Billiards Equipment - Buying The Best Pool Balls

Some Ideas You May Wish To "Roll With" Soon

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Buying pool balls? Balls are available in a wide range of styles... Photo courtesy of EPCO

Buying Pool Balls Right

Buy the right pool balls for your table to begin and you'll be able to enjoy them for decades. Pool and billiard balls are currently made from a durable plastic resin that is highly crack resistant under stress.

This so called “phenolic resin” represents a big change from the wood balls, the easily warped balls, of a century and a half ago. Phenolic resin also leapt ahead of the “ivories” widely in use until the fifties.

Some old-timers still swear “ivories”, which were indeed made from elephant tusks, were the best balls ever played. In contrast, today when buying pool balls the purchaser is guaranteed a perfect set of uniform size and shape, and at an off-ivory price that won’t break their wallet, either.

Seventy dollars or more for a good set of fifteen balls (or sixteen if a cue ball comes with your set) is typical. Expect to spend a bit extra, even twice as much or more for your home poolroom, to get a set of the best possible quality. Their durability and accuracy are more than worth their price.

Don't Break The Table

Never drop or toss balls onto the table’s surface. Gently place them on the "felt" (cloth actually) by hand instead. Balls and slate are incredibly durable, but even microscopic dents eventually become wobble spots and microscopic dents are exactly what are formed when people drop and plunk balls onto a table.

One of my biggest pet peeves comes when players throw balls out onto the table in anger after a bad game. Be gentle instead.

Testing And Examining Pool Balls

The colored paint on a new set must be absolutely immaculate. Check the areas near the numbers and painted stripes for any blurred edges or chipping, a sure indicator of a botched job.

Chipped or cracked balls will surely wobble off-line, especially when rolled slowly across a level table.

Another factor altering playing capabilities, but overlooked by most, is accrued dirt. A dirty ball will “cling” to a ball it strikes for fractions of a second longer than it would ordinarily after impact. The altered ball paths cause missed shots.

Clean balls when they start to feel “dirty” or cling together visibly for extra time after impact. A quick water bath, with a tiny bit of soap added, washes away the collected oils and dirt that make balls feel sticky. Briskly dry them with a towel afterwards.

You can also roll three balls together with a stick along the rail to see if the balls are the same exact size. Used balls, particularly those in a busy pool hall, even if they were the finest (Aramith brand) balls to begin, can wear down in size from countless impacts.

The Explosive (Literally!) History Of Pool Balls

Polish The Best Pool Balls And They Will Shine

Many pool halls use polishing machines to clean and wax balls, performing the same function as a bowling ball cleaner.

Get out there buying pool balls and enjoy! But don't go cheap. Good balls can take thousands upon thousands of collisions without suffering loss.