The name Aramith is synonymous with quality when it comes to billiard balls. They are the only manufacturer that makes their balls with pure phenolic resin, and they’ve perfected the process over the decades they’ve been making pool balls. As you might expect, they’re not cheap. So, whether you found an old set or you’re buying one secondhand, you may want to know how to identify Aramith pool balls.
Unfortunately, the only sure-fire way to make sure you get genuine Aramith pool balls is to buy them from Aramith or a reputable seller. The fact is that there are many imitations out there, and the balls themselves are hard to identify as Aramith just upon visual inspection.
But, there are a few things you can do that can help determine whether a set of balls is Aramith or not.
A Bit About Aramith
You may be wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of trying to sell cheaper balls as Aramith balls. Well, like many other things, it’s all about the money. Aramith balls are a little expensive. But they’re expensive for a good reason. Every serious player (and even most casual players) swear that they’re worth the money.
The Aramith Difference
Since Aramith balls, made by the Belgian company Sulac, are pure phenolic resin, they last a very long time. They’re the only billiard balls made in Belgium. Cheaper balls, usually made of polyester, wear down quicker and, in turn, they also wear down the table’s felt quicker, too. Cheaper balls are usually made of polyester, which is much less durable than phenolic resin.
Aramith balls are also balanced for precision and feature properties that keep the balls from generating static electricity, which can attract dust and other particles to hinder smooth and predictable ball movement.
So, since these balls are so good, there’s quite a market for them. People are always looking for deals (who doesn’t like saving a little money?), and other unsavory people are looking to take advantage. It’s easy to take an Aramith box, throw a cheap $30 set of balls inside, and list it online for $150.
This is not to say that the majority of sellers online are doing this. But, the old line, “Buyer beware” has a special resonance when it comes to buying secondhand Aramith balls online. So, let’s get into how you can tell Aramith pool balls from other ones.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, visual inspection is not the best way to identify the balls themselves. It can give you clues to help you make a determination, but I wouldn’t rely on it fully.
There are many websites online that say something to the effect of “Aramith pool balls come in a box repeatedly marked with the Aramith name.” As if that’s a good way to identify the balls inside. This is about as useful as saying diamond rings come in fancy plush boxes. It gives you no indication as to the product inside.
That being said, if someone is trying to sell you a set of Aramith balls in an unmarked box, you should ask them if it’s the original box or not.
The Product Line
One of the best ways to identify a set of Aramith balls is to find out what the specific product line is. When you’re buying a set, the seller should know. If you’ve just found a set of loose balls, it’s nearly impossible to tell.
But, if you can determine the product line, you can easily head over to the Aramith website and look at their pictures associated with the different product lines. There are several of these, including:
- Aramith Premium
- Aramith Tournament
- Aramith Premier
- Aramith Crown Standard
- Super Aramith Pro
- Aramith Black
You can find all of these sets on Amazon. I’ll link to them in the table below!
Numbers in Stripes
Once again, the internet is full of misinformation about the location of the numbers in the different Aramith sets. Some websites claim that, if you see a set of balls with the numbers set outside of the stripes, it’s Aramith Premier or Aramith Crown Standard. While it’s true that the Crown Standard line is made with the numbers in the white instead of the stripe, Aramith is not the only manufacturer that does this.
There are vintage Aramith Premier sets that were made with the numbers like this, but they aren’t made this way anymore. Since there are so many variations and manufacturers, relying on one single thing, like the location of the numbers, is a good way to mistake cheaper balls for Aramiths.
The Five, Six, and Nine Balls
Another visual identification measure is supposedly the five, six, and nine balls.
The theory is that the bottom swoop of the number 5 on the five ball comes up to almost touch the straight line, almost making a strange-looking number 6. While some Aramith balls are made this way, not all of them are.
The same can be said for the straight or curly line under the 9 and the 6 numerals. Once again, not all Aramith balls are made exactly the same. Some have straight lines under these numerals, while others have curly ones. This is why it’s important to find out which set it is and use the internet to confirm.
Don’t Skimp, Buy True
If you’ve found a set of balls that aren’t in their original box, you will probably have a hard time figuring out if they’re Aramith or not. You can compare them to pictures of other Aramith sets on the internet, which is probably your best option. Post them in a forum and ask about them. Maybe someone will surprise you.
If you’re thinking about buying a set of used balls that the seller claims are Aramith, ask them for the product line, pictures, and whether they come in the original box. If the seller is reputable (has a good rating) then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if something seems funny, it’s probably not worth it to shell out the money they’re asking, especially when you can buy a brand new set of Aramith Crown Standard balls for around $100.
- Complete set of 16 balls includes 8 solids, 7 stripes and a cue ball; Each ball is regulations size, measuring 2-1/4" in diameter
- Crafted from the highest quality phenolic resin which provides exceptional scratch and impact resistance
- Phenolic resin is proven to last up-to 5 times longer than balls made of polymers or polyester
- Aramith billiard balls adhere to the most stringent specifications in the industry, ensuring superior playability and durability
- Designed with perfect roundness and balance, uniform weight and hardness, brilliant colors and a friction resistant roll; Ideal for billiard players of all skill levels
Honestly, figuring out if a set of balls is Aramith or not is a bit of a pain. If you’re looking to buy some, just save a little money and buy new. If you found some, play a few games with them and see how they feel. If they play well, why not just keep them, Aramith or not?
Otherwise, use the power of the internet and see if you can put the clues together to properly identify a set of Aramith pool balls.