Basketball hoops are extremely varied when it comes to price. You could spend less than $100 for a entry-level model, or thousands on a pro-style system like you would find in the NCAA and NBA. The latter could cost upwards of $16,000 or more depending on the model and where you buy them from. These hoops are the best of the best, and few residential owners anywhere have an indoor gym to house one, and the finances to pay for it. However, most homeowners tend to buy a basketball hoop that is priced somewhere in-between.
What determines the price of a basketball hoop anyway? If you look at the entry-level models compared to the highest priced ones, you will notice a huge contrast in a variety of areas.
First, look at the design. Cheap models have a rather small, round pole that directly attaches to the backboard. There is no space in between the pole and the backboard, whereas regulation hoops have up to 5 feet of space. This is referred to as overhang. The cheaper the model, the less of an overhang there will be. So if you want some space for play behind the basketball hoop, then plan on spending at least $300 on up.
Another obvious distinction is the backboard size, material, and thickness. Regulation size is 72-inches wide, 42 inches high, and 1/2 inch thick. The cheapest models have very small sized backboards, around 44-inches in width.
Size matters more than one might think. Shooting bank shots in particular can be almost impossible depending on the angle and distance. For beginners, a bigger backboard is much more beneficial.
The material of backboards also varies quite a bit. The highest level of quality is tempered glass, which is what you will find on the highest priced hoops. Graphite, fiberglass, polycarbonate, acrylic however are the most common materials you will find on the other hoops.
The difference is that tempered glass doesn't really suffer from wear and tear like the others do. Plus, it's the most rigid, which means that the ball will bounce really nicely off of it. Cheaper materials often deaden the ball when bounced off of it. Tempered glass weighs a lot more, and is simply much higher quality. It simulates real playing conditions that you would have when playing inside of a gym.
In essence, the more money you spend, the more realistic your basketball hoop will be.
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