I have to admit that before we started testing the croquet sets reviewed in this article, I had almost no idea what this awesome outdoor game was about.

I mean, my only exposure to it was from Lewis Carrol’s demented interpretation and possibly some random mental images of posh English country folk lazily clopping balls around while sipping Camparis in the gentle sunlight.

Little did I know that croquet is a game of intense competition and strategy in addition to being a ridiculous amount of fun.

Who’d have thought?

For centuries croquet was very much a British pastime but it is fast becoming incredibly popular all over the world – and for good reason. My friends and I had an absolute blast learning how to play. And once we mastered the basics, croquet revealed itself to be packed with nuance and tactics.

We were also surprised to find croquet to be a furiously competitive game and genuinely enjoyed the opportunity for banter and good-natured trash-talking it created.

Initial compulsions to adopt personas of upper-class gentlemen and ladies who politely stay silent as their opponents prepare a “run” – and provide a gentle round of applause when they do so successfully – lasted no longer than fifteen minutes.

Thereafter, it quickly became a game of (pretty much) anything that goes, as long as you stick to the rules.

Trust me on this, if you have a lawn big enough to accommodate a game, or you find yourself close enough to a public park, there are few games that will offer as many hours of fun given the relatively modest investment you need to make in purchasing the right croquet set.

Despite the level of skill you can develop if you play regularly, croquet is almost instantly accessible. The rules are easy to understand and the physical effort it takes to play is minimal (while being somewhat dependent on the weight of the mallets).

It’s important to note that despite croquet’s reputation as being played mostly by the type of people who take rules and regulations very seriously, there’s nothing stopping you and your friends from modifying the official rules to meet your needs.

In fact, we found that applying some democratic principles mid-game was almost unavoidable. Feel free to introduce new rules or modify existing ones as long as the majority of players agree to them.

Of course, if you’re playing seriously or you and your friends enjoy a proper competition, sticking to the official rules is probably a good idea. The stricter you are in this area, the fewer opportunities there will be for friendly disagreements – something we found happened with surprising frequency.

There are several variations of croquet and it’s important to know what these are before getting a game started. We’ll talk more about these after our review of the best croquet sets in 2020.

So stick around until the end – there’s some important information about playing the game coming up.

The Best Croquet Sets in 2020

  1. GoSports Six Player Croquet Set for Adults & Kids – MOST POPULAR CROQUET SET
  2. Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set – BEST CROQUET SET FOR KIDS
  3. Juegoal Six Player Croquet Set with Drawstring Bag – BEST VALUE FOR MONEY CROQUET SET
  4. Crown Sporting Goods Deluxe Croquet set – MOST BALANCED CROQUET SET
  5. AmishToyBox.com Deluxe Maple-Wood Croquet Game Set – BEST OVERALL CROQUET SET
  6. ApudArmis Six Player Croquet Set with Premium Pine Wood Mallets – BEST CROQUET SET FOR PORTABILITY

1. GoSports Six Player Croquet Set for Adults & Kids – MOST POPULAR CROQUET SET

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes
Mallet Size: 35 inch
Storage: Light canvas bag.

We’ll kick our reviews off with one of the top-selling croquet sets on Amazon and the most popular item in our list.

The first thing we noticed about the GoSports Six Player Croquet Set was that the components stood out visually from competing products. This is mainly due to the new colors that GoSports introduce to the game of croquet.

While the color spectrum most croquet sets are composed of can be quite bland, the GoSports Six Player Croquet Set brings a much-appreciated pallette shift to the game. Purple, lime green, and turquoise mallets and balls accompany the more traditional colors of the rest of the set.

Of course, it’s not just the sweet visual design that makes this product a top seller.

The hardwood mallets and handles have a sturdy feel to them and offer taller players a level of comfort that other products don’t. The mallet handles are quite long and, once fixed to the mallet head, measure a length of 35 inches. While shorter players didn’t find the extra length a problem, the taller players in our group very much enjoyed not having to bend over as far as they had to with other sets.

Balls, wickets and stakes are all constructed from high quality materials, and we certainly felt like we were playing with a great set, despite the its very low price.

Which brings us to arguably the main reason for this croquet set’s popularity. This is an extremely affordable set that does the basics right while also bringing something visually “new” to this popular game.

PROS:

  • Visually very unique.
  • Great entry-level product that offers adequate durability for the low price.
  • Mallet handle grip offers extra comfort and control.

CONS

  • Some customers reported that the balls showed indentations after extensive use.

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2. Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set – BEST CROQUET SET FOR KIDS

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes
Mallet Size: 27 inch
Storage: Durable nylon carry bag.

Baden Backyard is a company known for producing top-quality outdoor leisure equipment. From volleyball to badminton, Baden does it all, and they certainly haven’t missed the mark with this a great croquet set.

Reviews of the Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set suggested that it’s a product that was ideal for a family with kids, given the shorter mallets. And we certainly felt that this was the case. The 27 inch mallets were light and easy to control by the 12-year old who joined us for a couple of matches.

That’s not to say that the Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set isn’t a feasible option if your family doesn’t have children. That’s definitely not the case. This product is sturdy, attractive, affordable, and ideal for both adults and children.

The mallets were a pleasure to assemble, with the handles screwing into the heads easily via high-quality metal connector-pieces. This is one of a number of features that makes the Baden Deluxe feel like you’re playing with a special product, despite the very reasonable price.

The wickets were also of a very noticeable quality. After being hammered into the backyard ground, they all kept their shape nicely and remained comfortably in-place throughout the numerous games we played.

As a further indicator of its quality and the manufacturer’s confidence in it, The Baden Deluxe Series Croquet Set comes with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee.

To sum up our review of this set, don’t let the “ideal for kids” award fool you into thinking this is a lower-end product. Yes, children will like the easy assembly and may prefer the shorter mallets, but all the adults in our group also found the set a pleasure to play with.

PROS:

  • Easy assembly and short mallets make this an ideal option for kids.
  • Metal connector pieces between mallet handle and head.
  • Comes with Baden’s 90 day satisfaction guarantee

CONS

  • Some reviewers found that the balls weren’t ideal for use on lawns that aren’t level.

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3. Juegoal Six Player Croquet Set with Drawstring Bag – BEST VALUE FOR MONEY CROQUET SET

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes
Mallet Size: 28 inch
Storage: Drawstring carry bag.

In all my time of writing product reviews, I very seldom award the Best Value for Money title to the cheapest product that I tested.

To me, “value for money” doesn’t just mean “lowest price”. It’s about that elusive balance between quality and affordability that certain products, like this one, just absolutely nail.

Yes, this was, at the time of writing, the cheapest option on the list of croquet sets I tested, but, wow, did I enjoy playing with it. Nothing about this set says “cheap”. If you’re on a budget but you’re unwilling to compromise on quality, you’re not going to find a better option than the Juegoal Six Player Croquet Set.

It’s that simple.

The mallet size is an inch longer than the shortest mallet on our list, meaning that taller players won’t have to stoop too much when playing.

The mallet heads also sport protective caps that make them less likely to crack while not compromising gameplay at all. Juegoal clearly understands the importance of balancing durability with enjoyment. Expect a decent lifespan from this great croquet set.

Assembling the mallets is extremely easy. Which is a good thing because unfortunately we found that the drawstring carry the bag, while durable, isn’t big enough to accommodate the full set while the mallets are assembled. This is a minor issue, though, and definitely not something that would prevent me from purchasing the Juegoal Six Player Croquet Set.

The balls are heavy, durable, and coated in weather resistant plastic. Wickets and stakes were also of good quality. This all adds up to a set that offers players an above-average gameplay experience at a below-average price.

PROS

  • Very low price.
  • Mallet head caps make them extra durable.
  • Weather-resistant balls.

CONS

  • Carrying bag is too small to transport the set while the mallets are assembled.

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4. Crown Sporting Goods Deluxe Croquet Set – MOST BALANCED CROQUET SET

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes
Mallet Size: 32 inch
Storage: Nylon carry bag

It was a close call, but the Crown Sporting Goods Deluxe Croquet set was narrowly beaten to the title of Most Popular Croquet Set by the GoSports set reviewed above.

It was also one of the most affordable products on our list of reviewed croquet sets and the 32 inch hardwood mallets are comfortable to play with, even if you’re on the tall side.

The mallet handles and heads are attractively carved, giving the set a lovely “vintage” look that’s sure to appeal to customers who want their leisure time equipment to stand out from the crowd or contribute to their backyard’s aesthetic.

As with the Juegoal Six Player Croquet Set, this set’s mallet heads are also protected by caps, aiding in the product’s overall durability. Although, unlike the Juegoal, the Crown’s protective caps are made from a slightly more durable rubber.

All-in-all we found that the Crown Sporting Goods Deluxe Croquet Set was probably the set that offered the best of most worlds: Great value, good durability, high degree of playability, and nicely sized mallets that have both short and tall players’ comfort in mind.

If you’ve read through this entire list of croquet set reviews and you’re still uncertain about which set is right for you, the Crown Sporting Goods Deluxe Croquet Set is your safest bet. It gets the basics right, while offering a nice couple of extra features that you wouldn’t expect from a product with such a reasonable price.

In the end, it came extremely close to being the winner of our coveted “Overall Best” title, but (as you’ll see below) we had to save that award for another product.

PROS

  • Great balance between value, durability and quality.
  • Rubber protective caps ensure maximum mallet durability.
  • Highly durable, weather-resistant polymer balls.

CONS

  • Carrying bag can’t accommodate the fully assembled set.

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5. AmishToyBox.com Deluxe Maple Wood Croquet Game Set – BEST OVERALL CROQUET SET

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes, wooden storage holder
Mallet Size: 3 x 28 inch, 3 x 32 inch.
Storage: Wooden storage holder

I fear I may have set a dangerous precedent when awarding the Best Value For Money award to the most affordable item in our list of the best croquet sets. Because I simply can’t get away from giving the extravagantly-priced AmishToyBox set the honor of being our Best Overall Croquet Set.

There’s simply too much that’s amazing about it. From the exquisitely carved maple wood mallets to the highly durable polymer balls and the beautiful lathe-turned stakes, this set just screams quality and is sure to last you a lifetime.

Being hand-crafted from exceptionally durable maplewood by legit Amish carpenters, you can bet that this set costs a pretty penny.

But I’m here to tell you that, if it’s within your budget and you’re looking for a croquet set that’s as much a family heirloom as its sporting equipment, buying this amazing product is totally worth it.

Even after fifteen minutes of playing with the AmishToyBox set, everyone taking part in our game agreed that there simply wasn’t another product that can be its equal.

So, despite the amount of money you’ll need to fork over if you want to own this great product, we had absolutely no hesitation in awarding it the title of Best Overall Croquet Set.

Worth noting about this product is that it doesn’t ship with a carry bag. But what it lacks in portability, it makes up for in storage convenience. The entire set can be conveniently packed away in a beautiful wooden storage unit that helps keep all the set’s components together, assembled, and conveniently ready to be played with.

Another aspect that makes this set unique from the rest that we played with was the convenience of having two sets of different sized mallets.

Instead of committing to a single-length mallet handle, as most sets do, the AmishToyBox croquet set comes with three mallets for players that prefer shorter handles (28 inch) and three mallets for those who prefer longer handles (32 inch).

This makes the AMishToyBox set ideal for a family with younger kids.

PROS

  • Unparalleled workmanship, quality, and durability.
  • Ships with an attractive and convenient storage unit.
  • Caters for players who prefer long and short mallets.

CONS

  • Not particularly portable in the absence of a carrying bag.

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6. ApudArmis Six Player Croquet Set with Premium Pine Wood Mallets – BEST CROQUET SET FOR PORTABILITY

Set Includes: Six wooden mallets, six balls, nine wickets, two stakes
Mallet Size: 28 inch.
Storage: Large nylon zip-up carry bag

Some croquet enthusiasts don’t have the luxury of a large enough backyard to accommodate a game. In fact, some of them probably won’t even have a backyard at all!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t own a croquet set. Most suburban (or urban, for that matter) areas have a number of ideal locations available for a game of croquet.

If you fall into this category of croquet fans who need to travel a bit in order to get your game on, you’re going to need a set that offers great portability.

For that, look no further than the ApudArmis Six Player Croquet Set.

None of the products that we tested could match this set in terms of ease of packing up for storage. For one reason: the size and quality of the carry bag. Packing the full set up and carrying it from one location to another is a breeze!

Even though it is recommended that the mallet heads are taken off before packing them away into the storage/carry unit, it is entirely possible to fit the entire set into the bag while the heads are still attached to the mallet handles.

If speedy storage is your number one concern, you definitely can pack the fully assembled set into the bag, although we don’t recommend doing so. Unscrewing the mallet heads from the handles doesn’t take much longer than a couple of minutes and the bad does seem to take some strain when holding the fully assembled set.

In addition to being easy to pack away and carry around with you, the ApudArmis Six Player Croquet Set also features good workmanship, great durability, and is also one of the most affordable sets on our list!

The mallets are on the short side, however, so tall players be aware that a bit of stooping will be necessary.

All-in-all, we found the ApudArmis Six Player Croquet Set to be of really good quality and loved playing with it.

PROS

  • Very easy to move around in the large, high-quality carry bag.
  • Great affordability.
  • Made from high quality materials and features very good workmanship.

CONS

  • Mallets are quite short and won’t be ideal for a group containing many tall players.

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More About Playing Croquet

There are two main variations (with some sub-variants that we won’t cover here) of croquet, each lending itself to a different setting and what the players want out of the game.

For the sake of simplicity and fun, we opted to learn the most popular form of the game. Rest assured though, most sets come with a detailed rule book which you can refer to for the finer points or details on other variations. There are also numerous online resources where you can learn more about other variations.

As we mentioned in the introduction, feel free to improvise on rules as it suits the group of players. This is especially necessary when playing in parks, backyards, or other areas that may contain obstacles not found on regulation courts. Doing this is not only necessary, but also fun and can add an interesting dimension to the game.

The reason we chose this version of croquet was mainly because a single player can go on an extended streak of successful shots by passing the ball through the wicket or hitting an opponent’s ball. Doing this is a LOT of fun and can cause your opposition some serious headaches.

Here are the basics of Backyard Croquet:

  • The game is typically played on a court of freshly cut grass. Ideally the surface area should be about 100 ft x 50 ft, but there’s no problem in making variations on this.
  • The wickets are placed into the turf in a prescribed pattern that’s referred to as a double diamond or figure-eight.
  • Players run the balls through a prescribed order of wickets using the mallet. They aim to make a full loop of the wickets and return to the start/end stakes, which they must hit in order to finish the game.
  • Depending on the number of players and whether it will be a team-game, certain color balls are allocated to each team and each team’s balls need to pass through each wicket in a prescribed order.
  • If six people play, there are no teams and each person is allocated a single ball.

Further adding to the drama that Backyard Croquet brings to the grass is the fact that, in some circumstances, players are allowed to smash their opponents’ ball away from its current position.

Since making contact with an opponent’s ball isn’t only permitted, it’s actively encouraged since it results in a bonus shot, there will be times when the two balls remain in contact after coming to rest. When this happens, it’s goodbye to the opponent’s ball.

The striker is then allowed to put their foot on their own ball, drive their mallet against it, and propel the opponent’s ball into whatever direction they want. Watch out for your ankles, though. Those mallets pack a punch!

The striker is then given another shot so that they can continue with their turn.

There’s obviously a lot more to it than the above, but if the essence of what we describe above appeals to you, get yourself one of the sets we reviewed and start playing!

How to Choose the Best Croquet Set for You

The Minimum Equipment Necessary for a Game

Whether you’re playing croquet just for a bit of fun or if you intend to take the game a lot more seriously, it’s vital that you purchase a set that contains the minimum pieces of equipment for a game.

The best croquet sets typically consist of the following items:

Mallets

Most croquet sets’ mallets need to be assembled before they can be used. This is typically done by screwing the handle into the mallet head. Look out for sets with poorly crafted threading in the handle and head. The head needs to be firmly fixed to the handle to avoid coming loose. Having to tighten the mallet head after every second shot can be quite annoying.

Some mallets even come with metal fixings in the attachment areas which make the handle’s hold on the head just that little bit more secure.

Mallets can take quite a bit of punishment during a game and need to be made from durable material. Most decent, entry-level sets contain mallets made from ordinary hardwood, which is a more than adequate material for this purpose.

Handle grips are also relatively common and many manufacturers will score their mallet handles or provide a wraparound material for that little bit of extra security when you’re swinging the mallet.

Some croquet set manufacturers also create extra durability in the mallet head by providing plastic or rubber caps at the striking ends. While this can affect accuracy and power, especially if there’s a lot of absorption in the padding, it does ensure that the mallet head will last just that little bit longer.

It’s also not uncommon for higher-end sets to provide further protection for mallet heads with brass rings attached strategically to prevent splitting.

Balls

Most croquet sets used recreationally contain balls that are made from a very durable plastic composite and weigh around 12 ounces.

These balls have been created specifically for backyard play and will have no problem in traveling across a recently mowed (but not expertly manicured) lawn. Aside from durability, this is a manufacturer’s biggest concern with balls and all of the products we reviewed performed very well in this area.

Also, bear in mind that croquet balls should not be struck by any mallet. A croquet set will ship with the ideal mallet for its balls. Heavier balls made from harder materials shouldn’t be used with mallets that aren’t constructed in a way that accommodates this.

To sum up, mix and match sets at your peril. The likelihood of damaging either the balls or the mallets is quite high if you do.

Wickets

While you’re unlikely to factor the manufacturing-quality of the wickets into your decision when buying a croquet set, there are some important issues to bear in mind.

Wickets need to be securely driven into the turf since balls very frequently make contact with them. Wickets that are too thin and can’t withstand being pushed into the ground without bending should be avoided. Especially since you will be doing this every time you set up a game.

The best croquet sets contain wickets that are made from durable, sturdy metal that can frequently be pushed into (and withdrawn from) the earth without warping.

We experienced none of these problems with the six sets reviewed above.

Stakes

As with wickets, the build-quality of the two stakes that the set ships with shouldn’t be a major concern. They make very little contact with the ball and are never subjected to any serious punishment in a typical game.

What is important in a stake, however, is that they clearly display – through colored bands wrapped or painted around them – the sequence of balls that need to make contact with them in order to win the game.

All of the sets we tested did this more than adequately.

Player Height and Mallet Length

The last thing we want to mention, since it was something that was definitely an issue with some of the sets we tested, is the importance of choosing the right mallet length.

There were a number of very tall players in our group who struggled with mallets that were on the shorter side.

Having to stoop over very far when aiming and taking a shot isn’t ideal for the back, and after a long afternoon’s playing, can create a bit of discomfort for tall players.

If you know that there are a couple of beanpoles in the group of people you intend to play croquet with, bear them in mind and opt for mallets in the 32 inch – 35 inch range.

When playing with these longer mallets, shorter folk in our group didn’t feel that their game was affected too much. Having said that, if you are buying a set for a family with kids, overly long mallets will present a problem.

Think about whom the most frequent users of the croquet set will be and make your decision based on their height and the length of the mallets it ships with.