While we focus on rating courts and hoops, let’s not forget about the all important basketball hoop net. How could you give a 5-start review of a court without a net or broken net? You just can’t do it.
When a net is not in place on a rim, it can sometimes leave you wondering whether or not a shot was a make or a miss. There is also the matter of chasing after your ball, which is never fun.
The familiar “swish” sound offers players using a nylon net the satisfaction of knowing their shot passed through the hoop perfectly. A “ching” for those using metal, and not much of a sound if you are trying some of the alternatives, like plastic.
Nets are made from a number of different materials and some work better in different climates. Let’s break down some options.
Types of Basketball Nets
- The Official NBA Net
The NBA (National Basketball Association) sanctions a certain net that is used by all 30 of its teams. In each of the 30 different arenas, this polyester and polypropylene net hangs from the rim.
The polyester is durable and the polypropylene around the tips makes the net stronger and gives it an anti-whip feature. When a shooter hits the perfect jump shot and the ball passes through the rim with a “swish,” the net will not swing around and get caught on the hoop.
Because of the high quality and durability of this net, it is also used in the U.S. at the college and high school levels. The NBA has used this net made by Spalding for years and will continue to do so in the future.
- Nylon & Polyester Nets
The most popular materials used in the construction of basketball nets are nylon and polyester. These types of nets can be used on indoor or outdoor hoops, but most are not as durable as chain nets. Nylon and polyester nets are normally not recommended for outdoor hoops.
Some nets are constructed from a heavy-duty nylon that helps it withstand the elements better than a regular nylon net. Nylon and polyester nets both offer quality and do so at an affordable price.
- Chain Nets
Chain nets are recommended for outdoor basketball courts, primarily because of their durability. Not all chain nets are made the same though. One of the downfalls of these nets is susceptibility to rust when left out in rainy, wet conditions.
The best chain nets are those that use a zinc coating to protect from oxidation and rust. In addition to the zinc coating, it is recommended to select a chain net made from galvanized steel. These nets are sturdy, durable, and will provide hours of basketball fun.
- Plastic Nets
Mostly seen in Europe are plastic nets that are durable enough to make it through a tough winter and the wear and tear of on and off rain and snow. Typically in green, they are a bit stiff and unfortunately do not give any swish sound as the ball goes through the net.
- Glow in the Dark Nets
Nets that glow in the dark have become popular recently. They are used more on outdoor courts to give players an opportunity to play at night. Theses nets are still made from nylon and most will use a heavy-duty nylon as they will be used outdoors.
Glow in the dark nets absorb sunlight during the day and provide light at night, usually for several hours. These nets enhance the nighttime basketball experience.
What to Look for in a Good Basketball Net
There are certain qualities that are needed in a basketball net. These qualities separate the good from the not so good. They include quality, durability, and size.
The quality of a basketball net is going to depend upon the materials from which it is made. The cheapest nets are made from nylon that typically measures 5 mm in thickness. While these nets appear like any other, the wear and tear from normal basketball play will require that the nets will need replaced more often than a higher quality product.
Heavier duty nylon is thicker and is more durable. That is why the official NBA net is used in indoor courts around the U.S. and the world. The NBA net is made from polyester with polypropylene used to strengthen the tips of the net. This net is more durable and of a higher quality than a nylon net that is thinner.
Outdoor courts around the world must have more durable nets to battle the weather elements they constantly face. That is why chain nets are probably the way to go for outdoor courts, unless you are ready to change them with nylon after each winer. At the very least, outdoor courts can use heavy duty nylon nets like the official NBA net that may last a bit longer.
Surprisingly, not all basketball nets are created equally. The standard basketball rim is 18 inches in diameter and all nets meet that specification.
It’s the length of nets that will vary anywhere from 15 inches all the way to 21 inches. The NBA rule book mandates that nets must hang 18 inches from the rim. Playground courts don’t have such specifications and may want a shorter or longer net.
Choosing a Basketball Net
Now that you know so much about basketball nets, you can choose a net to fit your situation. For an indoor court, a nylon – preferably heavy duty nylon – net is recommended as it is durable enough to not need replacing very often. The most used net is the NBA official net made by Spalding.
For an outdoor court, you can always go with the trusted chain net. The chain net should be made from galvanized steel and should have the zinc coating that prevents it from rusting. If a nylon net is preferred for your outdoor venue, choose a heavy duty one. The official NBA net uses heavy duty nylon as well as the reinforced tips and will hold up against the weather elements better than thinner nylon nets.