When do basketball pros first learn the game? Most started shooting hoops as a teen, and some say their family introduced them to the game even when these 7-footers were less than 4 feet tall. Is it ever too young to start learning those important motor skills--and having fun while doing it? Now is the time to introduce your toddler to basketball, hands-on!
Basketball is one of the most popular sports for both adults and kids. Many NBA ballplayers say they started playing while they were still kids, some at less than six years old. Youth basketball can help toddlers and growing children practice balance, improve their hand-eye coordination, and improve their agility.
Kids can also learn teamwork when they play ball. The ability to make an easy score builds confidence in toddlers, while youth basketball encourages school-age children to make friends. Even when they are alone, kids can practice their ball-dribbling skills, work on their shooting form, and learn rim defenses.
Whether or not your child is serious about playing ball, having a hoop in your yard is a must. Be sure to provide them with the right equipment so they can hone their skills and excel.
Read on to learn about some of the best kids' basketball hoops on the market today.
Best Kids Basketball Hoops
A 2-in-1 sports center that allows toddlers to have fun scoring goals, the Vtech Smart Shots Sports Center is an excellent way to develop kids' motor skills and improve their agility and balance.
The backboard of this toddler hoop has an LED scoreboard that counts baskets. It can count up to 10 baskets and can easily reset with a simple flip of a lever.
The scoreboard also plays encouraging sounds and animations that can encourage your toddler to perform even better. The LED Score Display is battery-operated and runs on 3 AA batteries.
There is also a soccer goal attached to the base of the VTech. Toddlers can practice their soccer skills when they want to take a break from making those slam dunks or learning how to dribble.
On top of these, the Vtech Smart Shots Sports Center also doubles as a learning device. The colorful shape buttons of this mini-basketball game provide a fun learning experience. The Sports Center also plays more than 50 songs, sounds, and phrases that your toddler can quickly learn and memorize.
The wide array of fun-but-educational features of the Vtech Smart Shots makes it the best basketball goal for toddlers. This is the direct competitor of the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn toddler basketball hoop. However, Vtech has more features and functionalities.
Choosing which item gets to occupy the top spot on any list is difficult. With this list, though, that decision is an easy one to make. This Lifetime product is the clear winner as Best Kids' Hoop, which stands out for youth basketball.
This hoop consists of all weather-resistant materials, so you can use it safely either indoors or outdoors. The pole is rust-proof material and the backboard is high-density polyethylene. The manufacturer also provides a 5-year limited manufacturer's warranty.
The attractive black and red backboard graphics are fade-resistant and will not discolor even with exposure to rain or the sweltering sun.
While the rim is made of durable material, it may not be strong enough to withstand too much hanging on the rim after a dunk by an older, heavier child.
This children's basketball hoop uses a telescoping mechanism, allowing an adjustment to the board's height from 5.5' to 7.5' so that kids between 4 feet and 6 feet tall can use it comfortably.
The equipment has a 10-gallon base, which you can fill with either sand or water to weight it and keep it stable. Sand is preferable for the base since it will not dry up. The only downside is that sand is a bit harder to drain than water.
The Lifetime 32" Youth Portable Basketball Hoop's great features, coupled with its reasonable pricing, make this the clear winner.
The Little Tikes Attach ‘n Play Basketball Set is ideal for those looking for indoor hoops for their little ones. It uses an over-the-door strap so you can easily transfer it from one part of the house to another.
This is the best kids' basketball hoop for those looking to start their journey in the sport. Even children as young as three years old will enjoy making an easy score using this mini-basketball set-up.
With three height settings, you can adjust the height as your kid grows, so you won't need to purchase a new hoop set after those early growth spurts--at least not until the child reaches 4 feet in height.
The Little Tikes Attach ‘n Play Hoops for toddlers has a breakaway rim. Your kids can practice all the slam dunks to their heart's content without worrying about damaging the rim. Unfortunately, children should not hang on to this set's rim for a long period since it may not be able to take the weight of a child.
The hoop and net are easily foldable for storage. Parents often struggle with storing bulky basketball hoops for kids, but you don't have to worry about storage with this hoop set.
As a mini-hoop, this product has a more-than-adequate base to support the entire unit. You will not need to use sand to stabilize it.
A nice bonus to this set is the ball that comes with the hoop. The ball is just the right size for children under 5 years old. You can buy a different ball if the ball that came with the set is too big or too small for your child.
If you're looking for a children's basketball hoop that can be used outside the house, FORZA has you covered. Its Adjustable and Portable Basketball Hoop and Stand System is the ideal choice for outdoor use. It comes in three different sizes, but the best one for kids is the Junior or JS220. You can adjust it from 5.4' to 7.2' high.
This telescoping pole is made from weather-resistant steel. The base is sturdy enough to prevent it from tipping over, but you can still use a ballast if you want added stability. Many recommend filling the base with water (mixed with anti-freeze, to withstand the winter weather) to add stability. Unlike the bases of some other brands, sand is not recommended as a base-stabilizing substance for the FORZA.
What I really like about the FORZA is how easy it is to maneuver. With many brands, you need to lift the entire hoop and rim if you want to move it around. The FORZA, however, features HDPE wheels. If you just tilt it back a bit, maneuvering it becomes a piece of cake. Your kids won't even break a sweat when moving it from one place to another.
The only downside that I find in the JS220 is the lack of a spring mechanism in the rim. The rim can still take in dunks, but there's a limit to the amount of force that the rim can safely handle.
If a breakaway rim is important for you and your kid, you might want to consider the rim of the higher-model Junior Elite or JS420. It has an oversized rim that makes it suitable for kids more than 5 years old (not for toddlers). It costs a bit more, but your children can dunk, and make an easy score, to their hearts' content without worrying about damaging the breakaway rim.
This set doesn't come with a ball. That allows your children to choose a suitable ball for their age and size.
If stability is your main concern, the Pro Dunk Platinum is the one you should be looking at, because it is an in-ground hoop. Although portable hoops are relatively stable, nothing is more durable than a kids' basketball hoop anchored to the ground. This hoop features a 72-inch backboard made from ½ inch thick tempered glass that makes it as strong as those used in professional leagues.
The height of these hoops for kids is adjustable between 5.5' to 10'. Simply adjust the height, and any member of your family can use it. Even ballplayers who stand 6 feet tall will find these basketball hoops for kids satisfactory. Adjusting the height is also effortless since all that it requires is a turn of a handle.
The 8- x 6-inch one-piece pole provides rock-solid support. It even comes with a complete foam padding set for safety. The pole and gusset padding set make it safe for your kids even if they accidentally collide with the pole.
During that transition period, when your kid is too big for toddler hoops yet too small for taller hoops, the High Bounce Basketball Hoop is your ideal choice. It can be adjusted between 3.9' and 5.3' in height.
The hoop's base can be filled with either sand or water for additional stability. Just drain it if you want to move the base to another location. When not filled with water or sand, the High Bounce Hoop weighs just a shade over 3 pounds. You can move it around or store it away without even breaking a sweat. Just make sure to fill the base again with water or sand when your child is ready to use the hoop again.
This kids' basketball hoop is made of lightweight yet durable materials. It can withstand considerable punishment without buckling under. The backboard is made with high-strength plastic material and won't crack or break easily. The design on the backboard is colorful and will surely appeal to young kids.
It is also easy to assemble and even hassle-free to break down. You can quickly put it together if your child feels like shooting some hoops. Storing it away for future use will just take a few minutes.
The only thing that I would like to see in this hoop is a breakaway rim. Had it come equipped with a breakaway rim, it could have given the others in this list a run for their money.
If what you're looking for is a value-for-money hoop, look no further than the HAODAIWANJU Basketball Hoop for Kids. This is a hoop that your child can use between the ages of 2 and 5 years old.
The height of this hoop is simple to adjust. You can set the height at just 2 feet for your toddler and adjust it higher as your child gets taller. The maximum height of this basketball hoop is 5 feet, so it is still suitable for children up to 4 feet in height.
The adjustable height makes this the best children's basketball hoop for those who are just starting to learn their basic ball-handling skills. Kids can use this hoop to practice their jump shots or perfect their dunking skills.
All the materials used in this hoop are of premium quality. Both the stand and the hoop are powder-coated with non-toxic materials for added durability. The metal bracket is made from firm iron and will not easily deform. The ring was created using sturdy steel for longevity.
Although the hoop is stable as it is, you can make it even more stable by reinforcing the base. The base can be filled with sand or water.
Aside from the hoop assembly, you will also receive two inflatable mini-balls. On top of that, each purchase also includes an installation wrench and a mini air pump. The mini air pump is a great bonus since you can easily inflate the balls that come with the unit.
For those who are looking for premium-quality basketball hoops, we highly recommend the Giantex Portable Basketball Hoop with Wheels.
Everything about this hoop exudes high quality. The manufacturer did not skimp on the materials. The thickened steel pole has more than enough strength not just to support the hoop but also to extend the entire unit's lifetime.
It is also height-adjustable. Just unscrew the screw and give the adjustment knob a quick twist, and you can customize the height of your basketball hoop from as low as 5.4 feet to as high as 7 feet. These heights are perfect for kids between the ages of 6 to 12.
The blow-molded durable PE base provides a high-strength but lightweight support structure that lends stability to the basketball hoop. Simply fill it with sand or water for the added stability and it withstands against strong winds.
One of the challenges of sturdy basketball hoops is the difficulty of moving them around. You won't encounter any mobility issues with the Giantex. The base has wheels. Just tilt the basketball hoop a bit, and you can roll it to another location, even by yourself.
If you're looking to inject more fun into playing basketball with your kids, the Arcade Basketball Hoop Game by BestKidBall is a great choice. This indoor mini-hoop brings the novelty of arcade basketball games straight into your home.
Don't be fooled by its appearance. It might look complicated with all its components, but it is easy to assemble. You don't even need to use tools to put it all together since it requires no screws. All the joints and poles use simple connectors.
Clear and easy-to-follow instructions make assembling the mini-basketball-hoop an easy task. You can even enlist the help of your 5-year-old to make assembling it a fun family activity.
The nets on either side of the mini-basketball arcade provide an additional protection layer when your child is shooting hoops. These nets can help prevent balls from bouncing out and hitting appliances.
A net also surrounds the bottom part of this mini-hoop. The netting in its base creates a storage space where you can place balls and other toys for safekeeping.
While hoops for older children use of water or sand to weigh them down, you can just fill this storage unit with toys. Not only have you avoided any potential mess from spilled sand, but you also have an extra storage space at your disposal.
A Buying Guide for the Best Children's Basketball Hoop
Here are some things you need to consider when you're in the market for a basketball hoop for children.
Decide on a Location
Before settling for a basketball hoop, think hard on where you are planning to put it up. Are you looking for a basketball hoop to install in your kid's bedroom? Your backyard? Your basement?
There are several types of basketball hoops from which to choose, and ideally, each works best in specific locations.
If you want a simple basketball hoop for your kid's bedroom door, a simple over-the-door basketball hoop will do. It won't take up too much space and is simple to assemble.
The height of the room is also a factor to consider. You don't want to end up buying a basketball hoop that is too tall for the room where you want to use it. If the room has a low ceiling, consider getting an outdoor basketball hoop instead.
For those who want to limit basketball games to their backyard, garage, or driveway, a fixed or in-ground basketball hoop is an ideal option. These are the types that you anchor into the ground. They have the added benefit of being more stable than portable hoops.
The height of the basketball hoop is also a primary consideration. You don't want a basketball hoop that is too tall or too short for your children.
Most basketball hoops indicate the age range for which they are intended. However, you don't need to rely on that information, because age does not necessarily correspond to height in kids.
Some 5-year-olds look tall enough to be in elementary school while others of the same age are much smaller. To be on the safe side, when shopping, base your decision on the height of the kid's basketball hoop instead of age.
An ideal basketball hoop should be at least two to three feet taller than your child. If your child is 4 feet tall, the perfect equipment would be a hoop with a rim that's at least 6 feet high.
When you browse through any "Best Basketball Hoops for Kids" article, you will see that some hoops have fixed heights while most have adjustable heights. A piece of sports equipment that is height-adjustable is more versatile.
The great thing about height-adjustable hoops is you don't need to purchase a new one when your child outgrows the old basketball hoop set. Simply adjust the height to keep up with the height of your growing youngster.
Another benefit of this type of kid's basketball hoop is that other family members can use it. Some basketball hoops adjust from as low as 4 feet up to 10 feet high. Instead of purchasing two basketball hoops, you can just get one and use the money that you saved for other expenses.
Manufacturers use a wide variety of materials in making their basketball hoops. Some use plastic, while others use metals. Some manufacturers use a combination of the two.
Generally speaking, steel and iron basketball hoops are more expensive than plastic ones. However, they are also more durable and can extend the life of your basketball hoop. This means that even though you might be spending more for the best basketball hoops made from high-quality materials, you might end up saving money since you won't need a replacement.
If you're looking for an outdoor basketball hoop, it is better to get one made from all-weather materials. These are materials that will work great even if exposed to the sun or rain. Certain types of plastics turn brittle when left to the mercy of the elements. They lack the sturdiness that metals components offer.
You should also try to get an outdoor basketball hoop that uses fade-free paint. Ordinary paint easily fades, cracks, and chips away when left under the sun or rain for long periods. All-weather paint looks excellent even if after prolonged exposure. They will look good even after a year or two.
Unless you're getting an in-ground basketball hoop, stability is another factor you need to consider. Portable basketball hoops are less stable. However, manufacturers have come up with ways to increase the stability of a movable basketball hoop.
Most hoops belonging to this type have hollowed-out bases that you can fill with either water or sand. The added weight of the sand will help make the hoop more stable and prevent it from tilting or tipping over. Just drain or empty the sand out of the base if you're planning to move the hoop.
If you decide to fill the base with water, make sure that you check the water inside the base from time to time. Water evaporates, and you need to make sure that there is enough water to maintain the stability of the basketball hoop. Also, if it will be staying outside in winter, you might add some antifreeze to the water.
You can also try adding ballast to the base as an alternative to filling it with sand or water.
Some hoops work for both indoor and outdoor games. If you're planning to move your children's' basketball hoop from time to time, be sure to purchase a portable one.
Hoops made from light materials weigh less and are effortless to move around. Hoops for toddlers usually consist of light material, so you will have no difficulty moving or storing them. However, you will also find hoops made from sturdy materials that are easy to move or transport.
Some manufacturers fit their hoops with wheels that allow users to move the equipment with ease. If you buy a hoop with wheels, make sure that the wheels are locked while your child is playing to ensure that the hoop won't move around when your young star performs a slam dunk.
The Right Backboard Type
The type of backboard is also essential when choosing a children's basketball hoop. Hoops made for toddlers often have backboards made from plastics. Basketball hoops for older kids, though, usually consist of plexiglass or tempered glass. These are higher quality materials that may increase the price of the basketball hoop.
However, they also make a backboard more rigid and are ideal for players who want to practice their rebounding skills, since a ball will bounce more readily off a rigid backboard.
Backboards with a breakaway rim system are also better but may be more expensive. Breakaway rims include a hinge and spring. Breakaways are the type of oversized rim that you can see on professional basketball leagues. Breakaway rims are great for kids who like to dunk.
The rim takes in the force of the dunk and prevents damage to the backboard. Pliable rims can easily receive damage if a player dunks on it. Some rims even get bent out of shape during intense games.
It's always nice to get something extra from any purchase that we make. The same goes for buying a hoop system. Although most are just fundamental base, pole, and ring contraptions, some sets have additional features that give them an edge against their competitors.
Some include digital scoreboards, while others come bundled with other sports equipment as a type of package. Most hoop systems designed for toddlers incorporate learning devices. Although these are not vital to playing hoops, these nice-to-have features make them more attractive choices.
The price of a hoop system is quite subjective. Some units appear pricier but offer more features and use better materials. Others look like a steal at first glance but ultimately offer less.
Every parent has his or her budget when it comes to purchasing hoops. Before making a purchase, be sure to take a close look at the quality of materials and features of the unit you are purchasing. Do not be afraid to compare one item to another to ensure that you are making the most out of your budget.
Last but not least is the warranty that comes with the unit. Although hoop sets commonly come with a 5-year limited warranty, some units don't specify the warranty.
If you want to be sure that a 5-year warranty protects your purchase, you can get in touch with the manufacturer's customer care department, who are the ones that can answer all the questions you have about their product.