What to Look for in a Backyard Basketball Hoop for Active Kids (or Adults!)

Nothin’ but net.

Basketball hoop
Hallelujah for at-home b-ball!Ryan Graybill, Unsplash

Basketball was invented in the 1890s as a mashup of several other sports and games, including rugby, lacrosse, soccer and something called “duck on a rock.” The idea was to give college athletes a challenging new sport that burned restless off-season energy and could be played indoors during the coldest months of the year. Fast forward to today, and the National Sporting Goods Association says basketball is the most popular team sport in the United States.

Spalding NBA Portable Basketball System
This design is just like the old-school hoop you remember: portable, adjustable, nostalgic.Spalding

Portable basketball hoops rely on a weighted base filled with sand or water for stability, enabling a regulation hoop height of 10 feet. Look for wheels for easy transporting and an angled support pole to steady your game.

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set, Blue, 3 Balls - Amazon Exclusive
This hoop adjusts to accommodate young players of different heights.Little Tikes

The quintessential first hoop for the youngest sports fan is a plastic indoor/outdoor set. Look for an oversized rim for easier shots and an adjustable design so the equipment can accommodate a growing child. Hoops with a weighted base will be more stable, especially for little climbers.

Silverback 60" In-Ground Basketball Hoop, Adjustable Height Tempered Glass Backboard and Pro-style flex Rim
This option has the stability of concrete-mounted equipment but unbolts for easy moving.Silverback

When it comes to gymnasium-sized hoops, look for a model with important safety features such as pole padding, a break-away rim and a backboard made from shatterproof tempered glass. Some hoops rely on a concrete anchor system to mount the equipment solidly in the ground while still making it possible to unbolt and move the basketball hoop if necessary.