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Are Bocce Balls and Croquet Balls the Same? Comparison

A common misconception between bocce ball and croquet is that people believe they can use the same ball. The balls may seem similar in appearance; however, there are differences between the two balls, especially for competitive use.

If you consider participating in a bocce ball or croquet tournament, then recognizing the difference between both balls is essential.

Regulation Bocce balls and croquet balls differ in size and weight. Bocce balls weigh approximately 920 grams and are 4.21 in (107mm) in diameter, while croquet balls are 3.62 in (92 mm) diameter and weigh 453 grams. Non-regulation Bocce and croquet balls are often the same size and weight. 

So, if you want to avoid bringing a croquet ball to a bocce ball match, you must correctly identify each ball type. By the end of this article, not only will you be able to identify the balls, but you will also have an idea of which ball set is perfect for each sport.

Differences Between Bocce Balls and Croquet Balls

Knowing how to identify the differences between a bocce ball and a croquet ball is imperative. If you know the differences, you’ll have no problem purchasing the proper equipment for your needs. To differentiate between the two types of balls, you’ll need to focus on their:

  • Appearance
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Material
  • Regulation status

Identifying Non-Regulated and Regulated Use

Throughout this article, you’ll see a lot of discussion about regulated and non-regulated balls. Knowing the differences between the two is important for knowing which situations to use the balls in.

Here’s the difference between regulated and non-regulated use.

  • Regulated Use: While shopping for your equipment, you’ll notice that the packaging might say “regulated” this means that the equipment is acceptable for competitive use. Regulated equipment will meet the size and weight demands of that specific sport’s federation.
  • Non-Regulated Use: If you find packaging that says non-regulated use, it means that the equipment is only acceptable for casual play and cannot be used for competitive use.

Now, let’s get into the differences between the two types!

Bocce Ball Characteristics

According to the Bocce Standards Association, a bocce ball set comes with eight balls; four are green and four red. There is also a small white pallino ball included. Like many other sports, bocce ball equipment can either come regulated or sold for casual play.

If you are considering playing competitive bocce ball, you will need to purchase a ball that abides by the sports regulations. To determine whether a bocce ball is regulated, you will need to evaluate its size and weight.

  • Regulated Bocce Balls: A regulated bocce ball weighs 920 grams and is 107mm in diameter. The packaging will tell you whether the balls are regulated; therefore, make sure you pay close attention if you are buying the balls for competitive play. The pallino ball that comes in the set must be 40mm to 60mm in diameter; however, there is not weight regulation for this specific ball.
  • Balls for Casual Play: If you decide to purchase balls for casual play at a family barbeque, then you do not need to worry too much about weight and size since you are not competing.

So, the next time you decide to make a trip to your local sporting goods store, you’ll need to purchase your balls based on whether or not you’re training, competing formally, or just playing a friendly game.

Types of Bocce Balls

Bocce balls come in several material types because some are specifically made for either competitive use, while others are made for casual use. The material used for the balls will play a part in its weight and size.

Here’s a list of different types of bocce balls and when they are used.

  • Resin: If you find yourself playing competitive bocce ball, you will likely find yourself using resin balls. This tough material is advised for professional usage. It is also important to note that a resin ball set is much more expensive than metal and plastic balls.
  • Metal: Bocce balls made of metal is known to be extremely long-lasting and can withstand long term use, which is perfect for casual family play or for practicing for your next competition.
  • Plastic: The use of plastic bocce balls is strictly for casual play. It is important to note that if you decide to purchase these types of balls, they will likely lose their quality after several uses.

With the various types of bocce balls available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when going out and buying a ball set. However, by reviewing the best practices for each type of ball, you’ll be able to determine which ball you should be using.

Check out my Bocce Ball Cost Guide to see what a quality set should have in it.

Croquet Ball Characteristics

Compared to bocce ball, the croquet ball is slightly smaller, and the set does not come with a target ball. Check out my Croquet Set Cost and Quality Compare guide to see what the decent sets come with.

Balls in a croquet ball set come in six different colors.

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Yellow

Each ball is color-matched with its mallet.

A croquet ball is smaller than a bocce ball and is also tested for its bounce to determine whether it is regulated for competitive use.

  • Regulated Croquet Balls: According to Croquet Online, for a croquet ball to be used competitively, it must be 3 ⅝” in diameter and weigh 453 grams. Additionally, the ball’s rebound is tested and must bounce 30 to 45 inches when dropped from 60 inches.
  • Balls for Casual Play: Balls for non-regulated use will typically be the same size as a regulated croquet ball and will have a weight of 16oz. However, it is important to note that croquet balls are not tested for their rebound. 

Croquet Ball Appearance

Unlike bocce balls, croquet balls are composed out of two types of material:

  • Wood
  • Composite

If you find yourself competing in a croquet tournament, you will use a croquet ball made out of composite, then covered in plastic. If you decide to play croquet casually, it’s better to use wooden balls, which are much safer for the family.

The Verdict

So, when it comes to croquet balls and bocce balls, what’s the verdict? Can you use a bocce ball for a croquet match or vice versa?

The truth, due to the vast difference in sizing and regulation requirements, is that you will not be able to use one ball instead of the other. Even if you want to play casually, it will be a different type of experience because you do not use the right ball.

If you use a bocce ball in a croquet match, your game could suffer, especially if you usually play with the appropriate ball. The same goes for you if you use a croquet ball in a bocce game. This is because the balls have different sizes, weights, and materials. These differences affect how the balls behave while in use.

Final Takeaway

It’s funny how some sports that have almost identical balls can have rules that almost make it impossible for you to use the same ball for either sport. But this is exactly why you must read the fine print when purchasing the ball, and by fine print, we mean the packaging.

While using the proper ball will not necessarily make you a pro bocce or croquet player, it will give you authentic gameplay, enabling you to get a feel for the sport, even if it’s just for fun!

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