How To Choose an Outdoor Basketball Hoop for Your Child

How To Choose an Outdoor Basketball Hoop for Your Child

Outdoor basketball hoops can be a lot of fun. They’re a great way to provide entertainment to your kids — while encouraging them to get outside for some exercise! Playing basketball is also great for muscle development, motor skills and coordination, self-discipline and socialization.

While there are countless reasons to buy a basketball hoop, there are also countless options to choose from — making it difficult to get started. If you’re ready to start shopping, you may ask yourself, “How do I choose a basketball hoop for my child?”

There are a number of important considerations to make for both your kids and your home, including the location, type of hoop, height, type of backboard and more. Let’s explore some of the most important considerations to make while shopping for a basketball hoop, helping to narrow down your search.


Remember the old adage “Location, location, location?” It works for basketball hoops, too. Before getting a hoop, it’s important to envision where your kids can play. For most households, it’s a driveway. For others, it may be a backyard patio or court, a barn or outbuilding, an indoor recreation area, or even a low-traffic back alley or dead-end street (although we must always advise to avoid traffic altogether).

Areas with smooth, flat pavement are ideal. This will make it much easier to dribble, while making sure that no slopes affect the shooting angle. You’ll also want to make sure that missed shots won’t create havoc, so it’s important to situate the hoop away from windows, parked cars or heavy traffic areas.

Once you’ve determined the ideal location, you can figure out what type of hoop will best suit your needs.

Type of Hoop

Basketball hoops are categorized based on how they’re installed, and whether they’re meant for indoor or outdoor use.

There are in-ground and portable models that suspend the backboard assembly into the air, and mounted models where the backboard installs directly onto a wall or roof. The preferred location of your basketball hoop will go a long way to determine the best type of hoop for your home.

In-ground Hoops

In-ground basketball hoops are an excellent choice for driveway play. They offer the ideal safety and durability, as they’re permanently fixed into the ground. They also require less winterization than portable models.

Portable Hoops

Offering the most flexibility, portable basketball hoops give you the freedom to move your game from place to place. They’re a great solution for people with limited space, or those who don’t want to commit to a permanent hoop.

Mounted Hoops

Mounted hoops are most commonly found indoors. They’re not often a consideration for people wondering, “How do I choose an outdoor basketball hoop?” However, outdoor mounted hoops are perfect for shooting above garage doors or against walls.

Adjustable Height

If you have young children, they’ll probably appreciate a basketball hoop with adjustable height settings. This feature typically allows the hoop to range anywhere from a 7.5’ to 10’ regulation height, which can help keep the game scaled appropriately for kids.

Smaller kids may find the lowest setting to be more manageable and engaging, while bigger kids often appreciate a standard height. And, of course, adjustable height hoops can accommodate any setting in between, making for a product that can grow with your kids.

Type of Backboard

Backboards come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes. Choosing the right setup for your family will ensure the best possible basketball experience.

Shape and Material

There are two basic shapes of backboards: rectangular and fan-shaped models. Rectangular backboards for outdoor play are typically — but not always — made of a transparent acrylic or polycarbonate material. Some high-end outdoor models even use tempered glass, just like professional-quality indoor hoops. Fan-shaped backboards are often more industrial and made from solid-colored materials, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), molded graphite, fiberglass or even steel.

Play Characteristics

The type of material used will determine how the basketball bounces off the backboard. Professional indoor hoops, made of tempered glass, offer a very lively bounce. This is the gold standard of backboard performance. The closest alternative is fiberglass or steel, however, those materials aren’t typically available in consumer models.

The most common materials for consumer backboards, acrylic and polycarbonate, offer a mid-level bounce — which is a happy medium for most players. The bouncier the backboard, the more “touch” is required for layups and bank shots. The more a backboard deadens the ball, the easier it is to use.

If you’re interested in a backboard with the least amount of bounce possible, consider lower-cost models made of molded graphite or HDPE. These hoops will be easier to master, but won’t reflect the lively characteristics of tempered glass backboards — an important consideration if your child is part of a youth basketball league.


Rectangular backboards come in a variety of sizes, ranging from modest 44” to regulation 72” widths. This allows customers to pick the size and price point that makes sense for them. Fan-shaped backboards, on the other hand, are often only available with a 54” width.

The fuller the backboard, the better it can accommodate wide-angled shots. With more surface area, there’s simply more room for creative layups and bank shots to kiss off the glass. This makes rectangular backboards advantageous, with their full upper corners and larger size options.


When shopping for basketball hoops, you’ll notice a wide array of prices, scaling from a few hundred dollars all the way up to several thousand dollars. Why? Because there’s a huge range of quality in the marketplace. There are light-duty, economical hoops, professional-grade hoops, and everything in between.

It’s important to consider durability as you look around. Purchasing an inexpensive hoop may seem like a better deal upfront, but between wear and tear from your children and seasonal weather conditions, you’ll likely end up replacing it in just a few short years. Purchasing a quality hoop will likely provide years — maybe even decades — of enjoyment.

Plus, there’s the safety factor. As children get older, they’ll likely start to play harder on the hoop, trying things like off-the-backboard passes, half-court shots and slam dunks. It’s important to be confident about your basketball hoop, having peace-of-mind that it can withstand whatever your children throw at it — literally.


You’ll also want to pay attention to a basketball hoop’s warranty, especially if it’s a larger investment. Luckily, high-quality hoops usually come with a more extensive warranty to protect your investment for years to come.

On the other hand, more economical basketball hoops often have a limited warranty, matching the lower price point. Whatever range you’re looking into, be sure to factor the warranty into your buying decision.

The Best Hoops Are From Rainbow Play!

Are you ready to start shopping? If a top-quality, high-performance basketball hoop intrigues you, check out Rainbow Play’s 60” and 72” basketball hoops. They come with tempered glass rectangular backboards for a professional look and feel, and are backed by an industry-leading warranty!

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