Buying Your First Pool Table? Here’s What You Need to Know!
As a pool player, shopping for your own pool table can be one of the most thrilling and fun experiences. You’ll learn a lot along the way, including things you didn’t think you had to know about previously. While it’s a fun process, it can also be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared to do your research.
That’s where we come in. In this article, we hope to guide you through the pool table buying process by explaining the main things you should consider before buying your table. There’s lots of information out there, but we’ll do our best to put it all together in an easy-to-understand guide.
Let’s first discuss priority number one – Setting a budget.
Set Your Pool Table Budget
At the beginning of your search, you need to have a maximum price in mind that you’d be willing to spend. This helps to set expectations and eliminate any financial irresponsibility before you’re deep into the process.
There are high quality pool tables at different price ranges, but if you don’t want a super high-end table, you may have to be okay sacrificing certain table characteristics to get a lower price.
This brings us to one important question…
How Much Do Pool Tables Cost?
Full size pool tables will cost anywhere from about $600 at the low end to $8000+ at the high end. Once you get to the high end is when the tables become more custom and made-to-order.
This price range makes it even more important to understand what you need and what you don’t need as part of your pool table. There are options for all budgets.
While not everyone will spend the same amount of money on a table, we highly recommend staying away from the super cheap tables as they are much more likely to break down over time. This is unless you are just buying a table for occasional entertainment, or for your kids.
For an avid pool player, a pool table should be an investment. It will last longer if you spend a little more, but it will also be more satisfying playing on a table that was constructed with care and precision.
The next step in your shopping process should be pool table size considerations.
What Size Pool Table Should You Buy?
Narrowing down the size of your future pool table is very important. You should ask yourself the following questions when trying to decide on table size:
1. How big is my space?
Obviously, your pool table space or room needs to be big enough to comfortably fit your pool table. The space may be big enough to fit a 7 foot table, but not quite big enough to fit a 9 foot table. Make sure you take this into consideration.
2. Is there enough clearance around where the pool table would go?
You want to make sure there is enough space around all sides of your pool table so you can make full cue strokes without knocking your cue into a wall. It’s recommended that you allow at least 4 or 5 feet of space on all sides to avoid any issues.
3. How serious of a player am I?
If you have the space for any size of table, you’ll have to recognize what type of pool you want to play, and how much you want to improve. People who play a lot of pool typically prefer a larger table as it provides a better test of skill and requires more discipline and fundamentals to play well.
If you are used to playing pool at bars, you might be more comfortable with a 7 footer. Other than the space available, this all really depends on personal preference.
Most Common Pool Table Size
High quality pool tables come in 7 foot, 8 foot or 9 foot sizes, but 8 foot pool tables are most common. An 8 foot table is a happy medium between 7 foot and 9 foot and great for players who don’t like small tables or big professional-style tables.
Keep in mind – not all tables of the same length have the same exact dimensions. You’ll need to refer to manufacturer specs of the brands you’re interested in to figure out exactly how big the table will be.
While pool table length is the main concern when it comes to table size, one other important aspect is pool table weight.
How Much Does a Pool Table Weigh?
At the heaviest, a pool table will weigh up to 1200-1300 pounds. Weight varies greatly depending on quality and construction. For example, a cheaper EastPoint Masterton pool table from Amazon only weighs 198 pounds, while a 9 foot Diamond Professional weighs 1200 pounds.
Most high quality investment-level pool tables are going to be heavy. Obviously, the process of moving the table once it shows up at your door isn’t fun, but it has to be done. You should take into account how many people you have helping you or if you are hiring a company to move the table for you.
You will want to take pool table weight into consideration if you are installing your table upstairs, as a heavy table may require more labor during setup.
Can Pool Tables Go Upstairs?
Pool tables can absolutely go upstairs, and many players around the world play pool on an upper level. While this is the case, there are a couple things you should consider before installing a table upstairs:
- Is the floor strong enough to support the added weight?
- Is your staircase wide enough for the pool table’s cabinet?
- Are you willing to deal with the added hassle and work?
Installing a pool table upstairs will be harder work since gravity is working against you, but if this is your only option, it can be done.
Make sure you talk to a contractor or the builder of your space to make sure it has the structural support that the pool table needs.
Both slate and wood (MDF) pool tables can be installed upstairs, but a MDF pool table will be much easier to move around and install on an upper level. Next, we’ll get into more detail about slate and wood pool tables.
Should I Buy a Slate or Wood Pool Table?
Pool table construction is another major consideration when deciding what pool table you buy. Tables are typically made with one of two primary materials – slate or MDF.
Slate occurs naturally and is a form of rock that is mined out from the Earth. MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is a wood composite that binds pieces of wood together with wax or resin.
Both materials are great pool table surfaces, but slate is much more durable, lasts longer, allows for more precise leveling, and doesn’t react to temperature and humidity changes. MDF can warp and won’t last as long, but is much lighter.
Ultimately, you’ll need to decide what the best material is for you based on your situation, but we have created this complete guide to Slate vs MDF tables that should help you out.
What Pool Table Felt Should I Buy?
Pool table felt (or cloth) is one of the final considerations you need to account for.
If you’re buying a used pool table, it’s important to make sure the felt isn’t all torn up, and is still somewhat smooth and clean. If you’re buying a new table, you may have your choice of felt from the manufacturer.
If you can make it happen, we recommend playing on felt from one of the following brands:
- Pro Form
Simonis and Championship are going to be your best bet for high performance pool table cloth. We’ve created an in-depth comparison of Simonis and Championship cloth to help you make your decision.
We hope you now have a better idea about the process of buying your first pool table. It can be a tedious process, but a pool table is an investment, and it’s definitely worth the time it will take to decide on the perfect table.
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to leave a note in the comments!
And as always, Happy Shooting!
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