Best Pool Table
If you’re looking for a fun activity to play with friends, family, and strangers, then the game of pool is one of the best options you can choose. It’s a game of skill that’s easy to pick up but hard to master, you can have plenty of fun after one afternoon of practice, but you can also continue to improve for the rest of your life.
The game of pool and its similar predecessors has been entertaining people for hundreds of years. We know it as pool but it’s also known as billiards and is descended from a variety of games that have been played with cue sticks and a flat surface over the centuries. The famous Mary, Queen of Scots was so enthralled by the activity that she asked that the surface of her billiard table be used to wrap her body when she was buried. From Mozart to George Washington and Babe Ruth, when you play pool you’re carrying on a tradition shared by some of history’s greatest names.
The game of pool may have a storied history, but you don’t need high ambitions to play the game. All you need is a table, a cue, some balls, and a desire to play. The biggest investment will be the table; they can get pricey. That’s why we’ve prepared this article to help you find the perfect pool table for your needs so you can enjoy this great game in the comfort and convenience of your own home. To start off, we will look at the things you need to consider before you even begin looking at tables.
Pool Table Buyer’s Guide
One of the first things you need to do when shopping for a pool table is deciding what you can afford. Pool tables range widely in price but if you want a well-made, full-sized pool table you should expect to pay hundreds of dollars, minimum. When it comes to pool tables anything less than a thousand dollars is considered a bargain, while economy models start at a thousand bucks. There are truly cheap tables you can get made out of plastic but they are cheap in every sense of the word. These are designed for children and not the best choice if you want to learn the game as it is played in pool halls and bars around the globe. You should also remember that in order to play the game you will also need cue sticks, billiard balls, and a ball rack. If you already have these accessories you can focus all your money on the table itself, but if you don’t have them yet then you might want to save some room for them in your budget.
Pool tables take space. The game of pool is hard to play in a shoebox apartment, you need room for the table and room around it where you can safely operate the cue stick. Table sizes generally start at 7 feet long and range to 9 feet long, though there are smaller models. 7-foot tables are the ones commonly used in bars while the full 9-foot tables are used for professional competition. Whatever size you choose, the pool table should be half as wide as it is long, so a 7-footer will be 3 and a half feet wide while a 9-foot-long table should be 4 and a half feet wide. Remember that you will need plenty of space to actually play the game, it is recommended that a 7-foot table is placed in a room that’s 17-foot-long and 13 feet wide. The bare minimum is around 12 foot by 15 foot. If you use the shortest cue possible and play very carefully. Before you start shopping, find the room you’ll put the table in and measure out the available footage carefully. Before you make the purchase, tape off a rectangle on the floor the size of the table you’re looking at and play some air pool with your cue or an appropriately sized stick. You don’t want to drop some serious cash on a table only to discover that it doesn’t fit in your home.
A table is only as good as the materials that are used to make it. The best tables are made with slate, high quality felt, and other top of the line materials. Unfortunately, these materials are relatively expensive, and so if you’re looking to get a more economic table, you should expect to settle for cheaper materials. If possible look into the felt, it’s especially important that the surface of the material is well made because it’s the area that the ball actually interacts with. Felt is usually made with some mixture of wool and nylon to create the best playing field possible. Try and see if you can find out the ounces of felt per yard. Somewhere around 20 ounces per yard is the sweet spot.
What do you want from your new pool table? Are you looking to become a pool pro? Do you want to teach your kids the basics of pool? Are you just looking to have some fun? The more serious your goals are, the more money you should commit. If you’ve just got a passing interest, then you might want to start off with a smaller table to play around on. Anyone who has kids might want a kid’s sized table; it can be difficult for children to make full use of a table that is twice as long as they are tall. After a while, both kids and adults can carry concepts learned on smaller tables over to the full-sized models. But be careful, if you get used to playing on a four-foot long table with rubber balls it can be hard to move over to the real thing. If you want to impress the folks at the local ball or pool hall then you should really try and invest in a table that is at least 6 feet long, so you get a sense for the way the game is really played. If you spend too long playing with the pool equivalent of training wheels, you can develop bad habits.
Best Pool Table Reviews
With all of this in mind we can look at ten of the top pool tables on the market and see if any of them match up with all your needs.
The first table we’ll be looking at is the 6-foot-long arcade billiard table from MD Sports. This table is a solid choice for anyone looking to get their first real pool table. It’s made of MDF wood and 18mm thick particle board to ensure that it can withstand heavy play. The sides and edges are also covered with an extra layer of PVC laminate to keep it from getting scratched and nicked so that the table will look great after years of use. Some assembly is required, but it’s fairly easy to put the legs on the table, just know that if you don’t think you can assemble a heavy-duty table, you might have to budget for assistance. Once you do get the legs put on, they can be adjusted so you can play on a level table even if the ground underneath isn’t level.
In addition to its practical strengths, the table also benefits from an attractive and highly modern appearance. The black, white, and red color scheme separates it from the traditional brown and green look that you might be used to, but that makes it perfect for anyone who wants to stand apart from the rest. Still, this does mean that it may not be the best table for traditionalists who are set on playing pool on a green felt surface. But for anyone who likes the look and is serious about pool this option from MD Sports is worth a shot.
Usually, the label “portable” refers to pool tables that are much smaller than regulation, usually no more than 4 feet long. This table from Hathaway Fairmont is the exception to the rule. It’s as big as a regulation-sized bar table, but it’s still very easy to move from one place to the next. This is achieved by the unique design of the legs. They fold up like your average metal folding table. The design actually resembles a unique combination of billiard table and folding table. This means that it isn’t the sturdiest table on the market, but it makes up for that fact with portability. It’s also worth remembering that portability isn’t just helpful for people who like to play pool in different places, it’s also great for homes with limited space. You can play a game, fold up the table, and put it away. With this table, you don’t need a dedicated game room to enjoy the pleasure of pool.
The playing space is 66 inches while the total size of the table is 76 inches by 44. It should be noted that while the table is easier to move than the average table, it still takes some effort. The total weight of the table is 190 pounds so it should be carried by two sturdy individuals. In addition to the table itself, the product also comes with balls, cues, chalk, brush, rack, and carry bag. This is the perfect kit for anyone who likes to play pool on the go but isn’t willing to settle for anything smaller than bar size. The bargain price also helps, the table surface is the highest quality you’re likely to find new at this price.
Anyone looking to seriously prepare for a pool tournament should consider playing on a tournament sized table. The 7.5 foot Reno II from Fat Cat isn’t quite to the 8-foot tournament standard, but it is the next best thing in the price range that people can actually afford. This table is more expensive than the others we’ve looked at, but it’s still available for less than $1000. At a full size of 90 inches long, 51 inches wide, and 31 inches high this 340-pound beast is a great addition to any game room. The weight comes from the use of a single piece of quality slate, something that true pool pros demand. Just note that it’s made with Accuslate rather than traditional slate, and as such the balls do make more noise as they roll across the surface. This shouldn’t be a problem for most, but some perfectionists will want to pay extra to achieve a quieter game.
One of the Reno II’s main selling point’s is the way that it looks. If you close your eyes, imagine finding a pool table in a smoky billiards hall there’s a good chance you’re picturing the Reno II. It’s got a beautiful brown look that is achieved with quality wood, a maple wood veneer and a mixture of cherry and maple finishes. The pockets of covered with a classic lattice look that gives it a nostalgic feel. It’s all topped off with a beautiful burgundy playing surface. The Reno II makes an attractive addition to any room. Add in a full range of accessories, and you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck when you buy one of these tables from Fat Cat.
The Dynasty pool table from Mizerak is a solid choice for just about anyone. At six and a half feet long it isn’t too short or too long. The green nylon is built for heavy use, and the design as a whole is built for style and function. The muted green color of the bamboo laminate will fit most rooms with its more traditional feel. Still, the overall design suggests its economical price. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great choice for all sorts of pool players, it just means that if you want a truly top of the line pool table, you might want to prepare to pay more. But the Dynasty is solidly crafted and fully equipped with all the accessories a beginner needs.
The table also makes games playing quicker than ever thanks to a ball return slot. Once balls go into one of the six pockets, they automatically slide to the ball return slot at the end of the table so at the end of the game you can quickly remove the balls and re-rack them as quickly as possible. It’s just another way that Mizerak makes the pool experience that much smoother and more enjoyable. Ultimately the Dynasty is a perfect choice for someone who wants to get a solid and trustworthy table at a price that won’t break the bank.
Our next pool table isn’t just a pool table; it also comes equipped to quickly transform into a table tennis table. If you want to fully equip your game room the Maverick from Hathaway is a smart move for this reason. Just remember that it gets a bit larger when it transforms into a tennis table. The pool playfield is 74 inches long while the table tennis surface is 84 inches long. In addition to the increased table size, you also need more room to stand back from the table if you’re going to play an enjoyable game of ping pong. This means that you need to account for even more room if you’re trying to fit this table into your game room.
The Maverick is also a great pool table for any gaming room thanks to the variety of design choices available. You can get it in red, blue, or black. Otherwise, the design is simple but effective. It’s more modern than classic, so plan accordingly. It may not look as sturdy as some, but this 250-pound table can actually stand up well to heavy use. Overall, it’s a solid choice if you’re looking for an economically priced table that offers double use potential.
So far, we’ve looked at mostly economically priced tables. All of these tables have been perfectly acceptable for the average pool player, and some have been truly stylish. But at less than $1000 in price none of them have been able to reach the full quality that you might expect from a truly classic billiards table. That’s why the Empire Pool Table from Yves is different. It’s a true masterwork of design that will satisfy even the pickiest of pool pros.
The Empire USA Signature Series is set apart by the attention to detail. Just take a second to examine the legs of the tables. These aren’t just functional design; this table is a work of art. The careful design, beautiful details, and high-quality materials all add up to a table that is built to be the centerpiece of the room. The only thing less than traditional is the standard felt, which comes standard as brown.
The Empire Pool Table is a beast at 8 feet long. That makes it big enough for tournament style pool. Given the size and material, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the table weighs in at 850 pounds. This means that you should be careful when planning delivery and assembly, it isn’t a one-person job, and it’s not a table built for crowded apartments. If you decide this table is worth it, then you’ll have a beautiful piece that can be enjoyed for decades to come. This table isn’t just one you can play on; it’s one you can pass on to your children as an heirloom.
Moving on from the truly top of the line we come to a table that balances a classic look with affordable prices. This Traditional Ball and Class Leg Billiard Table is exactly what the name implies; it’s designed to look like a classically designed table with hand carved legs. It won’t fool the trained eye, but it’s more than good enough for the average person in the looks department. The question is whether or not you’re satisfied with 18mm thick particle board and plastic legs that are simply textured to appear wooden.
Prepare for some serious construction with this table. It comes in one heavy box, and it takes some time to put the legs in place and get them leveled. The claw legs look very attractive, but they also mean that they aren’t easily adjusted. Prepare for some trial and error as you get things leveled, if possible make sure that your game room is level before buying your product. It’s more difficult to adjust these legs than others that are designed for quick alterations. Still, once everything is set up, you have a great looking table at just a fraction of the price of other tables that look just like it at a glance. At 90 inches long, 50 inches wide, 31 inches tall, and 260 pounds heavy this table is solidly built and a good purchase.
If you’re looking for a pool table that can get your kids used to the game or if you’re looking for a pool table you can take with you when you travel then this mini pool table is a good choice. At just 20 inches long it is the shortest table on our list and just a fraction of a regulation table’s length. Still, the pool table does a good job of recreating the feel of a larger pool table considering the low price and light weight build. It’s only 6.5 pounds, perfect for travel. The table also comes with all the accessories you need to start playing some pocket pool the second it arrives. You get a full set of 16 one inch diameter pool balls, two 19-inch cue sticks, a rack, a brush, and even chalk. This all means that you can get a child used to the process of playing pool from racking up to chalking their stick and hitting the balls.
This table is a far cry from the larger, professional pool tables but it’s just about the best table you can get at this size and weight. It’s perfectly proportioned and well designed. If you’re on the fence with regards to pool why not dip your toes into the water with this little beauty. Even if you’ve already got a full-sized table, this is a good investment because you can take it with you when you’re on the road, and you won’t have access to your regular table.
We move from our smallest table to our second smallest table; the Sport Bank Shot from Playcraft. This table might seem to be a toy by many people used to playing in bars and pool halls, but this table is more than it looks like. It’s 40 inches long, 20 inches wide and two feet high. It’s the essential pool experience shrunk down to a fraction of the size. It comes with two 3-foot long cues, 16 balls, a rack, chalk, and a brush. This means that this is a one purchase deal, no need to budget in all the accessories. It’s not exactly travel sized, but it’s perfect if you want to play pool in a home that doesn’t have much space. You can put it out when you want to play and store it in a closet when you’re done. If you have the Playcraft Sport Bank Shot you’re always just a few minutes from a game of pool!
As an added bonus, you can get the Sport Bank shot in three different colors, traditional green, bright red, and a cool blue. This means that you can get it in your child’s favorite color or coordinate your table with the color scheme of your game room. That’s just of the many things that make this product a great choice for anyone who wants to play a little pool on a budget. And the table isn’t just designed to look like an attractive little pool table; it’s built to high standards for such an affordable table. It looks good, feels good, and it’s built to last. A great choice for anyone looking for that sweet spot between portable pocket pool tables and the real deal.
We end our look at the top ten with a return to full sized pool tables. This table from Triumph Sports is a full 7 feet long, taking you out of the living room and back into the pool hall. But this table is still a little different from the average pool hall table. As the full name of the product implies it’s more than just a billiards table, it can also work as a ping pong table. Simply take the table tennis top out and secure it on top of the table and you can go from playing pool to slinging ping pong balls in a matter of minutes. When you buy the Phoenix table you’re not just getting the table itself; you get two pool cues, two ping pong paddles, pool balls, ping pong balls, a rack, a net, a brush, and chalk. That’s all you need to play two of the most popular parlor games at one reasonable price.
The table is a very economical choice. It’s very easy to assemble, all you need is to attach the legs of the table when it arrives. It’s a great price compared to buying a pool table and a ping pong table. With that said you should remember that there are always trade-offs. The ping pong table is smaller than regulation, and the entire table is built using materials that aren’t the best available. These choices were necessary to provide shoppers with both table options at the lowest price possible. If you’re very serious about pool or table tennis, you might want to commit to a dedicated table that does just one thing to the best of its ability. Still, for most people, this table will be completely satisfactory and provide the most return on your investment.
Conclusion & Recommendations
Pool is a game of the people, and people have all sorts of different needs. Some people have all the money and space necessary to buy a top of the line tournament table and store it at home. Others need to start with a pocket pool table that they can store in the closet with the other family games. Whatever you’re in the market for there’s a table on our list that will fit the bill.
If you’re still not sure what you want after reading this list, you can always go back to the buyer’s guide and go through the steps. If you take the time to set your budget and measure out the space available in your home, you will be able to eliminate most of the options that aren’t appropriate for your needs. You might like the idea of playing on a table that’s the same size as the one at your local pool hall. However, if you’re living in a small apartment, then you might be better off with a portable option that you can put on top of the dining room table whenever you want to work out your pool muscles.
If you have a solid idea of what your needs are then you will have a much easier time finding a table. Taking the time to make the right choice is always a wise investment. When the perfect table is set up in your home, you’ll know that it was all worth it. After all, you can’t put a price on years of family-friendly entertainment.