54″ backboard, no installation, 4-inch square pole, pole padding, crank adjust
Polycarbonate backboard, 3-section pole, stability
The Spalding 6839R features a 54″ polycarbonate backboard, a 4-inch square pole, and infinite adjustment from 7.5 to 10 feet. The adjustment is made with the Screw Jack Lift System, which is a crank handle mechanism. The pole comes in 3 sections. Also included is a pole pad, an Arena Slam rim, and a 40 gallon base that can be filled with water or sand. The 68395R is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
What To Like
- 4-inch square pole. A square pole is more rigid than a round one, and 4-inches is slightly thicker than the lower level hoops.
- No installation. In-ground hoops are superior as far as stability is concerned, but the installation process takes time and effort. Another benefit with portable hoops is being able to easy transport them to another location if necessary.
- 54″ backboard. A 54″ is a good size for either a one or two car driveway. This is just large enough to realistically be able to shoot bank shots. The ideal size for most homeowners is 60″, but this is the next biggest size. Simply put: it’s not ideal, but it’s good enough.
- Pole padding. This may not seem like a big deal, but most hoops in this price range don’t have one. In fact, I have seen some hoops cost over $1000 that didn’t come with a pole pad. It provides a nice cushion in case a player runs into it, plus it has a nice look to it.
- Crank adjust. I prefer crank adjust over gas assisted mechanisms because they last longer and are more precise. The only downside is that you will have to do some manual labor while lowering or raising the hoop, though it’s really not much trouble.
What Not To Like
- Polycarbonate backboard. This is a very strong material, and there is nothing wrong with it. However, the reason I have it as a con because you can get the Spalding 68454 for just a little more money, and it has a tempered glass backboard.
- 3-section pole. A pole with this many sections is not going to be as sturdy, plus putting them together takes some work.
- Stability. The one thing I really don’t like about most portable hoops is they just aren’t as sturdy as their in-ground or mounted counterparts. This is such a key feature for the overall performance of a hoop. What you gain in mobility, you lose with stability.
If cost isn’t a factor, then Spalding 68454 is the better buy because it has a tempered glass backboard. This material is far superior to polycarbonate. Not only does it perform better, but it’s also more durable.
The Spalding 6839R is a middle of the road to low end Spalding Portable hoop. This is the scenario in which I would buy this hoop: If I only have one or two kids, if I was putting it into a shop or other area where it is rarely played or if I my kids are young and you want a less expensive hoop. The Polycarbonate backboard is not going to wow anybody, but it is sturdy enough. I would quit being so cheap and spend a little more money and upgrade to a better Spalding portable hoop.
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