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How to Choose an Inground Basketball Hoop

There is a huge selection of inground 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 park or school, you may want a sturdier system, with a stronger post and a more durable backboard. You also may want the backboard to extend further out from the post to allow more room for safe play under the basket without danger of hitting the pole. Finally, 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 shorter distance from the post to the backboard and a smaller board may be acceptable.

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, steel, aluminum or fiberglass. Acrylic has the clear look of glass, but is virtually unbreakable. Steel, aluminum and fiberglass generally will be white or metallic color. All are extremely durable (with fiberglass being the least so); steel, aluminum and fiberglass are the most cost effective.

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 Post 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 post-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 72 inch extension is even better if you have the room, as it allows the post to sit a foot or two away from the baseline, which largely eliminates the possibility that the post will interfere with play and greatly reduces the risk of injury. Of course, your space may be limited, in which case a hoop with a very short post-to-backboard extension may suit your needs perfectly.

What Type of Post Should You Get

In general, the thicker the post, the stronger, more sturdy and less wobbly it will be. We generally recommend at least 4 inch diameter round or 4 X 4 inch square poles for residential hoops, and larger for some residential and most institutional settings. Posts that are constructed of one piece of steel, rather than multiple pieces, generally will stay sturdier over time, and won’t become wobbly or rust at the joints. Lastly, galvanized or powder coated finishes will resist rust and stand up to the elements better than unprotected posts.


Finally, you might want to consider adjustability. If you expect young kids to be using your hoop, you may want to be able to adjust the rim height down from the standard ten feet. Adjustable inground hoops typically allow for adjustment down to somewhere between seven-and-a-half feet and five feet, with most adjusting down to six feet.

Hoops We Offer at TopHoops

At TopHoops we have a huge selection of residential and institutional inground hoops, with a variety of backboard sizes and materials and post sizes, and including both fixed height and adjustable options. Simply input your preferences into our HoopFinder and we will narrow your options down the specific hoops that fit your needs.

Bottom Line

While choosing an inground 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 inground hoops, all high quality and with free shipping, and we are here to make your hoop-buying process as easy as possible.