The Best Portable Basketball Hoop

Spalding NBA

Our Top Pick for 2016: Spalding NBA “The Beast” Portable Basketball System
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $1,099.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Basketball is the kind of sport that can bring family and friends together. Whether you’re playing a game between neighborhood kids or father and son, having the ability to play at home any time you want is a great opportunity. Portable Basketball Hoops give you the ability to play in multiple locations around your home or school. Portability provides residential options that an attached hoop could not. There are good portable basketball hoops made with high-quality, durable materials to make their purchase worth your investment. There are also systems available in a variety of price ranges if you are looking for something inexpensive to give you and your family a way to enjoy basketball together.

Table of contents

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60-inch Acrylic Backboard
Residential Portable Basketball System
44″ Shatterproof Fusion Backboard
Heavy-duty Steel Frame
Adjusts From 7.5-feet To 10-feet
High Density Polyethylene
Arena Slam Breakaway Rim
Gray Inset Cover
Telescoping Height Adjustment
Screw Jack Lift System Adjusts From 7.5 To 10 Feet
50+ Gallon Capacity Dual Capacity Base
Adjusts From 7.5 To 10 Feet
40-gallon Base
60-inch Glass Backboard
All-weather Resistant

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Spalding NBA “The Beast” Portable Basketball System

Spalding NBA

View it on Amazon for $1,099.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Spalding NBA “The Beast” Portable Basketball System (Beast) is a top of line portable hoop. It has innovative features to combat some of the common pitfalls of portable basketball hoops.

Spalding has created an entire system with this portable hoop that begins with easy adjustment. The height of the basketball hoop can be adjusted from anywhere between 7.5 feet to 10.2 feet. An institutional style screw jack lift is used to raise and lower the backboard. Easy adjustability is the kind of feature you want if children are going to be using the hoop. Young kids like to try to look like the pros.

With the Beast, they can easily lower the rim so that they can practice dunking the basketball. Adjustability also gives young children the opportunity to practice and feel successful as it takes a lot of strength to get a basketball up to a height of 10.2 feet. You can gradually raise the height of the basketball hoop as children gain the strength they need to shoot the ball at the official height.

The screw jack lift not only works well for adults but can also work well for children. Some hoops are designed to be lifted with a pole and many kids are not strong enough to lift that kind of weight. The Beast allows children to make the adjustments they want without the help of an adult.

The backboard is 60 ¼ inches of tempered glass. Glass backboards have the most bounce back of any backboard materials. The backboard on the Beast is as close as you can get to the kind of backboard used by professional players. Attached to the backboard is a breakaway rim with a wrap-around support. The rim is attached by a welded z-arm mount, providing increased stability. Breakaway rims give some flexibility to the rim so that if a player dunks the ball, the rim will bend down slightly and come back into a horizontal position. Flexion helps to keep the backboard from shattering from the stress of dunking.

The Beast is built tough to last. It has a heavy duty steel frame with aluminum trim. A 5-inch square angled pole with a screw in water level gauge base cap provides stability and strength to support the base and the backboard. Solid frame construction is important in a portable basketball hoop because of the forces that it may need to withstand. Handling the weight of the backboard and hoop is only one reason for the need of good construction. Players, young and old alike, enjoy hanging from the rim. While this is fun, it has been known to bend or break frames, backboards, and/or hoops.

Creating a rigid system that can remain stable during play is a challenge that must be overcome by a portable basketball hoop. The Beast uses a 4 pole/strut base mount to ground the steel framework of the hoop. This creates a solid base to keep the hoop grounded during active play. To aid stability, the base can hold up to 50+ gallons of water or sand. This weight not only balances the entire system but can also counteract the forces created during normal play. It provides you with stability that is as close to an in-ground hoop as possible.

Even with the steel frame and solid base that can be filled with 55 gallons worth of weight, the Beast still remains portable. A gray handle is built into the base that, when pulled forward, lowers multiple casters that allow you to move the hoop into position. After you’ve moved the hoop, the handle fits back into the base and aids in rebounding the basketball.

The steel frame and support structure make this basketball hoop heavy. Even though it is portable it’s not something you want to move often. It is important to note that you should fill the base with water or sand about half way before putting up the hoop the first time. Without this weight, it will tip forward and you risk breaking the backboard. Users have found that water tends to leak out of the base more than sand, making sand the better choice of the two.

Because the Beast is not a simple piece of equipment, assembly takes a long time. Users found that assembly went was easier if they read through the instructions completely before beginning. All parts come separated into individual bags, but it is important to keep track of all of them because no extra components are included.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Spalding NBA Portable Basketball System

Spalding NBA Portable Basketball System

View it on Amazon for $452.71*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Spalding NBA Portable Basketball System (NBA) has many of the features that make for a good portable basketball hoop at almost half the price of the Beast.

The NBA can be adjusted to go from 7.5 feet to 10 feet using a screw jack lift system. This type of system is simple to use so that even children can adjust the height. Kids are going to learn to love the game of basketball when they can lower the hoop to a height that lets them incrementally build their skills. They can focus on their form and technique rather than trying to muscle the ball up to ten feet. You can even lower it for your up and coming basketball stars to start practicing their dunking technique. The handle used in the lift system can be removed to avoid accidents and injuries.

A 60-inch acrylic backboard, with a 16-in offset, gives you good bounce back. The offset helps you to avoid hitting the pole when doing a layup or dunking. Acrylic is not as good as glass but it is more durable and it is clear to give the appearance of glass. Attached to the backboard is a steel, breakaway rim. Breakaway rims give some flexion to protect the backboard from breaking. This rim is wrapped with steel support braces and has a smooth spring back action. This allows you to dunk on the hoop without the risk of damaging the rim or backboard.

The 40-gallon base acts as a counterbalance to the weight of the backboard. It can be filled with sand or water. Although some users found sand to work better as the water tended to leak out more often. The balance offered by the base makes playing fun and relaxed. There is no worry that the basketball hoop is going to tip over. While you can dunk on this hoop, it would probably be wise not to hang on it.

Once full of sand, the NBA gets heavy enough that it is not easy to move. There are two wheels on the base that aid in moving it. You will need to lean the pole forward to activate the wheels. While the NBA is portable, it’s not a hoop that you are going to want or be able to move around often.

There is a three-piece, 3.5-inch diameter round pole set at a 20-degree angle from the base that holds up the backboard and hoop.

A plastic cover over the base creates a built-in rebounder that throws the ball back out into play after going through the hoop.

Assembly is required and a socket wrench, while not recommended in the instructions, would definitely make assembly easier. Reading the instructions before you begin and separate the parts to make sure you that have them all before you begin as there are no replacement parts included. When you are assembling and ready to stand up the base and pole, fill the base about half full so that when you stand it up it doesn’t tip over. There are sections of the assembly that require two adults.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Lifetime Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System

Lifetime Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System

View it on Amazon for $164.88*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Lifetime Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable Basketball System (Lifetime) is an inexpensive model that will allow you to enjoy a casual game of basketball. While can’t withstand a grown man dunking on the rim, it is a good pick for someone looking for a quality basketball hoop for young children at a good price.

The Lifetime has a 44-inch backboard constructed of acrylic. Acrylic does not react as well as glass, but is durable, strong, and gives the appearance of glass. The backboard also has fade resistant graphics to give it a sleek look that won’t fade over time.

A classic black rim with welded net hooks comes with the Lifetime and can withstand normal play. It is not a breakaway rim so dunking must be done with care. Hanging on the rim may result in it bending the rim or breaking the backboard. A nylon net is included as well. Nylon won’t slow the basketball down as it comes through the net but it can apply enough directional force to prevent the ball from bouncing too far out of bounds.

The base is made of high-density molded polyethylene. Polyethylene is designed to last, an important feature in an outdoor basketball hoop. It can withstand bumps, dents, and scratches. It also makes the base more lightweight to add to the mobility.

The Lifetime uses a telescoping action to adjust the height from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in 6-inch increments. Adjustment is done by removing a bolt that holds the pole in place, adjusting the pole to the desired height, and replacing the bolt in the hole. While you can adjust the height, it isn’t easy and probably cannot be done by most children. However, being able to lower the height lets you adjust for young children that are just learning to play.

A 3 piece, 2.75-inch round steel pole attaches the base to the backboard. This pole is powder coated with a rust resistant finish. A 27-gallon base acts as the counterbalance to the weight of the backboard. When filled with sand or water, the base helps to hold the basketball hoop stable during play. Users reported that it did flex and move during normal use. This isn’t a problem for most casual users but those looking for a serious game and rebounding, may want to consider a pricier model.

After the base is filled, it is heavy enough to make moving the basketball hoop difficult. Once you’ve assembled the hoop, you can fill the base half way so that it doesn’t tip over and then move it into the position that you want. Two wheels are located at the front of the base so that when you pull the hoop forward it can roll.

Assembly is required. After assembling there may be some bolts and components showing that could potentially rust over time. These parts do not have the protective coating.

This is a good basketball hoop for a family with young children and casual pickup games. Those looking for a more serious, stable hoop may need something different.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop System

SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop System

View it on Amazon for $97.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop System (Mini) is small basketball hoop intended for young children to play or for all ages to use poolside. It is an excellent system to start your child on if they love the game of basketball and are ready to start working on their form.

The Minis has a 33-inch x 23-inch polycarbonate shatterproof backboard. The polycarbonate has replica graphics so that your little one feels like a pro. Children can be hard on equipment and the Mini adjusts low enough that even young children may be able to hang on it, which make the shatterproof ability even more important.

A spring action breakaway rim gives you some room for kids hanging or working on their dunks. This rim is similar to those found on professional hoops so that kids can have an experience close to the players they admire. A 7-inch all-weather net is included to give the ball some direction as it comes through the rim.

The Mini can be adjusted from 3.5 feet to 7 feet. This gives young kids the ability to practice their shot and develop their form at the speed their strength develops. The height can be adjusted by removing a bolt, putting the hoop at the correct height, and replacing the bolt again. There is a locking mechanism on the bolt so that it cannot slip during play.

The 30-inch base can be filled with sand or water to act as a counterweight to the backboard. Once it is full, it can be difficult to move. The instructions state that it should be moved by pushing back on the pole, which can result in the water and sand in the base leaking out. However, there are two wheels that aid in moving it when needed.

Assembly is not as complicated as some reviewed models. It can be done with the tools provided with the Mini but many users preferred to use their own for easier assembly.


Pre-purchase considerations

Backboard

Backboards can be made in many different materials. The three most common are tempered glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate. Glass provides excellent bounce back and is the material used in professional indoor basketball hoops. It does have some drawbacks, especially in a portable basketball hoop. Glass is heavy and more breakable. If you purchase a portable basketball hoop with a glass backboard, be sure that it comes with a heavy, sturdy base that will keep it from tipping over, even when someone is dunking.

Acrylic is the next best material after glass. It provides good bounce back and allows players to practice angles with their shots that are similar to the ones they would use with a glass backboard. It can be clear giving the appearance of glass but is less expensive, more durable, and is less likely to break if it tips over.

Polycarbonate backboards can give the appearance of glass but they do not have as good of bounce back as tempered glass or acrylic. However, it is durable, lightweight, and inexpensive.

Rim

You need to know who is going to be playing basketball on your hoop and the kind of basketball they tend to play. If you play with anyone that dunks or hangs on a rim regularly, you are going to need a breakaway rim. Breakaway rims use springs to give some flexion. This flexion helps the rim to bounce back into place after being released. It also takes some of the tension and pressure off the backboard, which can prevent it from getting shattered.

If you play casual basketball or if young children plan to use your hoop, a breakaway rim is not that important of a feature. Children and casual play can do with any well-made steel rim that is sturdily attached to the backboard.

Base

The base is essential to the basketball hoop staying upright. The more gallons the base can hold, the better the basketball hoop. Inexpensive models will have a base that can hold about 20 – 27 gallons of sand or water. This will allow the base to stay upright for most play but not dunking. If you live in an area with high winds, a basketball hoop with this size base may get blown over. Bases that can hold 50+ gallons will provide the most stability but they will come with a higher price.

For portability, the base should have wheels. A base filled with sand or water will be difficult to move even with wheels. To move it without them would be nearly impossible. Depending on your geological location, you may need to mix anti-freeze with any water that is put into the base to prevent it from cracking the base if it freezes.

Support Pole

The support pole connects the base to the backboard. There are three main designs – three piece, two piece, and one piece. One piece systems are not found on portable basketball hoops but are reserved for indoor, in ground basketball systems.

A two-piece support pole is strong and stable. They provide the most stability and, generally, are found on high-end portable hoops. The poles are usually wider and thicker as well.

A three piece support pole will be found on low-end models. They will provide adequate stability but may not be suitable to dunking as they won’t provide enough support.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

You should be able to find a portable basketball hoop in a price range that works for you. Even if you are looking for a budget conscious option, you can find one that will hold up to regular play without tipping over or succumbing to the elements. Examine who the basketball hoop is for before you purchase. If adults that dunk and play rough are going to use it, you may need a more expensive basketball hoop than if you are purchasing for young children.

A basketball hoop can be a great way to foster the love of basketball in your children or a way to bring neighborhood families together for some competitive fun.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. A Guide to Different Basketball Backboard Types, HubPages.com, August 16, 2012
  2. 5 Things to Know Before Buying a Basketball Hoop, Lifetime.com, August 17, 2011
  3. Max Roman Dilthey, The Height of an Official NBA Basketball Hoop, LiveStrong.com, April 21, 2016

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