If you’re looking for something that is challenging and continuously fun for the entire family or for all of your friends, then there is no item greater than pool table to have around. No matter your age or your skill level, anyone can play pool. And even win at it, if you get a little bit lucky, that is. Today, we are going to be taking a closer look at this timeless classic game in our buying guide. We’ll be breaking down all you need to know about pool tables so that you can make the best, most informed decision possible on what the best one is for YOU. We’ll also be reviewing the most popular tables available on the market, so don’t worry- there will be something for everyone! So, let’s get to it, rack ‘em up!
Top Pool Tables Comparison Chart
|Name||Size||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Simbashopping USA Eight Foot Pool Table||8 ft||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Lancaster 90 Inch Green Felt Pool Table||90 in||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Fat Cat 3 in 1 Pockey Table||7 ft||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizerak Dynasty Space Saving Pool Table||6.5 ft||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Barrington Springdale 90 Inch Claw Leg Pool Table||90 in||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Playcraft Extera Outdoor Billiard Table||8 ft||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Rack Pool Tables Leo Foldable Four Foot Tables||4 ft||$||Check Price on Amazon|
Pool Tables Buying Guide
You might be thinking right about now that buying a pool table is impossible for you and your budget. You’d love to finish off that man cave in the basement or the rec room for your kids, but you just don’t know how you will swing it. While it must be said that you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t have, you also shouldn’t fret too much. There are all kinds of options available to you. And while spending more is going to naturally end up giving you a little bit more of the features you’ll want, it does not mean that you get absolute junk by spending less. Another thing that is super cool about pool tables is that they will last a very long time, especially if they are done right. If you treat them well and have a good, quality table, they will literally last decades. So, even if you do feel that you spent a lot of money, it can be worth since you will be getting years and years for your buck, helping you get the very most value out of it. You don’t have spend millions to have the table deliver food to you in order to have a ton of fun! With all of that said, you should be counting on spending three digits on your table. That’s just going to be a given, unless you want junk…
Did you know that pool isn’t the only ‘cue’ game out there? The fact actually is that because it is not the only one, tables can range in size. ‘Normal’ pool tables are going to range anywhere from seven to nine feet. A table that is up to regulation, in the pool world, is one that is twice as long as it is wide. This can throw off a lot of people who are looking for just a plain answer to what the acceptable size is. But let’s all just accept it, there are no official sizes in the game. This means you have to be well-versed at all three sizes of the table. If you are not, whether you claim the seven footer is a toy, or that you are too small for the nine, that your game will suffer when not on the perfect felt. Yes, it is tougher to reach and you have to pull off more ‘athletic’ shots on the nine footer, but for a lot of people it is worth it.
There is also a game called Carom billiards. This type of ‘pool’ is played with a table that is ten feet in length, but it is not played with any pockets at all. Then there is also the game of ‘snooker.’ Snooker isn’t just when you trick your friend into stealing the last sandwich from your other friend, it’s also a game. This type of billiards is played on a massive 12 by six table, so you might also see these oversized tables on offer out there.
Finding The Right Size
So, now that you know what sizes the tables come in, you have to make a decision about what size to put in. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it can be if you don’t pay enough attention to details. Just because you have a seven foot by 3.5 foot space doesn’t mean you will be able to shove a table in there. I suppose you could do so, but once in place you’d only be able to walk across the top of it. Wouldn’t really do you much good, would it? So, tip number one is to give yourself plenty of space. If there is a certain amount of space, you have to account for that. You may not have enough space for a full nine footer, but there is enough for a seven. It’s not a perfect science, rather it is an art form to get the proper size for you.
A second tip is to get a hold of the tallest person that will regularly be playing on the table and have he or she take a look at the area when you are making measurements. If that person is cramped, then you will have to make adjustments. If they are left with plenty of room to maneuver in, then you could probably go ahead and go up a size or just stick with what you have since it will be in plenty of space.
Also, just because you have some space to use doesn’t mean you have to use it all up. If you are just looking to make it a piece that is part of the room, then don’t let it take over the room. A lot of people make this mistake and then are left without any further options to make additions later on. A lot of folks also don’t think about whether their floor can handle the weight of the table or not. If you have a super heavy duty table, it just might overpower the floor and cause some very serious issues. Then, you have to find space to store everything, such as cues. Without all of this, you might be left struggling just a little to pull off the best possible experience.
Lastly, just keep in the mind the ‘athleticism’ of pool. It might not seem like it to you, but the game does require some athletic movements. Some of the harder shots- trick shots- require you to bend and flex to such a degree that it would be hard to do so when constricted. If you’re in a tiny room and are restricted, you will never pull them off. You also want to make room for other players when it is not their turn, too, so you need to step back and be able to relax without the threat of having your eyes gouged out!
We all love a two for one special, don’t we? Well, most of us at least do! With pool tables, there are some things to consider as far as combos go. This can be something that you strive to reach, or it could be something that distracts from you and that you do not want. Simply put, combos are not always the best thing to go with in regards to pool tables. First and foremost, we should discuss dining tables. There are models of tables out there that can convert from dining room to pool table. This is ideal if you don’t have much space in an area but also don’t want to make it so that you can only play pool in it. Then there are multi sport combo tables. These can be found at retailers and can include games like ping pong and ‘air’ hockey on it. You flip over the tables and place them the way you want them to go. It’s a cheap way to take up time, but those are almost always never good, durable tables. Or anything approaching regulation, either. So, that should be a factor that you keep in the back of your mind.
In a pinch, any table- pool or not- can be used as a normal table. You just would need to find a covering for it that makes you happy and also not forget to account for the pockets. Poker is a game that would do very well on the table, too, without much modification, since the cards slide so well on such a surface!
How the table is made and what it is made out of are going to greatly affect the way that it plays for you. So, this section is going to go into detail about what each one does well so that you can find the very best table for you. There are two main types of materials that are used to construct the table top, which can also be called the table bed as well. Those choices are slate or wood.
This is the choice that is preferred by professional players and ‘experts’ from all over the world. The reason that this is their go-to material is because the ball will more much easier and the table top is extremely durable. With this does come a major uptick in cost, however, so you have to really think about that and what you want to do. If you want premium quality, it does take paying a premium and that should be kept firmly in your mind. Slate tables are not what you might think. They don’t just have one big slab of slate and then call it a day. Rather, they take and join the slabs together with a resin of some sort to make a surface that isn’t bumpy.
Wood tables can also be referred to by the acronym MDF. MDF stands for “Medium Density Fiberboard.” The biggest issue that faces you when you decide to go with wood is that of moisture. You might be thinking about a drink being spilled on the table, but this isn’t what is being referenced. Rather, it’s moisture in the air. This moisture can and will make the wood warp over time. This, obviously, leads to an uneven table and makes gameplay much poorer after a while. This type is cheaper than going with slate, and that is why a lot of people have made this choice. If you don’t want or expect a table to last a very long time, this is the way to go. Just don’t expect the greatest durability from it that you will ever see.
There are a couple of other alternatives for table tops as well, though they are much less popular than MDF and slate. Plywood, which is much flimsier than wood, is also a pick if you are looking for a budget item. Plastic is another one. You can find tables at the big box store, you know those super cheap ones that probably come with 500 other games, too, for really low prices. These types aren’t very durable at all, but if you have kids and are just buying for them then it can work and hold them over for a little while.
Cloth plays a central role in the game of pool because it’s pretty much playing the role of MC, if you will. This keeps the party rolling on, and without the game comes to a screeching halt suddenly. Like with the table top, cloth has two main types that you will need to pick from. The choices here include woolen and worsted. Fortunately for you, both of them are very good and have consistent rolls to them. However, there are some slight differences between them, and it means they are well worth pointing out.
Worsted cloth is most typically going to be the type that you see used in pool halls and bars all over. It used sheep wool and is not going to leave any hand marks as a result of the ‘felt’ being touched. This type won’t comes in handy for that reason, and it’s why it is preferred. It’s not quite as much of a ‘premium’ feel to it, but it does have that tiny extra durability built in, which makes it perfect for that setting.
Woolen cloth is the kind that is going to be used at major tournaments and competitions. This type’s covering is different from worsted because it does show hand marks and prints when it is touched, just like what you would see on TV when the pros play. Because of this, it can crumple up a bit and become a factor on the roll of the ball. This can be taken care of by brushing it, though. It will eat up a little extra time, but you will feel like a real pro on it.
Fortunately, both are very durable and are going to look great for you and your friends. It’s just a matter of picking which is best. This doesn’t have to be a pivotal decision for you, but it is still one to think over nonetheless.
Felt Color and Thickness
This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it’s still one you should give some thought. If you have a color scheme going on, the last thing you will want to do is buy a table that doesn’t match well with it. Most tables are going to come in a shade of green, but there are other options available as well. Blue and red are also popular with many, but you can find others out there, too, to make your table match up to just about anything you have going on.
After color, the thickness of the felt should be examined. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find out that thicker felt is best. The thicker you can find it, the more durable it will be. Everyone loves something that lasts forever, as it just makes you feel like you go the absolute most bang for your buck!
Rails and Cushions
The rails are yet another central aspect to the game of pool. What fun would it be without them? It’d basically leave you playing some very strange form of curling since there are no walls. At any rate, rails are used to help you not only orchestrate what might seem like an impossible shot but also are there to keep balls on the table. The best case scenario for you is to find a table with rails that come in more than one piece. This way, there are multiple pieces running around the edges, thus lessening the load. One piece rails aren’t necessarily bad, but they do not hold up as well, since they can have much more damage inflicted upon them. One type of rail, the laminated rail, is quite inexpensive, but it does not offer you a ton of support, meaning you will be left found out before too long.
The cushions are very closely linked to the rails. A good cushion is going to be made out of either gum rubber, used in some shoes, or synthetic materials. Synthetics are man made materials that are engineered to mirror materials found in natural life, only they have added durability and toughness thrown in for good measure. With that said, if you have a choice, you should go for a more natural material. The elastic properties will not be affected as greatly that way, and you will have a much longer lasting cushion, helping the ball bounce off predictably for a very long time.
This part of the equation is far from the prettiest part, but it might just be the most important ingredient of all. The legs, if not the most important, have to be right up there with the table top. Without a good set of legs to the table, it will literally all come crumbling down at a moment’s notice. This is very much paramount if you are going to be buying a slate table. A slate table is really awesome, as we have discussed earlier, but the problem it brings is that it is quite heavy and large. This means that the whole thing can fall to the ground if you aren’t careful, resulting in a major disappointment. Legs must be as thick as they can be in order to get the most from them. Thin and clear legs won’t do the trick nearly as well. Just because they look great does not mean they will be able to hold the weight of the table. Remember, people will also be sitting and leaning on the table, so that has to be factored in when you choose the size and shape of the legs. A short pair of legs is not a bad thing, and it could actually be conducive to your home. However, a thin pair just will not work, particularly when the table it is holding is very heavy.
We’re almost to the reviews, but there’s still a little ways left to go and we’d be remiss to go without mentioning pockets. Like the table size, there is not a specified pocket size that is so-called ‘regulation.’ It just will depend on the table’s size and what the manufacturer has decided to do with them. Some of these ‘drop’ pockets are deeper than others, helping to accommodate for more balls. In almost all occasions, a pocket will be made out of leather. Unless the table is trying to cut costs, you will see this used. It’s a good thing, too, since you won’t need to do a ton of maintenance on the table due to the use of the leather. They can crack and dry, but a little bit of leather conditioning can go a long way and you don’t have to fool with it all that often.
It should also go without saying that you are going to need some equipment besides the table before you can get started playing. A game of pool isn’t, well, a game of pool, without pool cues (stick), some chalk, a rack, and a cover. The cover for the table might just be the biggest part of it all, and if you’ve never owned a table you might never have thought about it. But without a cover, dirt and dust can and will get all over the table. Maybe the family cat will lay on top of it. Trust me, it’s more than ideal to have a cover. You also need cues and the like, too, so keep that in mind. Some tables will come with everything you need. Some will not. Just because the table is great, however, does not mean the accompanying accessories will be as well. So check and make sure that reviews indicate a good deal, or you could end up buying additional stuff that is up to par with your table when you had only accounted for the table in your original budget. Generally speaking, you will find better tables when they do NOT have accessories along with them. But then again, it’s just a general rule to go off of and is by no means a clear rule.
Weight and Installation
While it is good for your table to have some heft and weight to it, there is also a risk that you can go too overboard as well. If you plan on having a heavy duty table it will last a long time, no doubt. Especially if you are taking good care of it. But once you get it in, it’s essentially going to be ‘stuck’ if it is too large. If you’re looking for something that can be moved fairly easily, then you won’t be able to have the ultra heavy version. It’s also worth remembering this for installation. If it is super duper heavy, it’s going to be a big pain, especially if you are going up or down some stairs. Sometimes, you can find professionals that will install tables. They can do all the heavy lifting and putting together that there is, but it will raise the cost of the table. Just keep the weight in mind, since it can be your best friend and your worst enemy all bundled into one at various times!
Let’s Review The Top 7 Pool Tables of 2019!
Simbashopping USA Eight Foot Pool Table
If you are looking for a table that is in between the huge dollar ones and the cheap ones, then this is the one for you. With a full set of accessories, as well as an automatic ball return, this is just like the kind of table you would find at the local recreational center. Those facts just make it so much easier to use, increasing your enjoyment tenfold. On top of that, it’s not a professional look and feel to it, with blue felt and chrome on the bottom for the legs. It’s a sturdy piece at over 330 pounds, so it will be no small feat to move but will still be somewhat manageable. The legs can be adjusted to make getting the table level easier than ever before, while the assembly is fast and rather painless to deal with as well. It also comes with just about all you need, with 15 balls, a cover, six cues, and a brush to clean it all off with. It is made out of MDF, but it is of the stronger variety of that, so that is a plus at least. They have also shown to be very good with service as well, so that won’t be an issue if something comes up.
- Auto ball return
- Great service
- Legs are easily adjusted
- Not the least expensive
Lancaster 90 Inch Green Felt Pool Table
If you want something at a much more affordable price, then this one from Lancaster could be the perfect choice for you to make. Like the Simba piece, this one has a ton of accessories along with, including balls, two cues, the rack, chalk, and a brush, too. It does use particle board for the table top, but they have done so in a bid to keep the price down and allow more people the opportunity to buy the table as a result. With that said, it’s pretty durable wood, just keep in mind that it can and will warp after a while. It does also use laminate on the railings to cut down cost as well, but if you take care of it, it’ll last. It is a bigger table but weighs just under 200 lbs, making it pretty easy to manage when you want to move it around. It’s a really good addition to the house if you have a family and just want to have a good starter setup where it won’t run you too much if it does get a scratch or two on it. The legs can be leveled up, but some have found them to be a little flimsy and had to reinforce them with a 4X4, so be prepared for that.
- Good budget piece
- Fairly easy to move
- Good for family play
- Not quite as durable
Fat Cat 3 in 1 Pockey Table
We had to put one of these in here. It’s a combo set. But don’t worry, it’s not one of those combos. This is a good one from Fat Cat that will let you play air hockey, pool, and ping pong all in one. Unlike others, though, this one is not super cheap and will actually let you play each of the three games as they were intended to be played. This is a great way to save space and still operate within the three digit price range as a result of that. The table comes with all sorts of accessories, but regarding pool it has two cues, a brush, and chalk with it. You don’t get everything, but it does go some way toward getting there for you. It does take assembly, but it’s incredibly easy and painless to deal with. Some would have been off put that it’s a little bit smaller than the bigger tables, but at the end of the day, it’s not a detriment to the play at all. It is made out of wood instead of slate, but considering all of the other features that come with this table, that just has to be expected.
- Three games in one
- Easy to put together
- Sturdy table with tons of storage
- No markings
- Not just for pool
Mizerak Dynasty Space Saving Pool Table
If space is tight and you don’t know if you can accommodate a full size table, then this ‘condo’ table is just the answer for you. This table is just 6.5 feet and is smaller but will still give you a really great game and let you play at home. It might not have seemed possible at one point, but you can save space and still have a decent game all at the same time. This table allows it with a great look, too, that looks just perfect and pristine with the wooden finish popping to the eye. It’s also got that green look to accentuate the place with a classic feel to it. With an automatic ball return, the first on this list at this price range, it’s going to allow you to quickly and efficiently get back to playing after the completion of the game. It is made from MDF but has strong legs to support it and would be a good pickup for someone that is lacking a whole heap of extra space.
- Space saver
- Classic looks
- Automatic ball return
- Not quite normal size
- Not the greatest quality
Barrington Springdale 90 Inch Claw Leg Pool Table
If you’re goal is to stay in the same sort of price range but go a little higher, then this offer from Barrington is your choice. This one is 90 inches, landing right in the range of ‘regulation’ tables without being too big for you to handle. With a ton of extra, such as cues, balls, chalk, a rack, and a brush, you get it all with this table. It has some of the sturdiest looking legs we have seen so far, and part of the appeal will also be the designs that are on them. This also has the classic drop pockets made from leather, making it look that next step up in class without breaking the bank on you. It is made out of particle board, but it’s that next level of stuff, so you’ll be happy with its durability and the way that it plays. They also have other sizes, too, should you like the look and features on show for you here.
- Still manageable size
- Extremely classy look
- Very sturdy legs
- Can get pricey depending on size
Playcraft Extera Outdoor Billiard Table
Playing outdoors is a big challenge, and the Extera from Playcraft is working hard to counter that very thing. This table is made out of aluminum, since wood is a no-go when outside. The playing surface also differs from the rest, with it being made out of composite materials in order to ensure it does not begin to warp like wood would. The legs are quite large and thick and are made in a tube like shape that supports the entire structure. On top of that, they will not rust, so you will not have to worry about that taking place and ruining the look of it. The table also comes with the playing equipment that you will need, including a cover that is made from UV resistant materials to help make sure the sun doesn’t hurt it from the exposure. As far as outdoor tables go, this is the way you have to go simply because it will make your stuff last. The price is far higher than anything we have seen on the list, therefore it has found its way toward the bottom of our top seven.
- Lasts in the outdoors
- Thick legs won’t rust
- Equipment is up to par
- Very high price
Rack Pool Tables Leo Foldable Four Foot Tables
Rounding out our list is one out of left field, keeping up our theme of finding something for everyone. This table will not only take up very little space for you but it will also be super affordable and easy to put up and take down. That’s because it is a foldable table that is just four foot long. This allows you to carry it anywhere pretty easily and lets you store it wherever you like. It’s not the greatest thing in the world for an experienced player at all, but for kids there are far worse choices that you could make. It’s a very good intro the game for them, and it comes at a price that won’t harm you too much if it does get broken. The legs are much more heavy duty than you would think, as is the frame, so this is not as bad as it might sound and could be right up your alley!
- Very low price
- Great for very tight spaces
- Sturdier than you’d think
- Mostly good for kids
- Not going to take a huge beating
There’s one thing about pool tables that most people don’t recognize. It is their intrinsic value. A pool table that is properly maintained is going to retain its worth over decades and quite possibly generations. In fact, it could even be worth more over time if it’s kept in the right condition. All the while playing and having fun on it. Today, we have helped you take the next step toward your family’s next favorite past time by helping you examine the ins and outs of pool tables. You will be so much more knowledgeable now about them and will be equipped to go out and make the best choice for your specific game. So, get to it, your family and friends are waiting!