In-ground, court, or combo? We’ve got all the info you need to find the backboard that’s right for you.
How To Buy Basketball Systems
Some people feel a house is not a home without a basketball hoop in their driveway. Manufacturers have made it easier than ever to find the type of setup that fits your space and playing style. The type of backboard system you buy depends on whether you’re up for a serious game of basketball or you’re just looking to shoot around, and it also depends on who will be playing on the basketball system.
3 Types of Basketball Systems
There are basically three types of basketball systems you can purchase, portable systems, in-ground pole systems, and combination systems.
- These are stand-alone units that incorporate the base, pole with adjustable bracket, backboard, and rim into one system
- They are usually easily adjustable in height and have wheels for moving around
- These are popular because they are portable and do not require extensive installation such as hole digging or securing to an existing structure or pole
- You will have to fill the base with water or sand to provide the necessary weight for stability
- Portable backboard systems are not as sturdy as permanent in-ground systems
In-ground pole systems
- These systems are positioned and cemented in a hole dug in the ground and are permanent
- In-ground systems are more stable than portable systems, but require more work to install
- You can choose to dig and insert a ground sleeve into a hole in the ground and insert the pole for some portability
- The in-ground system will require a minimum of six 90-pound bags of cement to secure in the ground
- These are the type of baskets that can be mounted on the side of the house or garage
- The system generally includes the backboard, rim, net, and mounting kit
- These systems are very permanent. They can not be moved once installed and are challenging to install, but they offer excellent stability.
- An extension mounting kit is usually needed when attaching to a wall so the basket is far enough away to allow safe play
There is a lot more to a basketball hoop than a backboard and a rim. There are many variations of all the essential components.
- Backboards come in a variety of materials, ranging from transparent plastic (Plexiglas ) to acrylic,graphite or a resin material
- Fiberglass and graphite backboards play the most like real indoor baskets but are prone to breakage
- Acrylic backboards look much like regular indoor baskets but are not as rigid as other materials. Most come with a steel frame for support.
- Backboard sizes range from 40 inches to 54 inches, with some as large as 72 inches, with the larger size better for beginners
- Backboard shapes are usually rectangular or fan shaped
- Rectangular give more room to shoot at and generally cost a bit more
- Fan shaped look more streamlined but give less room for bank shots
- Basketball rims are 18 inches in diameter. The rim construction should have a minimum diameter of 5/8 inch and solid steel support braces at least 1/2 inch diameter for durability.
- All rims have net clips to hold on the net
- Welded steel net hooks hold the net more securely and will not break off
- Many of today’s rims feature breakaway net clips to prevent injury
- Look for a spring-loaded rim that gives with pressure, similar to the prostyle baskets
- Another variation is a breakaway rim, which releases the rim from the lip when pressure is put on it. This helps keep the backboard from breaking.
- The net is almost always made from all-weather nylon mesh cord
- It hangs from the rim and is attached by looping it through the net hooks on the rim
Things to Consider
- A prime feature of many home basketball systems is their ability to adjust the height of the rim according to who is playing
- Most adjustable systems, whether in-ground or portable, range from 7.5 feet to 10 feet
- Consider buying an adjustable system if players of different heights and skill levels will be using it
- Look for a system that allows you to adjust it with no tools and little effort. Most systems today can be adjusted by hand or with the push of a broomstick.
- If the ability to move the basket to different places is important, look for a system designed specifically for portability. Just having wheels does not make a system portable.
- Look for a system that folds up to allow it to easily be wheeled to a different spot
- Portable systems are generally a little less stable than fixed systems
- Bases on portable systems need to be filled with water or sand
- Water is easier to empty and refill after moving
- Water also needs to be emptied so it won’t freeze during cold weather
- Sand weighs more and is more stable