Croquet may seem like a simple yard game, but did you know it was an Olympic sport in the 1900 Paris games? Though it is no longer at its peak of popularity, there are now seven officially-sanctioned versions of the game. If you’re seeking to become an elite croquet star, you’ll want to purchase the best croquet set for you.
Below are seven highly-rated croquet sets for outdoor fun and serious practice.
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What You Should Consider Before Buying a Croquet Set
Croquet sets differ based on which variant of play you enjoy. They may also use different materials for both performance and comfort. Before buying a professional croquet set, consider your preferences across these areas.
Size of Set
If you plan on playing singles or doubles croquet with just a few friends, it is better to invest in a smaller set without unnecessary equipment. Larger clubs will appreciate additional mallets and wickets as they attract more players. A good balance is to buy enough mallets, balls, and wickets for four players.
Mallet Weight and Length
Your croquet mallets’ weight can affect your playing style and performance. Lightweight mallets enhance your spin and control, while heavyweight mallets are built for powerful straight shots. It is also important to find mallets whose handles are comfortable for your height — the wrong length will affect your posture and, potentially, how well you can perform at the game.
Since the head of the mallet does the hitting, it will naturally be heavier. Wooden heads are sufficient for most people, but some are reinforced with metal, plastic, or rubber. This add-on gives extra weight and excellent durability.
The length of your mallets’ heads may seem insignificant, but it can impact your ability to make controlled shots. Shorter heads of around 9 inches are ideal for most people. However, longer heads allow for more precise aim and an accurate stroke “through” the ball.
Round Head vs. Square Head
For most players, it does not make much of a difference whether your mallet heads are round or square. If you are experienced with croquet, you might find square heads helpful for certain types of precise shots. The biggest advantage to a square head is its practicality; you can stand it up on end after your turn.
End-Faces vs. Ring Bindings
Some particularly wooden mallets will have rings made of brass around where the head meets the handle. Others will have metal “endplates” on each end of the head. These reinforcements protect the wood from warping, wearing, or splitting.
Wooden handles are enough to satisfy most croquet newbies and experts alike. We recommend examining the hardness of the wood to make sure the handles stay durable.
It is crucial to consider the handle’s weight versus the head’s weight — a lighter handle with a heavier head will allow cleaner shots. These handles could use a synthetic materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. They might also be made of lightweight metal such as aluminum.
Another important consideration is which grip you prefer. Most mallets will either have round grips or grips with eight sides, similar to a tennis racquet. They may also have rubber cushioning to absorb shock and stop sweaty hands from slipping.
Stand vs. Case
Some croquet sets come with stands for easy upright storage of your mallets in a central place. If you value portability or plan to take your croquet set with you to family gatherings, consider a set that has a zip-up bag or case.
What Are the Best Croquet Sets?
Whether you are beginning with croquet or striving for mastery, you’ll find the best croquet set for you in the list below. Each set differs in weight, materials, design, and size so that we can consider as many preferences as possible. They all, however, meet our standards for durability, flexibility, and affordability.
1. Juegoal Croquet Set
Juegoal’s most popular croquet set comes with six balls, six mallets, nine wickets, and two ending stakes in a large 30″ tote bag. Except for the steel wickets, all of the set’s elements are completely made from hardwood and boast a highly portable design.
All you need to do is attach the 28-inch-long mallet handles to the 11.5-pound heads to get started playing croquet. Each mallet has a round wooden grip, and they weigh just the right amount for a beginner to master both power and spin. Beginners will also appreciate the included rulebook to teach themselves the game and answer their most pressing questions.
This set is available in two colors. Brown exudes elegant sophistication, while Burlywood is more playful and pastel. Each stain also includes a varnish protecting the mallets from water and mold damage. On the other hand, the mallet heads have white plastic caps for extra protection. Even if we would have preferred to see more metal, the caps nonetheless do their job.
2. GoSports Croquet Set
Both the Standard and Deluxe versions of the GoSports professional croquet set contain six balls and mallets, two ending stakes, and nine wickets. So, what’s the difference? The Standard set comes with 28-inch handles and 7.5-oz balls, while the Deluxe version has 35-foot handles and 10-ounce balls.
The materials used in the GoSports set are similar to the Juegoal set but contain additional reinforcements. For example, each wicket is made of steel, but it has a plastic/vinyl sheath to both protect it and make it more visible to players from a distance. Lucky owners of the Deluxe version can take advantage of the reinforced rubber grips. Without them, a nicely-varnished wooden handle could slip out of your hands.
Like the Juegoal set, GoSports also requires assembly to affix the handles to the mallet heads.
3. Ropoda Croquet Set
The Ropoda croquet set meets in the middle on design: the mallets and ending stakes retain their traditional patterns and carry a youthful aesthetic. Rather than hardwood, the six balls are made from resin naturally resistant against dents, scratches, and cracks.
Each croquet mallet in the set is about 26 inches long, though customers have commented that some mallets may differ by an inch or two. The weight at the head is also rather light, making it ideal for practicing spin and controlled shots. You need not worry about head weight impacting durability; like the Juegoal set, each mallet uses plastic caps at each end for reinforcement.
4. Franklin Sports Croquet Set
Franklin is a giant in the sports world, and their croquet set is no exception. You have four different varieties of the set to choose from — Classic, Vintage, Intermediate, and Expert. Each set comes with the standard six balls, six mallets, two ending stakes, and nine metal wickets.
Most people will choose the Intermediate option to take advantage of the 26-inch mallets. Each mallet head is heavily reinforced with plastic caps and thirteen “locking joint” grooves. However, there is no reinforcement on the grips.
If you’re more serious about croquet, consider the Classic or Vintage sets. The Vintage set is similar to the Intermediate offering but includes a handy wooden cart to store all of your mallets. The Classic set does not come with a cart for its classy oak mallets and ending stakes. However, it is one of the best value croquet sets for serious players.
Each mallet has a slightly longer square head, allowing you to stand them upright for aiming and storage. Though there is still no grip reinforcement, the mallets have metal ring reinforcements about half an inch from each end, making them incredibly durable.
5. AmishToyBox.com Croquet Set
AmishToyBox is a small family-owned company specializing in hand-crafted wooden toys. Their croquet set may be one of the most expensive on our list, but for that money, you’ll receive a durable, classy, and uniquely American-made set.
Founder Larry Kauffman and his Amish carpenters began their workshop longing for “the good ol’ days.” The AmishToyBox set, therefore, has a no-frills vintage aesthetic. Rather than relying on artificial or extra reinforcements such as metal or plastic caps, each of the eight included mallets is 100% hardwood and made from American maple.
Adding to the value of this croquet set is the wooden carrying case for all mallets, balls, and end stakes. There is even a small pocket for the nine white metal wickets to hang from the top beam.
6. Magic Cabin Croquet Set
This unique croquet set offering is tailored for kids learning the sport. Magic Cabin uses a whimsical aesthetic instead of traditional wooden mallets with colored tape and metal wickets.
Each of the six wooden wickets resembles a wild woodland animal — you might score a point using the deer, the owl, or even the porcupine! The 24-inch mallets are a perfect size for most children. Though they are made from plain hardwood, they have plastic capping on the entire head and handle grip, which is not commonly seen on an entry-level croquet set.
Despite the build quality, with only two mallets and two balls, many families might not make it their first choice if the goal is to involve everyone in the game.
7. Hey! Play! Croquet Set
The Hey! Play! croquet set supports multiple variants of croquet with its six vintage mallets and balls. Each mallet is 26 inches in height. The manufacturer reinforces each mallet with rubber caps — they also groove each mallet and ending stick for durability and design. Also included is a light blue carrying case, which is made from vinyl and zips up to take your croquet game on the road. However, it is slightly too short to include all of the mallets without removing their heads.
Croquet sets may seem similar on a surface level: six mallets, six balls, and nine wickets made from the same materials. In reality, however, they are as nuanced as the game itself. The best croquet set for you will certainly be durable and contain plenty of mallets for everyone, but your most important priority should be personal value. If you have a set that’s pleasing to look at and comfortable to play with, you’ll enjoy whatever pickup croquet matches or competitions come your way.