The Differences in Pool Balls: Can Pool Balls Make a Difference?

Yes, the type of pool balls used for play will make a difference. The longevity of the balls, gameplay, and appearance all depend on the material used to create the pool balls and cue ball. However, not every situation requires the most expensive, tournament-grade balls. Both high-end and economical balls have applications in different scenarios, making both good purchases for different buyers.

Historic Pool Balls

Historically, pool balls used the toughest, smoothest material that people knew about at the time. In the 17th through early 20th centuries, many balls used ivory for their construction. Antique sets of balls may still have this material inside them. However, due to the threat of running out of elephant ivory, manufacturers sought alternatives.

In 1869, inventor John Wesley Hyatt created material for billiard balls that would not require ivory but still offered similar play. He created Celluloid, the first synthetic plastic marketed for the masses. Celluloid billiard balls consisted of camphor, alcohol, and nitrocellulose. While these balls looked and had similar play properties to ivory balls, they did have one drawback – their tendency to explode during play.

Yes, Celluloid balls could blow up when struck because the main component in them, nitrocellulose, was also known as gun cotton. Guncotton is a combustible material that creates explosions. The force of the explosion happens so quickly that flames do not form after. Naturally, with exploding billiard balls on the table, players needed something else.

Phenolic Resin Pool Balls

Half a century after the exploding billiard balls came into use, another, safer material came onto the scene in the form of Bakelite, also known as phenolic resin. The Saluc company in 1923 formed this material into phenolic resin balls under the Aramith name.

Phenolic resin balls remain popular today for tournament play and even amateurs who want professional play. In fact, 85% of playersaround the world use these high-end balls. They stand up better to impacts, high friction temperatures, and extended use. For example, a set of phenolic resin billiard balls for home use can last up to 40 years. In other applications, these balls last five times longer than those made from other materials.

The only downside to phenolic resin balls tends to be their cost. However, when comparing the cost to longevity, they are a bargain.

Economic Pool Balls

Homes that have children who play pool or public game rooms can save money by using less durable economic billiard balls. These may have acrylic or poly resin constructions.

While they don’t last as long, they suffice for beginners who feel uncertain about investing large sums into pool accessories. Public places with pool tables often choose economic sets of balls because the rough play and missing balls require frequent ball replacements. Using high-end balls in these situations would not make economic sense.

Find Pool Balls, Cue Balls, and Other Pool Accessories at A&C Billiards and Barstools

When shopping for a set of new pool balls, stock a pool room with quality, lasting balls including those made of phenolic resin by shopping at A&C Billiards and Barstools. While phenolic resin balls last longer, they will eventually wear out, particularly if under heavy use. Cue balls, especially, need regular replacement as they have greater forces applied to them during play. Make A&C Billiards and Barstools the first choice for replacing pool ball sets or cue balls when the time comes for replacements or upgrades.