Croquet Buyers Guide
We have come up with this “buyers guide” to help you choose your croquet set, and explain what the differences in the sets really are. If you’re looking to play recreationally, or more formally, the choice of croquet sets can be quite daunting. There is also a substantial price range between sets making a good decision even more important!
If you have read this guide, and still have more questions, get in touch and we’d be happy to share our knowledge with you!
Croquet Sets Background
Croquet sets have been made since the mid 1800’s. The sets generally contain everything you need to enjoy the game of croquet. Once you have decided which set is most appropriate with regards to the quality of the components, the other thing to consider is how big the set is. Do you need a 4 person set, or a 6 person set? Will you be playing informally and will sharing mallets and balls be ok? More on this later!
What are you using the Croquet Set for?
We have grouped the reasons you may be buying a croquet set together, and come up with some basic tips.
To play indoors - this is the easy one! Uber Games is currently the only company with a dedicated indoor croquet set that we supply. Small mallets, weighted hoops and winning peg, and small wooden balls. A great fun croquet set
For children Garden Games supply an introductory lawn croquet set sized for children. Smaller mallets, balls which are just 6.5oz (compared to championship balls which are 16oz). All supplied in a carry bag.
In the Garden with the family there are a number of sets that could be appropriate here. Generally speaking ordinary hardwood mallets will be sufficient, and you don’t need the extra protection of brass rings on the heads. Whether there is a bit of extra give in the mallets (which will decrease the accuracy slightly) won’t make a huge amount of difference. Similarly, on most lawns 12oz balls is sufficient, and you don’t need the championship 16oz croquet balls.
Mallets are probably the most important part of a croquet set. Simpler mallets are ordinary hardwood and have round handles. They are generally quite light (less than 3lbs), and don’t have excellent grips. The head of the croquet mallet is usually just wood, and the ends are not protected.
As you play more formal croquet, or play it more often you will need better mallets. This means heavier mallets, stronger and better handles and better heads.
Heavier mallets is synonymous with better mallets. Whereas lower end mallets may well be around 2lbs, more professional, sturdy, accurate and durable mallets are around 3lbs.
Superior croquet sets tend to come with stronger handles (made with hardwoods such as Ash), and potentially octagonal handles. Stronger handles means there is less give in the mallet making it more durable and ensuring you can strike the ball more cleanly. They will also jar less. The last aspect of the handle is the grip with more expensive croquet mallets you will get better grips.
Better mallets will have better hardwood for the heads, and may well be protected by brass rings or by have end plates fitted. Both the better wood and the brass rings will help make the mallet more durable and stop it becoming damaged. End plates could be made from "Tufnol", which is a resin-impregnated cloth material. The plates are almost indestructible and allow the croquet player to strike the ball crisply. Lastly, with more expensive mallets, the heads tend to be square (but this is not always the case!)
For more indepth information on Croquet Mallets please see our more in-depth advice.
In a croquet set more expensive balls tend to be heavier with the regulation standard croquet balls weighing in at 16oz. Bear in mind that if you choose heavy croquet balls, you have to use an appropriate mallet. Cheaper mallets will not be good enough with the championship balls. It is also worth remembering that although heavy championship balls are the best for a well manicured croquet lawn, the grass in your back garden is more likely to be suited to croquet sets with lighter 12oz balls. These days most balls are composite, even though you may still find wooden croquet balls. The composite balls are the most durable and are provided with most croquet games!
Although you will not be choosing a croquet set based on the hoops it is worth knowing the difference in quality and what makes a quality croquet hoop. Generally, the thicker the wire of the hoop, the stronger it is and the more expensive! Thicker wire and smaller hoops (smaller gaps) are more likely to be tournament standard. For garden croquet hoops with extended legs which can be pushed into the ground are sufficient. Regulation and championship sets may come with a hoop drill and a hoop mallet (otherwise know as a smasher mallet).
Do you need a 4 person croquet set or a 6 person croquet set?
Although you can buy croquet components separately, if you think that you may benefit from having 6 mallets and balls, it might be worth thinking about the 6 player croquet set initially. Croquet mallets specifically are more expensive to buy separately. The 6 player sets still come with two different sized mallets, and with 6 balls.
When buying a croquet set, you may also get the choice of what your croquet set is supplied with. With more expensive croquet sets though, a wooden box may come as standard. Options generally include a nylon croquet set bag, a toolkit croquet set bag (with separate compartments for each item), a trolley, or a wooden box. Your choice should take into account how often you intend to transport and use your croquet set and the best way of storing it.
- Andre Boeke