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What Are Pool/Snooker Balls Made Up Of?

So, we are taking a pretty interesting question from one of our followers Stephen, who is curious to learn about material used in billiard balls.


I have been a regular billiards player for quite a long time now, but I have always wondered what pool and snooker balls are made from? Why do some of them shine so much? What’s filled inside them? What causes that sound when they hit each other or sometimes the floor if the pool goes out?


As far as the material of billiards balls is concerned, the modern billiard balls are made of either polyester or phenolic resin.

Balls made from polyester resin are cheap in price but don’t last long. While balls made from phenolic resin are expensive but offer more durability. However, in the past, we have had balls made from ivory and bakelite.

Little History:

There is a long evolution for the materials that have been used to make pool/snooker balls.

Right at the beginning the pool/snooker balls were made from wood, but obviously they weren’t durable. Then manufacturers tried with hand-lathed from cured elephant tusks. The next alternative was celluloid which was a big success.

This success was followed by Bakelite invented by Phelan Leo Baekeland in the early 1900s, which was used as a primary material to construct billiard balls for some time.

Other plastics were also used for the manufacturing of billiards balls, and this quest ended with the resins.
In the past, we had billiard balls made from different materials. Ivory was the most famous of all.

Billiard Balls Material

Even today you can find ivory balls but they are not much used, since phenolic resin balls and polyester resin balls have been used worldwide now.

The balls made from resin tend to last longer and provide great gameplay.

Phenolic Resin Balls

If we talk about the quality, then phenolic resin balls are the best out there, they last longer. The only downside is they are expensive.

Polyester Resin Balls

If you are looking for cheaper options, then polyester resin balls should be your second option. They are less durable but within the reach of a casual player.

Pro Tip: People with children in their homes, or anyone having a public game room should go for economic pool/snooker balls which are less durable, made from acrylic or poly resin. They also go fine with beginners on a low budget.