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Last updated: October 2, 2021
For some people, the idea of a game of croquet brings up images of elegant garden tea parties, big hats, and fancy dresses. But don’t worry, croquet can today be played in the backyard in denim shorts and t-shirts.
As a fanatic croquet enthusiast myself, I’ve taken the liberty of reviewing a list of the top five best croquet sets for backyard and lawn play.
If you’d like to learn more about this game, definitely check out my guide to playing croquet for beginners with all the essential ins and outs.
Top 5 Croquet Sets
Playing a game of croquet is indeed lots of fun, so hopefully this practical croquet sets buying guide will help you select the best one.
Note that the ones listed here are standard croquet sets that are good quality, affordable sets suitable for backyard play. Professional croquet sets however can easily be over a thousand dollars.
1. GoSports 6-Player Croquet Set
In its own canvas carrying case is this popular GoSports croquet set. Boasting premium hardwood craftsmanship, this sleek set with its modern design comes in two different versions: standard and deluxe.
The standard set includes six 28-inch, single-piece mallets, six balls (green, blue, purple, orange, red, and yellow), nine wickets, two end posts, and a set of rules. The rules include different variations on the game, so have fun changing it up!
The deluxe set includes the same number of pieces and the rule guide, but it features 35-inch mallet handles to accommodate taller players with ease, and each of these handles features a comfort grip for convenience.
As mentioned, this set comes with a canvas carrying case for easy storage and transportation. If you are a player that would appreciate the taller mallet or play regularly with someone that would, this may just be the right set for you.
2. Ropoda 6-Player Croquet Set with Wooden Mallets
This set includes the standard six handles, six mallet heads, two end stakes, and nine steel wickets; essentially everything you need for a good game of croquet.
This is another set where the mallet handles and mallet heads are separate pieces, but they easily screw together for only seconds of setup. This set is made from high-quality, premium hardwood, and all the pieces are easy to install so that you can be set up and playing in no time.
The six balls are made from resin that is damage and crack-resistant, so that they stay in great shape and continue to look like new for as long as possible.
Also worth mentioning is that the manufacturer considers customer satisfaction as their top priority. They stand behind their product so much so that they encourage customers to reach out to them should there ever be a problem.
3. Juegoal 6-Player Hardwood Croquet Set
This set includes six mallet handles that are 29 inches in length, and six detachable mallet heads with caps for extra protection and durability.
Also included are two hardwood center stakes that are 18 inches long, six weather-resistant croquet balls that come in purple, green, yellow, orange, red, and blue, and nine steel wickets with a vinyl coating for protection from the elements.
Don’t worry about the mallet handles and mallet heads being separate. The handles and heads screw together easily so you can be ready to play in seconds.
Additionally, included in this set is a handy drawstring bag for storing your game equipment. This bag is big enough to store all 29 pieces of equipment at one time without having to take the mallet heads off the mallet handles. This drawstring bag is perfect for storing your croquet equipment until your next game, or for transporting it to the next backyard party!
4. Amish Crafted Deluxe 8-Player Croquet Game Set
The fourth set on this list is one of the more expensive sets on the market, but the price is more than worth what you get with this set. This eight-player set is Amish-made, so that should give you an idea about its superior craftsmanship and quality right from the start.
Included are eight wooden balls, eight wooden mallets, nine steel wickets, and two wooden end posts. Also included with the game materials are a booklet of rules, and a beautifully made wooden storage rack that holds every piece with ease.
This particular set doesn’t come with a carrying bag, so it may not be as mobile as some of its counterparts on this list. But you may certainly be the envy of everyone who comes to play with you when they see the fine craftsmanship and top of the line quality.
5. Crown Sporting Goods Vintage Croquet Set
The final croquet set on our list might transport you back in time to when the game was still called “crooky”. This gorgeous vintage-looking set is an all-wood classic and made to last.
It’s luxuriously hand-painted and finished with a dark stain polish to make it look like an old family heirloom even though the set is of course brand new.
It features extra-long mallets, measuring in at a whopping 38 inches, and the balls, also made from wood, are crafted specially to be able to withstand hard strikes. The steel wickets are made to last for as long as you have the set.
Also included with this croquet set is its own cushioned canvas bag with durable straps. It can be taken anywhere with ease without causing any wear and tear to the contents of the bag.
Croquet Set Buying Guide
Let’s have a look at the origins of croquet, how to play this fantastic game, and what to look out for when buying a new croquet set.
What to Look For in a Croquet Set
Obviously, it has to include the required mallets, balls, wickets, and center pegs since it’s very hard to play croquet without at least these minimum requirements. In this modern age of so many different options, however, it is also important to make sure you look for a good quality set.
Look for a croquet set with solid craftsmanship to be sure you purchase a set that should last you as long as possible. It is important to look for a company to buy from that stands behind its products and takes pride in its workmanship.
You will find that most croquet sets have wooden mallets to recreate that typical vintage croquet vibe. Some are made with hardwood which is most durable, others are made with natural wood which is typically a bit lighter.
Mallets can be between 26 to 35 inches and can weigh anywhere between two and three pounds. Note that sometimes the heads are referred to as the mallets, however I am referring to mallets as both the handle and the head.
Croquet balls typically come in red, blue, yellow, and black colors, but casual backyard sets often have balls in multiple colors.
The balls have a diameter ranging from 3″ to 3-5/8″ and can weigh up to 16 ounces. The lighter the balls, the more child friendly. However, regulation croquet balls weight 16 oz. Some sets offer classic wooden balls, which is preferred for most but certainly not required. Hard plastic or resin balls is fine too, depending on how serious you want to be.
The wickets can also be quite different per croquet set. Some sets include steel wickets with vinyl coating, whereas other sets include hard plastic wickets. The thickness of the wickets can also vary a lot, and it’s best to compare.
Some croquet sets come with accessories such as carrying bags and instruction books. Both are quite important, as the carrying bag can be used for easy transport as well as easy storage. Instructions are useful too if you’ve never played before or if you want to quickly brush up your knowledge.
Which croquet set you choose will ultimately depend on how much money you want to spend, how serious you want to be (casual backyard play or regulation play), where you’re going to play (backyard or park), and who is going to play (adults and/or kids).
A Bit of History
It is believed that the foundation of croquet is based on a similar game by French peasants in the 1400’s using makeshift mallets to hit a ball through hoops made of tree branches.
The first time the game that resembled modern-day croquet as we know it was played was in 1852. It made its way to England via Ireland, where the Irish had been playing their own version of the game since the 1830s.
It was called “crooky” in England, and when an English manufacturer of sporting goods began selling sets for people to play with, croquet became hugely popular as an activity for the British leisure class to enjoy.
The man who began mass-producing these croquet sets was named John Jacques, and his name still appears on a brand of croquet equipment to this day, John Jaques and Son.
How to Play a Game of Croquet
You don’t have to be especially athletic to enjoy a game of croquet since it’s so easy. A game set contains four or six balls and mallets, nine hoops called wickets, and two marker poles called stakes.
Traditionally, in four-ball sets, the balls are blue, red, black, and yellow, and that is the order each color must be played in. If you ever forget this order, colored bands are painted on the center peg to help you remember.
The wickets need to be set up in a certain way, which I explain in more detail in the guide that is linked to at the top of this article.
To start the game, it is most traditional to flip a coin, although there are no hard and fast rules about how to pick the first person to take a turn.
Once the players’ colors have been determined, each player gets one strike per turn to try to guide their ball through each of the wickets. It’s a race to see which player can make it through all the wickets in order first.
Now that you’ve seen the very best of croquet sets on the market, it’s time to choose the one that’s right for you and your friends and family so you can start playing in your very own backyard tomorrow.