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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.