Health & Fitness

This top-selling cornhole set on Amazon is totally worth buying—here’s why

Make the most of this socially-distant game

Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Cornhole seems almost destined to be the quarantine game of choice. It's a zero-contact sport—with no reason for players to come more than six feet together at any point in the game—that you can play against your partner, your parents, your kids, or whomever your chosen "quaranteam" may be. It's great for all ages and abilities, fairly easy to master to a respectable level, and easy to play while wearing a mask. If you're in solo quarantine, it’s also one of the more satisfying games to practice on your own, so you can come out of isolation with a skill to make you the talk of the bar patio and tailgate parties.

There's also a surprising amount of variety when it comes to cornhole boards. I got the chance to test one of the top-selling ones with my family, the GoSports Regulation Size Solid Wood Premium cornhole set. Here's what we thought.

The game:

The premise of cornhole is simple: players alternate pitching bean bags onto an angled platform with a 6-inch hole carved out of the far end. The platforms face each other at a distance of 27 feet. If a bag lands on the board, the player scores a point. If the bag goes through the hole, that’s three points. The first person or team to score 21 points wins.

The rules are easy enough to master, but setup is where things can get challenging. Regulations set by the American Cornhole Association say that you must play with 2 foot by 4 foot platforms set up at a distance of 27 feet. This is where the board you choose to play with comes in.

The board:

cornholeboard
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

A smooth, sturdy board makes for a great game.

As with any sport—particularly one that has gone pro—there are fanatics that tell you what you must look for and avoid in proper play equipment. Where cornhole differs, however, is that both the fervent pros and the barstool-players seem to agree on the must-haves for a good game. First and foremost, it’s time to ditch the nylon and PVC set you got from the bargain bin and buy a solid-wood board at regulation size and slope. According to the American Cornhole Association website, in order to have an official and regulation cornhole board, the the board must have the following features:

Size: Each cornhole board should be 4 by 2 feet and weigh at least 25 lbs. Tailgate-size cornhole boards are 3 by 2 feet.
Material: Boards should be made of smooth plywood that measures at least 1/2-inch in thickness.
Hole: The hole in each cornhole board should be 6 inches in diameter. Its center should be 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from each side of the board edges.
Build: The front of the cornhole board should be 3 to 4 inches from bottom to top. The back of the cornhole board should be 12 inches from ground to the highest point of the deck. There should also be a supporting crossbeam to stabilize the board and minimize the bounce that can cause bags to ricochet off the landing surface.
Finish: It should be sanded and lacquered to a very smooth texture, without any screws, snags, or blemishes in the wood surface that might disrupt or distort play.

When we searched for the best board to try, we tried to hit on all five of these regulation criteria, while also considering portability and affordability, trying to keep our search to boards $150 and under. Our search led us to the GoSports Solid Wood Premium cornhole set, which is priced around $120 and ranks highly on both Dicks.com and Amazon, with over 800 5-star reviews. While the boards weighed in at only 15 lbs each, they seemed to meet all other regulation criteria. The set also comes with a carrying case and regulation-size bags.

First impressions

The board

cornholenap
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

The cornhole board also served as a great napping surface.

These are good-looking boards! Weight aside, they seem to hit on all the necessary marks. They were smooth around the edges, well-lacquered, and durable. Upon scrutinized inspection there were no areas where a bag might snag or catch. Cornhole pro Leslie Adcock told me to make sure the hole-area was well-sanded—an apparent pet peeve of serious players—in that a poorly sanded hole can snag a bag in a heated game, preventing it from going in the hole, or put unnecessary wear and tear on bags over time.

Durability: Much to our horror, we found our 40 lb child jumping on the borrowed boards. We stopped him pretty quickly but, upon very close and anxiety-ridden inspection, the board held up beautifully. It didn’t scuff let alone buckle or warp under his weight. I also took a nap on the board. It was awesome—and the board held up under my weight

We also left our boards out overnight, forgetting to turn off our timed sprinklers, but we were happy to see the lacquer protected the boards beautifully, causing the water to bead right off. We also forgot the bags on the boards. The bags held up to saturation too, however, they left water marks on the board after sitting on them for a couple of hours. It was a bit of a bummer but can hardly be blamed on the construction of the boards.

Weight: These are lighter than regulation boards. Regulation dictates that a board should be 25 lbs, to prevent moving and tipping when the bags land. At 15 pounds, weight didn’t seem to be an issue in terms of sturdiness and the lighter weight made for easy setup and movability around our yard. They were also light enough not to do any significant damage to our lawn when left out for a few days. We imagine that full weight, regulation-sized boards aren’t really meant to be moved at all. If they are meant to be moved, it’s not something I would want to do nightly.

Accessories: The carrying bag that comes with the set is made from a pretty flimsy nylon. While it certainly did the trick in making it easier to carry and transport, I worry about the longevity of the bag with constant use, but for the time being it certainly did the trick. I was able to carry and transport both boards pretty easily. The size is a bit unwieldy, but the bag was able to carry the 30 pound weight of the boards, plus the added weight of the tossing bags, pretty easily otherwise. The bag was also good for storage, keeping the boards nick and scuff-free when we moved them to our garage.

The price: These are the most well-priced boards we could find anywhere that will give you the closest approximation to a game the pros play.

Handicaps: Regulation cornhole is a big game and not totally practical for the average household. The 2 by 4-foot platforms are supposed to be set at a distance of 27-feet, meaning you need a fairly flat surface of 35-feet to play. This just didn’t work for our yard. We live in Los Angeles, which has a lot more space than most other major cities, but the best we could do was 21 feet between the boards. Most urban dwellers will be constricted by the space they have at hand.

While space was an issue, the distance presented other challenges. You don't realize just how far 21 feet is until you try to hurl a lightweight beanbag across your yard at that distance with any amount of control. We struggled with maintaining a steady throw at 21 feet; it's going to take quite a bit of practice to get ourselves there. Since we weren’t able to meet the regulation 27-foot distance, and we weren’t able to sink a hole at 21 feet, we pushed our egos aside and moved our boards closer to meet regulation junior distance of 15 feet apart. Junior play is generally recommended for players under 12 years old, but it worked for us, and that’s when things started to get fun. We hope to graduate to a more respectable distance after we better-hone our game.

The bags

cornholebags
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Double-sided bags may be recommended by the pros, but the smooth bags that come with the set work just fine.

The set came with a set of basic, resin pellet-filled bags. The weight and size were regulation and felt substantial in the hand. However, every pro we spoke to recommended double-sided bags and we could see why. Dual-sided bags have a “stick” side and a “slide” side, allowing for a different layer of strategy when tossing. These bags didn’t allow for that layer of strategy in play. While playing with the accompanying bags, the slide on the lacquered surface of the board created a challenge in playing. Mastering that slide is a skill in and of itself, but even the purists we spoke with say they prefer the dual-sided upgrade.

If you prefer to start out with dual-sided bags, you can order the board without the accompanying bags and find ones that are more conducive to your game. Still, the ones that came with the board were perfectly acceptable to play with and, as a beginner who is working to become acquainted with my own abilities and style, it was worth having a well-constructed, regulation size and weight set. Initially I was frustrated by how slippery they were but, after playing for a few days, I began to develop strategy. At some point it’d be good to upgrade, but it was a welcome exercise in learning what I need before I spring for something more specialized. Also, it’s nice to have a back up set for when friends who might not be as invested in the game come by.

These Tailor Spot Pro bags get get nearly flawless reviews and will probably be the ones we order when it’s time to upgrade.

Overall impressions:

cornhole
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence

Tossing bean bags is a great summer game.

If you want the real-deal regulation size, this GoSports one comes with a full recommendation. If you're looking for pure practicality, you may want order the tailgate size—GoSports offers a set that's made out of the same sturdy wood as the regulation size, so you can get the same quality game without it taking up too much room. Unless you plan to hone your skills to be professional, you’ll likely still get all the fun you need out of the game at a smaller size, and it’s far more practical for people with limited space. Either way, the game of cornhole is a low-key good time, and a GoSports board is a great way to play it.

Get the GoSports Solid Wood Premium Regulation Size Cornhole Set from Amazon for $121.99

Get the GoSports Solid Wood Premium Tailgate Size Cornhole Set from Amazon for $99.99

Related content

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Up next