Head on over to your local superstore and you’ll be sure to find a handful of basketball hoops under $300. “What a deal,” you might think, but buyer beware! With a large purchase like a basketball hoop, you get what you pay for, and many of these value hoops lack the quality, stability, and safety of a higher-end goal.
Safety First: Why Quality Matters
With a budget-brand goal, the two largest areas of concern are quality and safety, which always go hand-in-hand. Most portable basketball goals have the plastic base at the bottom which usually lacks the stability to keep the goal upright during aggressive play or a heavy storm. This tip-over risk presents a serious hazard as a goal falling onto a player can cause serious injury.
- Tip-Over Risk
Even when the base of a portable goal is filled with sand or water, a full-grown adult or even a child dunking on an inferior portable hoop is more than enough force to cause it to tip over. Secondly, it’s not uncommon for these portable hoops to be blown over during a thunderstorm.
Another hazard of purchasing a budget in-ground goal is the inferior materials, particularly in the base of the goal. Over time and particularly in the winter months, the plastic may crack and leak causing the base to lose weight.
The standard design of a portable goal is such that they cannot stand upright unless they are weighted down. As the base becomes lighter and loses its counterbalanced structure, it will become more susceptible to tipping over without you even noticing.
- Portability Problems
Despite being labeled as “portable,” you’ll find that most people do not move these goals, especially in the case of budget goals with small wheels and poor design. The reason is two-fold: One, how often will you be changing the playing space in your driveway?
Two, for even the slightest of change, is it worth the hassle? Generally, portable goals are not optimized for frequent transport and are cumbersome to maneuver, requiring at least two people to move them safely.
- Outdoor Deterioration
Since basketball goals are designated to live outside, 365 days out of the year, they must be built to withstand the harshest conditions. What you’ll discover is over time, most budget goals are not designed to withstand the elements, and they lack the necessary materials and quality to stand the test of time.
As each season passes, the unprotected metal will rust, and the thin plastic will deteriorate. Low-quality bolts and rust eating away at the pole seriously weaken an already poorly designed hoop, which can be a combination for complete system failure. Not only is this a major safety concern, but you may be forced to replace a budget portable goal after only a few years of use.
- Inferior Backboard Materials
Having a high-quality backboard that offers superior rebound is a critical performance factor in your goal. However, premium glass backboards with an authentic rebound are one of the most expensive components of a basketball goal, and usually the first thing to go in budget goals to bring down the cost. Most portable backboards are made with polycarbonate which is a cheap thermoplastic material. Because polycarbonate is a plastic material, it offers seriously compromised rebound, and deadens the speed of the ball as compared to gymnasium-style goals.
The Better Choice
With all of these challenges facing budget brand portable hoops, you may be wondering where to turn next. The first alternative to consider is purchasing a Goalrilla in-ground basketball hoop. Goalrilla goals offer the best you can get in terms of safety, quality, and performance. However, if your budget can’t accommodate the price tag of an in-ground goal, check-out our GoTek portable basketball goals that offer great value and solve many of the serious issues with budget portable goals.
Ultimately, you need to feel confident that the goal you purchase is going to be safe and offer years of use for your family, so be sure to do your research before you reach for your wallet.