Pool Table Buying Guide
There are several things to consider when you are searching for just the right pool table for your needs. When you take the right factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the perfect pool table for your specific preferences and needs. We’ve listed the important considerations below.
Pool Table Components to Consider
There are several components that make up all pool tables. When you start looking for the right pool table for your needs, you will need to take these different components into consideration and take a look at each of them when deciding between the different pool tables you are interested in. Understanding the different components will help you be more adept at evaluating the pool table’s quality.
- Legs – The best material you can look for, for the legs of your pool table is solid wood. There are tables that have curved and carved designs on the legs but that does not have a bearing on how the table plays. A solid leg base provides a lot of stability for the table so it is sturdy and solid while you are playing.
- Frame – The frame of your pool table is also an important feature to look at. The structure of your table is what all the other components are attached to in one form or another. Decades ago, pool tables were only made with solid wood frames but that is not the case anymore.
Today, you will find tables that have fiberboards with medium density making up the frame of your pool table. Game play is very close to the same for solid wood frames versus MDF frames so it comes down to personal preference. The same is true about straight frames versus tapered frames which also come down to a personal preference decision on which they like better. The durability and stability is the same for both. The best quality frames are supported with a central beam that runs the full length of the table and is additionally reinforced by two crossbeams.
- Slate – The play area of the pool table is the slate. This area got its name from the single piece of slate that was commonly used to create this area. Slates come in different thicknesses and the thickest of these is the one you want to look for, which is 1”. There are also ¾” and 7/8”. Wood backing on the slate is a personal preference. Some like it that way and some don’t. ¾” slate tables are less expensive but are also less in quality, durability and accuracy as well.
- Rails – You want the rails of the pool table to be made from solid wood. This allows the perfect amount of bounce. The rails should be bolted into place with bolts that will run through the frame into the slate. This guarantees that the rails are firmly in place and the cushioned edges give the balls excellent response.
- Pockets – Pockets of a pool table are made from one of three different materials:
- Plastic – Plastic pockets are usually on cheaper and poor quality tables. They are not very durable and tend to wear out quickly.
- Rubber – Rubber pockets are used for commercial tables and are much more durable than the plastic varieties.
- Leather – You will find leather pockets in a lot of residential tables. They not only look a lot better than the other choices, but they are the most durable as well and will not crack or split like plastic will. The look of the pockets is oftentimes added to with shields of some kind or fringe. There are also rims that you can get, which cost a little more but add to the stability of the pocket.
- Felt – Felt is available in many different forms. You can choose a wool-blend felt or a worsted version which is much better at providing excellent game play, has a lot better resilience, and can be cleaned easier as well. You want to look for felts that are attached by a tack strip. A professional can fix a felt that has folds in it but if there are any tears or holes, the felt will need to be replaced completely.
Pool tables are a very popular addition to home game rooms all across the United States. There are many different varieties of pool tables to choose from and those varieties include felt color, finishes, pocket styles, size of the table and much more. With all of these choices, it may feel very confusing to try and decide on the right pool table for your home game room.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you understand the different components of a pool table and what you want to look for regarding those components. One of the first things you need to know when it comes to purchasing a pool table is the size space you have to work with.
If you want a pool table but don’t have a lot of room, there are smaller 6 ½ foot tables that will work great in that smaller space while still providing you with the ability to play a game you and your family enjoy. There are also larger tables that are available if space is not an issue.
The main thing to remember is to look for quality construction, sturdy leg design, solid wood rails, nice slate play-beds and other quality parts. The higher quality you can afford, the happier you will be and the longer you will have your pool table.