Unique Perspective: What Basketball Hoop Is Right For Me?
Here at Unique-Sports.com we have gained a lot of knowledge being in business for 20 years. We do not claim to be experts at everything, but we have gained a lot of valuable feedback from customers over the years and we feel that feedback could be useful to potential customers. During the Corona Virus epidemic of 2020, basketball hoops have been our most frequently purchased item. That means at-home systems and for at-home systems, Spalding is by far our leading manufacturer.
There are many things to consider when purchasing a basketball hoop and we feel the most important is to decide the location of the basketball hoop. There should be plenty of space, a flat and paved space works best. The first decision is this something I want to be permanent or is it something that needs to be portable. That will start you down the path of what type of basketball hoop to purchase.
In-Ground are hoops put into the ground with cement. You will want to make sure this is something you want with the family for many years. These basketball hoops tend to be more sturdy than other systems. Second type is Portable hoops. These are standalone units and have wheels for portability that allows them to be moved to wherever you want the action to be. These are weighed down by water, sand, cement blocks, or other materials. The last type is Mounted. These are hoops with a backboard that is mounted onto a structure like a garage or exterior wall of your home. The plus side is this can allow you to create a basketball court with limited room, the negative side is that you are affixing something to your home.
After you have found the best spot for your basketball hoop, the next thing is to pick some of the detailed items based upon what you feel your needs are. The first one to focus on is the type of backboard you want. The three options are tempered glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate. The biggest difference between the three types is the bounce of the ball off the backboard and durability of the system. Of course, price will be different between the three. Tempered glass is going to offer the bounce like what you find in gymnasiums and what is used in an “official” type setting. Acrylic backboards have the look of glass, however not the same “official” bounce and are at a lower price. This is a good compromise for a backyard basketball hoop where the person wants a truer bounce, however, does not want to pay the higher price. These are also not as sturdy as a glass backboard. Polycarbonate backboards are good for the younger players or players just learning to shoot a basketball. These have the least “official” bounce, however when just learning to shoot a basketball there are a lot of other things to be focused on. These backboards of course are the cheapest and good for buying a basketball hoop on a budget. There is also a line of eco-composite, which we usually do not recommend as it is not durable. There are of course situations this type of backboard works fine, it would have to be a low impact and low usage situation.
Next thing to focus on would be the backboard size. These range from 44” up to 72”. 72” is the “official” size backboard for competition. Like types of backboards, backboard size really depends on what the purpose of the basketball hoop is. If the hoop is for a beginner and price is a concern, there is no reason a 44” backboard wouldn’t work. And the opposite is true, if the person plays competitive basketball and is wanting to practice for that, 72” backboard is the best route to go. There are backboards in between those sizes that you can pick based upon your needs. For example, if you are putting it up on the side of a house, a 60” backboard might be the best size to fit the space. This is also an adequate size to work on bank shots.
As I mentioned before, we are not the industry basketball hoop experts, but we have gained a lot of knowledge in the past several years and have gathered a lot of feedback from customers. Following are some of our most popular brands and models and some of the feedback we have received on them:
Top seller in 2020 has been Spalding “The Beast” 60” Portable Basketball Hoop System. We have received positive feedback on this system, in fact it has been hard for Spalding to keep them in stock! Portable basketball hoops seem to be the most popular style right now and 60” is the maximum Spalding goes in a portable. It comes with a glass backboard and can come in a 54” backboard (which is also immensely popular). The height adjusts down to 7.5 feet for a maximum dunking height and has a very sturdy 55-gallon 4 wheelbase.
A close second in sales is the Spalding 54” Acrylic Combo. This model mounts to walls or a roof and has a 54” acrylic backboard. It has had mostly positive feedback, which the most common positives being a very good backboard bounce for an acrylic, a perfect size backboard when mounting to wall or house, and the price is a plus! Some of the negative feedback is that the backboard scratches easily (although this doesn’t impact the bounce off of the backboard) and that it is “cheap looking”. Overall, this system has more positive feedback than negative.
Right behind the 54” Acrylic Combo is the Spalding 60” Acrylic Portable Basketball Hoop. At 60” this is the top end of Spalding’s portable basketball line. It comes with an acrylic backboard, but just like the 54” Acrylic Combo it has been given high marks on the “bounce” of it. It also adjusts down to 7.5 feet for dunking ability and comes with a 40-gallon base. The positive feedback on this is it being a sturdy hoop for the price and easily adjusts down for dunking. Also, positive feedback on the “bounce” of the acrylic backboard and the price. Same negative feedback as other acrylic backboards in that they scratch, and it always looks dirty and cheap. Also a few comments on the base not holding up well over time, but more positive feedback regarding the base than negative.
I will put the next two best selling products together, Spalding 48” Polycarbonate Portable Basketball System, and the Spalding 44” Zone Attack Eco-Composite Fan Backboard and Rim Combo. I put these together as I think the positives and negatives are the same when you get to this price point in a basketball system. The Spalding 48” Polycarbonate Portable Basketball System is the “starter” system for portable basketball systems. If your situation is low usage and impact on the system and you want a portable system, this one might be the right one for you. It would not work well with older kids and with a lot of usage. The Spalding 44” Zone Attack Eco-Composite Fan Backboard and Rim Combo would be a “starter” system for a wall or roof mounted system. The most positive feedback we get on these systems is the price.
Hopefully, some of this information will be helpful in helping you to decide what type of basketball hoop to purchase. We have sold thousands of units over the years and hear a lot of useful (and sometimes not useful) feedback from customers. Good luck in your basketball hoop purchasing!
- Chris Donohue