Pool Table Buying Guide

A Definitive Guide for Selecting the Best Pool Table


As far as investments go, a pool table can be an excellent family heirloom. It can be as antique and unique as a grand piano or a grandfather clock and is a great conversation starter in any social gathering. Playing pool with your family or friends provides incredible entertainment and can strengthen your bond as well. With enough practice, you can even opt to play pool in a league or professionally.


The quality of a pool table can affect the game. If your pool table has matted felt, dead rails, and accessories that are not up to par, you need this guide to help you select the best pool table to suit your taste.



Does size matter? For a pool table, yes, it does. It would be best to consider where you will be placing your pool table and who will be using it. You wouldn’t want to buy a 10-foot table for an itty-bitty living space. Likewise, you don’t want a small-sized table for professional games.


Pool tables come in four common sizes:



Often called a bar size, 7’ pool tables have a play surface of 39” x 78”. The short distance provided by this size allows players to make shots easier. However, since it is smaller than a standard table, it will allow room to play in a tighter space.



With a play surface of 44” x 88”, this is the preferable size for homes. It is not too big nor too small and gives the right amount of space for any player. Whether you’re a pro or just a beginner, this size is friendly for almost anyone.



This is the most uncommon size pool table. It has a play surface of 46” x 92”. This size is also called an 8’ pro. It is a great size for avid players who don’t have room for a 9’.



This size is recommended for professionals and has a play surface of 50” x 100”. It is best suited in areas like pool halls or billiard rooms. 9’ tables are referred to as tournament tables and will elevate a person’s skill level.



As with any product, the price also varies for pool tables. However, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately get the most expensive in the market or opt for the cheapest one if you’re on a tight budget. It would help if you considered the purpose of your purchase while keeping in mind the value for the price of the table’s size and quality.


Cheap tables usually lack professional cue sports quality and are often suited for toys or children’s use. They would often use artificial materials that don’t last very long. The average lifespan is about less than five years. If you want a less expensive option without compromising quality, tables in the mid-level price range should suit your preference. These tables can also suffice if you’re considering a long-time investment, if not a lifetime investment.


Custom pool tables are the best option if you have the budget to splurge, and if you want it to be a lifetime investment. With custom tables, you can have any design, unique features, and use your most preferred materials, especially of the highest grade.


Quality and Components


A good pool table has the following ideal components:


  1. Slate

While pool table surfaces can be made of other materials such as wood or acrylic, they can’t match the lasting quality of slate. Slate is a metamorphic rock that is sturdy and durable. Slate should be 7/8” to 1” thick. However, keep in mind that the thickness of the slate can affect the table’s cost.


  1. Legs

Just as your legs support your body, a pool table’s legs support the entire table and the weight of the person who leans on it. So, a sturdy leg is a significant factor in selecting a good pool table. There are three main types of legs: post legs, pedestal legs, and antique legs.


The post legs, also known as floor to slate legs, are made of solid wood from the frame to the feet. Pedestal legs are the most common in modern styles and tournament style tables. The pool table frame sits directly on top of the two legs. The antique style legs, also known as “standard” legs, are bolted to the underside of the frame on each corner.


1) Frame

A good frame is needed to support the weight of the slate and keep it flat. If the frame is not sturdy enough, there is a chance for breakage and sag. Frames can be made with wood or manufactured materials like medium-density fireboard (MDF) or metal. Hardwood is considered as the highest quality option. Quality pool tables usually use two crossbeams to support the center piece of slate.


2) Fabric

The fabric for pool tables is a blend of wool and nylon and is commonly coated in Teflon. The blend makes the material durable while the Teflon coating helps in stain resistance. The recommended weight for a billiard cloth is 18-22 ounces per yard.


3) Cushions and Rails

Pool table rails are what the cushions attach to. The top rails should be constructed of solid hardwood, and the cushion should be made of 100% natural gum rubber.


Synthetic materials like clay fillers tend to dry out over time and lose their bounce. When this happens, they become “dead rails.” If you want longer-lasting rails or cushions, your best option would be natural gum or gum blends. If a manufacturer does not offer a lifetime warranty on their cushions, buy another brand that does. No exceptions.


4) Accessories

Of course, a pool table is not complete without accessories. The basic ones include balls, cues, chalk, and a triangle. These can set you up quickly for any game. Other accessories you can add are cue racks, table brushes, bridge sticks, ball racks, and table covers.



Pool tables can be a lifetime investment. With that in mind, you want to buy from a reputable manufacturer that ensures their products will operate as they should. Warranties ensure consumers of the product’s quality and that the manufacturer will repair or replace a defective product or its parts. This is particularly important, especially for custom pool tables as it can save you time and money. Only accept a true lifetime warranty.


Knowing what to look for in a quality pool table means knowing precisely what you want to invest in. You don’t want to spend your money on something that is not worthwhile or something that will not last long. The best pool table can provide you and your family countless hours of recreation for the years to come.


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Olhausen is a leading shuffleboard table manufacturer in the industry. With over 300 dealers in the USA, please contact Olhausen at (+1) 800 866 4606 or visit our official website OlhausenBilliards.com.










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