Should Pool Balls Be Waxed?

Should Pool Balls Be Waxed

The game of pool, also known as billiards, is a popular pastime enjoyed by many. One of the key components of this game is the pool balls, which are the heart of the action.

A common question among enthusiasts and professionals alike is: Should Pool Balls Be Waxed? 

In this article, I will get into the various aspects of this question, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of waxing pool balls, and providing insights from experts in the field.

Key Takeaways

  • Waxing pool balls can enhance their performance and longevity.
  • There are specific types of waxes and polishes designed for pool balls.
  • Regular maintenance, including cleaning and waxing, is crucial for optimal gameplay.

Should You Wax Your Pool Balls?

Should you wax your pool balls, is a popular question, and I will start off by saying that tonnes upon tonnes of players do wax their dulled billiard balls, however it is not for everyone.

There are also lots of pool players that don’t wax their balls, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to polishing balls with wax. 

AspectWaxed BallsUnwaxed Balls
Maintenance FrequencyMore frequentLess frequent
LongevityPotentially longerStandard
Game ConsistencyCan be higherCan vary
Comparing Waxed vs. Unwaxed Balls

Advantages to Waxing Pool Balls 

  • Polished with wax, balls travel very fast across the playing cloth
  • The friction between the balls and playing cloth is reduced 
  • They look pristine and very shiny, like new
  • They glide beautifully and smoothly across the playing cloth
  • It helps restores old, and dirty looking pool balls

Disadvantages to Waxing Pool Balls

  1. When the wax starts to wear off, balls roll different, and you lose the ability to accurately predict the outcome of shots, which can affect a players’ consistency levels
  2. Miscues are more likely using polished balls
  3. Waxed balls slide instead of spin, ultimately making spin shots and throw shots redundant
  4. The adjustment back to non-waxed pool balls is difficult
  5. Wax can also clog up the tip and make it difficult to hold chalk
  6. The tables felt may accumulate wax (more likely if it’s old and worn) in the fibers and need to replaced

What Does the WPBA Say About Wax on Your Pool Balls?

To keep a level playing field for all players who participate in the pro ranks, the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPBA) has standardized the billiard ball specifications, and they do not allow waxed balls on their pool tables during official tournaments.

If you want to recreate a tournament setting and replicate official tournament conditions, you shouldn’t use wax on your pool balls.

  • Under tournament conditions, you won’t be able to use any of you’re favorite waxed balls
  • You will struggle to accurately predict where the cue ball will end up
  • Players tend to over compensate to account for the differences when shooting 
  • It is hard to remain competitive and consistent when you’re not playing in the same conditions

Can You Use Car Wax On Pool Balls?

Yes you can use car wax on your pool balls and many players swear by the likes of turtle wax, in particular, as a way of polishing dulled pool balls.

The problem with using the likes of turtle wax on balls, the substance can transfer easily onto the table’s felt, and leave a thick coating on the material.

It is especially a problem if the felt is already worn with ‘fuzz balls’ as it tends to accumulate in the risen and worn fibers more so.

If wax gets onto the cloth, it can be very difficult to remove, and sometimes the only solution is to recover the playing cloth.

How to Wax Your Pool Balls?

What you’ll need?

  • Pool ball cleaner 
  • two or more clean microfiber cloths
  • A clean soft towel

How to Use a Pool Ball Cleaner

  1. Before you begin, using a one of your clean microfiber cloths, wipe any grease or residue off the ball
  2. Apply a thin pea sized amount of the wax on your to the ball
  3. Take your other clean microfiber cloth and buff the cleaner around the entire ball
  4. Sit each polished ball down onto your clean soft towel
  5. Continue shining each ball in the set, one by one
  6. Replace the microfiber cloth with a clean one as and when needed

However, if you’ve got a budget, there’s nothing wrong with doing it with using soap and water if you have the time, which I explain further down.

Polish Using a Billiard Ball Cleaner

If time is of the essence, polishing by hand may not hold much appeal. It could take a good couple of hours to do a proper job, whereas a billiard ball cleaner does way quicker.

It will take slightly longer if it’s a machine that does one ball at a time, choosing one that does multiple balls at a time polishes and restores their appearance in less than 15 minutes.

How Do I Keep My Pool Balls Shiny?

One of the most effective ways to keep your balls shiny is to simply clean your pool balls and keep them well maintained.

The maintenance and regular care of your balls should be an ongoing routine, not just when they get to the dulled point.

At this point, especially if they are old, cleaning alone may not do much for their shine, which is why prevention is the best cure. 

To keep pool balls shiny and clean can simply use some warm water and a mild soap/detergent like Palmolive or Dawn.

  • Buff the balls a little more aggressively using a sponge if they are particularly dirty
  • If cleaning doesn’t recover their shine, and they no longer play as they used to, then it is a sign you may need to invest in a new set of pool balls

Should Pool Balls Be Shiny?

There is no doubt that balls, looking shiny, look way better.

No one really wants balls that look like they have seen better days, however recovering the shiny surface is mostly just an aesthetic pleasure, and it doesn’t really affect performance. 

More concerning is the dirt and grime being left to build up on the ball’s surface coating, which does affect their ability to perform. 

Maintenance is key to safeguarding the protecting layer surrounding their outer surface of the balls, especially the cue ball, which wears quicker. 


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