Basketball Hoop Purchasing Guide: Backboard Materials
Available Backboard Material Options
As part of your purchasing research for a basketball system you will inevitably run into the question of what backboard material is best. This question is not lost on either low-end or high-end basketball system purchases. So, we will address this questions here. Different manufacturers building basketball backboards with different materials; many manufacturers build systems with with multiple types of backboard materials depending on the system. Typically, your options for backboard material will include polyethylene plastic (or similar plastic material), polycarbonate, acrylic, and tempered glass. These backboard materials have many different suppliers and purposes. We will look at them one at a time.
Plastic (Polyethylene, Eco-composite, Etc.) Backboard
This type of material is frequently seen on low-end or introductory-level basketball backboards. This is the cheapest material wise and production wise of any of the backboard materials. This product cost allows for these basketball systems to be priced afford-ably for most any budget. So, when you think plastic, think budget conscious. The limitations of this material is that they frequently produce the worst rebound; when the ball hits it, it dies on the spot and drops down instead of bouncing off. The plastic material is also much easier to break if the system is used abusively. While not necessary for function, most basketball systems with plastic backboards will have low-end components in the form of smaller poles, weaker height-adjustment mechanisms, and smaller mounting brackets. From here we will visit polycarbonate and acrylic backboard materials.
Poly carbonate and Acrylic Backboard
These two materials are grouped together because they are generally used on systems in the same price range and provide a similar playing experience. These types of backboard materials have more rigidity than plastic backboards, and thus produce a better rebound. They are clear, which improves the aesthetics of the system. Because these materials are also oil-based, like plastic, they allow the manufacturers to still cater to a lower budget. However, nearly every one of these systems will be priced higher than their plastic counterparts.
The most frequent high-end backboard material is tempered glass. Tempered glass backboards are typically most desirable due to their more rigid than other backboard materials. The more rigid feel provides for a better rebound when the ball bounces off the backboard. Glass backboards are seen on every high-end basketball system and some intermediately-priced systems. In the same quality and price range, some manufacturers will also offer the same-sized backboard goal system in acrylic too.
Just about every manufacturer of basketball system uses one of these backboard materials on their systems. Use this guide as you shop for just the right basketball backboard for your system.
View Video about Selecting a Backboard
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