How To Choose: Basketball Rims

If you have ever replaced or purchased a new basketball rim you will know there are a seemingly infinite number of different rim options. They are all 18” in diameter, but there are a lot of variables to consider- such as how the rim connects to the backboard, if the goal is rigid or flexible, and what level of competition will be playing on it.  Here are a few things to consider when making your choice:

Rim Types

There are two basic types of basketball rims: rigid and breakaway.

The rigid goal is a classic basketball rim which is fully welded and does not move if the ball or player hits the rim. These rims are typically used outdoors, or they may be considered when an indoor facility is on a tight budget.

A breakaway rim will flex when the ball or player exerts force on the rim. There are two sub-classes of the breakaway rim: “true breakaway” and flex rim. A true breakaway will only yield when a pre-specified load is exerted on the front of the goal, and it will then return to the playing position when the load is no longer present. This was the first type of breakaway goal to be invented and is still chosen by many customers today. The flex rim is a more popular goal choice and will yield as pressure is applied. Essentially, if you grip a flex rim it can be pulled down with less force than that needed to flex the break-away style. There are two styles of flex rims: standard and “180”.  The standard style flexes only downward, while the ‘180’ style flexes side-to-side as well as down. Flex and true-breakaway style rims are most popular for inside applications as they have a better performance and feel than the rigid rims.


Environment plays an important role in which rim you select.  Will your rim be used outside or indoors? If the game is being played outside, look for a rim that is maintenance-free and heavy duty so it can withstand weather and unsupervised play. Customers often choose rigid goals for outdoor play, though there are outdoor flex rims available too. If your play environment is indoors, look for rims that have more performance features and benefits. Customers nearly always choose a breakaway or flex rim for indoor play,with a growing number of customers choosing a 180 flex-style rim to meet the demands of high-level competition.

Level of Play

Knowing who and how people will be using your equipment is crucial when selecting the optimal basketball rim. First, determine who will be using the rim. Recreation leagues, K-12 schools, and college programs put different levels of stress on their rims. Next, you’ll want to identify how the rim will be used. For example, the side court goals used for practice may not need to be the same rim style as the game court, which may allow you to use your budget for equipment more efficiently. Most manufacturers will have a good-better-best system to help you choose which rim is best for your level of play.


The majority of the industry has two mounting patterns: 5” x 4” and 5” x 5”. These measurements refer to the distance of the holes on the backboard that you use to mount the rim. Most indoor goals are 5”x 4” and outdoor goals are 5” x 5”. Before making a purchase, it is imperative to confirm these dimensions as there are some exceptions to this rule.

2 thoughts on “How To Choose: Basketball Rims

    1. Thanks for asking! When it comes to rims themselves, the options can seem endless. As we call out in our article, knowing the environment, level of play, and mounting pattern requirements are all helpful in determining the type of goal to select. At the institutional level, most of our rim sales for indoor gymnasium use are of the breakaway or flex type. For top levels of indoor competition, we might recommend a rim that complies with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) requirements. The Porter Torq-Flex 180 goal is one such option that we manufacture. There are also a number of other more affordable breakaway and flex goal options out there that meet most competitive requirements.

      We generally recommend durability for outdoor playground goals. The Porter Heavy Duty Playground Goal is one great example of a goal that can withstand the test of time.

      And as we mentioned, it is critical to check the mounting pattern requirements of an existing hoop system before deciding which goal to move forward with! There are commonly differences between indoor, outdoor playground, and residential hoop requirements.


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