The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Pool Tables With Answers
What are the standard sizes of pool tables?
Pool tables typically come in three standard sizes: 7-foot, 8-foot, and 9-foot. The 7-foot table, often referred to as a "bar box," is commonly found in bars and smaller spaces. The 8-foot table is the most popular for home use, while the 9-foot table is a regulation size for professional tournaments.
What materials are best for the playing surface?
The finest pool tables have a playing surface made of slate, which provides a smooth, flat surface and consistent ball roll. The slate is often covered with a high-quality cloth, usually made of wool or a wool-nylon blend, known as "felt."
How much space do I need to comfortably play?
In addition to the table's dimensions, you'll need space on all sides for cueing. A general rule is to allow at least 5 feet of extra space on each dimension. For example, for an 8-foot table (which is roughly 8.5 feet by 4.5 feet), you'd want a room size of at least 13.5 feet by 9.5 feet.
How do I ensure the table stays level?
High-quality pool tables come with adjustable legs or feet. Over time, even in a perfectly level room, a table can become unbalanced due to weight distribution, flooring changes, or other factors. Regularly check the levelness using a carpenter's level and adjust as necessary.
What type of maintenance is required for a pool table?
Regularly brush the felt to keep it free of chalk and other debris. This extends the life of the cloth and ensures a smooth roll. Also, cover the table when not in use to protect the surface from dust, sunlight, and potential spills.
How do I choose between English and American pool tables?
English pool tables are generally smaller (6-7 feet) and have narrower pockets and smaller balls. American pool tables are larger (7-9 feet) with wider pockets. The choice often depends on personal preference and the version of the game you enjoy more.
What's the difference between drop pockets and a ball return system?
Drop pockets are netted or leather pouches where balls remain after being pocketed. A ball return system uses a series of chutes and gutters to return balls to one end of the table. While ball return is more convenient, especially for coin-operated tables, it can be more expensive and requires additional maintenance.
What should I consider regarding the table's weight?
Pool tables, especially those with slate tops, are heavy. Ensure that the floor can support the weight, and if the table is going upstairs or to a special room, make sure you have the manpower or professional assistance for safe installation.
How does cloth color affect gameplay?
The color of the felt doesn't impact gameplay, but lighter colors may show chalk marks and dirt more than darker ones. Green and blue are traditional, but you can choose any color to match your room's décor.
Why is there a significant price range for pool tables?
Factors that influence the price include the table's size, materials (especially the playing surface), craftsmanship, brand reputation, and additional features like customization options or specialized designs.
When considering a pool table, it's essential to factor in your available space, preferred style of play, the table's intended use (recreational vs. serious play), and your budget. Investing time in understanding these factors ensures you make a decision that offers years of enjoyment.