Summer is here again, bringing with it beautiful weather, longer days, and plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy some traditional yard games.
Yet let’s face it:
The kids have played horseshoes so many times it’s simply not fun anymore, and your adult friends are wary of even visiting you over the summer lest you suggest another game of cornhole for the millionth time.
What you need is something different. What you need is one of the best ladder ball sets you can set up in your garden to keep both kids and grown-ups alike entertained for hours.
Below, we’ll offer our pick of the five top sets suitable for all ages, as well as offering our comprehensive ladder ball set buyers guide to help you determine which one is best suited to your needs.
What is Ladder Ball?
Also known as ladder golf, ladder toss, or even ball rope, ladder ball is a fun game in which two teams take turns to score points by throwing a bola (a set of two golf-ball-like balls connected by a short nylon rope)onto a target frame designed like a ladder.
Like a ladder, each frame has three rungs or tiers. The top tier is worth three points, the second is worth two points, and the bottom tier scores players one point.
The first team to score exactly 21 points wins the game.
If you’re completely brand new to the game, you’ll find everything you need to know in our Ultimate Guide to Ladder Toss.
For now, though, let’s dive into our pick of the five best sets you can buy this year
Top 5 Best Ladder Ball Sets
|Product||Ladder Material||Bolas Material|
|1.||EastPoint Sports Go! Ladder Ball Set||Steel||Soft rubber (weighted)|
|2.||Rally and Roar Ladder Toss Set||PVC||Soft rubber|
|3.||Viva Sol Premium Outdoor Ladderball Set||Wood||Hard Plastic|
|4.||Triumph Press Fit Ladderball Set||Steel||Soft Rubber|
|5.||AmazonBasics Ladder Toss Set||PVC||Hard Plastic|
1. EastPoint Sports Go! Gater Premium Ladder Ball Set
As you’ll see in our ladder ball buyer’s guide later in this article, there are two key things we looked for when determining the best sets:
- The material used to build the target ladders
- The material used for the bolas.
Ideally, the ladder should be tough and sturdy enough to withstand game after game for years to come, while the bola material should be solid enough to ensure satisfying play yet not so hard that a rogue bola could cause an injury.
This double ladder ball game set from EastPoint Sports offers the best of both worlds, making it hands down the best of the bunch.
The steel construction of the target frames offers exceptional durability without being excessively heavy, making it easy to set up, pack down, and carry around. To make this even easier, the legs fold up and latch together, like an actual ladder. The frames also have a built in sliding scorer
As for the bolas, the game comes with the standard six sets (three per team) which are the same weight as golf balls to ensure a quality playing experience. Unlike golf balls, however, they’re made from a soft, rubber coating and filled with sand.
This makes them a safer option for families with young children. Indeed, while most ladder golf sets are aimed at ages eight and above (or even older in some cases), this is one of the few high-quality sets suitable for ages four and up.
Note: Because this one is made of steel, you need to check the assembly to make sure everything lines up correctly. While it’s normally not an issue and you’ll find that the frame is nice and sturdy, some buyers received frames with misaligned holes. Check right away to make sure.
2. Rally and Roar Premium Ladder Toss Set
Well known for their foosball tables, dartboards, and tabletop pool sets, Rally and Roar have built their reputation by creating premium quality versions of many game room classics.
Thankfully for us, they’ve taken that same quality outdoors to come up with this excellent PVC ladder golf set with sand bases, six bolas, and a stylish blue-and-orange carry case.
While PVC sets tend to be at the lower end of the price scale, this is one instance where cheap price doesn’t mean cheap quality.
The PVC pipes that make up the target ladders are of a solid thickness to ensure it can hold its own even after lots of heavy use. What’s more, most of the parts come pre-assembled, so it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to set up and start playing.
As a company that specializes in making games for adults, it doesn’t come as a shock to see Rally and Roar pitching this for tailgate parties and other grown-up occasions, but the soft-yet-firm rubber balls make it just as suitable for older kids.
3. Viva Sol Premium Outdoor Ladderball Set
Though most of the sets on this list are designed for families, this premium wooden ladder golf set from Viva Sol has a decidedly grown-up feel about it.
A great choice for anyone who wants to offer something other than the standard beer pong at your next party, the attractive wooden ladders come with their own built-in bottle opener so that you can crack open a cold one while you’re waiting for your turn to throw.
That’s a nice little gimmick, sure, but this set is no novelty. Those solid, hardwood frames are complemented by sturdy steel bars to withstand endless hours of even the most enthusiastic gameplay, while the frames’ smooth, furniture-grade walnut finish make them a stylish addition to any garden party.
Elsewhere, the bolas are made from hard, golf-ball-like plastic, another reason why this is a better option for playing ladder golf with your buddies rather than your kids.
4. Triumph Press Fit Ladderball Set
Honestly, the only reason the Triumph Press Fit Ladderball Set didn’t rank higher on our list is the cost. Though steel and metal sets are generally always more expensive than their PVC counterparts), this is definitely one of the pricier versions out there.
Still, that alone shouldn’t be enough to rule out what is otherwise an excellent offering from the Triumph All Pro Series.
The all-metal target frames are some of the strongest we’ve ever come across, built to stand tall and unwavering even after years of serious play. Yet even that isn’t the best part about the ladders themselves. No, the best part is the unique, hardware-free assembly,
An ideal option for families with infants and small children, there are no screws or small parts to lose with this one. The whole kit slots together in seconds and uses pressure-fit joints to keep everything in place.
Speaking of all things child-friendly, the six bolas are finished in a soft rubber for safe play yet still pack substantial weight to ensure top quality play.
5. AmazonBasics Ladder Toss Set
The AmazonBasics brand has made great inroads into the outdoor games market over the last few years, offering affordable, family-friendly versions of popular past-times like ring toss and Bocce.
So it’s no surprise to see them come out with a ladder ball set that is not only built to last but designed to offer hours of fun for the whole family.
The set comes with three red bolas and three blue ones, making it just as ideal for one-on-one games as it is for teams of up to three players each.
The highlight, however, comes in the form of the two target ladders. Despite being incredibly lightweight, the PVC pipes are incredibly sturdy and can withstand a fair bit of force when you throw the bolas.
The pipes slot together easily using the connected joints, and then be quickly taken down and stored in the helpful carry case.
The only downside to this one is that while the PVC targets make it a great choice for families with young children, the hard-plastic bolas do not. As hard as actual golf balls, the bolas in this set can hurt if they’re not used properly, so young families should take extra care when playing.
Otherwise, this is a great low-budget, entry-level set that will offer plenty of entertainment for many a summer.
Ladder Ball 2023 Buyer’s Guide:
You’ve seen our pick of the best five ladder ball sets currently available, but how exactly did we determine which sets made the cut?
More importantly, how can you decide which set is right for you?
The answer to both of those questions lies in the materials that each ladder ball set is made of.
Sure, your budget will naturally play a part as it does with just about every purchasing decision you make, but really it all comes down to how you’ll be using your set and who you’ll be playing it with as each option is generally best suited to a specific environment and audience.
Let’s consider each one in turn:
Personally, we love a good wooden ladder golf set. There’s something about the smooth finish and the way they’re constructed that lends them an appealing, traditional look.
Having said that, this certainly isn’t a case of style over substance.
The best thing about wooden ladders is that they’re built to last and offer a higher level of stability and long-term durability than any other type.
In our estimation, this combination of gorgeous aesthetic appeal and unbeatable resilience makes them a great choice for adults.
Unlike other types, they don’t look like a child’s toy, so there’s no chance of them looking out of place when you have your friends round for a summer afternoon of beers, barbecue, and brilliant gaming fun. What’s more, the sturdy design makes them well equipped to handle the kind of vigorous play you tend to get with adults.
The only drawback with wooden ladders is, of course, the cost. As the most expensive of all three varieties, they may not be the best option if you’re only looking for a cheap game to while away the summer.
Offering a great compromise between the high price tag of wood ladders and the lack of strength that you get with cheaper PVC options, metal ladders are usually made from lightweight metal tubes that are properly treated to prevent rust.
They tend to be the easiest to assemble which makes them a great choice if you’re looking for something you can set up quickly and get playing with minimal fuss and, given their affordability, make a great choice for families.
Last but by no means least, PVC ladder golf sets are the most affordable of the three.
They usually cost significantly less than the top-end wooden varieties, but also offer much less strength and durability too.
However, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
With their lightweight design and relative lack of resilience, everything that makes them a poor fit for eager, heavy-handed adult players makes them ideal for families with young children.
The quality of the ladder targets may be the most important factor, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the quality of the bolas when deciding on which ladder ball set to buy.
Hard Plastic Bolas
If you’re wondering why ladder ball is sometimes called ladder golf, it’s because the bolas are literally made to look just like actual golf balls and use the same hard plastic materials.
This hard and heavy design allows for better aerodynamics and means you can throw faster and with greater accuracy, making them a good choice for more competitive games. This is perhaps the reason why the official ladder golf rules and regulations stipulate that these are the kind of bolas required for official competitions.
However, as anyone who’s ever accidentally been struck by a golf call can tell you, those things can seriously hurt!
So, if you’re playing with young children, you might want to give them a wide berth to prevent the risk of injuries and nasty bruises.
Soft Rubber Bolas
The good news is that not being able to use the harder bolas doesn’t mean you and your young ones can’t play. One of the reasons why we chose three of our top-five picks is that they used soft bolas.
These tend to be either all-rubber or rubber casing filled with sand to give them the same kind of weight and aerodynamic properties as the harder golf ball variety. Either way, both options are much safer for playing ladder ball with young children.
How to Choose the Best Set for You
To sum up, then, choosing the best ladder ball set is all just a question of whether you’re looking forward to enjoying quality outdoor time with your young family, or whether you’re looking to provide some unique entertainment the next time your friends come over for your big summer get-together.
If it’s a fun-filled family afternoon that you have in mind, then the soft-rubber bolas included in either our number-one ranked EastPoint Go! or our second-placed Rally and Roar Ladder Toss Set will work perfectly.
Between the two, the key difference is that the EastPoint steel set offers a little added durability so that mom and dad can play too without worrying about knocking the whole thing over.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something different for your friends to play the next time they come over to hang out, then the gorgeous oak finish and exceptional durability of the Viva Sol Premium Outdoor Ladderball Set will certainly prove to be a big hit.