In Ground vs Portable Basketball Hoop- Which Is Better?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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At some point or other, basketball enthusiasts have all debated whether to buy a portable basketball hoop or an in-built one.

If you’re debating the same question, this article will help you understand the main pros and cons of each hoop type to help you choose the right one for you.

In Ground vs Portable Basketball Hoop guide
In Ground vs Portable Basketball Hoop

A basketball hoop is an investment and so it’s worth spending time researching which one meets your needs the most.

So, what is the main difference between an in-ground basketball hoop and a portable basketball hoop?

The short answer is portability. Basically, if you want to be able to move your hoop readily, you need a portable one! However, if you’re wanting it to be stable and more secure, you’re best getting an in-ground hoop. Regardless of hoop choice, you’re going to need to place it on a hard surface like concrete or paving, which is another consideration.

In this article, we’ll discuss in-ground Vs portable basketball hoops in detail so stick around if you want more information to help you decide.

In-ground Vs portable basketball hoop – things to consider

The biggest difference and deciding point between an in-ground basketball hoop and a portable one is being able to move it.

As you can gather from the name, a portable basketball hoop can be moved around.

Conversely, an in-ground hoop is a permanent fixture that’s installed into the ground.

An in-ground hoop is very sturdy and ideal for anyone who is taking the sport seriously.

Worth Considering – If you’ve got a budding basketball star, an in-ground hoop will probably be worth the investment.

However, if you’re just wanting a fun activity for your kids and their friends, you might prefer a portable hoop that you can bring out the front and have friendly fun with the neighbors.

Rising basketball star?

If you play on your college or school basketball team, an in-ground basketball hoop will be sturdy and professional to give you the right level of practice at the right height.

It will also last decades if it’s installed correctly.

Silverback 60

For serious players, a fixed hoop will allow you to experience gameplay in a professional way in the comfort of your own yard.

What’s More – A high-quality hoop with a breakaway-style rim and tempered glass board will be ideal for dunking practice.

Fun for the kids

If you’re not planning on a career in basketball and you’re not in the high school or college team, a portable basketball hoop might be more up your street.

You won’t need to invest in an expensive professionally-installed hoop system. A hoop on wheels that is height-adjustable will be ideal.

No matter the age of your kids, you’ll be able to make the hoop fit for enjoyable play.

What’s more, it is so easy to maneuver so your kids can enjoy playing out the front with their friends too.

Basketball hoop placement – in-ground Vs portable hoop

Installation location is a serious factor to consider when deciding between an in-ground or portable basketball hoop.

Silverback NXT 54

Of course, with a portable hoop, location doesn’t matter at all, which is a bonus! All you’ll need is some hard ground somewhere and you’re good to go.

However, if you’re considering an in-ground basketball hoop, you’ll probably want to have a dedicated area.

Remember, an in-ground hoop is a more permanent feature and so you won’t be able to redesign your backyard (at least not easily) after installation.

Budget considerations – in-ground Vs portable basketball hoop

If your budget is tight, you’ll find a portable hoop to be much more affordable.

In-ground basketball hoop systems are much more expensive because you’ll need to consider ground labor, and the fact that they’re made from stronger and heavier materials.

Types of in-ground basketball hoop

It’s not just as simple as deciding to get an in-ground basketball hoop – there are still choices to make even when you’ve decided this type is for you!

There are three types:

  1. ground sleeve
  2. direct burial
  3. an anchor system

The ground sleeve system is the most common.

The sleeve is a tube that goes into a hole in the ground.

Silverback 60
Inflatable Floater in Pool
Inflatable Floater in Pool

You then pour in concrete to surround it. Once it’s solidified, you can then slide your basketball hoop pole into it and bolt it in place.

The direct burial system means digging a hole, placing the basketball hoop hole inside, and then covering with concrete.

Finally – The anchor system includes placing bolts in a hole and then filling it with concrete. This is usually the set-up needed for more expensive basketball hoops.

In ground Vs Portable basketball hoops – a comparison

So that you can review both types of basketball hoops side by side, we’ve come up with an easy comparison chart.

Portable Basketball HoopIn-Ground Basketball Hoop
PortabilityTip and wheel to any desired location. You might need to empty the base for easier movement, but this isn’t too difficult.Cannot move due to being installed into the ground
InstallationOnly needs assembly (maximum 90 minutes). You might need tools for assembly.Ground preparation (digging/installing) needed. Concrete takes up to 3 days to cure.
StabilityBased is usually filled with sand or water. Might wobble with a hard shot. Not made to withstand hang overs (could tip over).Very stable, won’t tip over. Dunking/hanging on the rim is possible.
Playing abilityUsually have lighter backboards (lighter glass or plastic). Pole not made to withstand the weight. Not good for aggressive play.  Equivalent to a professional hoop. Breakaway rim. High-quality, tempered glass backboard, and proper rebounds. Can handle aggressive play.
SuitabilityFamilies with young children as they’re height adjustable. People who are intending to move home (or move around).Basketball enthusiasts wanting to make a go of the game in a more serious way. Families who aren’t planning on moving home.

Final thoughts

When it comes to choosing between an in-ground or a portable basketball hoop, there are many things to weigh up before you decide which one to go for.

A basketball hoop is a costly purchase – especially if you get an in-ground one – so you’ll want to know for sure which one is most suited to your needs.

An in-ground system is better for people who aren’t planning on moving home or who are really keen to pursue a career in basketball.

In other words, they’re for more serious players. If you’ve got a growing family, are not in your ‘forever home’, or want more freedom, a portable system will suit your needs much more.

And, because portable basketball hoops are much cheaper, if you decide to progress to an in-ground system later on, you won’t have wasted your purchase.

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