Best Pool Ball Sets

Updated November 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
364 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best pool ball sets

Last Updated November 2019

Pool balls are round and hard and go clack when they hit each other, but there’s more than meets the eye to these simple-looking components of the classic game.

Though many people may blame the table when balls roll and bank unpredictably, it is more likely the fault of the balls than the slate or felt. Inexpensive pool balls are often made of cheap materials and have an imperfect shape, density, and texture.

High-quality pool balls roll perfectly straight and transfer all of their energy directly to the next ball they hit. These balls are hard, highly elastic, and shaped in a nearly perfect sphere. You can use them to play American pool, English pool, and snooker.

Finding the right pool ball set for you means choosing a set equipped for the type of pool you plan to play … and a set that will roll smoothly and predictably. Our buying guide will break down the primary factors in choosing the perfect pool ball set.

A pool ball set may contain anywhere from three balls (for carom billiards) to 22 balls (for snooker).

Types of play

Pool tables vary in size depending on the game, so you should check your table measurements before purchasing a pool ball set. Ideally, you should have determined which billiards game you preferred before purchasing a table — though some tables can be used for a variety of games, even if they aren’t the traditional size.

American pool

American pool is the most common type of pool played in the U.S. It uses 15 of the iconic numbered solid and striped and balls, plus one white cue ball. These measure 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

In American pool, two players (or two teams) take turns striking the cue ball to knock their balls (solids or stripes) into the table pockets. The eight ball must always be the last ball pocketed, and an immediate loss results if a player sinks it prematurely. Shots may or may not be called.

English pool

English pool, also known as English billiards or English blackball, calls for 15 traditionally unnumbered balls in four colors. There are seven red balls and seven yellow balls of either 2 inches or 2 1/4 inches in diameter. There is also one 2-inch black ball and one white cue ball with a diameter of 1 7/8 inches.

English pool is played by two players or teams. Play works similarly to American pool, with players claiming either yellow or red balls as their own and attempting to sink them before ultimately pocketing the black ball. Shots are typically not called.

Snooker

Snooker balls come in either 2-inch sets or 2 1/4-inch sets, depending on the size of your table. A 2-inch set has ten red balls, one pink ball, one black ball, one yellow ball, one green ball, one brown ball, one blue ball, and one white cue ball. A 2 1/4-inch set has 15 red balls.

Two or more people play snooker as teams or individually. In snooker, ball value is based on color. Players must pocket a one-point red ball before calling and attempting to pocket their next shot. When a player commits a foul or misses, play passes to the next person.

Carom billiards

Carom billiards uses three larger balls that measure 2 11/16 inches, or 2.42 inches. There are three colors: red, yellow, and white.

Unlike other billiards sports, carom billiards is played on a table without pockets. Two or more players compete as teams or individually, attempting to use the white cue ball to strike both other balls to score a point. Carom billiards may also be played with two white cue balls and one red ball.

DID YOU KNOW?

Pool balls range in size from one-inch mini balls to 2 11/16-inch carom billiard balls.

Pool ball features

Pool ball sets vary not only in color and quantity but also in the quality of materials used. The best materials are suited to a variety of games — there are no specifics beyond diameter that make a set better for one game than another.

Ball materials

The inexpensive pool ball sets that often come with pool tables are usually made of resin coated in plastic. This results in a ball that may be less than uniform in density and may have a dull surface that lacks the smoothness of high-quality balls. A plastic surface does not have the same shine as a resin surface and is likely to wear down your felt faster.

High-quality pool balls may be made of a plastic and resin mixture, or in the case of expensive pool balls, phenolic resin. In both instances, density is uniform. The balls have shiny surfaces with low friction that allows them to roll straight and smooth across the felt.

Roundness

If you think pool balls should be perfectly spherical, you are correct. The best pool balls are tested carefully for uniformity of shape.

Elasticity

The elasticity of a pool ball doesn’t refer to its stretchiness. Instead, it refers to how efficiently the ball transfers energy to another ball. The best pool balls transfer nearly 100% of their energy to a ball that they hit straight on. How do you know if a ball has high elasticity? If it stops moving when it strikes another ball, it is highly elastic. If it continues rolling briefly after hitting another ball dead-on, it has low elasticity and is likely a low-quality ball.

Density

The density of a pool ball should be as uniform as possible to prevent unpredictable shots. Balls with evenly distributed density are typically made of one solid material.

EXPERT TIP

High-quality pool balls have color that goes all the way through the ball. This is not always true of low-cost balls, which may have a colored surface that can become scratched.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Even low-quality pool balls are likely to last for decades, though it is possible for the color to fade over time and scratches to develop.


Staff  | BestReviews

Pool ball set prices

Basic pool ball sets that cost $15 to $30 are generally coated with plastic or made of low-quality resin. They are not as smooth as higher-quality balls and will quickly wear down your felt. In addition, they often have low elasticity and may have irregular density. For casual players who do not play often, a set of balls in this range may be sufficient.

For $30 to $100, you’ll find mid-range sets made of resin or a plastic-resin mixture. Density is often more uniform. Some irregular shots are still possible with balls in this price range, but there is a significant jump in quality from entry-level pool ball sets.

The best pool ball sets cost $100 to $200+ and are made of high-quality resin with a crisp shine, uniform density, and high elasticity. If you play regularly, a pool ball set in this price range can be well worth the price.

Other products we considered

Though we believe our top recommendations represent the best pool ball sets available, there are a few other sets worth mentioning. If you are on a budget and want a high-quality set, the Aramith Continental Billiard Regulation Pool Ball Set is one of the more affordable sets from the industry gold-standard brand. Made with phenolic resin, these have the signature sheen of more expensive tournament Aramith balls for a fairly low price. While the coloring may be slightly off, customers are generally pleased with this beginner set.

If you want a low-priced snooker set, consider the T&R Sports Billiard Snooker Ball Set, which offers the classic set of balls needed for snooker in high-quality resin. Though a few customers have reported issues like incorrect ball counts or missing balls, T&R customer service has been quick to resolve any issues.

While high-quality pool ball sets can be expensive, they may cost you less money in the long run if you play regularly, as they will exert less wear and tear on your felt table.

FAQ

Q. Do pool ball sets come with a triangle?
A.
This depends on the set, but most do not. However, it is possible to find a triangle, chalk, and a pair of cues sold together.

Q. Do pool balls require any care?
A.
Pool balls can become noticeably dirty or scuffed — particularly the cue ball. To resolve this, you can wash them with soap and water or a bit of detergent mixed with water. Rinse the balls in the solution, and polish them with a clean towel. With this method, it is easy to return your pool ball set to its former shine.

Q. How much do pool balls usually weigh?
A.
Most pool balls weight around six ounces, though this can vary with size. All balls in a set should be the same weight (except for the cue ball in some cases).

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey