Pastimes in today’s world involve social media and every other means of staying in contact without the physical aspect. What has happened to the original social platforms? One of the oldest and classic platforms was the basketball court, or driveway for that matter. A game of basketball is an activity every age enjoyed. Nearly every child grew up having a basketball hoop in their driveway, if not in the street. Portable basketball hoops are a past childhood essential that will never go out of style. However, if you’re looking into bringing this classic sport to your home, how to choose the right portable basketball hoop can be quite the challenge if you don’t know where to start. With the help of this article you will find the perfect hoop for your needs based on a buyer’s guide to understand the key buying factors of portable basketball hoops, as well as recommended product reviews. To begin, there are several factors to consider when buying a portable basketball hoop for your home. Consider such things as the age of your player. Are they pre-teen with no experience or true love for the sport yet? Or are they nearing high school or even an adult who will benefit with a larger portable hoop system. Also consider, the space you have. Will your hoop be in the driveway or in a backyard concrete patio? Then there’s also who will be moving the hoop? An adult versus a younger adult, the weight of the system can be a huge buying factor in this case. And how often will the hoop be moved? Consider if it will be going in and out of the garage after every game. A heavier system will most likely not be preferred. Finally, what is the ultimate goal of having a portable basketball hoop at your house? With these kind of questions in the forefront while making a purchase you know you will be making the correct choice with confidence. Let’s take a look at age appropriateness. If you are purchasing a hoop for first-time, young players, then consider a less expensive, yet durable hoop to stand the test of time. Upgrades can be made if the child becomes more serious or develops a great love for the game. Also purchase a lower end hoop if you don’t necessarily have an athlete at home but prefer to have a hoop solely for the purpose of getting outside for a bit of exercise by shooting some hoops. Although, if you are purchasing for an athlete who needs practice time at home, consider a middle of the road to higher-end hoop that will have more functional play for real games and practice shots such as layup, dunks, and alley-oops. Structural features of a portable basketball hoop are also important buying factors. Look into the offset, which is in reference to the distance between the backboard and support pole, as it will be a factor when it comes to the amount of space you have available for play. If you have a large driveway or you live at the end of a court, a portable basketball hoop with a larger offset will be preferable. The hoops in professional basketball play are offset by four feet at the least. This allows players to easily dunk and layup without crashing into the support post. Therefore, with a larger area to play real games, as opposed to a smaller area for shooting practice, a larger offset is recommended. Now, when it comes to the stability of the hoop the more the better, and safer. The support pole and base make up the stability of the hoop. Look into the construction of the pole. For quality stability a two-piece design will be best. As for the base, the more volume of sand or water that it can hold the more stable. However, it will be heavier as well, which will effect portability. If you plan on moving the hoop regularly in and out of a garage, a smaller base would be best. Keep in mind too each base will be designed specifically to make the hoop structurally sound so injury won’t occur when properly used. With that said you can purchase bases ranging from 27 gallons to over 50 gallons depending on the overall weight of the portable system. Next comes the backboard. Considering the size and material of the backboard will help you make a quality choice. The size of a backboard will range from 44 inches wide up to NBA and NCAA regulation size of 72 inches. However, a 72 inch backboard is most likely unnecessary, as this would cost a fair amount. But a good playable backboard, for a more professional ball response, is available at 54 inches. If a higher-quality hoop is needed, a 60 inch backboard can be purchased. The size will depend overall on what your player will ultimately want to accomplish. Whether it be to practice shots or tricks.The material of the backboard will also vary depending on what your price range is and ultimate goal. Backboards come in three main materials, polyethylene (plastic), acrylic, or tempered glass. Plastic backboards offer durability not playability. The response in this style of backboard is fair as the ball falls flat without recourse. Though this option is great for budget and fun play. On the other hand, acrylic will offer you a middle ground in price and playability, yet its advantage is a lighter basketball hoop. The balls response to an acrylic backboard is enough to practice and master the technique of tricks. Lastly, there is tempered glass, reserved for the professional player, with professional playability. This will be a much heavier and more expensive hoop. But the response on this material is unmatched.Onto the rim. There are standard rims and breakaway rims. This refers to how the rim is attached to the backboard. A standard rim is attached by screws to the lower backboard. This option will offer less playability in that it will not take the force of rebounds or dunks without the possibility of injury or broken backboards. A breakaway rim can offer this because compression springs dampen the bounce of the ball. Again the choice is based on what the player wishes to accomplish.Overall, the age of your player and their ambition of play will lead you to the right purchase. Taking into consideration these key components will help you make the wise decision. Yet either way you look at it, a portable basketball hoop purchase will provide fun and outdoor play that will last a lifetime. Here is a jump start to a variety of recommended portable basketball hoop systems.The Lifetime 1221 Pro Court- 44 in backboardThe Lifetime Pro Court is the ultimate beginners’ basketball hoop. Perfect for younger age groups of around 7 years old to about 15. It is even great for adults just looking to shoot some hoops for that matter. Its simple design, lightweight, and durability help make this system a great starting point. This portable hoop also features a height adjustable blackboard to grow with your child, and it is a great price. The Pro Court has a 44 inch backboard constructed of polyethylene, a plastic. This accounts for the durability of the system, yet it does not provide a lot of performance. So, if your player is a bit more serious about the game, moves such as bank shots won’t be very successful on this system as the ball response will be stunted. Yet the advantage of the plastic backboard is that it is UV-protected, chip and crack resistant, and fade resistant. Lifetime also includes a five-year warranty. If the hoop will be outdoors during all weather and seasons this backboard will stand up to the harsh elements. Also, this backboard does not have an offset. As mentioned earlier this will not allow players to properly perform a realistic game as they will likely crash into the support post. If you are looking for a simple hoop for basic play and shooting practice the offset will not be a big disadvantage. The Lifetime Pro Court also features a smaller base of 27 gallons making it lighter than other hoops, yet heavy enough to withstand play and not tip over. It comes in at a weight of 164lbs. That’s still a lot of weight to move yet it is just light enough to be brought in and out of the driveway or street without much trouble when younger children are ready to play. The added feature of wheels also make for easy transport.The height adjustment capability of this hoop is also a great feature. You can position it at 7.5 feet for younger players and as they grow the hoop can be raised as high as 10 feet. The pole adjusts at 6 inch increments. This can also help hone technical skills such as vertical improves by slightly increasing the height as the player practices. Other pros about the Pro Court are the ease to assemble and disassemble, and the affordability. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snowfall for instance, this product can be taken apart with ease and stored. Granted it does take two hours to assemble, and possibly less to take apart, and a second person would make this process faster, yet its simple design makes it easy to take apart. It just wouldn’t be recommended to disassemble often, other than to store for periods of time when not in use. But for just over 84 dollars on Amazon.com this product is a bargain for beginner players or those looking to shoot hoops for a little outdoor fun.Lifetime Front Court – 50in The Lifetime Front Court portable basketball hoop system is a hoop designed for more playability. The backboard not only looks professional but also comes in at 50 inches. It is framed with steel for extra durability and is shatter proof. This design will allow your player to perform layups with ease and the frame will decrease the shaking effect after shots are made. The rim of this system has a breakaway feature as well which allows a little give. This is great for dunking, yet hanging from the rim is near impossible. The Front Court system is also great for growing children as it also has height adjustment capabilities from 8 feet to 10 feet. It actaully has a speed shift height adjustment which enables the user to easily increase the height of the backboard in 6 inch increments without any heavy lifting. It is said to be so easy your children can even accomplish doing it. Because this hoop starts at a hieght of 8 feet, it would be best suited to older children, starting closer to the age of 10 and up. Again this systems has been designed to allow for real play because the backboard has an offset, as compared to the Pro Court which has none. This backboard is offset at 18 inches allowing the room for layups. Also because the base of this hoop holds a volume of 34 gallons the unit weighs about 100 pounds. It is sturdy enough to withstand high winds and other weather, yet capable of being moved without much sweat.If your athelete is more in tune with the sport and adept at playing, this system is a step up from the Pro Court and can accomplish more for your player. The Front Court system will also not break the bank as it will cost you around 300 dollars. However, there is one drawback other customers have raised. It appears that the assembly of the system can be quite tricky. Most owners claim the instructions were a bit difficult to understand and lots of tools were needed. If this is the hoop you are choosing, just be prepared to spend some time constructing the hoop and pay attention to detail. If you aren’t very handy around tools maybe enlist the help of a friend who can.Spalding Pro Slam – 54inThe Spalding Pro Slam is made by the official sponsor of the NBA. Therefore, this system is a great middle ground hoop for more professional play. The backboard is made of acrylic, reinforced with steel framing and steel board pad, and it has a width of 54 inches. Plenty big enough and durable for any player. This system also features a breakaway rim and 34 gallon base.However, the difference in this portable hoop compared to the previous two is its forward bent support post. This extends the backboard over the base allowing for more under the hoop play. Again this adds to the professional play-feel ambitious players will love to have. It can also be adjusted in 6 inch increments, starting from 7.5 feet to 10 feet. This designs does not compromise the stability of the system either as it has added support joints and a larger volume base. And again, the more features and professional feel of the portable hoop the longer it will take to assemble. Therefore, prepare yourself to spend the better part an afternoon putting this together. An added friend for help is recommended. Silverback NXT- 54inThis portable hoop is an obvious upgrade, and will cost a fair amount. But don’t let that frighten you, the cost is in the quality. The Silverback features a more modern look in that the backboard has an acrylic infinity edge, unlike the steel framed Front Court or Pro Slam. What also sets this hoop apart is its featured 26 inch overhang. With over 2 feet of room to play under the backboard, layups and dunks are inevitable. The Silverback also shares the same specifications as the previous hoop with a breakaway rim, height adjustment of 7.5 feet to 10 feet, and a 35 gallon base. All standard features for systems within this price range.An apparent advantage of this portable system is the maker. This maker is very well known for their incredible quality products and durability. Not only are you purchasing a professional feel hoop, you are also investing in a portable system that will withstand the test of time. This hoop would be perfect for older age groups but also for those that know basketball will be played in the family for generations. Another quick advantage to this system is the assembly. With the makers integrity in quality design they produced a product that comes with very detailed instructions and every part is labeled. It is said that it can be built in just about two hours. A huge difference in time. Overall, this system is not cheap, but when quality is at stake the cost goes up. This hoop would be a great fit for aspiring players, those who love the sport, and those who want to invest in a product that will last. Spalding the Beast – 60inThe name says it all, Beast. This monster of a backboard gives the ultimate experience of play with 60 inches to work with. Not quite as big as professional boards but it is definitely more than enough, even for those serious players. This backboard even boasts a tempered glass material just like the professionals. So if you have a player dedicated and looking to make big waves in the sport this is the hoop for you. This portable hoop is the closest thing to a professional hoop that isn’t cemented into the ground. And for reliable stability this hoop features a 55 gallon base.Other features of this ultimate hoop is the playability. Because the backboard is made of tempered glass the weight of this material does not allow the board to rattle and shake like other lighter material. The rebound of this board is also unlike any other on the market. All tricks can be easily performed without fear of being crowded by the post or rim. Also if you are an adult looking for some fun games with the guys, this is the hoop for you since body weight is no match to the Beast. A grown man can easily dunk and have that dramatic flair of hanging on the rim without fear of breaking it. In review, if you are looking for a starter hoop, the Lifetime Front Court is a great choice for price and playability with a small offset and professional look. If a middle of the road hoop is more what you are leaning towards, the quality of the Silverback is undeniable. The design and playability of this is hoop is suitable for all age ranges. And without question if money is no factor and you want the ultimate experience in quality and professional play the Spalding Beast is the winner. Make sure to also keep these non-structural buying factors in mind as they will be a necessity when purchasing a portable basketball hoop. These are including but are not limited to, your players’ skill level and their desire to play, as well as the location of the hoop and how often it will be moved. And an added quick-tip to make your playing experience better after purchase of a hoop is to consider filling the base with sand. This option will provide more stability and less shake as is common with most portable basketball hoops. It will also tend to be more difficult of a filler, but it only has to be performed once. It would be best to fill the base in a place where excess sand spills can be easily cleaned up.Overall, what to take away from this buyer’s guide is that there is a plethora of basketball hoops out there ranging from the simply designed for minimal play to the top of the line, near professional quality. These are the top five recommended hoops available on the market that cover all price ranges. Don’t hesitate to choose one a little more than what you had originally had in mind. A driveway game of basketball is fun for any age, gender, and athlete. If your player ends up dropping the sport in school or loses enthusiasm on the real court, the game can still be enjoyed for many more years at home with friends and parents.