Buying a pool table offers the chance to spend quality time with your friends and family at any time of the year. Everyone enjoys gathering around a pool table and showing off their skills. In fact, many people make it their mission to create a gaming space that allows them to group all their entertainment furniture in one room. From dens and man-caves to gaming rooms and massive patios, all of them need a pool table to entertain guests.
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Luxury Pool Tables
If you’re considering a luxury pool table as part of a home upgrade, you should make sure you’re buying a high-quality pool table that’s a joy to use and will last for years. There are five very important things to explore before you start thinking about any other factors. For the top-recommended features of the best pool tables for home, continue reading below.
Examine the Frame Quality
There are a few different types of frame materials that you can choose from. Whether you’re looking for solid wood or MDF (medium-density fibreboard), you want to ensure that it looks good, feels good, and responds well to gameplay. Oakwood and hardwood are among the best options for a luxury pool table.
The table you’re choosing should also be framed properly with a single center beam and two cross beams. The way the beams balance the table will distribute its weight more evenly and create a stable surface for you to lean and play on. Some modern tables have changed the balance of the beams to create a more sophisticated aesthetic. If you prefer one of these, always test the balance and stability of the table before you buy. You don’t want to start playing at home and realize that the table wobbles any time you lean on it!
Leslie Baird, an Angie’s List contributor, notes, “Rails should be crafted from hardwood. The harder the wood, the less vibration will occur on ball contact. If the rails have a laminated surface, it should be high-pressure laminate.”
All of these different factors — frame material, beam distribution, and rail lamination — will affect the look of the table and how you play your game. When shopping for the best pool table for home, choose wisely and purchase a luxury pool table that you will enjoy looking at and playing on for years to come.
Choose The Felt Content
While you may think that the pretty green felt on your luxury pool table is just for looks, it actually makes a big difference to the performance and movement of your balls. The higher the wool content of your table felt, the more speed and accuracy you can expect from your hits. The wool/nylon blend will also determine how long your table lasts. Whether you play all day, every day or the table only sees occasional usage, you don’t want pilling, wrinkling, or shedding to affect gameplay over the years.
Family Leisure suggests, “Ask about the wool content of the felt. The more wool in the material, the more durable it will be. Quality felt is usually 80 percent wool and 20 percent nylon.”
Some luxury pool tables even go as high as 90% wool and only 10% nylon! When you choose worsted wool, you’re also guaranteed a stain-resistant material that will last for decades. While some of your players may be very experienced, there’s always the chance that an amateur player will accidentally strike the game table with your cue. The best pool tables for home feature felt that is strong enough to withstand accidental damage like this.
Many pool table manufacturers also know that you want to personalize your table a little bit, so they offer more than just the classic green for your felt options. Explore luxury pool tables that range from burgundy, wine, and coral accents to spruce, gold, chocolate, and even grey color options. Don’t hesitate to customize your table as much as possible to fit in with your current interior decor and personal aesthetic.
Layers of Slate
The felt is the visible part of the pool table, but there is also a layer underneath called slate. Just below the cloth, you have either a one-, two-, or three-piece slate option. Slate is a type of fine-grained rock that is derived from shale. You’ve probably heard of slate tile roofing or slate whetstones. Well, that’s the same slate used under the felt of your pool table.
There are a few pros and cons to the number of slate layers you choose when buying a pool table.
Consider the Durability
The durability of the table is your first concern. With one piece of slate, there’s a much higher chance that the table will warp or dip over time. You may also find that the table sags in the middle or develops high and low spots over the years. Two or three layers of slate make a pool table less likely to change its shape.
Seams or No Seams
While the durability of your game table argues against a single slate layer, the seams might be an argument for a single slate layer. A single layer has no seams, a double layer has one seam, and a triple layer has two seams. Unless it’s put together by an expert, the more seams you have the higher risk you run of misalignment every time the table is moved or jostled.
The benefit of these seams, however, is that any uneven cuts during milling can be releveled on the next layer. A single piece of slate that has been miscut cannot be fixed, but future layers of slate can countermand any mistakes in previous pieces. With more layers, any improperly milled parts are still usable and the resulting table is far more durable and level than one with just a single layer.
Slate Equals Weight
The amount of slate in your table is one of the biggest weight factors it has. Slate is a very heavy rock material, and three-layer tables are incredibly hard to move. Hopefully, once your pool table is delivered, you won’t ever be worried about moving it again.
If you do need to move it, you might consider hiring some professional assistance! Another contributor to Angie’s List says “moving a pool table can cause it to become unbalanced or could lead to the slate top breaking. You can ask a general mover, but make sure whoever does the work is experienced at moving a pool table.” Some pool table movers can even help with realignment, balancing, and leveling of older tables once the move is complete.
Size of the Table
Pool tables don’t all come in the same sizes — they vary just like every other piece of furniture. If you already know where you want to place your luxury pool table, measure the space so you have an idea of what will fit. You should also consider where the pool table accessories belong, as the cues and balls all take up space too! Another concern for space is how much area you need to move around the table to take your shots.
When choosing the best pool table for home, consider the three basic pool table sizes: 7 feet, 8 feet, and 9 feet. When buying a pool table, you can customize the size to whatever you want, but a regulation standard pool table is typically 8 feet long.
Each of the table measurements available has different space requirements that are affected by the length of your cue. Follow the chart below to find out how much space you need for each table and cue to play comfortably, and keep these numbers in mind when you’re organizing and decorating your space.
|7 Foot Table||8 Foot Table||9 Foot Table|
|48” Cue||11’3” x 14’6”||11’9” x 15’4”||12’3” x 16’4”|
|52” Cue||11’9” x 15’2”||12’4” x 16’||12’10” x 17’|
|58” Cue||12’9” x 16’1”||13’3” x 16’10”||13’9” x 17’11”|
Work With Your Budget
Everyone has a different budget for their luxury pool table. Depending on the specifications you prefer for framing, felt, slate, size, and other accessories, there is a wide variation among the prices you can expect. Prioritize what you feel are the essential elements to ensure you get the best pool table for your needs at a price you can afford.
If you’re not sure you want to spend a whole lot on a brand new table, consider buying a pool table second hand. There are often luxury pool tables on sale through Craigslist, Letgo, and many other sites and apps to help you find the perfect table for you. Just be prepared to drop a little extra on moving to keep your table as safe as possible until it reaches its new home.
Installing Your Pool Table
Whether you feel your pool table belongs outside on the patio (make sure you look into weatherproofing) or it needs to be placed just so in the den for all your gaming and entertainment needs, you want the game table you buy to fit in naturally. Because you don’t want to move your table too much after it’s been brought home, make sure you really like the space it’s in.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Pool Table
Hopefully, this article cleared away any myths and misconceptions you had about how to determine the quality of a luxury pool table. While there are other factors that can influence the durability and standard of a pool table — like pockets, cushions, and even the warranty — the ones listed here are those that will have the biggest effect on the table itself.
Now that you know what to look for when buying a pool table, you can explore your options with confidence. When choosing the best pool table for home, remember the essentials on your list including the frame, felt, slate, and size before you make the final decision!