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Best For Your Buck Product
Best bang for the buck
Silverback
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Best Of The Best Product
Best of the best
Spalding
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How We Decided
  • 104 Models Considered
  • 45 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 158 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Best Basketball Hoops

    Even though we haven't included small or wall-mounted basketball hoops, we still had over six hundred models to choose from. From those, we selected the most attractive, stable, and durable hoops, making sure we also offered something of quality for all budgets. Our final five are:

    Products we Considered

    • Spalding
      60 Inch Glass Backboard
    • Lifetime
      Pro Court
    • Spalding
      NBA Hercules
    • Silverback
      In-Ground System
    • Goalrilla
      GS

    Considerations

    Size and Materials

    Although all rims reviewed are regulation size and can be raised to ten feet when required, backboards vary widely. There are also different materials for the frame and base, each having a significant impact on rigidity and durability.

    Ease of Assembly

    Whether you choose a mobile or fixed goal, there are various things you need to do before you start actually shooting hoops.

    Playability

    What does each basketball goal actually play like? Is it just a bit of backyard fun or a nearly professional experience?

    Price

    You can pay anywhere from just under a hundred dollars to several thousand - but how much do you need to spend to get the basketball goal that's perfect for your needs?

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    Considerations

    Size and Materials

    Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable

    It would be all too easy to take a quick glance at the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Basketball Hoop and have doubts about its construction - but doing so would be unfair. The appearance may not be as dramatic as some, but the supporting structure is made from powder coated steel and backed by a five year guarantee, so the manufacturer is obviously convinced of its durability. The base and the 44-inch backboard are made from high-density polyethylene, which is resistant to chipping and cracking. Height is adjustable (by removing and re-inserting a threaded knob) from 7.5 feet to ten feet, in six inch steps.

    Spalding NBA Hercules Portable Basketball System

    In several ways, the Spalding Portable Basketball Hoop is like to the Lifetime 1221. There's a plastic fillable base, the role is of steel construction, and again, height can be varied from 7.5 to 10 feet, in 6 inch steps. However, the similarity ends there. On the Spalding, adjustment is by a sprung, levered system called ExactaHeight. The steel-framed backboard is acrylic and larger (at 50 inches), while the main support is more substantial, and angled towards the court area to withstand impact better. There's even a clever rebounder built into the base, which many of the owners really appreciated.

    Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball System

    When it comes to built-in goals, you would expect something that looked a bit more substantial, and the Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball Hoop doesn't disappoint. The main support is a purposeful 4 x 4 inch square, and the 60 inch, aluminum-framed backboard is made of 8mm tempered glass. Once again, there's 7.5 to 10 feet height adjustment, but this time with a winder that allows you to set the hoop precisely where you want it. There's either powder or zinc-coating on steel parts in order to protect it against all elements as well as a seven year warranty.

    Spalding "The Beast" Portable

    Our second Spalding is called "The Beast" Portable Basketball Hoop, and it's certainly an impressive looking unit. The backboard, at 60 inches, is as close to a pro set-up as we've found on a portable basketball goal. It's 1/4 inch thick tempered glass, with a steel and aluminum surround. Making sure it's properly supported is a 5 inch square, screw adjustable, two piece pole that is easy to extend from from 7.5 to 10 feet. The 50 gallon base has a four-point mount for added stability, and the front cover/rebounder even doubles as a handle to move it around, making it super user-friendly.

    Goalrilla GS In-Ground Basketball Systems with Tempered Glass Backboard

    The Goalrilla GS1 Basketball Hoop is as real as it gets outside a pro court. The backboard is 3/8" thick tempered glass, at a regulation 72 x 42 inches. The support pole is a single piece of massively rigid 6 inch square steel. Yet thanks to a cleverly balanced crank system, it takes virtually no effort to raise and lower the hoop - from 7.5 feet, up to the 10 feet maximum. Goalrilla likes to point out that the GS1 basketball hoop was specifically designed to be used outdoors, and a DuPont powder coated finish and corrosion resistant bolts, springs, and linkages should ensure many years of heavy-duty sporting use. A lifetime warranty even covers the glass.

    Thanks to a cleverly balanced, four-spring system, it takes virtually no effort to raise and lower the Goalrilla hoop.
    Considerations

    Ease of Assembly

    It's fair to say a number of owners found the instructions for the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Basketball Hoop a bit unclear. They come as a series of pictures only, which confused a few customers we surveyed. Having said that, we can't find an instance of anyone who was unable to complete the job, and some said that while the manual could definitely be improved, it was at least manageable. It was also pointed out that assembly is easier with two people, but that's the case with all of the basketball hoops we reviewed. The base of this hoop needs to be filled with either water or sand before use - if water is used then it's recommended that anti-freeze is added if you're in an area subject to frosts. Although the base is pretty tough under normal circumstances, there is potential for it to split if the contents inside freeze.

    The Spalding Portable Basketball Hoop weighs a little over 100 pounds before you fill the 34 gallon base - but weight is the trade-off you get for extra structural rigidity. Once again, owners said that assembly was "challenging," but nobody we came across complained about the quality of the instructions. The trick seems to be to read and re-read them and then follow them closely. You will need a few tools that are not supplied and, given the weight, it's safe to assume it's a two person job. In general, the time to put it together is very reasonable for the quality of the finished product.

    Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball System

    The first in-ground goal we've rated, the Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball Hoop, is almost twice as heavy as the Spalding above. While it's possible for one strong (and patient) person to put it together, safety alone would suggest that it's a job for two. Ease of assembly is highly praised, as is the anchor system that makes it possible to move the goal if you need to. In order to do this, you need to cement the anchor into the ground and then bolt the upper assembly to it. If you move or want to relocate your basketball hoop, all you have to do is buy and fix another anchor, undo the four bolts on your existing anchor, and away you go. Owners who took advantage of this feature said it was a true difference-maker.

    Spalding "The Beast" Portable

    As size goes up, so does weight, and the Spalding "The Beast" Portable Basketball Hoop tips the scales at over 300 pounds - before filling the base (with sand, or water and anti-freeze where appropriate). Once again, the owners we surveyed pointed out the importance of reading the instructions thoroughly and also stressed the importance of being careful with the parts supplied given that there are few, if any, spares. The instructions, if followed accurately, are generally considered very good, although assembly was frequently quoted as "challenging." Given its size and complexity, it's no surprise that putting "The Beast" altogether takes some time - between three and four hours on average - and requires at least two people.

    Goalrilla GS In-Ground Basketball Systems with Tempered Glass Backboard

    To assemble the Golarilla Basketball Hoop, first you need to dig a big hole - six feet deep and 20 inches across - for the anchor. To be fair, there's nothing particularly difficult about this, but it's a similar construction to a full-size gym/competition goal, and the backboard is heavy, so proper support is vital. Owners tell us you'll also need at least three people. From a technical point of view, assembly is considered easy, and the leveling system excellent but, as you would expect, these are substantial pieces of equipment and not easy to move around. If you're not a competent DIYer, with several friends to help, you might want to buy it, then get it professionally installed.

    Owners say the anchor system of the Silverback is a true difference maker.
    Andrew
    Expert Consultant

    Andrew is a lifelong athlete who routinely pushes himself to the limit in training and sports, with a focus on elite rowing. He was a national champion and four-year member of the Harvard crew team, and he represented the US at World Championships. He has trained alongside some of the world’s top Olympiads, and his love for rowing has sent him to the most elite racing events around the world. Through his experience and network of colleagues, he has gained great insight into the best rowing equipment.


    Andrew  |  National Champion Rower
    Considerations

    Playability

    Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable

    The Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Basketball Hoop is a budget model, designed for children and general family fun. It's relatively light, and the base has wheels, so it's not too difficult to tuck out of the way and roll it back out when you want to play. While the adjustable height is definitely useful, it's much easier with two people - one to support the backboard while the other disconnects and reconnects it. The backboard itself, made out of polyethylene, will not give a realistic rebound, and the rim is not the "breakaway" type - but then this basketball hoop is aimed at the casual or recreational player, so that's not really a problem.

    Spalding NBA Hercules Portable Basketball System

    The Spalding Portable Basketball Hoop definitely offers a more professional appearance, and you do get their "Pro Slam" breakaway rim. The height is easily adjusted and the tilted pole / base also allows some degree of "under the hoop" play that you don't get with the Lifetime 1221. The acrylic backboard comes closer to pro rebound feel, and at 50 inches has a bigger playing area - although it's still very much a teen/family basketball goal. The extra weight in the base adds stability that makes it feel almost as sturdy as an in-ground basketball system.

    Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball System

    With it's big 60 inch tempered glass backboard giving much more precise rebounding, the Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball Hoop gets closer to a professional game play feel than either the Lifetime 1221 or the Spalding above. The backboard is mounted well in front of the supporting pole, allowing you to get right under the breakaway rim. There's even a safety pad for the pole, just in case things get a bit competitive! The winder makes height adjustment a breeze, and many owners are impressed with the overall stability. It will move a little, but we overall we found it to be one of the most stable units we reviewed. It's not quite a "pro" basketball goal, but it's getting pretty close.

    Spalding "The Beast" Portable

    If you want the biggest and most stable hoop available, but still need some degree of portability, it will be tough to beat the Spalding "The Beast" Portable Basketball Hoop. Height adjustment is easy, and the 50 gallon base, 5 inch pole, and four point mount give remarkable rigidity. The 60 inch glass backboard yields a very realistic rebound, and the rim is, once again, the breakaway kind. Some owners did wish for a little more room under the basket, but it's difficult to see how that would be possible in a portable basketball goal. Overall, the huge majority of owners we surveyed were incredibly happy with this basketball hoop, with some even saying that they prefer playing on it over those on an official basketball court.

    Goalrilla GS In-Ground Basketball Systems with Tempered Glass Backboard

    The Goalzrilla Basketball Hoop is probably the easiest to sum up in this part of our ratings. This thing is about as close to a professional basketball hoop as it gets. Massive structural rigidity combined with a 72 inch glass backboard, breakaway rim and a clear four feet of playing area under the basket gives you exactly what you'd get in a gym or on a full-size college court. If you want to practice like a pro, this hoop gives you the chance to do just that. One owner did complain of some flex in the main pole, thought this may have been down to incorrect installation. Another, who's six feet nine and two hundred and fifty pounds, said vibration was minimal.

    The portability of the Spalding Beast gives it the edge over the other contenders.
    Considerations

    Price

    Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Height-Adjustable Portable

    The list price for the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Basketball Hoop is a competitive $179, but you can get one at the moment for just $99 - which really is an incredible deal. At a price well less than half of most of its competitors, there is not another basketball hoop that offers as much for so little. Over and over again, the comment from happy owners is simply, "the kids love it!"

    Spalding NBA Hercules Portable Basketball System

    Currently reduced from $449 to $370, the Spalding Portable Basketball Hoop is also a great bargain. Still largely aimed at recreational players - kids and families - it allows you to have an experience that's closer to the true feel of a real basketball game without breaking the bank.

    Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball System

    Just at the moment you can save a great deal on the Silverback SB-60 In-Ground Basketball Hoop, down from $899 to $709. It's a robust, well-made goal with a glass backboard that gives proper rebound reaction. While not as rigid as some of the more expensive models, owners were nevertheless very happy with their purchase. Comments like "best in its class," were very common from the owners we surveyed.

    Spalding "The Beast" Portable

    The Spalding "The Beast" Portable Basketball Hoop is $1299 right now, which is a considerable savings over list price. If you're looking for a high-quality basketball goal that's also portable, this is the one you'll probably choose. Spalding have a deserved reputation for great products, and this product lives up to owners' expectations. Although some found it a challenge to assemble, everyone appreciates how impressive it is once complete.

    Goalrilla GS In-Ground Basketball Systems with Tempered Glass Backboard

    The Goalrilla GS1 Basketball Hoop is currently $1999. That's the kind of investment that you probably have to think about, but in reality it's something of a bargain for a goal of this standard. Build quality is echoed by owner feedback that, almost without exception, rates this goal extremely highly. If you take your basketball seriously, whether that's with colleagues, friends, or kids that want to take it to a higher level, this is the model for you. If you're looking for a smaller in-ground basketball hoop, there are also 54" and 60" versions available.

    The Goalrilla may even end up saving you money in the long run given its impeccable quality and durability.

    Best of the Best

    Choosing the best basketball hoop from our top five was never going to be easy - they are all great products and deliver excellent value. Each will provide a particular kind of user with exactly what they want.

    However, this part of our ratings is about deciding an overall winner and, after some considerable debate, the best basketball hoop is the Pro Dunk. 

    Once you've reviewed the basketball hoops available, it's probably the obvious choice for the majority of owners. The backboard isn't pro-sized but, at 60 inches, it's plenty big enough for most and gives near true rebound feedback. You have the backing of one the best known names in basketball equipment manufacture, and they've designed a system that will play hard, yet its height can be adjusted with relative ease. To use a basketball expression, it's a slam dunk!

    Best of the Best
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    This thing is about as close to a professional basketball hoop as it gets.

    Best Bang for your Buck

    Choosing the best value for money basketball hoop is was a much more difficult decision. Each offers enormous value for the price - even the Pro Dunk, given what you get for your cash. It's also impossible not to consider the Lifetime 1221 given it's super low price tag. Alternatively, if you want a portable basketball goal, either of the Spaldings is superb.

    But if you're looking for as near to a real game feel as possible - on a budget - or you take your practice even slightly seriously, the overall best value for money basketball hoop is the Silverback SB-60.

    It's got a good, big backboard, which is made of glass for proper rebounding. It's got the sprung rim you want and plenty of room under the hoop where the game is often played. It's sturdy, yet easy to adjust, and although it's an in-ground system, the clever anchor system means you don't have to leave it behind if you move house.

    This one really was a tough call - and the 50" Spalding nearly stole it - but for that extra bit more quality and playability, at a great price, the Silverback is our pick.
    Best Bang for your Buck
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    If you're looking for as near to a real game feel as possible - on a budget - this is the hoop for you.
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Editor
    • Jasmin
      Jasmin
      Operations
    • Jimi
      Jimi
      Product Analyst
    • Kriti
      Kriti
      Data Scientist
    Working the refs: How technical fouls help your team
    BestReviews, 2/6/15

    In a typical basketball game, a coach yelling at the referee about a foul call is as common as the sound of sneakers screeching on the hardwood. Arguing with the ref seems like a completely futile effort - often hurting the team in the form of a technical foul or even an ejection.

    But could there be a rational reason for getting on the officials? After all, referees are human beings, and if you berate them enough, they may eventually find a way to make it up to you.

    So we set out to answer this question:

    Do basketball coaches that get technical fouls increase their team's chance of winning?

    We reviewed all of the games in the 2013-14 NBA season in which technical fouls were assessed against basketball coaches for arguing with the referee. We recorded the foul difference (fouls against vs. fouls for) before and after the technical foul was assessed. The results were simply shocking.

    There were 95 technical fouls called against coaches in the 2013-14 NBA regular season. In those games, the team whose coach got called for a technical foul enjoyed an aggregate advantage of 184 foul calls after the technical was assessed. In other words, after a coach was cited for arguing with the referee, his team on average was called for 2 fouls less than his opponent during the rest of the game.

    These numbers are especially striking considering this statistic: before the coach was T’ed up, the foul disparity went in the opposite direction - his team had 48 more fouls called against them.


    It gets even more interesting when we look at exactly when the foul advantage occurs. Out of the 184 fouls that were called in favor of the arguing coach, 130 of them (more than 70%) were called in the quarter directly after the technical foul was assessed.



    It would thus appear that the referees took immediate action in favoring the team whose coach got in their face, and this advantage seemed to wear off as the game progressed.

    Which coaches are best at working the refs?

    In the NBA, there are mediocre basketball coaches, there are good basketball coaches, and there are superstar basketball coaches. We wanted to know if there are particular coaches that were specifically good at working the referees in order to help their teams win games.

    We narrowed down our study to some of the usual contenders - Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Jerry Sloan, and Don Nelson. It turns out, however, that none of these future Hall of Fame coaches have stats that stood out significantly from the aggregate.

    But there was one coach that seems to have systematically mastered the art of working the referee: Gregg Popovich, the 5 time NBA World Champion, coach of the San Antonio Spurs.



    Out of the 37 games in which a technical foul was assessed against Gregg Popovich since the 2005-2006 season, Popovich’s Spurs had a positive foul-difference of 80 after his getting T’ed. During these 37 games, the Spurs had more fouls called against them in the quarter after Popovich’s technical only 3 times (8%), while enjoying a positive or neutral foul advantage 92% of the time.

    Is this a difference maker?

    So do these trends actually translate to wins? It turns out that they do.

    There were 9 games during which the Spurs were losing at the time that Popovich got called for a technical but then went on to win the game.

    To put it another way, the Spurs come from behind to win 39% of the time after Popovich gets a technical.



    Here are the raw stats.