Croquet set reviews: checking out multiple sets for material quality, value, and durability
Croquet is a very old game, dating all the way back to the 17th century. From the long span of time until today, it has become a very popular field hobby. It is often played in a formal setting, similar to how golf is often played non-casually. However, it’s not limited to just formal occasions. The game is very easy to pick up and learn, so practically anyone willing to give it a shot can play. Through the years it became one of our family pastimes as my son and daughter love to play. I wish to bring that joy to others. If you are thinking about getting into croquet, then let me help you find the best set that is both affordable and professional-grade.
This croquet buying guide will delve thoroughly into some of the croquet sets that my family and I have actually purchased and tested. I take pride in my ability to analyze products, so I hope you get something out of this. However, this is merely a buying guide.
I will outline my top 5 sets that I have bought and used for different events and around my house. Some are cheap croquet sets, some are higher end, but I will give you my top 5. You would be surprised at what a sub-$100 croquet set will get you in terms of value.
Note: prices are approximations, based on the current price as of this writing.
The set comes with six 26″ all-wooden mallets, six 3″ croquet balls, two all-wooden stakes, and a carrying case for all of the equipment.
- The material is highly durable, despite being wooden. It is covered with special all-weather coating to protect from natural damage.
- It’s a complete set, with six full mallets and spare croquet balls. Probably the best croquet starter set.
- One of the cheaper options if you are just starting out with the game of croquet.
The mallet design is definitely more unique, though it looks “boxy”. The mallets in this set are also lengthier than typical sets, making it a good option mainly for adults. The family set even includes a carrying case and a generous amount of equipment: six mallets, six croquet balls, two stakes, and nine wickets.
- The biggest selling point of this set is the amount of equipment you get relative to amount spent. The set itself retails for under $100 but Lion Sports covers you well with 6 total mallets, 6 balls, and 9 steel wickets. This is more than enough for the standard game of croquet, and helps cover you for if any piece gets lost.
- The mallet handles are nice and long, measuring in at 33″.
- Finely crafted wood. The mallets are made of dark hard wood, while the wooden stakes and steel wickets are sturdy for casual play.
Click to purchase the Baden Deluxe Series online
The set is more geared toward backyard croquet. The Deluxe Series is actually the cheaper Baden croquet set (they have a Champion set as well), but it is much more affordable and provides a solid amount of quality and playtime.
- The Deluxe Series typically retails for under $75 and goes on sale frequently, making it one of the more budget-oriented croquet sets available.
- Baden gives you a quality nylon carrying bag, which I found more durable than other typical sets.
- The connector pieces to set up the mallet handles with the heads are best-in-class. A game can be set up relatively quickly and within a few minutes.
- The steel wickets still maintain their shape even when hammering them into the grass.
I would note that this set in particular is what my kids love to play with most. The mallets have a great feel for them and the material never feel cheap.
This is the real deal here, and the prices are not at all bad. The online reviews aren’t going to blow you away but let me tell you from personal experience this is solid gaming equipment. There are four options you can buy in these Franklin Sports-made croquet sets: Classic, Expert, Intermediate, and Vintage. I have not tried everything obviously, only having played with the vintage set and classic set.
The classic set (~$30-$40 range) uses real wood and is imported which is a plus. The set comes with 6 balls and 6 mallets. Mallets are the right size and it also comes with a deluxe carrying bag. Everything about this set feels authentic, and it is not as expensive as some of the premium sets professionals would buy.
The expert set (~$60-$70 range) is an upgrade and it has a cherry finish which looks beautiful and also comes with brass fittings. Another plus is that the balls are all-weather molded for more durability.
The vintage edition (~$110-$150 range) includes an old school feel which I really like. This is personally my favorite set out of all I have ever tried, but it is also again the most expensive by far. Balls constructed for all kinds of weather, six vintage wooden mallets, two beautifully painted wooden stakes, and nine all-weather coated wickets. It even comes with a vintage style stand for display and storage, cementing its status as my favorite set as it combines as a showcase. The price is very much on the higher line of things, but this bad boy seems worth it if you are looking for an extremely authentic, high-grade croquet set.
- The expert and vintage editions are arguably created with the best materials. The wooden finishes are fine and the balls are ultra-durable with an all-weather coat.
- The prices vary depending on which set you get. I recommend the Classic set for most new people. The other sets, namely Expert and Vintage Edition, are much more expensive even for frequent croquet players. However, if you are looking for the very best of them all, expect to pony up at least $70.
- The classic edition comes with a very spacious carrying bag. It is also labeled with the “Franklin” logo.
- The expert edition comes with the same bag, but it has wheels and a hard plastic handle, making it easier to move equipment around.
- The vintage edition comes with an awesome “vintage” carrying and display stand. See the below image.
Look at how gorgeous this vintage stand is. Comes with the vintage Franklin Sports croquet set.
This would be my pick for the best croquet set if you were to only get one. The value is the best of the list, since you get a full set, complete with mallets, balls, and wickets for up to six total players. The pieces are all well-constructed and durable.
I was lucky enough to receive the vintage edition of the Franklin Sports croquet set (#2 on the list) as a gift, but I had to purchase all the other sets, or else I couldn’t give you a proper run down of each of them! Crown Sporting Goods made a perfect deluxe croquet set for a very affordable price, making it great for those on a restricted spending limit and aren’t too serious about getting into croquet.
- I would argue this is the set that provides the most value. At its retail price, it doesn’t get beat and the other reviews are high on its affordability.
- Durable: I’ve owned this for at least a full year and it is probably in the top 2 of my most used sets ever. There are no structural damage to the mallet handles or heads, the balls have lasted a lifetime, and the wickets don’t bend despite the fact that I have played hundreds of games and have set it up numerous times.
Looking for more backyard sports? Check out our buying guide for horseshoes here!