What’s the Best Deal on a Pool Table?
You’ve decided to purchase a pool table for your game room at home. Great idea! Investing in a game room that includes a pool table is an excellent way to encourage quality time with family and friends. With thought and planning, you can select a table that meets your needs both now and in the future.
The best deal on a pool table is about more than just price. It is about purchasing the right table for your needs. The size, quality, and appearance of the table must be right for your home and your purpose. The least expensive table available may appear to be a good value, but only if the table is durable enough to require little maintenance and give you the type of enjoyment you want.
Avoid a Toy Table
Be careful when shopping to understand what you are purchasing. Department stores will often offer pool tables at a low price, presenting them as the ideal solution for your game room. In fact, these tables are considered toy tables.
They are often constructed using a slate alternative as a playing surface. Designed to last a few years at most, tables like these are easily damaged by players who are just enjoying a good time with friends. People sitting on the rails or spilling a beverage on the table can cause damage that impacts the quality of play. While these tables appear to be a good value, replacement costs make them unsuitable for more than occasional play by children in a kid’s rec room.
Essential Components of a Basic Table
A basic table is a sound investment, ensuring reliable play for years. A sturdy, basic table begins at around $1,500 with design finishes and other details adding to the cost. There are some basic components that you should look for as you select a basic table.
- Slate not Wood – Slate is the preferred playing surface for a pool table. Wood can warp and deform over time and are subject to humidity and weather conditions. Slate will stay true over time and provide the best surface for play. A one inch slate surface in three sections rather than one large piece is ideal and provides consistent play over time.
- Frame and Cabinet – The frame supports the weight of the slate playing surface and must be strong enough to hold up without warping or allowing the slate to shift. While solid wood is the best, there are other materials that can provide strength as well. Make sure the slate is screwed into the cross pieces of the frame to provide the most strength and stability. It’s best to purchase a table that is assembled in the warehouse. This allows the manufacturer to correct errors before the table arrives in your home.
- Cloth – A basic table has at least recreational quality (18-ounce) cloth. This cloth, often known as felt, is relatively durable although it will wear over time. For home use, select a table with 80/20 wool to nylon fabric and at least an 18-ounce weight.
- Cushions – Look for rubber cushions backed with canvas. Make sure the cushions are parallel with the table and free from warping.
- Rails - Stable rails are crucial to playing pool. Solid hardwood rails are preferred and are worth the additional expense.
- Legs – Much of the visual design of a pool table comes from the legs. Appearance is less important than stability, though. Before selecting a table, bump up against it. A good table should never be wobbly or unstable, no matter how pretty it is.
Basic or Heirloom – It’s up To You
A basic table will provide years of quality play with minimal maintenance. When you design your game room, a basic table is the minimum investment you should consider. If you want a pool table that is a piece of furniture and a centerpiece of the room, an heirloom table may be a better selection for you and your family.
An heirloom table is typically made of solid wood with a beautiful finish and lovely legs. A table like this has the best quality materials including high grade cloth and lively rubber cushions to ensure a high quality game. A table like this can cost thousands of dollars but is designed to last for generations.
Basic or heirloom quality, to get the best deal on a pool table you must understand your purpose for the table itself. Selecting the appropriate table for your needs and desired play guarantees the best value and years of enjoyment for your entire family.
- Ben Grant