Basketball Hoop Buying Guide
How to Choose a Basketball Hoop For Your Home
A basketball hoop is a large purchase so it’s important to consider your needs to make an informed buying decision. A few factors to consider during your search for the right goal are location, frequency of use, age of players, and budget.
An important factor to consider before purchasing your basketball goal is its location. To fully enjoy your hoop, you need to have adequate playing space that can accommodate the size of your hoop and the number of people playing on it. You want a minimum of 10 feet of concrete in front of your goal, but preferably closer to 15 feet which is the distance of the free throw line.
By far the most popular location for any basketball hoop is in a flat driveway. However, if you have an adequate budget and space and are looking to take your basketball experience to the next level, you may consider a dedicated court with two installed hoops on either end of a 94 ft by 50 ft concrete court.
For safety reasons, it is not recommended to place a basketball hoop in or overhanging onto the street where oncoming cars could harm players.
Lastly, be sure to check with your homeowner’s association and local laws, as some neighborhoods and ordinances prohibit goals near the street or in the driveway. If you plan on purchasing an in-ground unit, be sure to call 811 before you dig to mark gas or electrical lines that may not be immediately visible.
Frequency of Use
The two parts that are most heavily used and usually the first to fail on a basketball goal are the backboard and rim. With the backboard being one of the most expensive parts of the basketball hoop, you’ll want to ensure you purchase the right one from the beginning to avoid problems in the future.
All Goalrilla basketball goals come with a breakaway rim standard so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can dunk on your goal. Compared to standard static rims, breakaway rims are used in college and the pros and have flexibility, that allow them to “break-away” or compress under pressure, transferring the shock of a dunk to the pole rather than the backboard, or even worse, the player.
The secret is in the spring that allows the rim to move slightly down during a dunk. No matter how often you use your goal or the intensity of play, your rim will be able to stand up to all the shots, dunks and late-night play it’ll experience.
A Goalrilla is an investment. If it’s your first time purchasing a basketball goal, it will be your last time. There are basketball hoops still standing since our inception in 1991. While proper care and maintenance are important, Goalrilla’s commitment to quality parts, durable design, and outstanding customer service are what really help to keep these goals in play.
Age of Players
No matter your age or your children’s age, there’s a Goalrilla that’s right for you. Most people looking for an in-ground basketball goal are also looking for adjustability, so their children can grow with the goal. All Goalrillas come standard with height adjustability from 7.5’ to 10’ so children of any age can easily adjust the goal to the perfect height.
Almost all youth basketball leagues set goals to 8’ or higher, regardless of age. Apart from the goal itself, the only other equipment that changes is the size of the ball. Younger children use a smaller ball, but will still shoot on an 8’ to 8.5’ goal until they reach around 11-12 years of age. Additionally, basketball sizes are different for men and women, even at the pro level.
If you or your children currently shoot on a standard 10’ goal now, you might be thinking you don’t need an adjustable goal. While adjustability isn’t a necessity, it’s a feature that will greatly enhance your satisfaction with the goal. After all, the whole premise of playing basketball or purchasing a goal is to have fun. And what’s more fun than dropping the goal to 8’ or 9’ so you and your buddies can throw alley-oops, windmills, and dunk just like the pros?
Adjusting the height of any Goalrilla can be done and in minutes and is so easy a 6-year-old can do it!
An in-ground unit is by far the most superior goal a consumer can buy. The quality, durability, and performance of a Goalrilla is unmatched. Budget will often determine the size of your goal. Some may opt to have a professional install their goal. These rates will vary from location to location but expect to pay in the range of $200-$500.
Goalrilla currently offers 4 lines of basketball goals, each with their own unique features. For example, our CV series, offers a Clear View backboard that provides the arena style design. Our DC series, features Direct Connect technology that allows over 2800 lbs. of downward force to be placed on the goal. Each line, varies in price and the features they tout.
While the game remains the same, spending a little bit more, might provide some added benefits you’ll enjoy for a lifetime.
Be sure to include any accessories into your cost as well. The LED Hoop Light allows players to continue the game well on into the night and additional accessories like the Yard Guard help keep the ball in play and out of the street or out of your neighbor’s yard.
Different Types of Hoops
Once you know where your basketball goal will be located, how often it will be used, who will be using it and what your budget is, the next decision you need to make is what type of hoop you want to buy. There are three different types to choose from - each with their own benefits. Let’s have a look…
An in-ground basketball hoop closely replicates the performance of NCAA and NBA hoops, offering the most advanced performance of any residential goal. Most in-ground goals feature tempered glass backboards which offer the most authentic rebound available while the solid steel pole mounted in concrete offers incredible stability for the entire unit.
The installation process for an in-ground basketball hoop requires multiple tools and people to complete. This process generally takes about 4 days including 3 days for concrete installation and curing and 1 day for final assembly of the hoop. However, once the process is complete, the permanency and performance of an in-ground goal can’t be beat.
The in-ground, concrete installation process makes the hoop much more stable, eliminating the risk of tipping over, especially during a dunk. Additionally, in-ground hoops take up less ground space, reducing the trip hazard of a portable’s molded base.
Although you won’t frequently move your in-ground hoop, premium in-ground goals are installed with an anchor system allowing you the flexibility to unbolt and relocate the hoop if you move homes.
Unlike in-ground hoops that feature a glass backboard that simulates pro-level performance, a portable hoop is unable to support the weight of a glass backboard. Instead portable goals utilize a lighter, plastic backboard which sacrifices rebound and playability.
Because they are made with more economic materials, the average lifespan of a portable system is roughly 2 to 5 years. Most portable hoops utilize a blow-molded base as a support structure, which is typically the first piece that fails.
Because portable basketball hoops feature a counter-weighted base filled with either water or sand, they cannot endure heavy or rough play, such as dunking, due to the risk of tipping or falling over.
If you don’t have the room for an in-ground or portable hoop, then a wall-mounted basketball goal can be a great choice. They don’t take up much space and can be easily mounted to a garage, barn or similar outbuilding.
Additional Factors to Consider
The type of hoop you decide to buy will determine how involved the installation process is.
The installation process of an in-ground basketball hoop, including the concrete base, is what sets this league of hoops apart from all the others. The process starts with digging a hole that is 16” wide by 48” deep. This hole is then filled with concrete, and the anchor kit system is mounted in the wet concrete and allowed to cure for 72 hours. Then, the hoop can be assembled and mounted to this anchor plate.
All in all, this process generally takes about 4 days to complete, including 3 days for concrete installation and curing and 1 day for final assembly of the goal. Although some consumers can handle this installation on their own, many homeowners opt to have a professional installer manage the process for them.
Portable and wall-mounted hoops can be installed much easier. Many homeowners opt to handle the installation of these types of goals on their own, but professionals can certainly make this process easier.
When it comes to the backboard, bigger is better. A larger backboard offers more shot opportunities and the arena-style performance of 72” backboards found on college and professional-level courts. However, don’t forget: the bigger the backboard, the more expensive the hoop.
When choosing the backboard size that’s right for you, you may also want to consider the size of your driveway. Do you have a one-, two-, or three-car driveway? Some people opt for a smaller backboard so as not to overwhelm the size of their driveway.
A one-car driveway may be better paired with a 54” backboard while a two- to three-car driveway may work better with a 60-72” backboard size. (USE VISUAL HERE). Don’t forget to consider your children’s aspirational needs as well. Is this hoop for recreational use only or is your child hoping to play at a higher level?
NCAA and NBA regulation backboards are 72” W x 42” H. The more your athlete practices with a regulation-size backboard, the better prepared they will be when they hit the court.
Backboards can be constructed of many different materials, which vary in playability and durability. The highest quality backboard is tempered glass, the same material used in gymnasiums at the high school, college, and professional levels. Because of its added strength, tempered glass backboards feature the best rebound performance and are best for competitive play.
If the glass were to break, tempered glass is like a car windshield that holds the shattered glass in place for a crumbling effect. This safety feature removes the worry of injuring a player below if it ever were to break. Many Goalrilla systems offer a Clear View design preventing the board arms from obstructing your view and delivering a more consistent rebound across the entire board. Clear View glass provides a professional arena-style look in your driveway.
Height adjustability is especially important for families that want their goal to grow with their children. This premium feature allows you to adjust the height of your rim from the NCAA and NBA regulation-height of 10’ down to 7.5’ for younger players. ASTM international safety standards specify a minimum hoop height of 6.5’.
Additionally, a hoop lowered to 5’ is a serious safety hazard when backing a car out of your garage, and many owners have backed into their hoop, damaging both their car and their hoop. If lowered too low, the overhang can encroach on your driveway eliminating the amount of space available for play.
|2-4||Miniature Goal – 7.5’||X|
|12+||10’||Official size for High School, College, and Professional.|
|14+||10’||Official size for High School, College, and Professional.|
Overhang is the distance from the pole to the backboard. Overhang allows for play underneath the basket without hitting the pole and is an important safety feature. Paired with a thick pole pad, overhang protects players from impacting the pole during layups or rebounding off the backboard.
Too much overhang can reduce the amount of court space and cause excessive shaking due to the weight of the backboard being suspended too far from the main pole. Look for approximately 2 feet to 4 feet of overhang for the best balance of safety and performance.
A basketball hoop with an overhang of 5 feet or more can compromise performance because the weight of the glass backboard will increase shake in the system. A basketball hoop with an overhang of 5 feet will actually encroach on the play surface by more than 7 feet once you add the 25 inches of rim that come out from the backboard surface.
Overhang changes as the basketball goal is adjusted. Goalrilla basketball hoops are adjustable from the safety-approved height of 7.5 feet to the NBA and NCAA regulation height of 10 feet. Use the Goalrilla basketball goal overhang chart to find your model and learn the distance in overhang at each height.
Pole Finish, Size and Shape
Most basketball hoops either have a paint or powder coating finish. Paint may chip or peel, while a powder-coating finish makes them less likely to rust.
Powder coating protects the steel from the harmful elements and the sun’s UV rays to maintain the performance and the professional look of the hoop. This industrial-grade material is superior against rust and keeps your goal looking like a professional arena-style setup.
Basketball poles come in single or multi-piece systems and in square or round poles. A square pole offers the most rigidity or stiffness for your basketball system. Most single piece poles are 4” square, 5” square, or 6” square.
Basketball Rim and Net
Standard basketball rims are 18 inches in diameter and have rings to connect a net. The rim is one of the most abused aspects of a basketball hoop, so you will want to be sure to purchase one that will hold up to all the shots and impromptu dunk sessions that it will take.
The two most common types of rims for residential applications are static and breakaway. If you plan to dunk, make sure you have a breakaway rim or a pro-style flex rim.
These rims mimic pro-level performance and feature a spring mechanism that flexes under pressure. This feature keeps players safe by “breaking-away” during a dunk instead of remaining in a static position than can harm the player. The spring absorbs the shock of the dunk, which also increases the durability and longevity of the rim.
Static rims are just what their name implies; they remain static. These rims are often used in entry-level models and are an economic option for hoops if you are on a tight budget. Dunking is not recommended on static rims because of the safety implications for the player and the wear on the rim and backboard. During a dunk, the downward force on a static rim is exerted on the backboard, rather than the pole, which can cause the backboard to break or shatter.
Pole and backboard pads can help minimize injuries and protect players from impacting the sharp corners of the backboard and the hard steel of the main pole. An LED Hoop Light can be added to keep the court lit for night time play. An additional safety feature exclusive to Goalrilla is the Yard Guard, a defensive net system that attaches to the main pole to keep balls in the court and prevent them from rolling into a busy street.