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Pool Table Research

3 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Pool Table

  • Background on pool tables
  • Features and functions of pool tables
  • How to find the best pool table for you online

This short guide was created to help you understand the basics of shopping for pool tables online and to help you choose the right pool table for you.


Pool Table Research

Whether you're shopping for a pool table for your kids to play on (and probably beat up!) or a custom pool table made 100% from Hardwood. You will be able to find the right pool table for you. Today's pool table makers and retailers use the internet as the primary way of marketing their pool tables. As such, shopping for a pool table online has become much easier. It is a great way to research pool tables and to compare several types and brands to make sure you find one that will work for you based on your desired features and budget.

What Pool Table Features Should I Consider?

Pool tables come in a wide range of styles and prices. There are two main categories of pool tables, which we'll call 'novelty' and 'traditional'. The main difference between entertainment and traditional pool tables is the playing surface—the material used for the base of the playfield that is used under the cloth.

"Novelty" style pool tables typically use wood as the playing surface, while traditional pool tables use slate as the playing surface. Because novelty pool tables use wood as the playing surface, they are usually smaller (5' to 8' long), lighter, cheaper, and less durable than traditional pool tables. Novelty-style pool tables are usually in the $150- $500 price range (although you can pay upwards of $800 for specialty novelty pool tables that have such features as an anti-warping surface. Novelty pool tables are usually light and not as durable as the traditional Pool Tables.

"Traditional" style pool tables are typically larger (8' to 9' long), heavier, more expensive, and more durable. Traditional pool tables usually start at around $1800, most are within the $2,000-$3,000 range, and you can spend may thousands more for customized or luxury pool tables. Traditional pool tables are sold through specialty pool table retail stores and online and may require installation by trained professionals. Because buying a traditional pool table is more of an investment, you should consider the specific features of the traditional pool table more carefully.

Pool Table Size

The proper size for your pool table is determined both by the size of the room or area the pool table will be in and the length of the pool cues that will be used. You want to make sure that the players have enough room to comfortably make shots from all sides of the pool table. We have a tool to help you calculate room size for a pool table online, and a guide to pool table room size which cross-references the recommended pool table size with the minimum recommended room size.

Pool Table Construction Material

The vast majority of traditional pool tables are built with wood, but some use metal or a hard and durable plastic for frame construction. For those that use wood, you need to find out if the wood is solid hardwood, or if veneer, particleboard, or laminate is used. Many wood pool tables will also use heavy-gauge metal brackets to provide additional support. The use of metal brackets to attach the legs to the cabinets is so that no warping occurs and to make the pool table sturdier. Generally, solid wood pool tables are more expensive than those that use veneer or laminate, and some pool table makers will build a pool table in any number of exotic woods as desired by the customer.

Pool Table Finish and Color Options

For traditional wood pool tables (and some metal or plastic pool tables), you can often have your choice of wood stain finish (pecan, oak, mahogany, etc.) to complement the style of the room that the pool table will be in. You can also choose the color of the cloth that will be used on the playing surface. There are 30+ choices of cloth color to choose from. Often, the choices for finish and cloth are quite extensive. Several popular pool table manufacturers offer configuration tools which allow the customer to pick their exact build. Some of these tools offer so much choice that there are 921000 different combinations of options to choose from. Rest assured that you can get exactly the pool table you want.

Pool Table Pocket Options

The choice of internal or external 'drop' pockets is for the most part a personal preference. Internal pockets usually propel the billiard balls through a ball-return-system into a ball collection tray at one end of the pool table. This makes retrieving balls for the next game much easier. External drop pockets are usually made of high-grade leather and collect only the billiard balls that have been sunk into that pocket during the last game. This requires the players to go around the pool table and collect the billiard balls from each pocket prior to break on the next game.

Aesthetics and Pool Table Design Details

Traditional pool tables are typically placed at the center of a given room or area and garner a lot of attention. For this reason, it's important to consider the aesthetics of a given pool table. You want to make sure that your pool table is attractive to you and that you'll enjoy having it in your home for many years. Your choice of aesthetic details can make a big difference in the look and cost of the pool table. Some examples of configurable pool table design details include:

  • hand-carved legs,
  • apron and rail style,
  • mother of pearl inlays,
  • details carved into the wood,
  • exotic wood and other accents,
  • ... and so on.

Pool Table Leg Levelers

Since not all floor surfaces are perfectly flat, many pool tables come with built-in levelers that allow you to adjust each corner of the pool table so that the playing surface is perfectly flat.

Pool Table Accessory Packages

In addition to the pool table itself, there are other accessories required to play a game of pool and others that aren't required but might add to the enjoyment of your pool table.

Of course, you'll need pool cues, balls, a racking triangle, and some cue chalk. Other available accessories include a 9-ball diamond rack, bridge cue, cue racks, table brush, under rail brush, chalk holders, tip repair covers, and pool table covers. Pool table covers come in a variety of forms, including plastic, leather, and even wood pool table covers which allow owners to convert the pool table to a dining room table when not in use.

How to Find the Best Pool Table for You

The choice of which pool table is best for you will be based on your particular situation, budget, needs, and style preferences. Once you know what specific features and functions you need from your pool table, simply gather a list all of the pool tables that meet those base needs. From there, you can begin comparing the other features of those pool tables on the list.

This comparison will be based on factors such as:

  • Price - Price should be a consideration for any purchase you make, including pool tables. However, don't make price your only criteria for choosing the best pool table for you. Remember that buying a pool table can be like buying a future heirloom, so don't skimp on the cost if you think you might regret it later. You should know that some pool table manufacturers mass-produce their tables with the goal of having a low price point, while other manufacturers may only build custom pool tables with high-end materials (in which case the customer would have to wait for the pool table to be built)
  • Selection - Finding just the right pool table for your needs is important, and there can be a significant difference in selection among online pool table stores. Some sites that sell pool tables are 'factory direct' stores, which means that they are selling only the product(s) they make. Other sites act as dealers and sell a wide range of pool tables from a variety of manufacturers. Even if you know exactly what you want, don't just stop on the first site and pick something- do a little bit of browsing among sites first. As you visit the various pool table sites, check out the selection as it might surprise you how many different products and options- and prices- are available.
  • Timing - Timing can be important in the process of acquiring a pool table, especially if you are purchasing a custom table that will be built or modified to your specifications. When shopping pool table sites, find out how long it takes to build and ship the pool table, when it will be delivered, and if expedited shipping is possible.
  • Warranty, Guarantees, and Return Policy - Find out if there are any warranties or guarantees on the pool table or on the overall satisfaction of the service. Find out what these guarantees cover and what the remuneration is if something goes wrong. If applicable, make sure to find out how the pool table will be serviced or repaired, both within and beyond any warranty period. Many pool table manufacturers will include a lifetime guarantee on their products, but make sure that you understand where this coverage ends. The best guarantees include free replacement of the slate if it breaks for ANY reason, including misuse or abuse.
  • Customer Service - The better the online pool table store, the better the customer service they will provide. Look for pool table sites that have extensive FAQ sections, have a friendly interface, and which provide several options to contact customer service (via email, chat, or by phone, etc.). Find out what hours customer service is open and how long the response time is. Try calling the service department (before you buy the pool table). See if those calls are answered in the same priority and courteousness as are those to the sales department.
  • Shipping and Installation - Shipping costs add to the total cost of anything you buy online, including pool tables. This cost can be offset to some degree because you typically don't need to pay sales tax when ordering a pool table via eCommerce as you would in a retail store. Compare shipping costs among online pool table sites as they may vary; some sites will charge you separately for shipping, and others will include it in the final price. If applicable for your particular order, you might want to find out if shipping insurance is included or available as an option. Finally, you need to find out if the pool table will be shipped fully assembled or in pieces and if the company will provide installation services. Sometimes this cost is included in the final price, and sometimes you will be charged extra for it. Due to the weight of the pool table and the fact that the pool table will need to be leveled carefully, you might want to spring for the professional installation if possible and affordable.

To go a step further in finding the right pool table for you, it might pay to ask your family and friends if they have had any experience - either good or bad - with specific pool table makes or models. In addition, you may consider brand name as a criteria. Generally, the best-known and most successful businesses are those that do a good job, earn repeat business, and earn a good reputation over time.

In conclusion, we hope you have found the information we have put together for you useful. We suggest that you use the information in this guide as a starting point in your search for the right pool table for you. If you have any further questions or concerns when it comes to choosing a pool table, please do not hesitate to ask a question in the "Choosing a Pool Table" Q&A discussion forum.

Pool Table Research

  • Title: Pool Table Research
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 12/1/2020 2:06:44 AM
  • Last Updated: 12/1/2020 2:56:08 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Pool Table Research

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