Coming at second place at our top 5 list is a basketball hoop far different from the rest on this list not because it is any worse but because it is so much cheaper. Lifetime is a brand that doesn’t compromise quality but also tries to bring down the price as much as possible for people to enjoy quality basketball systems at an affordable price. Still, it can’t rival models like the Silverback NXT but it also really don’t have to. The Lifetime 1526 portable hoop is made to appeal to parents who want to get a nice present for their kids. Even so, if you agree on not to dunk on this thing, adults can join the game of ball too. In other words, this is the perfect balance between a well-priced hoop and one that will make your kids want to play more and more. Below we will review some of the most important features of the 1529 and show you what makes it such a great seller on today’s market.
Our Verdict: We recommend the Lifetime 1529 portable basketball system to any family who loves playing ball and wants something that won’t tear a hole in their budget. While it’s not a system we would recommend for the serious player or for adults in need of a model they can use for their Sunday pickup game, it is sturdy enough for children and young teens or the family who loves playing ball together.
Continue reading to learn why this portable system scored so well and how it handles during an intense pickup game.
Table of Contents
Features That Make It Stand Out
Lifetime isn’t a company that is as well-known as major brands such as Spalding, but they do have a reputation in the industry for creating affordable, family-friendly portable basketball hoops. Of course, in order to keep the price so low, the manufacturer had to make some design compromises, such as using a backboard made out of polycarbonate instead of tempered glass, and adding a smaller base.
This particular system scored well with families, but features some design flaws that can negatively impact the system’s stability.
While everything in this product will feel great for its price, don’t expect it to appeal to professional basketball players or anyone who is used to high-quality premium hoops. Still, for what you are paying it’s a bargain. Let’s find out why…
With a portable system, the size of the base is everything. A larger base equals improved stability during use.
The base of this system isn’t the biggest and that is one of the main reasons you can’t really dunk or touch the hoop a lot. Compared to other 50 gallon bases, this one seems small at only 27. Of course, if you fill this volume with sand it will still weight a lot but with basketball system bases the more gallons a base fits, the sturdier the whole system usually is. In other words, for your kids this will be more than enough.
The small base also means that bad weather and dunk are a big no-no for this system. Luckily, it is easily transportable and the height is adjustable in a fast manner so you will be able to get it back into the garage in no time.
The pole system is a three-piece set which has a rust resistant coating. That prolongs the life of the pole system and feels like a nice touch on a budget product. If anything happens, though, there is a full 5 years warranty covering the whole product from Lifetime. This by itself is a huge selling point since most people like longer warranties and the longer one gets the more well-built you usually think the product is. That is entirely correct with the 1529 System since everything in it is sturdy and well engineered in terms of rigidity.
That three-piece construction allows for height adjustments with only 6 inch increments. The height can vary from 8 to 10 feet. This is great since, for example, your kids are constantly growing and you want them to strive for higher and higher dunks and/or shots. That way, you will be able to “raise the bar” a little higher each season.
Now, don’t get us wrong, this pole system is great for transportation and adjustability but two-piece and one-piece sets are far sturdier due to the lack of connection points in the metal.
This part of the system is quite nice since it is a full 50 inches in diameter and is made of polycarbonate. Lifetime has opted for this material instead of tempered glass. This is made for durability against things kids can do but it lacks the performance of a tempered glass backboard. Still, this is perhaps the strongest point of this basketball hoop and at this price it is one of the best backboards in terms of durability.
While polycarbonate is known for it’s durability, especially compared to tempered glass, a polycarbonate backboard can be viewed as a drawback since it lacks the type of responsiveness most seasoned basketball players prefer.
Now, Lifetime advertises their rim system as a “slam it” rim but we suggest you do anything but slamming on it. Sure, there is a compression spring which will allow the rim to take a slight beating but this spring can rust and it is better not to hit the rim hard or hang on it. In order to prevent the compression spring from rusting, avoid leaving the system out year-round, or cover it with a large tarp.
Learn how to build your own basketball court by clicking here.
If you’re looking for a pro-quality portable basketball system the adults can enjoy, this model isn’t it. The smaller base makes this model unsuitable for dunking or rough pickup games.
Additionally, the choice of material used for the backboard takes away from it’s responsiveness. Polycarbonate simply doesn’t have the type of bounce most older players are looking for.
Adults who plan on dunking on this hoop should think twice. Even a basic layup causes the backboard to shake. The three-piece pole design, combined with the smaller base, both hinder the system’s stability. What you use to fill the base up will also have an impact of the system’s stability. Most buyers recommend using sand since the waterline is relatively low. Filling the base above the waterline is not recommended because it will cause the base to leak.
In high wind conditions it has been reported that this model can easily blow over. So, if you live in a windy part of the country or expect inclement weather, this system will last much longer if it’s properly stored in a garage when not in use.
The Courtside can also struggle if the pole is accidentally bumped during a game, making the entire system rock back and forth.
Basically, this model is a better choice for kids and teens.
Considering the smaller base, this system is easier to transport and store away, unlike models that are equipped with a larger base.
While it can’t handle an intense pickup game with adults, it works well for smaller children and young teens.
If you’re searching for a serious system for training, you’ll need to keep looking.
To find out more interesting facts and get a ton of insight on basketball hoops visit our dedicated Buyer’s Guide. There, you will find other top models and learn some great tips on the matter.
Now, let’s check some of the pros and cons of the Lifetime 1529:
- Great value for money
- Great adjustability
- Very rigid considering the price point
- Quality materials
- 27 gallon base, enough for light play or for kids
- Great for kids and beginner ball players
- Made In The USA
- Isn’t sturdy enough for dunks or more contact play
- Construction can wobble under stress due to the many pieces
- Polycarbonate backboard
- Three-piece pole design
- The base isn’t big enough
- The ring spring might catch rust over time since its an exposed metal
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