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Lifetime Pool Side Basketball Hoop Review

 

 

Lifetime Pool Side Basketball Hoop

Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Lifetime Pool Side Basketball Hoop:  (7 / 10)

Main Features:

  • 44” shatterproof polycarbonate backboard
  • 27-gallon base provides enough stability for this smaller-sized hoop
  • 2-piece “telescoping” pole adjusts from 4 to 6.5 feet
  • UV-resistant ink graphics that won’t fade in the sun
  • Standard steel rim and outdoor nylon net

The Lifetime Pool Side Basketball Hoop: A Durable Hoop for Aquatic Fun

When the sun comes out and the concrete gets too hot, take your game to the pool with the Lifetime 1301 Portable Basketball Hoop. This hoop is specifically designed for poolside use and is built with durability in mind. Although the materials are not top of the line, they are good quality relative to other poolside hoops. All together, the stylish design and durable materials make this a good-looking poolside hoop that provides excellent value.

Backboard and Materials

The backboard is a 44-inch square made of polycarbonate. Many pool style hoops feature a fan style backboard, so the square backboard on the Lifetime 1301 is definitely preferable to many other pool hoops in its class. Of course, the polycarbonate board is not as responsive as glass, but it is extremely durable and shatterproof, which provides some piece of mind should the hoop ever fall over. The bottom edge of the board features a plastic guard for additional safety. Additionally, the backboard graphics are printed in fade resistant ink to keep the hoop looking fresh through years of weathering and use.

Rim

This hoop comes equipped with a standard 18” rim. Even though the hoop itself is miniature (6.5 feet at max height) the rim is regulation size, meaning you can play pool basketball with a full- sized ball, or a miniature ball, if you choose. Just make sure you use a rubber ball in the pool, because a leather ball will become waterlogged, heavy, and could be ruined by the chlorinated water.

Although it is not spring-loaded, the rim can withstand some light dunking, but hanging on the rim is not recommended. Some owners have reported that the hoop may begin to pitch forward after repeated dunking and hanging on the rim.

Assembly

Piecing together the Lifetime Pool Side Portable Hoop is doable for anyone with the time to focus, and of course, step-by-step instructions are included. The smaller size of this hoop makes assembly less cumbersome than a full-sized, 10 ft. portable hoop. Even so, an extra pair of hands is recommended to ensure safe and quick assembly. A good wrench is about the only tool required and assembly should not take more than two hours.

Once the support pole, backboard, and rim are secured to the base, simply fill the basin with your choice of water or sand and wheel into place at your pool’s edge. From there, the telescoping pole may be raised or lowered to the appropriate height, depending on your preference and the depth of your pool.

Warning: Because this hoop lives near water, the steel support pole and rim are prone to rust. Coating all metal pieces in clear spray paint before use is recommended to help prevent rust.

Height Adjustment

The Lifetime 1301 Pool Side Portable Basketball Hoop utilizes a 3” diameter telescoping steel pole that can be adjusted from 4 feet to 6.5 feet, in 6-inch increments. Basically, that means there are two poles, one inside the other, that slide up and down, like a telescope. Simply loosen the screw on the outside of the support pole, move the pole up or down to your desired height, and then retighten the screw.

Although the mechanism is rudimentary, the hoop is easy enough to adjust by hand, with no tools required. And, because the hoop will probably spend most of its time in one location, pool side, at one height, you will not need to constantly adjust the height.

Overall:

The Lifetime 1301 Pool Side Hoop is an excellent option for pool owners who want to bring a little extra fun and competition to their backyard. Obviously, this hoop is not suited as a primary basketball hoop, but it was not designed to be. As a secondary hoop for playing basketball in your pool hot days, this hoop is a great option.

Lifetime 71281 In Ground Basketball Hoop Review

Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Lifetime 71281 In Ground Basketball Hoop:  (7.5 / 10)

Main Features

  • 52″ shatter proof backboard made of polycarbonate material that will protect it from breaking
  • Limited 5 year warranty provided by the manufacturer allows you to buy with confidence
  • Power lift height adjustment system adjusts the height of the basketball hoop from 7.5 feet to 10 feet with single arm mechanism
  • Spring loaded breakaway rim allows for give during shots and light dunking

Lifetime Brand

We’ve done more reviews of Lifetime basketball hoops than any other brand of basketball manufacturer, and for good reason.  Lifetime is one of the most popular basketball manufacturers around today.

Lifetime makes many models, from cheap portable systems to high-end in-ground basketball units that can handle rim rocking slams.  Every Lifetime hoop is built in the USA and comes with a five year warranty providing their customers with great service and support.

Lifetime 71281: Full Review

Backboard

The backboard on the Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop is 52 inches measured diagonally.  This is a medium sized backboard for a recreational in-ground basketball hoop and will meet the needs of most families.  It is steel framed, which enhances the stability and durability of the backboard.

Low cost home hoops like the Lifetime 71281 have a backboard that is made of a polycarbonate material.  This makes the backboard durable and unlikely to break or shatter.  However,  polycarbonate backboards are not very responsive and do not perform particularly well during use.

Height Adjustment

The Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop features the Power Lift Height Adjustment mechanism, which makes adjusting the height of this basketball system a breeze.  To adjust the height from the 7.5-10 feet range you simply grip the Power Lift system and lift up to adjust the height down or pull down to lift the height of the hoop higher.  The leverage created by the Power Lift System makes it easy so you don’t need to be He-man to get the job done.

Rim

Many recreational Lifetime basketball hoops such as the 71281 have an exposed spring breakaway rim setup.  This does allow for some light dunking, but we do not recommend hanging on the rim as you could cause damage to the system over time.

Exposed spring breakaway rims have springs that may rust over time due to being exposed to the elements.

Support Pole

Most low-end in-ground basketball hoops have a three-piece support pole and the Lifetime 71281 is no exception.  It has a three-piece rounded support pole with powder coating to help protect it from rusting.

Three-piece support poles are good for recreational use but will allow for more vibration than more expensive two and one piece support pole designs.

What We Like About The Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball Hoop

  • Power Lift Height Adjustment System makes adjusting the hoop’s height easy for all ages
  • At under $300, this basketball hoop is a great value for the features included
  • Backboard is a relatively good size at 52 inches and has a steel frame to add stability
  • Made in the USA and comes with a five year warranty
  • In-ground basketball hoops offer greater stability and durability than portable units

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • The exposed spring on the breakaway rim is susceptible to rust and is not designed to handle serious dunking
  • Polycarbonate backboard does not perform well and is not particularly responsive
  • Three-piece support pole allows for extra vibrations during shots

The value basketball hoop market is dominated by Lifetime.  Lifetime makes a great product for a low price that simply is hard to beat.  The Lifetime 7182 In-Ground Basketball Hoop is an example of this with its Power Lift Height Adjustment feature and breakaway rim.

If you are truly serious about the game of basketball and don’t just want something to shoot a few baskets on then we suggest you spend a few more bucks on a better basketball hoop.  The Lifetime 71281 is best suited for families who are just looking for a fun activity to do together.

Competitors to the Lifetime 71281 that are worth looking into include the Lifetime 71525 and Spalding 60 Inch In-Ground Basketball Hoop.

 

Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcade Review

 

All fans of the game of basketball have gone down to their local arcade and been hooked in to the magic that is “Pop-A-Shot”.  These basketball arcade games are fast paced, fun, addictive, and can actually help you develop your basketball skills.

What you might not have realized is that Pop-A-Shot is not the name of the basketball games found in the arcade, but the original brand and inventor of the arcade basketball game back in 1981!  An old college basketball coach was recovering from a surgery and invented the game during his recovery.  It caught on quickly and the Pop-A-Shot brand began selling their basketball arcade to arcades and bars around the country.

However, the company’s growth slowed as competitors came in to the space with cheaper units.  Because of this the iconic Pop-A-Shot brand has begun to develop and sell premium quality basketball arcades meant for home use.  Their newest recreational model, the “Home Dual Shot” hit stores and ecommerce sites recently.  Luckily, we had a chance to check it out and give our take on this new basketball arcade game.

Assembly

The Pop-A-Shot basketball arcade is not the easiest basketball arcade game to put together.  That accolade goes to the 2-Player Sportcraft, however, Pop-A-Shot made their assembly reasonably easy thanks to clear directions.

One thing I would like to see changed in the direction steps is that they should have you place the hoop on the frame earlier in the assembly process.  Pop-A-Shot does not tell you to complete this step until after the frame is set up meaning you have to lift the hoop onto the frame, which is unnecessary.

In the end, it took me around 2 1/2 hours to put this basketball arcade together.  Certainly not a fast process, but the final product is definitely worth it.

Assembled Rim and Backboard

Features of the Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcade System

Pop-A-Shot Fully Assembled

Let’s start with the quality of the Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot Basketball Arcade System compared to other home basketball arcades.  Simply put, the Pop-A-Shot is the highest quality basketball arcade for home use that we have reviewed.

The difference in quality starts with the rims.  Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot features two steel rims that may look similar to those found on other units, but they perform much better.  These rims are more firm making it challenging to make shots compared to softer, weaker rims.

A large screen digital scoreboard sits between the two rims attaching to the backboard.  The numbers really pop on this screen and again you can tell that this scoreboard is higher quality than those found on the average home basketball arcade.

We also like the control panel that attaches directly to the frame of the Pop-A-Shot making game selection a breeze.  From this control panel you can do everything including turning the system on and off, game selection, and audio options.

Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcades come with seven mini basketballs, which is more than the four found with most other basketball arcades.  These are basic rubber basketballs and no different than the mini basketballs found on the lower priced arcades.

Pop-A-Shot Comes With Seven Rubber Mini Basketballs

Game Modes

Ten different game modes can be played on the Pop-A-Shot Dual Home Shot Basketball Arcade.  Here is a summary of each game mode:

  1. Standard Play– Two players get 30 seconds to score as many points as possible.  Last 10 seconds each bucket is worth 3 points
  2. Solo– Same as Standard Play, but single player
  3. Crisscross– Players shot at opponent’s basket.  :30 seconds on the clock.
  4. Skeet Shooting– Announcer says “shoot”.  Player has three seconds to make a basket.  Game continues until player/s fail to make basket in allotted time.
  5. Sharp Shooter– Announcer will says “left” or “right”.  Player has 3 seconds to make basket in corresponding hoop.  Game is over when player fails to make basket in allotted time.
  6. Double of Nothing– A two player game where each consecutive made basket counts as double (2, 4, 8, etc.).  If no basket made within 3 seconds scoring goes back to 2.  :30 seconds on the clock.
  7. Overtime– Same as standard play but with a full minute on the clock
  8. Sudden Death– :15 seconds on the clock, same as standard play
  9. Free Play– No clock, each basket worth 2 points
  10. Team– :30 seconds on the clock, scores of both players added together.

Price

Pop-A-Shot is a top quality home basketball arcade system and its price reflects this fact.  Usually the price comes in around $275, with incremental price increases seen during the holiday season.

Summary

What I Like About The Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcade System

  1. The best all around quality found on a home basketball arcade system
  2. 10 game modes that make playing fun whether by yourself or with a friend
  3. Control panel allows for easy game selection
  4. Rims are firm making for a greater challenge

What Could Be Better

  1. Price is a relatively expensive compared to other basketball arcades, but you get what you pay for
  2. Would like to see them create an interactive app so that you can play against others across the globe

Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball Game Review

Last year I reviewed the Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot on BestOutdoorBasketball.net.  This arcade basketball game from Sportcraft featured an Iphone App that allowed players to compete with one another across the globe.  This year I’m taking a closer look at the newer 2-Player Sportcraft Arcade Basketball Hoop Game.

In this review I will breakdown the assembly process, features, and game-modes that come with this basketball arcade system.

If you want to see more about the 2-Player Sportcraft Arcade Basketball Game check out the video review below:

Assembly

The 2-Player Sportcraft Basketball Arcade System is the easiest full-size basketball arcade system to assemble that I’ve reviewed.  You don’t need any tools or screws to put this system together.  In fact, the 2-Player Sportcraft Basketball Arcade System uses pins that click together so that each piece is easily attached.  You can see these pins in the picture below.

The Sportcraft 2-Player arcade basketball hoop uses pins to make assembly a breeze

Sportcraft claims that it only takes 10 minutes to put this system together.  That may be true for someone who is familiar with the system, but for me it took around 20-25 minutes.  Either way, compared to the Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot, which took me 2 hours, this was lightening fast.

The biggest issue I had with assembly was making sure that I didn’t assemble parts backwards, which happened on a couple occasions.  Thankfully, because of the easy to use pins fixing my errors was painless and didn’t cost me much time.

Features of the Sportcraft 2-Player Basketball Arcade System

Rim, backboard, and scoreboard of the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball Hoop

The size of this arcade basketball system is noteworthy.  The dimensions are 80″X 46″X 81.5″. For this basketball arcade system to fit in your room you’ll need a ceiling that is at least seven feet tall.  Otherwise you risk the top of the system hitting your ceiling.

With the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System comes two steel rims that are basic, but get the job done.  Last year’s Shaq Cyber Hoop Shot rims had poor welding that let to the rims breaking over time.  Hopefully, Sportcraft has fixed this issue.  Time will tell, and I’ll keep you updated on how the rims hold up after more use.

Between the two rims is a digital scoreboard that keeps track of your score and the time left.  There are a set of buttons that hook to the frame of the hoop that allow you to turn on the basketball system, select the game mode, time, and how many players.

Baskets are counted using plastic levers that are triggered when the ball goes through the hoop.  These are pretty accurate, but may not count a basket if two balls go through the hoop one right after the other.  Overall, it certainly works for the purpose of recreation.

The backboard is a simply plywood materials and nothing special.  But it does a fine job to bounce the basketballs off the backboard and into the hoop with velocity.

The scoreboard is well lit so that you can see your scores and the time left.

This arcade basketball system comes with 4 mini basketballs

Game Modes

The Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System comes with eight different game modes included.  To be honest I have not played all of them because I have not had time, but I will explain each of them in detail.

  1. Beat the Clock– Standard arcade basketball game where you try to score as many points as possible in a specific timeframe.  Buckets are worth 3 points in the last 10 seconds.
  2. Beat the Clock,  3 Point Version– Same as Beat the Clock, but each bucket is worth 3 points throughout.
  3. Battle Back– This game requires 2 players.  Basically each time you make a basket, your opponent loses points.  So if you score you get 2 points and you opponents gets -2.  First player to 10 points wins.
  4. HORSE– The same game that millions grew up playing in their driveways.
  5. Check Point– Players have to score a certain number of points in a specific time to continue playing.  There are 4 levels with ascending point targets (24, 52, 68, and 86).
  6. Around the World– Allows you to shoot from 5 different areas and will stop the clock once 10 points are made.  The players who makes the 5 shots in the shortest amount of time wins.
  7. Left and Right– Alternate between the home and visit baskets and score as many points as possible in a specific time.
  8. One to One– Each player will play a round individually and the player with the highest point total wins.

Price

This arcade basketball system is very affordable and priced in the $105 range.  Compared to other similar arcade basketball systems, such as the Lifetime Double Shot, this price is a steal.  Because of this if you are on a tighter budget then be sure to consider the Sportcraft 2-Player Arcade Basketball System.

Summary

What I Like About The Sportcraft 2-Player Basketball Arcade System

  1. The easiest arcade basketball system to assemble that I’ve ever reviewed
  2. At around $105 it is very affordable compared to similar basketball arcade systems
  3. Allows you to play certain game modes with up to 4 players
  4. Comes with 8 different game modes

What Could Be Better

  1. I wish this arcade basketball hoop was compatible with the Cyber Hoop Shot App which makes playing a lot more fun and interactive
  2. Sometimes the scoreboard does not work properly (malfunctions)

Lifetime 73650 Backboard and Rim Combo Kit Review

Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Lifetime 73650 Backboard and Rim Combo Rating:  (9.8 / 10)

Main Features

  • Compatible with most Lifetime basketball systems as a functional hoop replacement
  • Can be mounted to a pole or wall using the universal mounting kit
  • One of the most affordable basketball hoop options on the market
  • Comes with a five year limited warranty included
  • 44 Inch shatterproof backboard is great for recreational games and families

Back in the day most recreational basketball hoops were mounted to the garage.  Nowadays it is hard to even find a hoop for sale that can be mounted in this way.  Thankfully Lifetime makes the Lifetime 73650 backboard and rim combo kit for those who still prefer a wall mounted hoop.

A Great Hoop for Any Budget

The Lifetime 73650 is also perfect for those who are on a tight budget.  At under one hundred dollars, this is a great choice for any family who simply wants to experience the game of basketball in the convenience of their own home.

The backboard on the Lifetime 71650 is 44 inches and made from a combination of both acrylic and polycarbonate components.  There certainly is some vibration with this backboard due to its cheaper materials, but gets the job done if you just want to shoot baskets.

The rim is pretty nice considering the affordable price point of the Lifetime 73650.  It comes with two exposed springs to offer some protection from dunks.  Although the spring is helpful we do not recommend dunking on this basketball hoop as it is not designed to take heavy punishment.

One downside to the Lifetime 73650 is that it does not come with a mounting bracket.  If you need a mounting bracket you will need to buy on separately, which can be found here.  While we know not including the mounting bracket makes the hoop cheaper, we feel that Lifetime should just include this piece as it is important for most people who buy this hoop.

Every Lifetime basketball hoop is made in the USA, which offers an extra “feel good” bonus to your purchase.  Lifetime is a great company and they make solid products all around.  You can see more of our Lifetime basketball hoop reviews here.

What We Like About This Hoop

  • One of the few wall mount recreational basketball hoops that are for sale today
  • At its price, the Lifetime 73650 is very affordable for families
  • Backboard is super durable and unlikely to break even with rough play
  • Double spring rim is pretty nice for this basketball hoop

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Should come with the mounting bracket included to keep buyers from having to make two purchases
  • 44 inch backboard is very small and will limit bank shot opportunities

For those who want a hoop to mount to their garage or another wall without spending a fortune, then the Lifetime 73650 is for you.  While it is not perfect, it is priced right and works very well for families and others just looking to shoot some hoops.

If you would like to check out another wall mount basketball hoop then we recommend checking out the Spalding 54-Inch Backboard and Rim Combo.

 

Best Pool Basketball Hoops of 2018

One of the best days of the year is being able to take the cover off of the pool after a long winter and getting everything set up to have family and friends over for awesome summer get togethers.

If you are basketball buff and a pool owner then a great way to entertain your family or guests is to invest in a pool basketball hoop.

Pool basketball hoops provide hours of fun while allowing you to remain cool in the hot summer weather.

With so many pool basketball hoops available to buy it can be overwhelming deciding on which hoop is right for your pool.  That is why we have compiled our top five pool basketball hoops so that you can get a great hoop on any budget.  Whether you plan to spend $20 or $200, there are great options that offer loads of fun.

Top 6 Pool Basketball Hoops

 

Best Cheap Pool Basketball Hoops (<$100)

Coop SwimWays Hydro Spring Basketball Hoop

Our first entry in the cheap pool basketball hoop list is the Coop SwimWays Hydro Spring Basketball Hoop.

Coming in under $25 this is great pool basketball hoop for those who just want to have a hoop to play with in the pool and are not looking for a full-size basketball experience.

The Coop SwimWays Hydro Spring Basketball Hoop is inflated so that it floats on top of the water allowing you to shoot from anywhere in the pool.

The Length, width, and height of this pool basketball hoop is 24.4″ x 24.4″ x 20.47″.  Basketball and carry bag are included.

 

Stumptown Sportz Inflatable Pool Basketball Hoop

Stumptown Sportz has created a great inflatable pool basketball hoop that is a level up from the Coop Swimways Hoop we reviewed above.

The Stumptown Sportz Inflatable Pool Basketball Hoop is 44 inches tall and 40 inches wide, making it a good size.  It is inflatable as well and will sit on top of the water while in use.

The Stumptown Sportz Inflatable Pool Basketball Hoop also comes with a lot of extras including two mini basketballs, an air pump with needles, and a carry pouch.

At around $40, the Stumptown Sportz Inflatable Pool Basketball Hoop is more expensive than the Coop Swimways, but you do get a lot more for your money.  Overall, you can’t go wrong with this hoop.

Poolmaster Pro Rebounder Pool Basketball Hoop

Our most expensive pool basketball hoop on the cheap list is the Poolmaster Pro Rebounder.  This hoop is right under the $100 mark and perfect for those who want to spend a little more money for a better hooping experience.

The Poolmaster is the first pool basketball hoop on our list that is not inflatable.  It actually has a fill base that you fill with water or sand and place on the deck or cement on the side of your pool.  If you don’t have a deck or other level area around your pool then this hoop will likely not work.

We consider the Poolmaster Rebounder Pro Pool Basketball Hoop to be the first “real” pool basketball hoop on our list and if you have a little extra to spend it is well worth the price.

 

High-End ($>100)

Dunnrite PoolSport Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop

Our first entry into the high(er)-end of pool basketball hoops is the Dunnrite PoolSport Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop.

This pool basketball hoop has a water fill base that attaches directly to the backboard.  The fill base helps to keep the hoop stable and upright, but we do not recommend dunking on the Dunnrite as it could still tip and cause injury.

On the plus side, the Dunnrite is the first pool basketball hoop entry that has a full size rim.  This allows you to use real basketballs in the pool if you choose.

The bottom line is that the Dunnrite Pool Basketball Hoop is a great choice if you want a real basketball experience in your pool without breaking the bank.

 

Lifetime 1301 Pool Side Basketball System

We have reviewed many Lifetime basketball hoops on bestbasketballhoops.org over the years.  For those that are unfamiliar, Lifetime is a popular manufacturer of recreational basketball hoops that are generally friendly on your wallet.

The Lifetime 1301 Pool Side Basketball System continues this tradition as it costs right around the $150 mark as of this writing.

With the Lifetime 1301 you get a 44 inch backboard and a height adjustment mechanism that allows you to adjust the height of the Lifetime 1301 from 4 feet to 6.5 feet.  This makes it a more versatile choice than some of the other pool basketball hoops on this list.

Lifetime also used a rust resistant coating on the metal pieces to help ensure a long lifespan for this basketball hoop. This along with the other features makes the Lifetime 1301 Pool Basketball System a great choice for any pool owner.

Dunnrite Splash and Shoot Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop

Our second entry from Dunnrite is the Splash and Shoot Swimming Pool Basketball Hoop.

This hoop is a more expensive alternative to the Dunnrite Pool Sport is full of features and quality components.

The Splash and Shoot features a 43 inch by 28.5 inch polycarbonate backboard that will not break.  It also has a telescoping pole that allows you to adjust the height of the hoop so that it will be a perfect fit in your specific pool setup.

When filled with water the Dunnrite Splash and Shoot weighs in at 200 pounds making it a secure pool basketball hoop.

 

5 Best Outdoor Basketballs for 2018

If you play a lot of basketball outside during the warm months of the year then you know how much a crappy outdoor basketball can take away from a shooting session.  Cheap outdoor basketballs tend to be made of rubber which is hard material when inflated.  Rubber basketballs also have a tendency to warp over time, which leads to off center bounces.

With summer fast approaching we’ve decided to do some research and give you our picks for the five best outdoor basketballs. This way when you go to the courts you know you’ve got one of the best outdoor basketballs that money can buy.

Five Best Outdoor Basketballs

Each of the basketballs listed below are technically categorized as indoor/outdoor basketballs.  For this article any basketball that can be used outdoors is considered an outdoor basketball.

Spalding Replica Game Basketball

At the top of our list of the five best outdoor basketball is the Spalding Replica Game Basketball.  This basketball has received a lot of positive feedback from other review sites as well, and there are plenty of reasons why this basketball is considered one of the best.

First off, the feel of the Spalding Replica is different than any other indoor/outdoor basketball that we’ve used.  It is softer and more closely mimics the feel of an indoor basketball.

Due to the extra soft cover of the Spalding Replica the feel of this basketball exceeds many other outdoor basketballs.  Also of note is that the Spalding Replica has a very consistent bounce, which is another characteristic not seen in other outdoor basketballs.

Coming in at a price of around $30, the Spalding Replica Game Basketball is affordable.  With this combination of quality and affordability, the Spalding Replica Game Basketball finds itself as one of the best outdoor basketballs that one can buy.

Pros

  • Affordable for almost any budget
  • The softest cover of any outdoor basketball that we’ve tested
  • Bounce performance is consistent without many “off” bounces

Cons

  • Softer cover may mean that this basketball will scuff faster than outdoor basketballs with a tougher cover

Under Armour 495

Under Armour is the new kid on the block when it comes to basketballs and basketball apparel.  UA really hit the scene when Steph Curry ascended into basketball superstardom while wearing Under Armour sneakers.

Within the last few years Under Armour has unveiled several basketballs that are meant for indoor and outdoor use.

The best of the bunch when it comes to Under Armour basketballs is the UA 495 with “Gripskin”.

While we don’t know much about gripskin, we can say that the Under Armour 495 performs well.  It does seem to be quite similar to many Spalding basketballs in terms of the feel of the cover.

The channel design of the UA 495 is fairly traditional.  They are not too deep or wide, which will probably make this outdoor basketball better for basketball purists.

The price of the UA 495 is similar to the Spalding Replica Game Basketball.  While we prefer the Spalding Replica, if you are a fan of Under Armour, or do not care for Spalding products then the 495 will likely be your best choice.

Pros

  • Price point is affordable at around $30
  • Channel design is traditional which we prefer

Cons

  • Still no idea what “Gripskin” is but the cover is pretty standard

Spalding TF-500 


My favorite basketball growing up was the old Spalding TF-1000 indoor basketball.  The composite cover on the ball was the softest and it felt great in my hands.

Spalding has continued the tradition of the TF line of basketballs with the indoor/outdoor Spalding TF-500.  This basketball brings the quality of the TF-1000 to the playground.

Compared to the TF-1000, the TF-500 has a more durable cover.  This also means that the cover on the TF-500 is not as soft as the one found on the TF-1000.

Having used this basketball recently I can say with confidence that it performs very well.  The Spalding TF-500 bounces consistently and feels good in your hands.

Pros

  • Carries on the tradition of the Spalding TF line of basketballs
  • Probably the best outdoor basketball in terms of the balance between durability and feel

Cons

  • No obvious cons or weaknesses for the Spalding TF-500

Baden Contender Basketball

Baden may be a name that you are not familiar with, but you should be.  Baden makes some really good basketballs that are worth you consideration if you are looking to buy a new outdoor basketball.

Their Baden Contender basketball makes our list due to several factors.  First, the cover of this basketball is consistent and durable.  It may not be the softest, but the cover is made from high quality composite and will last.

The bladder of the Contender is also a strength as this basketball holds air well and will not give any weird bounces.  This is one of the most consistent performing outdoor basketballs that can be purchased.

We also like that the air valve for the Contender is recessed so that only the actual hole is visible.  This works to eliminate any weird bounces that can sometimes happen when the ball valve hits the ground during a dribble.

Pros

  • The unique valve system means that you won’t get any weird bounces if the air valve hits the ground during a dribble
  • All around consistent performance

Cons

  • Some users say the cover feels a bit too much like rubber

Wilson Wave Basketball

Want an outdoor basketball with maximum grip?  Then look no further than the Wilson Wave.  This basketball actually has extra grip channels that run the entire cover of the basketball.  Combine this with deep and extra wide channels and you have an outdoor basketball unlike any other.

I must say that playing with the Wilson Wave is unlike any basketball I’ve experienced.

These extra channels can also make shooting with increased rotation easier.

On the flip side, using the Wilson Wave does take some getting used to as it just feels different compared to other basketballs.  Personally, I prefer a more traditional channel design to the radically numerous and wide channels found on the Wilson Wave.

Pros

  • The Wilson Wave has the best grip out of all the best outdoor basketballs on this list
  • Cover has good durability and feel
  • May get more rotation on shots

Cons

  • The channel design of the Wilson Wave is polarizing.  Some will like this basketball a lot while others will be turned off by the extra channels.

Adidas All-Court Basketball

The final basketball to make our list is the Adidas All-Court Basketball.

While Adidas does make basketball shoes and apparel, many do not even know that Adidas makes a basketball.  But they do, and it is actually a pretty darn good one.

The All-Court features a cover that is soft but durable.  You will be able to get a good feel for this basketball and most will like how it performs.

The only downside to the Adidas All-Court is that it does have some off center bounces.  While rare, it can still effect your dribbling.

 

Pros

  • Quality cover and above average feel
  • Traditional channel design that speaks to the philosophy of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Cons

  • Does get some rare off center bounces that can impact your ability to effectively dribble the basketball

Tips For Making Your Outdoor Basketball Last

When buying an outdoor basketball, you can expect that it won’t last as long as a properly cared for indoor basketball. This is because outdoor basketballs are put through a lot more beatings due to being used on asphalt, cement, and even gravel.

But just because you will use your outdoor basketball on many different surfaces doesn’t mean that it can’t last for several years with a few simple steps to prolong your basketball’s life.

1. Avoid Gravel If You Can

When using an outdoor basketball it is best to play on asphalt or cement.

Sure, outdoor basketballs can be used on gravel, but we would recommend avoiding doing so if possible.  Gravel is a very uneven and rough surface which can warp the badder of a basketball if consistently used on this surface.

Aim to use your outdoor basketball on either cement or asphalt when outdoors.

2. Rinse the Basketball After Each Use

When using a basketball outdoors things like little pebbles and other debris can easily get stuck in the channels.  By rinsing the basketball off after use it ensures that this debris is washed away and doesn’t create permanent damage to the ball.

3. Keep The Basketball Inflated

There is nothing more damaging to a basketball than allowing it to go flat repeatedly.  This puts strain on the bladder of the basketball and leads to warping.  Be sure to inflate your basketball regularly so that you can avoid these complications.

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System Review

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop

Spalding Hybrid Portable Hoop Rating:

Assembly        (7 / 10)

Rim                  (8 / 10)

Backboard      (8.5 / 10)

Fill Base          (10 / 10)

Support Pole  (7 / 10)

Overall              (8.5 / 10)

 

 

Being that I review basketballs, basketball hoops, and other basketball-related products for a living it goes without saying that I take the game seriously.  So, when it was time for me to pick up a basketball hoop for my home you can bet I did a fair amount of research.

At the end of the day I ended up buying the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  In this review I am going to give you insights on why I picked the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop, tips for installation, and my commentary on how this basketball system performs.

Why The Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System?

Given that I review and research basketball hoops regularly it is fair to ask why I went with this hoop.  Going into the buying process I knew I wanted a portable basketball hoop.  That alone eliminated all the in-ground basketball hoops that are available for sale.

Next was deciding which portable basketball hoop was right for me and my needs.  I went about checking out some portable basketball hoops at the local sports store and at the end of the day it came down to either the Silverback NXT and the Spalding Hybrid.  I went with the Spalding because the reviews of those who purchased were exceedingly positive (except for one purchaser), and the Spalding Hybrid has more bulk and heavy-duty features when compared to the NXT.

Lastly, I like the idea of the hybrid base.  While it may seem like a gimmick at first, I’ve read many stories of hoop owners who have bases that have leaked over time basically making the hoop useless.  With the hybrid base I can always add as much sand as I need even if a leak develops in the future.

The calm before the storm

Assembling the Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop

(7 / 10)

Initial Thoughts

I received my Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop via home delivery and the guys delivering were nice enough to place the hoop in my garage so that I could begin the assembly process.

When I initially pulled out all the parts and materials I was a bit overwhelmed.  Admittedly, I am not the most handy individual, but have improved over the last few years.

Either Get Help or Clone Yourself

Assembly was certainly time consuming but not overly difficult.  I will say that you will need at least two people to assemble this hoop.  There were probably 3-5 instances where I needed the extra help during assembly, so for the most part you can do it on your own, but some steps will be impossible without the extra hands.

Some of these steps where extra help will be needed include when you fit the three support pole pieces to each other, attaching the backboard to the support braces, and when you install the screw jack lift system.

Time Frame

I do not have an exact time frame for how long the Spalding Hybrid Portable Hoop takes to assemble because I did it over the course of two days.  However, I’d say that if you are reasonably handy like me (certainly not exceptional) and don’t make some of the boneheaded mistakes I made, then you should be hooping in no more than four hours.

Main Assembly Tips

Having gone through the assembly process with the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System I have a few tips to use to make your assembly process as painless as possible.

  1. As I mentioned above plan to have at least one extra person available for those assembly steps that require more help
    1. This is especially true when you connect the three support pole pieces, you only have one shot to get these right
  2. The rim is actually held up by the breakaway spring, which is not clearly shown in the directions.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to attach the rim to the backboard before my wife clued me in to how it actually worked
  3. You will need a wrench set and hammer to assemble this hoop, if you don’t have these get them or consider hiring a professional to assemble the hoop for you
  4. Once you’ve got the backboard attached be sure to place some sort of weight into the base where the sand will eventually go to avoid the chance of tipping the hoop while you are assembling
  5. Make sure to read the directions for securing the bolts.  On several assembly steps you do not want to tighten the bolts completely.
  6. My experience was that the glossary of bolts, nuts, and washers was not completely accurate in terms of both numbers of each item listed and pictures.  Do your best to use the right bolts.  It gets easier to identify the correct items as you go along.
    1. Side note: it appears that Spalding uses some generic pages in their manual which causes this issue.  I’d like to see them create completely custom assembly manuals for each hoop model they sell.
Spalding Hybrid Basketball Hoop

Fully assembled Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System Performance Review

Now that I’ve gone over the good and bad points of the assembly process let’s get into the meat of this review.  This includes how the Spalding Hybrid performs, both good and bad.  I’ve used the hoop several times now and feel confident that I can offer anyone considering buying this hoop a good idea of what they will get with their purchase.

Rim Quality

(8 / 10)

Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop Rim

Side view of the Spalding Hybrid rim

Overall I’ve been impressed with the rim quality on the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  I will be the first to admit that the rim on this hoop is not up to par with a gym quality breakaway rim, but you should not expect this when spending $500-$700 on a hoop.  If you do have this expectation then I suggest seriously considering a top of the line in-ground basketball hoop that generally start in the $1500 price range.

When shooting the rim performs best on shots that hit the back of the rim, which makes sense because this is closer to where the rim connects to backboard.  Shots that hit the front of the rim tend to make the rim perform in a more flimsy manner.  Performance on shots as a whole has been slightly better than I expected.

A common question I get is if the rim can handle dunking.  I would not recommend hanging on this rim, especially from the front for fear of damaging the rim or potentially tipping the hoop.  It can likely handle some dunking but it will probably shorten the life of your hoop if you dunk on it regularly.

That being said the rim on the Spalding Hybrid impresses me when considering the cost.  I certainly feel like it meets my needs and will meet the needs of most families.

Backboard

(8.5 / 10)

Up close view behind backboard

Spalding offers several different backboard models for the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  These include 54 inch and 60 inch acrylic backboards which are good mid level backboards.  On the expensive end there is a 54 inch tempered glass backboard version that will cost you a couple hundred dollars more.

I picked up the cheapest option, the 54 inch acrylic backboard.  I must say that the backboard has surpassed my expectations.  The ball comes off the backboard with velocity, with bank shots and layups performing in a similar fashion to tempered glass backboards.

The only thing I will say is that with a 54 inch backboard you don’t have as much room to operate when executing a reverse layup.  Sometimes the ball will hit the side of the backboard on the 54 inch version, when on a larger backboard the ball could very well end up in the hoop.

However, this is a small price to pay.  If you feel like that would bother you then consider moving up to the 60 inch acrylic backboard.  With the quality of the acrylic backboard I don’t see it being worth the extra $200 for the 54 inch tempered glass version.

Spalding Hybrid Fill Base

Fill Base

(10 / 10)

Fill base without cover

Most fill bases found on portable basketball hoops are only filled with water.  These can range in size from 25 gallons all the way up to 60 gallons for the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball Hoop.

The Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball System really changed the game in terms of the fill base.  On the Spalding Hybrid you have two main compartments.  The first compartment is the actual base and can be filled with up to 19 gallons of water.  The second compartment is actually a space that has been “cut out” of the base so that you can put up to four 50 pound bags of play sand in the base.

At first this didn’t seem like a big deal to me.  But now I see the advantages.  Most portable basketball hoops are hard to move when the base is full of water.  This means you have to empty the base somewhat to be able to transport your hoop to another location.

With the Spalding Hybrid Hoop you only need to remove the bags of sand and the hoop can be moved with the 19 gallons of water still in the base.  Having this options makes the Spalding Hybrid more versatile than most other portable hoops.

Back view of the Spalding Hybrid’s support pole

Support Pole

(7.5 / 10)

Featured on the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop is a three piece support pole.  Three piece means that there are literally three pieces that are attached together to make the support pole system.  Three piece support poles are found on most portable basketball systems.

In fact, I believe the Spalding Beast is the only portable basketball system that has a two-piece support pole.  For those who are wondering, one-piece support poles are the best, but they are only found on higher-end in-ground hoops.

I must say that going into the purchase I thought that the three-piece support pole would be the cause of a lot of vibrations with the hoop.  Thankfully I’ve found that my worries were unfounded.  For having the cheapest support pole design the Spalding Hybrid is a durable basketball system.

Summary

What I Like About This Hoop

  • The Spalding Hybrid feels durable, especially considering it has a three-piece support pole
  • Raising and lowering the hoop is easy with the screw-jack system
  • The hybrid fill base is more versatile than other portable systems
  • Rim offers really good performance at this price point

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Rim does get a bit flimsy when shots hit the front of the rim
  • Directions for assembly were unclear at points and the bolt/nut glossary is inaccurate

Hopefully this review has given you a thorough idea of what it is like to assemble and use the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop.  I’m really glad I bought this hoop and I am satisfied with the performance.

As I mentioned earlier, I would not spend the extra money for the tempered glass version.  I just can’t imagine it making a big enough difference.  Not only that but tempered glass is much more likely to break.

If you feel that the Spalding Hybrid Portable Basketball Hoop would not be up to your expectations, but want a portable system, then I recommend the Spalding Beast Portable Basketball Hoop.

Ryval C660 In Ground Basketball Hoop Review

Best Basketball Hoops Rating

Ryval C660 In-Ground Basketball Hoop:  (9.5 / 10)

Main Features

  • 60″ tempered glass backboard that is 1/2″ thick offering top of the line rebounding performance
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • 5 to 10 foot heigh adjustment range in infinite increments is one of the widest ranges available on any recreational hoop
  • 6″ x 6″, 7 gauge one-piece square support pole that provides exceptional stability
  • Under and top coating rust protection utilizing galvanized under coating powder coating top finish keeping this basketball system rust free

Ryval is quickly building a name for itself in the premium in-ground basketball hoop arena.

We have previously reviewed the C872 model produced by Ryval and found it to be one of the best in-ground basketball hoops that money can buy.  Today, we are looking at the C872 little brother, the Ryval C660.  But don’t be fooled into thinking this slightly smaller Ryval hoop model doesn’t live up to the performance standard of the larger Ryval hoop.  The Ryval C660 is a formidable in-ground hoop in its own right.

The Ryval C660 features a gym quality breakaway rim

The only significant difference between the C872 and the C660 is the size of the backboard.  The Ryval C872 features a 60 inch backboard, while the C872 has a 72 inch backboard.  But here is the thing, the C660’s 60 inch backboard comes with the same 1/2 inch thickness as the C872, so while smaller, the Ryval C660’s backboard performs just like its larger counterpart.

With a thick tempered glass backboard the Ryval C660 performs just like a gym quality backboard when missed shots come off for rebounding.

Among many other strengths this hoop has the height adjustment is among the most robust.  The C660’s height adjusts from 5 feet to 10 feet in infinite increments.  This allows for young hoopers building their strength to develop proper shooting mechanics.

Ryval C660 Backboard

Speaking of young hoopers, Ryval shows a commitment to safety by including heavy duty padding on the C660 model.  Padding can be found completely covering much of the support pole and lining the bottom of the backboard.  This coupled with the 3 feet of overhang from rim to the support pole makes this a safer hoop than most.

When it comes to support poles Ryval has it figured out.  The absolute best support poles found on recreational basketball hoops are all one-piece.  This means that the support pole is a single piece of steel, rather two or three pieces that have to be bolted together, which are found on lower quality hoops.

Having a single piece support pole on your basketball hoop makes it more stable during play.  You won’t see the hoop vibrate violently and will handle pretty much all you can dish out with relative ease.

When it comes to the rim on the Ryval C660 you can expect gym quality performance.  This means the rim on this hoop will not be too stiff or floppy, providing a great feel when the ball hits the rim.  Also, for those wanting to dunk on this hoop the Ryval C660’s rim will be able to take your high flying dunks without issue.  This is not something we say for many other hoops we review.

What We Like About The Ryval C660

  • This hoop has the best 60 inch backboard on the market
  • We love the heavy duty padding and 3 foot overhand of the C660 enhancing the overall safety of the hoop
  • Top of the line gym quality rim
  • Very wide height adjustment range of 5 feet to 10 feet
  • Impressive rust guard protection through galvanizing and powder coating
  • Limited lifetime warranty

What Would Make This Hoop Better

  • Assembly will take multiple people, or professional installers
  • You need to be serious about the game to justify spending this much money on a hoop

The Ryval C660 in action

Ryval continues to impress us here at BestBasketballHoops.org.  Their hoops are getting rave reviews from customers and the features found on their hoops are unparalleled.  Not only are they making quality hoops, but they continue to expand their product lines so that there are more hoops to fit varying budgets.

For most the Ryval C660 is probably a bit more than you need.  The C660 is a premium quality in-ground basketball hoop that has a premium price tag.

However, if you are serious about the game or have a child who really wants to commit themselves to the game, then the Ryval C660 is a great option.  Rest assured it will not disappoint.

While the Ryval C660 has many great features, there are other similar hoops to consider if you are in the market to buy a hoop.  Some other great in-ground hoop options include the Ryval C872, Lifetime Mammoth, and Goalrilla GS-I.

 

5 Basketball Training Tips

Training and conditioning is just as important as working on your shot in basketball.  The truth is that if you are not in shape you won’t have the physical capacity to use your skills to the highest degree.  Think about it; if you are out of breath are you as likely to make a three pointer or will it end up hitting the front of the rim?

1. Treat Your Body Right

Basketball training today looks a lot different than it did in the past.  I mean just take a look at a couple things related to Larry Bird’s living habits.  The dude literally put together his mother’s driveway even though he was a multimillionaire.  Not only that, but he injured his back in the process which effectively ended his career.  Can you image Lebron James building an driveway on his free time?

Now we are not saying that you shouldn’t be willing to do manual labor, but we are saying that you should make sure you are physically prepared to do any demanding task.

2. Nutrition Matters, A Lot

Larry Legend also had some poor eating habits during his playing career.

These days the best players in the world take care of their body in a way that past generations didn’t even consider.  Take a look at Lebron’s diet.  This guy takes inventory on everything that goes into his body, and for good reason.  Food is the fuel of the body.  If you are putting in a bunch of processed pizza pockets than you can be sure your body will not perform optimally.

For basketball players make sure you are getting a good deal of healthy fats, which can come from things like coconut oil, avocados, and nuts.  Do not eat too many carbs, and make sure to get plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables which have important vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling your best.

3. Focus On Functional Strength

In the old days guys would hit the bench press and just do rep after rep thinking this was going to prepare them for game time.

But if you want to be the best basketball player possible you need to work on strengthening the muscles most utilized in basketball.  This means your focus should be on building a solid core, meaning your abs, back, and hips.  Quads and hamstrings should be strengthen threw quick and explosive movement exercises like those in the Vert Shock Program.

Exercises that involved jumping and other types of interval training are always good for basketball players.

4. Meditate

Meditation has so many great properties that enhance athletic performance.  Mindfulness meditation helps to decrease anxiety allowing basketball players to focus in on the present moment.  This is incredibly powerful when you are in a late game situation and you are expected to rise up to the occasion.  If you have yourself mentally prepared for the moment then the moment won’t overwhelm you.

5. Have a Method to Your Practice

I see too many players when they practice not have any rhyme or reason for what they do.  They willy nilly take shots and slowly get their rebound and shot again, and again and again.

Have a plan for each practice session.  If you are working on dribbling make sure to have 5 or so drills that you can do at full speed.  If you notice you are a weaker shooter from a certain spot on the court then work on it!  If you need to work on passing and vision, then work on not telegraphing your passes.

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