A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Tables

A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Tables

Whether just for a source of entertainment or for serious shooting practice, having a pool table around the house is nice and practical. When one is interested in having a pool table for their place, they only need to search the internet to know that there are a lot of pool tables being sold in the market and they come in different colors and sizes.

However, not all pool tables can be considered as best pool tables. When searching for a pool table to buy, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Unfortunately, buying a pool table is not as easy as picking whichever pool table gets one’s attention first.

Pool Table Sizes

The first and foremost thing to consider while buying a pool table is the room area or space where the pool table is to be placed. The size of the pool table would largely depend on the size of the room. Before proceeding with the search, one good thing to do is taking stock of the room where the pool table is to be positioned.

Measuring the dimensions of the room will also help. When the room area has already been covered, the next thing to do is looking for a pool table with a size that will fit the room. While doing it, make sure that the pool table does not just fit into the room.

There should also be enough breathing space around the pool table for the players to surround and walk around. It should be enough for players to comfortably retract cue sticks of all lengths. There should also be enough space for a cue rack and storage space for other spare pool table accessories.

As for the different pool table sizes, there are three (3) main table sizes to consider. These are 7-foot pool table, 8-foot pool table, and 9-foot pool table.

The 7-foot pool table is often called the bar table or bar box and is often preferred size for places or rooms with limited space. It is called as such because it has dimensions of 3.5 feet x 7 feet. The 8-foot pool table is the least common size among the three but it is considered the professional pool table with its 4 feet x 8 feet measurements.

Lastly, the 9-foot pool table is the standard pool table size that is used for professional games and tournaments with its dimensions of 4.5 feet x 9 feet. To give one an idea of what area a certain pool table would require, below is a chart that can be helpful in determining that:

  • 9-foot pool table = (1) 52-inch cue – 13 feet x 17 feet area; and (2) 48-inch cue – 12 feet x 16 feet area
  • 8-foot pool table = (1) 58-inch cue – 13 feet x 17 feet area; (2) 52-inch cue – 12 feet x 16 feet area; and (3) 48-inch cue – 12 feet x 15 feet area
  • 7-foot pool table = (1) 58-inch cue – 13 feet x 16 feet area; (2) 52-inch cue – 12 feet x 15 feet area; and (3) 48-inch cue – 11 feet x 14 feet area

Key Features of the Best Pool Tables

After one has finished determining the right pool table size, the next thing to do is getting down to the finer details of the pool table.

Before proceeding further with the search, potential purchasers of the pool table should know that best pool table for one person does not necessarily mean that it will be best for the other person too because ultimately, the word “best” depends largely on personal preference and other unique circumstances surrounding the area where the pool table is to be placed.

No pool table fits all holes. That being said, there are ,however, some key features to look for in a pool table to make it one of the best pool tables offered in the market these days.

Purchase Price

It always starts with the budget. Not all best pool tables are expensive. There are pool tables that come at a fairly reasonable and affordable price, yet they can give those expensive pool tables a run for their money. Before picking a particular pool table, it is important for one to set a budget. The set budget should be an amount that one is comfortable with and can spend for buying a pool table. As one moves on with the search, it is important to keep in mind that the chosen pool table should not go over the allocated budget.

Playing surface

This feature is very important because it spells the quality of the performance of the pool table. Here, the choice is only between slate and non-slate surface.

A real pool table would normally have a slated surface whereas a pool table with a cut down price – such as a mini pool table – usually comes with a non-slated surface. A slate comes in different ranges of thickness but the best choice for a pool table is 1-inch thick slate.

Furthermore, slates come is various pieces – one, two and three are the common choices. Here, a 3-piece slate is recommended because apart from the fact that it is easy to install, it is also easy to maintain.


The pool table’s cushions play a big role in the table’s performance. Among the many types of cushions, those made of AAA Malaysian gum rubber are the best option because of the simple fact that this material is of superior quality.

Another thing to consider in cushions is their profile. There are two common cushion profiles but the best is the K66 profile because it is a BCA regulation profile.


The part of the pool table where the cushions are glued is rails. One important thing to know about a pool table’s rails is that the material used spells the durability and long service life.

A solid wood material for the rails will enable the pool table to withstand years of re-stapling a number of stables during installation of the felt surface above the cushions of the pool table. There are also rails with scratch-resistant capacity that makes the pool table more durable.


The cabinet of a pool table refers to the main body. The cabinet is responsible for the pool table’s quality and stability to support the entire weight of the table and the weight exerted by the players when leaning on the pool table.

Therefore, it is important for the cabinet to be very durable, well-constructed and pleasant to look at. A cabinet could be made of several materials but the common materials are veneer, solid hardwood, laminate and synthetic.

If durability is the priority, a solid hardwood material would be the best option, but it is also the priciest among the choices. Among the four, laminate material is the choice least recommended because it is made up of imitated veneer material that is not nice to look at in a pool table.





   Ideal Rack’Em Tabletop Pool.  $  4.3/5
   T&S Tabletop Billiards and Pool Tables  $  3.6/5
   Hathaway Table Top Billiard Table  $  4.1/5
   HLC Folding Pool Billiard Table  $$  4.2/5
   MD Sports Arcade Billiard Table  $$$  4.5/5
   Sunnydaze 36-Inch Mini Tabletop Pool Table  $  4.7/5
   Goplus 36-Inch Mini Tabletop Pool Table Game Billiard Set Bank Shot  $  5.0/5
   Mainstreet Classics 20-Inch Table Top Miniature Billiard/Pool Game Set  $  4.2/5
   Westminster Tabletop Pool  $  4.2/5
   Playcraft Sport Bank Shot 40-Inch Pool Table  $  4.5/5

Looking for the best pool table can be quite difficult but it can be done following the abovementioned points. To jump start the search for the best pool tables for households or business establishments, here are brief product reviews of five bestselling and popular pool tables in the market right now – ranging from miniatures sizes up to the bar regulation pool table sizes – to give one a better idea of what to look for and what to avoid. Here are these products:

Ideal Rack’Em Tabletop Pool

Find a nice source of entertainment for the kids. Give them a mini pool table to spend their time on. When it comes to small pool tables for the kids to play on, buying an Ideal Rack’Em Tabletop Pool would be a good idea.

This pool table has a tabletop feature where four (4) different pool games can be played. It is a felted pool table that comes with a complete set of accessories such as racking triangle, chalk, two (2) cue sticks and fifteen (15) balls.

This mini tabletop pool table is recommended for kids with age ranging from five (5) to fifteen (15) years old. Finally, this pool table has the dimensions of 20.2 in x 12.8 in x 4.9 in and a light shipping weight of 5.9 pounds.


  • Perfect entertainment furniture
  • Tabletop feature
  • Smaller version of the real pool table
  • Good for kids with age of five (5) years and above
  • Can be set up anywhere indoors or outdoors
  • Does not occupy floor space
  • Convenient to use
  • Portable and easy to transport
  • Has a lightweight design
  • Can be used for four (4) different pool games
  • Game instructions found in included manual
  • With a complete set of accessories
  • Good quality
  • With sturdy and durable feel
  • Comes at a fairly decent purchase price


  • A tabletop pool table
  • Needs to be placed on a flat surface for support
  • Does not have four (4) legs for the needed pool height
  • There are missing accessories upon delivery

T&S Tabletop Billiards and Pool Table

Searching for a perfect gift for little children? Want to train the kids on how to play a pool game? If yes, then you need to look for a pool table that has a size that is convenient for the little kids. You should try the T&S Tabletop Billiards and Pool Table for a start.

This is a pool table with legs and what is nice about this product is that it is almost ready for use right out of the box sans the four (4) little legs that can be easily attached. This pool table includes a set of two (2) cue sticks, one (1) chalk, a brush, fifteen (15) balls and a triangle rack.

The entire pool table only weighs about seven (7) pounds and has the dimensions of 30 in (L) x 17 in (W) x 5 in (H). Finally, this one only requires minor assembly process and replacement parts are readily available, should a part goes missing.


  • It only needs minor assembly
  • Almost ready for play right out of the box
  • Assembly is fast, quick and effortless
  • Comes with a complete set of accessories
  • Replacement parts are readily available
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Can be easily transferred from one place to another
  • Made with sturdy construction
  • Good quality
  • Reasonable purchase price


  • The corner trim is made of plastic so it can be easily broken
  • Accompanying balls are made a bit too small for the pool table’s size
  • Balls can also be easily broken

Hathaway Table Top Billiard Table

If one has a small place, having a mini pool that can be conveniently placed on a counter or a table is a good idea. Finding a pool table that can do just that and, at the same time, can be placed directly on the floor is an added bonus.

For that purpose, one can always choose the Hathaway Table Top Billiard Table. This pool table stands out with its bright blue felt pool table surface, L-shaped legs with no-mar padding, portable & compact design and versatile feature. Together with the pool table comes a complete set of accessories. These are two (2) 36 inches cue sticks, two (2) pieces of chalk, one (1) set of 1.25-in billiards balls, brush and triangle rack.

The entire pool table only weighs 24 lbs. and has the dimensions of 40 in (L) x 21.5 in (W) x 7 in (H). On top of that, this pool table has certified CARB engineered wood construction that speaks volumes of its quality.


  • With refreshing and unique bright blue felt surface
  • Has a versatile design
  • Can be placed on a counter or table
  • Can save floor space
  • Can be conveniently placed directly on the floor
  • Padded non-marring L-shaped legs
  • Comes with complete accessories
  • Big pool surface
  • Well made and very sturdy
  • Priced at a decent amount


  • Cue sticks are lightweight
  • Cue sticks are not straight
  • Felt surface causes ball movement to be restricted
  • Pockets of the pool table are a little too small

HLC Folding Pool Billiard Table

If the gaming room or entertainment room is not big enough to shelter a full-size pool table, find a miniature pool table that is almost the same. The HLC Folding Pool Billiard Table is a good alternative to the big regulation size pool table. The pool table is made of solid wood.

Table and cues make it foldable and easy to move around for redecoration or a change of venue. This is a miniature version of a regulation size pool table. Apart from the real billiards balls that come with the pool table, the set of accessories also includes two (2) cue sticks, a rack, brush and chalk.

There is no need to assemble this pool table right out of the box because this one comes fully assembled. Finally, the pool table weighs 40.8 lbs. and has the following dimensions: 55 in (L) x 29 in (W) x 31.5 in (H) or 4.6 ft. (L) x 2.4 ft. (W) x 2.6 ft. (H).


  • Has the quality of a real full-size pool table
  • Can withstand some rough handling
  • Portable and easy to move around
  • Foldable
  • No time-consuming assembly
  • Large mini pool table
  • Good sports equipment also for adults
  • Fair and reasonable purchase price


  • Some of the pre-holed pockets are difficult to make out
  • Some pockets cannot hold the balls
  • Cue sticks are slightly warped
  • Accessories are not made sturdy
  • Balls are small
  • Has some packaging issues

MD Sports Arcade Billiard Table

If one needs to look for a unique and contemporary-style pool table or billiards table with durable quality, they should not look beyond MD Sports Arcade Billiard Table.

This pool table is made of MDF wood, scratch-resistant body, rails with PVC laminate finish, strong and 18 mm thick particle board deck support as well as sturdy block leg design. This pool table has a unique red felt playing surface, steel frame construction, contemporary style, custom or adjustable leg levelers and internal ball drop pockets.

In addition, this particular pool table has a black and metal scheme going that contrasts perfectly with the red playing surface. Finally, the pool table falls a little on the heavier side with its 194 lbs. of weight and 84 in (L) x 48 in (W) x 31 in (H) dimensions.


  • Sturdy construction
  • Made of strong and quality materials
  • Long service life
  • Durable
  • Contemporary style
  • Unique black and metal scheme
  • Refreshing red felt playing surface
  • Stable
  • Adjustable leg levelers
  • Easy to assemble
  • With clear and simple assembly instruction
  • Scratch-resistant body and rails


  • Has no return ball capacity
  • Very heavy so putting on the parts would require at least three (3) strong people