The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Pool Table
The Complete Process to Purchasing the Right Pool Table
Playing pool has become a favourite pastime for many people over the years. It is something that you can play as a hobby and during your leisure time. It can also be played in leagues or professionally. Whether you play pool with your family or you invite other people over for a friendly competition, having a pool table comes with lots of benefits.
Why Buy a Pool Table
Owning a pool table can be quite useful during social gatherings. It can set the tone for a get-together with your relatives, reunion with friends, or a party. Playing pool is a source of entertainment, which can even help build better relationships with other people.
When you have a pool table, you can use to practice and enhance your skills. You get your own space, and you can play anytime you want, which gives you a chance to concentrate more on playing. In line with this, playing pool can improve your brain functionality.
A quality pool table – and not just any – is worth an investment. It offers fun times with your family and friends. At the same time, it improves the overall look of a particular room. The pool table can turn your lacklustre space into something stylish and sophisticated. It is even proven to add value to a property.
Different Sizes of Pool Tables
There are four common types of pool tables, and they are all based on their size:
This type measures about eight feet and is often considered the perfect size for homes. It works for everyone, including beginners. The standard pool table is even recommended for those who have little to no experience in playing pool.
You can easily manoeuvre when you have a standard pool. Therefore, you will have no problems performing trick shots if you are a pro. At the same time, it is incredibly useful for entry-level players because it offers the right amount of space to work on basic shots. You can play either nine or eight ball on the standard pool table.
For professionals, the most recommended type is the nine-foot table, which is considered the large pool table. Its size makes it a little demanding for beginners. It is why it is best suited for those with experience in playing pool. It requires more physical and even athletic skills to move the balls around where you want them to go.
The expansiveness of the table makes it difficult to perform some shots. It can be quite tricky to play when the balls are close together in one area. However, you could get lucky if they are spread out. With a huge room to work on, it may take some time to figure out how to take shots. It is why you may want to stick to the standard pool table unless you are a professional player yourself.
When a pool table is called a bar table, it usually pertains to those that are seven feet. For some people, they prefer this type because the short distance makes it easy for hitting shots. However, you could run into a few problems if you do not pick a quality bar table. Inspect the table before buying and make sure it does not have the following issues:
- Matted felt
- Dead rails
- Tough to reach pockets
Often, the cue ball can be larger than normal, which can also be a problem with a bar table. Since it is smaller than the standard table, you have to select the right type and size of the cue ball.
Additionally, playing here can get aggressive because some shots are easy to take. However, it is advised to clear up the congestion before you try your luck. If not, it will be a bigger challenge to free the balls from a huddled group.
As the name suggests, this type of pool table is much smaller than the other types. It usually runs from20 inches to five feet. Its purpose varies depending on the size. The smallest is mostly for children and younger people. You can place it in a game room where space can be a little restricted since you do not have to worry about providing a huge room for it.
Tabletop games are also quite small and are ideal for pool fans who do not want to buy a big table. You can even put them anywhere, such as at work. However, you should not expect that you can use the table to play a serious game of pool. Despite that, they are often given to other people as gifts, particularly for pool aficionados.
Does Size Matter? How About the Price?
When it comes to pool tables, the two most common concerns are the price and size. There is no standard size, and it all depends on the preference of the user. Some people mainly consider the available space they have while others opt for a smaller table. The reason for the latter is that they believe a small-sized table is more appropriate for inexperienced players.
Others would argue that a seven-foot table is just a toy while some think the larger ones are too intimidating. However, size does matter when buying a pool table. It has a direct impact on the price as well.
Here are some tips that will help you select the right pool table size if you will not consider the space of your room:
Seven-foot Bar Table
- Use the correct cue ball, which should be the same as the other balls.
- If the cue ball is heavier or bulkier, you will need to aim the stick lower to make the shot work.
- It is recommended that you exert a bit more effort, so you get the effect you want.
- It can get crowded if you have eight balls on the table, so learn how to be creative when working with them.
- A trick is to minimise the movement of the cue ball, even if you have to take a longer shot or a bank.
- Specialty shots are easier to perform on a bar table, so take advantage of discovering how to do them.
- When playing with nine balls, you may have to take aggressive shots to win. However, there is a chance that the cue ball will go in the pocket as well. The solution is to control your speed and angles, so you hit the ball in a precise manner.
Eight-foot Standard Table
- Playing either eight or nine ball games can be satisfying because this table makes manoeuvring much easier.
- This table can help sharpen your defence skills, mainly because your opponent will like this table, too. With both of you comfortable at playing, the game should be quite interesting.
- When playing, you will need extra intensity to pocket and position the balls.
Nine-foot Professional Table
- The challenge when playing an eight-ball game in a longer table is with ball positioning.
- You will need to accomplish long-range shots with this table.
- This type of pool table is not ideal for beginners because it is challenging to minimise errors. It is why you may want to go with the smaller tables if you are inexperienced with playing pool.
- If you would like to start with a nine-foot table, it is advised to play out an area first before you move on to another.
- It gets much smoother if the balls are not in a group. However, breaking up clusters of balls can be quite tricky.
Although this pro-sized pool table is generally designed for professionals, players can play at any table size they want, whether in tournaments or private games.
When it comes to the price, it is perhaps the most crucial factor for some people. However, consider the durability, materials, and overall quality of the pool table first. Then, take a look at the price before making your decision. Do the table’s features match the price according to your expectations? Is it overpriced? The key to a wise investment is to go for the best pool that complements your style and requirements while offering excellent durability.
Other Considerations Before Purchasing
Aside from the size and price, other things can influence your buying decision. The style, for one, is not one of the most significant aspects. However, some people may look into it before they purchase.
Some styles include:
- Contemporary styles are those that straight sports lines and bold colours. They are modern pool tables with cloth covers in different designs, allowing you to personalise them. You can find a cover that matches the aesthetics of your space.
- An industrial style table is easily recognisable with its legs and crossbars made of iron.
- Traditional pool tables stand out because they look like the tables that were once popular at bars and old pool houses. They typically come with carved legs and feet that are quite stylish over the solid wood rails.
Other styles available are Victorian, rustic, mid-century, and farmhouse.
Another factor in choosing the right pool table is the type, which can be standard, conversion, tabletop, bumper, and folding.
- Standard: This type is designed for one purpose, which is to play pool. Some people may opt to use it for other methods, but you may want to be careful. The felt can easily be damaged, which is why it should simply stay in the game room where it belongs.
• Conversion: Over the years, conversion tables have become quite popular. As with other products or items, people want something flexible. For them, a pool table should also have other functions. You can go for a conversion type of pool table if you do not have enough space for it, along with a dining table. You can convert the table into something else with others that let you even play air hockey or ping pong.
- Tabletop: This option is quite small and can be perfect for any home or office that does not have available space. However, it does not mean you cannot have a pool table. As the name suggests, it is mainly placed on top of another table or surface because it is small. It can be a little over three feet but often, less. It is an excellent option for children and those who want to pass the time during breaks at work.
- Bumper: This type lets you play billiards and pool without having to change the original layout of the table. The bumper table does not require significant space. Some bumpers can even be convertibles, which allow you to use them as a poker table.
- Folding: If you want a table that you can move around whenever needed, this type may be what you are looking for. You do not have to commit a room for it since you can tuck it away when you do not want to play.
Aside from styles and types, you may be interested in the features of the table. The following are the most common features found in pool tables today.
- Drop Pockets: For a classic look, this table truly has that design where the pockets are deep. You have to reach down to retrieve the balls. When going for drop pocket pool tables, leather is the preferred material over vinyl, which is also quite common. The leather pockets not only last longer than vinyl but also look more attractive.
- Eco-Friendly: For those who want to do their part in protecting the environment, an eco-friendly table is a good choice. Its difference from other tables is that it is made from endangered trees. It may be from recycled materials, but it does not mean they are not sturdy enough.
- Automatic Return: Instead of drop pockets, you do not need to be bothered by getting the balls back with this feature. The auto return does not require you to walk around collecting the balls.
- Outdoor: Playing pool outdoors requires a different type of table. It should be designed to be more durable to withstand elements. It is often made of aluminium but still lightweight. The table can resist rust and UV.
- Drawers: For storing accessories, a pool table with a drawer may be what you are looking for.
Which is the Best Material for a Pool Table?
There are different pool table materials used, and you can choose the one that suits you the most. Here are the top materials for a pool table:
- Slate: This material is probably the most common and is preferred by many pool players. Slate is made of solid rock, which means it is heavy. Therefore, it requires a durable and sturdy floor. You may not be able to move it around easily without the help of other people. However, slate is an excellent material because it will not warp, remaining even throughout the years.
- Slate Alternative: The slate alternative is made with slate, but it is not entirely comprised of the material. It lasts long but is not as durable and warp-free as pure slate.
- Wood: Another common material used is wood. It is a favourite because it is lightweight, especially when compared to slate. However, it can warp fast. Wood is often the material utilised in smaller pool tables for children since the players will not be quite particular with the evenness of the surface.
- Acrylic: Plastic or acrylic tables are often convertible. They are also great for kids and for-fun games but not for professional or serious competitions.
For most purists, slate is the only option for them. It may be due to the material’s ability to offer years of even playing surface. The other non-slate options are not inferior, though. They have come a long way since they have been introduced.
Nevertheless, slate is still the best option unless you are avoiding spending a lot of money on a pool table.
Apart from the materials for the table, you may also want to consider the surface fabric used. Polyester is one of the most common fabrics used. It has a great look, which is why it is often a preferred material. However, it can wear out fast, even faster than other fabrics. Polyester is typically used for outdoor pool tables, but it can also be ideal for indoor playing. Be sure to keep an eye on the fabric and replace it when needed.
Woollen cloth, which is also known as felt, is probably the most popular fabric around because it is affordable and does a good job. It is made of 60% wool and is thick and heavy. The fabric can last for a long time, even with minimal care. It is perfect for casual pool games but not indeed an excellent option for professional use because it can pill quickly.
Worsted wool is different from other fabrics because it allows the balls to move faster than other surface options. Unlike felt, this material does not pill easily. High-quality worsted wool can last for a very long time. However, it does tend to be pricier than other fabrics.
When it comes to choosing the surface material, high-quality felt is still the preferred choice. This material is dense and thick, lasting several years. The balls can move fast and accurate on the table.
Mistakes That Buyers Make in Choosing a Pool Table
Buying a pool table can seem like a straightforward task. You have to choose where you want to play pool, right? As you shop, you will eventually see how challenging it truly is. Some buyers even fail to get the best out of the experience by making the following mistakes:
Purchasing Used Tables
It does not mean that you should not consider buying a used table. However, if you are not sure of its quality, features, and reliability, you are better off with a new pool table. Many used pool tables will not last long and already have numerous flaws. They will start at a lower price, but you will end up buying a new felt replacement, for instance. Therefore, you spend more than when you purchase a new table.
Buying a Full-size Table for Kids
If you notice that your child has the skills in playing pool, you may think buying a pool table is a good idea. However, many parents make the mistake of purchasing a big pool table designed for adults. The purchase may save them money because they do not have to buy another when the child grows up.
The problem with buying the wrong size is that the kid may not be able to take a proper shot. It will also be challenging to hold the cue correctly. In the end, the child will lose interest in the game and will not feel confident as well.
Choosing a “stock” Pool Table
You have unlimited options when it comes to a pool table. You can have it customised, which is the best choice you can ever have. A personalised pool table gives you a chance to be a part of creating and building a pool table that works for you and your tastes. You can supply your specific requirements and choices while still making sure that the final product is durable and superior.
For instance, you can purchase a personalised modern designed table that uses natural timber. In this case, you can select the type of timber to be utilised. You can also choose the finish for the top and the legs. You can base your final selection on the décor of your room.
Failing to Check the Warranty in Exchange for the Price
Many buyers buy based on the price only. Unfortunately, they are trading the warranty of the product for a much lower price. When you purchase a pool table, always be sure to read the terms regarding the warranty. As much as possible, opt for one that offers a lifetime warranty – unless you have a very good reason not to. With a lifetime warranty, it means that the company is confident in the product. It can last for a long time with proper care. You can trust that it is built on materials that are of high-quality.