Whether you’re helping your future playmaker improve their game or just looking to shoot free-throws in your spare time, a basketball hoop can become a cherished part of your home for the whole family.
But where do you start? Which kind is best for you and your needs? You’ll need to take into account a variety of factors, from hoop location to backboard material. There are a number of styles and combinations, so let’s take a shot to find the type that best suits you.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Before buying your basketball hoop, you’ll want to have an area with plenty of space. A flat, paved area is usually best, making driveways a popular option. If you decide to place a basketball hoop on the street or sidewalk, just be sure to keep street safety in mind. Some neighborhoods prohibit installation on these public spaces, so check with your borough first.
TYPES OF HOOPS
Once you know where your hoop will go, start looking at the different types that are available. Each has its own benefits, with designs created for a variety of players:
- In-Ground: These hoops are fastened into the ground with cement, making them a good option for families who expect this to be a part of their home for years to come. In-ground hoops often come with adjustable height settings to accommodate players of different sizes and skill levels, and are stable and durable.
- Portable: These stand-alone units have wheels for portability to easily move them around to accommodate your game. Portable hoops have bases that range in size and capacity, usually between 27 and 42 gallons, while others come with a base to be weighed down with other materials. Most come with height adjustability settings, making portable hoops a good option for parents with younger players who are continually growing.
- Mounted: These hoops are typically a backboard and hoop mounted onto a structure, like a garage or exterior wall of your home. These hoops offer superior stability and allow you to make a court with limited room. Many mounted hoops are set at a fixed height, though there are some that can be adjusted.
The material used in the backboard will affect how the ball bounces off of it as well as the hoop’s overall durability.
- Tempered Glass: This is the material used at the pro level. Tempered glass offers players a similar bounce and spin they’ll find in gyms.
- Acrylic: These hoops offer the look of glass at a lower price. They also tend to be lightweight, so they don’t need as much support. More experienced players may notice a different bounce or spin than they’d see at the gym.
- Polycarbonate: These backboards are highly durable and offer a similar bounce as acrylic. They are designed to withstand the elements.
Also take into account the size of the backboard. These can range from 44″ up to 72″, which is the regulation size at the professional level. The smaller-sized backboards, typically between 44″ and 54″, save on space and are good for a standard two-car driveway. The 60″ backboard is a great midway point, saving space but still offering a larger size for banking shots.
Backboards generally come in two distinct shapes: rectangular and fan-shaped. Rectangle backboards are more common and offer players more space to spin the ball off the glass. The fan-shaped backboards tend to take up less room. Sometimes, it can come down to which look you like better.
After figuring out which type of hoop and backboard best fits your needs, you will want to take into account what makes up the rest of the hoop:
- Rim: The standard rim on a basketball hoop is 18″ in diameter. Most modern hoops are equipped with a breakaway, spring-loaded rim. The springs may be exposed in some lower-priced hoops while most higher-priced options have the springs enclosed to help protect it from the elements.
- Poles: If you are buying a portable or in-ground hoop, take into account the type of pole used. Round poles are typical for portable and smaller in-ground options. Made of multiple pieces, these are not designed for dunking. A square pole holds up better against shaking and vibrations. These components are made of a single piece of steel and can help provide the support for heavier backboards as well as players looking to dunk.
- Nets: Hoops commonly come with nets made of nylon. But you can also use a chain link net, which can have a long lifespan but also rust if left out in wet weather. Breakaway net clips can be added. They will disengage if too much pressure is applied.
- Bases: This is exclusive for portable basketball hoops. These are typically filled with water or sand to keep the hoop grounded. In colder climates, a small amount of antifreeze in the base will help keep water from turning into a block of ice.
- Height adjustment: Depending on the type of hoop you buy, it may come with a height adjustment mechanism. This is a good option for parents who have a younger player not ready to play on a full-size hoop but will grow into it. Most of these hoops can adjust from 7 1/2 ‘ up to 10’, though some come with a larger range.
Now that you know what to look for it’s time to turn your space into your own personal court. Once you have your hoop set up, you’ll be ready to show off your skills to the rest of the neighborhood.