Bocce is a popular Italian game that loosely resembles bowling. However, you don’t have to be Italian to enjoy playing bocce.
This super interactive outdoor game offers hours of entertainment for the old and young alike.
This guide will help you learn more about bocce and how to play it as well as reviewing the best bocce ball sets you can buy in 2021.
Let’s do this.
What Is A Bocce Ball Set?
A typical bocce ball set contains:
- Eight bocce balls
- The pallino
- A carrying case
The eight bocce playing balls often come in two different colors. Four balls in one color and the other four in another color.
Rarely, you might find a set which comes in 4 different colors, thereby having two balls in each color.
The pallino, also known as the jack or the little bocce, is the smallest ball in the set. This is the ball that’s used when starting a round of bocce.
The carrying case can come in many designs. Some carrying cases even come with a shoulder strap for easy transportation of the bocce set.
In some higher-end bocce sets, the set may also include a measuring tape. This makes it easier for the players to determine which ball is closest to the pallino.
Best Bocce Ball Sets Reviews
This GoSports bocce ball set is a regulation-size set ideal for the serious bocce players or those who play rather frequently.
The balls in this set measure 100mm in diameter and they each weigh 2lbs. 5oz. The pallino, on the other hand, measures 45mm in diameter.
At this size and weight, the balls have a nice solid feel to them, therefore, providing true and accurate shots.
These high-quality balls are made from poly-resin. The high-gloss poly-resin is a durable material which doesn’t crack or chip. The balls will also not lose their shine for at least a number of years.
This bocce set comes with four red balls, four green balls, a white pallino, a measuring rope, a rule book and a padded canvas carrying case having ball dividers and a shoulder strap.
This way, it’s easy and convenient to transport the balls or store them away when not in use.
These hardy poly-resin balls can be used on any playing surface be it a sandy beach, or hard camping ground.
The throwing balls in this set measure 90mm in diameter while the jack has a diameter of 38mm.
This is not regulation size, but it is still a great size for use by amateurs and older kids. Each of the throwing balls weighs 1.6lbs.
This weight is light enough for kids and seniors, yet still weighty enough for more experienced players.
The solid balls are made from poly-resin which holds up well to knocks and drops which are likely to happen when playing the game.
The poly-resin ball is then finished off with a high-gloss finish for visual appeal and enhanced strength.
This bocce ball set comes with two red balls, two blue balls, two green balls, two yellow balls, a white pallino, and a nylon carrying bag.
Because of the red, blue, green and yellow 4-colour ball set, you can have up to four teams using this Crown Sporting Goods bocce ball set.
The Baden champions bocce ball set is just as professional as it gets.
These 107mm balls are the perfect tournament size, therefore, proving to be a worthwhile purchase for ardent bocce ball players.
Each of the balls weighs 2lbs., and the full-sized pallino has a diameter of 60mm.
The eight balls come in the classic bocce colors: red and green. Besides the difference in colors, the balls also bear different line patterns on the surface.
These patterns make it possible for the balls to be used by four teams or players without getting confused about which balls belong to whom.
These balls are made from premium poly-resin, which enhances the strength of the balls when used on different playing surfaces.
With these balls, rest assured that they will not crack or chip even when used on asphalt.
This set comes with eight throwing balls, the pallino, a 5ft measuring tape and a weather-resistant carrying case.
The Franklin Sports Advanced bocce set has 100mm throwing balls and a 50mm pallino.
All the balls have been sized and weighted to give players an authentic bocce experience right from the comfort of their home.
The balls are made from solid molded polyethylene. This material is weather-resistant, thereby allowing for all-weather bocce enjoyment come rain or shine.
The weather resistance also makes this set suitable for use at the beach.
A set comes with eight balls in four different colors: 2 red, two blue, two green, two yellow and the white pallino.
The fact that this is a regulation size bocce set means that the pallino is perfectly sized for high visibility.
It won’t ‘disappear’ in the lawn as is often the case with smaller sets.
This complete set comes with eight bocce balls, a white pallino, and a carrying case.
Have you ever wanted to play bocce at night but only ended up looking for the balls in the dark? That’s not so fun, now is it?
Well, if you intend to play bocce balls at night, you should consider investing in this lighted set.
The Playaboule Patented V3 DLX lighted bocce ball set has 107mm bocce balls and a 50mm pallino ball all designed to light.
The light produced could either be solid light or flashing light. A button switch allows you to change between the two modes.
The balls are made from plastic, and they are textured for a firm grip.
They are designed to be waterproof; sand proof and grit proof so don’t worry about damaging the light feature inside the ball.
This bocce set comes with eight lighted balls in 4 different colors and having pre-installed batteries, a lighted white pallino, a carrying case, a manual, a measuring tape, a measuring rope, and a set of batteries inside a blister pack.
The great thing about this 90mm ball set is that the buyer has the choice between hard resin balls and soft rubber balls.
The decision between the two materials is based on where you will use the balls as well as the intended users.
Soft rubber balls would be ideal for hard surfaces while the hard resin balls would be ideal for soft surfaces.
The different materials both have balls weighing the same: 1lbs. 11oz for each ball. The difference comes in the cost whereby the soft rubber balls are slightly more expensive.
Whichever material you choose, a set comes with eight bocce balls in 4 different colors. With each color, a ball either features a circle cut or a square cut design.
Besides the eight high-gloss balls, a complete set additionally comes with a white 40mm pallino, a measuring rope and a canvas carrying bag.
These bocce balls have a diameter of 100mm. What truly sets this set apart, however, is the heft in the balls.
Each ball weighs 2.47lbs., which makes them heavier than regulation-size balls.
If you like playing bocce using balls that have a bit of weight, then this set is designed just for you.
The balls are made from a poly-resin composite. This contributes to the heft of the balls and also gives them a nice solid feel.
Better yet, poly-resin is a high-strength material so these balls will survive through the brutality that comes with an intense game of bocce.
There are eight high-gloss balls in this set: 4 red balls and four green balls.
Besides the balls, the set also comes with a white pallino, a soft carry case, and a tape measure.
Bocce is a bowling game with Italian roots, so why not play the game using an Italian brand?
The Perfetta Club Pro bocce set is made in Italy by manufacturers who’ve been in the game for over 20 years.
You can, therefore, trust their quality and believe that with these balls, you would get the authentic bocce experience.
These laser-engraved balls have a diameter of 107mm, and they come in the classic bocce colors: red and green.
The pallino is white, and it has a diameter of 50mm.
The pallino is large enough to allow for easy visibility of the ball even when playing on rather tall lawns.
Just so you know that these balls offer nothing but top-notch quality, they come with a 10-year warranty against breakage.
This warranty is the best in the market, and it just goes to show that the manufacturers genuinely know how to design a quality bocce ball.
The balls are made from then given a high-gloss finish.
The proprietary blend solid phenolic resin plastic is very high in strength, thereby giving rise to bocce balls which will withstand the test of time even when used frequently.
The complete set comes with eight bocce balls, a pallino, and a carrying bag.
This bocce set is unique in the sense that while all other sets that have been reviewed so far come with a white jack; the pallino in this set is yellow on color.
Besides the striking color, this target ball also comers in the regulation size of 60mm, therefore, allowing for high visibility even in foggy weather.
The St Pierre Sports Professional bocce set is a 107mm regulation size ball set. Likewise, the weight of the ball is made to tournament standards.
The balls are made from solid Thermo composite resin which results in a consistent balance and enhanced durability of the balls.
The full set comprises four red balls, four green balls, a yellow pallino, a durable nylon carrying bag and the official rulebook.
The bocce balls in this set have a diameter of 89mm.
This is not regulation size, and so the balls are best suited for casual play and not really for players looking for a tournament-grade bocce set.
In any case, these balls are fun to play with, and they hold up quite well.
They are constructed from phenolic resin which is highly lustrous and high in strength.
Don’t expect thee balls to crack easily and don’t expect them to lost their shine any time soon either.
The solid construction throughout gives the ball a right balance so they can roll smoothly on any playing surface.
The balls come with a carrying bag made from 1680 Denier. This bag is of good quality and not flimsy, and you would expect with other bocce sets.
The bag is also weather resistant, thereby protecting your balls even in bad weather.
Besides the eight balls, the pallino and the carrying bag, this set also contains a rulebook.
How to Play Bocce Ball?
So how do you play bocce ball?
Well, first of all, the game can be played by between 2-8 players. This can be done either in pairs or in teams of two, three or four.
Next is the court set up. Typically, a regulation-size bocce court measures 90ft by 13ft.
Unofficially though, for casual play, you can work with a smaller court depending on the amount of space available in your backyard.
The court surface should comprise a material which provides minimal bounce, while at the same time allowing balls to roll fast and smoothly.
This could be short grass, turf, sand, crushed rock, decomposed graphite, fine gravel etc. Just make sure the playing surface is flat and level.
Five lines further subdivide the court. One line drawn across the center of the court and the other four lines are drawn at 4ft and 10ft from either end of the court.
The toss of a coin determines which team gets to go first, as well as the ball color they wish to use. All throws are made with the players standing behind the 10ft line.
The starting team starts by tossing the pallino aiming to get it past the centerline but without passing the last line on the court.
If the team fails to do so on two tries, then they forfeit the pallino toss to the other team.
Once the pallino has been tossed, the same team then throws one of their larger balls. The objective is to get it as close as possible to the pallino.
A player from the opposing team then gets to throw one of their balls as well. If this team gets closer to the pallino than their opponents did, then their ball is considered ‘inside’.
If they fail to do so, then they will keep tossing all their balls until one is inside. While attempting to get a ball ‘inside’, the team should rotate throws among its players.
The thing to remember here is that the team without their ball closest to the pallino always gets to throw.
Once all eight balls have been tossed, then that frame ends.
Players are allowed to hit either the pallino or the opponent’s balls. This can be done in an attempt to get their ball closest to the pallino, thereby favoring their play.
Points are awarded at the end of each frame and the game ends when a team scores the pre-determined points.
Are Boules and Bocce the Same?
Boules and bocce are two different games, but they can be considered cousins seeing as the two are quite similar in some aspects.
For instance, both of them are bowling games, and the goal when playing either game is the same: to get as close as possible to the smaller target.
So how do you tell the two games apart?
First off, Boules has French origins while bocce has Italian roots.
Boules uses hollow balls made from plain steel while bocce uses solid balls made from wood or epoxy resin.
A typical boules ball weighs much less than the standard bocce ball.
A typical boules ball measures 73mm in diameter while a standard bocce ball measures 107mm in diameter.
The groove pattern differentiates the balls in a boules set while the balls in a bocce set are differentiated by color.
Boules is a throwing game whereby tosses are made with the palm facing down. Bocce is a rolling game whereby tosses are made with palm facing up.
Players should stand still when tossing a ball in boules but a player can take a few steps while making their throw in bocce.
A regulation bocce court (90ft x 13ft) is longer than a regulation boules court (50ft x 13ft).
Bocce requires a smooth and flat playing surface, but boules can be played on any surface, including uneven terrain.
Players are allowed to hit the pallino in bocce, but the same isn’t permitted in boules.
Things to Consider to Choose Best Bocce Ball Set
Tournament-approved bocce balls are made from hard plastic, with resin being the popular material of choice.
This is because balls made from a resin composite are very strong and durable. This is also the material used to make bowling balls.
A durable polymer having a hard-plastic feel could also be used to make bocce balls. These balls are less common in the market, and they also tend to be quite costly due to their extra durability.
Wooden bocce balls have a more traditional look and feel, but they are quite rare.
These balls are much lighter in weight when compared to their resin counterparts, and they are more aesthetically appealing.
Plastic is often used to manufacture very low-quality bocce ball sets. These balls get damaged easily and aren’t suitable for competitive play.
Bocce balls made of soft rubber are perfect for indoor play. These softer balls and are also a lighter and safer option for children.
When it comes to the choice of material, consider how frequently you will use the set as well as the playing surface, some balls play well of turf but terribly on the sand.
As far as the finish goes, bocce balls could be opaque, pearlized, marbleized, or they could even be given a glow-in-the-dark finish.
Always go for solid balls and avoid buying bocce balls that are filled with water. Liquid-filled balls can chip quickly, thereby leading to leaks which would be very hard to repair.
Weight & Size
Bocce balls vary in diameter with different sets having balls ranging between 74mm to 110mm in diameter. Well, what impact does the ball size have on the game?
Quite simple: smaller balls are for smaller hands while larger balls are for larger hands. That’s it!
Smaller balls will be suitable for kids, and the elderly seeing as they are easier to handle and even weigh less.
A 107mm set is the standard size, and it weighs about 2lbs. This regulation size is suitable for both male and female adult players, and it is just heavy enough to offer a comfortable throw.
A bocce set having a few accessories thrown in can be quite convenient.Accessories might include a cleaning microfiber fabric, a measuring tape, a lighted ball set, a travel bag etc.
Such small additions enhance the play tremendously, and they even make it easier to care for and maintain your bocce set. It also comes in handy seeing as you do not have to buy each accessory separately.
Cheap bocce ball sets priced below $35 are often small, fragile, and light in weight. These balls will ding and chip quite easily because they are made from plastic materials, and some are even liquid-filled.
Only get this set for very young children who simply need something to keep them occupied.
Mid-priced bocce sets falling between $35 and $75 often have the outer shell made from resin and the interior made from recycled filler material.
For this reason, these balls can chip and crack quite easily.
These bocce sets are ideal if you do not intend to play frequently, or if you plan to play on grass or other such uneven surfaces.
High-end bocce sets costing upwards of $75 have durable solid balls often made from thermoset resin. These balls are perfectly weighted, well balanced and accurately sized.
For these reasons, the balls in high-end bocce sets will roll straight and true, just as you intended.
Bocce sets priced above $100 are often collectors’ items. These sets will usually have stunning aesthetics such as marbleizing. However, they play just as well as high-end sets do though.