Buying a pool table is not a trivial decision to be made on a whim. There are many options to contemplate carefully considering your pool table could be a permanent resident in your home for 25 years or more. Apart from the style and look of your table which will definitely change the feel of your room, there’s the playing experience to consider as well. This pool table buyers guide sheds light on everything you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Things to consider before buying a pool table
You can’t expect to go out and buy a pool table like you’re shopping for groceries. When you buy a pool table, it’s considered a major purchase because pool tables last 25 years or longer, making it a long-term investment. Plus, there are loads of factors that go into purchasing a table that’s just right for you.
Making a purchase without the following considerations can cost you time, money and a whole lot of unhappiness.
- Decide on the purpose of your table
- Calculate sizing options
- Set a budget
- Choose a table type
- General quality guidelines to consider
- New pool table vs. used pool table
- Additional Accessories
- Installation & maintenance
Decide on the purpose of your table
Are you buying a pool table for recreational purposes or slightly competitive to professional-level play? One of the first questions you need to ask yourself to set the tone of the purchase process is “What type of playing experience are you looking for?”
This is a key aspect of your purchase because it affects three very big attributes of your table; the size, the material of the tabletop and the price of the table.
If you’re looking for a distraction to keep your kids busy and aren’t concerned about playability then you know you don’t have to go big. Buying a less expensive table isn’t necessarily a bad purchase if it serves your purpose.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
For a table that’s worthy of the savviest of players, you will need to familiarize yourself with a few components that make a huge impact on playability and durability.
To clarify further, if the table is for recreational use, then a smaller table may be sufficient. However, if the table is for professional use, then a larger table may be necessary. An 8-foot table is considered a professional size, while a 7-foot table is considered a bar size.
Determine your sizing options
Before buying a new pool table, it is essential to consider the space requirements. The size of the room where the table will be placed will determine the size of the table that can be accommodated.
Not only do you need to consider fitting the pool table in your basement or spare room but you also need to consider the space you need around the table to play the game. You need to be able to walk around comfortably, line up shots with the proper stance and have space for a backswing.
Pool tables come in a variety of sizes. Regardless of whether you want the most professional experience, it may not be possible if you don’t have the space in your home
For example, a 7-foot table requires a minimum room size of 13′ x 16′ feet or 156″ x 192″ to comfortably play.
An 8-foot table, on the other hand, requires a minimum room size of 13.6′ x 17′ feet.
It is essential to measure the available space and ensure that there is enough room for the table and for players to move around comfortably.
So let’s start with the official pool table sizes that are sold in stores.
Regulation pool table sizes
- 12-ft (snooker): 140″ (356.9 cm) x 70″ (177.8 cm)
- 10-ft (oversized): 112″ (284.5 cm) x 56″ (142.2 cm)
- 9-ft (regulation size table): 100″ (254 cm) x 50″ (127 cm)
- 8-ft+ (pro 8): 92″ (233.7 cm) x 46″ (116.8 cm)
- 8-ft (typical home table): 88″ (223.5 cm) x 44″ (111.8 cm)
- 7-ft+ (large “bar box”): 78-82″ (198.1-208.3 cm) x 39-41″ (99.1-104.1 cm)
- 7-ft (“bar box”): 74-78″ (188-198.1 cm) x 37-39″ (94-99.1 cm)
- 6-ft (“small bar box”): 70-74″ (177.8-188 cm) x 35-37″ (88.9-94 cm)
Now consider the cues and areas around your table. Here’s a general guide:
Seven foot table: 3.5’ x 7’
- A – 11′ x 14′
- B – 12′ x 15′
- C – 13′ x 16′
Eight foot table: 4’ x 8’
- A – 12′ x 15′
- B – 12′ x 16′
- C – 13′ x 17′
Nine foot table: 4.5’ x 9’
- A – 12′ x 16′
- B – 13′ x 17′
Set a budget
Another important consideration when buying a pool table is the budget. A decent new pool table can cost at least $2000, while prices can range from $1200 to $5000 depending on the quality of construction and the materials used.
Set a budget. It’s easier to negotiate when you already know the maximum amount you want to spend on a quality table. When you decide on a budget, remember that a pool table is a long-term investment, and it is worth spending more money to buy a high-quality table that will last for years.
What is the average price of a pool table?
The average price of a pool table can range between $1200 to $5000 but you can easily find tables outside the average price range. One major factor in the price of a pool table will depend on the table type (slate or synthetic). Other factors that directly affect the cost of the table are how well the table is constructed and designed.
You can also seek out a professional-sized, beautifully designed custom billiard table for as much as $15000.
Luxury tables can run you as much as you’re willing to spend.
How much should I spend on a pool table?
Being the billiard enthusiasts that we are, we say don’t spend anything if the table isn’t slate! At Canadian Home Leisure, we specialize in the medium range of slate pool tables. An entry-level slate pool table (post-COVID-19 shortages) will come in somewhere around the $2500 price point.
If you think about it, that’s a little more than $100 a year for having the luxury of a beautiful centrepiece in your entertainment arsenal that’s worthy of league players and veterans.
That doesn’t mean we can’t find you a sweeter deal though! If you’re in the market for a slate pool table we can get one to your home at a price you can get excited about. Choose from our Legacy Line or Heritage Collection and bring home one of the best pool or billiard tables in the industry.
Choose the correct table type
If you’re half serious about buying a good billiard table you won’t be purchasing anything other than a slate table. Slate table tops are the industry standard for all pool tables and are typically made in three sizes: ¾”, 7/8″, and 1” thickness (the tournament standard is a 1” slate table).
The fact that slate is a natural rock means the weight of a slate table is incredibly heavy. Most tables clock in at roughly 600 lbs. The weight lends to additional stability and consistency but also causes problems for shipping and shifting. To this point, most manufacturers avoid making 1 piece slate tables and opt for 3 piece slate tables.
Standard Pool Tables
When it comes to buying a pool table, there are various types available in the market. The most common type is the standard pool table, which is typically found in homes and bars. These tables come in various sizes, ranging from 7 to 9 feet in length, and are designed for recreational play.
They are usually made of wood and have a slate playing surface, which provides a smooth and level playing area. Standard pool tables are a great option for those who want to enjoy a game of pool in the comfort of their own home.
Professional Pool Tables
For those who take their pool game more seriously, professional pool tables are available in the market. These tables are designed to meet the standards set by professional organizations and are used in tournaments and competitions.
They are typically larger in size, ranging from 9 to 12 feet in length, and have a more durable construction. Professional pool tables are made of high-quality materials, such as solid wood and slate, and provide a superior playing experience. However, they are also more expensive than standard pool tables.
Outdoor Pool Tables
If you want to enjoy a game of pool outdoors, then outdoor pool tables are a great option. These tables are designed to withstand the elements and are made of weather-resistant materials.
They come in various sizes and designs, ranging from traditional to modern, and can be a great addition to any outdoor space. Outdoor pool tables are perfect for those who want to entertain guests or enjoy a game of pool in the fresh air.
Why is slate the best option?
Slate is a type of rock that splits into wide, flat pieces making it the perfect material to use for pool and billiards. Obviously, a flat playing surface makes for a higher-quality playing experience. The ball will roll true with no unexpected deviations caused by imperfections on the surface.
Can you imagine having to judge the slope of your table like you would on a difficult golf green?! If you enjoy a competitive game you don’t want a table that requires you to compensate for the ball breaking one way because the table is slanted.
Another reason slate is the top-choice in quality is the fact that slate will stand the test of time without warping or cracking (if you don’t abuse it). The decision to purchase a slate pool table is a decision to make a long-term investment.
So choose the right spot for your table because there’s a good chance it’s not going anywhere for a decade or two!
Synthetic options for slate alternatives
Let’s roll it back a few steps to reiterate a point. Informed decision-making results in smart purchases. There are less expensive alternatives if you’re not super invested in the idea of owning a pool table that lasts for more than 20 years.
If owning a table that plays at tournament quality is at the lower end of your list of priorities, consider purchasing a pool table made with a slate alternative. The most common alternatives are wood, fibreboard, plywood and plastics.
Your next step down from a slate table is that made of permaslate also known as slatron. This lighter material is composed of particleboard and layers of plastic. It is known to have smooth playing surfaces yet a much shorter lifespan than slate.
Permaslate does much better against changes in temperature and humidity than its slate alternative counterparts.
This type of tabletop is composed of two layers of plastic (top and bottom) with honeycomb material in between. While this is considered a step down from permaslate, it’s considered a step up from Medium Density Fibreboard (particleboard or MDF).
The honeycomb tabletop is less prone to warping over time than MDF.
Medium-density Fibreboard (Particleboard or MDF)
This type of tabletop material is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to quality and playability. The advantages of a particleboard tabletop are mobility (because of its lightweight) and low cost. These types of tabletops will warp and wear over time-especially with changes in temperature and humidity.
All synthetics have the advantage of being lightweight and cost-effective. The downside to this is that they don’t last as long and do not provide the stability and consistency of a slate table.
General quality guidelines to be aware of on slate tables
While the table type may be the most important aspect of your purchase decision, it’s important to be able to recognize the quality of features you’ll find on a billiard table. Not only does each of the following play a role in the total price you pay but will also lend to the aesthetics and durability of your pool table.
Inspect the frame
The frame of your table is what supports the slate and keeps it securely in place. You want a frame that provides a minimum level of stability to ensure the slate doesn’t move or crack during the life of your table.
Generally, most slate tables will have two cross beams and a center beam to support their weight. It’s not to say that other designs won’t work but it may be worth researching if you don’t see this support design.
Look for sturdy legs
The next natural progression is to make sure the legs of your pool table are sturdy. This almost goes without saying for slate tables because of the enormous weight the legs are required to support. It’s common to see a central pedestal that supports the entire table if the size permits it. There are no limits to the number of legs you could possibly see on a table.
Cushions on the bumpers and rails
The cushion and pocket design of the pool table are also important features to consider. The cushions should be made from high-quality materials that provide consistent and accurate ball rebound. Cushion facings can also be replaced to tighten loose pockets.
Get the highest quality cushion from tables that are constructed with natural gum. Of course, you can opt for a gum blend, but natural gum lasts the longest.
It may seem redundant but it needs to be mentioned; synthetic materials are at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to quality.
You know the cushions have seen the best of their days when the ball goes “dead” when it hits the rail. Synthetic material ends up drying out which reduces the amount of “bounce” the ball has when it hits the rail. So if you want more bounce to the ounce, get the gum-filled cushions.
The pocket design should also be considered, with options ranging from traditional leather drop pockets to custom designer pockets. It is important to choose a pocket design that fits your style and preferences. By considering these features when purchasing a pool table, you can ensure that you select a high-quality table that will provide years of enjoyment.
Opt for quality cloth
Felt is made up of wool and nylon blends. In some cases, there are blends of Teflon mixed in to make it stronger. Choosing the cloth on your table resembles buying a suit. The best table felt you can use is a blend using worsted wool (Simonis 860 uses 90% worsted wool and 10% felt). This type of blend gives the cloth the smoothest and most durable playing surface.
Do I buy a new pool table or buy a used pool table?
One of the first thoughts that may come to mind as a conservative Canadian is that you could save money buying a really nice used pool table. While this may be true, there are many caveats to buying a used pool table that you should be aware of.
In fact, when you break it down to the pros and cons of buying new vs. used, there really is no argument. Unless you’re a shark when it comes to pool table construction, don’t buy used UNLESS you can buy from a friend or someone you trust.
The problem with buying a used table is that it’s difficult to tell exactly what you’re getting. People get rid of things for a number of reasons but among them is the fact they want a newer version. You risk buying a table with cracked slate, warped legs, worn felt or dead bumpers (rails).
The truth is that a quality pool table can last 20 years or more. If you’re buying used you need to know:
- The exact age of the table
- The condition of the slate
- Any accidents or mishaps that have reduced playability
- How to assess the wear and tear on the important features
Compare the savings on a new vs. used pool table
If you can get an accurate assessment on all of the things listed above (or you trust the person you’re buying from) it may be worth it to purchase a used table.
Before you purchase a used pool table add up the following costs:
- Replacing cloth
- Replacing pockets
- Replacing bumpers
- Moving cost (slate tables should be moved by professionals who will disassemble and reassemble the 600 lb. piece of furniture).
Compare this with the cost of a new table. In most cases, it isn’t worth the difference. Having said that, somewhere out there is probably an incredible deal to be had.
Additional accessories that come with a pool table
Cue Sticks and Rack
When buying a new pool table, it’s important to consider the additional accessories that come with it. One of the most essential accessories is the cue sticks and rack. Cue sticks come in various lengths and weights, so it’s important to choose ones that are comfortable and suitable for your playing style.
A cue rack is also important for keeping your cues organized and preventing them from getting damaged. There are many different types of cue racks available, from wall-mounted racks to floor-standing ones, so you can choose one that fits your space and style.
Another important accessory to consider when buying a pool table is the set of balls. There are different types of balls to choose from, including standard billiard balls and snooker balls. It’s important to choose balls that are the right size and weight for your table, as this can affect the quality of your gameplay. Some pool tables come with a set of balls included, but if not, there are many options available for purchase.
Chalk and Brush
In addition to cue sticks, racks, and balls, there are other accessories that can enhance your pool-playing experience. Chalk and a brush are essential for maintaining the condition of your table and ensuring that your shots are accurate. There are many different types of chalk available, from standard blue chalk to high-performance chalk that can improve your grip and accuracy.
A brush is also important for keeping your table clean and free of debris. Other accessories that can be purchased include table covers, scoreboards, and even folding tables for easy storage. When buying a pool table, it’s important to consider all of these accessories to ensure that you have everything you need for a great playing experience.
Installation and maintenance of a pool table
Professional Installation Services
When purchasing a new pool table, it is important to consider the installation process. Professional installation services are recommended to ensure that the table is set up correctly and is level.
For example, Canadian Home Leisure offers services such as setup, installation, recovery, re-felt, and moving of pool tables in the Durham Region area. Professional installation can help prevent future issues and prolong the lifespan of the table.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping a pool table in good condition. It is recommended to use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the rails and avoid using cleaning products like Pledge, which can damage the rail surface.
Brushing the felt once a week with a table brush can also help remove dust and chalk residue. Additionally, it is important to check for faulty legs or uneven pressure on the table, as roughhousing can cause damage to the table.
Common Repairs and Troubleshooting Tips
Common repairs and troubleshooting tips may be necessary over time to keep the pool table in good condition. It is important to understand the costs of maintenance and repairs before purchasing a pool table.
Deciding whether to invest in pool table repair services versus buying a new table requires understanding what is involved in pool table repair. However, with proper maintenance and care, a pool table can last for many years and provide endless hours of entertainment.
What size pool table is the right one for me?
At the end of the day, you have to be realistic about the space you have in your home. For the ultimate playing experience, you’ll want to go with a larger table. If you can fit a tournament-sized table (9-foot table) then you should because not many other people can fit one in their living space. Plus it means you have the money to buy one because you undoubtedly have a pretty big house!
When it comes to deciding between a bar-sized pool table and an 8-foot table, the choice becomes personal. If you go to bars quite often to play pool, you may want the same experience in your home. Why change things up when you can become the ultimate champion on a bar-sized table?
Most homeowners go with an 8-foot table because it’s the closest to regulation and it fits comfortably in your living space. Keep in mind that larger tables present a bigger challenge. If you’re going to have you table for 20 years, you might be something to consider as well.
Consider your spacing, budget and the lifetime value you want from your pool table. Special consideration of these factors and you can’t go wrong. For any help, questions or purchase options for buying a new pool, please call, email or visit us in our showroom.