A basketball system can be one of the best additions to your home, whether it’s for you and your buddies, or just for the kids. But shopping around for the best in-ground basketball hoops can be a time-consuming task, considering there are literally dozens of models on the market, each claiming to offer the type of durability and adjustability you need from this type of permanent setup. So, where do you even start?
I’ve created a buyer’s guide that includes information concerning all the important features that you need to pay attention to, in addition to my top six product list. The comparison chart below will showcase each model’s best features, how it rated, and other pertinent information that you’ll want to know before you hit that buy now button.
In-Ground Basketball Hoops Comparison Chart
Lifetime Adjustable Basketball Hoop
This model is designed for high-intensity play, featuring a rugged and durable design, complete with a fifty-four-inch backboard made out of polycarbonate material. The power life height adjustment feature will take this model from seven and a half feet up to ten feet, which is regulation height. The slam it rim comes with a double compression spring, which makes it safe for dunking. The blow-molded frame pad for the backboard will provide much-needed protection for under the hoop work. The system itself is covered by a five-year product warranty, which is a huge selling point for most buyers.
- Fifty-four-inch backboard
- All-weather net
- Blow-molded frame padding
- Slam-it rim
- Poor installation instructions
This height-adjustable hoop system comes with all the features the serious player is looking for, including a slam-it rim, padding on the frame for player safety, a durable design, and a power lift pole that allows the user to easily raise or lower the backboard for a game with the kids or adults. This type of adjustability will also allow the kids to grow with the hoop, unlike fixed models that are not kid-friendly.
Silverback In-Ground Basketball Hoop
This is an arena-style basketball system that includes anchor mounting, which offers the option to unbolt and move the goal and the strength of concrete. The large backboard measures in at sixty inches and is made out of tempered glass for ultimate durability. The included breakaway rim features the pro-style flex design that will allow you to dunk on the hoop without damaging the backboard or the rim itself. This model is also covered under a five-year warranty, which included the backboard padding. The powder-coated steel frame will protect this model from the elements, preventing rust and damage caused by constant UV exposure. This model is also height adjustable. To lower or raise the height, use the included crank to move the backboard from seven and a half feet, up to ten feet.
- Backboard padding
- Height adjustable
- Breakaway rim
- Durable design
- Five-year warranty
- Complicated assembly process
This model features the pro-quality tempered glass backboard and a powder-coated construction that will provide protection to the hoop system’s structure, preventing rust growth and damage caused by UV exposure. Adjusting the height is fast and easy and allows both kids and adults to join in on the fun. Considering its durability, you can also dunk on this model, without the fear of shattering the backboard or damaging the rim. Basically, this system is pro-quality all the way.
Spalding NBA In-Ground Basketball System
This height-adjustable model comes with a backboard that measures in at fifty-four inches. The backboard is made out of tempered glass, with aluminum trim, for increased durability. The frame of the backboard is made out of stainless steel and accented with aluminum. Also included is a pro-quality breakaway rim with a flex design that allows you to dunk on the rim without damaging it or shattering the backboard. The height of the pole can be adjusted from seven and a half feet up to the ten-foot regulation height. This is done using the U-turn lift crank, which comes with a detachable handle. The detachable handle is a must-have safety feature if you have small children in the home.
- Height adjustable
- Detachable handle is an excellent safety feature
- Tempered glass backboard
- Breakaway rim
- Adjusting the height can be difficult
This pro-quality setup is perfect for players of all ages. If you want to practice your dunking skills, you can, thanks to the tempered glass backboard, combined with the breakaway rim. The two-foot overhang will give larger players plenty of space under the hoop, while the pole padding will protect players from injuries. The durable, powder-coated frame will not move, shake, or wobble during use.
Goalrilla GS54 In Ground Basketball Hoop
The large fifty-four-inch tempered glass backboard is responsive, durable, and offers the pro-quality performance that will allow you to get more out of every shot. This model is also adjustable, so the backboard will go from seven and a half feet up to ten feet. Adjusting the height of the backboard is fast and easy, thanks to the large built-in hand crank. The pole is powder-coated for improved durability. The powder-coating protects the pole from rust, corrosion, and UV exposure. This hoop system is covered by a lifetime warranty, which is nothing short of impressive and goes to show this company stands behind their products.
- Tempered glass backboard
- Fifty-four-inch backboard
- Powder-coated frame and pole
This model is built to last. The tempered glass backboard is designed to handle dunking and heavy-duty use, without chipping, cracking, or shattering. This is a pro-quality setup that’s highly adjustable, so players of all sizes and ages can join in on the fun. The biggest drawback for this hoop system is the steep price, but considering this model is covered by a lifetime warranty, durable construction, and pro-quality components, this system is definitely worth every penny.
Lifetime 90020 Height Adjustable In-Ground Basketball System
This model features a forty-eight-inch backboard that’s made out of Makralon polycarbonate. This material is said to be shatterproof, but is not quite as durable as tempered glass, nor is it able to offer the same level of responsiveness that some players are looking for. This model is height adjustable and can go from seven and a half feet up to ten feet, using six-inch increments. The powder-coated pole is rust-resistant, while the all-weather nylon net is designed to remain hung up all year round and will not fall apart, grow mold, or rot due to constant exposure to the elements. The eighteen-inch slam it rim features a half-inch steel brace, complete with double compression, which makes it safe for dunking.
- Slam-it rim
- Shatterproof backboard
- Height adjustable
- All-weather net
- Polycarbonate backboard is not as responsive as tempered glass
- Forty-eight-inch backboard is much smaller than what you’ll find on a pro-quality setup
This is a durable system, one that comes with a smaller than average backboard that’s made out of polycarbonate. This can be a dealbreaker for some potential buyers, especially those who are looking for a more pro-quality setup. Unlike competing systems that require you to make height adjustments in eight-inch increments, this system allows you to adjust the height using six-inch increments, which makes it a better choice for those with younger children. If you’re on a tight budget, this model is a great buy, however, the lower price reflects the smaller backboard, which can be an issue for the serious player.
DOMINATOR Goal Adjustable Height Aluminum In-Ground Basketball Hoop
The Dominator is made out of aluminum, which is a naturally rust-proof material. The brushed finish aluminum frame is designed to handle the elements and heavy-duty use. The massive seventy-two-inch backboard is regulation size and made out of tempered glass. A backboard of this size will take up plenty of room, but it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for the same size and style of backboard that’s used at school, the gym, or in the NBA. The seven crank system allows you to adjust the height of the backboard from seven and a half feet up to ten feet.
- Seventy-two-inch backboard
- Aluminum frame
- Height adjustable
- Will take up a lot of space
- Difficult assembly
The Dominator is a best-seller for a variety of reasons. However, the massive backboard, while regulation size, can take up too much space, so it’s not a great choice if you have a smaller driveway or patio. The height-adjustable design allows people of all ages to enjoy a game of hoops, however, the system can only be raised or lowered using seven height options. This can be very limiting for some people. So, if you’re looking for an in-ground hoop system just for the kids, this NBA style model may be overkill, however, the adult b-ball players in the home will definitely fall in love.
In-Ground Basketball Hoops Buyer’s Guide
Having a large driveway, or a patio that you can use as your home basketball court is a dream for many players. But if you’re tight on space, then an in-ground system is not the best option. Additionally, if you rent your home instead of owning it, then your landlords may not allow you to install this type of system since it’s permanent.
But for homeowners with plenty of space, this type of setup is the best option, since it’s incredibly stable and offers the same type of feel as the courts at school or at the gym. But because these systems are permanent, you’ll need to carefully survey your property and take measurements to ensure you have the room for this type of setup.
The first step is determining what type of system is right for you. There are a number of combinations and styles to choose from, but there are a variety of factors you’ll need to consider, such as backboard material, height adjustability, and location. Below, I’ll discuss the many style options available, what features you need in a system that’s designed to handle heavy-duty use and the benefits of owning one of these systems.
This guide is specifically dedicated to in-ground systems, which consist of a large pole, backboard, rim, and net. These systems are chosen over wall-mounted and portable basketball hoops because they’re more durable and low-maintenance. You’ll have more room to play, you won’t have to worry about the hoop tipping over, and you can actually dunk on them. These systems are more expensive than portable and wall-mounted models, but they’re also more stable, durable, and will last significantly longer.
If you’re a serious player, someone who’s dedicated to practicing their dribbling drills daily, perfecting their shot technique, and you need a pro setup that’s similar to the hoop systems at school or the gym, then an in-ground system is the best option.
Before you even begin shopping, surveying the different location options around your property will be the best place to start. You’ll need plenty of space for this type of setup. A paved surface will be the best and only option, since playing on softer terrain will have a negative impact on the ball’s bounce and overall responsiveness. Once you have the perfect spot picked out, then you’re ready to look at the different styles available. In-ground systems are permanently set up in your driveway or patio, so choosing one that you know is designed to last will be crucial. The big drawback here is the fact that this system will become a permanent fixture in your yard or driveway. Unlike a portable model, you won’t be able to store the hoop away when you’re done playing for the day. But if you have plenty of space to work with, then this won’t even be an issue.
The type of material that’s used for the backboard will have a huge impact on how the ball rebounds off it and how durable it is. There are a few options available:
- Tempered glass
Tempered glass is the type of material that’s often found on pro setups. The glass will provide a rebound that’s similar to the feel and responsiveness that you’re used to from the hoop systems at the gym.
Acrylic is more affordable compared to tempered glass and it offers similar responsiveness. These backboards are much lighter compared to tempered glass backboards, so they don’t need as much frame support.
Polycarbonate is the cheapest option, yet it’s more durable compared to acrylic and offers similar responsiveness.
The size of the backboard also matters. The size can range from forty-four inches up to seventy-two inches. Seventy-two inches is considered regulation size and it’s what you’ll find on every court in the NBA. Smaller backboards can be a better option if your home court is pretty small. These backboards have a size that ranges between forty-four inches up to fifty-four-inches. Most models have backboards that are designed to save space and can be the perfect choice for a two to three-car driveway. Backboards that are sixty inches can be a great compromise and the perfect midsize option that offers a decent size for banking shots, but it still saves on plenty of space compared to a regulation-sized backboard, which is seventy-two-inches.
The shape of the backboard will either be fan-shaped or rectangular. The rectangular backboards are more common and provide players with the type of space they need to rebound the ball. Fan-shaped models will save on more space but don’t offer the same type of pro-quality playing experience.
The rim used on a standard setup measures in at eighteen inches. Most modern systems will come equipped with a spring-loaded breakaway rim. With lower-priced models, the springs may be exposed. Higher-priced systems will come with springs that are enclosed, which will help to protect the rim from damage caused by exposure to the elements.
The rim on a basketball system is what’s going to experience all the wear and tear, which is why you need to ensure the rim that comes on your system is designed to handle dunking and adult use. Breakaway and static are the two most common types. If you want a rim you can dunk on, make sure the system comes with either a pro-style flex rim or a breakaway rim. These rims are designed to mimic a pro-quality playing experience. The spring mechanisms work by flexing under pressure. This feature will keep you safe by breaking away when you dunk, instead of remaining in a stationary, or static position, which can potentially cause an injury. The spring is what absorbs the shock from dunking and can increase the longevity and durability of the rim.
Static rims are often found on entry-level systems and can be a better option for the family on a tight budget. But you can’t really dunk on this type of rim for safety reasons, and because it can do plenty of damage to the rim and hoop system in general. When you dunk on a static rim, force is exerted to the backboard instead of the pole, which can cause the backboard to shatter or break.
If you’re purchasing an in-ground system, then pay close attention to the type of pole used. Round poles are often found on smaller in-ground setups. These setups may be made out of multiple pieces, which can make them a poor choice for dunking. Square poles tend to handle vibrations and shaking easily and are made out of a single piece of steel that will provide more support for a heavier backboard. Additionally, these poles can also handle dunking.
Most hoops will have a powder-coated or painted finish. The paint can peel or chip, while a powder-coated finish will make the system less prone to rust. It works by protecting the steel from the elements including exposure to UV rays and rainfall.
The overhang on a hoop system refers to the distance from the backboard to the pole. The overhang will allow the player to move under the hoop, without making contact with the pole. Obviously, this is an important safety feature. When combined with thick pole padding, the overhang will protect the player from potential injury. However, too much overhang can also be a bad thing. With too much overhang, the player won’t have the space they need. Additionally, it can also cause the hoop to shake due to the higher weight of the backboard. When you’re checking out this feature, look for an overhang that’s two to four feet. This will provide the best balance of performance and safety. Models that have an overhang of five feet or more can hinder your performance because the weight of the backboard increases shaking in the system.
Models that are height adjustable can be a better option for families with younger children. This allows you to lower the backboard down to a height for the kids, and raise it back up when it’s time for a game with the adults.
Backboard and pole pads can do wonders in terms of protecting players from sharp corners, impact, and can help to minimize injuries.
LED lighting for the hoop can provide more lighting for nighttime play, which can be a big plus for families and friends that love to shoot a game of hoops after the evening meal.
Regardless of the age of your kids, you can find a versatile, adjustable model that will work for the whole family. If your kids currently play on a youth basketball team, then you’ll want to purchase a system that is highly adjustable and allows you to lower it to at least eight feet, which is the regulation height in youth basketball. For younger children, ten to twelve years, look for a model that can be lowered to at least seven and a half feet.
If your child is older and can handle making shots on a regulation ten-foot height, then you may not need a model that’s highly adjustable. While an adjustable system isn’t necessary, it’s still a great feature to have.
Installing In-Ground Systems
In-ground systems are designed to closely replicate the hoop systems the NBA uses, so you’ll enjoy a better playing performance compared to using wall-mounted or portable systems. Many of the in-ground systems come equipped with tempered glass backboards, so they provide more of an authentic feel compared to models with polycarbonate backboards. But while these systems can offer a more pro-quality setup, they also come with a lengthier installation process.
These pole-mounted models must be installed in concrete, for ultimate stability. The installation process is lengthy and will require the use of multiple people and tools. In fact, on average, this type of installation can take four to five days, with three days dedicated to concrete curing. The last day of the installation process involves the actual assembly of the hoop. Once the installation process is complete, you’ll be left with a permanent system that offers ultimate stability compared to other types of hoop systems such as wall-mounted and portable.
Concrete installation will make the hoop system incredibly stable, eliminating the risk of the hoop tipping over or shaking when you’re learning how to dunk. These systems also take up less space compared to large bulky portable models.
If you have no prior experience setting up an in-ground system, you’ve never used concrete before, or you don’t have any help to get the job done, then I recommend having a professional do it for you. If this is the case, you’ll also need to consider the additional cost of installation, which can be pretty pricey. This will definitely be something you’ll want to take into consideration if you’re on a tight budget.
The best in-ground basketball hoops will allow you to get plenty of use out of your new system, for several years to come. These durable, permanent basketball setups will give you the ability to enjoy a fun game of one on one, in the comfort of your own driveway or backyard, so you’ll no longer have to commute to the gym to practice. Aside from convenience, they will allow you to practice for as long as you want, whenever you want. While some of these systems may be a bit pricey, for most buyers, the freedom to play their favorite game at home makes them an important investment. The systems in this guide are designed with durability in mind and can handle dunking, adult and child use, and the elements. So, if you’re looking for a system that you can rely on year after year, I’m confident that you’ll find a model in my top six lineups.