Pool Table Buyer’s Guide

Pool Table Buyer’s Guide

The pool or billiard table has become a staple of many American rec rooms.  As with any major purchase it would behoove the consumer to become well informed about the product one is preparing to acquire.  

The following information should serve as a primer on pool tables.  This is not the definitive source of information about pool tables but, it is a general information base from which you can begin to develop an enlightened opinion about the pool table that will best fit your needs.

Size of the Room

Your first consideration should be the size of the room in which you intend to place the table.  Pool tables typically come in three sizes; seven foot, eight foot and nine foot.  The seven and eight foot models are by far the most popular.  In general you’ll want a minimum space of four feet around each side of the table to allow for comfortable play with your predator p3 black luxe pool cues.  

As a general rule, a seven foot pool table will measure seven feet long by three and a half feet wide.  This means you’d need a room size of fifteen feet by eleven and one half feet to allow for comfortable play on a seven foot table.  Remember this is a general rule and many have used a smaller room with varying degrees of success.

Purpose of Table

Second, you should decide the purpose of the pool table.  Will it be used for adult gatherings, a game for the kids to play or simply as a piece of furnishing which is simply there for its looks?  Once you’ve decided whether the pool table will serve function or fashion it’s time to consider construction, and your custom hard top pool table cover.  The playing surface on many cheaper models will be made of some type of plywood.  While this might be fine for kids to use in the basement it’s not recommended for adults who wish to have friends over for a game.  Slate is the recommended material for the playing surface.  It will come in a variety of thicknesses and quality.

Side Rails

Next, consider the side rails.  They are just as important to game play as the playing surface.  Three parts make up the rails; the cushion, the sub rail and the cap.  The cushions are typically made of rubber and the best cushions are made with ‘live gum rubber’.  Cushions with a higher percentage of gum rubber will give a more consistent bounce.  

Just as the playing surface is covered with varying qualities of felt, so too the cushions will be covered with the same material.  The sub rail is underneath the cushion.  The sub rail connects the side rails to the slate and the tighter the fit the better the table will perform in game play.  The rail cap is the decorative part of the rail.  It can be solid wood or laminate.  Other materials like mica are used in very expensive tables.


A final consideration should be the pool table frame.  Tapered frames and straight frames are the two most common types.  Tapered frames narrow from the table top to the floor.  Straight frames are, as the name implies.  There width is the same from top to bottom.  In most cases, your choice will depend on appearance preferences. Do however; make sure the frame is of sturdy construction.  It does need to support the playing surface.

As stated, this information is intended to be a starting point for your research.  In no way is it intended to be the definitive educational tool for your pool table purchase.  Remember to shop around.  Ask questions.  Compare different tables from several manufacturers and retail outlets.  If you choose carefully your new pool table should last a lifetime.

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