Cue Cave’s Outdoor Pool Table Guide – Cost, Care and Other Tips
Pool tables can be a great addition to an outdoor area, but you’ll need to buy a pool table made explicitly for outdoor use. You can’t take an indoor pool table outside as the materials used to manufacture it aren’t designed for fluctuating weather conditions.
The cloth on an indoor pool table wouldn’t handle the elements and would be damaged if kept outside. Outdoor pool tables are made of water-resistant materials that’ll cope much better with the weather conditions, though they will still require some regular maintenance.
An outdoor table’s playing surface is weatherproof, and the rubber cushions are often treated to ensure they won’t fade or split due to the constantly changing temperature. Untreated rubber exposed to heat, cold, and rain would eventually harden, crack or degrade. Almost everything about an outdoor pool table is subtly different from an indoor table.
If you’ve got the space for an outdoor pool table, it can quickly become a focal point for socializing in your backyard or on the patio. Your guests will love all the barbecues and other social events!
You and your family will be able to play the game you love while getting fresh air, and if indoor space is at a premium, it can be a fantastic alternative to heading to your local pool hall. If you’ve ever considered buying an outdoor pool table but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Pool Tables
The materials used in making an indoor pool table differ vastly from those used to create an outdoor table. An indoor table uses wool, nylon, or polyester cloth for the playing surface, while an outdoor table usually has an acrylic cloth to help handle the weather.
Indoor pool tables are mostly wood, and are not water-resistant. Outdoor pool tables can handle a little rain, but you should never take your indoor pool table outside. If a normal pool table is kept outside, the wood would soon rot, fade, or warp. This is why outdoor pool tables use stainless steel and aluminum materials.
If you’re serious about pool, you should simply never move your indoor table outside – it just isn’t made for it. But, if you’re in a pinch, you can take one outside (temporarily) to use it if the weather conditions are perfect. Humidity can affect your table just as much as a downpour, so it should always be your last resort.
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Pool Tables
There are a few clear advantages to buying an outdoor pool table:
1. More space to play pool
The most obvious benefit of having an outdoor pool table is the additional space. If you’re struggling to fit a table in your home, but have a large patio or garage area, an outdoor pool table is an excellent choice.
2. Frees up space in your home
Placing a pool table outside opens up more space in your home and enhances the look of your outdoor space.
3. Opportunities to get kids outside
Getting your kids outdoors and away from their electronic gadgets can be challenging for families with young children, but they may want to go outside more often with an outdoor table (especially if they love pool).
4. Friends will love to visit!
If you always have friends over, enjoy hosting barbecues, and love socializing, then the addition of an outdoor pool table can make your guests’ visits even more fun. A pool table attracts a crowd, and with more space outside, you’ll soon be having pool parties of a different kind.
Some outdoor pool tables, such as the Gameroom Concepts Tuscany 8ft Outdoor Pool Table, can be purchased with an outdoor dining top, quickly converting your pool table into a dining table. A solid, secure cover can transform your pool table into a poker table or somewhere to put a buffet for your guests.
There are also some drawbacks to adding an outdoor pool table. They include:
1. Outdoor pool tables are more expensive
Outdoor pool tables are expensive because they’re typically made of more expensive, weather-resistant materials. If you live in a climate that sees wild swings in weather conditions, this can have a negative effect on your pool table as it has to cope with heat, cold, sunlight, and rain.
2. Regular maintenance required
Direct sunlight can fade the cloth and warp the table if it’s not made of solid materials. After severe weather, you’ll have to regularly clean and maintain your outdoor table, even if you’re not using it. A quality outdoor table can last for years if well-maintained, but you will have to maintain it more than an indoor table.
Those maintenance costs can be higher than if you’ve bought an indoor pool table, especially if you don’t have a solid cover for your table. At worst, you should cover your table with a tarp when it’s not in use to protect it from direct sunlight or rain. The longer the cloth lasts, the less you’ll have to have it replaced.
3. Less playability
If you’re a skilled and/or serious player and enjoy trying to improve your pool game, then an outdoor table may not be for you. For recreational purposes, an outdoor pool table is excellent. It can really enhance social gatherings, but for aspiring players, the playstyle and playability aren’t as professional as you’d find on a quality indoor table.
Outdoor tables have an acrylic cloth, which plays much slower than a conventional nylon or polyester playing surface. Acrylic playing surfaces are rougher, creating more friction between the fabric and the ball, making some shots harder, and making results more unpredictable.
While a quality outdoor table can still play well, you shouldn’t expect the same responsiveness you’d get on the tournament table in your local pool hall.
Taking Care of an Outdoor Pool Table
Cleaning the pool table in your home can often be as easy as brushing the cloth gently to remove any dust or debris; you certainly shouldn’t start spraying any cleaning products onto the cloth as it could cause irreparable damage.
Outdoor pool tables are much more resilient, and you should be able to use most household cleaning products to keep the table in top condition. As the cloth is open to the elements, your outdoor table will soon start collecting debris as they blow onto the table, and using a sprayable cleaner will help keep the table clean and playable.
Indoor tables are usually made of wood or MDF, but outdoor tables are built of more durable stainless steel or aluminum. That doesn’t mean you won’t need to wipe the rest of the table down, and it should become a part of your regular cleaning routine.
One of the most important ways to maintain your outdoor table is to keep it covered when you’re not using it. Because this is such an essential part of taking care of your table, you’ll find that covers for outdoor pool tables are much more expensive than those for their indoor equivalent. A cover must be water- and UV-resistant and made of tough plastic.
Storing an Outdoor Pool Table in the Winter
Depending on how severe your winter season is, your table may be safe outside of the entirety of the winter season. But, an extremely cold winter can still pose problems even to the most durable of pool tables. Just to be safe, it would be smart to house your outdoor pool table in a climate controlled environment, like a room in your home, or even a storage unit.
Best Outdoor Pool Tables Available Right Now
To help you find an outdoor pool table that offers a similar look, playability, and reliability of an indoor pool table, here’s a selection of some of the best outdoor tables available in 2023.
Imperial Esterno Outdoor Pool Table
Cover included: Yes
Built from aluminum, with a waterproof slate playing surface covered with a durable Taclon cloth, the Esterno Outdoor Pool Table is a sturdy, elegant-looking pool table that’ll add lots to any outdoor area.
This 7-foot table can also moonlight as a table tennis or dining table thanks to its included hard cover. The Esterno is a clean, minimalist design that is easy to maintain and perfect for playing pool with friends and family.
With all accessories included, there’s a lot to love about this outdoor pool table. Adjustable legs to ensure a level playing field and a one-year warranty should you need it make this one of the most appealing tables out there.
Blatt Billiards Bricknell
Cost: $13,750 (7ft table), $14,750 (8ft table)
Cover included: No
For a genuinely weatherproof pool experience, the Bricknell is one of the best around. It’s also one of the most expensive, but with an impressive specifications sheet, it’s easy to see why.
The Bricknell looks fantastic and is custom-built with heat-treated aluminum, a 1” three-piece slate, and resilient Sunbrella fabric. Finding an outdoor table that plays as well as an indoor pool table is tough, but this stunning table comes very close.
Available in 7ft and 8ft, you can even request a custom-built 9ft table if space allows. If a hard cover isn’t your thing, the option to include a clear glass dining top turns your pool table into a seriously cool outdoor dining area.
While it’s a beautiful pool table, for the price, we feel the inclusion of a cover should be standard, especially when there are other options, such as benches, that can be purchased. But if the price is no concern, it’s arguably the best outdoor pool table around.
Imperial 8ft Outdoor, Light Grey Pool Table
Cover included: Yes
Imperial has a history of creating affordable, superbly built pool tables; this outdoor pool table is no exception. Outdoor pool tables need to be tough enough to handle any weather and sturdy enough to take much more abuse than an indoor table would.
Built with an all-aluminum frame, the Imperial 8-foot pool table has aluminum rails, supporting bars between each leg, and a waterproof pearl board that’s pressure formed to offer insane waterproofing. Covered in a Taclon cloth, even the worst weather won’t affect this table.
For its price, look, and longevity, if you’re looking for your first outdoor pool table, it’s a hard one to beat.
Hathaway Alpine Waterproof 8ft Outdoor Pool Table
Cover included: Yes – soft cover.
For an excellent budget option, the Hathaway Alpine is a perfect beginner’s table built to handle any weather conditions. UV- and weather-resistant, the Alpine is easy to assemble, has a striking blue cloth that draws the eye, and comes with everything you need, including cues, balls, chalk, and a triangle.
For right around $2,500, you’ll have a stylish pool table that’s unobtrusive, robust, and ready to play right out of the box. For players new to pool, or those looking for a fun addition to their patios, it’s a perfect starting point.
If you’re looking for a table that can take a lot of use, that’s easy to maintain and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the Hathaway Alpine is ideal for taking your first dive into owning an outdoor pool table.
Don’t underestimate how good an outdoor pool table can be or just how much enjoyment you’ll get from it.
As a space saver, it’s a fantastic option, but it will also become a focal point in your outdoor space that every visitor will want to enjoy. Due to the materials used in construction, they’re often a clean, elegant addition to an outdoor space and can fit with any outdoor theme.
Price ranges vary widely due to the increased construction costs for waterproof materials. Still, you can find a great outdoor pool table for under $5,000 in the Imperial 8ft Outdoor Pool Table, and it’ll last for years if looked after properly.
Maintenance costs can be higher with outdoor tables, but since many, especially Imperial tables, come with a cover as standard, it’s more about prevention than the cure. While outdoor tables will never replace indoor tables due to the playability differences, they’re a fantastic entertainment addition that your guests will enjoy.
As always, Happy Shooting!