Best Tetherball Sets (Reviewed)
Last Updated: 21st Mar, 2020
Every kid just loves to play Tetherball (Even my dog does too!). It has been a playground classic for many years.
Do you have kids that want to keep playing after school? Or maybe you just want to bring the favorite schoolyard game home to play with family and friends? You simply don't want a cheap novelty! You want the Real Deal.
We hear you...
After 8 hours of exhaustive tetherball play and trying over 12 sets in the process, we conclude that the BSN Outdoor Set is the best for most people due to its ultra-strong build quality. This permanent set built to last and offers an everlasting gameplay experience.
We've covered our top 5 picks for the best Tetherball sets you can get right now. Whether you're looking for a portable, permanent or a kid-friendly set, we've got you covered.
Our Top Picks for the Best Tetherball Sets
- BSN Outdoor Tetherball Pole and Ball - Best Permanent Set
- Lifetime Portable Tetherball System - Best Portable Set
- Versus Sports In-ground 3-in-1 Set - Best Value
- Park and Sun Classic Tetherball Set - Best All-Around
- Franklin Sports Recreational Set - Budget Pick
1. BSN Outdoor Tetherball Pole and Ball Set
Best Permanent Set
The first product that makes into our list is the BSN Tetherball set. It comes as a 2-piece pole which are made of durable galvanized steel that fits perfectly outdoors while being rust-resistant during those rainy seasons. When installed, it sits approximately 2 feet in the ground and stands at 12 feet in total length. The other necessities like a rope and ball are also included.
If you are looking for a school or public park level of quality, then this is your choice. This set is designed to last and become a permanent fixture in your backyard. The setup is simple and shouldn't take much effort to install - all you need is a bag of cement and a couple of hours of hard work. Alternatively, you can also mount the pole inside a gravel or stone filed bucket. Make sure the bucket is at least 10lbs; otherwise, it won't be stable enough.
The quality of the actual ball is comparable to a professional volleyball. It is a little on the harder side, making it sturdy for adults, but for young kids, you might consider purchasing a separate softer ball. It doesn't include a pump for the ball either, but the ball comes ready to go. When the ball does need a little extra air, any old pump will do.
The price might seem a little on the high end, but you can be assured that this will be one investment that lasts for years. Even if kids, or adults, try to climb the pole expect it to hold up just fine! A quality choice through and through.
What we love
+ Super sturdy build
+ High quality ball
+ Designed to withstand nature's element
Watch out for
- Doesn't come with an air pump
2. Lifetime Portable Tetherball System
Best Portable Tetherball Set
Next in the list is a portable Tetherball set from a popular sports equipment manufacturer - Lifetime. This set isn't restricted to just one location and doesn't require a cement base or implanting the pole in the ground.
Unlike a traditional Tetherball setup, the 12lb base is filled with water or sand to keep it grounded. This allows for easy transportation. If you want to bring it over to an outing, or if you are in the process of moving, you won't have to worry about leaving it behind. To move the set, you can lean the pole to the side and roll it along around the base.
This set is kid-friendly too. Featuring one of its kind, soft 8-inch regulation ball which is safe for kids as well as competitive play. While the 72-inch nylon rope is quite thick and doesn't tangle much.
The sturdy set is ideal for kids, teens, and even adults to play with. You can set up the stricture on any stable surface like grass, sand, or concrete flooring.
The parts are also designed with the outdoors in mind. You won't need to move this into storage during lousy weather either. This set is definitely rust-resistant. The 96-inch pole is made of sturdy steel, and the base is built from High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). The whole structure is powder-coated, making it all-weather resistant.
You also receive a pump and a needle for inflating the ball. The manufacturer provides 90 days replacement warranty on Ball/Cord/Clasp. And, the pole and the base are covered under a 5-year limited warranty.
The biggest negative is that some of the components are plastic. You should still get a solid number of years out of this set but won't have as long of a lifespan as other higher priced choices.
What we like
+ Kid friendly
+ 5-year limited warranty
+ Complimentary Air Pump
Watch out for
- Not as sturdy as a metal set
3. Verus Sports In-ground 3-in-1 Set
For those looking for a set with multiple game options, we have Versus 3-in-1. You get Tetherball, tennis (tethered), and soccer (tethered), all for close to the same price of a high-quality standalone set. Available in both the options - permanent and portable, this set is designed for all spectrum of buyers.
The design is user-friendly as well, and switching games requires attaching/removing few components.
The all-weather rust and weather-resistant structure is designed to withstand outdoor elements. The pole itself is fully adjustable and reaches up to 9 feet high. Even rope is adjustable as needed for each game. For the tennis variation, you get two rackets and a ball. Air pump and travel bag are also included to complete the whole set.
Another cool feature is the 12-inch PVC sleeve. The PVC sleeve can be securely set into the ground with concrete, and the pole slides in securely. When you need to take out the pole, not a problem! You can easily remove it from the sleeve, adjust any features as desired, and keep on playing.
If you are worried about issues of quality with so many pieces, no problem, a 90-day warranty has you covered for any defects. For this set, the price point will be the only concern. Granted, given how much you are getting, the price is fair. But you could opt for our top pick for about the same amount. It's a choice between top quality and variety of games.
What we love
+ 3-in-1 set (Tetherball, Tennis & Soccer)
+ Height adjustable
+ Excellent price point
Watch out for
- The provided rackets are a bit flimsy - Ideal for kids
4. Park and Sun Classic Tetherball Set
Next up is the Park and Sun permanent tetherball set which offers a fine balance between features and pricing. Although not as sturdy as our top pick, the construction is more than adequate for light to medium usage. You get a 3-piece 1.5-inch thick galvanized steel post which houses inside a 12-inch PVC sleeve for easy installation and removal. It comes with a standard ball which is made out of softer material, making it easy for the kids to handle. The ball is connected to the pole using a heavy-duty nylon cord measuring 7' in length and 6 mm in diameter. Included in the set is a compact hand pump with two needles.
Park and Sun's well-rounded set comes with an attractive price tag to boot. At around $40, this feels like quite the steal. This set should hold up well under regular use. However, unlike some of the higher-priced options, heavy or rough use can wear out the stability of the set faster.
An ideal choice for anyone looking for a functional set with rigid construction and affordable pricing.
What we love
+ Rigid construction
+ Soft touch ball
+ Affordable Pricing
Watch out for
- Not as sturdy
5. Franklin Sports Recreational Tetherball Set
Franklin Sports is our choice for a tetherball set for those on a budget. The price averages around $20! Incredibly affordable. If you would like your pet dog to have some fun outside activity or your kids to play with, this set would make up for an excellent choice.
However, it comes with some drawbacks as you might expect. The actual quality of the pole, ball, and pump included is not half bad. The real issue comes in the form of how the pole’s base is designed. It uses a screw-in mechanic where essentially the whole base is twisted into the ground until it becomes secure.
The system is easy to use, certainly but doesn’t do the best job of keeping the pole straight. Even the youngest of kids will eventually knock the pole loose. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from resetting the pole again, but the unreliability is annoying. For larger kids and adults, we see this as a potential issue.
Besides that, you are still getting a solid set with durable steel parts. The tetherball is of good quality as well and professionally sized. With a little extra work, you could probably use concrete to make this setup much more secure. If you are willing to put in the effort, this budget pick could be your best choice.
What we love
+ Bang for the buck pricing
+ Comes with a pump and a needle
+ Ideal for kids and dogs
Watch out for
- Average build quality
- The in-ground mounting mechanism isn't that stable
Buyer’s Guide to Tetherball Set
Tetherball is a kid's favorite and popular among adults as well. It not only requires a low upfront cost but also takes up minimal space in the backyard.
But the meteoric rise in the popularity of tetherball has resulted in a wide array of products being flooded in the market. At times, it can become quite confusing and challenging to pick the best tetherball set. But not anymore! Here are a couple of points to keep in mind while making a decision.
If you invest in the right tetherball set, you are sure to have a great game that will last for years!
Things to Look for:
What you'll need to consider when purchasing is what kind of base do you want? Most other features beside height will not vary much, but the base of the pole will.
Do you want a permanent fixture? Or do you want something more mobile? If you do want a more rigid fixture, you'll need to consider purchasing concrete separately. Think about who will be using it the most, and how secure it will need to be to handle different levels of play.
1) Portable Vs Permanent
The first step is to determine whether you're looking for a permanent set or a portable one.
Portable sets are:
- Lightweight, portable and easy to move around
- Less Expensive
- Often not as sturdy as the permanent ones
- Ideal for light to moderate play only
Permanent sets are:
- Permanently fixed in the ground using concrete or gravel
- Solid, sturdier and heavier
- More expensive
- Ideal for rigorous play
2) Material Type
A Tetherball set primarily consists of a pole, a ball, rope and the hook to connect the ball with the pole.
Look for poles made out of heavy gauge galvanized steel with powder coating to prevent corrosion. Avoid plastic poles at all cost as they don't last long. Generally, the poles come in 2 to 4 pieces which are connected by a screw mechanism. Poles with minimal joints are recommended as it's more sturdier and don't flex much.
Typically a volleyball-like ball is tethered to the pole which can be a bit hard on the hands of kids while playing. Choose a set with a softer ball.
3) Price Range
A set can cost anywhere from $40 to $120. Cheaper sets below $40 should be avoided at all cost. A quality set would cost you around $100 while you can get a decent quality set somewhere around $60 range.
Equipment & Setup
Typically a tetherball pole measures 10 feet, but this height can vary depending on the player's age and personal preference. A ball similar to the size of a volleyball is attached to a sturdy rope that can withstand the quick force of being whipped around. The rope needs to be long enough so that there is at least 2 feet between the ball and the ground when hanging idle.
The court should be about the size of a 10-foot circle around the pole. Each court is half the area of the circle, but in some variations, players choose to stay within one-quarter of the area. The sides of the court are then the foul zone and are not entered.
Who is Tetherball for?
Tetherball has traditionally been a game for younger kids at school. However, adults can enjoy it all the same. It is a great pick for families who want a more active game to play together. It makes a great centrepiece at your home for BBQ days and game nights with the neighborhood. You also have a lot of variety in terms of where it can be played, and the space needed to play is relatively small. However, the game can only be played between 2 players, which might discourage large groups. With smaller kids, a 2 versus 2 game might be a little more doable.
In the end, the best part of tetherball is that the high-quality sets are sure to last you for many years to come. So, if you are looking for a long-term investment in your outdoor game collection, you can’t go wrong here.
Tetherball Rules - How to Play
Believe it or not, there is actually a standard set of rules to play tetherball. The basic object is to hit the ball so that it wraps completely around the poll until it stops. One player will start as the server. Regardless of the number of games you decide is needed to win, you will always win by two games because of the disadvantage the server has.
Once the tetherball is served, the opponent must hit the ball before the server is allowed to hit it again. Players are allowed to use their forearm and hand to hit the ball. You cannot catch the ball, and you must stay within your side of the playing area. Unless the ball hits the pole between hits, the ball can only be hit once per rotation by each player. If any violation occurs, you reset the ball by unwrapping it to the position before the violation and serve again.
Tetherball has entertained kids across schools for years. Despite the game’s immense popularity, the origins are still somewhat of a mystery. Most likely it started sometime after the creation of volleyball around the end of the 1800s. Also, for those interested, there is a different version of tetherball called paddleball. It is primarily played in English speaking countries with British roots outside the United States.
If you want to bring a great game home for your kids this year, consider picking up tetherball. It’s a good way to get them, and yourself, outside and staying active. There really is something special about having everyone’s favorite childhood game right at home.