Everyone gets their start somewhere. If you or one of your family members is a beginner basketball player, you may be looking for an affordable hoop to try out the sport of basketball. You don’t want to spend a ton of money yet, since it is a beginning hobby, but you want a hoop that can give you or your loved ones a good experience with shooting and playing. For a great beginner hoop at a very low price, a good choice is the Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Portable Basketball System. Lifetime’s 1221 model will give beginners a great start with the sport of basketball without the price commitment of higher end hoops.
While the Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball System brings a nice lineup of features, you have to remember that when you pay less for a hoop, the features become more basic and less numerous, but for a starter hoop, the features of this Lifetime product give you just what you need. The Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball Hoop features a 44 inch backboard made of High Density Polyethylene plastic. While the plastic is UV resistant for weather situations, remember that plastic is not as strong as the higher end backboards made of polycarbonate, aluminum, or tempered glass, so playing too rough on this hoop might affect its quality after some time. You’re not going to get a great bounce coming off the backboard as you would with higher priced hoops. The backboard comes with attractive graphics, and the UV protection of the backboards allows those graphics to resist fading and wearing over time. Older players may find the 44 inch backboard a bit small, but the size is perfect for children and smaller players needing a more size appropriate hoop.
As a lower priced hoop that suits a younger audience, the Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball System has great adaptability for height that can allow kids to enjoy this hoop from an early age. The hoop can be adjusted from 7.5 feet to 10 feet with a telescoping mechanism in 6 inch increments. Kids will need an adult’s help to change the height, as it is a two person job, according to our reviewers. The 1221 features Lifetime’s usual three piece, powder coated steel pole; this brings rust resistance and strength to this hoop.
Since this is one of Lifetime’s most basic hoops, it does NOT come with a Slam-It rim, merely an 18 inch classic rim. For moderate use by kids, this will not be a problem, but if you are looking for a hoop for more serious use, you might want to look elsewhere. The basic rim will allow kids to perfect their shots, learn to shoot layups, or practice foul shots for hours on end. Along with the basic hoop, the Lifetime 1221 comes with a basic tank for its base as well. The tank 27 gallons of water or sand for weight and comes with rollers for easy movement up and down the driveway, or into your garage for the winter. Reviewers found the 27 gallon base to be durable and effective for play by most children.
Assembly of the Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball System seems fairly easy and not too time consuming, given you have the correct tools prepared. Lifetime features helpful customer service
if you come upon missing pieces or questions, and their 5 year limited warranty comes into play on many of the pieces and parts. For a great starter hoop for the little baller in your family, the Lifetime 1221 Portable Basketball Hoop is a perfect place to begin. But, if you have a player older than 10 or 11, a bigger hoop might be a better option.
The Spalding 60 Inch Portable Basketball System finds itself marketed as a solid middle priced portable unit between the less expensive Spalding Pro Slam and the premium Spalding The Beast Basketball Hoop. This is a really nice choice for anyone who wants to have a high quality portable hoop for their home but does not have +$1000 to spend on a system. We would recommend this hoop for those who take the game seriously or for families who have a child who is into the game and wants to take their interest to the next level.
At this middle level price you will find that the Spalding 60 Inch Portable Basketball System has a mix of higher end features with some other cheaper materials as well. On the higher end side this hoop does feature a professional performing rim that has a quality breakaway mechanism so that it can take on dunks and other rough play. It also has the added bonus of padding that lines the bottom of the backboard which enhances safety. Another safety feature found only on high end portable systems is the pole guard that helps to keep players from running into the pole and base. On the flip side, here are some features of the hoop that tend to be found on cheaper units. The Spalding 60 Inch Portable Basketball System has a 3 piece pole and support system. This is generally the least stable design on portable basketball hoops. Two piece poles are generally more secure, and one-piece poles are the most stable and are featured on the highest quality premium hoops. The acrylic backboard is better than the polycarbonate found on the cheapest basketball systems, but does not perform at the level seen from basketball hoops that have a tempered glass backboard. With an acrylic backboard this system will have some mild shaking when the basketball hits the rim or backboard, but it will still be superior to most portable basketball systems out there.
If you purchase this basketball hoop be prepared to find a friend or adult family member to help you with the assembly process. This will generally take somewhere between 3-5 hours depending on your assembly experience and assuming things go smoothly.
Overall, the Spalding 60 Inch Portable Basketball Hoop is a wise investment that should last many years when used responsibly. While the hoop does have some features that leave a little to be desired, at it’s price point it performs quite nicely. If you are able to spend more and want a hoop at the next level we would suggest considering the Spalding The Beast Basketball Hoop.
We often suggest Lifetime portable basketball hoops to families who are looking for a decent hoop for their kids to learn the game of basketball on. However, the Lifetime 71522 Portable Basketball Hoop is a little different than many of the other Lifetime basketball systems. This hoop has a slightly higher price point than many Lifetime systems, and has several features that you will not find on the cheaper portable basketball hoops. Let’s dig a little deeper on some of the things that make the Lifetime 71522 a higher quality portable basketball hoop.
When it comes to the Lifetime 71522 it really begins with the Slam-It double compression spring rim made of solid steel. Many Lifetime hoops come with the two springs but they are left exposed and are more likely to rust over time due to the elements of weather. On the Lifetime 71522 Portable Basketball System this is not the case as the springs are housed within a metal cover to keep them protected and lasting significantly longer than other breakaway rims.
A rather weak point for this portable basketball hoop is that it relies on a three piece support pole system. Three piece support pole systems are generally found on lower end portable basketball hoops and are more susceptible to shaking when the basketball hits the system during a shot. In the future, we would like to see Lifetime upgrade the Lifetime 71522 Portable Basketball System so that it came with a two piece support system to reinforce stability. However, there are still some nice stability features within the support pole system in an attempt to make up for this. In particular we love that there are two braces reinforcing the backboard to help offset some of the vibrations you would otherwise get.
The 54 inch acrylic backboard is one of the nicest backboards you will see on a Lifetime portable basketball hoop. Many of Lifetime’s cheaper systems feature polycarbonate backboards, which while stronger than acrylic, do not offer the same level of performance. We do like how the backboard is steel-framed which should increase the life of the system. Another nice feature of the Lifetime 71522’s backboard is the padding that lines the bottom of the system. This is an enhanced safety feature that will help to prevent injuries and cuts that might result from hands and arms hitting the bottom of the backboard.
Portable basketball systems all generally include some sort of base that keeps the basketball hoop in place and stable. The Lifetime 71522 Basketball System features a 35 gallon polyethylene material base. Because of the upright design of this system we wish this would be increased to hold 40 gallons or more which would further reduce the risk of tipping. We do not recommend kids of adults hang on the rim of this system due to this. For transportation this base works nicely as it features two wheels in the front to allow you to slightly tip the hoop and move it your new preferred location.
We have to admit that we are pretty impressed by what Lifetime has been able to accomplish at a reasonable price point with the 71522 Portable Basketball Hoop. Being one of the higher price portable offerings from Lifetime there are some features on this system that you will not get from the other cheaper basketball hoops. A great middle road hoop for most this system will meet the needs of the vast majority of users. Only those who are very serious about the game and are looking for a top performing system such as the Goalsetter All-American may be disappointed with the performance of the Lifetime 71522 Portable Basketball System.
In the market for a portable basketball system for your driveway or backyard? Finding the right hoop is important so that you have the features you desire at the price you want, along with a product that is made to last depending on your level and frequency of use. Spalding is a manufacturer of hoops that is time-tested and well-respected, and the Spalding 68564 Portable Basketball System is a great option if you are looking for something moderately priced, but a solid addition to your yard or driveway with some great features.
The Spalding 68564 hoop offers an array of solid features for the baller in your life, be they young and beginning, or a veteran of the game; the hoop would be best for those looking to play recreationally and practice drills and shots on a regular basis. It features a large 54 inch acrylic backboard made for frequent play and practice. There is a heavy duty steel frame lining the backboard, giving you extra strength and durability as you go up for layups and slam dunks. Acrylic backboards are a great option for those looking for a quality, strong backboard for bank shots and layups, without the high price of tempered glass; a great middle ground option.
When it comes to adjusting the hoop height, the Spalding 68564 Basketball System makes things pretty easy. Thanks to the Screw Jack lift system, the hoop can raise from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in a smooth, one-handed motion. The hoop can lift in infinite increments making it able to be personalized to the height that works best for the player. It also has a removable handle so that once you have found your desired height, it cannot be tampered with. The Spalding 68564 has a 3 piece, 3.5 inch pole, which is set at a 20 degree angle from the base, with a plastic cover on the front gives you a built in rebounder when you play.
The foundation of the Spalding 68564 Portable Basketball System is one of the larger models on the market, with a 40 gallon plastic base; the large size allows for a sturdy and strong foundation, minimizing shaking that can come with weaker or smaller bases on other models. You can fill the base with water, sand, or a polymer gel product to allow for little movement in your neighborhood basketball games and free throw work. Reviewers of this hoop found the base to be adequate and found it durable enough to withstand cracks and weaknesses in the plastic, where sometimes other hoops do not measure up.
For those players who love to perfect their slam dunk, or even just complete their first one, the Spalding 68564 offers a great platform for such a goal; it features an Arena Slam breakaway rim with solid steel support braces. The smooth spring associated with the rim allows for it to give way when going up for that amazing dunk or layup, and minimizes pressure on the backboard, allowing for a stronger and longer lasting product.
While this hoop has a lot of great points, one thing to consider is assembly. Many reviewers have found the assembly of this hoop to be time-consuming and difficult, with improper instructions or missing pieces. However, other found the hoop easy to assemble and did so with little help or time on their hands. Assembly can vary, but this is just one factor to consider when purchasing the hoop that is best for your lifestyle.
What We Like About This Hoop
What Would Make This Hoop Better
With the seemingly countless number of basketball hoops available for sale today it can be difficult to sift through the choices to find what will work for you. The Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball System is a hoop that will likely meet the needs of those hoopers who want a low priced system that can take a beating and keep on ticking. If you have kids or live in a tough weather environment, then the Lifetime 1558 Basketball System may make a lot of sense to pick up.
The reason we suggest this hoop for these situations is primarily due to the backboard of this Lifetime hoop. Coming in at 52 inches it is a decent size considering how affordable the Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball System is. But the Makrolon polycarbonate material that the backboard is made of really makes it suitable for rough treatment. Polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable so even if this hoop is mistreated with rim hanging and tipping due to bad weather it should hold up. Realize however that polycarbonate backboards are not nearly as responsive as acrylic and tempered glass backboards and will not have great performance.
On more affordable hoops like the Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball System an area that manufactures seem to cut corners on is the base size. The Lifetime 1558 is no exception to this as it has a 35 gallon base. While this will certainly keep it upright under normal playing conditions it can still be tipped if you hang on the center of the rim and in inclement weather. Due to this we would recommend adding a couple cinder blocks and place them on top of the base to weight the basketball hoop down more. If you want a portable basketball system with a larger base check out the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball System which features a 40 gallon base.
Having double compression springs on the Lifetime 1558’s Slam-It rim is a plus. This will allow the hoop to take mild to moderate dunking without putting too much pressure on the backboard and support system. On the downside the springs on the rim are uncovered and thus exposed to the outdoor elements. Often these springs are the quickest part of portable basketball hoops to rust. If you purchase the Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball System be sure to put a little effort into keeping these springs dry.
A great thing about many Lifetime Basketball Hoops is that they often have an easy mechanism to adjust the height of the hoop. The Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball System is no exception to this with its action grip height adjustment mechanism. With a simple squeeze of the hand the height of the hoop can be adjusted from 7.5 feet to 10 feet. We would say that overall Lifetime makes the best hoops for kids to learn the game of basketball.
This hoop comes in a great price point of about $250 and will be best used in a home with kids on a limited budget. It will certainly do the job in terms of allowing players to work on their games and their shot, however, do not expect a professional hoop experience with the Lifetime 1558 Portable Basketball Hoop. The system will shake when shots hit the rim and backboard. For those wanting to go a step up on their basketball hoop please check out our reviews for the Lifetime 71522 Portable Basketball System and the Spalding 54 Inch Portable Basketball Hoop. These are a bit more expensive but may have some better features that you are looking for.
The Lifetime 1529 Courtside Base Height-Adjustable Potable Basketball Hoop is a top quality hoop that is reasonably priced while retaining many of the features that are included on higher price Lifetime models.
The Lifetime 1529 basketball hoop has a black shatter guard fusion backboard that is 50” and made of extremely durable Makrolon polycarbonate. Good luck trying to break this backboard as it can stand some serious punishment. The Lifetime 1529 basketball system’s backboard is set on a heavy duty 3 inch round speed shift pole mechanism, offering a simple system for adjusting the height of the hoop between 8 to 10 feet in six inch increments. The height adjustment system operates with ease and can be worked with one hand.
This system also has a Slam-It rim with double compression springs for a sturdy but fair bounce, with welded-steel net hooks and an all-weather nylon net. This Lifetime hoop’s rim does feel and sound like a high quality unit, and handles shots well from all over the court. Overall, this rim is probably one of the best features of this hoop.
The base is 27 gallons and is filled with water or sand providing a stable foundation that comes with wheels for easy portability. The base does do its job, however, the plastic is somewhat cheap and may be subject to wear and tear over time. The Lifetime 1529 Courtside basketball system is in the lower price range, thus other higher price systems may provide stronger materials in some cases.
The assembly of the hoop is fairly easy, and the instructions include diagrams for the materials drawn to actual size so you can identify each necessary piece properly. For most folks it will take about three hours to put this hoop together, and the instructions are presented more clearly than other assembly-required products. Once erected, everyone will love playing on this hoop. Lastly, if anything does go wrong Lifetime does provide a 5 year warranty on this system.
If you are in the market for a premium portable basketball system that can take a beating and perform at a high level, then it may be time to consider picking up the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop for Your driveway or home court. This is the top of the line portable basketball system that Spalding produces and is arguably the best portable system that money can buy. Compared to the Spalding The Beast Basketball Hoop some less expensive portable systems from Spalding include the Spalding 54″ Portable Basketball System and the Spalding Pro Slam.
Because of the high price of this hoop it should come as no surprise that the features included on this system are immense. One thing that is obvious is that Spalding emphasized stability when it comes to the design of the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball System. The support pole is a “beastly” 5″ square all steel pole that is angled from the back of the base to the bottom of the backboard.
The angling of the support pole is crucial to maximizing stability and limiting the possibility of the hoop tipping by spreading out the system’s weight. The base mount includes four struts that work to stabilize the unit and to further reinforce the hoop. The Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball System offers a massive 50+ gallon base that can be filled with sand or fluid. This is one of the largest bases we have seen on a recreational portable basketball system. The base comes with rollers that help to make moving the Beast a cinch.
This basketball hoop has a backboard that is 60″ wide and 1/4″ thick, and is made of tempered glass. The absolute top of the line in-ground systems feature backboards that are 1/2″ thick, however, for a portable system this backboard’s performance is superior to the competition. Tempered glass is the costliest and highest performing backboard material available.
The breakaway rim is high performing and can withstand monster dunks, although we would never recommend hanging from a rim on a portable basketball system as a safety precaution. Overall, you will not notice a difference between how this rim performs and the ones found in a high school gyms around the country.
The all-weather net that comes with the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball Hoop is a standard feature on almost all outdoor basketball systems and will last for a few years before needing to be replaced.
We do wish this hoop had support pole and backboard padding. For most homes this will not be an issue, especially due to the angled design of the support pole. However, it may be worthwhile to pick up a support pole pad that fits this hoop if you do decid to select the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball System for your home.
What can we say, the Spalding The Beast Portable Basketball System is our pick for the best portable basketball system available. We have rated it highly due to several factors including design (angled support pole, movable wheels, base handle, etc.), features (tempered glass backboard, breakaway rim, etc.) and the overall stability of the unit. If you are looking for a hoop that is a little less expensive, but is still of good quality we recommend you take a closer look at the Spalding 60″ Portable Basketball System.