Guide to Choosing a Portable Basketball System

Univ of Wyoming

Guide to Choosing a Portable Basketball System


Portable basketball systems are a popular choice for multi-use facilities due to their ease of transport and storage. With so many options regarding size, style, and play level, just how do you choose which is right for your organization’s basketball needs?

Play Level

Perhaps the biggest factor in choosing a portable system is athlete play level. Will the systems be used for recreational basketball play, such as at a community center or a home gym? Or will they be used for competitive games, such as high school, collegiate or professional-level play? If for recreational purposes, then your only limitations are your facility space and your budget. You will have many options regarding overall size, operation type, backboard material and size, rim style, and available accessories. However, competition basketball games require specific equipment in order to meet NFHS, NCAA, or NBA requirements.

Facility Space

Did you know that a competition portable system can be up to 17’ long and 14’ tall in full playing position? Because of their large size, it is important to consider your facility’s spatial constraints when deciding on portable systems. You will need to measure your court space, including the space between the court and the wall behind the court. For high school play, the unit will need at least 4’ from the base to the backboard for safety reasons. For higher levels of play, a minimum 8’ boom extension will be needed. You will also want to verify the size of your storage area, as well as any doorways that the units would need to pass through. Most portable systems are designed to fit through double doors, so if you only have single doorways, you may not be able to relocate your units off the court area. Once you have measured your spaces, then check the manufacturer’s specification drawing for the unit’s dimensions (in both playing and stored positions) to make sure it will fit before purchasing.


Although most portables are sold as a complete unit, you will still need to select the system with the correct components for your particular play setting. Competitive play settings require a 42” x 72” glass backboard to be used with a positive lock breakaway rim, and most of the bigger portables will include these as standard. However, smaller recreational portables may have other options, such as smaller sized boards made of clear acrylic or polycarbonate. Some roll-around units may even include fixed rims to deter unsafe dunking activities.

Operation Type

As there are no operational requirements for competition-level portables, the operation type will depend on your preference and budget. All portable basketball systems are operated using either springs, hydraulics, or electric operation. Spring-assisted portables use tension springs to manually raise and lower the unit, making them the most cost-effective and popular portable style on the market. Hydraulic and electric portables provide a faster and easier operation; however, these styles are more expensive and require more maintenance than spring portables.


Are you still unsure if a portable system is right for your basketball program’s needs? Click here to read our blog on choosing an appropriate basketball backstop for your facility!

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