Best Chess Set for a Smooth Game (2022 Reviews and Guide)

Both novice and seasoned chess players know the importance of a well-made chess set. We decided to help you find the best chess set to up your game. Whether you’re an amateur enthusiast or an aspiring grandmaster, dig into our reviews and choose the right set to perfect your skills!

A Brief Overview of the Top Sets

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The House of Staunton Golden Collector Series Luxury Wood Chess Set, Box & Board Combination

Top luxury chess set

  • Genuine-ebony-made pieces
  • Appealing both to collectors and players
  • Special piece weighting technique
  • Includes a handmade fitted coffer
star
10

$7,685.00

Read Review

Chess House Heirloom Championship Chess Set

Top chess set for the money

  • Heavily weighted pieces with a felted base
  • Heirloom quality
  • Ebonized boxwood pieces
  • US-made chessboard
star
9.7

$529.00

Read Review

One Kings Lane Sonora Geometric Chess Set, Black/White

Most interesting-looking chess set

  • Innovative geometric design
  • Suitable for both play and display
  • Made of durable acrylic material
  • Well-balanced pieces
star
9.3

$495.00

Read Review

MegaChess 8-Inch Teak Giant Chess Set

Top giant chess set

  • Made of durable teak resistant to the elements
  • Beautifully carved giant pieces
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Each chessman is handcrafted
star
9.9

$699.00

Read Review

ChessUSA 17” Elite Walnut Storage Chess Set

One of the best complete chess sets

  • Pearl-accented light squares
  • Attractive polished metal pieces
  • Drawers for piece storage
  • Carrying bag included
star
9.2

$349.95

Read Review

The Chess Store Large Egyptian Theme Metal Chess Set by Italfama

One of the top chess set designs of all time

  • Special casting technique
  • Intricate and artistic design
  • Solid and heavy pieces
  • Ideal decoration or gift
star
9.8

$499.99

Read Review

Skyline Chess Stainless Steel San Francisco Edition

Top stainless steel set

  • Hand-cast piece molds
  • Ideal gift for architecture lovers
  • Screen-printed mapped board
  • Intricate replicas of SF buildings
star
9.5

$678.14

Read Review

Wholesale Chess Heavy Tournament Chess Set

Top-quality tournament chess set

  • Standard tournament equipment
  • Triple-weighted pieces
  • Board with algebraic notation
  • Carry-all bag with a clock pouch
star
9.4

$32.99

Read Review

The Noble Collection Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

Perfect chess set for kids

  • Heavy-duty cardboard chessboard
  • Faithful recreation of the movie chessmen
  • Perfect for children
  • Approved by Warner Bros
star
9.1

$99.99

Read Review

Chess House 3D Dragon Chess Set

Top fantasy chest set

  • An immersive fantasy set
  • High-quality 3D chessboard
  • Impressive and intricate metallic figures
  • Folklore-inspired
star
9.6

$369.00

Read Review

Top Chess Set Reviews

The top selection overview was just the opening — now it’s time for the next move. If you’ve set your sights on any of the top 10 chess sets, read our detailed reviews to find out more about each product!

The House of Staunton Golden Collector Series Luxury Wood Chess Set, Box & Board Combination

star
10

Top luxury chess set

  • Board/piece material: Wood; Wood
  • Board dimensions: 27″ x 27″
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: Board, 32 pieces, and box + 2 extra queens

We begin with a finely crafted, luxurious set that is already widely regarded as the highest-quality chess set of 2022. Your game is set on an attractive chessboard with squares of red amboyna burl and maple wood, framed in ebony, with a touch of maple inlays.

The chessmen made of antique boxwood and genuine ebony come carefully placed in separate felt-cloth-padded slots of a handcrafted fitted coffer, so you don’t have to worry they’ll be cluttered all over the box. As with all of the top chess sets of The House of Staunton, the pieces are weighted using a special method that ensures durability and a long, fracture-free lifespan.

All this hardly comes at a small price, but this is only to be expected for a premium wooden chess set of this quality. While the price tag might be too high for beginners and people with a passing interest in the game, real aficionados are likely to find more than enough value in this durable and elegant set.


Pros

  • + Genuine-ebony-made pieces
  • + Appealing both to collectors and players
  • + Special piece weighting technique
  • + Includes a handmade fitted coffer

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly

Chess House Heirloom Championship Chess Set

star
9.7

Top chess set for the money

  • Board/piece material: Wood; Wood
  • Board dimensions: 21” x 21’’
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: Board, 32 pieces + 2 extra queens

Next in line is another awesome chess set, featuring European-style chessmen in the semblance of those used by champions at huge international chess tournaments. This is the perfect chess set to pass on to younger generations due to the exclusive crafting technique.

The pieces are the main attraction of the set. The dark chessmen are made of ebonized boxwood for that special jet-black finish, which also plays a role in the affordability of this quality chess set due to the high cost of genuine ebony.

The 21” chessboard comes in four different varieties, each made of high-quality US-sourced walnut and maple. Storage boxes or bags are not included, but the company gives you the possibility of purchasing them for additional payment.


Pros

  • + Heavily weighted pieces with a felted base
  • + Heirloom quality
  • + Ebonized boxwood pieces
  • + US-made chessboard

Cons

  • Storage accessories are not included

One Kings Lane Sonora Geometric Chess Set, Black/White

star
9.3

Most interesting-looking chess set

  • Board/piece material: Acrylic; Acrylic
  • Board dimensions: 18.5" x 18.5" x 4.5"
  • Weighted: No
  • Includes: Board, 32 pieces

Are you looking for an elegant and modern chess set to amaze your friends on game night? Then the One Kings Lane Geometric Chess Set may be just right for you. This is a one-of-a-kind set entirely made of acrylic that works well both as a stylish decoration and a fully functional chess set.

The sharp-edged sleek design of the pieces comes as a refreshment from the traditional Staunton pattern. A significant advantage of this unusual decorative chess set is that acrylic makes it longer-lasting and less prone to breakage and cracking.

Although this set may not be well received among professionals due to its unconventional design, we’re sure that it would win the hearts of keen chess collectors and hobbyists looking for innovative and unique chess sets.


Pros

  • + Innovative geometric design
  • + Suitable for both play and display
  • + Made of durable acrylic material
  • + Well-balanced pieces

Cons

  • May be impractical for professional players

MegaChess 8-Inch Teak Giant Chess Set

star
9.9

Top giant chess set

  • Board/piece material: N/A; Wood
  • Board dimensions: No board included
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: 32 pieces

Since this is the smallest option in the MegaChess Teak Giant Chess Set series, you can use this set both indoors and in your backyard during family gatherings. It’s one of the perfect chess sets to buy if you want to have some fun with giant chess pieces.

Meticulously hand-carved chessmen made of premium-class teak come in a medium or dark brown glossy stain, making them resistant to weathering. They have felt bases and are mostly suitable for indoor use, but you can also leave them outside if you keep them away from direct sunlight and remember to change the base pads.

This authentic chess set offers a  unique experience, but before you decide to buy it, keep in mind your available storage space and the fact that it comes without a board.


Pros

  • + Made of durable teak resistant to the elements
  • + Beautifully carved giant pieces
  • + Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • + Each chessman is handcrafted

Cons

  • May be difficult to store

ChessUSA 17” Elite Walnut Storage Chess Set

star
9.2

One of the best complete chess sets

  • Board/piece material: Wood; Metal
  • Board dimensions: 17” x 17’’
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: Board, 32 pieces, carrying and storage bag

If you’re looking for good chess sets that offer a mix of elegance and convenience, your search might be over. Fitted with piece storage drawers on each side of the board and a neat handbag for protection and carrying, this set is practical both when you’re playing and when you need to put it away.

Aside from the convenience, this set will likely draw you in with its sophisticated metal pieces, coming in gold and silver coloring. It also boasts a sturdy walnut board with pearl accents and very detailed inlays, which enhance the overall charm of the set.

You might come across an occasional chess set review mentioning that the colors of the pieces don’t provide enough contrast and are hard to differentiate unless there’s very bright lighting. Of course, this wasn’t an issue for everyone, but if you do find telling the pieces apart challenging, you might want to come up with a way to mark the pieces of the same color when playing in a darker room.


Pros

  • + Pearl-accented light squares
  • + Attractive polished metal pieces
  • + Drawers for piece storage
  • + Carrying bag included

Cons

  • Chessmen colors may be hard to differentiate

The Chess Store Large Egyptian Theme Metal Chess Set by Italfama

star
9.8

One of the top chess set designs of all time

  • Board/piece material: N/A; Metal
  • Board dimensions: No board included
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: 32 pieces

Definitely among the most attractive chess sets on the list, this 32-piece set is a true work of art by Italfama, one of the most renowned chess set brands in the world. The pleasing aesthetics of the figures is one thing, but the true appeal of this set stems from the crafting process.

The zinc pieces are made using the traditional technique of lost-wax casting, resulting in an amazing level of detail. As in all Italfama’s unique chess sets, the pieces are brass- and nickel-plated, with a thick lacquer sealing to preserve the shiny surface.

One of the main downsides of the set is that it doesn’t include a board. Of course, it will still do just fine as a decoration, but if you want to actually use it, buying a board separately doesn’t have to be a large investment. If you decide to do so, just remember that the manufacturer recommends using at least a 23-inch board due to the larger bases of the pieces.


Pros

  • + Special casting technique
  • + Intricate and artistic design
  • + Solid and heavy pieces
  • + Ideal decoration or gift

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a board

Skyline Chess Stainless Steel San Francisco Edition

star
9.5

Top stainless steel set

  • Board/piece material: Wood or marble; Stainless steel
  • Board dimensions: 15’’ x 15’’
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: 32 pieces, board, presentation box

Even among the other cool chess sets that we have tried out, this one somehow stands out. This top Etsy pick among handcrafted items is an ideal gift for chess lovers with a flair for modern architecture.

A number of iconic edifices, such as the Columbus Tower or the Transamerica Pyramid, were molded from stainless steel with special attention to architectural intricacies. Can you recognize all the buildings from the set? The material used for the pieces makes them extremely durable and heavy enough to stay perfectly stable even during the more passionate games.

Customer reviews confirm this is one of the highest-quality chess sets of 2022, with a major attraction being the mapped wood board of Cisco. You can also choose a marble board for a somewhat higher price. Of course, the size of the set and the total weight of 8kg means that it’s not exactly portable, but that’s usually the case with display sets of this level of intricacy.


Pros

  • + Hand-cast piece molds
  • + Ideal gift for architecture lovers
  • + Screen-printed mapped board
  • + Intricate replicas of SF buildings

Cons

  • Somewhat bulky

Wholesale Chess Heavy Tournament Chess Set

star
9.4

Top-quality tournament chess set

  • Board/piece material: Vinyl; Plastic
  • Board dimensions: 20” x 20”
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: 34 pieces (1 extra queen of each color), board, bag

This is a top-notch option for blitz and club play. The only tournament set on the list, it features heavy chess pieces, a vinyl chessboard, and a carry-all bag, making it a perfect travel chess set.

The rollup vinyl board is extremely compact, meeting standard tournament requirements in terms of size, and it also has algebraic notation. The plastic Staunton pieces are triple weighted for an extra heavy feel, and the bag is made of nylon, with internal padding for protection, a clock pouch, and a strap so you can carry it over your shoulder.

This well-made cheap chess set received many positive user reviews. Some customers did note that the board had a strong vinyl smell after the unpacking, but washing it with dish soap and leaving it to air out for a while should get rid of this issue, if you even encounter it in the first place.


Pros

  • + Standard tournament equipment
  • + Triple-weighted pieces
  • + Board with algebraic notation
  • + Carry-all bag with a clock pouch

Cons

  • Board might smell of vinyl

The Noble Collection Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

star
9.1

Perfect chess set for kids

  • Board/piece material: Cardboard; Plastic
  • Board dimensions: 18.5" x 18.5"
  • Weighted: No
  • Includes: 32 pieces, board, and 2 drawstring pouches

This is not only the finest-quality chess set under $100, but it would also make a perfect gift for children and adults who’d enjoy recreating the masterful game Ron Weasley orchestrated in the Chessboard Chamber and who already have every popular LEGO set that is themed around this magical world.

This Noble Collection set was officially approved by Warner Bros. The hard plastic pieces convincingly imitate the chessmen from the movie, except you won’t have to worry about them attacking each other.

This is a very pretty chess set, partially thanks to the foldable board made of heavy-duty coated cardboard. Some buyers complained that some of the pieces (bishops, the king, and the queen) look very similar from behind, but while this might be an issue at first, after some getting used to the set, differentiating the pieces stops being a problem.


Pros

  • + Heavy-duty cardboard chessboard
  • + Faithful recreation of the movie chessmen
  • + Perfect for children
  • + Approved by Warner Bros

Cons

  • Some of the pieces look too similar from behind

Chess House 3D Dragon Chess Set

star
9.6

Top fantasy chest set

  • Board/piece material: Glass; Pewter
  • Board dimensions: 13.5" x 13.5"
  • Weighted: Yes
  • Includes: 32 pieces and board

The last one on our list of amazing chess sets is the absolutely majestic 3D Dragon Chess Set by Chess House. Just imagine a fierce clash of gold and silver dragon clans over a glass board under which lie the remnants of dragons who lost the battle.

The weighted pewter pieces have black felt bases, and each figure represents a formidable and finely sculpted dragon for an even more immersive experience. When you’re not using this truly unique chess set, you can display it as a nice decorative piece.

This set will appeal to both children and adults, but if you let your kids play with it, we recommend you oversee them closely and keep the set safely stored when not in use to avoid glass breakage and possible injury.


Pros

  • + An immersive fantasy set
  • + High-quality 3D chessboard
  • + Impressive and intricate metallic figures
  • + Folklore-inspired

Cons

  • Children should be overseen when playing

How to Pick the Best Chess Set 

— Buyer’s Guide —

Let’s move on to the next part — a detailed and helpful guide on how to decide which chess set perfectly suits your needs. We’ll share valuable insights on the available chess set types, what you can find in each set, and what to look for in each of the set’s components to get the most bang for your buck. Without further ado, keep scrolling to find out more.

Types of Chess Sets

In order to find the greatest chess set in the world, you need to know your options well, especially if you’re a novice player. Nowadays, you can buy anything from classic to digitally enabled sets, so let’s see what the market has to offer.

Staunton Chess Sets

Staunton chess sets are the standard, tournament-approved variant. You will easily recognize them by appearance — they are elaborately carved and have a smooth feel in the hand. They’re mostly made of wood or plastic, sometimes even marble, and are typically 2.5”–4.5” tall.

Tournament or Club Chess Sets

If you need a premium club chess set, that means you’re looking for a set with plastic figures and a roll-up vinyl chessboard, all conveniently packed inside a portable bag. Tournament chess sets must comply with specific requirements of the United States Chess Federation in terms of piece size and board coloring.

Portable or Magnetic Chess Sets

This category contains a selection of nice chess sets for players on the go. Their compact design involves a range of storage chessboards that can shrink to the size of your wallet when folded and that will be easy to find room for in your favorite luggage set. The pieces usually have a magnet or a peg in the base so that they can stay attached to the board even if you are playing on unsteady or moving surfaces.

Instructional Chess Sets

Those looking for the most suitable chess set for beginners should probably focus on instructional sets first. They’re fitted with booklets and other teaching aids and come in a wide range of sizes and materials.

You can either buy a folding chess set or an electronic chess set. The folding ones are similar to portable sets with the difference that they can come in bigger sizes. Electronic sets are sensor-fitted and keep track of your moves, helping you bring your game to a higher level.

What to Look for in a Good Chess Set?

It’s not surprising to find out that chess is the best-selling board game of all time. Because of the great variety of options that resulted from this popularity, there are a number of things you need to consider when buying a chess set. Here are some of them.

The Chessmen

First things first — you can’t have a chess set without the pieces. Let’s see what makes a superb set of chessmen.

Firstly, you must take into account the material of the pieces, as this will dictate their durability and the impression they leave. While a quality chess set can use a number of different materials, wood is still one of the most popular choices. The quality of the wood will definitely affect the price, so for instance, genuine ebony will cost significantly more than boxwood.

Although wood is often regarded as the best option, some of the finest chess sets in the world are made of plastic. Most chess manufacturers make heavy and basic variants, and these are widely used in tournaments, clubs, and classrooms. You can also choose a themed set with more exotic pieces made of acrylic, metal, resin, or even glass, but these are predominantly decorative sets for passionate collectors.

Secondly, the top chess set designs of all time include appropriately sized pieces. The reference chessman in the set is the king. A good rule of thumb is that the king’s base should not occupy more than three-quarters of the square, and the recommended height is 3.75 inches.

You can refer to the UCFS website for strict guidelines, but even if you are not interested in competitive play, you can still find amazing chess sets with enough space on the board so that you wouldn’t topple the pieces over one another while you’re moving them. Finally, when it comes to weight, weighted pieces are preferred over the unweighted, as they are less likely to fall over on the board due to the lower center of gravity.

The Board

The board is your battlefield, so you should choose it wisely. The material you’ll go with will depend on the purpose. Premium chess sets for collectors and chess masters will typically have luxury wooden boards with high-quality framing, inlays, and ornate carvings. However, you can also find novel straight-up wooden rectangular chess boards that you can hang on your wall and play standing up.

Wooden boards are a great option as they can come in foldable or storage form, which means you can keep your pieces inside the board’s compartments and never worry about misplacing them.

In turn, if you need a high-quality, affordable chess set for tournaments, you should look for one with a flexible board made of vinyl, paper, or silicone. The most common tournament chessboards are definitely those made of vinyl, or basically any type of easily manipulated material that makes it convenient to quickly unfold or pack. These boards also typically have algebraic notations.

Alternatively, themed sets are more likely to have glass, acrylic, or resin boards, depending on the desired effect. Be careful if you’re buying an expensive glass chess set, though — you’ll need to pay extra care to preserve the board, especially if you have small children around. Finally, why stop at chess? You can also get a multi-purpose chess and checkers set with a cardboard or magnetic board so you can enjoy several games on the same board.

The Box

The third and optional component of an awesome chess set is the box. Instead of keeping the pieces in plastic bags and cardboard boxes, you can find a set with suitable storage components, such as chests with separate piece slots. Although this doesn’t have much impact on the quality of the game, it is extremely convenient in terms of storage and organization.

The Brand

Good chess sets are easy to find if you have a basic idea of what you’re looking for, but another key point of consideration is the brand. Many reputable manufacturers are currently in the game, such as the House of Staunton, Chess House, Wholesale Chess, or ChessUSA, to name a few US-based ones.

In order to decide which is the ideal chess set brand for you, make sure you’ve investigated the company and read customer reviews. If you see any recurring negative comments regarding customer care, you might want to steer clear of that particular brand.

FAQ

What is the best brand of chess sets?

The House of Staunton carries the title of the best brand on our list due to the variety and exquisite quality of the sets they release year after year. They are the main equipment providers for some of the most exclusive chess events, including the United States Chess Championship. While most of their renown comes from the superbly crafted chessmen, they also produce a range of high-quality chess accessories.

How do you pick a good chess set?

You need to bear in mind a variety of factors — the overall set specifications (material, size, weight, components), the reputation of the brand, the carving quality, and the purpose you intend to use the set for. All of these will influence the price, so you should make sure to pick out a set that is good value for money.

What chess sets do pros use?

They use sets that meet the prescribed standards — that is, most commonly a roll-up vinyl chessboard suitable for Staunton-style pieces with a 3.75” king. One such set on our list is the Chess House Heirloom Championship Chess Set.

What are the best chess sets?

In order to be the best, a chess set needs to meet quite a few requirements, but the best ones on our list are the House of Staunton Golden Collector Series Luxury Wood Chess Set, Box & Board Combination with an absolute 10/10, and the MegaChess 8-Inch Teak Giant Chess Set.

Finishing Thoughts

Choosing the best chess set can be quite a journey if you’re new to the game, but hopefully, we managed to fill in some gaps in your knowledge and point you in the right direction. The art of chess has been around for 1,500 years, and there’s a reason for its unabating popularity. If you still don’t know what this reason is, we strongly recommend you try to find out, potentially with one of the sets we reviewed here.

As a translator with a degree in English language and literature, Tamara’s work requires a lot of research, problem-solving, and creativity. Her lifelong objective is to master as many languages as she possibly can — she is fluent in four and is currently learning a fifth language. As a person with a restless and curious mind, she finds the written word is the best way of clearing and expressing one’s thoughts, so she invests a lot of effort and love in her writing. She recharges her batteries by spending time with her dog, reading a good book, finding new music, or traveling.

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