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Have you ever played on a table with an older ball set and found your play inconsistent? You may not be having an ‘off day’ at all. The weight of your older object balls and a cue ball may have different weights. The World Pool Association specifies that a pool ball should weigh 5 1⁄2 to 6.0 oz (160–170 g) with a diameter of 2 1⁄4 in (57 mm), with an allowed weight difference of about 0.005 in (0.127 mm).
However, how much does a pool ball actually weigh? Pool ball weight can be affected by age and the wear and tear associated with pool balls in the more frequent plays such as the cue ball and the number 1 ball at the head of the break. Because cue balls are replaced more often than object balls, they may be heavier than the set’s object balls.
If you have ever wondered if your play is affected by unbalanced pool ball weight, read on to discover how this can occur and the signs of weight differences in play.
Why Can a Pool Ball Have Different Weights from the 5 1⁄2 to 6.0 oz Average?
Comercial pool tables can be fairly inconsistent outside of professional-grade pool playing establishments. Everyone who has ordered a pool ball set online has seen that the cost of a full-pool ball set of even mid-range quality can be somewhat prohibitive.
- When balls are damaged in a set, often balls are replaced individually rather than by the set, which means that you may have newer and, therefore, heavier balls mixed in with the older balls.
- Older and worn balls, especially the cue ball, tend to lighter and slightly smaller because it takes more abuse from the cue tip, more heat generated by friction, and impact with other balls.
- In older coin-op tables, the cue ball used to be made heavier than the object balls for the table mechanism to separate the cue ball from the object balls.
- The number one ball can be smaller and lighter than the object balls due to taking the full break force’s brunt.
- Newer replaced cue balls may be heavier than the older set, they are placed into. Cue balls are replaced more often than object balls due to more impact and the effect of break or jump cues.
Signs that your pool balls may have uneven weight
Even though the weight differences in a pool ball set may not be large, they still may affect your play. These reactions are an exaggerated effect based on a situation where your cue ball is 1.5 oz heavier than the object ball, but you may notice these differences more subtly in play:
- The cue will come to a complete halt without any top or bottom spin necessary in an evenly weighted square-hit stun ball. When the cue ball is heavier, the stun ball will not come to a complete rest on a dead-on hit and will require a small bottom spin.
- The stop shot will have a slight drag before the bottom spin’s drag action brings the cue ball to a halt so technically, a heavier cue ball can not effect a stop shot properly.
- If your cue ball is lighter than your object ball, it will bounce back from your object ball with a slight bounce-back effect. To effect a stop shot, you would need to create a measure of topspin to slow the bounce back reaction.
- Ball of unequal weight will bounce naturally at their centers because the force between unequally weighted balls is not even.
Other effects of Unevenly Weighted Pool Balls
- A larger cue ball will hit the object ball with more force than an evenly weighted cue ball. A lighter cue ball will overcut the ball with your normal aim action.
- Unevenly weighted pool balls can influence your cue ball deflection or ‘squirt.’ A heavier cue ball will have a lower squirt ratio, and a lighter cue ball will have higher squirt action.
- Unevenly weighted or worn cue ball sets do not rack as well as evenly weighted ball sets. Size inconsistencies and wear effects on spherical shapes result in less tight racks and a poor break action with a poor spread and fewer balls sunk.
Uneven Pool Ball Weight and Cut Angles
A larger cue ball will hit the object ball above the equator, increasing the cut angle and making a thinner cut. It also causes the cue ball to hit the object ball sooner, which may decrease your cut angle. This action causes a more full hit than anticipated due to the larger balls cut angle even while hitting the object ball above the equator.
When there is only a small weight difference between the balls, this effect may not be noticeable, but the larger the size difference, the greater this effect will be.
Throw Ball Weight Effects
If the weight difference between the cue ball and the object ball is due to size differences, if a player aims typically to with equal weight balls, there will be a varying amount of perceived throw. A larger cue ball will generally deliver a fuller hit than expected, the throw will appear more. However, the amount of throw should not necessarily vary with the cue ball weight and size.
Essential Factors When Choosing a Pool Ball
To have a consistent game, your pool balls must have even weight, and this weight distribution is due in part to the quality of the pool ball set in play. The quality of your pool ball set relies on these essential factors:
#1. The diameter tolerance of your pool balls
Your pool ball’s diameter determines its shape’s perfect roundness, and the manufacturer’s diameter tolerance is critical. The mechanics of the pool ball’s creation set the standards of its diameter. In high-quality production, variations in diameter, however slight, is not tolerated.
Lower quality billiard ball production tolerates slight variations in the ball’s diameter as long as they appear suitably round to the eye. This tolerance saves a lot of money in manufacture but delivers an inferior quality of the ball.
#2. The density of your ball must be uniform
If your pool ball’s density is consistent throughout the ball, it will roll true and straight regardless of where your cue strikes it. Inconsistent ball density causes erratic play where the ball does not bank properly and may roll erratically. Often tables are blamed for an uneven roll when the fault is in the balls varying density.
#3. Your pool balls elasticity
Elasticity refers to the transfer of energy from a strike ball to the object ball during play. A well-weighted ball with uniform shape and density will transfer 100 percent of its energy to the object ball it hits.
A stop shot is based on this elasticity principles. Suppose your strike ball travels after striking another ball. In that case, it may be a lack of elasticity to blame.althiough wear and tear may reduce elasticity, lower quality balls commonly exhibit poor elasticity in play.
Are Carom Balls the Same Weight As Pool Balls?
While standard pool balls all have the same weight and size at 1⁄2 to 6.0 oz (160–170 g) with a diameter of 2 1⁄4 in (57 mm), carom balls are traditionally heavier and larger than pool balls. Carom billiards is a game played with no pockets with a scoring system based on caroming your ball of an opponent’s ball and the object ball.
Carom balls have a 61-61.5mm diameter ((2.40 to 2.42 in) carom balls generally weigh 210 g (7.5 oz)
What Are the most Evenly weighted Pool Balls?
With a history of various materials, including wood, clay, ox bone, and ivory, pool balls today are made with high-quality phenolic resins. Sulac of Belgium manufactures the Amarith ball range, which uses a phenolic resin similar to Bakelite to cast their balls.
Through a thirteen-step process that lasts almost 23 days, the Aramith balls are cast and cured and polished. The Aramith balls are then covered in an extra hard transparent vitrification layer that ensures that they are chip, wear, and scratch-resistant.
They use both computerized and manual control checks to ensure their pool balls’ even dimensions and weight. Other modern materials for pool balls include polyester resins (like bowling balls) and clear acrylics. These materials are not as durable as the phenolic resin balls, which are last five times longer.
Next time you have a terrible game on a commercial pool table, you really can blame your tools without being a bad workman. Weight differences in pool balls can affect your precision and play. If you lookout for the signs of erratic ball play and inconsistent shots, you might find yourself playing on a mismatched set of pool balls.
Commercial tables take quite a beating, so you should take some weight variations in your stride. Challenges can improve your play in the long run, and besides, I’m sure your average bar owner would laugh at your pocket gram scale.