break or warm especially if you are dunking a lot. In that case, only get the standard rims if you are just a layup or shots kind of player, and you want to save some money.

The Exposed Spring Breakaway Rim

Exposed Spring Breakaway Rim

The spring breakaway rims are very popular and for many available conventional recreational rims, it’s likely that they will feature these types of rims. There are quite a number of benefits you will get with these tips. They are relatively stronger compared to the standard rims and will offer great value for money.

However, even with such benefits, they’re still a few drawbacks. To start with, because of the exposed springs, there’s a tendency for the rims to rust, especially if you live in humid conditions. In addition to this, even though the rims will serve for quite some time, they may eventually tear down due to dunking. However, they are still a great pick and for the affordable price, they offer perfect value for your money. Besides basketball rim to know more about basketball nets you may read this post.

The Enclosed Spring Breakaway Rim

Spring Rim

The enclosed spring breakaway rim is the most advanced rim that you can get in any basketball hoop. The rims are designed for the middle and high-end hoops that are largely used by professional athletes. However, not all are the same. Even within this category of rims, there are some brands that are a little bit more superior to others.

For example, an enclosed spring breakaway rim that costs $50 will not be the same in terms of quality compared to other more advanced rims that usually go for more than $100. The difference is often on the material used, the general design as well as the spring quality used for each hoop.

The biggest advantage is that the springs for these kinds of rims are often enclosed so that they are not exposed to the elements. This ensures that the rims last long and are not exposed to wear and tear. Although you will have to pay a little bit extra for them, they will indeed be worth it.

Basketball Backboards Analysis

In addition to the rims, the backboards are also an integral part of any basketball hoop. As you are shopping for a new hoop, you’d better make sure that you understand the various backboard options used and the implications they may have on the overall hoop quality.

There are 3 main types of backboards that are used for modern day basketball hoops.

Each of these options has its own pros and cons and the following is a breakdown for you:

Polycarbonate Backboards

These are the most common backboards you will find in some of the low-end and cheap basketball hoops. The polycarbonate is basically a chemical name used to refer to a type of plastic designed to be rigid and strong enough to fend off any effect of the weather elements.

However, even though the poly-carbonate boards will indeed last quite long for the money, they still have a few shortcomings.

One of the major ones is related to the fact that most of these backboards do not feature brace support capability. This means that the ball will not bounce well enough on the board compared to other models.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use a hoop that features this type of backboard. If you are buying the hoop just for the family or for the occasional office basketball contest, the polycarbonate board will truly come handy.

Acrylic Backboards

The acrylic backboard is an improvement of the polycarbonate board and indeed it offers a significantly improved performance compared to the former. The boards are designed using thermoplastic acrylic and usually some of the middle tier basketball hoops that come at an average price will feature such backboards. One of the biggest advantages that you get with the acrylic backboard is of course the durability.


The board will last longer and the quality is not bad either, especially if you are one of those people who just want a hop to enjoy the occasional game with family and friends. Acrylic boards can also be used in school courts and community basketball courts for the best outcome.

Tempered Glass Backboards

The tempered glass backboards are the best blackboards you can find in the market. Some of the high-end and more advanced basketball hoops for professional basketball players are designed using tempered glass. Unlike the acrylic and poly-carbonate forms of basketball hoops backboards, the tempered glass is not plastic and is the real deal as far as quality and performance goes.

However, one of the drawbacks is the cost. Because of the high-end quality that such backboards come in, you are likely to spend a lot of money buying them. For the regular guy who just wants a basketball hoop for simple leisure, this might be out of reach. The tempered glass boards are made for professional basketball and you will usually find them on professional courts than the home courts or the driveway makeshift courts.

Other Factors To Consider About Backboards

Although the ones above are generally 3 of the main basketball hoop backboards you will find in the market, there are still other factors that may affect the amount of money you will have to pay for the hoop. For example, you will notice that backboards also vary in terms of the size. Bigger backboards will cost more. If you are buying a bigger polycarbonate backboard hoop, you are likely to pay more compared to someone who’s buying a smaller acrylic backboard hoop. In addition to this, the shape of the backboard will also determine the cost.

There are also hoops that come with backboard padding to enhance the playing experience for you and other players who may use it. This is the most recommended option for regular people. However, you will need to pay a little extra for this. The rule of thumb is to always narrow down your options based on the money you intend to spend as well as the overall quality you are looking for.

Basketball Hoop Support

The support poles and the backboard support are also 2 critical factors that need to be looked at in the overall analysis of the basketball hoops. After all, the basketball hoops are not just single bulky structures. They are made of various components and in addition to the rims and the backboard, the support also plays a very important role. Let’s now look at the backboard support options and the pole supports as well as the tips you can explore so you can choose the right hoop:

Backboard Support

The material used in supporting the backboard will vary based on the cost of each hoop. For the low-end low cost hoops, the support base will usually feature a brace that can also be used to adjust the height of the hoop if you need. However, for the high-end and more expensive hoops, the backboard support will be stronger.

Support Pole

They will have a thicker and stronger support pole as well as some additional bracing. This gives the backboard outstanding support which will really help in promoting the quality of playing. The support pole must also be padded. Although not all basketball hoops will feature padding at the support poles, it’s a big plus to ensure the longevity of your hoop. However, prepare to spend a little extra for the support pole in the end.

Hoop Height Adjustment Mechanism

Hoop Height Adjustment Mechanism

As you may have realized by now, a lot of the players who play professional basketball tend to be very tall. These are the main acts that make the game what it is today. However, you don’t need to be 7 feet tall to play basketball. In case you just want to do it for fun, you should choose a basketball hoop that’s customizable to your height so that you can enjoy the full experience of playing basketball. For example, dunking is one of the most exciting features of basketball. For amateur basketball players, dunking is considered to be a big accomplishment and if you are not tall enough or athletic enough, you may have trouble trying to dunk on a professional basketball hoop.

This is the main reason why many of the retailing or commercially available basketball hoops will feature a height adjustment mechanism. This mechanism basically allows people to customize their basketball hoop in a way that allows them to play freely and enjoy the game as much as possible. The height adjustment mechanism is a very vital consideration as you buy the basketball hoops. The rule of thumb is to ensure that the hoop has a simple to

use height adjustment mechanism that does not affect your hoops’ overall stability and quality. In other words, what you are looking for is a hoop that can be easily adjusted for height in a few seconds without limiting the overall performance.

The older versions of basketball hoops used to feature a broom handle mechanisms to adjust height but that has been long been replaced by other far better options. A handle or crank mechanism is used in the majority of basketball hoops sold commercially, all of which are simple and effective to use.

You may find some hoops that use telescoping systems for height adjustment too. These are mostly hoops that will be on the low tier of the market and won’t cost a lot of money. There’s also a limitation to the extent of the height adjustment that you can do. It’s like you can reduce or increase the height the way you want. Most of the hoops that are available in the market today will allow a height adjustment range of between 7 and 10 feet.

Buy The Top Basketball Hoops: Decision Making

Now that you are clear with some of the important concepts of basketball hoops and the options you have, it’s time to give you a basic guide on how you can now move forward and buy the hoop that actually meets your needs. Buying a quality hoop takes time and it’s more than just stepping into your favorite sports shop and handpicking the hoop that you want.

You should keep in mind all the features we explained above and here are some tips that will eventually help you make the right choice:

Know The Kind Of Hoop That You Want

The quality of the hoop that you are planning to buy is one of the most important factors that you have to consider. However, it’s all down to the purpose you intend to use the hoop for. If you are just looking for a simple basketball hoop for the driveway or for the small patch of space you have on your property, perhaps the best option would be to go for a cheap basketball hoop. It’s easy to find what you are looking for if you know exactly what you want first hand.

Do Your Homework

There’re so many technical details that go into buying a hoop. From the rims material to the pole support and the backboard, all these technical details need to be considered in every aspect when buying the pro basketball hoops. Do not just buy blindly. Read about available hoops and see if you can gather as much information as possible. In the end, this will help you buy a quality hoop based on the needs that you have.

Decide Your Budget

The cost of the basketball hoops is not the same and based on the needs you have, you may realize that the cost will fluctuate significantly. In light of this, it’s important to have in mind the amount of money you intend to spend before moving forward with this process.

This will help you narrow down realistic options that can be bought at the budget you have and also deliver the quality expectations you have in mind. Cost is often considered a very important consideration. However, it’s not the only thing that matters. The aim is to ensure you get a quality basketball hoop for the money you are willing to spend.

Final Word

At the end of the day, what really matters is the quality, performance, and affordability when we are talking about the basketball hoops.