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Buying Guide

The pool table is undeniably the center of action for all pool players. Whether you are a professional player or a recreational one, you might want to get your hands on a pool table so that you never miss the fun. 

However, purchasing a pool table is a significant financial commitment. In fact, it is a long-term investment. Since it involves a lot of money, buying a pool table in the spur of the moment is not advisable, no matter how thrilling it may seem to be. If done hastily, it can cause conflicts between family members or other interested persons. Additionally, when you search the market for pool tables for sale, you will discover that pool tables come in a plethora of sizes and styles. There are small details that can have a huge impact. As searching for and purchasing a pool table can be an overwhelming experience, we have prepared this guide to help you through the process.


Components of a Pool Table

Numerous components make up a pool table. These include:

  • Corner Pockets (present at the four corners of the table where balls fall into)
  • Side pockets (holes located at both sides of the pool table)
  • Cushions (bumpers covered with cloth)
  • Play Field (the playing area)
  • Slate (the bed of the pool table)
  • Rail (the wooden section outside the cushion)
  • Top Rail (rail present at the head of the table)
  • Side Rail (rail running at the side of the table)
  • Table Cabinet (huge rectangular frame often made of wood)
  • Table Legs (the feet on which the table stands)
  • Opening (where retrieving balls are collected)
  • Foot spot (position where center ball is kept)
  • Apex of the Triangle (the highest point of the triangle rack)
  • Pocket liner (hard section of the pockets)

Basic Pool Table Construction

To make an informed purchase, you should be aware of the many components of a pool table and how they are put together. The cabinet is unquestionably the most important component of a pool table. It's a massive wooden frame that's rectangular and made of thick hardwood boards. Another important factor to consider is the table's stability. The joining technique employed during the construction of a pool table determines its stability. While the design and material might vary from one to another, the tabletop is supported by two cross beams and a central beam. The pool table could have multiple legs or a central pedestal.

In a standard pool table, the slate will be fastened to the wooden frame in three sections. Each of these sections is leveled separately. Next, the cushions are arranged in a rectangular fashion along the edges in a way that they level with the table rails and the slate. The table rails consist of grooves that run the entire length of the sides and ends. After this, the felt is laid out and stretched across the table in phases before being fixed with wooden or rubber feather stripping hammered in the grooves. Finally, metal or carbon fiber brackets secure the pockets to the corners and side rails.


Pool Table Types

The tabletop, which contains the slate and the play area, is undeniably the most significant component of a pool table. This is the section where you can demonstrate and develop your pool abilities. The tabletop is available in a range of materials, so choosing the perfect one for you is critical. In this regard, two considerations will assist you in determining which material to use: your budget and the purpose of purchasing the pool table.

No matter how large your budget is, it is always a good idea to focus on gaining value from the purchase rather than spending it unwisely. You may find, shortlist, and select the most appropriate material for your table based on how you intend to use it, whether for enjoyment or use by the most seasoned pool players. The material used has a significant impact on the quality of the pool game. As a result, when choosing a pool table, keep the goal in mind. Here are several common tabletop slate materials that you can choose from according to your needs.

  • Particle Board: Particle board is a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) that will surely serve its main purpose in the beginning but will bend after some period. It is one of the most affordable tables, however, it is not ideal for long-term use. Temperature changes and moisture can also have an impact on its durability and decrease its life. Although medium-density fiberboard is commonly used in lower grade tables to improve accessibility, it can also be found in certain high-quality tables. These are appropriate for people who prefer lightweight tables over durability. 


  • Honeycomb: Another affordable option is getting a honeycomb tabletop. Such a table has a surface similar to a honeycomb. It is achieved by compressing several layers made of hardened plastic. One of the major advantages of the honeycomb tabletop is that it is lightweight and does not warp. However, the play field of the honeycomb pool table is slightly coarser in comparison to other synthetic table slates. 


  • Slatron: Also known as Permaslate, Slatron consists of layers made of condensed and hardened plastic that covers the particle board. Among all the synthetic choices available, this is by far the best and the most expensive. It is extremely durable and lasts for a considerable period. Slatron pool tables are also highly recommended if you want to have a good quality table but don't want to maintain it for a lifetime.


  • Slate:  Slate is widely regarded as the finest tabletop material available anywhere in the world. Typically, it is a massive rock that naturally splits into large, flat pieces. It comes in a variety of sizes. The standard pool table size is 1". Although it is costlier than most options present in the market, it offers a substantial return on investment. Table surfaces made of slate do not deform or crack under normal conditions. In addition, the surface is ideal for a good game allowing you to score a clean shot. While the Italian slate has occupied the premier position for ages, the Brazilian slate has grown in popularity in recent times. 

As the slate is extremely huge and bulky, it is difficult to transport it easily. That is why it is usually divided into three pieces, making the move feasible and cost-effective. The majority of three-piece slates are carefully matched and registered, meaning that all three portions were cued from the same slab. To summarize, while slate table tops are durable and of good quality, they are expensive as well as very heavy. 


Pool Table Sizes 

Most first-time pool table purchasers misjudge the amount of room necessary. Hence, before you go searching for a pool table, be sure you have adequate space available. Even if the table fits properly inside the room, there must be enough space on both sides of the tables for players to fire. Consider the size of the cues you intend to play with as well as the age group of the pool players. Also, make room for pieces of furniture like some shelves and cabinets to store extra stuff like balls and pool cues. 

A pool table comes in the following sizes: 6', 7', 8', and 9'.

In general, 'professional' pool table dimensions are 8', while 7' are called 'bar.' If you have a large space available, you can choose the larger sized table for a livelier experience. Another interesting fact is that the length of a 7' table is the same as that of most bar tables. This would allow you to save up a lot of space in your room at home. 

For using normal 57" pool cues, a 14' x 18' area would be suitable for an 8' table. For a 7' table, a room size of 13' x 17' would be ideal. If you have restricted space, you can go for a shorter pool cue. If money and space are not an issue, you may prefer a 9' table. Playing on this table might be difficult initially but, once you have become an expert in playing pool on such a big table, games on the smaller-sized tables will be super easy. 


Styles of Pool Table

A pool table, due to its great size, attracts massive attention wherever it is positioned. As a result, make sure to consider its size when decorating the concerned area. Carefully pick the elements and components that will complement the pool table and its environment. Mostly, pool table styles are of three types:


  • Classic Pool Table: The classic pool tables are the ones that will never go out of style. They have been in use for decades and are still popular among pool players. A classic pool table includes a hardwood frame and a covering of vintage green and red felt. Commonly, the table legs have old patterns and styling that are quite similar to vintage chairs and tables. If you want to create an antique or a timeless vibe, you can use a classic pool table. 


  • Contemporary Pool Table: The contemporary pool table is a fresh take on traditional pool tables. It puts a modern spin on ancient antique designs. Polished finishes in black have taken the place of conventional stained hardwood. Similarly, even patterns or blue colors are replacing the traditional green and red felts.


  • Modern Pool Table: The new tables outperform the traditional designs completely. Table legs are increasingly being substituted with pedestals, which are complemented by a wide range of pocket forms and felt colors. Some models even have glass neon lighting and LED top coverings to help enhance shooting angles. The modern pool table surely adds a unique and stylish touch to your room.


Pool Table Pricing

No matter how big or small your budget is, you must always remember that buying a pool table is a long-term financial commitment. In the case you are looking for slate pool tables with robust construction, the pool table cost may easily exceed USD 2000. While this is the general quote, pool tables are also available at a far cheaper price. However, since a pool table is a huge investment, it is advisable to get a good quality table that is long-lasting and with a great play field. 


How and Where to Purchase a Pool Table

If you are searching for the right table, you can begin by finding a dealer locally. A local shop is usually the best place to start. This is because the dealers can show you a large number and variety of pool table brands, sizes, and styles. They can also answer any questions you may have immediately and give you a detailed explanation. This will help you get clarity regarding what you should look for and what factors to consider before making the big decision. 

If you already know what you want, or if a local dealer is not available near your place, you can browse online stores. Today, it is quite simple to buy a high-quality pool table over the internet. The biggest advantage of buying online is that you might get a slightly reduced price. Also, your selection of the table would not be influenced by a salesperson who may be a pain for some and an angel for others. 

Another important thing to remember is that you should never be hesitant to ask any question that may pop into your mind. Similarly, do not make any assumptions. Pool tables involve several ancillary charges that may be included or excluded in the rates that the dealer quotes. 

Whether you strike a deal with a local dealer or on an online website, make sure to take as much time as you need and choose wisely. It is advisable to consult family, friends, and other fellow players and get their valuable suggestions. Once you do get the pool table of your dream, do not forget to invite all your near and dear ones and have a great time together!