How Many Balls are in a Pool Set?

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I recently went shopping for a new set of pool balls for my own pool table and noticed a large variety of different sets of balls with a different number of balls included in each. Curious, I decided to do some research on the typical amount included in a pool ball set.

A pool ball set includes 1 cue ball, 7 solid-colored balls (1-7), 7 striped balls (9-15), and 1 solid 8 ball for a total of 16 balls. For pool ball sets this amount is universal and the amount you play with can differ when playing different games.

There are two main pool games; 8 ball and 9 ball. 8 ball is played with all of the balls in a pool set. However, 9 ball is played with only the balls numbered 1-9 as well as the cue ball. All other pool games are played with all of the balls.

There are variations of design and material when it comes to pool balls and every player has a preference. One variation is the size of the balls. The typical size of a pool ball is 2 ¼ inches in diameter. Often times the cue ball is a little bit bigger especially when it comes to coin operated machines.

They also vary in design. Decoration doesn’t have that much of an affect on the game play of the balls. Often times you can buy a set of customized pool balls for your table. Changes in pattern and a preferred resin are usually your only customization options.

Materials used can differ also but they are all typically made of phenolic resin. Some companies create their own mixtures or have different manufacturing processes. Companies with cheap balls will skip a lot of the required testing to get the perfectly round ball. It’s good to look at the ball set reviews in order to get the perfect set.

Billiard Balls

It’s a common misconception that billiards and pool are the same game. However, these two games are completely different. In fact, they traditionally used a different game table as well as a different set of balls. In billiards, there are only three total balls; 1 yellow, 1 white, and 1 red.

Billiards used to be played on a table with no pockets but because of pools popularity the game was changed to accommodate for tables with pockets. The objective of the game is to score more points than your opponent. Points are scored by performing different moves; a cannon, a pot, or an in-off.

A cannon is scored when a player manages to hit both the red ball and the other players cue ball (either the yellow or white) with their own cue ball in the same move. Like pool, the cue ball is hit with a cue stick. A cannon is worth two points.

A pot is when a player hits their cue ball and causes the red ball to go into a pocket which is worth three points. If a player hit the other players cue ball and causes it to go into a pocket then this is worth two points.

An in-off is when a player sinks their own cue ball after hitting it with another ball. If the player hit the red ball first then it’s worth three points. If the player hit their opponents cue ball first then it’s worth only two points. A player wins the game once they’ve reached the amount of points agreed upon.

Billiard balls are a little larger than pool balls. They are about 2 3/8 inches in diameter. Today, they are made of the exact same material as pool balls but used to be made out of wood and even ivory in the earlier days.


A lot of people confuse snooker for a type of game played with pool balls. However, in order to play snooker you’re going to need a completely different set of balls to use. Snooker also traditionally uses a larger table with smaller pockets but most people just use their pool table to play it.

Snooker ball sets have a total of 22 balls; 15 red balls, 1 white, 1 black, 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 brown, and 1 yellow. Each ball (besides the white cue ball) has their own amount of points when pocketed; red=1, yellow=2, green=3, brown=4, blue=5,  pink=6, and black=7.

The goal of the game is to pocket all of the balls and get more points than your opponent. It’s played relatively similar as pool. You hit the cue ball with a cue stick and you have to try not to pocket the cue ball. Snooker balls are a little smaller than pool balls (about 2 1/15 inches in diameter) but are made with the same resin as a pool ball.

Related Questions:

What Happens if you Hit no Balls in Pool?

If during your turn you fail to hit any balls then this is called a scratch and your turn ends. This usually ends with your opponent have cue ball in hand which is an advantage to them. Scratches can also occur when a player pockets the cue ball or fail to pocket the called objective ball.

What is the Proper Way to Rack Pool Balls?

In 8 ball you use a triangle rack that will fit all 15 of the objective balls. You first need to put 1 solid and 1 striped ball into each of the farthest corners away from the breaker. Then place the 8 ball in the middle of the third row. The rest of the balls can go everywhere else.

In 9 ball you need a diamond-shaped rack that will fit only the balls numbered 1-9. Place the number 1 ball at the front of the diamond and the 9 ball directly in the middle of the rack. The rest of the balls can be placed at random.

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