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How to Choose a Portable Basketball Hoop

There is a huge selection of portable basketball hoops and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. But in reality, there are just a few key facts you need to consider in deciding which hoop is right for you. Once you have narrowed down your selection using these criteria, selecting your hoop will be much easier.

What Setting Will Your Hoop be Used In

The setting in which your hoop will be used is a key factor in deciding what kind of hoop to buy. For example, if your hoop will be used in an institutional setting such as a school or church gym or rec center, you may want a heavier, sturdier system. As well as being less likely to tip, heavier portables can accommodate larger backboards. You also may want the backboard to extend further out from the base to allow more room for safe play under the basket without danger of hitting the pole. Always make sure that the base of the hoop you are looking at will fit the available space. Finally, in an institutional setting, you might want a larger board, such as 72 or 60 inches, rather than 48 or 54 inches. Alternatively, if your hoop will be used in more of a residential setting, a lighter system with a shorter distance from the base to the backboard and a smaller board may be acceptable.

Size and Shape of the Base is Important

The stability of a portable hoop generally will be determined by the size, shape and weight of the base. In general, a heavier base will result in a more stable hoop. However, the shape of the base and the way the weight is distributed are important as well. A hoop with the weight distributed further back in the base, away from the post, will generally be more stable and less likely to tip than a hoop with the same amount of weight in the base but with the weight closer to the front. In general, look for at least 300 pounds in the base for a residential hoop, and at least 500 pounds (and preferably more) in a hoop intended for institutional use.

What Backboard Material Should You Get

Professional, college and high school arenas generally use tempered glass backboards. The bounce of the ball off tempered glass is the crispest and truest of any material, and glass has the least vibration. However, while tempered glass is very strong and will generally hold up to normal basketball play, it can break if hit with a baseball, rock or other hard object. So if your hoop will be used in an environment where there is a risk of flying objects, you might want to consider acrylic. Acrylic has the clear look of glass, but is virtually unbreakable.

What Size Backboard Do You Want

Standard backboard sizes are 42 X 72 inches, 36 X 60 inches, 36 X 54 inches and 36 X 48 inches. A regulation size backboard is 42 X 72, although older boards can be 48 inches high rather than 42. So if you want to have regulation size equipment you would choose a hoop with a 72 inch backboard. A 60 inch also is fine for an institutional setting, whereas a 60 inch, 54 inch or 48 inch would be more appropriate for a residential setting (as would a 72 inch if you are planning to invite over LeBron James and his pals).

What Distance Will You Need from the Base to the Backboard

The regulation distance from the baseline of a basketball court to the location of the backboard is four feet. Anything short of four feet from the baseline to the backboard will restrict the amount of room available to play and move under the backboard. So ideally your base-to-backboard extension would be at least four feet, especially in an institutional setting where there will be competitive play. And a 60 inch or longer extension is even better if you have the room, as it allows the base to sit a foot or more away from the baseline, which largely eliminates the possibility that the base will interfere with play and greatly reduces the risk of injury. High school and college rules require that the base-to-backboard extension be at least 96 inches, which allows the base to sit four feet away from the baseline. Of course, your space may be limited, in which case a hoop with a very short base-to-backboard extension may suit your needs perfectly. Keep in mind to that the base of a heavy duty portable hoop is quite large, so you may need a fairly large distance between the baseline and the wall. For a high school or college quality hoop, you may need as much as 11 feet or more between the baseline and the wall. So always consider the amount of space you have before choosing your portable hoop.

Hoops We Offer at TopHoops

At TopHoops we have a huge selection of residential and institutional portable hoops, with a variety of backboard sizes and materials. Our First Team residential hoops are designed with the weight in the base further back from the post than many of its competitors, providing for greater safety and stability. We also offer college and high school quality portables from First Team and Gared Sports. To find the hoop that is perfect for you, simply input your preferences into our HoopFinder and we will narrow your options down to the specific hoops that fit your needs.

Bottom Line

While choosing a portable hoop can seem overwhelming, using the criteria above and our HoopFinder you can narrow your selection and find the hoop that is perfect for you. At TopHoops, we have a huge selection of portable hoops, all high quality and with free shipping, and we are here to make your hoop-buying process as easy as possible.