OK Here are the main questions that people think about when buying a new table.

What’s the best pool table to buy?

Impossible to answer. What’s best for you? How much space do you have? You’ll need extra space around the table to allow for cueing so add another 5 feet minimum to the table dimensions.

Should I buy new or used?

New. You never know how well a used table has been looked after.

They all look good but which one’s best?

Some tables are built to look good but they are poorly designed, badly made from cheap materials. Buy a table from a reputable manufacturer. Avoid Supermarket special deals. Go for substance over style – every time.

Why do prices vary so much?

Because quality varies so much. There are some cheap crappy tables out there. Be careful. Expect to pay top dollar if you want a custom built luxury stylish pool table. $20,000 will not buy you anything particularly special. A reputable manufacturer will have a top of the range table for between $4k and £12k. They will also have good quality sturdy tables for home use for a fraction of that price.

How long will it last?

How long do you need it to last? Some families only need a budget table for the kids that will last a couple of years. Other people want a table to last for years. Golden Rule here is – you get what you pay for. Lower priced tables are low cost for a reason (they use cheaper, lower quality components and they are poorly designed).  However there are some rip-off tables at the higher end of the market that are grossly overpriced. Beware. Ask questions. Look at reviews. There are good value tables in the high, mid and budget sections of the market. Look at our review section. Buy with confidence.

What guarantees do I get?

Difficult to give an answer. Many so called ‘guarantees’ are worthless. Two golden rules here. 1. For extra protection always buy through Amazon. 2. Buy from a reputable manufacturer who has been around for a while. The simple fact is that many sellers do not make the tables they sell and will try to get away with anything they can.

Slate or non-slate?

Slate – if you have the budget. Slate tables are usually better quality, produce better games and hold their value over time. However the quality of non-slate tables has really improved over the past 5 years. Slateron and Accuslate are particularly good.

Will it fit? How much room do I need?

Allow for cueing room. You need a lot of space around the table to allow you to play your shots. Imagine the cue ball tight up against the cushion on all four sides. A standard cue is 53” long. You also need to spread your feet apart to get balance, and you need to move the cue backwards to start your shot. A couple of feet isn’t enough! Let’s assume you will use a 57” cue. FIVE feet minimum is what you need. OK you could use a shorter cue but that’s not the proper way to play the game and it will ruin your shot play. When you play on a different table somewhere else it won’t feel right. Trust me. FIVE feet minimum, seven or eight if you have the space.  Measure from the inside edge of the cushion, not the edge of the table. That’s FIVE feet at both ends and both sides. So, for a 7’ table that means the minimum playing area should be 17’ x 14’.

If you allow any less you will soon get frustrated and you simply won’t play as often as you would like (or you’ll get rid of the table). More space = better games.

Is it true that most tables are made in Asia?

Yes and No. Most companies that sell pool tables and football tables do not make them. The majority of tables in the lower price range are made in the Far East. Even some reputable sellers of table games import and rebrand tables so they have a wider range to sell. There are, however, a number of reputable companies that do manufacture their own tables and sell them in the US.

Who are the best manufacturers?

Brunswick, Olhausen, Diamond, Presidential, Legacy, Gabriels all have a long standing reputation for quality. These are possibly the best and most expensive but there are many others who are worth looking at.

What should I look out for?

Cheap tables sold at supermarkets. Special deals. Look at the table weight – it’s often a good guide to quality. Lighter tables are usually made of cheaper materials and are less sturdy. Read reviews.

What else could I put in my Games Room?

The choice is endless. Make sure those who come to your game space like what’s there. Pool, football and hockey are the 3 most popular but don’t be afraid to introduce something different. Table tennis is great – if you have the space. So is shuffleboard – if you have the money. Two good lower cost games are darts and shove halfpenny. Anyone can play these two games and they are good fun. Hey! How about a pinball machine? A bar. Some comfortable relaxing furniture is a must.

Pool or football? What should I buy for a first table?

It’s up to you. What do your mates like to play? Most people go for pool first, then football, then air hockey. Darts is becoming increasingly popular as an extra game. Video games have also got more popular in the past 3 years with game consoles or a big game screen in front of some comfortable seating.

What’s the Golden Rule when buying any table?

Always buy the largest, best quality table that you can afford that fits into your space.

Table games are great  but don’t put yourself in debt just to buy a table that impresses the neighbours.

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