One of the most common questions new hoopsters have is how to choose the basketball backboard material. And with this post, I’m going to help you to make a perfect choice for you!
As you probably know by now, basketball backboards are made from different materials. And each product has different behaviour. Some will last longer (expensive products), some will break easily.
But the durability of the board is not the only thing you need to think about.
Usually, different aboard materials offer various experiences. Some provide fantastic rebound actions, while others (usually cheaper products) have a terrible rebound effect.
If you are a beginner who is choosing a hoop the first time, you are probably scratching your head around the question of what is the best basketball backboard material and how to choose the one for you?
In my comprehensive hoop buying guide, I’ve covered this topic briefly. Today, I’m going to dive into the question even further so strap on your seat belts and let’s go for a ride 😊
Main Types of Basketball Backboard Materials
Before we get into the meat and bones and help you to choose the b-ball board, here are the types of basketball backboard materials you must know.
Tempered Glass Backboard
The tempered glass backboard is for professionals, and of course highly expensive. The material is 5 to 10 times stronger than normal standard glass.
With the highest quality of rebound and performance, it’s no surprise that all NBA competitions use it.
This backboard hardly breaks. And when it does, the breakage becomes in smaller pieces, making it completely harmless.
The only problem is, even though it’s expensive, tempered glass backboards are not durable as polycarbonate and acrylic ones.
With medium rebound action and extra durability, acrylic backboards are famous for their performance.
If you go for an acrylic backboard, you will get an almost 85% better ball response than other types of backboards.
The performance of the backboard is pretty much the same as that of tempered glass backboards. It is perfect for those who love high-quality materials at a lower price.
When thinking about how to choose a basketball backboard, polycarbonate material should be on your list.
Though made from plastic, the polycarbonate backboard is five times sturdier than acrylic. It is a medium level lighter-weight backboard made of soft material.
A great plus of this material is, if it is not directly exposed to the sun, polycarbonate backboards can be long-lasting. On the other hand, exposed to the sun the board will fade away, leaving a yellow piece.
For the performance part, the rebound performance is great. However, it can’t measure up to glass boards.
Alternative Types of Basketball Backboard Materials
Mentioned above are the three most popular materials for basketball backboards. However, you should also be aware of a few alternatives as well so here they are.
Steel Basketball Backboard
Highly durable as compared to other options but steel basketball backboards make a lot of noise.
It is also not good for professional style basketball gameplay. The steel basketball backboards are usually installed in parks and street courts.
Since it is mostly used in public places, you can install it if your b-ball court is also at a public spot. Due to extra noise, it is not a great choice for homes though.
Choosing basketball backboard material is overwhelming but fibreglass board is a choice many players like. It is mainly due to the extremely affordable price range.
However, the rebound performance is below average.
The fibreglass basketball backboards are installed in institutions like schools and other places like it. The durability factor is also not great.
Overall performance is similar to steel basketball backboard. But doesn’t make a noise like it at all.
The aluminium backboard is similar to the steel backboard. What makes it a disturbing choice is the extra vibration and terrible bounce performance.
However, aluminium basketball backboards are superb for durability and are pocket friendly as well. On the other hand, since there is an irritating vibration, the rebound performance is also mediocre.
Recommended for newbies and those who want to pass the time.
Wooden Basketball Backboard
Classy and stylish, the wooden basketball backboard looks appealing on your court. It is light in weight, looks extraordinary, and the price is also less.
But the bad thing is that it cannot stand rainy or sunny weather conditions.
The weather situations make it an unstable choice. However, wooden basketball backboards are great for indoor courts. You can order a customized backboard or get help from any carpenter.
How to Choose the Right Basketball Backboard Material For Your Home Court?
Basketball is a wonderful sport that can be played inside as well as outside. If you don’t know where you plan to play, choosing basketball backboard material can become a hassle.
Moreover, it can even be a waste of time and money when the board doesn’t match your conditions.
Therefore, there are two factors you need to analyze beforehand the finalization and purchase of a basketball backboard material.
- Be sure of the hoop location
- Think about the frequency of use
In order to choose the right basketball backboard material, evaluate where you desire to install it.
That said, the location can determine the type of backboard suitable for you. Since basketball is played both inside and outside, the factor of location will play a prominent role.
Some of the backboard materials are well suited for indoor games. While the others will work perfectly for the outdoors.
That said, if you are strictly going to play basketball outdoor and have a restricted budget then choose the following backboards:
But if you are sure for indoors, then the best backboard materials are:
- Tempered glass
On the other hand, if you don’t have a strict budget and location is not the question, then the best picks for basketball backboard materials are:
- Tempered Glass
Frequency of use
Frequency of play is another critical factor you need to think about when choosing the right basketball backboard material.
As I said, not all boards a made equal. Some are designed to stand the test of time, while others will break down quickly after a few years.
B-ball boards that are made to last are, of course, expensive. But they are worth investment if you are going to use them a lot. If this is what you’re looking for, then invest in:
- Tempered glass, or
- Acrylic backboard
On the other hand, cheaper versions will, unfortunately, break from a lot of use and abuse. But if you’re a casual player, then you should choose:
- Polycarbonate, or
- Wooden backboard
What Is The Best Basketball Backboard Material?
In my personal opinion, tempered glass is the best basketball backboard material for all uses. You can put it inside or outside, it will last longer, and will offer a great b-ball experience.
That said, toughen up glass, undoubtedly, has grown into the most used material in the industry.
Moreover, not only that all pro leagues in the world use glass boards, but laid-back hoopsters are also choosing this material as its prices are going down with every new model.
So what is the best backboard material?
Tempered glass, as discussed, has a tendency to have the best rebound performance out of the various other offered materials. Furthermore, it is sturdy and will last for years and years.
As I said, toughened up glass backboards are used primarily by professionals. But the material is widely preferred by casual players too.
That said, you must know that toughened up glass is the most costly backboard product on the market. Only consider buying if you have the budget for the expenditure.
What Basketball Backboard Material Does the NBA Choose?
The NBA, as an example, has really specific standards as to what backboards they serve in official games. NBA guidelines call for backboards to be made of particular products, as well as specific sizes.
For example, the NBA calls for all backboards to be see-through material such as tempered glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate.
The most used in NBA is tempered glass. The reasons are clear. It has the best rebound performance, despite it being a little less durable than acrylic or polycarbonate backboards.
That said, the tradeoff with tempered glass is it lacks the sturdiness of acrylic and polycarbonate backboards. Since acrylic and also polycarbonate are plastic-based materials, they are more efficient in long-term deterioration.
But since they offer lower rebound action, top leagues in the world such as NBA always opt-in for tempered glass backboard material for their basketball games.
Which Backboard Material Is More Durable; Polycarbonate or Acrylic?
Polycarbonate vs Acrylic is one of the most popular questions asked amongst hoopsters who doesn’t want to invest or don’t have a need for a tempered glass backboard.
Both polycarbonate and acrylic have a plastic base and have comparable efficiency prices. While acrylic and polycarbonate backboards are also made of comparable materials, they do vary in specific ways.
Polycarbonate backboards, as an example, have been marketed as bulletproof material, while acrylic backboards are not as sturdy.
Polycarbonates, nevertheless, can not be left in UV light for too long. Doing so will certainly turn the colour of the material yellow and cause it to get breakable over time. If left outdoors for lengthy amounts of time, the long life of a polycarbonate backboard will be three to five years before it breaks apart.
On the other hand, acrylic backboards are not impacted by UV light and are much more ideal for long-lasting outdoor usage. The acrylic material is much better matched for outdoor conditions, having a basic long life of up to 20 years even when made use of outdoors thoroughly.
That said, I believe the question is answered. Acrylic is a much better basketball backboard material choice than polycarbonate. The only question is, which one will you choose?
There are some backboards whose performance is incredible. But the prices are high (tempered glass). And some are inexpensive (fibreglass and wooden), but their rebound is not exactly what you may like.
A great midway point would be acrylic or polycarbonate backboard material.
But as I said in this post, the best way to choose a basketball backboard material for you is to think about how often you will be using the hoop and where you will be placing it.
My best recommendation for frequent outdoor/indoor use is tempered glass. Acrylic is a real and less-expensive alternative.
On the other hand, for less frequent outdoor/indoor use, I would recommend polycarbonate.
And while you are here. Do you need a hand with choosing the size? If so, keep reading my guide to choosing the best backboard size for your hoop!
And there you have it! Choosing a basketball backboard material is no more an issue now. Please choose the desired backboard and have fun shooting some hoops 🏀
If you need a hand with finding the hoop, you can also read my list of best basketball hoops!