Backboard: (4 / 5)
52” steel framed shatterproof backboard
Lifetime basketball hoops are one of the most popular for home driveway hoops. They
are affordable, high quality, and durable so your investment will last for years. In addition,
Lifetime hoops are made in the USA and support hardworking Americans.
For some families, a portable hoop with a fill base is enough to do the job. For others though, a sturdier hoop is needed. If that sounds familiar, the Lifetime 71281 in ground Power Lift Basketball system is a
great all-around hoop to consider. As a bonus, it has some features that help set it apart from its
The backboard on this hoop is one of the features that make it stand out the most. It is
made of high-density polyethylene, making it shatterproof and durable. Although polyethylene is
generally considered on the cheaper end of the backboard quality spectrum, it helps keep the
price down on this hoop. Don’t let the material fool you though, a polyethylene backboard is still
a great product and provides a good mix of rebounding, durability, and value.
What helps raise the quality of the backboard on this hoop is its steel frame. The 52”
backboard is steel framed for increased strength and durability that help it last even with heavy
daily use. A padded bottom also helps make play safer for everyone.
The rim on this hoop is similar to what we see on most of Lifetime’s hoops. It is a double
spring breakaway rim, which means that it is safe to dunk on. Should Lebron come dunk on this
hoop? No. But for recreational use and occasional dunking the rim should be more than sturdy
enough to last.
A negative to the rim on this hoop is that the springs are exposed. This means that they
are exposed to the weather and will rust overtime, making the rim weaker and less sturdy.
The three-piece steel pole that supports this Lifetime hoop is fairly standard. It measures
in at 3.5” in diameter so it keeps the hoop secure in the ground. Friction-weld joints help keep
the pole from moving too much. You’ll likely experience some shaking, but proper installation
should keep it from being a problem. As a bonus, this hoop includes a pad for the pole which
makes play safer.
With a price just over $300 this hoop is a great value. For just a little more money up
front, you can upgrade from a portable hoop to this in-ground system. It is sturdier, more
durable, and more realistic than playing on a hoop with a fill base. Some of the components like
the polyethylene backboard and exposed springs help bring down the cost, but overall this is a
solid hoop. For casual or recreational players, the Lifetime 71281 In-Ground Basketball System offers a great value.
One of the cool features we’d like to highlight on this hoop is its easy-to- use Power Lift
height adjustment. With just one pull of the lever, you can easily and quickly raise and lower the
hoop from 7.5’ to the standard 10’. You can set it to any increment of your choosing within that
range and it will stay in place. Even when dunked on, the hoop stays at the height you want it to.
On top of the Power Lift, the backboard and support pole have some additional features.
The backboard is UV protected to ensure that the decals won’t fade and that it stays strong
despite being in the sun. The powder-coated steel pole helps with weather resistance and
prevents discoloration and rusting.
Easy-to- use Power Lift height adjustment
Great value for casual players
Double spring rim means the hoop is safe and durable for dunking
Exposed springs on the rim will rust over time
Difficult installation may mean extra cost if you aren’t a do-it- yourselfer
As a whole, this hoop is a great choice for casual players looking for something a little
sturdier than a portable hoop but without spending an arm and a leg. A shatterproof, steel-framed
backboard and easy Power Lift height adjustment make it stand out from competitors. Lifetime is
known for making quality hoops and have a reputation as a good company. If you have any
problems, they will be able to help. Thanks to the 5-year warranty you can have peace of mind in
your purchase. Overall, this is a great hoop for the money and offers a great value.