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How Much Does Tetherball Cost? Low To High Options

Tetherball is a fun outdoor activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Most people assume the only places you can play the game is at a park or on a playground; however, today, you can invest in building your own backyard tetherball set or even purchase a portable one. But how much can this end up being?

The cost of tetherball ranges from being free to play at a local park to hundreds of dollars for an industrial setup. However, for the casual backyard tetherball player, a reliable, quality tetherball set will cost around $60 to $70.

Surprisingly, tetherball sets have a wide range of costs, so the price you end up paying will depend on the features you want to have. In the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss the different factors that affect a tetherball set’s price, as well as provide recommendations for sets worth checking out.

What Affects a Tetherball Set’s Cost?

Regardless if you’re new to the activity, an old pro, or just want to keep the kids active, there is a tetherball set out there for you; not all tetherball setups are created equally.

We recommend the BSN Outdoor Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) but let’s look at what makes a decent set, and what will work for you.

What makes the sets unique are their specific features and the components they have. However, it’s these same factors that also affect their quality, and ultimately, the price. So, before you decide to buy the first tetherball set you find, look at its specs.

The Ball

Choosing the right ball is key to enjoying tetherball as a game. Most tetherballs are the size and weight of a volleyball and will be labeled as:

  • Full Size
  • Regulation Size
  • Official Size

Tetherballs can also be made of different materials and are of varying quality. When comparing balls, be sure to look at:

  • Air Retention: Most balls are going to have an air bladder inside. The condition of the internal bladder will affect how firm and round the ball stays. A weak bladder will deflate and become misshapen.
  • Material: Rubber and vinyl are two common materials used for the ball. The benefits of a rubber ball are that they are softer on your hands and wrists and are more durable. A vinyl ball, on the other hand, can resemble leather and can be hit with more force.
  • Texture: Some balls are smooth, while others can have texture. The smoother the ball, the easier it is to predict the movement of the ball when hit. A textured ball, on the other hand, is less slippery and may be easier for children to hit.
  • Extra Padding: While your body might appreciate a super soft tetherball, you do risk the quality of gameplay. Extra padding is an excellent choice for young children or heavy-hitting adults, but if you really want the game to be good, then less padding is better.
  • Fun Features: The classic tetherball is a golden yellow color, but nowadays, you can purchase a ball with fun features. If you want to play at night, consider getting a glow-in-the-dark or LED light-up ball. If you plan on sticking to daytime play, you can find a ball in a fun color or pattern.
  • Rope Attachment: How the ball attaches to the rope is crucial. Some balls have the rope attachment stitched in, and others have it glued. A stick rope attachment is going to be more durable than a glued one.

Some balls are better for novices and children, while others are designed to be struck hard. Thinking about the kind of impact the ball will be getting will help you find the right one for you.

When it comes to cost, naturally, balls that are of higher quality material and are more durable will have a higher price tag than one of lower quality.

Permanent vs. Portable Setup

Knowing where you plan on using your tetherball set is vital to think about before buying. The pole setup can come in two options:

  • Permanent: A permanent pole will be anchored into the ground, usually with cement. Once it is up, there is no moving it around. Most permanent sets do include an in-ground sleeve that allows the pole to be pulled out of the ground for storage or to make mowing easier. Since a permanent setup is anchored to the ground, they are sturdier than a portable set.
  • Portable: If you want to take tetherball to the beach, camping, or to a friend’s house, then a portable set is the way to go. A portable set will either screw into the ground or have a base that can be filled and emptied. The downfall of a portable set, however, is they can be less secure. If you have a strong arm, there is a potential for tipping the pole over.

Generally speaking, permanent tetherball setups are usually going to be more expensive than portable sets.

Pole Height

A full-sized tetherball pole stands 10 feet above the ground with 2 feet below ground, a total of 12 feet. While this height works for many adults, this can be too high for children and shorter adults. Poles as short as 8 feet in above-ground height can be purchased if children will be the primary users.

For more information, I wrote an entire article about Tetherball Pole Dimensions including height, diameter, and how to install.

The tetherball pole height will not have much of an effect on the price as the material it is made from, but usually taller poles made for adult or taller players cost slightly more.

Pole Types

When it comes to the pole, the most common and most durable material is galvanized steel. Steel is the strongest metal for tetherball poles, but if ungalvanized, it can rust. When it is galvanized, dipped in a zinc coating, it makes the steel able to withstand environmental conditions for much longer.

When it comes to cost, galvanized steel is the most expensive with ungalvanized steel following it. The least expensive option for a tetherball pole is aluminum.

Unlike steel, aluminum doesn’t rust, which is excellent for an outdoor tetherball court; the problem with aluminum, though, is that it is softer. An aluminum pole can work for players with a gentler hit, but for serious players, the pole can become bent or dented.

Besides the material the pole is made of, you have to decide if you want a single pole or a sectional pole. Both have positives and negatives:

  • Single Pole: A single pole is going to be the most durable option since there are no weak points. The downside is that they are more expensive and cannot be adjusted to the player’s height.
  • Sectional Poles: Some tetherball sets can be purchased with the pole in pieces. The benefit of this is you can customize the height of the pole to the people playing. Pop a section out for the kids or stick one in when the adults decide to give it a go. This flexibility in pole height does decrease the strength of the pole. The more sections, the wobblier your pole may be.

When deciding on the type of pole to purchase, think about the frequency and intensity that it will be used.

If you plan on buying it for your children and expect them to be bored with it in a couple of months, then a sectional pole will probably work. If you are planning on starting a neighborhood league with serious competition, go for the single pole.

Rope Anchor

There is no worse ending to a heated game than having the ball and rope fly off the pole. If you purchase a tetherball set, the pole will have a hole and an eyebolt attached at the top. You can simply tie the rope to it, or if the line is attached to a carabiner, clip it in.

If you are feeling handy and want to make your own tetherball set up, you will have drill the hole yourself.

Some poles have the eyebolt sticking out of the top while others have the attachment point recessed into the pole. Attaching the rope to a recessed bar may take a little extra effort but is worth it. The protruding external loops can be mistakenly hit and break off easily.

Recessed rope anchors will end up making the overall tetherball set slightly more expensive, simply because of its convenience for those putting the set together.

Rope Material

The rope the tetherball is attached to is usually cotton or nylon. While cotton is a cheaper option, nylon is more durable. If you plan to leave your tetherball court up year-round or are a vigorous player, a cotton rope will need to be replaced more frequently.

Low- to High-Cost Tetherball Options

Now that you know all the factors that can affect a tetherball’s set final cost, the following are some options worth considering for purchase across different price brackets. Depending on your budget and the features you want, one or more of these selections may be the best fit for you.

1. Visit the Park

The lowest budget option for tetherball is to find it for free. A simple reconnaissance mission to your local parks or school playgrounds may turn up some ideal spots for games. Before wandering onto school grounds, though, make sure you find out if they are open to the public after hours.

The type of ball and pole you’ll find on playgrounds are usually very durable, but there is no way of knowing what is there until you arrive.

Recommended For: Children and Adults (casual play)

Price: Free

2. DIY Court

With materials you may have lying around, or that you can easily acquire, you can build your own tetherball court. While the game itself is a blast, making a DIY court with your family will be a memorable experience.

While this may seem intimidating, building your own tetherball court is pretty easy to do and only requires a few tools. The necessary steps include:

  1. Get your materials and tools.
  2. Drill a few holes in the pole for the rebar and eye bolt.
  3. Insert the rebar into the holes at the base of the pole in an “X” shape.
  4. Mix up the cement.
  5. Poor the cement and place the pole. Having a partner or two to hold the pole straight is crucial. If you are doing this on your own, then you can tie the pole to a ladder, making sure it is level.
  6. Let the cement dry completely. This might take a few hours up to a day.
  7. Attach the tetherball to the top of the post.
  8. Optional: mark out the court lines using spraypaint or tape.
  9. Play tetherball!

The typical hand-built backyard set up includes a pole with rebar cemented into a tire. This makes it sturdy but also portable. Check out my How To Build A Tetherball Set article for a complete set of tools, materials, and instructions for building your own portable tetherball court.

You could always find a local handy man over on HomeAdvisor Handyman Services to install the pole for you. It will usually only cost an hour or so for labor to get it done properly.

Here’s a quick video showing the tire method to give you an idea.

If you would prefer to make your tetherball pole permanent and sturdier, then you can skip the tire and pore the cement directly into the ground.

The final cost of a DIY setup depends on what you have laying around, what you can scavenge for free, and what is on sale at the local hardware store.

Summary: If you get resourceful, a Tetherball and Rope (link to Amazon) might be the only thing you need to buy.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (casual play)

3. Franklin Sports Tetherball Set

Of course, if there isn’t a tetherball set up at the local park or playground, you can’t find the materials or the time to DIY, or you just want to have the luxury of playing in the privacy of your own backyard without additional hassle, you can always purchase a tetherball set already made online.

The rest of the options we’ll be mentioning from here on are all sets you can find on Amazon.

The first set worth noting is the Franklin Sports Tetherball Set (link to Amazon):

This set stands two feet short of the average tetherball pole, making it an excellent choice for youth or the most casual of adult players. This is a portable set, which is a benefit if you don’t want to leave your court erect during the winter or if you decide to bring it along on vacation. While the tetherball itself is made of hardy vinyl, the rope is cotton. Set up time takes about thirty minutes.

Summary: What this set lacks in durability and strength, it makes up for with portability and easy assembly.

  • Recommended For: Children

4. Champion Sports Deluxe Tetherball Set

The Champion Sports Deluxe Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) comes with:

  • Ball Material: Rubber
  • Permanent or Portable: Portable
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 8 feet maximum (adjustable)
  • Pole Material: Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 4
  • Ground Sleeve: Yes
  • Rope Anchor: External
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: Ball Pump and Needle, Carrying Case

The poles of this set are adjustable but max out at eight feet, making this ideal for youth and nonserious tetherball enthusiasts. Since this is a portable set, the pole is less rigid than its permanent counterparts. Unlike other tetherball sets, however, this one comes with a bonus carrying case with zipper and handles.

Summary: This is an easy-to-set-up, but not incredibly sturdy, set.

  • Recommended For: Children

5. Park & Sun Sports Tetherball Set

The Park & Sun Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) comes with:

  • Ball Material: Nylon – Soft Touch
  • Permanent or Portable: Permanent
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 10 feet and 3 inches
  • Pole Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 2 (3 piece option available)
  • Ground Sleeve: Yes
  • Rope Anchor: External
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: Ball Pump and Needle

This set can be purchased as a two-piece or three-piece pole set. The three-piece set adds an additional three inches of height. This is a permanent setup, but the in-ground pole sleeve allows you to remove the pole to put it away or to make mowing more convenient.

Summary: This easy-to-assemble and durable set is certainly worth the price.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (casual play)

6. Pro Swingball

Swingball is not your standard tetherball; it’s a tetherball played with a tennis ball. The Swingball Set (link to Amazon) includes:

  • Pro Swingball Setup (base, pole, cord, ball)
  • Two Heavy Duty Checker Bats

Swingball is reminiscent of the original version of tetherball from the 1800s. Unlike the modern game, it has a tennis sized ball on the end of the rope, which you smack with rackets. If you like the concept of tetherball but aren’t a huge fan of sore hands, then swingball is worth a try. It’s an amusing game that is sure to have everyone grinning. The setup is quick, easy, and portable.

Summary: Swingball is a whimsical alternative to modern tetherball that young children up to the young at heart will love.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (casual play)

Here’s a quick Swingball promo video to give a better idea of what it is.

7. Sterling Sports Tetherball Set

The Sterling Sports Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) includes:

  • Ball Material: Rubber
  • Permanent or Portable: Permanent
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 10 feet and 4 inches
  • Pole Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 2
  • Ground Sleeve: Yes
  • Rope Anchor: External
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: Pump and Needle

Once this set is grounded with cement, it provides long-lasting fun. An adjustable rope length and pole height make this great for youth and adults.

Summary: This is an excellent choice for a permanent tetherball court.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (casual play)

8. Lifetime Tetherball Set

The Lifetime Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) includes:

  • Ball Material: SoftPlay
  • Permanent or Portable: Portable
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 8 feet
  • Pole Material: Weather/Rust Resistant Coated Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 1
  • Ground Sleeve: No – portable base instead
  • Rope Anchor: External
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: Ball Pump and Needle

This is the sturdiest of the portable tetherball sets. It can be used by novice players but will withstand the intensity of a die-hard tetherball competitor. The heavy-duty base can be set up on grass, sand, or concrete. Fill it up with water or sand, and you are good to play.

Summary: The Lifetime Tetherball Set is a durable and portable set for all play levels.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (moderate play)

9. BSN Outdoor Tetherball Set

The BSN Outdoor Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) includes:

  • Ball Material: Rubber
  • Permanent or Portable: Permanent
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 8 feet and 8 inches
  • Pole Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 1
  • Ground Sleeve: Yes
  • Rope Anchor: External – 12 inches of zinc-coated chain
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: N/A

This pole is heavy duty and ideal for playgrounds, churchyards, or the yard for the most serious of tetherball aficionados. This is the pole and tetherball set we recommend.

Summary: Although more expensive than a portable set, this set is built to last you for years of playtime.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (serious play)

10. Gared Tetherball System

The Gared’s Tetherball System (link to Amazon) includes:

  • Ball Material: Rubber
  • Permanent or Portable: Permanent
  • Pole Height Above Ground: 10 feet
  • Pole Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Number of Pole Pieces: 1
  • Ground Sleeve: Yes
  • Rope Anchor: External
  • Rope Material: Nylon
  • Bonus Items: N/A

This is tetherball at its best—the classic game of childhood playgrounds. Standing at a full 10 feet in height, this set is for long-term use and can handle the most vigorous games. This is a nice set, but at the price point, I wouldn’t recommend for casual backyard players.

Summary: If you’re a die-hard tetherball competitor, then this set is for you.

  • Recommended For: Children and Adults (serious play)

Install Tips:

I just wanted to point out that even though you get a pole that needs to be cemented into the ground, it doesn’t need to remain permanent all year long. I wouldn’t say they are portable, but there’s a way to install the pole in concrete that allows you to remove it to mow the lawn or store for winter.

Here’s a quick video showing how to install a permanent pole in a way that allows you to remove it.

Choosing Your Tetherball Setup: Best Options Available

Tetherball is a game that can be played by people of all ages. But while young children can get by playing with lower-quality equipment, for adults who get intense (maybe too intense sometimes), a shaky setup just won’t work.

As with most sports gear, the higher the price tag, the better the quality. In other words, if you want the most for your money, you will need to spend more. However, if you’re still not sure which tetherball set is right for you and your budget, here are a few of our recommendations:

  • Casual Play: The best option for young children or adults who have a gentler touch is Option 5: Park & Sun Tetherball Set. It is cemented into the ground, which ensures it will stay vertical. The pole itself comes in several parts, so there may be some wiggle to it.
  • Moderate Play: For older youth and more competitive adults, Option 9: BSN Outdoor Set is the way to go. The pole is a single piece of steel, which means there is no worry about multiple pieces moving around. You will need to cement it in place, but that makes for the most solid tetherball set ups anyway.
  • Serious Play: If you are looking to have a permanent tetherball system for many years of use, then Option 10: Gared Tetherball System is what you want. It has high-quality construction and durability. Although the initial price is steep, for years of play, it is worth every penny. This is a rugged setup that can withstand the toughest of serves.

A La Carte

If you are finding it difficult to pick a pole and ball combo that satisfies your needs, then it’s also worth considering purchasing the pieces separately. While most tetherball posts do come with a ball, it might be in your best interest to replace it for one that you love and that also fits your budget. A couple of recommendations for tetherballs sold without a pole are:

  1. Tachikara STBR Rubber Tetherball: high-grade rubber, yarn winding for durability, smooth surface – a classic tetherball – great for adults and older youth
  2. Mawelrate Tetherball and Rope Set 2.0: natural rubber, extra padding for softness, smooth surface – a classic tetherball with a softer hit – great for children and adults with more sensitive hands
  3. Mikasa Brite Strike Glow in the Dark Tetherball: fun colors in the day that glow at night – a fun twist for night play

Final Thoughts

No matter what tetherball set you end up going with, you are sure to have fun. Just remember to think about the features you want the most from a set and make your decisions from there.

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