Best Pool/Billiard Ball Set (Reviews)
By Phill Williams
18th Oct, 2019, 15 min read
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The pool balls you use make a hell lot of a difference. The ball roll, roundness, and consistency of cheaper balls are way off, which inhibits you from playing your natural game and progress as a player. That's why it is so important to play with the best billiard ball set you possibly can.
Whether you're just looking to upgrade your old set, or if it's time to replace those cracked and chipped billiard balls, you might find it a struggle to pick out that perfect set of 16. Most new pool tables come with their own set of balls - the problem is that these aren't usually suited for competitive play. They are often cheap or break easily, and even the semi-amateur players would outgrow them soon and switch these out as soon as possible.
It's not uncommon to lose the billiard balls, either - regardless of where you play! It might seem strange to think that a two and a quarter-inch ball can just… disappear, but it happens, especially when you have kids around!
"When it comes to billiard balls, Aramith is the goto brand you can bank on. They have been in the business of manufacturing billiard balls for over 70 years and know their stuff quite well. No wonder, all our recommendations are from the same Brand!"
To save you the hassle, we have reviewed five of the best pool ball sets available. Whether you're looking for a pro-quality set or an affordable replacement, you'll definitely find it here.
After interviewing a number of experts, researching 11 pool ball sets, and testing 5, we conclude that the Aramith Premium is the best for most because of its solid performance and affordable pricing. It's well-built, very durable, and suitable for both casual and serious players alike.
Our Top Picks for Best Pool Balls
1. Aramith Tournament Billiard Pool Ball Set 2 1/4"
For the Pro's (Best of the Best)
These are by far the best pool balls money can buy. The same set is used across all-major tournaments and is a preferred choice among professionals and enthusiasts alike. But what's so special about these balls?
For starters, Aramith is the world-renowned manufacturer, known for making the highest-quality billiard balls. This particular set is no exception, either. This top-of-the-line set is made out of 100% pure phenolic resin. What this means is that these balls are highly impact-resistant, extraordinarily durable, and will last you for a long time!
The set features what Aramith calls the 4th generation Duramith technology, which results in a perfectly round shaped ball. This reduces ball burn spots and dramatically improves the lifespan of the felt. The enhanced manufacturing process also makes these balls extremely resistant to scratches or chipping. As a result, the vitrified outer layer and the core hold its shine and luster longer. Each ball is perfectly homogeneous and precisely calibrated to regulation (in terms of size and weight). The balls are further optimized to offer optimal and consistent rebound, allowing you to have better control over your shots.
As per the company claims, in a residential setting, the set would easily last for over 40 years. Similarly, the company claims the set outlasts any other, by over eight times. This speaks highly about confident Aramith is about its offering.
To sum it up: The price may seem steep, but if you consider the performance and longevity, the price seems well-justified. If you're looking for the very best-quality billiard ball set and price isn't a constraint, get these - you won't be disappointed.
What We Liked
+ Recognized as the best billiard balls currently available
+ Used in over 85% tournaments worldwide
+ Long-lasting, durable and doesn't lose its shine overtime
+ Distinctive bright color with over-sized numbers
Watch Out for
- High price point
2. Aramith Premium Belgian Pool and Billiard Ball Set
Editor's Pick [Best for Most]
We're not biased towards Aramith - It's just that they're the best of there. Coming to our second pick - The Aramith Premium. It's a great value set offering excellent performance at an affordable price.
Crafted from 100% pure phenolic resin, it offers excellent playability while being exceptionally scratch and impact resistant. It's ideal for recreational to serious players who're looking for a budget set.
With this set, you're compromising slightly on the quality. In terms of performance, there is just a minuscule difference between this and the tournament set. The ball undergoes the same vitrification process, which results in a high-density vitrified surface. As a result, the individual balls are of uniform weight, size, and consistency. Aramith refers this to as Vitrotech technology.
Additionally, the shiny, smooth outer surface maximizes the table cloth's life and reduces the chances of ball burn spots. This results in additional savings for you! Built to last, these balls will outlast any polyester or average set by five times.
Between the excellent all-round playability and reasonable pricing, I feel you'll be hard-pressed to find a better pool ball set than this.
What We Liked
+ Value Pick
+ Suitable for all skill levels
+ Very durable
Watch Out for
3. Super Aramith Pro Pool and Billiard Ball Set
Runner Up (Pro Pick Category)
Aramith Super Pro Pool set is one-grade lower than the top-of-the-line Tournament edition. It sells $90 cheaper than the tournament set while offering similar performance. This is an ideal set for anyone who is looking for an affordable, top-quality pool table ball set.
The tournament edition balls are made from newer Duramith technology resulting in more durable and fault-tolerant balls. With these balls, you're compromising a tiny bit on the quality and performance. But overall, they adhere excellently well to professional standards. What's more, these are the exact same set which you find in most local and national leagues.
As you would expect from Aramith - the balls are perfectly round with uniform weight and size. The balls roll true, offer excellent rebounding, control, and look premium. Also, they are as durable and resistant chipping/scratching as it gets.
Who is it for: The pro cup set is a healthy compromise between excellent performance and relatively cheaper pricing. You can buy them with confidence - It's currently the second-best billiard ball set on the market.
What We Liked
+ Cheaper alternative to the Tournament edition
+ Used in most of the local and national leagues
+ Very durable
Watch Out for
- Slightly of lower quality than the Tournament edition
4. Aramith Stone Collection Pool and Billiard Ball Set
Best Style & Design
If you're looking for a pool ball set that plays not only great but also looks eye-catching, Aramith Stone Collection pool set may be worth considering.
This 16 ball regulation set comes in a beautiful granite finish, giving a more upscale look to go with your home pool table. These balls are comparable to the Aramith Belgian Premium set in terms of performance and quality. As you would expect with any Aramith set, the balls roll true and come with precise weight and hardness. Each ball is made out of pure phenolic resin, which means the balls are through and through of the same color and not painted from the top, unlike the cheaper brands.
The balls are perfectly round, carry a high-luster finish, and are visibly brighter with over-sized numbers on them. The friction-resistant roll ensures there are no ball burn spots while increasing the life of your pool table felt.
These balls are quite durable too. The company claims that the balls play perfectly even after 40,000 hits and outlast most other brands by five times.
Who is it for: The set is perfect for home and recreational users, who are looking for an attractive, high-performance, and long-lasting Billiard ball set.
What We Liked
+ Attractive and stylish design
+ Pro-quality balls, equal to Aramith premium in terms of performance
+ Durable, high-luster and scratch-resistant
Watch Out for
- Slightly expensive
5. Aramith Continental 2 1/4" Billiard Regulation Pool Ball Set
This the most economical set in the Aramith line of pool table balls and are suitable for casual and recreational players. Being Aramith, you can rest assured of the quality. They play way better than the cheaper sets you find in the market by a large margin.
Characteristic to Aramith, the balls are made from phenolic resin and are built as per regulation. This results in smooth ball roll and excellent durability. But the lower price also means the corners have been cut. The resin quality is just about ok, the stripes and the numbers are painted from the top, and most importantly, the surface is prone to scratches. Also, the balls don't rebound that well. If you're upgrading from the stock balls that came with your table, it will feel like a major upgrade. But if you're looking to practice or play seriously, I would suggest going with the Premium model instead.
To sum it up: These are the best entry-level billiard balls under $50. It plays decent and offers absolute bang for your buck.
What We Liked
+ Bang for the buck pricing
+ Great practice balls
+ Suitable for any skill level
+ Decent performance
Watch Out for
- Color mismatch especially on the stripe balls
- Balls are painted from the top (silk-screening) rather inlaid
Buyer's Guide to Billiard/Pool Balls
There's more to consider when purchasing pool balls than you might have initially thought. Visually all pool balls look pretty much the same. But the difference between a $40 set and a premium set of Aramith balls is like night and day. We don't advocate that you should pick the costliest set, either. It's essential to strike a balance between performance and pricing.
In this buyer's guide will outline everything you need to consider before you decide which set of billiard balls to buy.
Price (Cheap Vs. Expensive)
Quality of a Pool ball can be adjudged in terms of material, consistency, weight, roundness, elasticity, friction efficiency and surface polish, and color profile.
Cheaper balls are usually made of acrylic or polyester material, while the more expensive ones are made of phenolic resin. Cheaper balls lack consistency, proper weight distribution, and elasticity, leading to poor performance and, more often than not, burn marks on the felt.
Phenolic resin is what you find in premium-grade sets. They're far more resistant to scratching or scuffing and offer top-of-the-line performance. They're more durable, create less friction (reducing burn marks) and are more elastic yet maintain their proper shape throughout. Jumping ball or clean breaks can easily be achieved with phenolic balls.
Which one should You Choose?
If you're more of a weekend player, it's best to stick with a sub $100 set as that would at least give you the real feel of playing pool. The budget option would make an excellent choice for anyone looking to learn the game, casual practice, or teaching your young ones the game of pool. Avoid cheaper balls as they don't necessarily follow the proper trajectory, have poor rebounding properties, and may hamper your pool felt.
Most players will benefit from the mid-range options - If you're semi-beginner to an intermediate level player, the Aramith Premium may be an ideal middle-ground for you. It plays well, offers performance close to the top-grade sets, while sitting at a nice, mid-range price.
If you're serious about your game or are planning to turn pro someday, stick with Aramith Tournament set - without a doubt, it's the best out there. Yes, it comes with a steep price, but it outlasts cheaper substitutes five times over. It's the exact set used in pro-leagues and televised tournaments. Moreover, playing with a sub-standard ball set can also lead to untimely damage to your pool felt.
Make sure you account for your exact needs before you take the plunge. Sometimes people tend to pick the most expensive set only to realize it's not much use to them.
How often do you intend to play - daily, weekly, or once in a while? If you don't play that often, stick with a budget option. But if you're a regular player, choose a set which is durable, consistent, rolls true and straight.
For example - if you're new and looking to learn the rope of the game, the Aramith Tournament set might not be for you. Similarly, you may not want to purchase this $300 set, if you know that other people will use the balls. It's a lot of money to spend, and you'll want to ensure that they get looked after, so that you can make the most of them.
However, if you're starting out with the game or looking for a quick replacement, go for a mid-range option like Aramith Premium. It plays decent and offers a good price-to-performance ratio.
Not all pool balls are the same, and neither they should be. But it's in your best interest to play and buy regulation size balls. The market is flooded with non-regulation balls, and it's difficult to spot a difference without actually playing with them. This is most commonly seen in cheaper sets.
The regulation size of a billiard ball is two and a quarter inches in diameter, and each ball should weigh 5.5oz except the cue ball, which weighs 6oz. As the regulation table length is 8 foot, these are most commonly paired together.
It's more common to see 2-inch diameter balls on a 7-foot table, though it's important to note that these are still not the standard.
Cheaper sets don't have the stringent quality checks, and even if they claim they're regulation, but it's quite possible they aren't. It's best to stick with popular and well-known brands.
With pool balls, the higher price mostly translates to better quality. The expensive balls are made of synthetic resin or phenolic resin, which are resistant to heat, scratches, and chipping. For the more expensive option, Aramith has developed what they call 'Duramith' (durable Aramith), which utilizes cross-linking the resin bonds to provide the highest quality possible.
Cheaper balls are made of a low quality resin mix, and also sometimes incorporate polyester. They are more prone to chipping and don't last that long, neither they're that much fun to play with.
It's incredible how much difference a quality billiard ball set can make. Just remember, over time, all pool balls are going to deteriorate, crack, or lose shape. It's just that the cheaper balls would need to be replaced more often than the high-quality ones.
With this guide, we hope you were able to find a pool ball set of your choice, within whatever budget you set forth.