You’ve got your table set up, you’ve got some friends ready to play, now all you need is one of the best Mahjong game sets your money can buy, and you’re ready to while away the hours in one of the world’s oldest games.
That’s where we come in.
We’ve tried and tested dozens of the best-selling Mahjong sets and picked out ten of our favorites based on aesthetic appeal, playability and practicality.
Today, we share those picks with you as well as outlining everything you need to know to help you pick the best Mahjong set for you and your friends or family.
What is Mahjong?
Popular with fans of table-based games like chess or dominoes, Mahjong is a tile-based game that originated in China over 2,000 years ago.
Typically played on a dedicated Mahjong table, the objective of this four-player game is simple:
Get all of your tiles into four sets and a pair before any of your fellow players are able to do so.
Along with other essential pieces such as dice and pushers, those tiles are normally packed up in complete Mahjong sets like the ten we’re about to review below:
Top Ten Best Mahjong Tables
|1.||White Swan Mahjong Set||Aluminum|
|2.||American Mahjong Set by Linda Li||Soft quilt|
|3.||Yellow Mountain Imports Classic Royale II||Wood|
|4.||White Swan White/Burgundy Mahjong Set||Aluminum|
|5.||American Mahjong Set||Canvas|
|6.||USAMJTABLE Mahjong Set||Canvas|
|7.||Yellow Mountain Imports Chinese Mahjong Set||Embroidered silk|
|8.||Classic Chinese Mahjong Set||Canvas|
|9.||Rosewood Mahjong Set||Wood|
|10.||Mose Cafolo Chinese Mahjong Set||Plastic|
1. White Swan Mahjong Set
The best all-round Mahjong set on the market today, this premium quality product from White Swan comes in a strong, 20” aluminum case that is every bit as beautiful as it is durable.
As attractive as that case may be, it’s what’s inside that really counts, and to that end, White Swan certainly delivers.
At the heart of this set are the tiles themselves, 166 of them to be exact, each one expertly engraved and hand-painted with all the traditional Mahjong symbols. Even more so than that gorgeous case, these tiles are a true work of art and are perfect for creating that authentic Mahjong experience.
The aesthetic appeal continues with the four tile racks, each designed in a unique color and large enough to comfortably hold all the tiles you need to start your game.
Some manufacturers would be happy to bundle these tiles and racks into a case and put it out there, but not White Swan.
As one of the leading Mahjong set makers on the market, the company have built their reputation by making sure the game’s fans have everything they need to experience Mahjong the way it was meant to be played.
With that in mind, this kit also includes two Mahjong pushers, two spare jokers, four blank tiles, and instructions. Finally, White Swan have seen fit to throw in a bettor and 100 chips, perfect for those times when you want to make things a little more interesting.
2. American Mahjong Set by Linda Li
Much like Chinese Checkers and other games with a decidedly oriental feel to them, Mahjong is as much about the aesthetics as it is the actual gameplay. That perhaps explains why this ever-so-attractive American Mahjong set by Linda Li remains continues to outsell almost all of its competitors.
Keeping with tradition, the set comes in a soft quilted case that is large enough to fit all of your pieces comfortably while still light enough to be easily thrown over your shoulder and carried around. The intricate design of that case is so well done that it’s sure to be a talking point wherever you go.
Who knows, it may even convince a few people to stop and play a few games with you.
If they do, then you can rest assured that this stunning kit has got everything you could need to introduce newcomers to the game, including a complete book with 3D color graphics to help them learn the basics.
Meanwhile, experienced players will love the attention to detail on the 166 beautifully crafted tiles, as well as the four all-in-one tile-rack/pusher devices.
Three dice, 100 money chips, and a bettor all come as standard, though the real highlight of this is the quilted case. Not only does it look the part, but its superior quality really does triumph over any similarly-styled set out there.
3. Yellow Mountain Imports Classic Royale II
Along with White Swan, Yellow Mountain are one of the most popular Mahjong brands out there, so don’t be surprised to see them pop up multiple times in this guide.
Though the company offers a wide variety of sets in all shapes, sizes, and styles, none quite match up to their flagship product, the Classic Royale II.
This irresistible game set comes with a redwood veneer case that would look right at home next to your deluxe chess set in a high-end game room.
The ideal choice for traditionalists or anyone who just loves the natural, authentic look of a wooden gaming kit, the redwood veneer extends beyond the case and carries on in the elegantly-carved wind indicator and ornate tile racks.
The racks come with removable, magnetic pushers which simply slot back into place when not in use and can be tucked away comfortably within the soft felt-lined interior of the case.
The tiles themselves are made from durable acrylic, all charmingly engraved with Chinese characters as well as western alphanumeric characters.
Along with all of the above, this impressive set also comes with attractive scoring coins, dice, and instructions, all making it a topic pick for anyone who likes their game nights to have that extra touch of class.
4. White Swan White/Burgundy Mahjong Set
If you liked everything about our first-placed pick apart from its color, then White Swan’s white/burgundy alternative may be just the thing you’re after.
It’s built to the same impeccable quality standards as their blue-cased variety. The solid, aluminum case coming with its own soft, felt lining to ensure that every piece is well protected.
As is the case with most quality Mahjong sets, the 166 tiles are built from melamine, a tough, environmentally-friendly, plastic-like material that is practically impervious to damage.
Spare tiles, chips, a better and a rule book all come as standard, as do the stand-alone tile racks and pushers.
All in all, a top-quality product that would make a worthy addition to any game room.
5. American Mahjong Set from American Wholesalers
American Wholesalers are the same brand that brought us that gorgeous Linda Li-designed kit we ranked at number two on this list. Here, the company continues to deliver great-looking Mahjong sets, this time in a cooler-than-cool black canvas bag.
OK, so their American Mahjong set may not be as ornate or elaborate as the one we looked at earlier, but it’s subtle, understated appearance lends it a unique charm all of its own.
A better option for those who prefer minimalist design and maximum quality, this one contains all of the essentials (chips, rules, pusher-racks, and dice), along with gorgeous tiles that have been beautifully engraved to a high standard.
As with the Linda Li model, this one comes with a complete primer on how to play Mahjong the American way, while the spare tiles also make it easy to switch to the American rules.
6. USAMJTABLE Mahjong Set
The red canvas bag doesn’t quite have the same aesthetic appeal as you’d get with some of the higher-priced sets, but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in durability, boasting a level of durability which belies its lightweight design.
Inside, the tile is all designed to a good standard and come in a handy holding tray which slots nearly into the bag after use. Elsewhere, the four plastic pusher-racks are more damage-resistant than they first appear. They also come in a variety of bright colors which makes this set a good option for introducing young children to the game.
As you’d expect, the dice, chips, jokers, and bettor are all present and correct, as is an easy-to-follow rule book.
If you always wanted to start playing Mahjong but have been put off by how expensive most sets are, this value-for-money option should definitely be on your shopping list.
7. Yellow Mountain Imports Chinese Mahjong Set
Didn’t we tell you that you’d be seeing more of Yellow Mountain Imports? This time, they’re back with a one-of-a-kind Mahjong set designed exclusively for the Chinese version of the game.
The oriental approach is evident from the moment you first clap eyes on the unique case, a stunning, embroidered silk design with a soft, felt lining that rivals any product on this list in terms of aesthetic appeal.
The delicately hand painted tiles are also pretty special, though given the Chinese-version-only nature of this set, you won’t find any western characters on them.
In fact, while many American Mahjong sets can be easily adapted to the Chinese version, this isn’t so versatile. It comes with only 144 essential tiles plus four blank spares in case they’re needed.
Three dice, a simple-yet-effective plastic wind indicator, and sturdy, attractive tile cases are also included. The only thing missing is a set of instructions, though fortunately, we’ve got you covered on that one with our step-by-step breakdown on how to play the Chinese version of Mahjong.
8. Classic Chinese Mahjong Set
While all of the sets we’ve featured today can be packed up and carried around, few are better designed specifically for travel than this classy and compact kit from the USA Mahjong Table brand.
Weighing less than seven pounds and measuring a good several inches shorter than the majority of Mahjong sets, this one can be easily slotted into a carry-on bag or loaded into the car without taking up a great deal of room.
The travel-friendly design may be this set’s biggest selling point, but it’s far from the only thing to like about it.
Our favorite feature is the unique look of the tiles. Whereas the majority of Mahjong sets come with medium-large, white tiles, this one comes with small, 1.25” ones made from a striking black acrylic.
Speaking of the tiles, there are only 144 of them in this set, with no jokers or blank tiles included. As such, it’s only really suitable for playing the Chinese version of the game, but if that’s just what you’re looking for, then you’ll find lots to like about this one-of-a-kind set.
9. Rosewood Mahjong Set
Speaking of one-of-a-kind Mahjong sets, have you seen how beautiful this all-rosewood set is?
Sure, it’s not the only set to come in a wooden case, but it is one of the very few to feature wooden tiles and even wooden dice.
That alone would make it a worthy contender for any top ten Mahjong set, but the expert craftsmanship and attention to detail really seal the deal.
Designed for Chinese Mahjong with 144 tiles, this one also comes with betting chips, a spinner, and handy instructions written in Plain English.
Though it may be more of a collector’s piece than a practical set for everyday use, there’s something altogether enchanting about this one that we just can’t resist.
10. Mose Cafolo Chinese Mahjong Set
Last but by certainly no means least, the Mose Cafolo Chinese Mahjong set comes with extra-large, 1.5” tiles made from safe, sturdy melamine plastic. This alone would make it a great choice for introducing children to the game, for playing with elderly relatives, or for anyone who finds the smaller tiles included in some sets to be too much of a challenge to deal with.
Although this is built for Chinese Mahjong, Mose Cafolo have been good enough to include western alphanumeric characters on the tiles along with the usual Chinese symbols, just another reason why those new to the Chinese version of the game (and younger players in particular) may prefer this set to any other.
The plastic case may not be the prettiest out there, but it’s functional, practical, and solid enough to protect not only the tiles but all of the included accessories such as the chips, dice, and wind indicator.
Mahjong Game Set Buyer’s Guide 2020
You’ve read our take on the ten very best Mahjong sets on the market right now, but how do you know which one to buy?
Truth be told, any one of our top ten picks would represent great value for money and provide years of enjoyable gameplay. So, when it comes to picking just one of those ten, these are the factors to keep in mind.
American vs. Chinese Mahjong
Like card games, darts, or many other games, there are countless variations of the classic Mahjong game, with the American and Chinese versions being the most popular too.
The version of the game that you prefer to play will largely influence which set you buy.
If you’re looking for that authentic oriental experience and only want to play the Chinese version of the game and have no desire to play the American variety, then any of the 144-tile Chinese Mahjong sets will be just what you’re looking for.
If, on the other hand, you want to stick with the American version -or at least to have the freedom to flip between the two- then a set with at least 152 tiles is what you’re after.
Keep in mind that while almost all American Mahjong sets can be adapted to play the Chinese game, the reverse isn’t true of Chinese sets, which tend to lack features (extra tiles, tile racks etc.) needed for the American version.
If you’re only interested in playing the Chinese game -and playing it as authentically as possible, then having western letters and numbers engraved on your tiles may not be a big deal. In fact, it may be the exact opposite of what you’re looking for.
However, if you’re playing casually, and especially if you’re introducing newcomers or children to the game, having those western characters can really make a difference when it comes to keeping things simple.
Remember that stunning, golden embroidered Mahjong set from Yellow Mountain Imports that we looked at earlier?
While it’s certainly a thing of beauty, it’s not exactly the most practical thing for carrying around with you. The same goes for wooden cases. Although they may look gorgeous, they’re better suited to being left at home where they take pride of place in your games room or living space.
For many people, that might be fine, but if you’re planning to take your Mahjong game over to a friend’s house, or perhaps to go play in the park, then you’ll need a carry case that’s much more suitable for carrying around. In that case, a canvas bag option like the second-placed American Mahjong Set by Linda Li is definitely a better option.
Which is the Best Mahjong Set for Your Money?
With all that being said, what’s the one Mahjong worth plonking down your money for?
If you ask us, it has to be our first-placed pick, the White Swan Mahjong Set. The aluminium case is attractive enough to have as a stay-at-home kit, yet still practical enough that it makes a good portable option.
If you’re looking for a predominantly portable pick, then again, we can’t say enough nice things about that beautiful American Mahjong Set by Linda Li.
The same can be said when it comes to that remarkable golden embroidered Chinese Mahjong set from the best-selling Yellow Mountain Imports brand. Though better as an ornamental piece than for regular gameplay, it really is an alluring game set, making it the perfect gift option for anyone who loves Mahjong as much as we do.