If you’re looking to purchase a basketball hoop you won’t be short of options to choose from. With so many different types of basketball hoops available to buy, knowing which hoop is best suited to your needs can be difficult.

With this in mind, we have created a complete, illustrated basketball hoop buying guide that covers all the key features of a basketball hoop including installation types, backboards, rim types, height adjustability and much more!

After reading our guide you will be well-placed to buy a basketball hoop with confidence, knowing it will meet your specific needs.

Basketball Hoop Installation Types

One of the most important considerations when buying your basketball goal is the installation type. This choice is influenced by factors such as the planned location for your hoop and the available space.

In this section, we will explore the three different basketball hoop installation types and outline the scenarios each goal type is suited for. This will help you determine the exact installation type you need for your basketball hoop.

Portable Basketball Hoops

Portable hoops are designed to be easy to transport between locations. These basketball goals are freestanding and inserted into a stand on wheels, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use as they can be moved anywhere with minimal effort.

Portable hoops are often adjustable in height, allowing individuals of any age/size to practice their shooting skills. This is particularly useful for parents with growing children, and schools and sports clubs that have junior players of different ages using the hoops.

While portable basketball hoops are generally more affordable than permanent structures, one downside is that dunking on them can pose a safety risk. The hoops can be filled with sand or water for extra stability, but even with the added weight of the sand/water they can potentially still fall if dunked which could injure the user.

portable basketball hoops

Wall-Mounted Basketball Hoops

As the name suggests, wall-mounted basketball hoops can be fitted to walls either indoors or outdoors. Wall hoops tend to be a popular choice for indoor sports halls in schools or leisure centres as well as outdoor house walls.

Wall-mounted basketball goals are most suited to areas with limited space as they don’t take up anywhere near as much room as portable or in-ground hoops. They are available in a variety of different models to suit all budgets, and some feature extendable brackets that can adjust the height of the hoop.

Some models of wall-mounted are still not suitable for dunking, so if you are looking to practice your dunking technique, or use your wall hoops for matches, then you will need to check if the hoop you have chosen can withstand the impact of a dunk. It is also recommended that a qualified professional fits your wall hoop, so that the stability of the wall can be evaluated prior to installation.

wall mounted basketball hoop

In-Ground Basketball Hoops

In-ground basketball hoops are a firm favourite for outdoor courts and parks, and they are also popular for more permanent home setups. This hoop type is installed into the ground in one of two ways; direct burial (permanent in-ground) or semi-permanent (mounted onto an anchored/socketed system already fitted into the ground). Both types have their benefits and are reliable options for practice and matches.

Permanent in-ground basketball hoops are directly buried into the ground using cement. This type of in-ground hoop is the most secure and can withstand the impacts of dunking. Similar to wall-mounted hoops, direct burial hoops must be installed by a professional tradesperson. This will ensure that the hoop is buried in an area where the ground will keep the structure secure and fully upright, preventing any serious injuries from the post collapsing. Once installed, the basketball post can’t be moved again, so you must be fully satisfied with the positioning of the hoop.

As mentioned previously, semi-permanent in-ground goals are mounted onto an anchored/socketed system that is directly buried into the ground. Offering comparable structural stability and dunking capabilities to permanent in-ground hoops, the semi-portable alternative can be relocated if you move homes or if your matches change locations. If you need to move the structure, you will only need to have another anchoring/socketed system installed at the new location rather than an entirely new basketball hoop system.

in ground basketball hoops

Basketball Backboard Materials

The backboard is a vital part of your basketball hoop. The material used is important to consider as each board type used has its own specific performance qualities, such as rebound bounce, weather resistance and durability. Backboards are most commonly made from either tempered glass, acrylic, polyethylene, or plywood.

Below we’ll go through each of these materials, explaining their performance characteristics and the typical settings of each.

Tempered Glass Backboards

Basketball hoops used for matches in competitions such as the NBA (National Basketball Association) and BBL (British Basketball League) will be fitted with a tempered glass backboard. This material provides great durability and can withstand the impacts that come with regular use. Tempered glass typically offers a more consistent rebound than other backboard materials. This is due to the glass being hardened during the manufacturing process, making it much harder than normal glass.

tempered glass basketball backboards

Plywood Backboards

Plywood backboards are a highly popular choice for schools, leisure centres, and other facilities with basketball hoops. The weatherproof properties of plywood make it suitable for basketball hoop backboards used on both indoor and outdoor courts. Plywood backboards offer comparable durability to other materials but typically sell at a lower cost. It's worth noting that the rebound off a plywood board is lower than that of tempered glass, which is why these backboards are not commonly used in high-level matches.

plywood backboards

Acrylic Backboards

Also known as ‘imitation glass backboards’, acrylic backboards are a more budget friendly option than those made from tempered glass. The acrylic boards are transparent, scratchproof and mould resistant, making them well suited to repeated use in leisure centres, parks and schools. The rebound factor is lower than both tempered glass and plywood backboards, which also makes acrylic backboards perfect for driveways, as the ball is less likely to rebound as far, which reduces the risk of the ball bouncing into a busy road.

acryllic backboards

Polyethylene Backboards

Polyethylene backboards are the perfect choice for anyone that is looking for a strong backboard that is budget friendly. Polyethylene backboards are suited to all ages and abilities but are most popular amongst beginners and children. These backboards are durable and have the lowest rebound factor out of the materials discussed in this guide, meaning the ball won’t bounce as far away after a missed shot.

HDPE basketball backboards

Basketball Backboard Materials & Properties

A basketball backboard’s rebound factor quantifies how far a ball will rebound off the backboard. Different materials will create varying rebound trajectories off the backboard. Tempered glass has the highest rebound factor due to its hardness, so will provide the furthest and most consistent rebound, which makes tempered glass backboards most suitable for competitive matches. Materials like acrylic and polyethylene have lower rebound factors and are more suited for hoops in areas where there is limited space and/or property/roads nearby.

HDPE basketball backboards

Basketball Rim Types

All rims on basketball hoops should be made with steel that is thick enough to withstand constant impact without bending or breaking. Basketball rims are typically painted with either a red or orange weatherproof paint to prevent the steel from rusting, but the colour can vary depending on the manufacturer.

There are two main types of basketball rims used on basketball hoops: static rims and double spring breakaway rims. It is important to understand the differences between the two to ensure the hoop you buy is suitable for its intended use.

Many basketball hoop systems, including most kids' basketball hoops, are fitted with a static rim. This system has no springs, meaning that the rim cannot flex. While static rims are more than suitable for practicing shooting techniques, the lack of bend means that hoops with this rim type cannot be used for dunking. Static hoops can’t handle the force of a dunk which may result in the hoop breaking, potentially causing injury to the user in the process.

Double spring breakaway systems, as the name suggests, contain a dual spring which provides the hoop with both the stability and flexibility necessary for dunking. Competitions such as the NBA and BBL use double spring breakaway systems due to their durability and ability to withstand the impacts of competitive play. For those looking to buy a hoop that is suitable for dunking we have various options available with breakaway systems. The springs in breakaway systems can either be exposed or enclosed meaning the springs either are or aren’t visible. If you plan to use a hoop outdoors, it’s advisable to buy a basketball hoop with enclosed springs to protect the springs from the weather and rusting.

Height Adjustability

Height adjustability is a crucial feature to consider when purchasing a basketball hoop. Having the option to change the hoop height eliminates the need to remove, relocate, or replace a basketball hoop as younger players grow taller. In facilities like leisure centres, clubs, and schools, where wall-mounted hoops are common, having adjustable brackets to alter the hoop height is particularly useful due to the presence of multiple age groups using the hoops.

adjustable height basketball hoop 1
wall mounted basketball hoop in a gym

Fixed height basketball hoops are still a great option if you have no need to adjust the height of the hoop. Fixed height hoops are often preferred for personal use at home by adults who don't require adjustments, whilst public parks also frequently use fixed height hoops to prevent potential damage from users who may not know how to adjust the hoop height properly.

Now you've read our guide you have all the information you need to go ahead and choose the right basketball hoop for you! Be sure to check out our website to view our full range of basketball hoops; including all the installation types, backboard materials, rim types and height adjustability features mentioned in this guide!

At Net World Sports we carry a range of FORZA Basketball equipment including all types of hoops, nets, backboards, basketballs and RapidFire rebounders to suit all ages and requirements.