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Buying guide for shopping guide for best swimming pool basketball sets

When summer arrives, everyone looks forward to long days of fun in the sun, and many people choose to spend those days at the swimming pool. While lounging with an umbrella drink and a book may be optimal for some, others take the opportunity to enjoy some fun that’s more active. That’s where a good swimming pool basketball set comes in. You can mimic your favorite NBA stars while staying cool and getting a nice tan at the same time.

Choosing a swimming pool basketball set is something that you might end up doing every year. Some are very inexpensive and designed to last a season, while others are permanently fixed to the pool deck. Whether you want to impress your friends with your skills, or you just want to practice your three-pointers, a swimming pool basketball set can be a great addition to your poolside summer.

Our buying guide has some useful tips, as well as some of our favorites, to help you as you shop.

No need to follow the rules of traditional basketball when using your poolside rim. Making up new rules is part of the fun.

Key considerations

Long-term vs. temporary

How often and how aggressively you plan to use your swimming pool basketball set will dictate how you go about choosing one. Some sets are far more durable than others. Think about how serious you are about your game and it will help you figure out which hoop is the right one for your needs. Take the following factors into consideration when shopping.

Durability

Inexpensive inflatable basketball sets are made of plastic or vinyl. A good number of sets are made of PVC pipe. In others, you’ll find stainless steel used for the rim and parts of the base. Consider whether you want to spend a little extra money to have something that will last longer than plastic.

Poolside vs. floating

Many swimming pool basketball sets are designed to be weighted down, usually with water, so that they sit securely on the edge of the pool. These sets offer a more traditional version of basketball in the pool, Other sets are inflatable toys that float on top of the water. These offer a more dynamic and free-flowing game. Decide if you want something closer to the real game or just some fun in the sun.

Swimming pool basketball set features

Sports equipment differs from other products because the features can have a huge impact on your enjoyment of the game. When looking at all of the available features for swimming pool basketball sets, consider your own game-playing experience. If a feature will make your game more fun, you probably want to consider getting a set that incorporates that feature. Remember safety when looking at these sets, too.

Height: Most of the poolside models range in height from about two feet to over six feet. Although some of them can be adjusted, the majority are designed to be used at a specific height. The height of the hoop you choose will be based on factors like the age of the players and the games you plan to play. Determine if you’re okay with the height of a given hoop before buying.

Some swimming pool basketball sets have a telescopic pole that can be adjusted to be taller or shorter depending on your preference. If you want the ability to play with others with different abilities, you might want to opt for a set with an adjustable pole.

Backboard: Sometimes you just need to dunk the ball. That’s when you need the safety of a shatterproof backboard. The last thing you want in the middle of your pool fun is a bunch of plastic shards floating in the water.

Base: Many of the most popular swimming pool basketball sets are designed with a large, hollow plastic base that is meant to be filled with water to secure the hoop in place. The advantage of a refillable base is that the hoop becomes a semi-permanent fixture at the side of the pool, but when you want to move it, you simply empty the water. A refillable base means your swimming pool basketball set has the benefits of both a permanent set and a temporary one.

Hoop: While the majority of swimming pool basketball sets have a hoop that is smaller than regulation size, and use a smaller ball, there are a few hoops that have a regulation-size rim. That means that you can also use a regulation-size basketball and get in some practice even while you’re at the pool. This can be useful for student athletes who want to practice and enjoy the water at the same time.

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Swimming pool basketball set prices

Inexpensive: Between $5 and $25 you’ll find a number of different swimming pool basketball sets, from inflatable to poolside, for a reasonable price.

Mid-range: This price category runs from $25 to $100. As with the inexpensive range, this one contains most styles of swimming pool basketball sets. This price range includes pool-side baskets made with PVC and plastics that are more heavy-duty than their less-expensive counterparts.

Expensive: If you spend between $100 and $900, you can get a solidly built and durable pool basketball set. Most of these models are poolside units, and some are intended to be permanently affixed to the pool deck.

Tips

  • Play safely. Don’t jump from outside the pool to slam dunk the ball into your basketball hoop. This can result in serious injury. Never push anyone’s head underwater when playing basketball in the pool.

  • Install the hoop properly. If you plan to permanently affix your basketball set to the pool deck, make sure you secure it tightly so it doesn’t come loose during play.

  • Never hang on the rim. Even a shatterproof backboard can be damaged, if it’s subjected to too much weight.

Other products we considered

With so much fun to be had with a swimming pool basketball set, it’s hard to narrow down the choices, so we’ve included a few more options. One inexpensive hoop to consider is the Swimline Giant Shootball Toy. This huge inflatable vinyl hoop is durable and dynamic. In the mid-range category, we like the Gosports Splash Hoop 360. It’s a durable floating hoop with a cool lifesaver look. A more expensive basketball set worth considering is the S.R. Smith BASK-CH Pool Game. This slick-looking hoop attaches directly to your pool deck for a permanent dose of basketball fun.

You may not like the ball that came with your swimming pool basketball set, so feel free to use any ball you want.

FAQ

Q. Are swimming pool basketball sets safe?

A. Yes. As with any piece of recreational equipment used in or around a swimming pool, if used properly, a swimming pool basketball set is perfectly safe.

Q. Is a swimming pool basketball set an effective way to practice for traditional basketball?

A. Not necessarily. Because the size of the ball and the rim are likely smaller than in a traditional basketball game, you won’t get the same experience. Pool basketball sets are intended to be more recreational, but that doesn’t mean they offer no practical benefits. They just aren’t suitable replacements for practicing with the real thing.

Q. If I purchase a swimming pool basketball set that mounts to my deck, do I need to have it professionally installed?

A. No. Most sets come with  instructions that are easy to follow. You can have someone else install it if you prefer, but it’s not necessary.

Q. Are inflatable sets durable enough to withstand extremely rough play?

A. Not necessarily. Although all swimming pool basketball sets are intended for somewhat rough play, they aren’t indestructible.

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The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
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