Best Portable Basketball Hoop 2019 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

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Whether you’re a casual player, buying for your kids or play amateur or even a professional nothing beats owning your own hoop. Hoops come in many sizes, types and materials. It can be a bit of maze deciding whether you need an acrylic, glass or polycarbonate back, you might scratch your head thinking “what makes this hoop worth hundreds of dollars more than this one?”. This article aims to look at all aspects of buying the best portable basketball hoop so you can make an informed purchase. Take a read at the different models recommended and the buyer’s guide after the hoop reviews below.

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Best Portable Basketball Hoop
Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54" Angled Pole Backboard Basketball System ((Black)) (Black, 54")
Lifetime 1269 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard
Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop 60 Inch Glass Backboard
Product
Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54" Angled Pole Backboard Basketball System ((Black)) (Black, 54")
Lifetime 1269 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard
Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop 60 Inch Glass Backboard
Award
Overall Winner
Ideal For Kids
Best 60" Hoop
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Best Portable Basketball Hoop
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Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54" Angled Pole Backboard Basketball System ((Black)) (Black, 54")
Product
Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54" Angled Pole Backboard Basketball System ((Black)) (Black, 54")
Award
Overall Winner
-
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Lifetime 1269 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard
Product
Lifetime 1269 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard
Award
Ideal For Kids
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Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop 60 Inch Glass Backboard
Product
Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop 60 Inch Glass Backboard
Award
Best 60" Hoop

Portable Basketball Hoop Reviews

The Pro-Tek hoop is a 54 inch tempered-glass portable basketball hoop from Spalding. A company founded in 1876 and is recognized worldwide for their balls and equipment. In 1983 the Spalding Basketball became the official basketball of the NBA, in 2009 became the “official backboard of the NBA and NCAA Final Four Tournament and the official basketball of the ACC” and in 2012 “official basketball & backboard of the EuroLeague” If you’re looking for the best portable basketball hoop then Pro-Tek is an excellent choice. The system features:
  • 54 inch tempered-glass backboard (steel-framed)
  • 5’ to 10’ height adjustment
  • 40 gallon base

Tempered-Glass Backboard

Tempered-Glass is the superior backboard material. It provides the best rebound experience vs polycarbonate or acrylic. It’s also the material professional basketball backboards are made from. So if you want to experience how the pros play then tempered-glass is the way to go.
Pros
Tempered-Glass backboard
High quality
One of the most stable portable hoops on the market
Durable
Easily adjustable
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky
Heavy

Conclusion

With a system of this spec. Comes the weight. You can still move and store this hoop but it requires some effort. If you want to save some time and headaches paying for expert assembly is a recommended option.

This is considered more of an adult sized hoop and if you’re looking for a basketball hoop for kids then Lifetime 1269 (see review after the one below) is a better pick.

This hoop also wins the following awards

  • best portable basketball hoop for driveway
  • best portable adjustable basketball hoop
  • Best 54 inch portable basketball hoop

If you’re looking for something a little cheaper and more durable (for rougher play) then check out the lifetime hoop pick a few reviews down..

Wanting a bigger backboard? Check out the Beast a few reviews down, a 60 inch glass backboard portable hoop.

Overall, this is a solid hoop which enables you to experience the wonders of glass backboards that the pros play with. For those who take their basketball seriously this is the hoop for you. Only let down by its assembly process and weight.

Another pick from Spalding (and not the last time they appear in this article). This is a highly popular model thanks to its low costs. Allowing most people to get into the great game of basketball at a reasonable price. This hoop also features a 54” backboard but this time it’s constructed with polycarbonate, the cheapest of the three materials used. The hoop features
  • 5′ to 10′ height adjustment
  • 54” polycarbonate backboard
  • 34 gallon base (can be filled with water or sand)
  • ~118 lbs.

Height Adjustment

This hoop can be adjusted in 6” increments from 7.5’ to 10’
Pros
Great value
Easily adjustable
Great for kids
Easily adjustable
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky
Suited to casual players, not suitable for more serious players

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great value hoop for those on a budget, although it is a little tricky to assemble due to unclear instructions some people complain of. If you’re a more serious player it’s worth paying more for an acrylic or tempered-glass backboard hoop. 

We now come to the second most popular manufacturer on our list, Lifetime. Founded in 1986 this company designs everything from tables and chairs to kayaks, garden sheds and basketball hoops. Lifetime makes portable hoops, in-ground systems, backboards and accessories in the basketball sector. This portable basketball hoop features:
  • 27 gallon base
  • 5 ft. – 10 ft. height adjustment
  • 44” Shatterproof polycarbonate backboard
  • 52 lbs. Assembled weight
Pros
Stylish design
Easy to adjust
Great value
Good starter hoop
Easy to move
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky
Small backboard size for those whose kids are serious about basketball (see comment below)

Conclusion

Overall this basketball hoop is a great choice for kids, one of the biggest drawbacks of this hoop is its small backboard size, at just 44 inches it’s a good size for kids but not ideal for adults who also want to play. In addition if your kids are serious about playing basketball then a 44 inch backboard will be small for them as they grow up into teens/adults. If this is the case, then spending the extra money to get a hoop with a bigger backboard size might be the better option to take in order to future proof your purchase when your kids grow up and start playing on 50 inch plus sized backboards.

The second, but not last, appearance of Lifetime on our portable hoop roundup. This is a great all rounder hoop, a step up from polycarbonate will give you a better rebound experience. This hoop features:
  • Power Lift® 7.5 ft. – 10 ft. height adjustment
  • 54” steel-framed acrylic backboard
  • 116 lbs. Assembled weight
  • Slam-It Pro® Rim
  • Xl 35 gallon base
  • Fade-resistant graphics

Power Lift® Adjustment

Pros
Great customer service
Easy to adjust
Great value
High quality and durable
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky

Conclusion

Overall this is a great portable basketball hoop with very little faults it’s an excellent runner up to the Pro-Tek hoop if it’s unavailable or you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option.

The last Lifetime hoop on our list, another great option if you’re looking for a portable 50 inch hoop. It features:
  • 34 gallon base
  • 50 inch Steel-Framed Shatterproof Backboard
  • Fade-Resistant Graphics
Pros
Sturdy
High quality
Great value
Durable
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky

Conclusion

The last Lifetime hoop on this roundup, but not a compromise on quality, this is another solid option for those looking for a smaller hoop and at a cheaper price point. This hoop features a polycarbonate backboard, so those looking for acrylic or glass should look at the other reviews on this post.

This is an absolute beast, it lives up to its name. A 60 inch glass backboard on a portable hoop is almost as rare as a hens’ teeth. If you’re serious about your basketball this is the hoop for you, curious why this is not rated the best portable basketball hoop? Read the conclusion just below the pros/cons section. It wins the award for best Spalding portable basketball hoop.

This hoop has some great features including:

  • 60” steel-framed tempered glass backboard
  • 5’ – 10’ height adjustment
  • 55 gallon base with four wheels to aid moving
  • 345 lbs.
Pros
Good for dunking
Stable
High quality
Durable
Fairly easy to move
Easy to adjust
Cons
Assembly can take some time and can be tricky
Very heavy

Conclusion

The beast was a close contender to win the overall award but due to its higher price and very limited portability it’s ranked on its own separate award.

People opt for portable systems for many reasons, some cannot have an in-ground system so opt for a portable system but don’t intend to move their hoop. This system is more suited to those who aren’t looking to store their hoop after every session. You’ll need two adults to move this hoop. If you cannot have an in-ground system, then this is an excellent system to purchase.

If portability is not a huge deal, then consider buying an in-ground basketball hoop instead as it will offer you better stability and likely last longer.

With a 60 inch tempered-glass backboard this is the closest you’ll get to playing like the professionals whilst using a portable system.

Last but not least is our honorable mention, the Silverback NXT.

This hoop features:
  • 54 inch polycarbonate backboard
  • Pre Assembled parts
  • 5′ to 10′ height adjustability (in 6″ increments)
Pros
Easy to move
Faster assembly time than other portable systems
Easy to adjust
Cons
Poly-carbonate backboard

Buyer's Guide

Whether you want to play professionally, play a quick game of pick up or even challenge your parents to a game of HORSE, they’re a lot of things to consider when playing basketball. Everything from the court, to the basketball, and even the shoes are things that need to be considered. However, one of the most important things is the basketball hoop. Unlike other things that have only a few things to look at, the hoop has many options and aspects that buying one can seem daunting. In this guide we will be mostly discussing portable basketball hoops, but many of these things can apply to standard hoops.

Manufacturers

Unsurprising there are a few different companies who specialize in making basketball hoops. Each one has their own features and unique approach to the hoop. These are just a few of the major manufacturers.

Lifetime Products

Lifetime is one of the biggest manufacturers of basketball related equipment. This is because they pride themselves on their inexpensive products compared to others of its kind. Thanks to Lifetime Products, basketball hoops that could be raised or lowered became a standard feature of portable basketball hoops. While known for their cheaper prices, they offer more high-end equipment with the same reliability as their other products.

Spalding/Huffy

While these two names are used interchangeably, they both fall under the Russell Athletics brand. These names mostly differ on whether you are purchasing a high end or low end basketball hoop. Huffy uses plastic, polycarbonate or acrylic for their backboards while Spalding uses tempered glass or acrylic. While Spalding/Huffy uses similar designs to Lifetime, they also have hoops that use thicker poles and backboards along with stronger rims.

Goalsetter

One of the few U.S. based basketball hoop manufacturers, Goalsetter has a unique design of the basketball hoop that is made with tempered glass and acrylic, however these are used mostly for mounted hoops and not portable ones.

Goalrilla

With their high-end basketball hoops, Goalrilla uses backboards that are 54, 60 or 72 inches long. They also have a line of mid-range hoops under the name Silverback which has their own unique lift mechanics and features a bolt-down anchor system.

Types of Hoops

There are three main types of hoops, and each serve different purposes.

  • Portable hoops are ones attached to a base you fill up to keep stable. This is the type that is being covered mostly in this article. They are made with different variations and are meant for recreational or casual play.
  • In-ground hoops are ones that are placed into the ground using pavement or concrete. You mostly see these in parks or playgrounds. They are made of stronger materials to stand up to weather and are used for street ball.
  • Hanging hoops are the ones you see in gymnasiums and inside courts. They are also used for professional play. Their rims and backboards are bigger because hanging allows them to be supported better.

Backboard

With backboards, there are a variety of types to choose from with what materials it is made from, and size, and design which can be fan or square. Most backboards are between 42 and 72 inches. 72 is regulation sized which means it is what the pros use. Smaller ones are less expensive and are good for casual play. There also are special types of backboards for children.

Material-wise, backboards can be made from acrylic, polycarbonate or tempered glass.

Polycarbonate is used on less expensive hoops because it uses a rigid plastic that can stand up to the elements pretty well. This material is best for casual or recreational use. Unlike other backboards, polycarbonate will not return the ball with as much force as other types.

Acrylic is a good middle-of-the-road material for backboards. it is made from a thermoplastic which offers better quality and durability along with more bounce for the ball.

Tempered glass is the most expensive material and the one used for professional play and use in gyms. It offers the best bounce and performance for playing basketball. The only real negative is that it is not as durable as the other two materials making it prone to breaking during bad weather or an enthusiastic dunk.

Rims

Attached to the backboard and the most important piece of basketball equipment except for the ball is the rim. Most modern rims comes with a breakaway system that allows the hoop detach so when you dunk it can help relieve the hoop tension and not break the backboard. However, standard rims as they are known, which do not break away, are still used on some low-end basketball hoops. It is recommended that you only do lay ups or standard shots with these rims as dunking can break or warp them.

A standard rim is about 18 inches in diameter, but can be larger or they even have smaller ones for children.

Breakaway rims come in either exposed or enclosed designs. This basically just shows whether or not the spring in the rim is showing. Most recreational hoops use an exposed design with one or two springs. They are only meant for casual play as the spring can rust, and since they are low quality, the rim is often too bouncy which affects play. These rims can also wear down faster from dunking. Enclosed rims cover the springs inside the rim mechanism making them better to have, however the quality depends on the price of the overall basketball hoop with the more expensive being closer to professional quality.

Nets

Attached to the rim is the basketball net. While some may not pay any attention to this, it is also important. There are a few different basketball nets each with their own pros and cons.

Chain Net

A metal chain net is used mostly on street courts and playgrounds and is most often known for street play. Since it is made from metal, it has better durability than other nets, hence why it is mostly used for outside. Despite being able to last longer, chain nets can rust so it is recommended to get one with a zinc coating. Failing that, you can always spray the chain with water-repellent. One should be careful when using a chain net as they can hurt your hands if not careful and will erode the grip of the ball.

Official Court Net

The official net is made from polyester with polypropylene which gives it extra strength. It is also made to not whip when a shot is made.

Nylon and Polyester

Nylon and Polyester are the best net type for portable basketball hoops as they are both durable and made from quality materials, but nowhere near as much as a chain net. This is because nets can draw. It is recommended to find a net made with heavy-duty nylon or polyester materials for longer net life.

Glow in the Dark

This one is more for fun and is meant for night play. The net will take in the sun’s light during the day and will light up at allowing you to see the net in the pitch dark.

Basketball Pole

The size and shape of a basketball pole can determine how durable it is and how well it functions during different play. Some manufacturers only carry one shape, but others will have a variety of both.

Basketball poles come shaped in either square, round or rectangle with the most common being square and round. Round shaped poles are more common because they are less expensive to buy and to make. It is best for anyone on a small budget. Square poles are more expensive. They are also more rigid than round poles.

As for pole size most standard sizes start at 2.75 inches in diameter and go up to 3.5 inches. The thicker the pole, the less it will move when being dunked on. As for square and sometimes rectangular poles they can be 4×4 or 6×6 inches.

When getting a pole it is recommended to find one with some kind of padding to help prevent accidents or injury.

The Base

You want your portable basketball hoop to be stable, and for that you need to consider your base. Now material-wise, bases are plastic or metal, but what matters is what you fill that base with. Things you need to consider is whether you will move the basketball hoop at all and what type of weather you normally have. The two main things you can fill your base with is water or sand.

Water is the easiest thing to fill your base with and can be used as a quick thing, but there are a few caveats with it. If the water inside evaporates, it can cause your hoop to become wobbly or move during play. And if your base cracks, water can leak out causing the hoop to fall and hurt someone. Water can also be a problem in the winter months. It is recommended that you add a non-toxic antifreeze to prevent any damage to the base over the colder months.

Sand is recommended. Weighing at 13 pounds per gallon it is heavier than water and will add a huge amount of weight to the net allowing it to remain more stable. It is also easier to notice sand leaking then water if your base cracks. If you plan on moving your basketball hoop often, then sand is not the way to go since it is heavier, but chances are your hoop will be in the same place most of the time.

Some might want to use alternate methods to secure their base like putting rocks, bricks or bags of sand and cement on top of it or filling it with a different material. This should be avoided as each comes with their own risks and can lead to severe injury.

Adjustability

One thing that makes portable basketball hoops popular is their ability to be adjusted height-wise. This allows you to change it depending on how you want to play and who you are playing with. While some hoops can be adjusted 6 inches at a time, there are others that feature the ability to adjust to any height within its minimum/maximum threshold. These are also known as infinity settings. There are also a few different adjustment mechanisms including telescoping, broomstick, trigger handle, pneumatic and crank handle.

Telescoping is used in children’s hoops. Broomstick adjustment is used for the less expensive hoops. Trigger handles are easier to handle with one hand, while pneumatic uses hydraulics. Crank handles are found on the more expensive portable hoops and are not commonly found in standard models.

Other Things to Consider

Price

As with everything, price is always a main consideration when purchasing a portable basketball hoop. It also depends on what you want out of your hoop since the higher-end, more expensive models have more features than the less expensive ones.

For backboards or rims or the poles themselves, price can affect what material is used which affects performance. Weaker materials such as acrylic can affect how well a ball bounces off the backboard. For rims the type material and spring system affects how strong the rim is when you dunk or throw a shot in. Exposed spring systems are less expensive because of how much more it takes to make a rim with an enclosed system. Considerations like this also determine how durable your pole is. If you’re looking for a casual setting, that’s fine, but if you want to practice improving your skills, then you may want to go for a more expensive option. The closer to regulation the hoop is, the more expensive it will be.

Location

Where you place your basketball hoop is important since it will help with some considerations you need to make. Do you plan on having in on your driveway, on your lawn, or maybe even on the side of the street? While the last two are recommended, they are locations and certain concessions have to be made for maximum enjoyment and safety.

If you plan on playing on your lawn, you want to find a solid and flat piece of ground to place the hoop so it doesn’t tip over or wobble. You also want to make sure the area is safe to play. The best thing to do is make sure you are playing on either sand or short grass. Long grass can have you slipping which is dangerous.

When playing on your driveway the best place to put your hoop is near the top of the driveway. This helps prevent the ball from going into someone else’s yard or going into the street. It also gives you plenty of space to play. Since most driveways are made from gravel or pavement, it is also the best place to play because the ground is sturdier making slipping and skidding harder to do.

Others prefer to place their hoops on the sidewalk or near the side of the street. This is dangerous because of the potential car traffic. You can’t control other drivers so you have to be on the constant lookout to make sure you stay safe. If you live on a quiet street or a cul-de-sac, then this might be a viable location for you. It’s also inconvenient to have to stop your game because a car drove down your street.

Weather

It should be stated that basketball should never be played in the rain, or snow or any severe weather. But weather should be also considered in buying and maintaining your portable basketball hoop.

Rain is the biggest and it can rust out or ruin parts of your hoop. To prevent this the easiest thing to do is to bring it inside, cover it with a tarp or cover it with a hoop bag. If your parts rust, it can affect how well your hoop holds together and if it breaks, it can be expensive and dangerous. You can also spray the hoop with water repellent sprays that help keep water out. Depending on how severe the rain is, wind can also be a contributing factor. The more powerful, the higher chance you have of your hoop falling over. Therefore fill it with heavy enough material, like sand, so it can stay upright.

As stated before, winter can affect your hoop if you put water in the base. Freezing water can cause cracks in the base. To prevent this, either fill it with sand, or put a non-toxic antifreeze in the water.

Safety

It all comes down to safety. Safety on the court, safety with your hoop and safety with how you play. While we have covered a lot, there is still quite a bit one can do to prevent accidents.

One is getting the right hoop for the right person. That’s the main reason you came to this page, right? Children, teens and adults all love to play basketball, so getting the right hoop matters. There are hoops made specifically for children so they can learn to play and still have fun. These hoops wouldn’t work for teens or adults and misuse of these could lead to injury.

Safety pads on the pole and the backboard of your hoop is also a good idea. With people running around back and forth it’s sometimes hard to control when and where you go so putting safety padding can help soften the blow if anyone should run into the pole.

Not misusing the pole. Kids love to explore, and teens love to do what teens do, and they may climb on or mess around with the basketball pole. This can be dangerous and should not be done as they can slip or if the pole is secured properly, it can fall on someone.

Proper technique is also an important aspect of safety. Running, jumping and throwing the ball all have ways they are supposed to be done, and if done wrong, they too can lead to injury. If someone wants to learn how to play basketball, they should learn how to run properly, how to dribble the ball correctly and pay close attention to how different shots are made. If they overshoot because of improper technique they can pull a muscle or maybe break a window.

It’s okay to get a little rowdy but too much could make someone fall and if you are playing on pavement, that will hurt a lot. Street ball is notorious for this as things can get chaotic pretty quickly.

Buyer’s Guide Conclusion

Who knew that buying something like a basketball hoop could be so complicated and convoluted. With so many styles and variations it can be daunting to find what you’re looking for, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that complicated. A good rule of thumb is if you want a hoop for casual play, you go for the low-end model, but if you want to up your game, you might want something a little more high-end. Either way you still want to do a bit of research so you know how to maintain your hoop for maximum use and safety. It’s a fun game, but that means nothing if it breaks or you get hurt. Basketball is a fun sport but only if you know what you are doing.

Conclusion

Navigating the field of buying a portable basketball hoop can be a tricky one, we hope this guide has pointed you in the right direction to making a more informed purchase. 

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