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Looking to get your first pool table or just interested in learning more?
A pool table is easily one of our most popular products, with everyone essentially spending some time growing up in a pool parlour. Now that you’ve decided to have a pool table in your life, this guide is designed to address the many questions that you may have in mind, and simplify the process of buying a pool table.
We’ll start with the most basic questions.
What size should I be looking at?
The answer to this question probably depends on the amount of space you have for your table, which you can look at our Space Guide to find out. However, it also depends on the type of pool you’re looking to play.
There are broadly two types of pool: English and American. These two styles of play differ mainly in the size of the tables, balls and of course, geographical aspects. English pool is played with a 7ft table accompanied with 2″ balls in league play, while American pool is played on a 9ft table with 2.25″ balls.
Our recommendation? The best experience with pool comes when you have the right amount of space for the table. Decide on the right size for you and make sure to pair it with the right balls.
Playing field: Slate bed or Wood bed?
You might see pool tables that are priced below $1000, to tables that are priced in the range of $3000. You might wonder, what’s the difference? Well, it lies in the type of playing field it has and this is easily the biggest decision to make when choosing a pool table. There are essentially two choices—wood vs slate.
Wood (MDF) bed tables
Wood bed tables utilise MDF—a form of compressed wood—for the playing field. This results in a lightweight table that is cheap, although it suffers in areas like gameplay and durability. As MDF is susceptible to water-logging and humidity, it is never ever perfectly flat and hence, does not provide a true roll. When used in a large area, MDF is prone to warping as well, which causes the balls to roll lopsided to one side of the table.
• Low end priced from $400 – $1500
• Light, moveable and cheap
• Not perfectly flat and ball do not roll true
• Susceptible to warping and lopsided ball roll.
Wood bed tables are mostly used as toys and are never ever used in a setting where a proper pool table is required.
Slate (Stone) bed tables
Slate bed tables are the industry standard for pool tables and are used in pool parlours, pubs, and any professional setting. Slate or natural stone, being perfectly flat provides a true ball roll and slate is also immune to humidity and shifting weather conditions. Slates are usually 3/4″ – 1 1/4″ thick and are incredibly heavy, which is why all slate bed tables are considered non-moveable.
• Industry standard for pool tables
• Perfectly flat & smooth, while immune to humidity
• Provides a true ball roll
• Heavy and non-moveable
Our recommendations? Unless you’re looking for a toy, go for a slate bed table and own a proper pool table that will last you at least a few years. Gameplay is everything with pool and if the ball doesn’t roll right, there’s really no point.
Dining Pool or Regular Pool?
Dining pool tables have been increasing in popularity over the last few years. They are basically fully functional pool tables that double up as a dining table when the tabletop is in place. Dining pool tables are great to play on, practical, and affordable. Supplied by European manufacturers, dining pool tables are excellently finished and make genuinely sleek furniture for any living room.
On the other hand, regular tables are singular in their usage and are only for playing. Regular tables also tend to be offered in bigger sizes, as dining pool tables often max out at 7ft.
Our recommendations? In today’s context where homes are getting increasingly smaller, go for a dining pool table which is highly practical for their dual-use. If you’re worried about the gameplay, make sure to go for a slate bed and try out the table in person.
A final word
While there are many different types of pool tables in the market, all of them are practically covered in this short guide. We hope that we’ve given you a good understanding of what to look out for, and to aid you in picking a table that will give you years and years of fun.