Lifetime Portable Basketball Goals Models 71522, 71523, and 71524
These portable basketball hoop models can provide shoppers headaches if the product listing is not very thorough. On the surface, they all appear the same: 54-inch backboard, portable base, 3.5-inch round pole. But, there are several factors that make these products quite different from each other. This article will elaborate on some of these differences.
All of these products feature the largest backboard size available on Lifetime portable basketball hoops. The 54-inch mark makes these backboards just 18 inches short of a regulation width. So any difference between these systems is going to be important in making your purchasing decision. For the 71523 and the 71524, the backboard is made of polycarbonate. On the 71522, the backboard is made of acrylic. For most players, the difference in playability between acrylic and polycarbonate is fairly minimal. What is reported by customers and manufacturers of basketball systems is that acrylic provides a superior rebound when the ball hits the backboard. For most beginning to intermediate level players, this difference will be almost unnoticeable. For advanced players, they will likely begin to notice that a polycarbonate backboard material throws off their bank shots a bit. On the other hand, polycarbonate is used because it is considered to be about 30 times stronger than acrylic, thus increasing the life of your system. It would not be expected that your backboard will break over night with an acrylic material, but that polycarbonate will last longer given 2 comparably aged and used systems.
On these 3 portable basketball hoops, the thickness of the frame is a major difference. For the 71522 and the 71523, the steel frame on the backboard measures 1.5 inches wide. On the 71524, the frame measures only 1 inch wide. On portable basketball hoops, such as these, the rebound is improved greatly with a thicker frame. So in terms of rebound, the 71522 (with its acrylic backboard and 1.5 inch frame) will have the best rebound and the 71524 (with its polycarbonate backboard and 1 inch frame) will have the worst rebound. Comparing these two factors, the backboard material and the thickness of the frame, the thickness of the frame plays a bigger role in improving rebound.
With all these differences explained, you might expect the 71522 to be the most expensive; however, this is not the case. On most shopping sites, the 71523 is more expensive than the 71522 and the 71524 is the cheapest. The main reason for this difference is the differences in cost of production. Polycarbonate often has more expensive production materials and procedures than acrylic. As mentioned above, there are several differences in quality, some of which are a pick-your-own poison. This means that while the 71522 is cheaper than the 71523, the acrylic backboard of the 71522 will likely not last as long as the polycarbonate backboard on the 71523. On the 71523, we would expect to not see as good of a rebound as the 71522, but you will be spending more for the 71523.
Hopefully this description of the differences in these 3 systems has not tripped you up. Have fun shopping.