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Best Croquet Sets

Updated September 2018
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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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 12 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 139 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best croquet sets

    Last Updated September 2018

    If you're after an amusing outdoor game to play, croquet might be the answer. Whether you're a complete beginner or an actual pro, you'll need your own croquet set before the fun can begin.

    But, that's easier said than done. You'll find all kinds of croquet sets on the market, some of which are professional standard and others that are merely toys. While not everyone needs a regulation croquet set, it's important to consider what you need from yours before you buy. Are you looking for something for your kids to mess around with or do you want to seriously learn the finer points of croquet.

    Our thorough buying guide will give you all the information you need to know to find the perfect croquet set to fit your needs.

    Croquet mallets should be made from hardwood, but some are made from better quality wood than others.

    Parts of a croquet set

    Before you get started, you should know more about the parts of a croquet set and what you should expect to get for your hard-earned cash.

    Mallets

    The mallet is the equivalent of a club in golf – it's what you use to hit the ball with. You can find croquet sets with anywhere between two and eight mallets, though six seems to be the most common option. You'll need one mallet per player, so make sure there are enough to go around. Officially, you croquet should only have two, four, or six players (playing either individually or in teams), but there's no reason you can't play with more people, should you choose to.

    Balls

    Of course, you need balls in your croquet set, otherwise you'd be swinging your mallets at thin air. Regulation balls weigh 16 ounces and are made of hardwood, but some sets offer lighter balls and balls made from resin rather than wood. There's nothing wrong with opting for a lighter hardwood ball (12-ounce balls are a common choice), especially if children will be playing or the mallets are lightweight. However, you should be aware that resin balls aren't very hard wearing, so they're not ideal if you plan to play a lot of croquet. You should have as many balls as you do mallets, as each player needs their own ball.

    Croquet craftsmanship

    Made with exquisite craftsmanship, this six person croquet set is strong enough to stand the test of time. The solid maple construction feels weighty, but not unwieldy, and the brass ring bindings help stop the heads of the mallets from cracking.

    Wickets

    Wickets (which are sometimes also known as "hoops") are the arches that you must hit your balls through. They're generally made of steel, with straight legs that can easily be hammered into the ground. Official tournament wickets are usually heavier duty than those for recreational use and are only slightly wider than the diameter of the ball. Recreational wickets are wider than tournament options, making it easier to get the ball through. Tournament level croquet requires nine wickets, but some recreational sets feature six, as "garden croquet" is often played on a smaller scale.

    Stakes

    Stakes – or "pegs" – are little wooden posts that go at either end of the pitch. You should have two in a set, as you must hit one when your ball reaches the top of the pitch and the other after going through all the hoops to finish your round. These are usually made of fairly thick wood, an inch or so in diameter.

    Stand or case

    Though obviously not essential for gameplay, most croquet sets come with either a stand or a carry case to help you keep all your croquet gear together and make it easier when transporting the set from one place to another.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some mallets feature hexagonal or octagonal handles. Many players prefer the way they feel to grip, compared to standard round handles.

    Considerations for selecting a croquet set

    Mallet size

    Check the size of the included mallets before buying your croquet set. Look at both the length of the handle and the size of the head. Shorter handled mallets are easier for children to use, so bear that in mind if you'll be playing with little ones. The average size of a mallet head in between nine and nine-and-a-half inches long, though you can find larger options. Beginners should go with standard-sized mallet heads as they're harder to control, but experienced players often prefer the increased performance you can get from longer heads, once you know how to handle them.

    Mallet weight

    A high quality, sturdy mallet should weight between 2 pounds 12 ounces and 3 pounds 4 ounces. However, some cheaper sets offer lighter mallets, which aren't ideal in most cases, but can make it easier for kids to play. If your chosen set features mallets that weigh less than 2 pounds 7 ounces, opt for a lighter 12 ounce ball.

    Cheap and cheerful

    While it might not be as high quality as more expensive option, the Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set is extremely affordable for a set of its size and will stand up to occasional recreational use. This makes it a great choice if you'll probably only play croquet a handful of times a year.

    Size of set

    It's important to consider the sizes of any croquet sets you're looking at – how many mallets, balls, wickets, and stakes they contain. Make sure your chosen set features enough wickets and balls for each player to have one. So, if you're a family of five, a set with four mallets and balls isn't going to cut it. If you want to play regulation croquet, you'll need nine wickets and two stakes, but if you don't mind playing a stripped back game, you can get by with six wickets.

    Price

    You can find full croquet sets starting at about $30 to $40, with smaller kids sets costing even less. Sets in this price range are fine for occasional recreational use, but aren't high enough quality for anyone who's serious about croquet. At the upper end of the price spectrum, top quality regulation level sets can cost as much as $900 to $1,000, but they're likely to be overkill for the casual player.

    EXPERT TIP

    Many croquet sets feature color-coded mallets. Use the same color ball as the colored strip on your mallet and you won't forget which ball is yours.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips

    • Look for croquet mallets with end faces or ring bindings. These help stop the head of the mallet from splitting with regular use.

    • Learn the rules of croquet. Whether you play by official tournament rules or by the more relaxed rules of garden croquet, things will go more smoothly if you know what you're meant to be doing.

    • Check what the handle of the mallet is made from. Those made from rigid hardwoods, rather than softwoods, not only last longer but also give you better control, especially for stop shots.

    • Decide what head shape you want. Traditionally croquet mallets have round heads, but square heads are becoming more popular, especially with advanced players. While it doesn't make a huge difference to how the mallet performs, if you have a square-headed option, you can set it down to help you line up your shot.

    • Experiment with different grips and strokes. You'll find various ways to grip your mallet, as well as a range of possible strokes. Experient with a variety until you find what works for you.
    Unless your chosen croquet set also features lightweight balls, it can be hard to hit a shot a long distance with a light mallet.

    FAQ

    Q. What sort of surface do I need to play croquet on?

    A. Croquet tournaments take place on perfectly manicured lawns. While you don't need to go to quite those lengths to prepare your croquet pitch, you do need a lawn with close-cropped grass, as the ball won't roll easily over long or uneven grass. The playing area should also be as flat as possible. Any slopes or bumps will infringe on your ability to play.

    Q. Should I choose a regulation croquet set?

    A. You can buy croquet sets that stand up to all the regulations set out by the American Croquet Association. If you plan to play in croquet tournaments, you should ideally practice with a regulation set, as it will give you the closest experience to playing in a tournament. If you usually play with a non-regulation set, it will put you at a disadvantage come tournament time. However, if you're only playing for fun, there's no need to splash the cash on a regulation croquet set.

    Q. Can you play croquet all year round?

    A. Since croquet is a lawn game, you can only really play it when the weather is good. Summer is the ideal time for croquet, but you may be able to play it through spring and fall, if the climate is right where you live. We definitely wouldn't recommend playing croquet when the ground is wet, muddy, icy, or covered in snow.

    The team that worked on this review
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      Bronwyn
      Editor
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      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer

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