In a quest to find the best portable basketball hoop for my family, I learned something obvious: more information equals better price and a reliable product.
Unfortunately, I knew very little about basketball systems-let alone being equipped to choose a portable one. So, after about 40 hours scouring the web, and two purchases later – I found what I would argue are some of the best portable basketball hoops on the market right now!
With these portable basketball goals, you can channel your inner Michael Jordan into your very driveway, or wherever you decide to set it up… even if your best athletic talent involves a recliner and your favorite frosty beverage.
That being said, I put together this portable basketball hoop review for everyone like me, who didn’t know there were a plethora of portable hoops available that can run the gambit price-wise, from just over a hundred dollars to several grand.
How do I choose a portable basketball hoop?
Here’s a list of things you need to consider before choosing a portable basketball hoop:
Importance Of the Base
The base of any portable basketball system must be the first feature you review. To withstand the toughest game, you need a hoop with a decent base. Typically bases are filled with water, but if you are looking for a stable game you can also use sand or other inexpensive, heavy material. If you wanna go a step further, look for a base that will let you place bricks or other materials in it to help weigh it down even more to reduce shaking and vibration when it is being used.
The Capacity of the Base
The overall stability of the goal and the capacity of the base go hand in hand. For a hoop to be reasonably stable, the capacity of the base has to be at least 30 - 40 gallons.
Professional boards measure around 72 inches wide, however, when it comes to portable basketball hoops, you don’t need that much width. If you’re looking to buy a portable basketball hoop, buy one with around a 50-inch backboard.
The Material of the Backboard
When it comes to the material the backboard is made of, tempered glass, polycarbonate, and acrylic are the most commonly used; each one having its own pros and cons so you’ll have to choose one that best fits your needs.
Polyethylene is just a fancy name for common plastic and is most widely used for the cheapest basketball hoops. if you are looking for a basic hoop that will last you for years, this is a great option because it is almost indestructible. However, plastic has its cons as well. An important one is that the rebound effect is pretty bad, which means the ball basically stops dead once it hits the backboard.
A definite step up from cheap polyethylene backboards. Transparency offers a much more professional look. Unfortunately, due to acrylic being a very soft material, it will pick up scratches over time, which will slowly spoil the great look. Acrylic is very popular with hoops in the moderate price range because it weighs considerably less than tempered glass. Unfortunately, lighter basketball hoops are more susceptible to wind, and the rebound effect is only average.
This is the material used in professional basketball hoops in the NBA, NCAA, and all over the world. It is by far the heaviest material used in backboards and requires a solid base and support pole. In return, you get the best playing experience by far, with a solid rebound effect which makes layups and bank shots so much more satisfying. Moreover, tempered glass doesn’t scratch easily and keeps its clean look forever.
Overhang And Support Pole
You definitely want a portable basketball goal with a two-part configuration. Portable hoops with a two-piece configuration are not only more stable (courtesy of fewer moving parts) but they also offer height adjustment whereas the same can’t be said for portable basketball hoops with three-piece configuration.
The Right Rim
One of the essential parts of the basketball hoop is the rim. Depending on your use case and environment, you have 3 options to pick from.
The Basic Rim
This basic rim is a 5/8-inch ring of solid steel. Look for net hooks instead of net loops for the best playing experience with a portable system.
The “Slam It” Rim
This option comes equipped with a double compression spring so the rim can spring back after the weight is applied to it. If you plan on dunking at all, you’ll need this type of rim.
The Heavy Duty Rim
Equipped with a double compression spring, this rim also has a wraparound brace, giving players the most possible support during aggressive game play. If you have players who really like to jump and dunk, you’re going to want one of these.
Portable Basketball Review
When it comes to finding the best product—it’s never a straightforward process. Tens of hours of surfing the internet, several purchases, and a ton of tests later, we found a few strong contenders that will help you step up your basketball game. Let’s take a close look at some of the best portable basketball hoops that will have you sinking buckets in no time.
The 13 Best Portable Basketball Hoops
- 1. Lifetime 1531 Portable Basketball System, 48 Inch Shatterproof Backboard
- 2. Spalding Pro Slam Portable NBA 54
- 3. Lifetime 54 Inch Acrylic Portable Basketball Hoop
- 4. Spalding NBA Hercules Portable Basketball Hoop – 54
- 5. Spalding NBA Hybrid Portable Basketball System – Acrylic Backboard
- 6. Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System, 44 Inch Backboard
- 7. Spalding NBA
- 8. First Team Portable Basketball System – Hurricane Triumph FL
- 9. Giantex 10ft 43” Backboard In/outdoor Adjustable Height Basketball Hoop System
- 10. Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop
- 11. Spalding NBA Hercules Vertical Pole Portable Basketball System – 52
- 12. Lifetime 51544 Front Court Portable Basketball System, 50 Inch Shatterproof Backboard
- 13. Franklin Sports Full Size Hard Court Portable Basketball System
What is the best portable basketball hoop?
Our top pick for the best portable basketball hoop is the Silverback NXT. It's a sleek-looking model, aimed at players looking for convenience, portability and a sleek design.
It takes about 40 minutes to assemble this portable basketball hoop and is sold with either a 50” or a 54” backboard.
Which basketball hoop is best in a driveway?
Giantex’s 43'' adjustable portable basketball system stand is our pick for the best basketball hoop to set up in the driveway. Made of anti-rust and heavy-duty steel, this adjustable basketball stand is sturdy and portable at the same time.
This hoop features adjustable height and can easily be adjusted from 6.5 ft to 10 ft; making it suitable for both adults and children. Equipped with two wheels so it's really easy to move around, even when weighted with stuffing. For a better experience and more stability, it’s recommended that the base of this basketball goal be filled with 65 lbs of water or 88 lbs of sand. This portable basketball goal is pretty much an all-in-one; it’s lightweight and portable yet sturdy and stable. Driveway, backyard, or the beach, this adjustable basketball hoop can do it all.
What should I use to fill the base of the portable basketball hoop? Water or Sand?
You can use either one depending on how much stability do you want and what type of gameplay are you going for. Here are some pros and cons to using both.
A cheaper and easier option than sand. If you plan on moving the hoop around a lot, water is a good choice since you can easily empty it from the base. A few things you can do to help with stability and keep the base strong over time when using water:
- Addition of a small amount of bleach to the water can help avoid the growth of algae in the base.
- To avoid cracking the base in cold winters due to water expansion, add a small amount of non-toxic antifreeze.
- Check the water level regularly because the water can evaporate and leave the hoop less stable.
- Examine the base for any leaks over time.
Since sand is denser than water, it weighs more per gallon and can help increase stability. Although it may make for a more stable hoop, sand can also make hoops difficult to move. Another drawback to sand is that it can be hard to add — especially if wet — and even harder to get out of the base of your hoop. Many hoop owners go for “play sand,” like the kind used to fill kids’ sandboxes, to fill the base since it can be smoother and more even.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lifetime Portable Basketball (model: 1531) had to be our pick for the best portable basketball hoop. The price to value ratio you get with lifetime’s portable basketball hoop with 48 Inch shatterproof backboard is unparalleled. It features a Quick Adjust II height adjustment mechanism (seamlessly adjusts 8 to 10 feet), making it a portable adjustable basketball hoop.
With this adjustable basketball hoop you can expect to get a sturdy 31 Gallon base that provides stability but is also handy and easy to carry around; can be filled with water or sand. Throw in a rust-resistant finish (in every weather!), an all-weather nylon net, and a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer and you get the best portable basketball hoop on the market.
The quick answer is 48″. However, if you’re a hardcore baller and you have a big driveway, I’d definitely recommend upgrading to a 72″. You’ll pay a bit extra, but it feels so much more like real basketball when you can actually use the entire backboard.
Most portable basketball goal systems have a 35-gallon base. Purchase 10 bags of 50-pound sandbags from a home-supply store if your base is 35 gallons. Adjust the amount of sand you purchase if the base holds more or less than 35 gallons.
If you plan on using the hoop, you can use a trash bag to cover the hoop and net and secure it with duct tape. If you are not planning to use the hoop in the winter, you should remove the net. In either case, you should ensure that the net is completely dry before you store it or cover it.