Basketball can be a lot of fun to play, especially on a sunny Summer day at home. The only problem is that many basketball systems are priced far too high for today’s working families. That’s why the Lifetime 1221 portable adjustable basketball system is such a tempting proposition. For less than $100, you can get the kids outside and playing basketball in the driveway all afternoon.
But are you going to get any quality with a portable basketball system that is this cheap? We took our most aggressive players outside to test out this system: four kids between the ages of 5-8. Here’s what we discovered.
#1. This portable basketball system is extremely durable. The kids managed to knock over this basketball hoop twice over the course of an afternoon. All we needed to do is set it up right once again so that they could play. The base allows you to put weight into the system so that it is stable, but it does seem to be somewhat vulnerable to side impacts when a kid goes running toward the system and jumps on the pole. It passes the durability test.
#2. The backboard is undersized, but good enough for most kids. The backboard is only 44 inches on the horizontal measurement, so this portable basketball hoop is pretty small. The actual square above the hoop is regulation size, so you just don’t have the extra room on the sides of the backboard for layups and touch shots. It’s also an all-weather design, so you can leave it out all year if you want.
#3. There are height adjustments that can be made. You can change the rim height on this basketball system from 7.5 feet to 10 feet with 6-inch height increments. Our 8-year-old was dunking on the lowest rim setting to show off, sometimes hanging on the rim, and the portable basketball hoop was able to stand up to the abuse. You probably wouldn’t want teens or adults dunking on this system, however, with the minimal weight it can hold in its base. This hoop only weighs 54 pounds before you add sand or water to the base.
#4. You’re going to want to use water instead of sand. Make sure that you leave enough room in the base so that the water can have room to expand on a warm day. In winter, you can then drain the water or just let the base stay in your garage. Some might recommend putting antifreeze into the water, but that may degrade the base from the inside out over time.
#5. Long distance shots are a bit tough at any age with this hoop. If you have a budding 3-point prodigy at home, it’s tough to perfect the shot on this system. The rim is regulation size, of course, but there isn’t the same backboard and rim action that comes with a long distance shot. Unless you swish it, you never really know where the ball is going to end up. That’s bad news if there are cars around.
For a budge purchase, it’s tough to do better than the Lifetime 1221 portable adjustable basketball system. If you’ve got younger kids at home who love basketball, this is an affordable way to get them outside to play.
See the best portable basketball hoops from all the leading manufacturers here!