5 Best Tetherball Sets of 2019: Portable & Permanent Options

Looking for something fun to do now that it’s getting warm again?  Maybe something new that the whole family can do and enjoy.  A game that requires skill and not just raw power, though that can help?  Look no further than tetherball.  Though not the most popular game out there by no means, it is still a game with a ton of benefits.  Not only will it bring you together with your family and friends, but it will get you outside and moving.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at the best, most popular tetherball sets on the market as of 2019.  We’ll be discussing all of the various features to help you narrow it down to the best choice for you.  We’ll also be looking at some of the best sets in our reviews later on before answering any FAQ’s that you might have.  Let’s get to it now!

Top Tetherball Sets Comparison Chart

NamePole HeightPortable or PermanentPriceWhere to Buy?
Lifetime Portable Tetherball System96"Portable$$$$Check Price on Amazon
Park & Sun Sports Permanent Outdoor Tetherball Set10' 3"Permanent$$Check Price on Amazon
BSN Outdoor Tetherball Pole12'Permanent$$$Check Price on Amazon
Baden Champions Series Tetherball Set10’ 5”Portable$Check Price on Amazon
Franklin Sports Recreational Tetherball Set96"Portable$Check Price on Amazon
All Surface Pro Swingball Tetherball Set70"Portable$$Check Price on Amazon

Tetherball Sets Buying Guide

Origins of the Game

Let’s take a quick look at the history of the game, just in case the only exposure you’ve had to it has been Napoleon Dynamite so far (bless you if you have).  The game is believed to have gotten its start in Britain in the 1870s, with most pointing toward 1875 as the founding year.  Others claim it was started in Dublin, Ireland, then a British city, now it’s not- an important distinction we need to make.  Soon, it spread to the rest of Britain and to its sister country, the United States.  To begin with, it was played with a tennis ball and racquets.  So it was tetherball but with tennis.  This became a little bit problematic for some, with racquets clashing, though it did eliminate the massive hassle of running down tennis balls.  It also cut down on lawn costs, so if you were lucky enough to be able to play a game, it would at least be less expensive for you, allowing the so-called middle classes to get involved.  Eventually, they lost the racquets and kept playing with the tennis ball.  Then, it morphed eventually into the game with know now complete with the use of your hands and a volleyball in essence.

Benefits of Tetherball

The benefits of tetherball are fairly long, but we will keep it down to a minimum when discussing them.  First and foremost, you don’t need a lot of room for this.  If you like in the city in a cramped environment and you need something that will get you moving and outside, then this is the perfect way to go about that.  Tetherball takes up comparatively less room than many other activities.  Soccer goals are very popular, but they need some yard space.  Basketball needs that, too.  You don’t need hardly any room for tetherball really.  Like soccer, tetherball doesn’t have a lot of long breaks built into it, as it requires constant action, so for that reason it is a great cardio exercise.  On top of that, it will work your arm, shoulders, and core muscles as well.  It’s never too early, or late, to get a start on doing that.  It only needs two players as well, making it way more fun for you than a lot of sports, like football, where you really can’t do much with just two people.  It’s also a lot easier to practice alone on, and is actually fun.  Since you don’t have the tedium of chasing the balls you kick or shot down perpetually.

The Ball

The tetherball itself needs to be talked about here.  While you could, in theory, use any old ball, it’s very much important to make sure the ball you end up using is fairly soft.  The reason why a soccer ball, for example, isn’t used is because it will eventually hurt your hands time and time again.  There is a reason soccer goalkeepers wear gloves, and it’s not all due to grip.  If a soccer ball is out of the equation, there’s no need to discuss a basketball, which would be disastrous.  For these reasons, a volleyball type ball is best.  Volleyballs are soft to the touch, especially nowadays if you get the right one, so this why this type of ball has been chosen.  Some balls are softer than others, so we’ll make sure to point out whether a ball is soft or hard and let you decide on what you think you need.  Looking for the right set also will depend on outdoor or indoor use.  If you plan on playing indoor, the ball is going to not have to be as resistant to the weather.  Generally speaking, an outdoor ball can be used for both inside and outside use.  An indoor ball can be used inside, but it will not hold up nearly as well because it doesn’t have the durability and isn’t made to resist the elements.  This is also the case with regulation volleyball, as well as basketballs, too.  If you find that your ball gets deflated, which is going to happen as the temperature and air pressures change over time, then you just need to inflate it with a normal sports pump.  Failure to do so will give you an experience that isn’t quite up to the standard you’d like.  Not all sets are going to come with a pump, but there will be some that do.  Even if they don’t, it’s not a great expense and you can get a lot of mileage out of one for all sorts of other sports activities. that you might come across.

The Pole

At its core, tetherball is a very simple game.  You have a pole, a rope, and a ball.  Those three pieces are paramount to the entire picture. The pole is vital.  It has to be strong and sturdy.  If it’s not, then you could end up knocking it over when you hit the ball hard, or the wind could even knock it over.  There are a few rules to follow here.  First, the best poles are going to be made out of galvanized steel.  Not only is it strong and sturdy, but it also will have a coat of zinc to help ward off rust.  Without that, you might end up with an ugly brown pole after a while that becomes quite the eyesore.  After that, you want to examine how the pole is assembled.  Poles that have fewer pieces to them are preferable.  One that has two pieces is better than one with three since they will be sturdier.  Plus, there are more things that can go wrong as you add pieces and parts to the mix.  Lastly, have a think about how far the pole goes into the ground.  If you are doing it on your own, and that’s a possibility, or you are going to do it with a set, you want to make sure it’s far enough into the ground.  It might be hard work to get it in there, but you will be thankful you did so.

The Rope

The three things you have to have concludes with us talking about the rope.  The rope, like the pole and the ball, have to be good enough.  A poor rope with a good ball is only going to drag your game into the muck.  The biggest factor, in fact, that determines how much durability you are going to get out of your set is tied to the rope.  For this is the piece that usually will deteriorate the fastest, forcing you to figure out an alternative.  Nylon is usually the best you can hope for when it comes to ropes.  Nylon is very strong, and on top of that, it offers great weather resistance as well.  So not only will it be able to take a  beating through all those twists and turns, but it will also be able to last when it is being rained on heavily.  Just keep in mind that nothing last forever!

Pole Height

This part is all about who you are getting the set for.  If you are buying for a child, then you will naturally want a smaller, shorter pole for them to use.  But you can find a happy middle ground as well.  You can always adjust by sliding the rope up and down, so this is a moot point for many people.  Don’t let the height misguide you here, because you can use creativity and do some work of your own to ensure that you get the utmost out of your time playing.  If you do decide to lower the height, make sure you also shorten the rope as well.  If you forget to do this, then you will basically be able to still just knock the ball over the head of the shorter individual, negating the purpose of shortening it anyway and thus creating a lot of frustration.

Portability

Being able to move your tetherball set around might be something you desire, so if that’s what you need, you have to pay special attention and make the right choice.  A permanent base is going to best suit those that are sticking to one place for a while.  This type is in the ground, making it nearly impossible to move.  Even if it is possible, it’s going to most likely be deemed impractical to you.  Some sets are going to be made so that they can be moved.  This is great if you need to move your set around so you can mow or not get those dead spots in the yard, for example.  They are also great if you are planning to move.  The best type for moving is a kind that has a base that is filled with water.  Filling it with water will keep it weighed down but it won’t be impossible to move.  Sometimes, so-called portable sets become difficult to move because they have too much weight to tie, tethering them to the ground and making it tough to do anything practical with them.  Furthermore, there are even options out there that allow the pole itself to be folded.  This makes storage super easy and also makes moving the whole thing around a lot more of a breeze.  This feature isn’t for everyone, but you can get a lot of benefits from this.  It also would be ideal to have this type if it’s not made out of galvanized steel or something that does well in the weather.

Swing Radius

This section is tied to how much room you have and is a little bit more technical than the others we have taken a glance at.  The swing radius is how much room, when the rope is fully extended, the ball needs to swing.  Obviously, you need to make sure that this radius does not come into contact with other objects, such as trees, houses, bushes, or other things that might be nearby.  You can adjust this a little bit in order to protect your valuables as well as your set.  Not taking this into account can end up decreasing the longevity of your set as a whole.

Installation

It goes without saying for most people, but half of the game is in how easily your set is going to be put up.  If you can’t assemble it without a big fuss or a lot of time taken up, then you are not likely to put it to use anytime soon.  You might even end up forgoing it entirely and doing something else instead.  So, you have to look for a set that is going to be easy to put together above all else if you are not someone that is handy.  If you are good at putting things together, then you can go with virtually any set.  Keep in mind that now all of them are created equal.  Certain sets will be tougher to put together, while some will be easy.  Some will come with good, clear, reliable instructions, while others will not offer any.  Some companies will do an excellent job at providing support to you, and others will not.  The sad part is that this doesn’t even depend much on the price you pay, either.  You could spend a lot of money and get poor customer support, and you could spend a little and get none.  Or vice versa.  You’d think there would be a clear pattern, but there just isn’t much of one.

Price

Price is always going to be something you have to consider, and you will have to justify how much you spend.  With that said, you can’t expect to pay next to nothing and get a good tetherball set.  You get what you pay for, and something will be lacking if you go ultra cheap.  Whether it be the rope, the ball, or the pole, there will be a shortcut taken.  Sometimes multiple ones, even.  If that’s not the case, then you might be on to something.  Maybe you can overlook one issue if it means a cheaper price.  This is just something you’ll have to weigh.  The most important thing it to make sure the pole isn’t flimsy.  You can’t play if it’s going to be tipping over and swaying wildly.  You can play with a rope that’s not up to par for a while and you can get away with a less than perfect ball for a bit.  But the big factor is the pole.  Cheaper ones also are going to rust as well, so that’s something you’ll need to have a few thoughts about before you take the plunge and buy yourself a shiny new set.

5 Best Tetherball Set Reviews

  1. Lifetime Portable Tetherball System

If you are looking for a system that will be able to move freely, this is the one for you. This 96 inch pole is designed with both children and adults in mind, allowing it to be safe yet also allowing aggressive shots and hard hits to be made. The pole and base are made out of materials that are resistant to the weather and to rusting, and they back this up with a five year warranty as well.  The base can be used on just about any level surface.  On top of all of that, it comes with a pump and needle and also comes with an extra soft ball which will be ideal for those that plan to play for long hours and for younger players.  A lot of people have not liked how much it moves around while playing, so using a tire to hold it in place might be something that you just have to do. It’s also a little toward the expensive side as well.

Pros:

  • Very soft ball for young players
  • Easy to move around
  • No rusting

Cons:

  • Kind of expensive
  • Needs a tire for security
  1. Park & Sun Sports Permanent Outdoor Tetherball Set

If you are looking for something that will stay in one place and for about half the price, then this set from Park & Sun, a leader in outdoor niche sports, could be just right for you. Coming in three and two pieces varieties, the poles are each made out of galvanized steel to make sure rust doesn’t set in. The poles are put together with a simple locking system that makes installing it easy, and the height is all the way up past ten foot on it, meaning you can have a couple of feet to spare to put it in the ground if you need to.  The ball it comes with is made out of Nylon, making it both soft and good in the elements.  The rope is also made of the very same material, too, increasing the durability tremendously.  It also includes a needle and pump set to further enhance your experience.  Some consumers have noted that this set is best for kids and won’t stand up as well to abuse, but that should be expected given the price.

Pros:

  • Decent price
  • Plenty of room to spare
  • Very durable thanks to Nylon

Cons:

  • Not great for bigger, stronger players
  1. BSN Outdoor Tetherball Pole

BSN comes onto the list with the most expensive item so far, a 12 foot high tetherball pole that gives you a ton of room to secure it into the ground and make adjustments for all ages. Made from galvanized steel, the pole is great for use outdoors and just will not budge. Despite the listing’s name, it does come with a rope and a ball, too, making you able to play almost immediately after installation. That installation might be a tad bit tougher since this is a heavier duty playground sort of setup, but you will not have any wobbling, unlike so many of the cheaper ones that are found out on the market currently.  The ball is not the best ever in terms of softness, so you might want to purchase a softer one if you have kids or just don’t want to break your hands (figuratively).

Pros:

  • School quality pole
  • Will not wobble
  • Very high

Cons:

  • Higher price
  • Ball is rough
  1. Baden Champions Series Tetherball Set

If you are looking for a cheaper version, then you can go with this one from Baden. So far, this is the least costly one on the list, and it achieves that thanks to being a three piece pole set. It is easy to click them in together, but just remember that sturdiness will be lacking due to the additional piece added to the mix.  Coming with a nylon rope and a school approved ball, you will be left happy with the add ons that they have included in the set that is completed with the pump and needles.  The pole, thankfully, is resistant to rust, at least.  This is not the most durable of sets, but it would be good for players that are in the middle stages of learning the game and are a bit smaller.

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Nylon rope is durable
  • Easy to put together

Cons:

  • Not very durable
  • Will be wobbly
  1. Franklin Sports Recreational Tetherball Set

If you are looking for an ultra budget option, then this is the one to turn to. But be warned that this set is made mostly for very young kids only. Franklin does a really good job at providing affordable products, but sometimes they can be a little flimsy, so don’t make the mistake of letting Old Joe from down the street play against you on it.  The rope is made out of cotton instead of Nylon and there are three pieces to the pole.  Those are each issues you will have to overcome.  But for the very low price you are paying, you will just be looking for a little bit of durability as opposed to using it for years, anyway.  It does come with a very soft ball, needle, and small pump, so that will help you get off the ground and start playing.  They do include a ground sleeve to help stability, but don’t be fooled.  It will only help so much.

Pros:

  • Very, very cheap
  • Soft ball for use
  • Excellent for kiddos

Cons:

  • Not durable
  • Three pieces (four if you count sleeve) for pole

Honorable Mention:

All Surface Pro Swingball Tetherball Set

This one alludes back to the original days when they played with tennis balls and racquets.  You use water or sand to fill the base, and the best part is this is a set that older teens can use and use pretty well.  Since the racket is involved, it’s not going to move the pole too much.  So it’s nice twist, albeit a classic one, to throw you back to the days of old!

Conclusion And Final Tetherball Sets Recommendations

Finding the right tetherball set might seem like too big of an obstacle for you to overcome.  But it’s really not nearly as hard as it might seem once you know what you are looking for.  By taking the time to learn about the many aspects of the game, you will now be more able to make a better decision.  This information will allow you to get the absolute best choice for you, giving you hours and hours of enjoyment during the warm, sunny months.  Get out in the yard and get to playing, why don’t you!?  Look below if you would like to read on for any further questions that you might have!

FAQ’s About Tetherball Sets

What Are The Rules and Are They Complicated?

No, the rules really aren’t complicated at all.  You have two players, one standing across from the other in a well defined areas.  The two players are not allowed to move into the other ‘half’ and they work to make the ball go as far as it can on the other person’s side.  Generally, play goes to seven points.  Some of the things you should know, but note that this is not a comprehensive list, is that a player is not allowed to hit the ball twice and cannot hit with anything other than their arms or their hands.  They cannot catch the ball or hold it, and they are not allowed to touch the rope in order to manipulate the spin or twisting motion.  It’s actually very simplistic, much more so than so many games, so it’s easy to teach young players and beginners and gives them clear, defined goals.

What About Warranties?

A warranty is never a bad thing to have.  It’s a guarantee that what you are getting is quality and that you don’t have to worry if something goes bad.  Always keep in mind, though, that warranties always have limitations.  Even if you see unlimited warranty, it might not mean what you think it means.  Generally speaking, the more expensive sets that get toward the triple digits aren’t going to need to be worried about as much.  Their quality is going to be good with or without one.  But for the cheaper sets, you might want that just to ensure.  Lots of warranties have time limitations; don’t forget that fact!

Should I Buy Extra Accessories?

This is up to you, but it would be wise to have some backups with you just in case.  Things like extra ropes and ties would be awesome to have on hand.  You also should have a pump and needle, so if you don’t have one and it does not come with the set, you should definitely go get one.  They are very affordable and offer various uses for all sorts of other sports that you could use a ball for, so there is no harm in getting one.  You might want to have a backup ball, too.  Or maybe one for the younger players to use and one for older players.  It’s really just a matter of preference and what you are willing to pay for.

How Far Should I Dig To Make My Pole Steady?

To be on the safe side, you should dig at least one foot down.  Some people have dug less than that, but it’s quite a big risk to take.  You could have the pole come down and hit some potentially, which is a far bigger consequence than just flopping around.  With similar items, we usually got two foot down, but you may deem that to be too extreme.  Just make sure it’s firmly in the ground and you should be good to go.

What If I Don’t Want To Dig?

There is, of course, another option to digging, and that is to set up your own permanent pole without any holes.  The way that the vast majority of people accomplish this is through the use of a tire.  An old (wide) tire has a large base and should be heavy enough to weigh it down.  You then cement it down to make sure you add some weight to it, and viola, you have your fixture.  Provided that it is not a monster truck tire, it also should be decently easy to move with a little bit of help if you should decide to do that.  You don’t have to move it around, but it will be an option, as long as it’s not overpowering for you.

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