This is my review of the best basketball return systems money can buy in 2021.
In order to improve your game, you must devote a lot of time to practice. Dribbling, passing, and shooting are easy places to start practicing, and having a friend work out and improve their game alongside you is super rewarding. But what about those times when you have to get some shots up and no one is there to rebound for you?
Basketball return systems have been all the rage for well over two decades helping college and professional teams workout quicker and smarter.
I’ve have used a lot of different return systems in that time. My own experience, backed up by personal research and first-hand reviews, gave me the ability to analyze the models in this guide.
The SKLZ Kick-Out Attachment is my top return system because it’s adjustable, easy to install, and incredibly functional.
Where many return systems are large or overly complicated, the Kick-Out is a simple attachment that you can get up and running in no time. There aren’t many moving parts, but it’s sturdy enough to take a lot of use and comes with plenty of versatility.
I further break down the excellent item, as well as several other great return systems, throughout the following sections.
- Best Overall: SKLZ Kick-Out Attachment
- Best Net: Hathaway Rebounder Return System
- Most Durable: Goalrilla Return System
- Best Coverage: Rukket Return Guard
- Best Performance: Dr. Dish iC3
- Simplest Design: Spalding Back Atcha
Who Should Get This?
Any player who wants to improve their shot needs a good return system. While there’s nothing wrong with rebounding, being able to sit in one spot gives you better muscle memory from a certain area. It also allows you to get a better feel for an in-game shooting rhythm.
As most return systems are meant for long-range shooting, they are particularly useful for guards or deep threats. Even so, big men who need to work on their midrange or top of the key shooting can make use of them as well.
Top Basketball Return System: Our Picks
Here I review the best return systems on the market by going over their traits as well as where they excel.
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: 360-degree adjustability. Quick and easy assembly. Easy to move around. Well-made and durable.
- Design: Chute
- Material: Plastic
- Weight: 3 pounds
This kick-out attachment from SKLZ is a simple return system, but don’t let that fool you. The small item is incredibly reliable, utilizing a well-made and durable chute system that will deliver your shot back to you again and again. It’s easy to put together and can get going in seconds.
The biggest reason this kicks off my list is the adjustable design. Where many return systems lock you into a single spot or force you to guess where the rebound will go, this model can be fine-tuned to return to a single spot. That enables you to practice your shooting rhythm.
However, the attachment is not perfect. While it works well, it can be a bit noisy on longer range shots. You’re going to experience some rattling from time to time. Even so, that small annoyance is absolutely worth the versatility.
- Best for: Net
- Key Features: 4 PVC weight bags. Secure system. Heavy duty netting. Easy to set up and tear down. Strong, durable material.
- Design: Net
- Dimensions: 120 x 60 x 108 inches
- Weight: 5.5 pounds
This larger return system from Hathaway is excellent for players who want a wide net. The mesh design is not just reliable, it’s also extremely durable. You can shoot on it for years without seeing any tears or breaks in the polyester construction. Assembly is a breeze as well.
Another reason this gets high marks are the refillable anchor weights. There are four PVC bags that can hold both sand and water to ensure the system doesn’t go anywhere no matter how hard you bounce a ball off of it. The wide net fits a range of different hoops too.
As with many nets, the biggest issue with the system is that it doesn’t have any true sides. You’ll have no issues shooting straight on or from slight angles, but you may have to chase down some balls when you play from the corners.
- Best for: Durability
- Key Features: UV protection to resist dading. Heavy-duty anchors. Safety release. Durable mesh netting. 90-day warranty.
- Design: Net
- Material: Mesh
- Weight: 5 pounds
If you want a long-lasting return system, consider this one from Goalrilla. Every part of the construction, from the tough mesh netting to the heavy-duty anchors, has a premium quality that can withstand tons of shots. All of that is then backed up by a 90-day warranty.
Another excellent feature is the safety release. Rather than hoping people don’t get caught or injured on the net during tough layups, the system breaks away to reduce any unfortunate accidents. It’s even UV-protected to actively resist fading or long-term harm.
The only big drawback to this return system is that there are no sides. That can make certain rebounds fly off in various directions. Some of the attachments are also on the flimsy side. Even so, those are small cons to what is a reliable and well-constructed device.
- Best for: Coverage
- Key Features: Durable and tough. Reliable return feature. Easy assembly. 7-ply knotless netting. FIberglass frame.
- Design: Net
- Weight: 37 pounds
- Dimensions: 57 x 8.5 x 6 inches
Extremely strong and well-built, the Rukket Return Guard is a great, easy-to-assemble system that provides full coverage on a wide range of different hoops. Where some return systems let balls slip through, this one catches everything and makes rebounding an absolute breeze.
On top of the strong design, the net quickly delivers the ball back to reduce downtime and the 7-ply knotless construction is specially made to withstand the elements. The whole model fits any hoop and comes with a sturdy fiberglass frame. There’s even a lifetime warranty.
Though it won’t matter to a lot of people, this model does lean back quite far when compared to other return systems. In addition, if you plan to use it outside it’s important to know that it will eventually rust in wetter climates. You should be fine in dry areas, however.
5. Dr. Dish iC3
- Best for: Performance
- Key Features: Strong and sturdy. Short return system. Simple setup. Portable. Compact storage. Wheels make it easy to move.
- Design: Chute
- Height: 17 inches above rim
- Dimensions: 38.74 x 22.99 x 6.22 inches
If you want a larger, more inclusive chute then the Dr. Dish iC3 is the way to go. This system comes with a wide capture net that ensures all of your shots directly go back to you. The durable net will last a long time, and you get absolutely full coverage on every hoop.
Though the system is much larger than other models, it’s surprisingly portable. On top of that, assembly takes no time at all. Both of those work together to create a truly unique return system that can be used just about anywhere. Put it up and quickly take it down when you’re finished.
The biggest drawback to iC3 is that it’s definitely expensive. The high quality materials and extremely wide net make it great for practice or training purposes, but that doesn’t come cheap. This is a truly premium model only for people who can pay a higher price.
- Best for: Simplicity
- Key Features: Simple, easy to setup attachment. Robust, lightweight design. Quick, reliable return. Portable.
- Design: Chute
- Material: Plastic
- Weighty: 1.05 pounds
There are many larger return systems on the market, but the Spalding Back Atcha is the perfect one for players who want something easy. It’s a basic attachment that sits on the bottom of your hoop’s frame and directs made shots right back to you. That creates easy, efficient rebounds.
Furthering the simple design is the small size, lightweight materials, and portability. You can stick it just about anywhere in a few seconds, which is especially useful for players who like to practice their shots on the go. The Back Atcha is also surprisingly sturdy and durable.
Of course, simplicity also has its downsides. The Back Atcha is effective in getting your made shots back to you, but it doesn’t work for missed shots. You’ll still have to rebound those yourself. However, you should be able to get long rebounds anyway without too much hassle.
How to Choose Basketball Return System: Quick Guide
This section covers key traits to keep in mind when getting your basketball return system.
The first aspect you want to pay attention to is your return system’s size. Not only do you need to ensure that it will fit your hoop, but it also needs to be able to reliably catch and return balls. What style and model type you go with comes down to your personal preferences.
For instance, players who don’t have a lot of space or their own hoop will likely prefer a small chute system. However, those with at-home courts or their own space can afford to get a much larger, and much more stationary, net.
Every return system is different, and they all take time to set up. The easier one is to put together, the better. That’s not the only rule, sometimes you want to go with a larger model with a more involved assembly, but for the most part you want setup to be as painless as possible.
On that note, pay attention to tear down as well. That goes double if you plan on using a portable system. Getting something up and running right away does you little good if you have to spend five or so minutes making sure it collapses in the exact right way.
Remember, just because something is a return system does not mean it will work as advertised. Be aware of where you plan to use it, and then get something that will work for your available space. A net or chute does little good if it constantly sends your ball somewhere you aren’t.
Though it may not always pay off, spending a little extra to get a wider net or bigger design with extra coverage can be a great investment.
Useful Tips and Resources
If you’re on a budget, getting a true basketball return system can be a bit more than you’re willing to pay. If that’s the case, there are several DIY options that you can easily make at home with a few affordable tools.
Regardless of what type you have, you want to use your return system with the best possible equipment to maximize your workout. The Spalding Indoor/Outdoor NBA Replica ball is the best pick in that regard because it’s the closest thing to the same rock all of the superstars use.
Ball return systems can up your game quickly because they get you extra shots. Working out smarter rather than harder using a shot return system on your hoop gives you the chance to stay in the shot position and practice shooting with in-game speed and precision without the hassle of grabbing every ball you shoot.
The SKLZ Kick-Out Attachment is my number one basketball return system due to its simple-but-effective design and high quality materials. It can be quickly adjusted, which is a big bonus in terms of versatility, and will last outside for years without any issues.
You can take shots from just about anywhere with no worries. It’s useful for guards, but works for big men as well. There are many larger, more complicated systems out there, but if you’re in the market for something affordable, reliable, and compact, the Kick-Out Attachment is fantastic.
Stay in the zone with your own rebounder and passer after every made (and with some models, missed) shot. You will thank me later.