I have a question for you…
When you say cheap inground basketball hoops, how cheap exactly you looking for?
$200, $300, $400???
Because at least $250 to $300 is what you have to spend to get a solid inground hoop for your home. If you want to spend less, then there are some good portable basketball hoops, below $200, which you can see here.
Although can’t provide the stability of in-ground hoop, these portable hoops can give you something to play on.
For those of you thinking, there is not even one inground hoop under $200 that I can buy for my home?
My answer is simply no. There is only one inground hoop available under $200 i.e. Spalding NBA In-Ground Basketball System with 44″ Polycarbonate Backboard, which I don’t recommend, unless you would like to change your hoops backboard every few months.
Yes, its backboard is too fragile for our liking. It’s only 2mm thick which I don’t think can take the beating from regular size basketball– or even a kids ball, for too long.
Sure if you are planning to play with a foam ball, by all means, go with this hoop. But for people looking to play with regular size ball, dunking or even practicing bank shots, this backboard is not for them.
Again, if you are looking for anything below $200 go with portable hoops. And for all others who are willing to invest $200-300 or $300-400, I am about to show you the best inground basketball hoop that will give any hoop run for their money.
Ready! Let’s go…
#Cheap Inground Basketball Hoop- Under $200 To 300.
“Looks same, plays different.”
Okay, so in $200-300 range you have got 5 inground hoops to choose from: Lifetime 71799, Lifetime 71281, Lifetime 1084, Lifetime 90020, and Lifetime 1079. (Click To See Comparision Table)
Now if you look on paper, there is not much of difference in all 5 hoops. All hoops backboard is made of polycarbonate material, all got slam-it rim, all have a 5-year warranty and all hoop’s got a 3.5-inch 3 section round pole.
So, why someone buys a $300 hoop if he can get exact same features on $200 hoop?
Well, these hoops might look no different but there is one huge difference in them which adds to the overall durability of the hoop. And that difference is steel frame backboard vs a plastic frame backboard.
Lifetime 71799 and 71281, which cost little over other 3 plastic framed hoops, got a steel framed backboard. Moreover, both these systems got easy to use, one-handed, height adjustment system too.
How both these features affect the play?
Well, shooting basketball on steel framed backboards is more reliable and fun because it doesn’t wobble, like a drunk old man who is about to fall, when a ball hits the edge of the backboard. Ask someone who plays on plastic framed hoops and they will tell you their pain!
Also, the plastic backboard gets attached better to a steel frame than a plastic one, which gets detached very easily with a regular use. And I don’t want to give you the headache of fixing your backboard in every few days. Because that takes time and money, both of which I don’t want you to lose.
This takes us to our next point, the height adjustment system (HDS), which is very important to consider if small kids are going to use your system.
Because easy to use HDS, like the one-handed system on 71281 and 71799, help kids adjust rim height without broomstick or calling you out every time they want to adjust rim height. Further, both these HDS are more safe and convenient than the other conventional height adjusting systems in which you have to screw after adjusting the rim height.
Now, what more can you ask for, considering you are just paying around $250 for these systems? Yes! That’s the amount Lifetime 71851 and Lifetime 71799 will cost you around. (Check at the bottom for exact price)
Now that we know which two hoops, out of five, are better, the question still remains which one is the best, Lifetime 71281 or Lifetime 71799.
Lifetime 71281 vs Lifetime 71799- And the MVH is…
And the winner of Most Valuable Hoop (MVH) award by slightest margin is LIFETIME 71281. (standing ovation)
But, let me tell you this…
Both these hoops got all the quality of MVH. To put it more precisely, one is Russell Westbrook and other is James Harden of this price range and choosing MVH between both of them was a tough task?
But at the end of the day, we choose Lifetime 71281 as our MVH because of its better powerlift height adjustment system, which is easy for kids to use.
However, it doesn’t take anything away from Lifetime 71779. It came runner-up in MVH race and is still a better choice than other hoops in this price range. To sum up, buy 71799 if you are really tight on budget and want hoop around $250.
Otherwise, if your budget allows you to spend $300, go with 71281 to have more fun and much better height adjustment system.
Lifetime 71281 Pros & Cons:
- 52-inch steel framed backboard (biggest you can get in this range).
- Powerlift Height Adjustment System. (best HDS in this range)
- Adjust rim height from 7.5 feet to 10 feet.
- Backed By 5-Year Warranty.
- Excellent ratings on Amazon; 4.4/5, out of 43 reviews. (Last checked on Aug 20, 2017)
- Vague Assembly Instruction.
- Ground Sleeve Not Included In Package. (You can buy it separately.)
- Polycarbonate Backboard doesn’t provide bounce like Glass Backboards.
Lifetime 71799 Pros & Cons:
- 50″ Shatterproof steel framed backboard. (second best in this range)
- Single Handed Height Adjustment Mechanism.
- 5-Year Warranty.
- Fair Assembly Instructions.
- Excellent Amazon Rating; 4.2/5, out of 137 reviews. (Checked on Aug 20, 2017)
- No Ground Sleeve.
- Classic Style Rim. (Not as good as rims with double compression springs)
- Polycarbonate Backboard doesn’t provide bounce like Glass Backboards.
#Cheap Inground basketball hoop- Under $300 To 400.
“Lamborghini at the price of Mustang.”
I am really excited to show you the best hoop in this range because I love to write about product that saves my readers money and at the same time, give them a very best of experience.
Surprisingly, I found one product in this range that can even knock out other, highly-priced, competitors.
The product I am talking about here is Spalding 88454g which is priced under $400 but comes with premium specs that you find on pro hoops, above $600.
What are these specs?
Here are few 88454g specs that will make you go Wow…
- First hoop under 400 to have a Glass backboard (uses in NBA, NCAA, and school tournaments).
- First hoop under 400 to have a 4” square pole (square poles are more sturdy than round poles).
- First hoop under 400 to have a 2-piece pole (woggle less than 3-section poles).
There are almost 100 hoops (inground & portable) available under $400 and none of them offer these configurations. For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to play on Glass backboard v/s playing on plastic backboards, it’s same as driving a Lamborghini v/s driving a Mustang.
Now driving Mustang is not bad at all, but buying Mustang when you can buy Lamborghini at same price is a HUGE mistake.
So for all those who are tired of their Mustang and want to upgrade to what professionals ride, here is your chance to drive your Lamborghini, and that too without burning hole in your pocket.
In short, buy this hoop if you are practicing for any professional tournament (school, college or individual league) and want the feel and touch of a Glass backboard to perfect your bank shots.
Spalding 88454g Pros & Cons:
- Cheap Price, compared to other hoops with Glass Backboard.
- Looks Professional, with official NBA logo sitting on the backboard.
- 1/4″ thick Tempered Glass backboard.
- Backboard has 2′ offset from the pole.
- Breakaway rim, to handle nasty dunks.
- 4″ square 2-section pole.
- Ground Sleeve, for easy installation.
- Easy U-Turn system to adjust rim height from 7.5′ to 10′.
- Good Rating on Amazon; 3.9/5, out of 179 reviews. Checked On Aug 20, 2017.
- Assembly Instruction Not Very Good.
- Joining 2 piece pole together need some muscles.
- Still can’t hang on the rim.