Basketball Hoop Buying Guide

Buying any sports equipment can be daunting - not any less when buying basketball equipment. Buying basketball hoops, backboards or rings can be a little confusing. We have put together the ultimate guide to buying a basketball hoop which, we hope will make the process that little bit easier for you!

We have been selling and manufacturing sports and basketball equipment for over ten years so we have a little knowledge on the subject. Hopefully we will be able to answer any questions you may have, but if we don't please do get in touch and we will do what we can to help.

If you are looking for anything in particular, select any of the sub-headings below to jump straight to that section, or just scroll on through and read at your own leisure:

> Buying Basketball Equipment: Overview

> Buying Basketball Equipment: The Backboard

> Buying Basketball Equipment: The Ring

> Buying Basketball Equipment: The Height

> Buying Basketball Equipment: The Structure

> Buying Basketball Equipment: The Base

> Summary of Basketball Hoop Features

> Summary of Basketball Backboard Features

Basketball Buying Guide - Product Types

Types of Basketball Product


Who is the basketball hoop for?

When trying to work out what type of basketball hoop or equipment to go for, a good starting point is always who will be the person using the unit most. There is no point buying a giant game ready unit for a toddler! Equally if the person has ambitions of playing in the NBA a junior stand will not suit their purpose.
Where will you be putting the basketball hoop?

Once you’ve identified the sort of person that will be using your new basketball hoop you will then need to pick an area in the garden/patio to put it.

Take a second to have a look at the area you want to use. Is it level? Does it have a rough or smooth surface (something to consider when chooisng a ball). Give some consideration to where the ball could potentially land when your child is shooting hoops. If at all possible avoid being too close to windows, roads and fences - especially ones that don't belong to you! There is nothing worse than angering a neighbour by breaking a window!

We will break down the types of product available to give you a better idea of the shape and dimensions.

Fortunately there are key specifications you can observe on all these categories. These will help inform making your decision.

Broadly speaking your hoop will fall into one of the categories below:

Stands:

Basketball Buying Guide - Stands
Button to view portable basketball stands

These products feature a backboard and ring mounted onto a system of metal poles that are anchored down by a hollow plastic base. The base is then filled with a mixture of water and sand. Many of these units are portable around the garden with wheels at the front or back of the base.

Wall mounted backboard:

Basketball Buying Guide - Wall Mounted Backboard

Button to view wall mounted backboards

A more space conscious solution. The backboard is bolted into the wall either through the backboard itself or a bracket system. High end models are even adjustable in height. To view our range of wall mounted backboards hit the button above.

In ground systems:

Basketball Buying Guide - in ground system

These are featured in commercial and public environments with a substantial structure concreted into the ground. Perhaps a less practical solution for the home due to lack of portability. You will find these at public playgrounds or at schools and colleges - usualy outside. Professional teams (and often schools and colleges )tend to have boards suspended from the ceiling so the play space can be more flexible but also so nobody ends up running into the pole!

Rings:

Basketball Buying Guide - Rings

Simply bolt a ring through a wall with rawl plugs. The wall serves as the backboard in this situation. Sometimes people chalk or paint on a backboard square when just using a ring. This is the most economical option. It is also very good if you don't want anything too 'obvious' and you want it to blend into the surroundings and be a little more subtle.

Basketball Buying Guide - The Backboard

What to look for: The Backboard


The raised horizontal board plays an important role in the game. It is designed for the ball to rebound against and land in the net.

Size

It is important the backboard is of a suitable size for your circumstances. For an adult you will want it to be a minimum of around 110cm x 70cm and larger.

Material Construction

You must also consider the material the backboard is constructed from. Blow moulded polyethylene, a tough plastic compound, is used as standard.

If you would like a more responsive playing experience from the game it is always worth upgrading to polycarbonate. This is a clear compound and closer to the tempered glass used on the court in the NBA. Polycarbonate units are often reinforced with a frame round the outside for even greater durability.

Shape

Finally, you must give some thought to the shape of your backboard. We recommend a rectangular backboard. This is in keeping with the units used in professional games. If there’s any possibility your child will play at school or for a club this is slightly more important. Being able to practise on a board of a similar shape to where they may be training and playing elsewhere will help when developing their rebound skills.

There are also curved or "fanned" backboards available - these are more ‘traditional’ for home use. There’s no significant benefit to buying a fan shape board - other than looks. You might prefer how it looks - but remember the point above about playing style.

Basketball Buying Guide - The Ring

What to look for: The Ring


Attached to the backboard is the ring which has a game regulation diameter of 45cm.

On smaller units there are narrower rings available. In our experience anything down to a 38cm ring will take a size 7 ball (full sized ball).

Tthere are three types of ring:

- Standard Bolt-on

Basketball Buying Guide - Bolt on Ring
- Spring Loaded
Basketball Buying Guide - Spring loaded Ring

and

- Breakaway
Basketball Buying Guide - Breakaway Ring


A standard bolt on ring is just that - it bolts on. Usually found on your starter and junior units, you can also buy these rings on their own to attach to play equipment. Always very useful if you are tight on space but already have some play equipment installed.

Spring loaded units feature springs on the outside of the bottom of the ring. This allows for greater support from the impact of the ball.

A breakaway ring contains a hinge and a spring at the point where it attaches to the backboard so that it can bend downward. These are only featured on premium units.

Basketball Buying Guide - The Height

What to look for: The Height


An absolutely key consideration when you are looking for your basketball hoop is the height it can be assembled to.

To state the height of the ring is industry standard. This is not the full height of the product.

The vast majority of stands will have a range they can adjust between. Rings and backboards are fixed into the wall and can’t be adjusted. The only exception to this are some of the more substantial backboards which come attached to a frame with a crank which adjusts the height of the board.

If you are purchasing a product with a view to your child growing into it, a system on a stand or a backboard that can be adjusted is a great option. You can begin with the lowest height and gradually adjust it upwards as they grow.

There are commonly three height ranges a stand will adjust between:
  • 1.6m to 2.1m
  • 2.1 to 2.6m
  • 2.6m to 3.05m (Full NBA height)

We are often asked to advise on a suitable product for a specific age of child.
The height and reach of your child is a more important consideration.

Measure the area where you are going to put your basketball hoop at home - while you are doing this it is worth marking the heights your stand would go to on a nearby wall in chalk. This will give you a better feel of the ring height.

A unit with the capacity for full height is always the best scenario for older children. If your budget doesn’t stretch quite that far, there are intermediate units which adjust between 2.1 and 2.6m.

Anything smaller than this is more suitable for younger children or those with limited space.

Basketball Buying Guide - The Structure

What to look for: The Structure


This is perhaps more difficult to work out from photos of products, but it is an important consideration nonetheless. Sometimes manufacturers will have added this information to their product specifications so look out for this.

The thickness of the main poles and method by which the backboard attaches to the top pole is a good indicator of the quality of a product.

Particularly with full sized units it is important the main poles have a minimum diameter of 66mm. Look out for the materials and painted coating. Stainless steel will not rust, and steel finished with a powder coating will be more durable when left outside.

If your stand has an adjustable mechanism at the top it will make changing the height easier with the use of a winding handle.

The majority of units simply bolt the backboard onto the top pole with the use of a bracket. This is actually perfectly adequate if you don’t intend on adjusting the unit very often.

The Finish

The large metal components of basketball products are often finished with a glossy coat of paint as standard.

However it is worth looking for stands that then apply an additional process called frosting. This is a surface treatment which gives the poles a courser touch and has a number of practical benefits.

These include allowing you to hold the parts more easily during assembly. It also makes them harder to scratch in everyday use of the product.

Finally it reduces the reflective properties of the previously shiny purpose. This will result in less light shining off the stand on a sunny day.

Basketball Buying Guide - The Base

What to look for: The Base


Many stands follow a design which use a hollow plastic base. This is then filled with sand and water to provide a solid centre of gravity.

There are units which make use of a fulcrum at the front of the unit and a smaller tank at the back.

Double check the measurements before purchasing because this will be the space the product takes up on the ground floor.

Make sure the base has wheels at either the front or back which will allow you to move the stand round your garden or driveway. This also makes it easier if you want to store the stand inside. Of course, not possible for everyone but if you can it will of course prolong the life of your equipment. You can tilt the stand forward onto its wheels and place inside a garage quite easily.

Basketball Buying Guide - Hoop Summary

Summary of Basketball Hoop Features


Put all the specs together and you will see that the majority of stands and backboard fall under one of the categories in the table below:
Category Junior Intermediate Full Sized Premium
Full Sized
Junior Basketball Intermediate Basketball Full Sized Basketball Premium Full Sized Basketball
Backboard Size 80cm x 58cm 80cm x 58cm 110cm x 70cm 120cm x 80cm
(and up)
Backboard Material Polyethylene Polyethylene Polyethylene Polycarbonate
(with Frame)
Ring Diameter 38cm 45cm 45cm 45cm
Ring Type Standard Standard Spring Loaded Breakaway
Height 1.6 to 2.1m 2.1m to 2.6m 2.6m to 3.05m 2.6m to 3.05m
Pole Diameter 45mm 45mm 66mm 66mm + up
Structure/Adjustment Bolt on Bolt on Bolt on Crane

Thank you for reading our basketball hoop buying guide. we hope you have found all the information here useful and helpful in deciding what equipment to buy.

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us - we would love to hear from you. In the meantime - you can browse our full range of basketball equipment right here:

Button to view portable basketball stands