What Is The Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop?

best outdoor in ground basketball hoop

Basketball might seem like an American phenomenon, but just one look at the statistics of the most popular sports shows its popularity worldwide. With an estimated 825 million followers and fans worldwide, you would think there are enough facilities worldwide to support and nurture new players. I remember as a kid that there used to be a lot of places around town from street-corners to empty parking lots where we could shoot hoops for hours. But those space seems to be vanishing day by day, probably explains why kids these days are less interested in the sport.

This is why as a school coach I often recommend in-ground basketball hoops to my students, especially the young ones. You can easily attach one of these babies anywhere you want in a matter of minutes and shoot hoops all day long. There is also the benefit of being able to adjust the height, so if you’re planning to encourage your kid to pick up the sport, you can easily adjust the height as required.

But unless you know what you’re getting into, you might end up buying a poor quality in-ground basketball hoop that will start rattling after every other dunk. There are so many things to consider: What is the best in-ground basketball system? What is the best basketball hoop to buy? What size basketball hoop do I need? So to help you avoid any frustrations, here are my picks for the top 8 in-ground basketball hoops that you can get on Amazon based on different specs. I’ll also provide some basic FAQ tips and a buying guide at the end so that you have a better understanding of your purchase. 

Hercules Platinum Fixed Height
Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop
Pro Dunk Platinum Basketball Hoop
Goalrilla FT Series In-Ground Hoop
Silverback 60" Pro-Style Breakaway

Hercules Platinum Fixed Height - Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop

On the top of my list is the Hercules Platinum Fixed Height In-ground Basketball Hoop which I consider the best all-rounder in this list. I would say this is the best bang for your buck, considering the number of features that you’re getting at this price.

The Hercules Platinum – Fixed Height In-ground Basketball Hoop is made with galvanized structural components and stainless steel parts, making it extremely durable. The tempered-glass backboard which is 1/2 inch thick measures at the standard backboard dimensions of 72 inches (standard NBA measurement).

The 6X6 inch square pole of the loop is made from industry-grade materials, with 7 gauge thick walls. The package also includes a 1 inch thick high impact outdoor safety Pole and Gusset padding. Not only does it come with a lifetime warranty but Rust Armor Package which includes coverage for the stainless steel hardware as well as Entire System Zinc Galvanized and Extended Corrosion Warranty.

All in all, the best in-ground basketball loop I usually recommend. The overall quality of the product is outstanding, making it a solid training tool for promising talents.



Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop - The Easiest Set Up

In terms of flexibility of set-up and portability, I couldn’t recommend anything better than this Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop. The unique and simple design aesthetic allows you to bolt and unbolt this in-ground basketball hoop with extreme ease. 

The Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop comes with a comparatively lighter pole and base compared to most of the other picks in my list. This allows the hoop to be fixed or unbolted at ease with just four bolts. The transparent see-through backboard has an overall dimension of 54 inches and made of highly tempered crack-resistant glass. The height of the pole can be changed to any number between 7.5 to 10 feet with the built-in crank actuator.

Due to the lightweight build, the pole of the hoop is layered with a powdered coating during manufacture to prevent rust-formation. To prevent discoloration, the backboard also comes with a UV coating. If you want the backboard to be of larger dimensions you can order the 60 and 72-inch ones separately as well   

If you’re accustomed to a lifestyle that involves frequent movement for you or your family, the Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop makes perfect sense. Even though it’s not built with NBA specs, it’s a pretty solid hoop for practice.



Pro Dunk Platinum - The Best Adjustable Outdoor Basketball Hoop

The Pro Dunk Platinum: In-Ground Adjustable Outdoor Basketball Goal Hoop features a transparent backboard similar to the Goalrilla GS54 Basketball Hoop but that’s where the similarities end. The Pro Dunk Platinum: In-Ground Adjustable Outdoor Basketball Goal Hoop has more nuanced features and sports a heavier build like the Hercules

The backboard of the Pro Dunk Platinum: In-Ground Adjustable Outdoor Basketball Goal Hoop is made of tempered glass that is .5 inch thick. The transparent glass is treated with a UV coating to prevent discoloration. The backboard specs are of pro-NBA standard, so you don’t have to worry about ordering an extra piece. The best feature of this in-ground basketball loop is the flexibility in height setup.

The adjustable crank allows you to set the height of the pole anywhere between 5.5-10 feet. The pole itself is also cutting-edge, featuring four internal springs that provide robust support to the pole. On the flipside, the complex design requires hiring professional handymen to set it up. The padding of the loop and use of high-quality materials ensure that the Pro Dunk Platinum: In-Ground Adjustable Outdoor Basketball Goal Hoop will last you for years to come.     

If you’re looking for an in-ground basketball hoop that is more kid-friendly but also provides the advantages of a transparent backboard, then I highly recommend the Pro Dunk Platinum hoop.



Goalrilla FT Series - The Best Backboard

The Goalrilla FT series has a slightly better edge than the Goalrilla GS54 when it comes to some particular features. Otherwise, it is very similar to its other counterpart.

The key difference between the Goalrilla FT and the GS54 is the backboard. While the latter has a transparent backboard made of tempered glass, the Goalrilla FT features an anodized aluminum backboard frame.

This gives the backboard fame a sleek look that will last for years to come. The breakaway rim increases the lifespan of the hoop as it allows for more stress to be applied during dunks without fear of damage. The pole also comes equipped with dual extension arms that increase the base stability of the pole. The crank adjustor of the pole height allows the height to be changed between 7.5 to 10 feet.

If you’re looking for a more professional looking in-ground basketball loop then I’ll definitely recommend the Goalrilla FT over the Goalrilla GS54.



Silverback 60" Pro-Style Breakaway Rim - The Best Value Hoop

The Silverback in-ground basketball hoop comes with a smaller backboard than some of the previous picks mentioned above but becomes its strength if your play space is small.

The stainless steel pole of the Silverback can be separated into two halves which marks out the Silverback distinctively from its peers. This allows for easier assembly and installation for the hoop. Other than that it shares similar characteristics to the ones mentioned above- the actuator cranks allow the pole height to be changeable between 7.5 to 10 feet, it has extra padding for security and comes with a lifetime warranty.  

If you’re looking for the best bang for your back then the Silverback undoubtedly takes the top prize in this list in my opinion.



Lifetime 71281 Power Lift - Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop Under $500

This shiny and sleek looking Lifetime 71281 is a solid piece of work, albeit a bit flashy. But this is actually part of its charm considering the price you’re getting it at.  

The first thing that you will notice about the Lifetime 71281 is that the back-board is 52 inches, which is a bit unusual considering the standard size specs. Unlike many in-ground basketball hoops that feature a square pole, the Lifetime 71281 features a round pole that can be separated in 3 pieces allowing for better portability. The only thing that I can nitpick about is the warranty period which is only 5 years

If you’re looking for an in-ground basketball hoop under $500, I would say this is one of the best hoops you can get under budget.



Spalding "888" Series - Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop Under $1000

The choice of the NBA giants, Spalding has always been one of my favorite brands in the market. But due to the high price range, I usually don’t recommend it to beginners. But the Spalding 888 is an exception which is why it makes its way in this list

The Spalding 888 features a four-corner Z arm mount which immediately makes it noticeable, giving the hoop a professional look. The default backboard size is 54 inch but you can order the larger sized ones easily to go along with your package. The actuator crank allows you to adjust the height as well. The accessories are also made of high-end materials which come as no surprise.

If you’re looking for a branded basketball hoop under $1k, then the Spalding 888 is the perfect fit for you.



Lifetime 90020 - Best Affordable In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Like the Lifetime 71281, the Lifetime 90020 is also a budget in-ground basketball hoop with a few tweaks compared to its predecessor.

The key noticeable difference between the Lifetime 71281 and the Lifetime 90020 is the backboard size. The Lifetime 90020 features a smaller backboard of 48 inches, but equally sturdy and durable. Though the pole isn’t made of stainless steel, it still comes with a rust-resistant coating. Pole pads and frame pads for the backboard are also provided.

If you’re looking for the most affordable basketball hoop without compromising quality, this is my bare minimum recommendation



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Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop - The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

Now that I’m done with my top 8 picks, I’m going to provide you with a basic rundown of all the things you need to know when it comes to buying an in-ground basketball hoop. On this best in-ground basketball hoop buying guide we will cover the following aspects you need to keep in mind when making a purchase:

1. Location and Frequency of Use

I would say the location and frequency of use is the biggest factor that you should consider when you have decided to purchase an in-ground basketball hoop. There is no point in buying a hoop with a large and bulky pole for a 2 car driveway. Again, if you’re not shooting hoops on a daily basis, then there is no point in getting a hoop with a 72-inch backboard even if you have a 4 car driveway. Make your purchase decision based on the available as well as how frequently it’s going to be used. That way you’ll avoid wasting unnecessary money on the purchase.

2. Quality of Materials Used in the Pole and Secondary Components

The quality of the materials of the hoop is just as important as the budget. Don’t cheap out and settle for a cheap in-ground basketball hoop unless you intended to flush your money down the toilet. Hoops that are made of poor quality material are susceptible to a wide number of issues such as rusting, discoloration, the pole itself getting bent or broken if stressed excessively, the pool starts shaking due to the bolts getting loose and so on. There are some 4 key things you should keep in consideration when it comes to considering the materials.

  • How thick is the metal sheet used in making the pole? Try not to go for anything that is less than one inch thick unless it provides distinct advantages like portability.
  • Whether the hoop’s pole is made of stainless steel? Your hoop will have to tough out a lot of bad weather including rain and snow. If the core components of a hoop aren’t made out of stainless steel it will get damaged and worn out very quickly.
  • If not, does the metal have any protective coating? Hoops that are not made out of stainless steel are often treated with a protective coating to prevent rust. If that much is not specified on the product specs, don’t consider buying that hoop
  • Is the rim of the loop secure and stable? The rim of the loop, as well as the net meshing that comes with it, should be secure and stable just like the pole. The last thing you want is looking blankly at the damage as the stress of a high-velocity bank shot or dunk as the rim gets broken or bent

3. Quality of the Backboard

The quality of the backboard is just as important as the quality of the pole itself. Transparent backboards made of tempered glass are all the rage these days. Bank shots as well long-distance shots can be practiced very accurately with these kinds of backboards, so go with a transparent one if possible. If you opt for a non-transparent one try to stick with ones that are white.

4. Age of the Player and Hoop Height

Age 2-4: For this age bracket, 6.5’ to 7.5’ height is perfect considering the height of the player

Age 5-9:  8’ is the appropriate height for this age bracket

Age 10-12: For these age bracket, the official size for high school, college, and professional basketball hoops are 10′.

Age 15+: 10′ is fine for this age bracket

5. The Installation Process

To be honest, for installing most in-ground basketball hoops you need the help of a handyman unless you’re good with that kind of stuff yourself. For mounting the pole a cement base is used to stabilize the hoop which takes about 86 hours to complete. Keeping this in mind, you should go for hoops that are easy to install and inexpensive to remove.

6. Portability

This isn’t that big of a factor, unlike the ones I discussed above. You should consider portability only if you’re constantly on the move. Otherwise, stick to standard in-ground basketball hoops as they are more stable and durable.

7. Budget

Let’s be honest here- a good in-ground basketball hoop doesn’t come cheap. Even the ones meeting the bare minimum standards can set you back for a few hundred dollars. Keep this in mind while you are setting aside your budget. Don’t go for cheap ones as it will ultimately end up getting damaged within a very short time.

8. Accessories

Additional accessories like yard nets help keep the ball within bounds of the play area, preventing situations where you or your kid needs to run down a busy street to recover the ball. If you’re planning to play during the evening hours you can also opt for LED hoop lights to illuminate the play area.

Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop – Frequently Asked Questions

As promised, here are the answers to some of the basic FAQs that new in-ground basketball buyers often end up scratching their heads over!

It actually depends on what particular feature you’re looking for. This is why my picks are categorized by features and budget brackets. My all-round preference and recommendation is the Hercules Platinum – Fixed Height In-ground Basketball Hoop.

If you’re a teenager or an adult, any in-ground basketball hoop will do as long as the backboard is 72 inches.

The standard height of a basketball hoop as specified by the NBA is 10 feet.

When it comes to setting up an in-ground basketball hoop, you want at least 10 feet of concrete in front of your goal, but 15 feet is more preferable, which is the exact distance of the free-throw line.

NBA’s preferred brand for official games is Spalding.

Definitely polycarbonate backboards! Polycarbonate backboards are stronger than acrylic backboards and last much longer. Legend has it that you can’t break polycarbonate backboards even with a solid whack of a baseball bat.  

It depends on your playing area actually. A larger backboard means easier shots but if you’re short on space then a 54-inch backboard is just as good as a 72 inch one. The general rule of thumb is 54 and 60 inches are good for 2 car driveways, but if the play space is more you should go for 72-inch backboards.

The standard minimum depth for a basketball pole for installation is 4 feet deep.

That depends on how deep the pole is being installed. The following formula is used to calculate the cubic feet: length X width X depth. To put in an example- a hole that’s 2 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep is 8 cubic feet. Multiply the cubic feet by .45, if you’re using a 60-pound concrete bag multiply by .6, and .8 in case of 80-pound bags.

Final Words - Picking the Best In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Now that I’ve given you my recommendations and provided you with all that you need to know about in-ground basketball hoops, hopefully, you’ll have an easier time buying one. You’ll notice that some features offset others in many cases but that’s a given when you’re looking at a varied market. But hey, just because I’m a coach doesn’t mean that I’m a know-it-all, so if you have any better recommendations please leave a comment below!