This is my review of the best portable basketball hoops money can buy in 2021.

I’ve been playing basketball for more than two decades and have tried many portable hoops over the years. That experience, along with a bit of extra research, allowed me to separate the good from the bad.

I believe the Silverback NXT is the strongest and most reliable portable basketball hoop thanks to its tough construction, quick assembly, and full adjustability.

The hoop comes with a steel build that holds up to the elements better than many similar models. You can also move the height (in 6-inch increments) between 7.5 and 10 feet. Setup takes less than 90 minutes and the wheelbarrow design enhances the general portability.

However, there are many other excellent portable basketball hoops that all serve different purposes. I’ll cover each one throughout the following sections.

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This

Not everyone has the luxury of a large backyard where they can put a permanent basketball hoop. If you fall into that category, or if you simply prefer a bit of extra versatility, a portable hoop is the way to go.

The benefit of choosing a portable basketball hoop is that you don’t need a lot of space. You just need enough room for you and your friends/family to dribble, stop, jump, and shoot. They are also good for people who like to play basketball in different areas around their yard.

Top Portable Basketball Hoops

This section looks at the top portable basketball hoops by breaking down their traits, usefulness, and individual niches.

1. Silverback NXT

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key Features: Incredibly simple assembly. Stabili-Frame steel-on-steel connection. Adjustable between 7.5 and 10 feet. Wheelbarrow design for enhanced mobility.
  • Dimensions: 60 x 66 x 64 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 feet
  • Overhang: 26 inches

Fully adjustable between 7.5 and 10 feet, the Silverback NXT is an incredibly well-rounded hoop that offers portability and style in an easy-to-setup package. It’s a sturdy model that comes with a special Infinity Edge Backboard for increased rebounding performance.

On top of that, anyone can put it together in less than 90 minutes. The company also offers an expert assembly option for a small extra fee. The hoop is also simple to move around thanks to the wheelbarrow design, and it has a strong steel-on-steel connection.

The biggest drawback this hoop has is that it doesn’t do well in stronger winds. If things get particularly tumultuous it could tip over. You want to be careful in tough conditions. The rim is also a bit loud, which may not be good for people in quieter neighborhoods. 

2. Lifetime 51544

  • Best for: Durability
  • Key Features: 50-inch steel framed shatterproof backboard. 3-piece weather-coated steel pole for extra durability. Weatherproof design. Speed shift for quick adjustments.
  • Dimensions: 35.5 x 50 x 10 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 inches
  • Mounting Type: Freestanding

If you live in an area with rough conditions, this model is a tough portable hoop that’s specifically made to withstand all types of elements. Not only does it have a fully weatherproof design, it also comes with a shatterproof backboard that can take a beating without ever wearing down.

Adding to that is the 3-piece, powder-coated steel pole, and stable base. The 18-inch Slam-It Rim and All-Weather Net both add even more sturdiness to the entire design. There’s even a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty to add some extra peace of mind.

The biggest drawback of this model is that it’s quite difficult to put together. The setup isn’t the easiest, even with the manual. However, with a little bit of work, you’ll be rewarded with a strong hoop that will deliver great results for years to come.

3. The Beast

  • Best for: Premium
  • Key Features: 60-inch backboard. Screw jack list system allows for full adjustability. Power move 55-gallon base. Steel pole and durable construction. 
  • Dimensions: 32 x 60 x 20 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 inches
  • Backboard: 60 inches

If cost is not a factor, or if you’re someone who wants the absolute best of the best, The Beast from Spalding is an excellent portable hoop. Equipped with a 60-inch backboard made of full tempered glass, it offers true gym-like quality when it comes to rebounds and makes.

The other stand-out feature here is the Screw Jack list system. Where many adjustable hoops only allow for specific increments, the innovative design enables you to choose any specific space anywhere between 7.5 and 10 inches. The power move base is also incredibly stable.

Of course, this hoop is extremely expensive. The cost alone will put many people off. However, if you’re willing to pay the price it’s hard to find a model that comes with more traits or premium characteristics. 

4. Spalding Pro Slam

  • Best for: Assembly
  • Key Features: 54-inch backboard and a 34 gallon base. Adjustable design for extra versatility. Simple setup. Easy to move and maneuver. 
  • Backboard: 54 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 inches
  • Base: 34 gallon

Those who hate hassling with their portable hoops will love the Spalding Pro Slam. This model, which has an impressively sturdy 54-inch backboard, is adjustable so you never have to worry about getting stuck at one size. That makes it particularly good for fast-growing kids.

Every user will be able to appreciate this hoop’s simple setup. Anyone can put it together in under an hour, making it the perfect choice for those who want to buy it and go. As an added bonus, the hoop is rust-resistant and comes with a sturdy base that works with water or sand.

The biggest drawback here is that this model doesn’t have a ton of durability, especially when compared to similar portable hoops on this list. Even so, if you’re careful or live in a rather calm region, this hoop is a great rather affordable option that will serve you well.

5. Lifetime 90040

  • Best for: Affordability
  • Key Features: 44-inch impact backboard. Telescoping mechanisms with 7.5 to 10 inch adjustability. 27-gallon base works with water or sand. UV protected construction.
  • Dimensions: 33 x 44 x 9.1 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 feet
  • Backboard: 44 inches 

The Lifetime 90040 is a more affordable model that still delivers plenty of amazing traits without breaking the bank. The backboard, which is made with high-density polyethylene, measures 44-inches across and comes with both superior rebounding and impressive durability.

Adding to that, it also has a classic rim as well as an all-weather nylon net that lets you use it both in and outdoors. The entire system is also completely adjustable for added versatility, and the UV-protected shell will stand up to the sun for years without wear or cracks.

If there’s one issue with this model is that it does require two people to set up. It also takes a little bit of time to get everything together. It’s not the mobile hoop either. However, that’s a small price to pay for such an affordable, well-rounded option.

6. Lifetime 1269

  • Best for: Kids
  • Key Features: Lightweight and easy to move. 44-inch shatterproof fusion backboard. Fade-resistant graphics. 27-gallon base.
  • Dimensions: 34.5 x 44 x 8.3 inches
  • Minimum Height: 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 55.80 pounds

If you’re looking for a smaller hoop you can use with kids or smaller players, the Lifetime 1269 is a great pick. This lighter model is easy to move around and comes with tinier dimensions that are much easier to handle. It adjusts from 7.5 to 10 inches as well.

Another bonus of this one, especially when it comes to kids, is that the hoop has a 44-inch Shatterproof Fusion backboard that can withstand a lot of abuse. The fade-resistant graphics and 3-piece steel pole are both made to stand up to the elements too.

As useful as this hoop is, know that it is not the easiest to set up. You’re going to spend a lot of time putting everything together. Adjusting is also not easy. However, if you put in a bit of extra work it’s absolutely worth it.

Best Portable Basketball Hoops: What to Look For

Focus on these characteristics over other traits when looking for a top-tier portable hoop.

Backboard

When picking out a portable hoop you first need to figure out your backboard’s size and type. If you have a smaller driveway or younger children, you should try to get one between 32 and 44 inches. If you have more room or older players, 54 inches and up is the way to go.

When it comes to materials you can choose between tempered glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate. Tempered glass is the closest to what you’ll find in a gym. However, acrylic and polycarbonate are both cheaper. Just know they don’t rebound quite as well. It’s about what you want.

Base

You also need to pay attention to your hoop’s base capacity. Get something sturdy that won’t topple or fall under too much stress. That typically means something that’s at least 35 gallons. At that size, water and sand will both give you stability for years to come.

Pole

When looking at your hoop, it’s best to get a backboard/pole offset when possible. That configuration creates distance between the pole and backboard to actively limit injuries. Gym hoops have a gap of four feet to ensure no players crash into the pole during a layup.

If you can’t get those measurements, you also have the option to get padding for your pole. The extra layer of foam isn’t too expensive and goes a long way when it comes to safety.

FAQs

This section covers common questions about portable basketball hoops. I’ll answer each one to make your experience much easier.

Are Portable Basketball Hoops Safe?

This depends on how well they are weighted down or secured. While they can be dangerous if they fall, the best models have strong bases that hold up to both the elements and wind.

Can You Dunk on a Portable Basketball Hoop?

In short, yes. The hoops are just like any other model, and some are even adjustable. If you can reach over the rim, regardless of height, you’ll be able to dunk.

Should I Put Sand or Water in My Basketball Hoop?

Sand tends to be better than water for portable hoops. That’s because, not only does water slosh around, but sand weighs more per gallon so it tends to be more stable overall.

Is a 72-inch Backboard Too Big for the Driveway?

That comes down to your amount of available space. While a 72-inch backboard tends to be too big for a one or two car driveway, it’s perfectly fine for a three car or bigger.

My Verdict

The Silverback NXT is, in my opinion, the best portable basketball hoop on the market. It’s fully adjustable, simple to set up, and gives you a well-rounded hoop without any hassle. The wheelbarrow design only adds to that, allowing you to move it around as you need.

The tough construction and good base also mean the hoop will be able to stand up to just about any tough storms or rough weather. If you want a versatile hoop that you can use all year round, there’s no better way to go.