Best Billiard Balls Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Interesting little tidbit: In the early 1800s, ivory was the primary material used in making Billiard Balls. However; as it typically does, supply and demand dictated that something else needed to be engineered to function just as well and make quality billiard balls. Nowadays, billiard balls go through a long production process. An organic peroxide catalyzes calcium carbonate and unsaturated polyester resin. Then, all of the air is removed through a process much like vacuuming that brings the ball together. After that, it is cooled. This causes shrinkage of the major portion and fills the connection in completely. The idea is that every ball is a perfect sphere that has a uniform weight with no air inside. This process makes it almost impossible to have a bad ball.
- Empire USA Deluxe
- Great Starter Kit for Beginners
- Iszy Billiards
- Visualizing Cue Ball Action
- Pool Table, Art Number Style
- More Balls for Your Buck
All of that being said, there are currently hundreds of billiard balls available for purchase. How on Earth are you going to decide which set is the best for your needs? Some things to consider are what your skill level and play time allow. If you’re going to play in your basement once a month or so, you will be fine with a lower end ball. If you play more than once a week or are looking to be a more competitive player you would definitely want to pay a little more and get a more solid ball that will last longer, protect your pool table investment, and offer a more consistent play. The consistency of the materials used to make the billiard balls is what will influence your quality of play. If your ball is inconsistent you may see erratic ball behavior, your ball may zigzag, or you may get some inconsistent banking. Most people will be quick to blame this on the surface of your pool table, but that may not always be the case. Let us help you decide which set of billiard balls will best suit you and your wallet.
10 Best Billiard Balls
1. Empire USA Deluxe
Polyester resin rarely loses its shape and is incredibly resistant to overheating. Each ball has been calibrated and polished to a lustrous shine. The high-grade poly resin will maintain its shape and shine through a lot of regular usage. They can heat up on the table and be able to withstand the heat without losing their shape.
Great Starter Kit for Beginners
This set or standard size billiard balls is great for beginners and/or children just learning to play. The balls are uniform and roll well, it comes with a cue ball and case. If you are an experienced player who plays several times per week, you’d probably want something a little more. But when you’re just getting started and playing a couple of times per month, this set is just what you need without breaking the bank.
Cost and Value
This billiard set is remarkably well priced. It is a good quality ball with a long life and will give you years of fun and consistent play. You get everything you need to get started, it is a high poly resin design and calibrated to perfection. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.
High grade poly resin
Calibrated and polished
Affordable for everyone
Great delivery time
Paint chips easily with frequent use
May leave white stains on pool table felt
2. Iszy Billiards
This is a training and practice cue ball. It functions well to train because you can see how the cue ball is moving. It is particularly helpful with longer shots. You will be able to tell and understand what your ball will do when hit in certain spots, the angle it will take, and the effect of the spin on the object ball.
Perfect for Practicing English
You always want to use proper grammar - and perfect your english while playing pool. This ball allows you to set the ball just a little off center so you can strike it on either side of its vertical axis, giving it that famous “english” side spin. This also occurs when the ball collides with another or with a rail. Being able to see the action vs. reaction will allow you to become a better player with every strike.
Cost and Value
This ball will be a great addition to your table. Being able to work on your shots and see which way the cue ball is spinning will be invaluable for your overall game. It is reasonably priced and holds up well through much training and practice. It is well made, holds up well through regular training and practice shots. You would do well to own at least a few of these.
Great for practicing english
Understand the spin and effect of the cue ball
Improve your game, especially the long shots
Spot the cause of error shots
Cracks easily if used to break higher grade balls
White color is often faded to an antique look
3. Pool Table, Art Number Style
Excellent Quality Shipping
This set of balls will arrive promptly and in great shape. They are inexpensive and convenient for all types of budgets but come packaged very tightly in a nice box. They feel and play as well,if not better than any bar table set. They come highly polished and looking great. It is a very nice looking set and would also be a great gift to your pool enthusiast.
Cost and Value
These balls will go a long way. They last a long time and really don’t cost any more than other sets, especially those of similar quality. You will get a lot of use out of these without a ton of money up front.
Consistent in size and weight
Nice coloring and brightness
Excellent quality shipping
Highly polished and professional
Will crack with frequent use
Numbers are sometimes blurry
4. Iszy Billiards, Marble Swirl Style
These are absolutely beautiful billiard balls that will really make your pool table pop! They are regulation weight and have a studding appearance. No matter where you play with these balls, they will stand out in a crowd. People will notice and comment on them. They feel solid and play just as well as any other set you’ve likely used. They are great for a home table or pool hall and have a really cool design.
High Quality Polyester Resin
These balls are made of poly resin. What that means for you is that they are weight calibrated and you should have minimal deviations while playing. The surface is polished and the balls move without leaving marks in their path.
Cost and Value
In a not-so-common-occurrence, these balls are actually better in real life than in the pictures used to advertise them. The intricate swirls and glossy finish combined with painted markings combine to make a ball that you will not be able to find anywhere else. You will always get mountains of compliments from your friends. They will make an excellent gift and any pool connoisseur will be thrilled to receive them. This beautiful ball set will be worth every penny you pay for them.
Stunning marble/swirl design
Excellent quality shipping
Smooth and consistent roll
Amazing customer service available
Hard to tell the difference between stripes and solids
Tend to wear out quickly
5. Aramith 2 ¼” Regulation Size
Made with the highest quality phenolic resin, these balls are heat-cures using the specialized Virotech technology. The result is lengthened durability and will last for years to come. These balls are beautifully round and resist friction well which means you won't have any burn marks on your pool table.
Well Known Name
The Aramith name is renowned in the pool industry. Almost every ball in this review is, at some point, compared to an Aramith ball. They are made in Belgium of pure phenolic resin - some of the only ones available. This means that they bounce and roll nearly exactly the same every time you hit them. They also have a longevity that is beyond rivalry.
Cost and Value
If you are looking for the best pool ball, you will happily pay the price of an Aramith. These have to be replaced so much less than other balls that in the long run, you’re likely going to spend more money replacing the less expensive balls anyway. Factoring in their playability and longevity, they are well worth the price you pay.
Well established name brand
Made of highest quality phenolic resin
Durability and longevity
Consistent bounce and roll
Quite expensive but you get what you pay for
Quality product but not the top of the Aramith line
6. DAD 5IVE Mini
Since this ball set is smaller than standard size, it is perfect for kids’ tables that have multiple games like pool, foosball, hockey, and ping pong. It can be hard to find billiard balls for children to learn with on a smaller surface, so these can definitely be a win! They are very much fun, adorable, and cute little balls that play very much like the full size. They come packaged in a very nice box. If you need mini balls, I highly recommend these.
Even the mini balls are made with high-quality resin which makes them perfectly round, scratch resistant, durable, and shiny. They will be a great match for teaching youngsters to love the game and get them excited to play with a smaller version of a professional billiard ball. They will have the look and feel of a standard size ball and will have a similar roll and bounce with each strike. A great teaching tool!
Cost and Value
This set is quite inexpensive and will prove durable enough to survive a younger child’s play. They are just the right size for our old game table. This will allow the next generation of kids to enjoy mini pool and get them started in the love for the game. It comes with a triangle rack and is the perfect addition to any mini billiard collection.
High quality resin
Shiny and smooth
Consistent roll and bounce
Passes on the love of the game to the next generation
You have to order the triangle rack
This is a mini set
7. #8 Regulation
Let’s praise the workmanship on this ball first. It is made of high-quality polyresin, has a nice shine, and smooth finish. They come well marked with no smears or smudges, do not chip easily, and are perfect for a replacement of one in your set. Odds are, if you’re an avid pool player you’ll likely need to replace your entire set at the same time, but if you own a pool hall or bar, this would be the most common ball to go missing. It does live up to its name as a replacement #8 ball.
Myriad of Other Uses
I remember the first time I rode in my brother’s ‘50 Ford pickup truck. I thought I was the coolest kid out there. His truck was always so clean and decked to the nines. He had this awesome #8 ball on his gear shift and he was definitely my hero! In reading through the reviews of this ball, I am finding that this is a quite common use of a #8 ball. So far as to list step by step instructions on how to make it fit on your gear shift! What I did not know (apparently I am not much of a computer tech), is that you can also customize your mouse with this #8 ball and it works great with most CST & other type trackballs. So as long as you know what you’re looking for, this ball could be the beginning of your own customized dreams!
Cost and Value
This is one ball, sold alone, and is quite inexpensive. No matter what you choose to use it for you’ll be able to afford it. If you want it for your pool ball collection, it is made of fine quality products and will fit in nicely. If you’re looking for a gear shift or trackball, you still will not be disappointed. Even if it breaks during the drilling transformation, it is inexpensive enough to be able to do a few practice runs before perfecting the final product. Go for it!
Made of high quality poly resin
Shiny ball, perfectly smooth and round
Well made and built to last
Many different uses
Great shipping times
Just one ball, not the entire set
The glass coating will break when drilled - don’t be alarmed
8. Felson Supplies Precision Engineered
Of course, for the price of this set, you should not expect top dollar, professional balls. This is a really great amateur set with a little more bounce than a professional set. They are made of high-quality material, smooth, and round, however a little heavier than a typical tournament style ball. If you plan on using them once in a while they will be great. If you’re practicing or playing a lot you will likely need to replace them fairly soon. If you want something to play around with in your basement for some fun, this would be a great purchase for you!
Each ball is precision engineered to regulation size and is crafted from high quality blended polyresin. They are individually calibrated for roundness and weight and are also glossed to a beautiful shine and vibrant color. These balls are a beautiful addition to any pool room. They also come individually wrapped in bubble wrap inside a solid box, for less chance of damage during shipping.
Cost and Value
The cost of this entire set of billiard balls is very reasonable. They are high quality and will withstand much play from a novice, or infrequent player. They are easy to order, come professionally packaged, and quickly. They are a good price for a good product and I would recommend them to anyone looking to get started in the game!
Easy order and fast shipping
Good price for a good product
Well balanced balls
Turn yellow after a few months
Balls will chip after extended use
9. Imperial Quality Licensed
This collection is perfect as a gift. They are made of high-quality material, solid and round, roll smoothly and have a good feel. Besides all of that, they come packaged individually wrapped and protected in a solid box. They are vibrant colors and have excellent graphics. They are fun to play with and will be a great conversation and game starter. You will get more compliments on the appearance and quality of this set than any other you’ve owned!
Packaging and Shipping
Great care is taken in the packaging and shipping of these exclusive billiard balls. The packaging is airtight, each ball is carefully wrapped, and they typically arrive a few days earlier than expected even with the custom design on the balls. Of course, when you order anything you expect the manufacturer to take pride in their shipping, but this package will definitely leave you impressed. Excellent shipping and manufacturing.
Cost and Value
The price of these is decent, about midrange, but absolutely worth it! They are of a high-quality phenolic resin with a custom, made-to-order design. Of course, you’ll be paying a little extra for the exclusive NFL logo and team design but you should know that going in. These are great conversation starters and will keep a crowd talking all through the game of pool and football!
Custom design and decal
Excellent shipping and manufacturing
Exclusive NFL logo
A little pricey
No numbers on the balls
10. Action Bumper Pool Ball Set
When you find yourself a bumper pool table you will also need to be on the lookout for the right bumper pool ball set. Because of the bumpers set up across the game table, you will not be able to use the regulation size billiard balls. These balls are slightly smaller and not quite as hard as a standard billiard ball in order to allow them to bump around and slide through the bumpers into the pockets.
Vibrant Colors and Clearly Marked
These balls are polished and shined to a brilliant light. You will not be disappointed in the luster of these bumper pool balls. The marked balls in this set stand out nicely so you have no confusion as to which ball needs to be sunk first.
Cost and Value
The cost of these bumper pool balls is considerably less than most of the other regulation size billiard balls on this list. They are a little smaller, there are ten balls in the set as opposed to sixteen, and they are just two colors which is less expensive to produce than the myriad of colors in stripes and solids. These will be a great accent to your bumper pool table.
Red and white balls offer nice contrast
No question about color/striping/etc.
Perfect for Bumper pool tables
White balls are more cream than white
Feel a little lighter than standard pool balls
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Billiard Balls
As we have discussed throughout this review, the type of billiard ball you want to purchase will depend largely on the amount of time you play and your skill level. Ultimately, you will spend more when you buy a phenolic resin ball, but they are stronger and will last longer than a similar set made of poly resin will. That may or may not matter based on how much you play. You want to get a set that will not wear out your pool table cloth and you want the balls to be high quality and have a high gloss finish. Even more importantly, you want the weight of the ball to be evenly distributed for a nice, smooth, and consistent hit every time.
There are many different options of billiard balls, all made from similar products using similar techniques. You will want to do your research and consider how much time you plan to spend at your pool table before making a purchase. All the balls in this review will help you attain your ultimate goal and will withstand a lot of play. If you are more practiced and have a pretty solid break you may want to start out with the pricier, but more durable, balls. If you’re just getting started, the more inexpensive balls will serve their purpose very well.
If you want a high-quality pool ball that will last you for a very long time despite heavy use, you want a one made of phenolic resin. Phenol is a mildly acidic organic compound that requires special handling during manufacturing. The process and molding of these into balls produces ones that last five times longer than others on the market made of polyester or polymers. When tested by a simulator, phenolic balls stand up to the test and are still good to use after being hit 400,000 times. After that many hits, most others are not even usable.
Other Material Options
If you don’t have the money needed to shell out for a phenolic resin set, there are absolutely other worthy options, though they likely won’t last as long. This isn’t a huge deal if you are a casual player and don’t put your billiard balls through heavy use and abuse.
Polyester, plastic, acrylic, and other resins can also make a solid pool ball. They don’t have the balance or life of a ball made of phenol, but there are many options that will allow you to maintain a good shape and longevity with thousands of hits, just not 400,000. Ultimately, you will need to weigh how much you play with what material you need to get. If you are a casual player, you will do just fine with polyester, acrylic, or plastic. If you are more of a regular you’ll want a higher quality ball or you will just be replacing cheaper sets more often which ends up costing more in the long run.
Cleaning your Billiard Ball Set
Your pool balls need to be treated gently. You don’t want them to lose their shine or get scratched. Polyester or poly resin balls are more susceptible to this due to the nature of the material. You’ll want to make sure you clean them with care and never use anything abrasive. Warm water and dish soap should do the job adequately. Make sure that you allow them to dry completely before trying to use them.
Phenolic resin is a cleaned a little bit differently. To start off with, they typically don’t get as dirty so don’t need to be cleaned as often. You will want to avoid using any form of liquid soap here though; as it will form a film around the ball which will seriously mess with your game. If warm water alone won’t do the trick, you will need to invest in a cleaner specifically for this type of ball.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will these balls yellow over time?
A: Not for many years in normal use. Phenolic balls are less likely to yellow or show signs of wear.
Q: Can you get a replacement ball without having to buy the whole set?
A: Individual balls are available to purchase, although availability is sometimes limited.
Q: Do the numbers on these balls appear fuzzy?
A: Occasionally the numbers do appear fuzzy because of the clear coat over the outside of the balls.
Q: Will the billiard balls leave a burn mark on my table felt?
A: Depending on the type of the resin used to make the ball, they may leave a burn mark. Polyresin balls will be more likely to cause a burn than phenolic balls. If you are an experienced player who spends a lot of time playing and/or practicing, you would likely want to spend a little more money on a higher quality phenolic resin set.
Q: Will the cue ball resist damage from a phenolic tip cue?
A: You will want to match the resin of your tip with your cue ball for best results.
Q: Is the cue ball white or slightly yellow/cream color?
A: The cue ball will typically start off as a very light, bright white or off-white color and yellow with age.