Best Portable Basketball Hoop [Budget Friendly]

best portable basketball hoopAs the saying goes, practice makes perfect… and this doesn’t change for basketball.

That’s why finding, and buying the best portable basketball hoop for your required budget can be the catalyst to drastically improving your overall game time.

Whether it just be for a hoop that you want to add to your driveway, or to make it the centrepiece of your backyard court, we have all the options here for you.

Why not also look for some indoor-outdoor versatile basketballs, or an outdoor ball to go with your new hoop?

We set out this buyer’s guide in 3 different price ranges – similar to our in-ground basketball hoop guide.

We focus on Budget, Mid-Range and Deluxe price ranges. Just click the link to get the most up to date prices.

There’s a hoop here for anyone.

Simply use our table of contents to jump to the price range you’re after, or scroll through the entire guide to get a better idea as to what you’re in for at every price.

Comparison Table

ImageProductPrice RangeFeatures 
Lifetime 1531

Budget
  • Best Budget Option - Tough and durable Makrolon Polycarbonate backboard
  • Fantastic budget option which doesn't cost much, but offers performance to last.
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Lifetime 1221

Budget
  • Extremely budget option with a plastic backboard
  • Weak performance, especially for rebounds - but it's price makes up for it
Read More
Spalding Pro Slam

Budget
  • Spalding's exceptionally cheap alternative to their deluxe hoops
  • Performs great, but is very top heavy. Requires sand to ensure no tipping
Read More
Silverback NXT

Mid-Range
  • Mid-Range Pick - not too expensive, but offers supreme quality
  • Engineered to last with a low center of gravity, looks fantastic, and performs spectacularly
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Lifetime 71524XL

Mid-Range
  • Shatterproof and exceptional backboard made with Lifetime's Makrolon material
  • Super easy to adjust, and a heavy duty base to last for years when treatd well
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Spalding NBA

Deluxe
  • Our Overall Pick - supreme balance of price and performance
  • The first on the list that dons tempered glass. This is a hoop for the serious players
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Spalding The Beast

Deluxe
  • One of the all time classic hoops - comes with a huge price tag
  • The largest portable basketball hoop backboard, and made with tempered glass. If you can find it, this is a hoop for the ages
Read More

The Best Portable Basketball Hoops

Budget

These are our recommendations for people who are on a shoe string budget – or just don’t want to spend a whole chunk of money on a basketball hoop. Whilst these probably aren’t the best in terms of performance (when compared to the more expensive options), they typically exceed their given price.

Lifetime 1531 Portable Basketball System

Technical Specs
Backboard48 inch
MaterialMakrolon Polycarbonate
Height8′ – 10′
Base31 Gallons
RimSlam-It Rim

The first option, and our top pick for best portable basketball hoop under $300 is Lifetime’s 1531 model. You really get a bang for your buck here.

First off, the system is extremely durable; with some reviews claiming it won’t show visible wear and tear for years.

Like most hoops in this price range, don’t expect a realistic gym-feel backboard. The Makrolon polycarbonate is a little bit springy – but does not impede on overall game play. However, because it’s made with this material, it means that the backboard is shatterproof and will withstand a serious beating.

The Quick Adjust II height adjustment mechanism allows the hoop to adjust from 8′ to 10′ in 6″ increments. It requires a broomstick to adjust, and can be a little tricky to get used to. However, once adjusted, the hoop remains stable.

Can you dunk on it? Lightly.

The basketball system comes with a Slam-It Rim which is a double compression spring-back rim that will withstand some dunking.

Be aware though, the base is only 31 gallon. Filled with either water or sand, hanging onto the rim could see the entire hoop tip over (depending on your force, and body weight).

Two wheels to aid portability, and a UV protected base to ensure the plastic doesn’t crack in the sunlight, this is a great hoop for people with a small budget.

We will note that the hoop may seem a little tricky to assemble, but if you properly follow the instructions, you won’t have any issues.


Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball System

Technical Specs
Backboard44 inch
MaterialHigh Density Polyethylene
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base27 Gallons
RimFixed

If you’re strapped for cash, heavily budgeting, or just want to get a cheap gift for a basketball player – you need to look at the Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball System.

This hoop is usually purchase-able under the $100 mark – cheap as chips.

First, it’s consistently one of Amazon’s best selling portable basketball hoop. Not only does this mean it’s always in high demand, but there are a tonne of reviews to look at to get a better idea of how suitable the hoop is if you’re still unsure.

Like most portable hoops, it can be adjusted from 7.5ft to 10ft in 6 inch increments. This uses a telescoping mechanism that needs a little bit of effort to adjust. Also, being a telescopic form, it’s not the most durable pole on this list.

The 44″ impact backboard is also made with HDPE plastic, that is fade resistant to survive the harsh weather elements. Although it’s not a backboard that provides a very effective rebound, it is definitely worth more than the price suggests.

This particular hoop also disassembles easily for ease of portability. Also built with two large alloy wheels to wheel it around if needed!

It’s not really the best option for an experienced basketball player, but definitely a great portable basketball hoop for beginners.

Extremely affordable, and extremely versatile, it’s a dirt cheap option to consider.


Spalding Pro Slam Portable Basketball Hoop

Technical Specs
Backboard54 inch
MaterialAcrylic
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base34 Gallons
RimPro Slam Breakaway

Want a hoop made by Spalding but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg? The Spalding 54″ Pro-Slam (also advertised as the 66291 model) is definitely the pick for you.

The biggest different that stands out straight away is that the backboard on this system is a larger 54″, and also made from an Acrylic Plexiglass. Yet again, you won’t get the most authentic gym feel with this material, however, it’s a much better alternative to polycarbonate.

To aid safety, there is padding underneath the steel backboard. This is mainly put in place to protect players during layups, dunks, or contested rebounds.

Another thing you’ll see straight away about the design is the angled pole that Spalding use. This is put in place to ensure maximum playing area underneath the rim, without worry that you’ll slam into the pole.

The downside to this, however to ensure maximum stability is to use sand in the base. Because the hoop is so top heavy, ensuring a strong foundation will stop the hoop from tipping (which can happen upon dunking). There have also been concerns about the base cracking over time. Sand is definitely the best option to keep it down.

Finally, the rim itself will take light dunking due to it’s break-away style. However, when compared to other rims on this list, Spalding’s Pro-Slam rim has been subject to durability issues.

Adjustable from 7.5′ up to 10′ in 6 inch increments (like the prior hoops on this list), it offers everything you expect from a hoop in this price range.

It’s not perfect, but it’s far better than some of the alternatives offered at this price point.


Mid-Range

Love basketball, want to spend a bit more on a high quality portable basketball hoop? This price range usually offers a great balance of price vs performance. For the more intermediate players.

Silverback NXT Portable Basketball Hoop

Technical Specs
Backboard54 inch
MaterialAcrylic
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base35 Gallons
RimLight Spring-Loaded Rim

On the face of it, it may seem that the Silverback NXT offers the same specs as far cheaper hoops. In reality, however, spending the extra few hundred dollars is completely worth it.

This is a hoop of the highest quality, engineered to last. As soon as you open the box, this hoop screams quality.

It features a 35-gallon base designed to add weight exactly where it’s needed. Adjustable height from 7.5′ to 10′ that almost anyone over the age of 8 can easily adjust, and a covered breakaway rim that will take light dunking.

The pole is made with a powder coated steel to withstand the elements, and the base with a plastic supported by a steel frame.

Visually, the biggest outstanding feat is the infinity edge that wraps around the backboard for increased rigidity. This gives the hoop an extremely clean look.

Say good-bye to rattling hoops after every shot.

Stability is at a maximum here. The Stabili-Frame offers steel-on-steel connection between base and pole to keep the entire hoop stable throughout play.  Further, the entire design creates a very low center of gravity to ensure that the hoop doesn’t tip.

Assembly is also the easiest in this list. Every part is numbered, the the instructions that are provided are simple. Silverback state that the hoop can go from box to play in 90 minutes. Still in doubt? There’s  a YouTube assembly video provided as well!

This isn’t a cheap hoop – but based on what you’re buying, it’s well worth the money. Arguably the best portable basketball hoop on this list.


Lifetime 71524 XL Portable Basketball Hoop

Technical Specs
Backboard54 inch
MaterialMakrolon Polycarbonate
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base35 Gallons
RimSlam-It Pro

Another hoop by Lifetime – and it’s another hoop that offers a fantastic balance of price vs performance. Although slightly pricier than Lifetime’s alternatives, the Lifetime 71524XL still won’t overly break the bank.

This particular hoop features a large and thick 54″ shatterproof backboard made with Makrolon Polycarbonate to best mimic glass, without actually being glass. This is the same material Lifetime use in their lower ranged hoops as well.

Arguably the easiest adjusting mechanism made by Lifetime – the Power-Lift adjusts the hoop between 7.5′ and 10′ with the squeeze of a handle. It really is that easy.

The base is of 35-Gallon capacity, made with heavy duty plastic that is also designed to withstand the sun’s harsh UV rays. Typically, it works quite well. However, there have been reports of cracking over a period of time. Sand is the best material that can still be used where hairline cracks form.

The Slam-It Pro Rim is also an excellent spring-back rim that will take some dunking. Ideally, you shouldn’t be hanging on onto the rim though.

Finally, we note the hoop is a little difficult to put together without the know how – so could prove troublesome for the lay man due to the lack of instructions. However, it’s not the most difficult assembly in the world, and a bit of fidgeting will eventually see the hoop assembled.

This is a heavy duty, rugged Lifetime basketball hoop absolutely made to fit your needs; balancing a great price that will last for years on end!


Deluxe

The cream of the crop. When looking for the best portable basketball hoop on the market, these offer absolutely everything you can possibly want. A higher price range, but far superior quality. These are for the serious players.

Spalding NBA Portable Basketball System

Technical Specs
Backboard54 inch
MaterialTempered Glass
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base40 Gallons
RimArena Slam

My word. If you want an amazing balance of price and performance, whilst donning an absolutely deluxe hoop that feels like a gym hoop; then you can’t go past this.

The Spalding NBA Portable Basketball Hoop is the first on this list to have a tempered glass backboard. This is a HUGE differentiator between this and it’s market competitors. Glass, as explained lower in this article, is what the very best backboards are made from.

54″ is a seriously large size for any portable basketball hoop. However, the backboard on this model is held up and supported by four strut mounts. Not only does this minimise vibrations – but it supports slightly heavier dunking.

This is in conjunction with the extremely durable and heavy duty Arena Slam breakaway rim. The entire system is made to last.

A completely filled 40 gallon base will give you the assurance that this hoop will not move throughout play – nor where there is a huge gust of wind. Stability is seemingly at a maximum here.

However, with such a complex and mammoth of a system – assembly is usually classed as very difficult. Arguably, this is the only downside to the hoop. If you are unable to get a professional to assemble this hoop, just be aware that with no prior experience, this could take up to 5 hours to completely assemble from the box.

Overall, this system is far better than any of the lower end acrylic or composite backboards. The best portable basketball hoop for driveways and your backyard.


Spalding “The Beast” Portable Basketball System

Technical Specs
Backboard60 inch
MaterialTempered Glass
Height7.5′ – 10′
Base50 Gallons
RimPro Image

Here is an absolute classic. Almost a permanent fixture on every single list that you see when looking for a portable basketball hoop. Spalding’s The Beast.

There is a reason this is named ‘The Beast.’ If you’ve got a budget and really want to splurge, this is an absolutely immense hoop that should be on any baller’s list.

Sometimes it may seem that this hoop won’t suit residential houses and backyards – but we can assure you it will. The 60″ backboard seems imposing, but it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a regulation size 72″ backboard when it comes to portable systems.

Tempered glass is also the least you should be expecting at this price point – and The Beast has it. Excellent performance that almost mimics a gym hoop.

This hoop also has an extremely durable Pro Image breakaway rim that will withstand all forms of dunking. Add to this an enormous 50+ Gallon base fillable with either water or sand, the hoop is a force to be reckoned with.

You can probably see a grey area in the image of the hoop. The angle on this grey front insert is there to act as a ball rebounder. Although it’s not the greatest rebounder in the world, it’s a nice touch.

Finally, stability and support of the backboard is at a maximum. The 4 point Z-arms are designed to support the backboard to minimise vibrations throughout play – keeping the hoop stable at all times.

This is a seriously expensive hoop, but you’re truly getting the best here. The issue? It’s typically hard to come by. Amazon rarely have it in stock anymore, so best to keep an eye on it.


Factors to Look Out For

The Height

This isn’t really a big factor at all to be honest. We just thought it was necessary to include based on customer feedback.

All hoops on this list are adjustable (typically between 7.5′ to 10′). Play to the height you’re comfortable with.

Want the regulation height? Then adjust your hoop to the maximum 10ft height. NBA and most professional basketball leagues play with a hoop that is 10ft high off the ground. Keep this in mind as you train.

Backboard Size

Due to the large amount of brands and models out on the market, naturally there are a significant number of different backboard shapes, materials and sizes. The final two are mostly determined by the hoop’s price point.

The smallest hoop that you can get of a decent quality starts at 44″. Similarly, the largest backboard we were able to find (that’s not an in-ground hoop) was 60″.  In reality though, regulation requires an official backboard to be 72 inches.

If you want this, you’ll need to buy an in-ground hoop (obviously something that is almost impossible to move around).

Similarly, when it comes to backboard shapes, the only two you’ll see are rectangular and fan shaped hoops. Fan shaped hoops are usually designed for more beginner players. Our definite recommendation is to make sure you get a rectangular backboard (just like every option on this list).

Backboard Material

There are four major types of material that backboards are made of. As you’d expect, the higher the price range, the better performance you should expect.

Plastic

Plastic, HDPE and the like are what the cheapest portable basketball hoops come with. Whilst the performance lacks, it will suit anyone on a tight budget.

As expected, these backboards are super durable, and will only damage slowly over time due to sunlight. It’s next to impossible to shatter.

However, you will hear a large thunk every time the ball hits it. It won’t provide a very gym like rebound. Be aware that quality here is definitely inferior to the more expensive hoops.

A Summary by Spalding

Polycarbonate

Following plastic, you’ll often see backboards made with polycarbonate (or Makrolon as advertised by Lifetime). This is definitely a much better option, without much of a price hike.

Shatterproof and extremely durable. These backboards will last a very very long time. Polycarbonate is arguably the minimum you should expect in a hoop.

Again though, the rebound will feel dampened, and not authentic to gym feel.

Acrylic

Typically, this is the next step up in hoop backboards. A pricier option, and acts much more like a gym hoop.

Most middle tier and top tier hoops are made with an acrylic backboard due to the decent rebounding properties it has.

It’s arguably the middle ground between glass and the cheaper alternatives.

Tempered Glass

If you want to take a serious plunge in finding the very best portable basketball hoops on the market, then you absolutely need to get tempered glass. It’s what most in-ground hoop backboards are made of, and what the deluxe hoops should have.

This is the real deal, and the closest you’ll get to a gym feel.

Naturally, with tempered glass, it is less durable to the plastic alternatives. However, tempered glass backboards usually come with a very solid foundation to offset the weight caused by a backboard of this magnitude.

If you want the best, get tempered glass.

If you want to treat yourself, get tempered glass.

The Base

A stock base

Another huge factor to consider is the overall size and weight of the base in comparison to the overall size and weight of the hoop. Typically, cheaper systems are lighter, and thus only need a smaller base to hold it down.

However, having a small system overall will see it swing and sway in the wind, and won’t take any decent dunking.

The best basketball systems, on the other hand, are enormous fixtures that weight a lot by itself. In conjunction, they usually come with a 35+ gallon base.

All of the above will fill with either sand or water. Our absolute recommendation is to fill it with sand. The plastic tends to crack over time, irrespective of the hoop you get – which will see water seep out.

Get some sand to increase the foundation of the hoop, and to ensure that leakage isn’t an issue.

Another tip is to always include anti-freeze with your water mixture. When the weather drops, and the water freezes, the base will expand and contract. This will seriously damage the plastic of the base.

Adding anti-freeze will stop the water from freezing over, and from expanding.

The Pole

The pole is the backboard of any good portable basketball system. Whilst one-piece poles exist, and are the most stable options out there, you won’t find them for portable basketball hoops.

The thicker the pole, and the less pieces there are usually correlates to increased durability and stability. The last thing you need is for the hoop to rattle after every shot. Or worse, collapse upon itself.

Final Words and Recommendation

Want a hoop that is durable in the weather and stable during play?

For us, we think that the Spalding NBA Portable Basketball hoop – with it’s tempered glass backboard – offers serious performance for it’s price.

Whilst there are a whole heap of cheaper options, we definitely recommend that you avoid looking in the bargain bin.

You get what you pay for.

If you’ve had an experience with any of the hoops aforementioned, whether positive or negative – feel free to drop us a message!

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