Whether you're playing a lighthearted game of croquet with friends or family, or you're going for a ruthlessly competitive showdown, having a reliable set is key. A broken mallet or missing wicket just won't do. The best croquet sets feature durable hardwood in their build and make it easy to get your game on whether you’re playing with four, six, or even eight people.
With lower quality croquet sets, as with anything that gets punted and whacked across a lawn, you’re going to encounter some reviews that report damage on the first use. If you want a set that will stand up to the test of time (and your fierce competitive streak), invest in a durable set with all-hardwood mallets. Ones that are Amish-made will feature impeccable craftsmanship (although they often cost a premium).
Look for sturdy iron or steel wickets that won't break when they get clocked by a ball traveling at Mach 4 (forgo cheaper plastic wickets that will bend easily). Wooden croquet balls are traditional, but are often hard to find. Most sets either come with plastic or composite balls instead.
A stand will keep your mallets elevated so they stay clean and damage-free between games, making it easy to set up your next game because you don’t have to assemble the mallets. However, if you’re looking for a set you can toss in the car and take to the park, a less expensive set with detachable mallet heads might be for you. It may not last quite as long, but it wins points for portability and affordability.
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