With so many makes, types, and models on the market, how do you choose the best basketball hoop for your family? With three boys in our home, we’ve gone through a few. So, let me share what to look for, what to avoid, and what will be worth the investment.
- Has weighted ballast wheels
- 26-inch overhang
- Available with 50- or 54-inch backboards
- 3 junior size plastic balls included
- Large hoop makes scoring easier
- No metal parts to rust outside
- Durable & stands up well to any weather
- Available in multiple backboard sizes
- Easy height adjustment
- Can be folded for under-bed storage
- LED scoreboard
- Two hoops for fun 1-on-1 games
- Provides the fun of basketball indoors
- Padded to prevent damage to your door
- Robust & durable construction
- Affordable hoop is for casual play
- Stable setup reduce risk of injury
- Stands up well to inclement weather
- Backboard includes foam backing
- Has breakaway rim feature
- Glow-in-the-dark lines
- Smaller ball size & adjustable poles
- Indoor, outdoor, or beside the pool use
- Inexpensive system
- Fun swimming pool activity
- Requires minimal space
- Balls are easy to replace
- Fun first sports center
- Teaches number recognition from 1-10
- Songs & music for entertainment
Benefits of Basketball for Kids
We all know kids should be active, but what are some of the specific benefits of basketball?
Any activity that makes a child feel successful is good for their self-esteem. Physical activities such as basketball are especially important for children who struggle academically.
Teaches Respect for Authority
In basketball, your child will have to listen to the instructions of coaches and the calls of referees and react appropriately. This helps them learn to follow instructions, accept correction, and challenge authority respectfully.
Provides a Whole Body Workout
Basketball is good for cardiovascular exercise, hand-eye coordination, and working a wide range of muscle groups. This contributes to overall health and well-being.
Learning to be part of a team is an important skill. Respecting the contribution of others, knowing your own strengths, and being able to do the best for others will set your child up for success later in life.
How to Choose the Best Basketball Hoops for Kids
When you’re choosing a basketball hoop, these are the things to consider.
The younger your child, the more quickly they’ll grow. Choose a hoop that will be appropriate for your child now and as long as possible into the future. You want the hoop to be low enough that it’s accessible but high enough to be challenging.
Older children will be most likely to notice the difference between a ball’s behavior against a pro-style basketball hoop and one that’s more suited for casual use at home.
An in-ground hoop is safest, but it’s not always practical. Not everyone has the space to cement a permanent hoop, so many people opt for more portable options.
Some portable hoops come with a base that’s filled with water or sand. But these hoops are the most likely to tip and fall, especially if your child tries to slam dunk the ball.
Once you’re past the toddler stage, look for hoops with a good offset. That is the space between the pole and the backboard. A hoop with a lengthy offset minimizes the chances of your child crashing into the support pole.
In addition to the hoop’s safety, you should also consider the area where the hoop will be used and whether it is appropriate for basketball.
If your child will be shooting hoops on your driveway, is it flat enough that the ball won’t be bouncing into oncoming traffic? Is the surface your child will be playing on rough or rocky, or will they land softly if they take a spill?
A polyethylene plastic backboard is very difficult to damage, so if you don’t need a pro-standard hoop, a polyethylene backboard is best.
If you’re shopping for a toddler basketball hoop, look for one that’s solid and won’t crack easily if it gets knocked around a bit.
Consider the metal hoop itself and how strong it is. Will it get bent out of shape if your superstar swings a slam dunk? Look for a rigid hoop that will stand the test of time and many teenagers.
If you have plenty of bad weather and lots of indoor space, the best basketball hoop for your kids may be one you can bring indoors.
If your children are still growing and you don’t want to have to keep replacing your hoop, consider a hoop that will grow with them.
Adjustable height basketball hoops are usually made with a two or three-piece pole. A two-piece pole is preferable because it tends to be stronger and more durable than the three-piece option.
These are the recommended basketball hoop heights according to a child’s age when measured from floor to rim.
|Under 8 years||6–7 feet|
|8–9 years||8 feet|
|10–11 years||9 feet|
|12+ years||10 feet|
A basic portable basketball hoop for kids will likely cost you close to $150. However, if you want to go up a step in quality, a solid hoop with a 54-inch backboard will cost around $400.
Ease of Installation
In-ground basketball hoops are the most complex and expensive to install. To be safe and fit for the purpose, wall-mounted hoops require proper mounting. This requires the correct tools and some basic DIY skills.
The bases of portable hoops are usually weighted or designed to be filled with sand or water. For this reason, if you’re likely to be moving the hoop more than occasionally, look for one with wheels.
A door-mounted hoop or an arcade-style set that can be folded away might be a better option if you have limited outdoor space.
The Best Kids Basketball Hoops of 2021
Based on our experience, reviews from other parents, and input from professionals, these are the 10 best basketball hoops for kids.
1. Silverback NXT: Portable Basketball Hoop
The NXT from Silverback features a unique base design. The internal steel frame acts as an anchor point for the upright pole. The wheels themselves are weighted, providing extra stability, although you still have to fill the base with water.
To move the basketball hoop, you tip it onto its wheels and push it like a wheelbarrow, and an additional kickstand-type fixture prevents the hoop from tipping right over while it’s being moved.
The adjustment mechanism is a latch, and it takes approximately five seconds to change the height. Silverback does not offer guidance on how old a child should be before adjusting the hoop by themselves. However, our 12-year-old does so without help.
A spring-mounted rim minimizes the possibility of a slam dunk damaging the backboard, although the springs are not enclosed, so they may not stand up to a prolonged time in bad weather.
The hoop is of good value, and if you are sure your kids are going to use it, we believe this is the best option, especially if you have younger children who will grow into it.
- Weighted ballast wheels make for easy portability.
- 26” overhang minimizes impacts with the hoop’s pole.
- Available with 50-inch or 54-inch backboards.
- Expensive for occasional use.
|Age range||8 years+|
|Height||7.5 to 10 feet in 6-inch increments|
|Pole construction||2-piece steel pole|
|Backboard||50-inch or 54-inch shatterproof polycarbonate|
|Installation||1 person, 90 minutes, tools required|
2. Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set
For little ones who are not yet ready for a full-size basketball hoop, the Little Tikes easy score basketball set gives them the chance to play. This can be especially beneficial if you have older kids with full-size hoops and smaller kids who want to join in.
There are six height settings so this option will last for a while, especially as it doesn’t matter if your tiny tot isn’t worried about their height in comparison to the hoop.
The set easily fits together without the need for tools, and you can assemble the hoop in under ten minutes. Likewise, the height adjustment is a cinch without any difficult-to-manage pole locks or hardware to remove and replace.
The hoop is stable enough for little ones and doesn’t require additional weight to be added for further stability.
- Three junior size plastic balls included.
- A large hoop makes scoring easier.
- No metal parts to rust outside.
- Because it’s short, it only works when kids are really young.
|Age range||18 months to 5 years|
|Height||2.5 to 4 feet with six settings|
|Pole construction||Hollow plastic|
|Installation||1 person, 5 minutes, no tools required|
3. Lifetime: Portable Basketball Hoop System
Lifetime makes a wide range of basketball hoops, and this hoop is one of their entry-level models.
We like that the height is easy to adjust and can be raised or lowered in four-inch increments rather than the standard six. The adjustment is simple and takes roughly ten seconds to complete, so it’s no big deal if you have to adjust it a few times to find your ideal height.
Lifetime recommends you fill the base with five or six bags of sand for added stability. One reviewer failed to do so, and their hoop blew over in strong winds, but neither the rim nor the backboard was damaged in any way.
- Durable system stands up well to adverse weather conditions with added weight.
- Available in multiple backboard sizes.
- Easy height adjustment.
- Tricky to move on a soft surface like grass.
- Assembly is a two-person job.
|Age range||8 years+|
|Height||8 to 10 feet in 4-inch increments|
|Pole construction||3-piece steel pole|
|Backboard||48-inch shatterproof polycarbonate|
|Installation||2 people, 2–3 hours, tools required|
4. Smartxchoices: Basketball Hoop Arcade Game
This arcade basketball game from Smartxchoices has eight game play modes and three audio options, providing more play value than a standard shoot-and-score game. The hoops come with four inflatable balls and a pump.
We like that the game registers which shots are successful, which minimizes the arguments between competitive kids. This is especially nice for fast-shoot competitions.
However, the hoop sensor, although close, is not entirely accurate, missing the occasional successful shot. We also noticed that when the kids became extra boisterous, the game seemed a little wobbly but was never in any danger of falling over.
- Can be folded for under-bed storage.
- LCD scoreboard minimizes scoring arguments.
- Two hoops for fun one-on-one games.
- Setup is a little wobbly.
- Won’t fit in rooms with ceilings lower than eight feet.
|Age range||5 years+|
|Height||2 feet 9 inches, not adjustable|
|Backboard||42 inch MDF panel with electronic scoreboard|
|Installation||1 person, 45–60 minutes, tool provided|
5. Franklin Sports: Over The Door Basketball Hoop
If you don’t have an outdoor space to erect a portable basketball hoop, or you want an indoor hoop for practice, the Franklin Sports over-the-door hoop is your best bet. There’s plenty of padding on the hoop, so you don’t have to worry about damage to your door.
The dual-spring rim is better quality than the fixed rings you find on some more expensive outdoor hoops. This prevents stress and damage caused to the backboard when a ball or player hits a fixed rim.
The hoop comes with an inflatable 5-inch rubber ball which is the ideal size and weight for this particular rim. As soon as you set up the hoop, you’re ready to play; there’s no need to track down a suitable ball.
- Provides the fun of basketball indoors.
- Padded to prevent damage to your door.
- Robust and durable construction.
- Minimal long-term appeal.
- Best for accuracy practice, not games.
|Age range||4 years+|
|Installation||1 person, 30 minutes, tools required|
6. Lifetime: Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System
If you are unsure about how much use you’ll get out of a basketball hoop, this budget option has most of the higher-end model features without the price tag.
You can use the telescopic height adjustment system without help, but only if you lay the basketball hoop on the floor. The system requires you to remove a bolt, slide the pole, align the holes, and re-insert the bolt. If you want to adjust it while upright, you need two people to do so safely.
The downside to this pole is that because it’s a budget model, the rim is screwed directly to the backboard, so there are no springs to absorb impact. As a result, the backboard is more likely to be damaged by an over-enthusiastic slam dunk.
There is no overhang from the pole, which means your kids are more likely to run into it when making attempts to shoot.
- Affordable hoop is great for casual players.
- Stable setup diminishes risk of injury.
- Stands up well to inclement weather.
- Challenging to move without as there are no wheels on the base.
- Tricky to adjust the height without help.
|Age range||5 years+|
|Height||7.5 to 10 feet in six-inch increments|
|Pole construction||3 piece steel|
|Installation||2 people, 1–2 hours, no tools required|
7. Ropoda: Glow-in-the-Dark Basketball Hoop
This door-mounted hoop and two-ball set is a good option for younger kids who want a hoop to mess around with. It will fit on a door that is up to 2 inches wide, but if your door is a lot narrower, it would be best to add a shim or some padding.
The backboard is backed with a layer of foam padding around the edges. This is meant to prevent damage to your door and minimize excessive noise.
We like that the rim is spring mounted and includes a breakaway feature. That way, when kids get out of hand trying to one-up each other with their slam dunks, chances of the backboard breaking are minimal.
- The backboard includes foam backing.
- The breakaway rim feature minimizes the chances of damage.
- Glow-in-the-dark lines make for fun nighttime play.
- Can get loud.
- The glow only lasts up to 30 mins.
|Age range||5 years+|
|Backboard||16-inch shatter-resistant polycarbonate|
|Installation||1 person, up to 60 minutes, tools required|
8. SKLZ: Pro Mini Hoop Adjustable Basketball System
This inexpensive basketball hoop is the best option if your kids are casual basketball players and you want a hoop to suit a variety of ages.
The SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop System can be easily adjusted from a minimum height of 3.5 feet to a maximum height of 7 feet. This makes this unique system perfect for both young children and teens. And set at the lowest height beside a pool, it makes for a great game of ball while swimming.
This system is great for both indoor and outdoor use. However, we learned the hard way that the poles and connection points will rust if they’re exposed to the elements. This can be remedied by first spraying the poles with a clear rust-proof spray sealant.
As the SKLZ basketball hoop is made for use with a 7-inch ball, we recommend it for younger children and more casual play. Older kids and those dedicated to the sport will likely prefer a full-size system.
- Smaller ball size and adjustable poles make this a good option for families with children of all ages.
- Versatile system can be used indoors, outdoors, and beside the pool.
- Inexpensive system makes for a great backup hoop at the cottage or grandma’s house.
- Not for use with full-size basketballs.
- Backboard won’t hold up to rougher play.
|Age range||3 years+|
|Height||3.5 to 7 feet in 6-inch increments|
|Backboard||33” shatterproof polycarbonate|
|Installation||1 person, 90 minutes, tools provided|
9. GoSports: Splashin’ Basketball Hoop
True basketball enthusiasts want to play at all times, and this includes while swimming. There are many options for floating basketball hoops for in-water play, but this one is our favorite.
The metal poles on this hoop are foam-padded to minimize the chance of injury, although we found that bumping the hoop was more likely to cause it to float away than cause any harm to the player.
The poles snap together quickly and can just as easily be taken apart at the end of the season to store over the winter.
Although the set comes with two balls, we found it fun to buy a few extras for more gameplay. This size of ball is easy to locate at any department or sports store, so there’s no problem if one of the original balls gets lost or damaged.
- A fun swimming pool activity.
- Requires minimal space.
- Balls are easy to replace.
- Limited play value as it’s only usable in water.
|Age range||6 years+|
|Installation||1 person, 1 minute, no tools required|
10. VTech: Smart Shots Basketball Hoop
There’s no need to worry if your child is too small for a regular basketball hoop. For the basketball player in training, the VTech Smart Shots sports center combines a basketball hoop with an electronic scoreboard. It also includes a soccer goal that utilizes the scoring system and makes this a multi-sport toy.
The goalposts are lined with buttons, light, cogs, and other fun items to discover. The sports center plays over 50 phrases, songs, and sounds to engage and encourage active tots. However, we wish it included volume adjustment to decrease the noise.
- Fun first sports center.
- Teaches number recognition from one to ten.
- Songs and music add a measure of entertainment.
- Bulky toy takes up lots of room.
- Batteries do not last long.
|Age range||12 to 36 months|
|Product||Best||Age range||Height||Pole construction||Backboard||Installation|
|Silverback NXT: Portable Basketball Hoop||Best Portable Basketball Hoop||8 years+||7.5 – 10 feet in 6-inch increments||2-piece steel pole||50-inch or 54-inch shatterproof polycarbonate||1 person, 90 minutes, tools required|
|Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Set||Best for Toddlers||18 months – 5 years||2.5 – 4 feet with six settings||Hollow plastic||Plastic||1 person, 5 minutes, no tools required|
|Lifetime: Portable Basketball Hoop System||Most Durable Basketball Hoop||8 years+||8 – 10 feet in 4-inch increments||3-piece steel pole||48-inch shatterproof polycarbonate||2 people, 2–3 hours, tools required|
|Smartxchoices: Basketball Hoop Arcade Game||Best Arcade-Style Basketball Hoop||5 years+||2 feet 9″, not adjustable||Steel||42 inch MDF panel with electronic scoreboard||1 person, 45–60 minutes, tool provided|
|Franklin Sports: Over The Door Basketball Hoop||Best Door-Mounted Basketball Hoop||4 years+||N/A||N/A||5.5-inch polycarbonate||1 person, 30 minutes, tools required|
|Lifetime: Height Adjustable Portable Basketball System||Best Budget Basketball Hoop||5 years+||7.5 – 10 feet in six-inch increments||3 piece steel||44-inch polyethylene||2 people, 1–2 hours, no tools required|
|Ropoda: Glow-in-the-Dark Basketball Hoop||Best Mini Basketball Hoop||5 years+||N/A||N/A||16-inch shatter-resistant polycarbonate||1 person, up – 60 minutes, tools required|
|SKLZ: Pro Mini Hoop Adjustable Basketball System||Best Budget Basketball Hoop||3 years+||3.5 – 7 feet in 6-inch increments||Steel||33” shatterproof polycarbonate||1 person, 90 minutes, tools provided|
|GoSports: Splashin’ Basketball Hoop||Best Water Play Basketball Hoop||6 years+||22″||N/A||N/A||1 person, 1 minute, no tools required|
|VTech: Smart Shots Basketball Hoop||Best Electronic for Toddlers||12 – 36 months||30″||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Make It A Slam Dunk
A basketball hoop can be a big purchase, in both size and cost, so it’s essential to take your time and choose the best basketball hoop for the kids in your family.
Before you spend the money, think about how much use you are going to get out of your hoop, whether your kids are already into basketball, and how much available space you have.
Casual players will be fine with a basic model, but more serious players will want a basketball hoop that provides at least some of the bounce, slide, and spin they would expect from a professional-grade model.