Qtimal Mini Colorful
Official Tornado Dynamo
To round it up, textured balls and cork balls are commonly the best balls for playing foosball. The majority prefer the textured balls, but the adherents of cork balls are not few either. Also, you must consider the table you are playing on as well. Some surfaces facilitate speedy play and it is best to use textured ball on them. On the other hand, consider using cork balls on slower table or tabletop surfaces.
How Important Are the Balls Themselves?
Strangely enough, when it comes to the popular game of foosball, the one important component of the game—the foosball balls—tends to get somewhat overlooked. This is especially true for recreational players who typically put less emphasis on the balls than on the foosball table and other components.
And yet, this is a huge mistake for anybody who wants to improve their foosball skills. The thing is more affordable foosball tables come with lower quality foosballs. You get either traditional soccer-ball lookalikes or the smooth balls (more on this later) with these tables.
Now, even if the table and the other parts are of relatively good quality, if you still play with smooth or traditional balls, you will experience little improvement in your gameplay. The reason for this is that these balls have little give or traction and as such, are extremely hard to control.
This means that luck, and not skill, plays a far bigger part in determining the outcome of the matches played with these balls. This is why it is important that you play with quality balls if you really want to enjoy the game in the proper manner and further your skills.
But then, what type of ball you should go for? In the next section, we will talk about the different options available to you and the advantages and disadvantages attached to each of them.
Most Common Types of Balls
Foosballs come in different types, sizes, weights, designs and materials. So, it is important that you have some basic knowledge of them which will help you to choose the right ball—the one that best suits your requirements.
Apart from their visual design, there is little to recommend these balls. These balls are of the cheaper variety and come with less expensive tables. The balls visually replicate the look of the traditional soccer balls with grooves and a printed pattern (hence the name). You may find this variety in many of the local pubs and clubs. The balls are made of hard plastic plastered over with a smooth coat and the hardness means that the balls have very little grip. Not only the balls are hard to control, but as an extra nuisance, they are also extremely noisy. So, if you’re really serious about your foosball, all you should do is replace these balls with higher quality ones asap.
These balls are slightly better than the above type and are made of hard plastic coated with a smooth surface. The material quality is a pinch better than the traditional balls, but the balls are still very hard to control and again, extremely noisy. So again, if you take your foosball seriously, we suggest you stay away from these balls.
However, there is one advantage to using this ball. The smooth balls, though hard to control, are not as difficult as the traditional balls. The trajectory and the dynamics of these balls are relatively easier to predict and are less arbitrary compared to traditional balls. This actually makes them a good option for practice purposes. Already skilled players may practice with this ball to improve the level of their pin control.
Another thing is that in most European bars and clubs, foosball tables use this variety. So, if you are someone who plays the game regularly at bars, having some experience playing with this ball can be beneficial.
Cork Foosball Balls
Now, to come to professional varieties, cork balls are the lighter of all common foosball balls. The cork balls are specifically popular in Europe and were the foosball of choice in the decades of 80’s and the 90’s. The fact that the ball is very light means it stops easily and therefore requires greater control and skill on the part of the players to maneuver the ball properly. Many ITSF approved European foosball tournaments are played with corkballs. The softer material of the cork also means that the balls facilitate a quieter game play with little noise.
Textured Foosball Ball
This is the most recent variety to emerge in the world of top-tier foosballs. Often made of urethane, the same material that goes into making the golf balls, the textured balls provide great traction and grip and have a good give to them. These balls are the most popular in the US and almost all professional foosball tournaments are played with these balls. They are weightier than the cork balls which make them better-suited to fast-paced games. Most players also contend that this is the best ball to play the game, although the claim is not an undisputed one as there are still players who steadfastly vouch for the cork balls. At any rate, if you are in America, your best option is to go for the textured balls. A slight disadvantage, if you regard it as such, is that the textured foosballs are a little noisier than their cork counterparts.
Foosball Replacement Balls
Now that we know the basics of the different types of balls, it should be easy to gauge the importance of replacing the balls on a table if those balls do not meet your expectations and come in the way of your enjoying the game to the fullest.
Now, one encouraging thing here is that the balls are the easiest component to change in a foosball setup. If you are not happy with your current foosball table balls, you can order many different varieties of foosball packs or sets. Our suggestion is that you buy sets of three or more as these make for more economical choices. Bear it in mind, too, that the pint-sized foosballs get lost easily, so it is always nice to have a couple of extra balls at hand. After all, how disappointing it would be if you had to stop an exciting game midway just because you’ve run out of balls!
Also, if you are shopping for replacement balls, a good choice is to try out an assortment pack. These come in packs of 4, 11, 12, etc. With an assortment pack, you can practice with the different types of balls from different brands and this will help you determine which one best suits your game.
ITSF Approved Balls
ITSF (International Table Soccer Federation), the central governing body promoting the game of foosball, has its own range of authorized foosball table and other equipment and no ITSF tournament can be played with table and foosball table parts that do not fall into this category. It is easy to recognize ITSF approved equipment since all of them bear the ITSF letters on them, either engraved or stamped. ITSF also approves only a handful of brands when it comes to manufacturing authorized foosball tables and most ITSF foosballs are made by these brands as well. This guarantees high quality of these ITSF approved/authorized balls but it also means that you get the right balls for the right tables. Below are three most popular ITSF approved balls offered by three different brands.
Tornado Foosball Balls
This is about the best you can get in the textured ball category. All foosball aficionados will be well familiar with the brand Tornado and their high quality foosball table and other parts. The same holds true for their urethane ball which has a great grip and is particularly suited to speedy games. This ball is normally used on Tornado foosball tables with a 3-man goalie configuration.
Bonzini Foosball Balls
Another high quality foosball ball approved by ITSF. This ball can be seen as a sophisticated version of the regular cork ball. The Bonzini balls are particularly favored by European players.
Garladno ITSF Approved Ball
Garlando was approved relatively recently by ITSF—in 2017—and this is a testament to the growing popularity of this brand when it comes to various foosball equipment. Both their balls and the tables are suited to fast-paced games and are particularly popular among the US players.
Where to Buy Foosball Balls
You will find foosball balls in all dedicated sports equipment stores. However, if you are buying from a physical store, your choices might be a bit constrained as it is virtually impossible for physical shops to store as many different products as you’ll get from big online shopping places such as Amazon.
Particularly, when it comes to foosballs, they are sold in so many different types of packages and deals that it is better to head to an online store such as Amazon. This way, you can compare all the various offers posted by a huge number of third-party sellers. However, we’ve put the best foosball balls on the market on a single page just for you!