Different Types of Pool Tables (Sizes, Styles, Materials, Features, Surface Fabrics)

Types of Pool Tables

Pool tables may not be a necessity for many families, but it can’t be denied that it’s a good addition to your home if you like playing pool. Just think of the possibilities when you have one at home– you can play pool with your family members and friends during the weekend. Or you can master your pool skills and even relax after a long day at work.

There are different types of pool tables which means you can choose one based on your budget, level of experience in playing the game, and even the space you have at home. Continue reading to know more about the different types of pool tables.

Types of Pool Tables According to Size

Pool Tables According to Size

There are four kinds of pool tables according to size: bar, mini, standard, and large.

Mini

The smallest of the four is the mini pool table, which can range from 20 inches up to five feet in length. The size of the mini pool table will dictate how it is used. For example, a four or five-foot table is enough for children and teenagers to learn how to play the game. The smaller ones, or those tabletop games, can also be used by small kids and even pool aficionados who simply want a game or two while at work or in the office. Sure, you may not be able to show off your game on one of these tables, it’s still a nice gift to a kid like your 8-year-old nephew.

Bar

A bar table is slightly bigger than a mini table at about 7 feet long. Smaller than a professional regulation pool table, it is commonly found not only in small homes but also in bars and places with tight spaces. It has a playing surface of around 78 inches. While the shorter distance would make it easier for you to make great shots, you may also run into several problems when you play on a bar table. When buying this kind of pool table, you should look for issues like tough pockets and dead rails. A larger than normal cue ball can also make it difficult for you to hit your shots.

Standard

The standard pool table, meanwhile, is eight feet long. You can play nine or eight balls in this pool. It’s the perfectly sized pool table for home regardless of your experience or skill level. With this type of pool table, you can easily maneuver yourself in performing trick shots. But it is also small enough for you to improve your defenses.

Large

Then there’s the large table which is nine feet in length. It is a professional-sized pool table that requires more skill from its players. Because of its length, you’ll find making shots a bit more difficult on this table. You will also have to learn how to play from one area of the table before moving to another.

Types of Pool Tables According to Style

Pool Tables According to Style

You can also choose pool tables according to their style.

Contemporary Pool Table

One popular style is the contemporary pool table with bold sporty colors like blue and red and straight lines. This is the type of pool table that would look great in any home game room. You can also accessorize this kind of pool table with various designs like the emblems of your favorite sports team. You can also opt for a modern table that has a darker tone than contemporary pool tables. This type of pool table is similar to a modern pool table, although it is more commonly made of wood.

Traditional Pool Table

If there are modern and contemporary pool tables, then there are also the traditional types. The traditional type of pool table has ornate carved legs and feet. It also has solid wood rails and diamond-shaped sights that you can use in improving your shot.

Craftsman Pool Table

You may also opt for a craftsman pool table if your budget permits. The craftsman pool table is usually customized, and features finished wood, visible dovetail joints, and simple lines. It can fit well with the rest of the furniture that you have at home. It’s also solidly built with airy legs that would make it look well wherever you may put it.

Industrial Pool Table

The industrial pool table, meanwhile, distinguishes itself from the rest of the field with its iron legs and crossbars. Combined with the durability and classic look of wood, the iron component of the industrial pool table makes it a glaring trait or characteristic of this type of pool table. It also has straight and simple lines, giving the legs the focal point in terms of construction and design.

Farmhouse-style Pool Table

If you’re looking for a pool table that’s a bit more rustic in look, then a farmhouse-style pool table should be on your shortlist. This type of pool table is often made of solid wood with cross-bucket trusses that can complement the look and feel of your home. Some models come with nice stains for a more rustic appearance. This is the kind of pool table that you can pass down to your kids because of its enduring appearance and superior construction.

Tropical Pool Table

You’d also find the tropical pool table a nice addition to your home. It is often made of hand-crafted wood and designed to complement a pirate or tiki hut-themed room. You may even surround it with plants to give you that feeling or impression that you’re playing out in an open environment.

Types of Pool Tables According to Materials

You can also choose a pool table according to the material used in the tabletop, which is undoubtedly the most important part of a pool table. After all, the tabletop is the foundation of the pool table.

Slate

Of all the materials widely used in constructing pool tables, slate is considered the gold standard. It is a type of rock composed of minerals like mica, chlorite, and quartz. This bluish-gray material is formed when clay sediment layers are compressed into sedimentary rock with large amounts of the aforementioned materials. The sediment would then harden in thin layers as it compresses, resulting in a robust rock with naturally flat layers. This trait makes it an ideal choice for a game that requires a level playing field.

Naturally, you should expect to pay more if you are to buy a pool table made out of this material. But you can get your money’s worth because slate provides the best quality in terms of playing surface.

You may be wondering: “why should I consider getting a pool table made of slate?” Sure, you’ll have to shell out a significant amount if you are to get a table made out of this material. Just to give you an idea, a pool table with dimensions of 4×8 feet can cost more than $1000, and that’s just on the low end. There are even pool tables made of slate and with said dimensions that can cost more than $10,000!

Slate is found all over the world, but Brazil, China, Italy, and India are among its major exporters. You may come across a pool table made of Italian slate. If you do, don’t be shocked by its price because slates from Italy, especially from the Ligurian region, are considered the best in the world. Since Italian slate is the gold standard, it’s not a shocker why pool tables made of the said material command a hefty price.

Yet as mentioned earlier, the payoff is significant when you buy a pool table constructed out of slate. One of the benefits of getting a pool made out of slate is that you’ll be sure it will last for many years. It won’t warp, a condition wherein the bed of the table starts to sag, bow, or twist. Even if you spill a drink or two on a slate pool table, it won’t warp at all. Its surface will also not be affected by changes in temperature, moisture, and humidity.

There is also a big difference in the playability of a slate pool table. Experienced pool table players will be the first to tell you that playing on a slate pool table feels smoother and faster. The balls roll across the surface effortlessly and without ‘drag.’ This means you don’t have to exert more power to make the cue ball and the object balls travel across the table.

Slates come in various sizes like ¾”, ⅞” and 1-inch, which is the standard size. This is also the size approved by the Billiard Congress of America for tournament play. Since the material is too heavy and large for transport, it is commonly separated into three pieces so that it would be more economical to do so.

Aside from the high price that a slate pool table commands, another downside to this type of pool table is its weight. It would be quite a challenge to move it around the house. This may be a concern if you’re the type of person who likes to change the placement of furniture around the house every now and then. The weight of a slate pool table can also pose a problem when you have to move to a new house.

Synthetic Materials

There are also table pools made of synthetic materials. These are cheaper than slate pool tables, with most models having a price tag of less than $1,000. However, there are also disadvantages like shorter warranty and durability issues as pool tables made of synthetic materials tend to warp over time.

You can choose from three synthetic materials- honeycomb, slatron, and particleboard, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

Honeycomb Pool Table

A honeycomb pool table is made of a plastic, honeybee-like surface compressed with layers of hardened plastic. Unlike the other synthetic materials, a honeycomb pool table does not warp, but its major problem or issue is that its surface is rough. It is also not the most stable material for a pool table, although its lightweight construction means you can move the table easily.

Slatron or Permaslate

Slatron or Permaslate is another synthetic material from which pool tables are made. It is a layer of condensed and hardened plastic that covers particleboard. It is widely regarded as the most durable and practical option out of the three types of synthetics.

MDF

Meanwhile, the MDF is a flat piece of material constructed from adjoining small pieces of wood. It will serve its purpose as a material for a pool table, but it would eventually warp over time. Factors like temperature changes will cause it to wrap, which will compromise the quality of play you can get from the table. There’s nothing you can do to protect a table made from this synthetic material.

Aside from the tabletop, there are other parts of the pool table which are made from different materials like metal and wood. Metal, for one, is used in parts of the pool table as the frame and legs. Aluminum is also known as a preferred material for pool tables because it is not only lightweight but also portable. But metallic parts aren’t exactly the most durable as these can easily break or bend when hit by a hard object.

Wood

Wood is another material commonly used in pool tables, especially those for children. Wooden pool tables are quite durable compared to metallic tables. Wood is not only durable and sturdy but can be cheaper. However, table pools made of wood can be heavy therefore affecting their mobility.

Plastics and Rubber

Plastics and rubber are also materials used in pool tables, particularly in gaming equipment. Smooth rubber, for example, lets balls bounce around the table. Acrylic pool tables, meanwhile, are usually for leisure gaming.

Types of Pool Tables According to Features

Pool Tables According to Features

You can also choose from pool tables according to their features.

Drop Pockets

You may be looking for a pool table wherein you can reach into a pocket to retrieve the balls. If so, then you should buy one with drop pockets. Pool tables with drop pockets are often made out of leather and vinyl. In case your budget is not an issue, you should opt for leather drop pockets as this would wear out better than vinyl.

Auto Ball Return

But what if you don’t like to retrieve the balls? Are there other options? Yes, you can buy a pool table with an auto ball return. As you may deduce from the name, this type of pool table will spare you the trouble of having to walk around the entire table to collect your balls.

Drawers

There are also pool tables with drawers designed to store all your accessories, such as balls and cue racks. This type of table pool will allow you to keep your stuff without taking up space in your home. The drawers are commonly hidden.

Outdoor

Finally, a pool table designed for outdoor use will let you play pool outside your home. This type of pool table can stand up to the elements without getting damaged. It is usually made of aluminum that’s not only lightweight but also rust-resistant. The table also has a synthetic felt that’s UV-resistant.

Types of Pool Tables According to Surface Fabric

Pool Tables According to Surface Fabric

Finally, you can choose pool tables according to the surface fabric. There are three fabrics harnessed for surfaces of pool tables—polyester, woolen cloth, and worsted wool. Each material has its pros and cons.

Polyester

Polyester has a classic clean look. However, the downside is that this material wears out faster than the two other fabrics. It is usually used on outdoor pool tables.

Wooden Cloth

On the other hand, a wooden cloth is a fabric traditionally utilized for the surface of pool tables. Also known as napped billiard cloth, it contains at least 60% wool. It is heavy, thick, and durable, qualities that have made it the choice fabric for pool table surfaces. It also does an excellent job in hiding dust and chalk due to its loose weave and construction. Wooden cloth is available in a variety of colors.

Worsted Wool

Finally, worsted wool is a fabric woven with yarn to remove short fibers. It is considered the best choice for the pool table surface because it allows the balls to run faster and at a consistent speed. It is also long-lasting compared to the two other materials. And in terms of maintenance, worsted wool is the best because it does not require regular brushing. Because of these outstanding qualities, worsted wool also commands a hefty price. Expect to pay more if you are to buy a pool table with worsted wool as the surface fabric.

How to Choose a Pool Table

With the numerous choices available, you may be wondering about the factors to consider in choosing a pool table.

The first factor to keep in mind when shopping for a pool table is the skill level and experience of those who will play. If your kids would be the primary users of the pool table, then you can settle for a mini or bar pool table. Of course, you’d have to buy a larger one if adults would be the ones playing.

Other things to consider when shopping for a pool table are the size of the room, fashion taste and preferences, and the design of the table itself.

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