Summer activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors with the family. Whether it’s in your own backyard, at the cabin, or during a family get together games like croquet are a great way to pass the time and bring everyone together. Here are some of the best croquet sets for families to start off the summer right.
Best Croquet Sets for Families
Croquet is such a good family sport because it’s easy enough for everyone to play. Young kids can understand the concept easily (get the ball through the hole) and grandparents don’t have to worry about being left out of rigorous activities.
Easy to set up, you change the difficulty based on how you arrange the wickets. That means designing the course is totally up to you!
What Comes in a Croquet Set?
It will vary by set to set, but in order to play croquet you’ll need a few things. First is the wooden mallets. Although you can pass them from one player to another, it’s better if everyone has their own. Typically, mallets are colour coded to each player’s ball.
Speaking of, a croquet set should also have a ball for every player. They need to be distinguished from one other. Usually that’s done with different colours or designs. The number of mallets and balls you get in a set will determine how many players there can be in your game.
To set up the course, a croquet set comes with nine steel wickets. These are small arches that get pushed into the ground that make up the course. You’ll also need two wooden stakes.
How to Set up a Croquet Course
A standard croquet course is set up as follows: Two wickets in a straight row, then two branching parallel wickets, then another single wicket in the middle, followed by another parallel pair, and finally two more middle wickets in a straight row.
Then a stake is placed on each end of the course just past the first and last wickets.
When you play, you’ll pass through the middle wickets, then the left one, the next middle one, the left again, and the final two in the middle. Once you hit the wooden stake, play reverses and you’ll head down your new left (the original right) until you’ve repeated the course and hit the other wooden stake.
Of course, this is just one example of a croquet course. Although the premise is always the same, (move through the course, hit the stake, then go back) you can arrange the wickets as easy or difficult as you’d like.
Tips for Playing Croquet With Your Family
Playing with the family usually means you have a variety of ages and skill levels. Since croquet can be somewhat challenging despite its simple appearance it’s important to make sure everyone is having fun.
If younger kids are playing, partner them up with an adult and take turns hitting the ball. That way everyone can play but you’ll still make progress.
Another tip is to give less experienced players more leeway with their shots and allow them to practice or redo accidents.
When setting up the family croquet game, don’t forget to keep everyone’s level of mobility in mind. Keep the course clear of obstacles other than the wickets. Also make sure there’s places to sit down between turns!
Finally, consider picking up two sets of mallets in different lengths. Kids might have a tough time playing with the longer mallets, but shorter options are a hassle for adults to use. That way everyone can pick what works best for them!
Hathaway 6-Player Croquet Set
This inexpensive set has all the bells and whistles without breaking the bank. The dark wood doesn’t just look high end, the mallets and stakes are actually made of solid hardwood. The biggest drawback, though, is that the balls are made of plastic, not wood.
At a glance:
- Stylish design with nice colours
- Mallets are only 27” long and may be too short for adults (but are good for kids)
- Balls are made of plastic
- Comes with a carrying bag
Franklin Sports Outdoor Croquet Set
This vintage inspired set is going to look great set up in your backyard. When you’re not playing, keep your croquet set handy with the convenient wooden stand. Although it comes with a slightly higher price tag than some of the other croquet sets for families, this one has extra features that make it worth it.
At a glance:
- Mallets are 31” tall which a good for adults, but may be tricky for kids
- Brass fittings are designed to increase the lifespan of the croquet set
- Wooden balls for an authentic game of croquet
ROPODA Six-Player Deluxe Croquet Set
This is a good little set for a family that’s just getting started playing croquet. The balls and the mallets are lightweight, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. The length of the mallet is good for older kids, but not too short for adults to use too.
At a Glance:
- Lightweight set that’s good for beginner players
- Includes a storage bag
- Good quality for the price
Oakley Woods Extreme 6-Player Croquet Set
“You get what you pay for” doesn’t apply to everything, but in the case of best croquet sets for families it does. At the upper end of the “backyard” price range, this set is built to last years of use (and let’s be real – abuse) from your family. If you’re looking for a croquet set to play with mostly adult members of a family, this is it.
At a glance:
- Very high quality mallets, balls, and wickets
- Perfect for “extreme croquet” (aka croquet that includes jumps, hazards, etc)
- 36” handles aren’t great for kids but make it very comfortable for adult players
YULA Croquet Set for 6 Players
This set is best for families with young kids who are just learning how to play croquet. The short mallets are easy for youngsters to hold, and everything is brightly coloured so it’s easy to find your ball in the grass.
- Shorter mallets are good for kids
- Inexpensive set that’s great for new players who want to try croquet
- Large wooden mallets and brightly coloured balls are easy for kids to see and use
Baden 6-Player Champions Croquet Set with Soft Grip Handles
The grips on this set’s mallets make it a great choice if you’re looking for a comfortable backyard game of croquet. The rest is typical of classic croquet sets including bright colours and durable pieces. The storage bag is handy too!
At a glance:
- Classic wooden croquet set that’s great for families
- Sturdier than other sets, but still subject to breaking if not used correctly
- Foam grips make the game more comfortable
Amish-Crafted Deluxe 8-Player Croquet Game Set
This wooden set has a timeless design – which is great because it’s supposed to last you a long time. If you do have any problems, they back it with a 5 year warranty. Way longer than most other croquet sets. The best part, though, is that it’s custom ordered so you can choose how many players and what length handles work best for your family.
At a glance:
- Amish craftsmanship is very reputable
- Comes with a custom stand to store your croquet set when not in use
- Customizable options to suit your family
What Are the Best Croquet Sets for Families?
Choosing the best croquet set for your family can be a challenge. The three most important things you should consider is how often you’ll play (this will determine the quality that you need), how long the mallets need to be, and what your budget is.
If you’re only buying for an event, like a party or family reunion, a couple of less expensive sets like the RAPODA set might be a better option. It’s probably not going to last years but it is more budget friendly for folks who aren’t committed to croquet playing.
For families with younger players, I suggest getting something that’s more kid-friendly like the YULA or the Hathaway sets. The shorter mallets are easier for kids to maneuver, which means they’ll have more fun playing.
As for the best croquet sets for families, though, it’s really a tough call. While the Amish-crafted and Franklin Sports sets are nice because they have stands, you just can’t beat the quality of the Oakley Woods set.
Final Thoughts on the Best Croquet Sets for Families
Although it’s a bit pricier, the Oakley Woods croquet set is built to last. Not only will it tolerate game after game, it’s also designed to withstand “extreme” croquet that has jumps, hazards, and other challenges.
While it’s not the best set for young kids you’ll end up with more longevity using the longer mallets. No more hurting your back bending over – which is great for taller players.
Most croquet sets in my experience struggle with longevity. This one of the only ones that I’ve seen that can truly stand up to frequent games with family and friends.
Regardless of which croquet sets for families you choose, though, remember that what’s most important is that you’re making those core family memories together.
Whether you’re enjoying a backyard game with young kids, a birthday party with adult children, or you plan on playing on vacation, croquet is a great way for everyone to do something together.