Best Bingo Sets

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

26 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
125 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bingo sets

Last Updated September 2020

With one more turn of the crank, one more ball rolling down the chute, and one more announcement, you may be ready to shoud “Bingo!” with gusto. The classic game of chance in which players try to fill their game cards by matching randomly called numbers has endured the test of time for a reason: it’s loads of fun. 

Bingo is a game that large groups can easily play together. Everyone gets a unique card with the letters B-I-N-G-O across the top. Below each letter are five of 15 possible numbers you might mark off during the game. The middle square is always the freebie. Most bingo games involve a cage in which balls are mixed and retrieved one at a time. As each letter-number combination is announced, you may have a space to cover with a marker.

For all its simplicity, there are lots of bingo sets to choose from. In this guide, we discuss game features that have been consistent over the years as well as some new features you might be interested in. We also showcase our favorite options.

Worried that cards may repeat? You shouldn’t. It’s mind-boggling, but there are over 550 septillion unique possibilities for bingo cards.

Key considerations

Calling numbers

There are two basic calling methods in bingo. The first and most popular is the cage. A wire cage is filled with plastic balls, and a crank turns to shuffle the numbers. A ball is either retrieved by hand (the less common way), falls into a slot, or rolls down a chute.

In lieu of balls and a cage, some bingo sets feature calling cards. The caller holds a deck of cards featuring every number in the game. Once shuffled, the caller draws a card to reveal the letter and number. While this may be less dramatic than the cage option, cards make the game easier to set up, take apart, and pack away. Indeed, without a cage, your bingo game is much more portable. 

Marking numbers

 

Plastic tokens
There are a variety of ways for players to track which numbers have been called. The classic way is the plastic token. These often come in an assortment of colors and are usually transparent so you can see the covered numbers. Most bingo sets come with a generous quantity of markers. They are cheap and lightweight, but they can also be easy to lose and a hassle to clean up.

Daubers
Another way to mark numbers on your card is with a dauber. This instrument applies a bit of paint to your card. (Note that the card must be covered with some type of plastic for this to work.) The paint easily wipes off with a paper towel or cloth. Similarly, washable markers can be used to check off called numbers.

Shutters or flaps
Some bingo sets forgo the excess of plastic tokens in favor of shutters or flaps that are integrated in the bingo card itself. Shutters may be included in layered cards where each number occupies a slot. The shutter slides or closes over the called number. It can be opened again when the game is done.

Some interactive bingo cards have tiles that can be partially punched or flipped open. You may pull up a flap to indicate which number has been called. Notably, the flaps may wear down after time. 

Size and portability

Some bingo sets are easier to transport than others. Consider the size of the set you’re buying as well as the material. A durable set made of thicker, stronger materials like brass or wood is likely to hold up well over time.

Readability

Consider who will be playing bingo and how easy or difficult it might be for them to read the cards. Some cards are printed with larger numbers than others. Furthermore, some cards are simply larger than others. If your players might be using multiple cards at once, card size also matters.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bingo can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels. That’s because it takes no skill at all; the game is based entirely on luck.

Features

Materials

While most bingo sets (the cards and balls) are made of plastic, some high-quality products are made of wood. Wood costs more, but it’s durable and may offer a more satisfying tactile experience. Wood is also a more sustainable material than plastic. 

Some cages may be made of brass. Though more durable than plastic, a brass cage will add to the weight of the set, making transport a bit more difficult.

Colors

Bingo cages, cards, and balls come in a wide range of colors and themes. Some feature an assortment of colors; others focus on a specific color combination, like red and green or black and white. 

EXPERT TIP

Bingo changes from game to game based on the order of the numbers called, not the cards used. Therefore, you needn’t worry about having a large variety of cards available.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bingo set prices

Inexpensive: For under $20, you can purchase a bingo set complete with cards, markers, balls, and a cage. However, everything will likely be made of plastic, which is lightweight but not necessarily durable.

Mid-range: Most bingo sets cost between $20 and $40. These may be plastic, wood, or a combination of materials meant to increase durability and enhance the look of the set.

Expensive: For over $40, you’ll find high-quality bingo sets with an eye toward aesthetics and a focus on durability. These will likely not be plastic but a combination of wood and brass. They may feature an alternative to tokens as well, such as shutters or flaps.

DID YOU KNOW?

While similar games have been played around the world for centuries, the current version of bingo is credited to American entrepreneur Edwin Lowe, who developed the game in 1929.

Tips

  • Create temporary replacements. If you misplace or damage some pieces, get creative. A hat or bowl can substitute for a cage, while most small objects can be used as tokens.

  • Save the box. With so many parts, a bingo set can be tricky to store and transport. Keep the box it came in, and stash the set in a cupboard or other secure location when not in use.

  • Check local laws when playing with money. If you plan to use bingo as a way to raise money, consult any local guidelines or restrictions beforehand.

  • Have fun! Bingo is a carefree game of chance. There is nothing you can do to change the outcome unless you’re not paying attention, of course.

Bingo is a popular and worthwhile activity for charity events and fundraisers. Just make sure you have enough cards for everyone.

FAQ

Q. Can I purchase replacement pieces?
A. Most companies sell individual parts of the bingo set as replacement pieces. Boards and markers are the most commonly replaced items. These are inexpensive and usually purchased in bulk. Cages can also be replaced, but they are likely to cost more. Balls are trickier to replace because they aren’t sold individually. Rather, you must purchase an entire set. 

In most cases, you would not need to purchase replacement parts from the company that made the set. Bingo is the same game, regardless of the maker.
 

Q. What are some variations of bingo?
A. The most common way to play bingo is to strive for fully marked row, column, or diagonal. This requires five markers, one of which may be the free space in the middle.

The most intense bingo game calls for the entire board to be covered. There are other variations as well. You could play a “four corners” game in which you strive to cover each corner, or you could strive to create an “X”, a diamond pattern, or an inner or outer square on your board.

Another alternative is a “pick ‘em” version in which every person selects a set of numbers ahead of time and hopes to have them all called. Then there is “death bingo,” in which getting a bingo means you lose. The winner is the last one left.
 

Q. How many cards should I get in a bingo set?
A. A bingo set may include any number of unique bingo cards, from fewer than 10 to greater than 50. The number of cards you need is determined by how many people you expect to play. Will you play with a small group of family or friends, or will you use the game at a large gathering? 

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera Pasturel
    Ciera Pasturel
    Digital Content Producer
  • Kyle Schurman
    Kyle Schurman
    Writer
  • Melinda Snowden
    Melinda Snowden
    Web Producer
  • Melissa Nott
    Melissa Nott
    Senior Editor
  • Steph Coelho
    Steph Coelho
    Web Producer

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