Best In Ground Basketball Hoops
In this article we will outline the primary features found in the best in ground basketball goals available. It is good to do your homework and make sure you are spending your money on a basketball goal that not only “looks good” but will actually perform like a gymnasium quality basketball hoop and hold up over time.
First, the best in ground basketball goals are ones that are stable and give good ball response off the backboard. Generally, this calls for a basketball system with a heavy duty one piece pole. Stay away from in ground basketball systems where the vertical post is made up of “sections” that stack on top of one another. The joints of sectional poles have a tendency to wiggle, become loose and worst of all, rust. Pole size and thickness is somewhat important although not as crucial as many would have you believe. Choose a square pole in either 4”, 5”,6” or 8” square. 7 gauge (3/16” thick wall) is plenty thick for a good stable post, you could run into a 7 gauge post with your SUV and still not damage a 7 gauge post regardless of whether it is 4” or 8” in size.
Next, check for pivot point stability. If you choose an adjustable goal, check to make sure all pivot points have a welded sleeve that each assembly bolt runs through. This will carry the weight load and spread it out over the pivot sleeve. Too many “high end” basketball systems are designed with no more than a hole drilled through the steel extension arm tubing where the unit bolts together. This is the same way $150 hoops are designed! This leaves all the downward force from gravity (and when players dunk) to be carried by the wall thickness of the steel only - not good. Units with a welded steel pivot joint sleeve will last forever and not “egg out” over time.
A tempered glass backboard is the best way to go. If you want the best, most authentic ball bounce off the backboard, tempered glass will provide that. Also, it does not scratch and will look generally “new” as long as you own it. ½” thick glass is necessary on full size 72” wide backboards, however 3/8” glass will still provide gymnasium quality ball bounce on backboards 60” wide or smaller.
The best rim for an in ground basketball goal isn’t always a flex rim. Certainly for home basketball goals, flex goals are a great way to go and players love them. Never buy a so called “three-spring” breakaway goal for outdoor use, however. These rims are designed for indoor use and will seize up due to rust on the third spring causing them to become stiff and eventually fail to breakaway when hanging on the rim. Stick with a good 2 spring “flex rim” and you won’t be sorry. However, for the most abusive situations, consider a “fixed rim.” These rims are indestructible due to the fact they have no moving parts. A super duty fixed rim can withstand literally tons of weight without bending. These rims are particularly useful in highly abusive, unsupervised playground situations.
If you are shopping for an adjustable basketball goal, the best ones are crank adjustable with the crank mounted on the back side of the post. Look for a goal with a wide range of motion, the best ones have a rim that is adjustable from regulation 10’ high down to 5’. Also, the best in ground adjustable basketball goals have what is called a “spring assist” to aid the crank mechanism. The spring assist is a spring loaded cylinder that takes the load off the crank mechanism making the crank handle turn effortlessly. Whether you have small children or not, you will be glad you got this feature.
Finally, look for a bolt down base at the bottom of the basketball post. If you are going to spend money on one of the best in ground basketball goals on the market, you will want to be able to take it with you if you sell your home. Make sure the goal you are purchasing has a base plate welded at the bottom of the post to allow the unit to be unbolted from its concrete footing. A new anchor footing kit can be purchased from the manufacturer to allow you to relocate the goal if needed.