The Insider: Pool Table Buyer’s Guide

You may not be spending your entire life’s savings on a new pool table, but it’s still an investment that will last for the many years to come. Buying a new pool table is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, so it’s important to make an educated buying decision by considering the size, quality, features, warranty availability, and more.

8-ball-close-up

Size

First, you need to determine if you have the proper amount of space for a pool table. The size of your room will ultimately limit what size pool table you can have. There are three main sizes:

  • 7-Foot Table (3.5′ x 7.5′)
  • 8-Foot Table (4′ x 8′)
  • 9-Foot Table (4.5′ x 9′)

Below is a diagram that shows the minimum amount of space you need for different lengths of pool cues.

Pool Table Size Diagram

A is the space needed when using a 48″ cue.
B is the space needed when using a 52″ cue.
C is the space needed when using a standard 58″ cue.

  • 7-Foot Table – view all
    • A: 11′ 6″ x 14′ 6″
    • B: 12′ x 15′
    • C: 13′ x 16′
  • 8-Foot Table – view all
    • A: 12′ x 15′ 6″
    • B: 12′ 6″ x 16′
    • C: 13′ 6″ x 17′
  • 9-Foot Table – view all
    • A: 12′ 6″ x 16′ 6″
    • B: 13′ x 17′
    • C: 14′ x 18′

Costs

Pool tables can cost anywhere between $900 and $5000, but there are many features that need to be taken in account to understand what goes into making a heirloom table where the performance of game play is very noticeable.

Features

Slate

Slate provides the playing surface of a pool table, and is present underneath the billiard cloth. Although there are synthetic substitutes, slate provides the best surface for cue balls to roll with speed and stability. Slate comes in three-quarters, one inch, and one and a quarter inch thick; the thicker the slate, the more stable of a roll the ball with have.

Slate also comes in either 1-Piece or 3-Piece portions. 3-Piece is recommended, as it tends to not warp or collapse on itself over time.

READ MORE: The Complete Guide To Pool Table Slate

Cloth

Billiard cloth, or “felt,” covers the slate and is typically made up of wool or wool and nylon. The cloth of a pool table controls how quickly a cue ball will roll and spin. Heavier fabric in tighter weaves is made up of more material, and is thus more durable and will last longer when played on.

READ MORE: A Player’s Guide To Pool Table Felt

Frame

Also known as the cabinet of the pool table, the frame is the main body that houses the slate. Frames are typically made from hardwood, veneer, or laminate wood. Hardwood is the most durable and aesthetically pleasing, but also the most expensive, as it is the only material that isn’t a decorative covering over layers of synthetics.

Rails

The perimeter around the playing surface is the railing, and typically has cushions attached to it. When new felt is installed on the table, dozens of staples go through the railing, so it’s important that it’s made from quality materials that will last through years of reapplying felt.

Rails are made from particle wood, medium-density fiberboard, or solid wood. Particle wood and MDF will look like cheese after some reapplications, so a solid wood rail will be your best bet.

Cushions

The cushions lining the rails bounce cue balls back when they hit the perimeter of the table. Synthetic cushions have a higher bounce than natural counterparts, but degrade quickly and can be more expensive to replace. The best material for pool table cushions is AAA Malaysian gum, a natural rubber that will never lose its bounce and can potentially outlast the table!

Imperial Augustine Antique Pool Table

8′ Imperial Augustine Antique Walnut Pool Table – Sale Price: $2,135.00

Legs

Pool table legs are responsible for supporting the weight of not only the cabinet and slate, but also the player when they lean or sit on the side of the table for a precise shot. Legs are ideally constructed from a single piece of solid wood, and also let the slate rest on top of them for maximum support.

Accessories

When you purchase a pool table, you’re likely to also receive cue sticks, balls, triangle, and chalk. There are many different accessories that you can also purchase to play your strengths.

Racked set of billiard balls

Photography by Gord Anderson (CC)

Purchasing Pool Tables

Now that you know exactly what to look for, you can search for a pool table that’s perfect for your space. GameTablesOnline.com has a large selection high-quality pool tables and accessories so you can find something that’ll fit your needs and skill level. Have questions? Contact one of our customer service reps for help placing an order!

More Purchasing Tips

  1. The Complete Guide to Pool Table Slate
  2. What is the Best Size Pool Table to Have?
  3. Italian Slate vs Brazilian Slate: Which is Better?
  4. Pool Table Slate Thickness: ¾ Inch vs 1 Inch
  5. 1 Piece vs 3 Piece Slate Pool Tables