Using a weighted volleyball, otherwise referred to as a setter ball, is one of the easiest and quickest ways to radically improve your ability as a setter.
The additional weight of the heavy ball causes the muscles in your arms, hands, and fingers to adapt to the added load.
When you switch back to a regulation ball, you’re far more capable of setting further, with better accuracy, for longer.
I’ve just spent the last hour reading every single review on the internet for each of these different balls so I can tell you exactly what’s good and what’s not.
In this article I’m going to run you through the top 4 setter balls money can buy and help you decide exactly which ball is right for you or your kids.
Best Overall Ball
Mikasa Heavy Weight Volleyball
The setter ball from Mikasa is the perfect weight for all users, it’s made from quality materials, and usually doesn’t require much if any inflation once you get it.
Best Overall Weighted Volleyball
If you’re looking for a really high quality setter ball that will probably last longer than the other ones, the Mikasa ball is a really solid product.
One great thing about this ball is that it ships fairly well inflated and will occasionally only need minimal inflating once you get it.
A number of the other setter balls ship either completely deflated or slightly deflated, to the point where you can’t use it out of the box.
Having a cheap hand pump on standby is probably still a good idea.
One of the major complaints about other setter balls is that they’re too light or that the customer was expecting it to be significantly heavier…
Weighing in at 16oz, which is the standard weight for setter balls (approximately 70% heavier than a regulation ball), the Mikasa heavyweight volleyball is definitely not going to disappoint in terms of weight.
This makes it a great option for all age groups and skill/strength levels.
For male athletes over the age of 14, I’d actually recommend going for the Baden HeavySetter Training Ball instead because it weighs closer to 17oz and it’s mostly guys complaining about setter balls being too light.
In terms of materials, the ball is really nice. It feels just like a quality indoor volleyball and is super soft to touch.
It is the most expensive setter ball on this list, however.
Personally, I think paying a little extra is worth the peace of mind you get knowing you almost certainly won’t have to send it back, which was the case in numerous instances for other cheaper balls.
- Volleyballers of all ages and skill levels. This training ball can be used by complete beginners or by elite professionals.
Not Ideal For
- Anyone balling on a budget. This ball is a little mort expensive than the other products on this list.
Heaviest Setter Ball
Baden HeavySetter Training Ball
The Baden HeavySetter is my top recommendation for male athletes or stronger female high school or college volleyballers who want a slightly heavier training ball.
Heaviest Weighted Volleyball For Setters
When I say heaviest, the Baden training ball is only 1oz heavier than your standard weighted volleyball at about 17oz.
This makes it great for older or stronger athletes that want a little more stimulus when training.
The Baden HeavySetter is also currently the most affordable weighted volleyball on this list, making it an absolute no brainer!
This product also ships mostly inflated and can often be used out of the box.
It’s also made from quality materials, feels nice and soft, and doesn’t have that hard plastic feel.
The reviews for this product are outstanding and personally I would buy this over the Mikasa ball every day of the week!
- Older and stronger volleyballers. If you’ve been playing volleyball for a while, I’d definitely recommend going for this slightly heavier ball.
- Almost all athletes. Except for really, really young volleyballers, this ball is great for everyone. I’ve never once heard someone complain about a setter ball being too heavy.
Not Ideal For
- Really young athletes. This might not be the best option for players under the age of 10-11.
Best For Beginners
Molten Setter Training Volleyball
The Molten setter ball is a bit lighter than most weighted volleyballs, but still considerably heavier than a regulation volleyball. This makes it a great option for younger, weaker players.
Best Weighted Volleyball For Beginners
Most setter balls weigh about 16oz but the Molten ball weighs only 14.1oz, so it’s definitely one of the lighter weighted volleyballs.
For reference, a regulation volleyball weighs about 9.5oz, so it’s still about 50% heavier.
This makes it perfectly suitable for really young volleyball players and beginners who might not yet be ready for a 16oz ball.
These balls also come partially deflated so will often require the use of a hand pump to inflate it before use.
I honestly wouldn’t recommend this volleyball for anyone over the age of 13, at which point going for a 16oz or even 17oz setter ball will be much more effective.
Even for 10-12 year olds, your kids will outgrow it after a couple years and start complaining that it’s too light.
I didn’t see a single review on a 16/17oz setter ball saying it was too heavy or difficult to manage.
- Really young children. I’d recommend this setter ball for boys under 11 years and girls 12 years and under.
Not Ideal For
- Everyone else. This setter ball is too light to be of much use to anyone above the age of 13. It’ll work still, but you’d be better off getting a heavier ball.
Tachikara TB-18 “The Setter”
One of the most popular setter balls, the Tachikara TB-18 is another decent product that gets the job done at a slightly better price than most on this list.
Best Budget Weighted Volleyball
While prices change all the time on Amazon, I want to mention that at the time of writing this, the Baden HeavySetter 17oz volleyball is selling for a lot less than the Tachikara ball.
The Molten setter ball is also a couple dollars cheaper…
It’s hard to say exactly how long these prices will be where they are, but generally speaking the Tachikara ball is one of the most affordable.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend people to buy this product as there’s simply been too many issues with quality.
Firstly, this ball ships completely deflated, so you’ll need to get a cheap hand pump to inflate the ball once you receive it.
Because of how the ball is shipped deflated and folded in half, when it’s inflated there’s often crease marks on the skin of the ball which tend not to go away.
On top of that, several customers reported air leaks which would cause the ball to deflate after a single day’s use.
Some balls, on the other hand, had absolutely no issues and worked perfectly.
If you receive a dodgy ball, you can send it back and wait for it to be replaced, and you’ll likely end up with a really good overall setter ball.
These things work. They’re by all accounts a good product when they’re not faulty.
But I personally don’t think it’s worth rolling the dice, especially when there’s very little price difference between this and the other balls on this list!
- Anyone balling on a budget. If you’re willing to risk getting a faulty product and having to return it, this is an excellent low cost setter ball.
Not Ideal For
- Anyone who wants a reliable training ball. Personally I wouldn’t bother with the potential headache of having a ball which could leak air constantly.
For the vast majority of volleyball setters, I’d recommend going for either the Mikasa or Baden training balls.
For older and stronger athletes, pick Baden as it’s a little heavier, and for everyone else, go for Mikasa.
For really young kids, the Molten ball is a decent, lighter option and it’s definitely a little cheaper than the Mikasa making it excellent for beginners.
You might also like to consider getting a setting target net to go with your new weighted volleyball, so be sure to check out my full article discussing the best volleyball setting nets too!
How Much Does A Weighted Volleyball Weigh?
The weight of a standard weighted volleyball is 16oz or 454g.
This is approximately 70% heavier than a regulation volleyball which weighs around 9.5oz.
I’ve included the weights of each ball below so it should be very easy to see which balls weigh what.
Do Weighted Volleyballs Ship Inflated? Will I Need A Pump?
Weighted volleyballs ship ‘mostly inflated’ which sometimes are fine to use out of the box, but will often require some additional inflation.
If you’re going to get a setter ball, I recommend also ordering a cheap ball pump to ensure your training ball is properly inflated.
The Tachikara ball ships completely deflated, so you’ll definitely need a pump to use that ball. The other 3 balls may also require some additional inflation.
What Are Weighted Volleyballs Used For?
Weighted volleyballs are used for developing arm, hand, wrist, and finger strength specifically for volleyball setters.
In response to the additional weight, your muscles are forced to adapt and become stronger and more efficient.
The idea is that when you switch back to a conventional volleyball, you’ll be able to set the ball further, with more consistency, for longer.
How To Use A Setter’s Ball?
The great thing about setter balls is that they can simply act as a substitute for a regular volleyball during training sessions.
You can do virtually any setting drill using the weighted volleyball and get great results.
Even if you just keep it really simple by setting a ball up against a wall to yourself repeatedly, you’ll notice significant strength gains over time.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, so long as you get plenty of reps in!
I recommend anyone serious about improving as a setter use a weighted volleyball daily for best results.
Also be sure to check out my article on strength training and workouts for setters if you’re interested in developing setter specific strength and explosiveness.
Can You Use A Weighted Volleyball For Serving?
I wouldn’t recommend using a weighted volleyball for serving.
These balls are designed to develop your lower arms specifically for the setting motion.
Serving and passing weighted volleyballs, while it probably wouldn’t hurt, isn’t really going to be particularly effective.