For durability concerns, the pool table construction pyramid runs much like this:
- laminates/particle board
- wood veneers (knowing what wood that is under the veneer makes a big difference)
- wood on wood
- solid hardwoods
- metal on wood
If you're happy with the quality of the slate, and happy with the table being heavy enough (or big enough), a lot of the questions of durability could be addressed if you have children...if you really worry about generations of play hardwood and slate is the best way to go.
I think if you're dealing with a a firm you believe in, and found a price range you like...
Your only concern is being 100% totally okay with the cosmetics of the table...
(I think if you picked a good slate the wood issue is a much lesser concern)
I don't think you can be disappointed with any Olhausen or Brunswick table, new or used (as long as it's been checked out by a professional or it's nearly free)... A badly made laminate table might last about 5-6-7 years if subject to intense use like in a pool hall. I think the general rule of thumb is a particle board table with a non slate top is fine for casual or family pool, but wouldn't make people who expect professional pool happy.
You could have bought a table for 5200 dollars and nicer wood, but if you're getting enough enjoyment to get your cloth replaced 4 times on the table that might be the best way to use that extra $2000 dollars....
My personal faves for tables (pool/snooker/carom) are:
- Chevillotte - France (for pool and snooker - comes with carom corner inserts)
- Ursus - Italy (mostly carom tables some pool)
- Titan - UK (pool tables - 9 foot - company seems to make nice copies of Brunswick pool tables and Riley pool tables)
- Brunswick (new and used $1900 up 9/10/12 feet) - USA
- Riley - UK (snooker tables - 12 foot)
- 080 Studios - weird all steel tables, unusual construction - thin yet extremely heavy
If I were to get a pool table and it had to be new
- Titan Voyager - 9 foot
- Brunswick Highlander - 8 foot
- Brunswick Gold Crown IV - 9 foot
Plain and boring works for me