The 71526 basketball hoop system by Lifetime comes complete with a fifty-four-inch shatterproof backboard and vivid graphics that feature a protective UV coating to ensure the graphics do not fade over time. This is one of Lifetime’s best-selling models for all the right reasons. Aside from the low price, this model features top of the line components, and a durable design that will ensure that this hoop system can handle dunking, an intense game, and whatever mother nature can throw at it.
Our Verdict: If you’re looking for a pro-quality setup, then this model delivers. It features a shatterproof fifty-four-inch backboard and Slam it rim, which makes it perfect for older kids, teens, and adults who love to play hard and practice their dunking skills. This model is reasonably priced, versatile, and easy to install. It comes with a thick powder-coated steel frame that’s designed to easily handle the elements. The backboard features vivid graphics, which are protected with a powerful UV coating which will prevent the graphics from fading over time. The durable design of the frame, combined with the shatterproof backboard and Slam it rim shows me that this is a setup that will work for the serious player, however, it will also be a great buy for the family looking for a versatile model that will work for players of all ages.
Overview and Features
Lifetime offers a wide range of the best wall-mounted basketball hoops in different sizes with backboards made out of tempered glass, polycarbonate, and acrylic. This model has an acrylic backboard, which is middle of the road in terms of quality. It’s not as fragile as polycarbonate and will not chip, crack, or shatter, but it’s not quite as tough as tempered glass. This model also comes with a heavy-duty frame that’s powder-coated to increase durability and protect the frame from rusting due to exposure to the elements.
The frame is made out of high-quality steel and comes complete with a Slam It pro rim complete with a double compression spring system that provides the right amount of give and flex for dunking. This system is a perfect choice for the player who is looking for a pro-quality setup, at a price that’s reasonable.
If you’re looking for a model that will allow you to develop as a player, working on your jump shot skills, and dunking skills, then this pro setup is a great option and one that you won’t quickly outgrow. To learn more about tips and tricks that can help you develop your skills out on the court, click here to read my article on how to get better at dribbling.
If you’re shopping around, you’ll run into plenty of backboards that are made out of thin polycarbonate with a basic aluminum frame. Clearly, those are the sets that aren’t designed to take a beating. If you’re looking for a system that can rival many top of the line, higher-priced basketball hoops, then your search is over.
The thick powder-coated stainless steel frame is designed to take a beating. Competing models are made from thinner steal. Just one look at this setup and you can tell that this model is designed for dunking and under hoop work. The black hammer tone powder coating will protect the frame from rain and snow, preventing rusting, even if you live in a part of the country that experiences harsh winters.
The padding is located along the bottom of the backboard and designed to prevent injuries if you’re working under the hoop or when you’re dunking.
The fifty-four-inch backboard is shatterproof and made out of acrylic, so it offers better than average rebound action, that’s comparable to that of tempered glass. While the acrylic may seem very thin, its durable design will prevent cracks, chipping, and of course, shattering. The backboard also has a UV coating that will prevent the graphics from fading due to harsh sunlight.
The hoop’s tough rim is the patented Lifetime Slam It rim. This rim is designed to handle dunking, like a champ. The double-compression spring design provides just the right amount of flex and give to allow you to easily dunk hard. This is an arena-style rim that comes complete with wraparound bracing for ultimate durability.
This model is covered by a five-year product warranty.
The included instructions are very detailed so they will walk you through each step of the process. Installation is a pretty straightforward process. Considering how heavy the frame is, this is definitely a two-person job. One person will need to hold the backboard up in place while the other installs the mounting hardware. This model can be installed onto a pole, the roof, or a wall.
The mounting hardware is sold separately. This can be a big drawback for the family on a tight budget. You’ll need to take into consideration the extra expense of the mounting hardware before you buy. You can only use Lifetime brand hardware. The price of the mounting hardware will vary depending on how much adjustability you’re looking for. The basic hardware that leaves the backboard fixed in place will be the most affordable. The price of the hardware will depend on how adjustable the hardware is. If you have small children, then you can purchase hardware that will allow you to lower and raise the backboard from six or seven and a half feet up to ten feet. Or you can simply purchase the basic hardware mounting kit and keep the hoop fixed in place at ten feet.
If you’re new to the sport, then this is a great hoop system to use for practice at home. The backboard is the perfect size and offers the right amount of rebound that closely mimics what you’ll find on hoop systems at the gym. The backboard is well-built, thanks to the acrylic material. The solid frame keeps the system securely in place, so you won’t have to worry about the backboard shaking or moving when you dunk.
Taking a shot off the backboard, you’ll find that it offers excellent rebound, which is always a huge plus. The rim is quality all the way and offers the perfect amount of flex when you dunk, even if you’re guilty of hanging on too long after. If you’re looking for the right gear and accessories for your new home basketball court, be sure to stop by and read my article on do you need a good basketball? This is a great read, especially if you’re on a team and you want a pro-quality setup for your home court.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Slam it rim
- Acrylic backboard
- Low price
- Powder-coated frame
- UV protected graphics
- Easy installation
- Does not come with mounting hardware
- Installation is a two-person job
Lifetime Versus Spalding 79354 Backboard/Rim Combo with 48-Inch Polycarbonate Backboard
The competing hoop system by Spalding is giving this model a run for its money. Obviously, Spalding is one of the leading brands in the industry. They feature a wide range of basketballs, basketball gear, in-ground, portable, and wall-mounted basketball systems. Their latest model to hit the market is a forty-eight-inch hoop that features a polycarbonate backboard complete with padding located beneath the backboard for added protection. Right away, you’ll note that this polycarbonate backboard isn’t quite as durable as the Lifetime’s backboard, which is made out of acrylic and features a shatterproof design. Additionally, the smaller forty-eight-inch backboard may be too small for some players and is a better fit for older kids and teens, while adults will want to stick with this larger backboard for the 71526.
The rim on the Spalding is made out of 5/8 inches of solid steel and is called the Slam Jam breakaway rim. In terms of quality, the rim is comparable to the Slam It, however, the overall design of this system isn’t anywhere near as durable as the Lifetime model. Considering the smaller backboard, it’s priced slightly lower, however, if you’re looking for a pro-quality setup, then I’d stick with the model by Lifetime.
Conclusion and Rating
This model by Lifetime is a steal for the price, especially for the family on a budget. It features a pro-quality design that can handle rough play and dunking. The backboard offers excellent rebound action, while the padding under the backboard will help to prevent injuries when you’re working under the hoop or when dunking. This model is pretty versatile and can be used to replace an old backboard on an in-ground system by the same manufacturer, or you can mount it to a wall or the garage. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.