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When it comes to racking balls in pool, you essentially have two options. You can either use a regular triangle or you can use a Magic Rack. As with everything, the two come with their pros and cons.
In this article, I will take a closer look at what is perhaps the best-regarded triangle, Delta 13, and the Magic Rack. I’ll talk about their differences, and I’ll help you make a decision about which of the two you should consider buying for your game room.
Delta 13 and Magic Rack: The Basics
Before diving into their pros and cons, let’s take a look at what each of the accessories is.
What Is a Delta 13 Triangle Rack?
Delta 13 is one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of billiards balls and triangle racks. Its triangles have an especially good reputation for being able to form a solid rack that other companies’ racks cannot.
According to the company, that is because “wooden and plastic racks have sides that flex under pressure.” Delta 13’s two flagship series of racks – Elite and Select – are instead manufactured from aluminum. For those that like their game room to be flashy, the company even offers a 24k gold version of its rack.
While the company doesn’t offer 9-ball diamond racks, because of the sturdiness and precision of its triangles, racking 9-ball doesn’t pose the slightest issue.
The Delta 13 rack used to be the go-to for professional competitions. Even though it still is very popular both at homes and in professional settings, a different way of racking balls – the Magic Rack – has seen a lot of growth over the last several years.
What Is a Magic Rack?
Magic Rack is a tool that looks nothing like the traditional triangle. It’s extremely thin and flimsy, and at first sight, it doesn’t look like something that would be capable of racking pool balls. However, it certainly is.
The rack is essentially a thin sheet of (generally) plastic that serves as a frame of the racked set of balls. In other words, each of the balls on the outside of a rack is designed to “fall” into a small wedge which holds it – and by extension the balls on the inside – in place.
Unlike the traditional triangle which is removed before a break, the Magic Rack is designed to be left under the balls during a break – and to not interfere with the balls in any noticeable way during the break.
Unlike Delta 13 racks, the Magic Rack comes in two versions – one for 8-ball and the other for 9- and 10-ball. That is simply a function of the fact that the 8-ball rack cannot be used for racking less than the full set of balls.
Magic Rack vs. Delta 13: Pros and Cons
Now that you know what each of the two products are, let’s take a look at their differences which inherently lead to each of their pros and cons.
Understandably, since one is a large piece of aluminum and the other is “just” a slim piece of plastic, a Delta 13 rack is considerably more expensive than a Magic Rack. However, long-term, the differences are minimal.
Because of that, I don’t think the price should be the main deciding factor between the two. Unless you are on a really tight budget.
Another reason why the absolute price shouldn’t be the main deciding factor is the durability of the products. While a solid triangle rack like the Delta 13 Elite will last you years, a Magic Rack will likely not last that long.
In fact, a Magic Rack will last less than a year in many cases if you use it a lot. That’s simply because of its flimsier construction. Something that is partly caused by the fact that it is meant to be as thin as possible to not interfere with a break.
Arguably, a good rack is a consistent rack. When it comes to that, then the Magic Rack is difficult to beat. With the balls designed to “fall into place,” you will be getting as tight of a rack as possible every time.
While the Delta 13 fares better in that regard compared to cheaper triangle racks, because of the way it works, the rack is never as consistent as it is using the Magic Rack.
Ease of Racking
For an amateur – or for someone that has never played pool – the classic Delta 13-style triangle is probably easier to use. Simply throw the balls into the triangle, line it up on the foot spot, press the balls together, remove the triangle, and you are ready to go.
The Magic Rack requires a bit more skill to use since you first have to line it up properly before using it. You have to place it in the right spot and you have to make sure it is parallel with the foot rail.
Still, it’s nothing that can’t be learned fairly easily.
As mentioned earlier, a single Delta 13 rack can be used for 8-, 9-, and 10-ball. On the other hand, the Magic Rack only works for either 8-ball or 9- and 10-ball. As such, you will need to keep two at hand if you like to play both of the most common games, 8- and 9-ball.
Also, if you like to play straight pool, the Magic Rack makes re-racking easier since it takes less footprint than the Delta 13.
Magic Rack vs. Delta 13: Which One Should You Choose?
Both Delta 13 triangle racks and the Magic Rack are widely used at competitions all over the world. As such, if you are looking for a rack for your home game room, you cannot go wrong with choosing either.
However, personally, I would lean towards the more classic Delta 13 triangle rack (or other such similar product). That’s simply because it’s more versatile – you only need one triangle to play both 8- and 9-ball – and because it’s more intuitive to use for people that are not seasoned pool players.
In a way a, choosing between a Delta 13 triangle rack and the Magic Rack is a controversial topic. Mainly so because “traditionalists” don’t see the Magic Rack as a fair tool to use in the game. In fact, some pros went as far as to claim that they would quit a tournament if it switched to a Magic Rack.
For your average home game, however, it does not matter. You should simply go with the one you like more as both will provide a solid rack. That said, you will have to re-buy a Magic Rack more often than you will a Delta 13.