Pool Table Buying Guide
Have you been considering a pool table lately? Pool tables can make a very attractive addition to the home, and are great fun to have around as well. Before you head off to buy a pool table or have one delivered, there are a couple of questions that you should be asking yourself. Read on to discover what these questions are, and you may save yourself a great deal of trouble. A pool table can be a very expensive investment, so be sure you know what you are investing in before you spend the money.
Perhaps the most important consideration for a pool table, and the one that many people get wrong, is how much room you will need to play effectively and conveniently. Nothing is worse than having a pool table delivered only to discover that you do not have enough room to play. Although the table may of course fit, you need much more clearance for your cue sticks. Be sure to get this critical measurement right before you invest in a pool table. Pool tables come in four popular sizes, ranging from the smallest at 38" x 76", to the full size 50" x 100" tables. It is important to realize that measurements for pool tables are sometimes quoted for different purposes. Sales information may sometimes refer to the playing surface size, or to the actual outside dimension of the table.
The playing surface size is the most critical measurement. This is the area that you will be able to make shots from. You must allow for cue stick clearance around the playing surface. Common cue sticks come in 48", 52", and 58" size varieties. If there is any doubt as to whether there will be enough room, you may want to opt for a smaller size table to be on the safe side.
Other key considerations to keep in mind are the styling and material of the table, as well as the construction of the pool table. A pool table can come in a number of different styles, from simple and functional to highly stylized. The style you choose should be primarily dictated by what you have in mind for the pool table. If the pool table is to be prominently displayed in the house, then a table with some styling and a nice finish might be in order. If the pool table is going in a side room for the kids to play with, then a simpler and less expensive table will fit the bill.
The construction of the table is also an important consideration, especially if you intend to play frequently. Cheaper tables will have a playing surface made from a single piece of thin slate. While this isn't the end of the world, it definitely does not provide for the most level surface possible. Higher quality playing surfaces are made from 3 pieces of slate joined together to provide the most level surface possible. A high quality pool table will also have thicker slate than a cheap table. Expect to find slate that is 1" thick on a high quality table. Tables with 7/8 or 3/4" thick slate may perform well, but will not provide the true time tested stability of a 1" thick table.
Be sure to ask whether the slate of the table is directly attached to the wooden frame, or if it is unattached. Some manufacturers may attempt to save money by forgoing the wooden frame around the slate. Although a table may play well without the frame, the slate has the potential to settle over time, resulting in inaccurate play without the wooden frame to secure the slate.