Buying a Pool Table
Number One Golden Rule:
Buy the biggest and strongest table you can afford and fit in your place
It will last longer……it will stay in good condition, and one day you might want to sell it. The resale value of a good quality table will always be a lot higher than a low-quality table.
Let’s use some common sense here. If you buy a thin and flimsy looking table it simply won’t last as long as a strongly made one.
Guarantees don’t cover fair wear and tear. No Pool table manufacturer is going to refund or replace a table that has been roughly treated. Would you?
Unless you can clearly show that there is a manufacturing fault – in which case you should have noticed it when you unpacked and assembled it – Companies don’t refund and replace instantly without question. Never mind what the Guarantee says or the Ts & Cs. Read the small print. These tables cost a lot to ship. For repair, you will have to pay the return shipping and be without your table for many weeks. Or fix it yourself. Yeah right!
Clubs and arcades often have maintenance arrangements with the supplier or, more likely, a local repair company.
You don’t want the time and aggravation of dealing with a dispute. You want to play Pool.
Buy something that will last.
The simple way to avoid this hassle is not to buy a table that looks as if it is not capable of taking a bit of rough treatment. You get what you pay for. A bar owner or someone running an arcade with several table games will never buy a flimsy looking table. If it looks as if it will break after three games – it will. By paying more, you will get a better quality table.
How much more?
A difficult question to answer but, remember, you get what you pay for. A higher price usually always means better quality.
However, be wary here. There are some vastly overpriced pool tables on the market.
Some manufacturers sell their tables to businesses who rebrand them as their own table. So it is possible to see the same table being sold by several different companies at vastly different prices.
At Table Game World we try to show you the best quality tables at the best possible price. We also have an eye on value for money. That means it is better to pay a slightly higher price to buy a good quality table from a decent and fair supplier who understands what people want when they buy a Pool, hockey or pool table.
Things to check
Legs: are they made from one solid piece of wood? Are they strong enough to support not only the slate or wood playing surface but also the constant weight of players leaning onto the table to play a shot?
Sturdiness: Does the table have a sturdy feel? Or does the table move when you lean against it to play a shot?
Felt: a good quality woollen cloth is the best surface to play on; most UK and European tables use this. Many US tables use Speednap, which is also a very good surface to play a consistent game of pool but some people find it too fast.
Slate or wood: slate produces a better quality game but is a lot more expensive. Wood will warp eventually because wood soaks up moisture. In a house or apartment, there is a lot of moisture.
Levelling: crucial to all pool tables. You can do it easily yourself but make sure you DO.
Damage: check for damage before you accept delivery. You are allowed inside the delivery van to inspect your package contents for damage before unloading it.
Delivery: most delivery companies will only deliver to the curb outside your house or apartment.
Do you run a club or bar? Buy a pool table to draw customers in and keep them there. They’ll spend a lot more on drinks than pool – guaranteed.
Do you run a company? Buy a pool table to provide some relaxation and stress downtime for your employees. More and more companies are doing this because employees appreciate it and the pay-back is happier, less stressed workers who do a better job.
Our advice is to buy a good quality one. Look at it as an investment. Ten years down the line, if you buy a top quality table and you take care of it, you may find your pool table sells for more than you paid for it.
Whatever your budget level choose the best table in that category and look after it. Generally speaking, the more you pay for a pool table the better it will be. Those individuals with plenty of money to spend could splash out on a real luxury brand. Many well-off single men regard a luxury pool table as an essential part of their living space. Some great man caves have been created using some really smart top of the range pool tables. Tempted? Try one of these.
For most of us, such luxury is beyond our budget or needs but there are still plenty of great quality tables that look good in the home games room and will last many years if some simple buying rules are followed and the table is looked after and cared for.
There are good quality tables in most price brackets. Unfortunately, there are also some extremely poor tables that are tarted up with over the top marketing and special deals. Beware of cheap nasty tables posing as supposedly better quality ones. Take a look at our Buying Guide which looks at three different price brackets.
Read our Top Tips section. Created with the help of serious pool players, savvy club owners, streetwise Dads and those who made mistakes this is a big help to many first time buyers.
Should I buy a pool table made in the Far East?
It may surprise you to learn that over 75% of pool, football and hockey table games are actually manufactured in Asia, then imported in. There are relatively few manufacturers in the US and Europe these days. Don’t worry there are some very good manufacturers in the eastern countries who make very good tables based on sound design and good materials.
Unfortunately, there are many more who produce cheap, shoddy rubbish from poor designs using low-quality materials and components. Spotting the difference can be difficult because marketing people dress up these poor tables with weasel words and ridiculous unsubstantiated claims. Then they make tempting offers to persuade you to part with your cash. Special offer “free cues”, “free chalk”, “free case” “free scoreboard” if you buy this week!
Read our helpful guides to help you avoid the low-end trash that appears on the market. We only recommend strong, good quality tables that we have played on or have been approved by regular players who know what to look for.
See our Buying Guide for help here. Table Game World recommended some tables but not others based on quality and price. Whatever your budget level we will have a recommendation for you, based on the best tables within a particular price range.
We have not reviewed every single pool / football / hockey table ever made but have looked at a range of popular and widely available tables to suit all budgets.