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How to Assess the Qualities of a Pool Table Before You Buy

How to Assess the Qualities of a Pool Table Before You Buy

Considering purchasing an 8-foot pool table for your game room? Good choice. The 8-foot table is the standard table for most homes today and is a wise investment for your family. Selecting the best table your money can buy will ensure years of enjoyment for everyone. How can you determine table quality Let’s take a look.


Solid and Durable Construction

Appearance is not the primary consideration in pool table quality, although many think so. To select a quality table you must look beyond the surface features and gauge the overall quality of the table’s construction. A beautiful table will not last if it is made from low-quality materials.

Quality made pool tables can be constructed from a variety of materials. Solid hardwood, hardwood veneers, metals and other proven materials are commonly used to construct modern day pool tables. Some materials like MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), plastic, or cheaper softwoods are not recommended. These materials are prone to swelling, warping, and cracking in humid conditions.

High-quality materials will resist chipping during regular table use and withstand the weight of the playing surface and the demands placed on a table by enthusiastic play. 

A quality pool table is constructed with cross pieces of solid hardwood to support the playing surface and a durable cabinet that remains steady over time. As little hardware as possible is used in high-quality tables to reduce wear and deterioration. When hardwood pieces are designed to fit together solidly the table is constructed with lasting craftsmanship.


Smooth and Level Playing Surface

The best playing surface for your new table is diamond honed slate assembled in three pieces. While some tables use engineered wood as a playing surface, slate provides the most durable and smooth surface possible – crucial for quality play. 

Slate will not warp or swell like manufactured wood, allowing it to recover from spills or other minor game room disasters.


Why diamond honed slate?  

Natural slate has minor surface imperfections that can affect the travel of the ball during play.  Diamond honing grinds away these imperfections and creates the ideal playing environment for your table.  Balls run true every time.

A level surface is vital to a quality pool game.  The best tables assemble the slate surface in three sections to allow for adjustments and leveling over time.  As the table settles or loses its level the slate surface can be manipulated to protect the quality of your game.


Rails and Cushions

You may not realize that the rails of a pool table are connected to every other component of the table itself. They are also the portion of the table that absorbs the most impact from the players themselves. People lean on the rails. Children sit on the rails. It’s important your table has rails that will last.

Quality pool tables use rails made of solid hardwood. The wood is durable and able to withstand the abuse heaped on it over time. Solid hardwood rails resist splitting from the staples and manipulation when cloth and cushions are replaced. They are beautiful as well and maintain their gloss and finish over time.  

Any experienced pool player will tell you the importance of cushions to the game. A successful bank shot depends on properly aligned cushions with the correct amount of resistance and spring. A quality pool table is constructed with canvas backed cushions made of K-55 or K-65 gum rubber.


Pro tip: cleaning and caring for your pool table will extend its lifespan while enhancing playability.


A Quality Pool Table Is A Sound Investment

Looking beyond the surface appearance when evaluating the overall quality of construction is the key to selecting the best 8-foot pool table possible within your budget. By investing in quality you ensure many years of quality play for your family.


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  • David Barry
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