In a post-pandemic world, more homeowners are now prioritizing joy and family time at home. Having a pool table at home can be a great way to utilize the space while providing entertainment and friendly competition throughout the entire family.
If this thought has crossed your mind, we have prepared this guide to address the many questions that you may have in mind, and get you started on the process of owning your very own pool table at home.
Note: This post is only discussed for the purpose to enjoy quality time with family and family members. We are not promoting this game for any other reason except fun at home with family.
Here are 3 simple questions to determine before you’re on your way.
1. What size should I be looking at?
The answer to this question probably depends on the amount of space you have for your table, while also depending on the type of pool that you are accustomed to playing on.
There are broadly two styles of pool: English and American. These two styles of play differ mainly in the size of the tables, and balls and are popularly played in many countries beyond the UK and the States. English pool is played with a 7ft table accompanied by 2″ balls in league play, while American pool is played on a 9ft table with 2.25″ balls.
The balls and size of tables aren’t the only difference between these two styles of tables. Pocket size and cloth type differ between both types as well, and you will find the pockets typically tighter in allowance – requiring more precision – for the English-styled tables, as well as its napped cloth, being much slower. This makes a lot of sense given that the area of play is much smaller, and hence requires less allowance on pockets and speed from cloth.
Knowing these two types of tables, then it’s time to visit the right sizes for them. As a rule of thumb:
English Tables: 6FT/ 7FT
American Tables: 8FT/ 9FT
The bigger of both sizes is always preferred, but this choice may not always be as simple if the table is to be placed in a tight space. With a Pool Table, ample space is required around the table to cater to the pool cues, and the way to calculate is to add 5FT around all four sides of the table.
An example for a 7FT table that measures 7FT x 4FT will require a total area of 17FT x 14FT, while a 9FT Table measuring 9FT x 5FT will require a total area of 19FT x 15FT.
With this information in mind, you are now ready to evaluate the right size of table for your space, as well as the ideal playing configurations – English or American.
2. Material of Playfield
Now that you have nailed down the size of the table that you’re looking for, the next major decision is to determine the material of the playfield. This is a critical decision in determining the longevity of a table that many first time owners overlook due to inexperience.
In short, there are two playfield types in the market for your consideration,
- MDF Wood Bed
- Stone Slate Bed
Wood (MDF) Bed Tables
Wood bed tables utilise MDF—a form of compressed wood—for the playing field. This results in a lightweight table that is cheap to produce, although it suffers in areas like gameplay and durability. As MDF is susceptible to water-logging and humidity, it is never ever perfectly flat and hence, does not provide a true roll. When used in a large area, MDF is prone to warping as well, which causes the balls to roll lopsided to one side of the table.
• Low end priced from $400 – $1500
• Light, moveable and cheap
• Far from flat and ball do not roll true
• Susceptible to warping and lopsided ball roll.
Wood bed tables are mostly used as toys for children and are never ever used in a setting where a proper pool table is required. The most common use case for such a table is typically when one expects only short term usage of their pool table.
Slate (Stone) Bed Tables
Slate bed tables are the industry standard for pool tables and are used in pool parlours, pubs, and any professional setting. Slate or natural stone, being perfectly flat provides a true ball roll and slate is also immune to humidity and shifting weather conditions. Slates are usually 3/4″ – 1 1/4″ thick and are incredibly heavy, which is why all slate bed tables are considered non-moveable.
- Industry standard for pool tables
• Perfectly flat & smooth, while immune to humidity
• Provides a true ball roll
• Heavy and non-moveable
3. A Dining Pool Table or a Dedicated One?
Dining pool tables have been increasing in popularity over the last few years. They are basically fully functional pool tables that double up as dining tables when the tabletop is in place. Dining pool tables are great to play on, practical, and affordable given that you’re getting two items for the price of one.
On the other hand, dedicated tables are singular in their usage and are only meant for playing. Regular tables also tend to be offered in bigger sizes, as dining pool tables often max out at 7ft. If you are for example, looking for a regulation 9FT sized table, then Dining Pool tables can pretty much be ruled out of consideration.
Do Brands Matter?
Just like buying any other products in the market, the brands of a pool table matter because a pool table is truly a product that requires technical expertise to play well. Some of the top brands in the pool table business include Brunswick, Olhausen, Billard Montfort, Bilhares Carrinho, and Gabriel’s.
Each of these brands have very specialized niches and advantages, and it pays to check them all out to get a better idea of their offerings and style. Some of the above brands are legacy American tables, while others belong to a new-age group of European makers building high-quality tables.
A Final Word
While there are many different types of pool tables in the market, all of them are practically covered in this short guide. It’s been a long read but to sum it up, here’s a simple 5 point plan to get you started.
- Determine if you’d like a Dining Pool Table or a Dedicated model.
- Determine the location, and appropriate size for the table based on the guide above.
- Decide if you would like a Slated table or a Wood bedded table.
- Explore some of the top brands to determine your favourite styles.
- Determine if there are any extra options that are useful for your table.
We hope that this guide have been helpful in guiding you through the process of purchasing a high quality pool table. Have fun pooling!