The best portable basketball hoops make it possible to train all day every day. Plus they provide fun for the whole family! As the late Kobe Bryant once reflected, the only way to be a threat in basketball is to be a good shooter – everything comes from that. It really doesn’t matter how well you can dribble. If you can’t shoot, no one’s going to guard you. And a portable basketball hoop in your driveway is a great way to get up shots and working on your shooting.
So today, we’re going to take a look at a selection of basketball hoops that are great for serious hoopers as well as the whole neighborhood. We’ll highlight their basic features such as their backboard size and material, as well as their height adjustment potential, and how sturdy the base is. We’ll also consider their cost (some are more budget-friendly!), ease of being moved, and durability.
We’ve based our findings off customer reviews to help you find the perfect portable hoop to buy for your needs, based on our experience playing basketball, and based on how other sites such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Chicago Tribune and Money, have rated hoops. Top hoops include the Spalding Ultimate Hybrid, Silverback NXT, Lifetime MVP, and Lifetime 90040.
So what’s important to consider when it comes to picking the right hoop? Keep in mind everything from the hoop’s overall size to its ease of assembly and how durable it is. Here are a few factors to add to your list.
First things, first: the size of the backboard, and how much space the hoop takes up in general are important to consider. Backboard sizes can be anywhere from 48” wide all the way up to 72”. But if you just have a small driveway, you don’t really need something that big.
For more serious hoopers we recommend 54” wide, or bigger as dictated by the amount of space you have. For those just looking to get some shots up and complement other training, and for those just hoping to have some fun 44″ can be fine.
You might be wondering, is a 72-inch backboard too big for a driveway? Unless you have a three car driveway that could be a little much.
When it comes to durability, mostly what we’re concerned with is the backboard material. There are three options:
This is good to know because it helps you decide how sturdy the hoop will be. You don’t want the hoop knocked over in a storm or you might not want it to fall during dunking. And also gives you an idea of how much you’ll pay to fill it up with sand.
The good news is, it shouldn’t take you more than a day of pain to set up any portable hoop. But some are definitely easier than others. Look for hoops with fewer separate parts or where you can purchase assembly as part of the package.
Another consideration is how easy is it to adjust its height and its location, especially for kids. Some hoops have hand cranks, while others have more of a push lever. Most portable hoops come with 2 wheels, but could be more challenging to move based on base shape and contents.
Once you’ve also considered how you plan on using your basketball hoop and how long you want it to last, you’re ready to shop.
Below we’ve pulled together a range of four models for advanced hoopers down to beginner hoopers. Because there are so many portable basketball hoops to chose from, we hope we helped save you a little time. Find the model that’s right for your budget and needs, and bring your hoop dreams to life! For each model we provide a summary, a video or photo so you can see it in action yourself, key features, pros, cons, and price range.
Interest in general tends to be highest for Lifetime portable hoops based on Google search trends, potentially due its lower price tag making it more accessible. You can also see the increase in interest for all types of hoops at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
Let’s get into the break down!
The Spalding Ultimate Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop provides the convenience of a portable system while delivering the high quality rebound experience you’re used to on a professional court. It has an acrylic backboard with arena-style padding and a heavy-duty breakaway rim built for dunking. The Screw Jack lift system helps younger hoopers lower the basket, and the Ultimate Hybrid base takes less time to assemble than a traditional base. It calls for a mix of water and sand (see the base here), which you can load in with no tilting required. This hoop made it into Money‘s top five as well.
Best for: Higher-end experience and price for dedicated hoopers, while still being under $1,000
Reviews: 4.5/5 on Spalding
“Very sturdy. Definitely takes at least 2.5 hours with 2 capable adults to put together, but it was worth it. Looks great on the driveway!”
As an alternative, Spalding also recently launched a new hoop that’s super easy to set up. As SLAM reported, Spalding has continued to, literally, change the game with the perfect avant-garde to their TF Line: the Momentous EZ Assembly Basketball Hoop that assembles in only 30 minutes. But it’s currently sold out.
“We named the hoop Momentous because it will have a significant impact on the future of basketball,” says Ron White, Sr. Director of Global Basketball Systems at Spalding. “Spalding has a 150-year history of continuous innovation to grow the game. Disrupting the basketball hoop category—a category we lead globally—is in our DNA.”
Money rated this one their Editor’s pick runner up, while Chicago Tribune rated this one best bang for the buck. Chicago Tribune considered 104 hoop models and consulted with 158 consumers to find out what they cared about when shopping for basketball hoops.
The Silverback NXT looks nice because of its Infinity Edge backboard, which has edges that wrap around to the back of the backboard for increased rigidity. This hoop also features Stabili-Frame technology, creating sturdiness. Unlike competitor goals, the pole directly connects to the steel frame below the base, increasing the integrity of the structure and its safety. The NXT comes partially assembled with attached hardware, so you just put together the major pieces using only a few required tools. They say it takes approximately 90 minutes to assemble, but many reviewers say 2 hours is more realistic – still that’s faster than other hoops!
Best for: Overall value – perfect for dedicated hoopers and small driveways, and a mid-tier price with simplest do-it-yourself assembly
Reviews: 9.6/10 on Master the Yard
“The Silverback NXT is a portable system that could easily be mistaken for an in-ground hoop. A steel-frame base structure, in addition to the unique slanted pole design, provides superior stability and enables easy relocation around your yard. While the durable infinity backboard adds strength and delivers excellent rebound performance. Plus, a speedy 90-minute assembly time equates to more practice. The only fault we could identify, if we were being picky, is the quality of the single spring breakaway rim (as opposed to double spring). Despite this minor pitfalls, we believe the Silverback NXT is one of the best portable basketball hoops you can find on the market. If you plan on adding the NXT to your yard, prepare to have all the neighbors round too.”
Rated as the best hoop by Dick’s Sporting Goods with over 300 four- and five-star reviews, this hoop is good quality for practice and play at home. It’s all-weather resistant, designed to withstand the harshest elements and is backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty. The Slam-It Rim features double-compression springs so you’re supposed to be able to dunk if you want, but that really depends more on how you fill the base. One of the best and most unique features on this hoop is the user-friendly Power Lift function that makes it easy for kids to adjust the height with just one hand.
Best for: Durable driveway staple at a mid-tier price, great for kids
Reviews: 4.4/5 on Dick’s Sporting Goods. “This has been a good hoop so far. We put it together ourselves – it took two of us about 2.5 hrs with reasonably good tools. It isn’t quick, but if you have the tools, it isn’t particularly hard. The height of the hoop adjust very easily and that is probably our favorite feature. The backboard and rim have more give than I might like – your shots need to be precise! A lot of shots that feel like they should go in go askew because the backboard or the rim shimmy when the ball hits them. Not a deal breaker and will probably make us better shooters in the long run, just something to be aware of. Overall I would recommend it as a good, inexpensive option.”
This one came in handy for us during the pandemic. It’s simple but it’s a great way to get up some shots and practice moves to the basket. This portable basketball system can go anywhere. It features a 44-inch backboard, 3 pieces of black 3-inch round telescoping pole sections, a portable base, and a classic black rim. The backboard, constructed of high-density polyethylene, is durable and rugged to withstand the elements though will get brittle over time in the sun. The rim features a solid steel ring supported by braces and the nylon net is weather resistant so it’ll last for a while. The telescoping pole makes adjusting the rim possible, and a 27-gallon capacity makes for a stable foundation.
Best for: Beginners and hoopers who just want to have fun and are on a budget.
Reviews: 4.7/5 on Lifetime
“Great price for great product. Pros: Stable Base, Quality Construction, Easy To Setup Cons: Difficult To Adjust Best Uses: Residential Use. I would recommend this to a friend. If you have kids who slam dunk hard or want to hang on the hoop, look elsewhere and prepare to pay big bucks. If you just want to play 21, horse, etc. or have a little one on one without all the slamming, this is a great choice. Assembly was easy except for attaching the hoop and backboard to the frame. Directions said two man job, but we sure could have used a third person. Instructions were clear, all parts were there, and you can save a pdf file of the instructions and parts list Great company in my book.”
Once you have your hoop, you’ll need to decide how to fill the base to keep it from tipping over. Your two choices are sand or water, and most hoopers recommend using sand.
Sand provides more stability because it’s heavier. And it won’t freeze. But getting it set up the first time and emptying the base will be more of a pain.
On the other hand, water is cheap and easy. But, it weighs less than sand and can even evaporate in the summer. During the winter it can freeze potentially cracking the base. (To avoid this, empty the water or when it’s cold.)
One option to help avoid the freezing is to add BaseGel (we’ve never tried this though but a hooper in Idaho says it’s incredible: “This stuff is amazing. Water freezes especially here in Idaho. Sand is messy and nearly impossible to remove from your basketball hoop. One bag of this stuff mixed with water has given our basketball hoop a very secure and heavy base. We had to move our hoop and you simply add water until it has liquified enough to drain out. I highly recommend this.”)
Which brand basketball hoop is the best really varies based on your needs. On the higher end of the market for intermediate to advanced hoopers MegaSlam is a favorite. For on the higher end, but under $1,000, Spalding is the best value. For beginner to intermediate hoopers Lifetime and Silverback NXT are both solid hoop brands for the value.
Portable basketball hoops are definitely worth it. While you’ll spend a few hours setting it up, it’s relatively hassle free and the most convenient type of hoop to have. Unlike a hanging mounted hoop you don’t have to pick just one place on your house to put it, and you don’t have to mess up the roof.
You also don’t have to deal with the stress or cost of pouring cement! An in-ground system could cost $450 or more just to be installed, including labor and materials. Meanwhile, portable basketball hoops can provide years of entertainment and healthy outdoor exercise.
In this Google Trends chart of the last 5 years, you can see interest in portable hoops remains much higher than in-ground hoops.
Yes you can dunk on certain portable hoops, as long as your base is securely weighted. And as long as the hoop’s rim is designed for it. For example, the Lifetime Portable MVP has a Slam-It Rim which features double-compression springs so you can dunk as long as you’ve weighted the base well.
Here are a couple of ways to save on your portable basketball hoop:
Order the best portable basketball hoop for you! You might even consider trying to hold out for big sale periods during the year, such as Black Friday, to make your purchase at the best price. By the way, a few of these hoops, if you purchase, we’ll get a couple cents back to fund our site (thank you so much), but not all of them. We hope you get a great hoop and start putting in work!
Up next, learn how elite basketball players prepare for games with pre-game routines.