Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Wegiel Ambassador Chess Set at Amazon
“Handcrafted from a rich blend of wood it’s both durable and attractive.”
Best Budget: Chess Armory 15” Chess Set at Amazon
“A budget set that’s fun to play with and that lasts.”
Best Under $200: The House of Staunton Grandmaster Chess Set at Amazon
“It comes with 34 total pieces, including two additional queens.”
Best for Travel: Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Magnetic Se at Amazon
“There won’t be any tilting with this magnetized board and pieces.”
Best Design: RADICALn Black-And-White Marble at Amazon
“Customers love the weight and sturdiness of the marble pieces.”
Best for Beginners: Winning Moves No Stress Chess Set at Amazon
“Includes 56 action cards that describe the rules of chess.”
Best Tournament Set: WE Games Deluxe Tournament Set at Amazon
“It meets The World Chess Federation’s standards for tournament play.”
Best Board Game Set: Mainstreet 5-in-1 Board Game Set at Amazon
“You’ll have a choice of chess, checkers, backgammon, and more.”
01 of 08
Best Overall: Wegiel Ambassador Chess Set
Three primary factors to consider when choosing a chess set are design, functionality, and quality. The Weigel Ambassador excels in all these categories, making it our pick for best overall.
Let’s start with the design. Handcrafted from a rich blend of birch and beech wood, the board is covered in elegant and detailed carvings while the pieces are intricately cut and coated in a subtle pattern.
As for functionality, the board can be turned into a storage box when you’re finished playing. Simply rest the pieces inside the green felt liner, which adds extra protection, fold the board in half and secure the clasps.
Customers also rave about the Ambassador’s quality. Online reviewers say this set is both durable and enjoyable to play with. Perhaps the only drawback is that the pieces aren’t weighted, meaning they might get knocked out of place more easily than those of higher-end sets, but the majority of customers weren’t bothered by this. The best part? All these great features come at an affordable price.
Whether you're a novice or experienced player, there's always room for improvement. To hone your skills check out the best books on chess tactics.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Chess Armory 15” Chess Set
Cheap chess sets are easy to find, but most consist of plastic pieces that topple over with the slightest movement and flimsy vinyl boards that are quick to scratch and tear. Luckily, Chess Armory offers a budget set that’s fun to play with and that lasts.
Designed in the traditional black-and-white style, this set is made from walnut wood. The board is foldable for easy portability and it can store every piece from pawn to king; the board interior even includes felt straps to keep the pieces secure.
While there are some downsides to this product, like non-weighted pieces and less intricate design, it's one of the highest reviewed chess sets online.
Looking for another game to play with a friend? See our guide to the best two-player board games.
03 of 08
Best Under $200: The House of Staunton Grandmaster Chess Set
The House of Staunton is one of the most respected names in the chess world. They make all their sets with a touch of luxury, including the Grandmaster.
This product is typically priced under $200, and for the avid chess player, it’s well worth the cost. It comes with 34 total pieces, including two additional queens, and each piece is made of top-grade wood and hand carved by The House of Staunton’s master artisans. The pieces are heavily weighted, making for sturdy play, and coated on the bottom with a luxurious billiard cloth pad so they’re gentle every time you move them. And when you’re finished playing, you can easily store the pieces in a separate chess box lined with protective green velour.
The Grandmaster is available in multiple types of wood and colorways, such as mahogany, rosewood, and boxwood.
04 of 08
Best for Travel: Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Magnetic Set, 9.7”
Yellow Mountain Imports lets you play on the go with this unique chess set. The defining feature: its magnetized board and pieces. There won’t be any tilting, toppling, or wobbling, even while you travel. This set folds in half, forming convenient storage space for the pieces. While this set is available in various sizes, including a super small 6.3-inch set, we chose the 9.7-inch because it’s just as easy to travel with but feels more like a traditionally sized board once set up.
“Love this little travel set,” wrote one of the many customers who gave this product a positive review. “The magnetic pieces make it so you can bump the board (like kids do a lot) and the small, lightweight pieces stay in place unlike a standard board would.”Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Design: RADICALn Black-And-White Marble, 16”
Glistening high-grain marble. Elegant black-and-white finish. This handcrafted chess set from RADICALn is both striking and subtle, making it a great showpiece for a den, living room, or study.
But this set isn’t just style over substance. Customers love the weight and sturdiness of the marble pieces, as well as the size of the board, which measures 16 x 16 inches. Even though marble sets are more fragile than wood or plastic, few customers had issues with chipping or cracking, and if their board did suffer any damage RADICALn promptly sent a replacement set within the window of their 30-day guarantee.
Just in case black-and-white marble isn’t your style, this retailer offers other marble sets, most of which clock in under $200 and retains RADICALn’s unique, eye-catching design. Other sets are available in white and green onyx, black and gold, fossil coral and white and many more.
06 of 08
Best for Beginners: Winning Moves Games “No Stress Chess” Set
Many great products are available for both children and adults who are looking to get into chess, like books, apps and, of course, numerous chess sets. But the best among them might be Winning Moves Games’ “No Stress Chess” Set, which has several easy and helpful features for the chess newcomer.
The set includes 56 action cards that describe the rules of chess and the ways each piece can move. The board is labeled so you’ll quickly learn how to set the pieces up. And Winning Moves Games has devised a step-by-step way to play that acts like a chess tutorial. It works in three phases. In Phase 1 beginners start out by drawing a card at random and following the move listed on the card; in Phase 2 players hold three cards in their hand at a time and choose which move to make; finally, in Phase 3 players hold five cards in their hand. Once you learn the rules and feel more comfortable with the game, simply do away with the cards and enjoy playing on your own.
Take a peek at some of the other best board games for kids.
07 of 08
Best Tournament Set: WE Games Complete Deluxe Tournament Chess Set
For competitive chess players, or even newcomers interested in playing chess at the highest level, this set by WE Games is the whole package. Not only does it meet The World Chess Federation’s standards for tournament play, but it also includes two extra queens, an analog chess clock and a deluxe carrying bag with a convenient shoulder strap.
This product does have notable shortcomings—non-weighted plastic pieces, a vinyl board that might curl and wear over time, and a clock that some customers found flimsy—but overall it is an all-encompassing package perfect for chess fiends. This set has largely positive reviews online, with reviewers noting that this set is both durable and compact. "I can't express how nice the pieces feel," notes one chess enthusiast. "The board quality is good as well."
08 of 08
Best Board Game Set: Mainstreet Classics Broadway 5-in-1 Combo Board Game Set
Combination board game sets make a great staple for the household by offering the fun of multiple games at once. Once you break out this combo set from Mainstreet Classics you’ll have a choice of chess, checkers, backgammon, Chinese checkers and any dice game.
All the pieces to these five games are stored inside a sturdy leatherette case with multiple pockets and drawers. The chess and checker pieces are made of natural, stained wood, and the 60 marbles come in 10 different colors.
This set was often described as convenient, durable, and fun for the whole family. The quality of the board and the individual pieces might not be the same as the higher-end products that you buy individually, but the majority of customers gave this set positive reviews.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best family board games.