Imagine you're about to start a game of pool with the perfect table and cue. You make the first shot, but the cue ball doesn't do what you wanted it to do. If you want to avoid this situation, you need the best billiard balls.
Unfortunately, not all billiard balls are the same. Different materials and build qualities can affect how the balls roll. And that can affect the outcome of every single shot you or your opponent make.
So, what are the best billiard balls, and where can you find them?
Roll With It
While it may not seem like it, billiards, or pool, requires a lot of strategy. To the average beginner, pool can seem like a game of pure luck. After all, the position of each ball can affect your next move.
However, you should still have a strategy. Part of that strategy is using the best billiard balls you can. You may not be able to control everything in a game, but choosing a set of the best billiard balls can give you an advantage.
There are a few things you should look at when deciding on what billiard balls to use.
What Are Billiard Balls?
Billiard balls are the balls that you use when playing pool. Each set of billiard balls includes 16 balls, 15 of which have a number on them. Eight are a solid color, while seven have a stripe. Lastly, there's the cue ball, which doesn't have a number or color.
Since the start of pool in the 15th century, many different materials have been used to make pool balls.
First, there was wood. Other materials include clay, ivory, plastic, and steel. A material called celluloid was a nice synthetic alternative, but many players didn't like how it reacted during play.
Today, the most common material is phenolic resin. However, polyester and polymers are also common.
What Do They Do?
To play a game of pool, you need a set of billiard balls. However, to play a great game of pool, you need the best billiard balls.
In a set of billiard balls, you have some that have a solid color while others have a stripe. That differentiation is what allows you to keep track of the balls that you need to focus on versus those of your opponent.
If you're playing with the solid color balls, you want to avoid hitting any striped balls into the pockets of the table. You also want to avoid the cue ball and the 8 ball. Even though it is solid, the 8 ball belongs to both players, but it should stay in play until the end of the game.
How Can They Differ?
Many of the best billiard balls are very similar. However, there are a few ways one set of balls can differ from another.
Possibly the most common type of billiard balls are American-Style balls. These balls are 2.25 inches in diameter, and they weight about 5.5 to 6 ounces.
Some of these sets have a marble design, and others might use different materials. However, the size and weight are pretty standard for American players.
There are other sizes and configurations of billiard balls, but they're not as common.
What Should You Look For?
While most American billiard balls are the same size, the weight is more important. The best billiard balls should all weigh the same. That will give neither you nor your opponent an advantage over the other player.
You should also consider how durable the billiard balls are. If you play a lot, you want to make sure your billiard balls will last a long time.
Another thing to look for is the polish. If you use billiard balls with a smooth polish, that will make your strikes better. That is especially important if the felt on your pool table isn't the best.
Finally, consider the various materials. Polyester and acrylic balls are great because they're affordable. But they aren't as high-quality as phenolic resin balls. However, phenolic resin balls can be very expensive.
In the middle, you have synthetic resin. They're a nice balance between affordability and quality.
What Should You Avoid?
The first thing you want to avoid when looking for the best billiard balls is a set with inconsistent weight. We mentioned that weight is one of the most critical factors. In addition to avoiding balls that don't weigh the same, stay away from lighter billiard balls.
Second, avoid billiard balls that chip easily. Whether you're a casual player or you have a lot of experience, you want your billiard balls to withstand whatever you put them through.
You should also avoid billiard balls that are outside your price range, and this goes both ways. If you're a beginner, avoid shiny-object syndrome and stick to a set that you can afford.
On the other hand, if you want to upgrade your billiard balls, avoid those more affordable beginner sets. They won't be much of an upgrade.
Where Can You Buy Them?
You can buy the best billiard balls wherever you shop for any billiards accessories.
If you don't want to go to a store, you can order your next set online from a retailer like Amazon. Just be sure to do your research since you can't test the weight when shopping online.
Making The Shot
Whether you're new to billiards or a long-time player, the best billiard balls can do wonders for how you play the game. Billiard balls are just as important as the table, cue, and chalk.
So how do you find the best billiard balls? To find the best billiard balls, we started with what the experts had to say. After we found a couple of expert recommendations, we searched for similar billiard balls.
Once we had our list of the best billiard balls, we reviewed each based on their size, weight, materials, and customer ratings. We also considered other factors, like the design of the balls, if there was one.
The Best Billiard Balls
While there are tons of billiard balls on the market, here are some of the best billiard balls. Anyone can use these sets, though some are better than others.
If you're a pro or a newbie, here are some of the best billiard balls to consider purchasing.
Iszy Billiards Billiard Ball Set
First up, we have the Billiard Ball Set from Iszy Billiards. This set is an excellent choice for beginners and players with a bit of experience. However, it's not so great for much outside of casual play.
These billiard balls are good quality, and the material is polyester resin. Each of the balls is the standard 2.25 inches in diameter. The weight of each of the balls is six ounces.
This art number style set includes all 16 balls, including the cue ball. The set comes in a box, so you can keep the set together after you receive it. This set's cue ball is bright white. The white parts on the other balls are also bright white.
On Amazon, the average customer rating is 4.1 out of 5 stars. Multiple customers said the set is a great value for the price, but you do get what you pay for.
Iszy Billiards Dark Marble Billiard Ball Set
If you want something a little more unique, consider the Iszy Billiards Dark Marble Billiard Ball Set. This set has a lot of the same features as the traditional set.
The balls each have a diameter of 2.25 inches, and they each weigh 6 ounces. This set of billiard balls is made of polyester resin.
While the colors remain the same for each of the balls, they also have a dark marble swirl. The design is pretty durable and can last for quite a while. It can take a bit of time to get used to the design, but there is still a distinction between striped and solid balls.
This set comes in a box which you can continue to use for storage.
If you don't like the dark marble but want a unique set of billiard balls, they also come in a few other designs, including a classic marble. It's worth noting that this set of balls is more expensive than the traditional balls from Iszy Billiards.
However, the average customer rating is still 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Viper Billiard Master
The Pro Standard Billiard Ball Set from JAPER BEES is a more traditional option. It comes with all 16 balls, including the cue ball.
However, the white is more of an off-white, and the font for the numbers follows the art number style. Each of the balls is 2.25 inches in diameter. The weight of each ball is the standard six ounces.
These balls are perfectly round, and they have a consistent weight. The balls are made of high-quality resin, and they're suitable for beginner through professional level players.
This set of billiard balls is very durable and has a great bounce thanks to the resin and a hard surface. The balls have excellent balance, too.
Customers on Amazon give this set a fantastic rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
T&R sports Deluxe Billiards Ball Set
The T&R sports Deluxe Billiards Ball Set is another affordable choice that still meets the standards for regulation play. Each ball is 2.25 inches in diameter.
This set of billiard balls comes with all 16 balls, including the cue ball. The balls are each made of high-grade polyester resin, and they are perfectly round.
These balls come in a box with a total weight of just under seven pounds. You can continue to use the box as storage for the set after you receive it.
And the set works with any size pool table.
Amazon customers give the T&R sports Deluxe Billiards Ball Set an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Customers praised the value of this particular set.
Pool Table Billiard Ball Set
Billiard Depot's Billiard Ball Set is great for regulation play and players of all levels. The set comes complete with 16 balls, and you can use the box for storage.
Each of the balls measures 2.25 inches in diameter, which means they are regulation size. The balls have a pretty simple font for the numbers, which is helpful if you have trouble with fancier fonts.
If you want a unique design, you can purchase the set with marble coloring, but it also comes with the standard coloring.
The average customer rating on Amazon is 4.1 out of 5 stars. Some customers love the set they received, whereas others complained about the quality.
BetterLine Billiard Balls Set
If you want a billiard ball set complete with a ball rack, then you should consider the BetterLine Billiard Ball Set. Not only does it come with a full set of billiards balls, but it also includes two ball racks, five cue chalks, and two table spot stickers.
Each of the balls has a diameter of 2.25 inches, and they each weigh 5.5 ounces. The one exception is the cue ball, which weighs six ounces.
This set is a great starter set due to all of the accessories it comes with. Since you already have a ball rack, you don't have to worry about getting one. And the same is true for the cue chalk and table spot stickers.
The colors and font on the balls are pretty standard, so they're great for experienced players who want to up their game, too.
On Amazon, customers give the set an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Viper Billiard Master Complete Billiard Balls Set
The Viper Billiard Master Complete Billiard Balls Set is great if you play regularly. This complete set includes all 16 balls, including the cue ball.
Each ball measures 2.25 inches in diameter, which is great for American Style play. The balls are designed for excellent play consistency. Each ball weighs about six ounces, and the cue ball is the same size and weight as the others.
Many expert reviews highly recommend this set of billiard balls. However, customers aren't as pleased. The average customer rating is only 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
From those customer reviews, it looks like the most common complaint is that the balls don't look like the set in the picture. One customer included a photo with their review, but we couldn't see much of a difference.
On a more positive note, some customers love the balls and haven't had any problems, even after years of use.
Rack ‘Em Up
Whether you've played pool for years or are preparing for your first game, you need the best billiard balls you can find. We looked at seven fantastic sets of billiard balls.
For each set, we looked at features like size, weight, color, and customer ratings. We also considered whether experts recommended them.
So, you can rest assured that no matter which set you choose from our picks, you'll be picking a winner.
Have you used any of these sets? Tell us which set you think is the best!