Best Chess Sets (Reviewed)
We spent over 26 hours playing and testing out 32 Chess sets. And after a lot of deliberation and comparison, we have narrowed down the list to the best nine across different segments.
Here are our top picks.
Last Updated: 31st Mar, 2020
There's no one in the world who doesn't know what chess is. This classic game was developed as far back as the 6th century, and it's still going strong today. If you've never learned how to play but would like to give it a try now, all you'll need is a chess set, and you can get started.
The problem is, there are so many sets out there that you don't know which one is the best to buy. Aren't they all the same? You'd think so, but different sets come with different accessories and are designed for different people. A chess board that's designed for a first-time player isn't going to be the same as the one that's made with professional players in mind.
If you're just picking up a chess board for the first time, want something decorative for the living room, or you want to teach the kids to play, then this is the guide for you.
We've gathered together 9 of the best chess sets out there right now. So, whether you're looking for a classic wooden set, something more travel-friendly, or an electronic one for solo, we have you covered.
Read on and find out.
Our Picks for the Best Chess Sets
- Wegiel Handmade European Ambassador Chess Set- Best Wooden Chess Set
- Chess Armory 15" Wooden Chess Set - Editor's Pick (Best For Most)
- Wholesale Chess Archer Chess Set Combo - Budget Pick
- Heavy Tournament Triple Weighted Chess Set- Best Value Tournament Set
- Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess - Best Set To Teach Your Kids Chess
- Croove Electronic Chess And Checkers Set - Best Electronics Chess Set For Beginners
- The Noble Collection Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set - Best Harry Potter Themed Chess Set
- Yellow Mountain Imports Magnetic Travel Chess Set - Best Travel-Friendly Set
- UWANTME 3-in-1 Game Set - Best Multi Game Set (Chess, Checker and Backgammon)
1. Wegiel Handmade European Ambassador Chess Set: Best Wooden Chess Set
This board offers everything that you should expect from a decorative chess set. It looks stunning, being hand-carved from several types of wood, including sycamore, birch, and beech woods. The pieces are all weighted and have felt bottoms, so they feel great in hand and sit securely in place while in play. Beyond the looks, this exquisite chess set is a treat to play on and is something that you can pass onto future generations as an heirloom.
You'll also see that the board also folds shut, making it so easy to store when not in use. You can place the pieces inside, as they all have their own felt-lined spot to keep everything safe and secure. Of course, if you wanted to display the board when you're not using it, it would look great too, thanks to the intricate board design.
This is easily one of the best chess sets under $100 on the market. The level of detail and it's classic design oozes luxury left right and center.
- High-quality craftsmanship with hand-carved pieces
- Folding board makes it easy to store, without a bulky box
- Measures 21.65 x 1.18 x 21.65 inches
- A perfect board to put out on display if you so wish
- Many chess enthusiasts love the handmade feel of the board
This chess set is by far and away the best wooden set available. It looks amazing, and it's practical too, thanks to the weighted pieces and the folding board design.
2. Chess Armory 15" Wooden Chess Set: Editor's Pick (Best For Most)
If you're looking for a set that's reasonably priced yet high-quality, then this set will cover most, if not all, of your needs. This chess set also happens to be the best-seller on Amazon with over 3000 positive reviews to its name.
This wooden chess set works well for pretty much anyone who wants to play, thanks to its basic yet well thought out design.
The 15 x 15 inch board is large enough and convenient for anyone who wants to play, whether they're beginners or experts. The inlaid walnut wood design both looks good and is hard-wearing, ensuring that you'll get many years of play out of this board. It even folds up and holds all the pieces that come with it, for easy storage.
- A great basic board for anyone who just wants to jump in and play
- Felted bottom play pieces stop scratches on the board
- Foldable board stores all your pieces when not in use
- Comes at a good price, perfect for beginners
- The folding design makes the board perfect for travel too
This chess set is an excellent choice for everyday play and enjoyment. Everyone can enjoy it, and once you're done, just put it away, and you're done. Moreover, it's priced reasonably, and it's built quite durably as well - a fantastic board for every chess player.
3. Wholesale Chess Archer Chess Set Combo: Best Value
Buying a chess set doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on it. You can buy a great set for a bargain price, such as this one. It gives you everything you need to play, and more. The board and the individual pieces are of regulation size, which works well if you're a more advanced player or are planning to play chess seriously. The pieces are hollow made of plastic and are felt-lined with paper for smooth play.
What's different about it, though, is that the board can actually be rolled up and put away in the quiver style storage bag provided. It makes taking your chess board anywhere a breeze.
The board includes algebraic notation, something you must-have if you're an advanced player. Clubs and teams need these notations, so this board is perfect for carrying around with you.
- 20 x 20 inch board for regulation play
- 3 ¾ inch tall standard king playing piece
- Handy roll-up function for easy travel, complete with carrying bag
- Attractive green and white design
- Extra pieces provided
This is the best budget chess set in terms of portability. It offers competition level details, and is ready for anyone to pick up and start playing. It's the best option for anyone who wants a good all-rounder set in a budget.
4. Heavy Tournament Triple Weighted Chess Set - Best Value Tournament Set
Have you been playing chess for a while and want to start upping your game? Joining clubs and getting involved in tournaments is the best way to get started. You'll need a chess set that will help you do just that.
Just like the budget pick above, this chess set is a perfect travel set as it features a roll-up board and a carry bag. It makes it a breeze to pack up your set and head off to clubs to try your hand against other players. Everything is regulation size from the board to the pieces, so you're in the clear to use it in tournaments. The vinyl mat measures 20''x20'' and in the set, you get a regulation 3 3/4" King along with extra queen for pawn promotion.
The chess pieces are triple-weighted for proper feel and come with felt-lined bottom for easy sliding on the vinyl board.
The bag is a heavy-duty style, with a padded handle so you can comfortably carry it anywhere. You can easily carry it on its own, or put it in another bag if needed. Additionally, the bag comes with a padded space, big enough for any standard chess clock (not included), allowing you to carry all your chess equipment conveniently.
Priced just under $35, this set offers excellent value and makes up for an ideal choice for tournaments.
- 20 x 20 inch regulation size roll-up board
- Triple weighted chess pieces
- Carry bag has space for the board, pieces, and other supplies you may need
- The set comes ready for competition play right out of the box
- Vinyl board is hard wearing and will last through many games
This tournament set offers a lot of value if you're hoping to start competing. It gives you everything you need to carry your set to a club and play against others.
5. Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess: Best Set To Teach Your Kids Chess
Want to teach your kids how to play this classic game? Then this is the set for them. It includes everything to help them get to grips with the strategy of the game, and allows them to learn at their own pace. This educational set allows young ones to learn the concept of the game and movement of the pieces in an easy to follow manner while making the game more interesting.
Everything on the board is marked, so children can see where everything goes. For example, the starting places of every piece are marked, so they can set up the board ready to play. When they start feeling more confident, they can flip the board over for a more regulation style board and play.
Included with the game are cards that describe each playing piece and how it moves on the board. These can be used during the game, to help children see how they can move their pieces. And, you also get 56 handicap cards which make the game a bit more challenging and less boring for advanced players when playing with kids.
- Marked board shows kids how to set up and move their pieces
- Playing cards help kids move their pieces during play
- Regulation sized board for competitive play as they become more confident
- Several different levels of difficulty
- A great introduction to chess strategy
This game is the perfect edition of chess for your little ones. They can start to see how the game works and start developing their own style of play. You never know your little champ is the future Magnus Carlsen in the making.
6. Croove Electronic Chess And Checkers Set: Best Electronics Chess Set For Beginners
Chess is essentially a two-player game, but what if you don't have a partner to play with? Well, you can always get an electronic chess board. Such boards allow for solo play and, at the same time, help you to improve your game.
You can play against the computer at several difficulty levels, set from very aggressive to very passive. There's also a referee mode which you can use to stop illegal moves. The chess tutor included will even alert you for the weak moves.
If you want to take a break from chess, there are several different games you can play on the board too. These include Checkers, Othello, Connect 4, and many more.
The pieces are all magnetized, so they'll stay in place on the board once you place them down. The sensory board knows where your pieces are as you play, and keep track of how you're playing. It's one of the best ways to learn to play. And if you're bored, you can always play against the computer with the desired level of difficulty.
Some customers mentioned it's next to impossible to defeat this thing in difficult mode, of course, that goes for average players. Professional chess players would leave the set in dust quite quickly.
- Lots of different games included, not just chess
- English and German language modes
- 100 chess exercises included to help hone your skills
- Can be played against the computer or a friend
- Different game modes so you can practice your strategy
The Croove Electronic Chess And Checkers set offers several unique features - solo play, practice modes, and multiple games, making it a solid one-time investment. This chess board offers so much to those learning to play chess.
The inbuilt chess tutor and different modes allow you to learn at your own pace and really get to grips with the game.
7. The Noble Collection Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set: Best Harry Potter Themed Chess Set
For all those Harry Potter fans, this is set for you! Remember the final sequence of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' where Ron sacrificed himself so that Harry can check to mate the white king? Well, here is a chance for you to relive those movements and get yourself the exact replica of the setup.
In the world of Harry Potter, chess is a loud and boisterous affair as the pieces all love to shout out and call to each other as you play. This set can't offer you real magic, but it does give you a chess set just like the enormous one seen on screen in the movies.
The 18.5 x 18.5 inch board offers a patterned marble board, that looks just like the one you've seen played on screen. The pieces are all detailed recreations of the pieces too and look amazing when you're playing or even when they're simply displayed on your shelf.
This is the best chess board for those who are fans of the Harry Potter universe. This is an official chess set licensed by Warner Brothers, so you know you're getting the real thing.
- Playing board measures 18.5 x 18.5 inches.
- Stunning detailed chess pieces that look just like the movie pieces
- Both sets of pieces come in their own organza bag for easy storage
- A perfect set for the Harry Potter fan in your life
- Looks great even if you're simply displaying the board
- A great way to get kids interested in chess
Any Harry Potter fan would love to have this set in their life. If you want to give them a chess set that really brings the idea of wizard chess into the real world, this is the one to buy.
8. Yellow Mountain Imports Magnetic Travel Chess Set: Best Travel-Friendly Set
If you want to take your chess game on the road, this is the set you need to pick up. It comes with everything you need to play, including the board and the pieces, just scaled down to fit in your bag as you move around. The board measures 9.7 x 9.7 inches when open, and it's more than big enough to play a game while being small enough to move around. This chess board folds down along the center, which also doubles as a storage space for all the pieces.
The chess pieces are all magnetized, so you don't have to worry about the pieces moving or falling off, no matter how bumpy your ride is. Plus, the pieces are colored gold and silver, adding a little bit of luxury to your travel game.
- Game board folds in half, storing pieces and making it easy to transport
- King: 0.79 x 1.93 inches, Queen: 1.7 x 0.7 inch
- Weighs just 14 ounces
- Magnetized board keeps all your pieces in place
- Fully contained set ready for travel
- Includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee
This is the best travel chess set on the market right now. It looks great, weighs almost nothing, and will hold all your pieces in place while you play.
9. UWANTME 3-in-1 Game Set: Best Multi Game Set (Chess, Checkers and Backgammon)
If you enjoy chess, you probably enjoy other classic games. Wouldn't it be great if you could pick up a chess set that doubles as several other titles too? UWANTME thought the same thing, so they created this multi-game set, which additionally includes checkers and backgammon without taking extra space.
As you would expect, there's a great chess set included with this game. The board is portable, and so folds in the middle and stores all your pieces with ease. It measures around 12.6 x 12.6 inches, giving you more than enough space to play. The chess pieces magnetically attach to the board and are completed with flannel on the bottom for easy sliding.
What's exciting is what else is included with the board. There is a backgammon board on the other side of the chess board, so all you need to do is turn it over, and you're ready to play. Complete with round playing pieces, you can play backgammon with them, or checkers on the chess board side. It's a smart design that's going to give you hours of play.
- Portable board for play on the go
- Boards printed on both sides for different games
- Comes complete with playing pieces for all three games
- Uses environmentally conscious plastic in its production
- Offers more gaming choice in one package.
This 3-in-1 board gives you the choice of three games for the price of one. Being a portable friendly board too, it's a game that really does it all.
Chess Set Buyer's Guide
So as you've seen, there's a huge amount of chess sets available online. How do you find the one that suits you best? If you ask yourself a few questions, you'll be able to find the right set with ease.
Here's what you need to think about.
<Where Will You Use The Set?>
First thing's first, where do you want to use your chess set? You'll usually either want a set that you keep at home or one that you can take around with you.
If you want a set for home, then you can look into larger boards that are more ornate. These boards are designed to be kept at home and often have gorgeous detailing. They're also made out of beautiful materials, such as woods. If you want a travel version, you have a couple of options. You can pick a board that folds up in the middle and holds the pieces inside. These are often magnetized and are perfect for playing in cars, buses, trains, and so on. You can also go for a roll-up board, which gives you the full chess experience on a nylon fabric board.
<Do You Want A Good Looking Set Or A Practical One?>
This is another important question. There are plenty of boards out there that look amazing but aren't as practical as others. If you're keeping it as a home game, you can go for the more elaborate game if you so wish. These can be used as decorative pieces.
Instead, you may want a practical board. It could have magnetic pieces that hold onto the board, or be a folding board that holds all the pieces inside. Think about what you want most. Remember, you can get a board that does both if you want.
<Will Kids Or Adults Play?>
This is another important question. Are children or adults going to play this chess game? If you're looking to introduce children to the game, then you'll need a version that helps you teach them how to play. Versions like No Stress Chess or electronic chess boards will walk them through the process, helping them learn and get used to the game.
If you're an adult, then you have more choices when it comes to boards. You can pick up a board that will double as a decorative piece in your home, for example. Of course, if you want to learn to play, you can use those step by step boards that help you learn, or you could use other sources with a regular chess board.
<Do You Need A Tournament Level Board?>
What if you're a more advanced player? Maybe you already attend clubs, or you're looking to get into playing in tournaments. If you do, then you're going to need a regulation board. These boards are usually 20 x 20 inches and have the algebraic notations on them.
If you want one of these, they're not too hard to find. You can also find a lot of travel versions that are still the right size but roll up so you can easily transport them. It's a good option if you want to start getting serious about chess. Remember, if you're not sure about which board to buy, you can always ask your local club which one they recommend.
<How Much Do You Want To Pay?
Finally, what's your budget for a chess board? They vary in price quite wildly, meaning that you'll need to think about what you want to pay. Several boards start at just $20, meaning that there's a very low barrier to entry when it comes to start playing. Of course, these boards are going to be quite basic, but they will give you everything you need to play.
The prices start to rise the more features you get with your board. More elaborately decorated boards, boards that are themed or licensed, and those that have extra features like electronic boards will all cost more. If you want those features, you'll need to budget more to buy them.
Let's Wrap Things Up
There's so many chess boards on sale, but if you think about what you need from a set, then you'll be able to pick out the one you need. There's lots of options, you just need to consider what works for you. Any one of the sets in our list is bound to be perfect for you.
Here, are some other board games worth considering: