Bocce ball has been around for over 7,000 years. It’s a simple game that has obviously stood the test of time, and it can be played nearly anywhere, from your own backyard to a beach. If you want to have the most fun playing, however, you need a quality bocce ball set.
At the very least, a bocce ball set includes eight larger balls, one smaller ball and a case. We like the St. Pierre Sports Professional Bocce Set because it’s manufactured to international bocce ball standards. To learn more about this enduring game as well as how to purchase a quality bocce ball set, keep reading.
Bocce ball is a game that can be played on a level patch of grass, the beach or a regulation bocce ball court. The object of the game is to toss your bocce ball toward a smaller ball, the pallino, which serves as the target. The team that gets the closest to the target is the only team that can score during that round. You get one point for each ball that’s closer than the other team's best throw. The game ends when one team reaches 12 points while also being two points ahead.
While the exact measurements of a bocce ball court can vary depending on which regulations you’re following, a 76-foot court is specified by the World Bocce Association. However, if you’re playing for fun or you don’t have a large backyard, you can make accommodations as needed so everyone can enjoy the game.
When purchasing a bocce ball set, the first buying decision to make is whether you want to purchase a regulation or non-regulation set.
Regulation bocce ball set: A standard set of bocce balls contains four green balls and four red balls. Each ball in the set must be made with the same material and be the same diameter and weight. While tournament bocce balls can range from 100 millimeters to 115 millimeters in diameter, the Bocce Standards Association has defined a ball diameter of 107 millimeters with a weight of 920 grams as the standard size.
Since the size of the pallino is not as crucial to the game as the size of the bocce balls, the pallino can range from 40 millimeters to 60 millimeters in diameter. Finally, both the bocce balls and the pallino must be made of hard plastic composite materials.
Non-regulation bocce ball set: A non-regulation set of bocce balls can vary wildly in size, weight, color and materials. Although the requirements aren't as strict for these types of sets, you still want each ball to be identical in size and weight.
Bocce ball sets can be manufactured using a number of different materials.
Plastic: Plastic bocce ball sets are lightweight, budget-friendly options that are best for children.
Metal: As long as you’re purchasing stainless steel balls, which won't rust, metal is an option for a backyard bocce ball set. The downside is it can be difficult to determine whose ball is whose from a distance.
Wood: While wood may look classy and nostalgic, it isn’t a durable material for outdoor use and will likely let you down in the long run.
Resin: A high-end resin bocce ball with a foam core is what you want for the best bocce ball experience — think bowling ball. This material allows for precision balancing and durability. It’s also the priciest material choice. Lower-end resin is more affordable, but since it uses fillers, it’s also more prone to chipping and cracking.
Besides the balls, a bocce ball set comes with a carrying case. While this might not seem like an important element, a bocce ball set can weigh a little over 16 pounds, making a quality carrying case an essential.
If you’re just looking for a backyard bocce ball set and you aren't very serious about the game, you may be happy with one under $35. If you want to hone your skills and eventually compete on a tournament level, however, you’ll likely be spending more than $65 for a set.
A. While it might be difficult to master, playing the game is very easy — as long as you can toss a ball underhand, you can play the game.
A. Two or four players are ideal for competitions. If you’re playing for fun (and to include as many people as possible), you could play with as many as eight (four members on a team with each getting one ball).
A. A pallino is the smaller, usually white ball that comes with a bocce ball set. This ball serves as the target.
What you need to know: For the individual who’s looking for a top-quality, solid resin bocce ball set.
What you'll love: The eight bocce balls in this set are manufactured to international standards, making them suitable for backyards and competitions. The pallino in this set is yellow instead of the typical white.
What you should consider: While not a major issue, at this price point, some were expecting a tape measure to be included.
What you need to know: If you’re looking for an affordable bocce ball set that you can use for picnics, this offering will satisfy your needs.
What you'll love: The value in this set is the balance of low price versus higher-quality materials. These balls come in two colors and feature two different patterns, which facilitates four-person play.
What you should consider: The storage case is not as impressive as the bocce balls.
What you need to know: This brightly colored set is best for the casual backyard player who doesn't want to spend a lot of money.
What you'll love: These appealing bocce balls come in bright yellow, blue, green and red, making them fun for younger players. This is the only set on our list that includes a measuring rope.
What you should consider: The synthetic material used in the manufacturing is not as durable as the material found in higher-priced sets.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.