Felt Facts: Simonis vs. Championship Pool Table Cloth
Pool table cloth has evolved several times over through the years. Lately, more and more attention to detail and advanced technology has taken over which benefits all of us who love playing pool. There are two pool table felt brands that stand out from all the others – Simonis and Championship felt.
While each is built on many years of experience, there are characteristics that make them quite different. We’ll break that down, but let’s start with the general information about pool table cloth.
What is Pool Table Felt Made Of?
The majority of pool table cloth is created mainly from wool, and mixed with either nylon or polyester. The best performing table cloth is a wool and nylon combination, which is what Simonis and the best Championship models of cloth are made from. We’ll talk more about these two great brands shortly.
Pool table felt falls into two different widely known categories – “Woolen” felt and “Worsted” felt. Most of today’s quality cloth falls under the Worsted category.
Woolen vs. Worsted Felt – What’s the Difference?
Understanding the Woolen and Worsted distinction can be a little confusing, but we’ll make it simple.
Woolen felt is produced from the traditional, older method of twisting long and short wool fibers together while Worsted felt is formed from the more modern method of weaving wool yarn together with only the long fibers.
With Worsted felt, the short fibers are combed out previous to the cloth being finished. This results in a lighter, tighter and faster cloth that most pool players prefer playing on. Since woolen felt does not have the short fibers removed, this creates a fuzzy feel on a pool table over time, and can eventually have a negative influence on how the balls roll.
Woolen felt characteristics:
- Plays slower
- Long and short fibers twisted together
- Crate a fuzzy (nappy) finish
- Harder to clean
- Requires brushing to maintain
Worsted felt characteristics:
- Plays faster
- Long wool fibers tightly weaved in and out
- Create a smooth, thin finish
- Much easier to clean
- No brushing required
Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter?
Pool table cloth color absolutely matters, for a couple reasons:
- You want a cloth color that complements the surroundings of your pool table.
- Some people’s eyes are sensitive to certain colors – pick a color that doesn’t feel uncomfortable to look at.
You want a felt color that you’ll be comfortable with for a long time. It would be a bit annoying playing on a pool table that you don’t like the look of.
How Many Pool Table Felt Colors Are There?
There are up to around 30 colors of pool table cloth available to choose from, but it will depend on what brand you go with. Simonis states that they have 28 colors available, and it depends on what model of cloth you choose. According to Championship, they have 29 colors available.
There won’t be any shortage of colors if that’s what you care about most when picking your cloth.
Should You Match Chalk Color and Pool Table Cloth?
Yes, you should always try to match your pool table chalk with your pool table color. This makes it easier to keep your pool table as clean as possible for as long as possible.
Traditionally, the most common pool table felt color is green, and the most common chalk color is blue. Those colors are similar enough that the chalk won’t make your table look too messy, as long as you clean your table every so often.
You’ll want to make sure your table color and chalk color don’t contrast too much. Having a bunch of blue or red chalk marks on a tan table, for example, will create a messy situation.
If you clean your table, any temporary chalk stains won’t damage the table, but can create issues long term if the chalk never gets removed from the felt.
Best and Worst Pool Table Felt Colors
Green and tournament blue pool table cloth are widely known to be the best, and most common colors, for good reason. Green is right in the middle of the color spectrum, and blue isn’t very far off. This makes these colors much easier on the retina of our eyes.
Bright colored cloth or extremely dark colors are the worst options for most tables. A brighter red is likely one of the worst felt colors because red is at the end of the color spectrum. It’s more intense, and strains the eye. In addition, any bright color is going to reflect more light in all directions, which means even more discomfort when looking down at the table.
While we can make recommendations on felt color for your table, it ultimately depends on personal preference.
Someone who uses their pool table more for eye candy can likely get away with using a felt color that’s not as common. For those who play a lot, it would be best to use green or blue.
The Best Two Pool Table Felt Brands
Now to the good part – some more specifics about a couple of the best felt options on the market: Simonis and Championship.
Simonis table cloth is a staple of the billiards world, and has been around since the 1600s. It’s widely regarded as the best pool table felt for several reasons:
- High standards for accuracy, consistency and durability
- Over three centuries of cloth-making experience
- Environmentally responsible
- High brand loyalty
All Simonis cloth options are worsted constructed. As a reminder, worsted felt is made using only long fibers, making for a less fuzzy surface.
Simonis prides themselves in their green manufacturing practices which makes for a low environmental impact – something most of us can probably get behind. Simonis cloth provides a true roll and is very smooth, thanks to the finely combed wool yarn used.
The two most popular models of Simonis felt are the 860 and the 760 models. The 860 has a HR (high resistance) variation as well that is just a bit faster than the standard 860. The HR line is also a bit heavier and is arguably the most durable commercial pool table cloth available on the market. Read more about the HR offering here!
Simonis 860 felt was originally developed for 9-ball and has a slightly slower speed than the 760 blend, due to the higher wool content. The wool characteristics, combined with the high thread count helps create a cloth that won’t burn balls or wear out quickly. The 860 is nap-free and doesn’t shed threads either! Available in 28 colors and 66-inch or 78-inch widths, the Simonis 860 offers more options and an incredible value for beginner or seasoned pool players.
Simonis 760 has the same characteristics as the 860, just with a slightly lower wool content. Due to this fact, the 760 plays slightly faster, and you don’t have to pay extra for more speed! This felt is the same price as the 860 version and is available in 15 colors. Simonis also offers a 760 SR line that is sold exclusively through Olhausen dealers only (U.S. and Canada). The SR line is stain-resistant and available in 12 colors.
Simonis 860 and 760 cloth prices: $258 (7ft) to $370 (9ft)
*pricing taken from Seyberts.com
Championship table cloth has a great reputation for being one of the top cloths available. It offers premium performance at a fairly affordable price, and prides itself on several key highlights:
- Worsted and Woolen options
- Silver Cup chalk included with every pre-cut
- No hidden defects
- Fabrics that are backed or unbacked
- No seams in backing
- Soft folds
- 66-inch widths
As mentioned above, they offer Worsted and Woolen models of cloth, but we will discuss the two worsted cloths we see on tables most often: Tour Edition and Pro-Am.
Tour Edition felt is Championship’s highest quality tournament grade fabric. It is considered one of the fastest pool table fabrics available and has divot-resisting characteristics to ensure top notch performance and longevity. The Tour Edition comes pre-cut, and works great for all types of tables – tournament tables, home tables, or even coin operated tables. This cloth is a 70/30 wool/nylon blend which stretches easier than other respected worsted cloth options, making it a breeze to install.
Tour Edition cloth price: $214 (7ft) to $311 (9ft)
*pricing taken from Seyberts.com
Pro-Am felt is very similar to Championship’s Tour Edition felt, but is a bit lighter in weight. It is a 2-ply construction and is another long-lasting option from Championship. This cloth is made for tournament, commercial and personal use. It is also pre-cut for 7ft, 8ft, or 9ft pool tables. If you’re leaning towards the Pro-Am, we recommend shopping at Seyberts.com as there are no listings on Amazon, and Seybert’s treats their customers right.
Pro-Am cloth price: $190 (7ft) to $270 (9ft)
*pricing taken from Seyberts.com
Which is Better – Simonis or Championship?
Most experienced players choose Simonis over Championship because the company simply has centuries of experience, and their cloth typically lasts longer than Championship.
That said, both felt options are great.
You will likely see Championship felt being affected faster by things like climate or humidity.
Simonis has faster cloth, and it is generally understood that playing on fast tables will help create a more consistent stroke and make players more skilled in the long run. A faster cloth also means less effort is required when trying to get the cue ball to spin.
Championship cloth may be a great option for someone who owns a pool hall or more public establishment that attracts lots of beginner pool players. They would likely enjoy playing on slightly slower tables, and would probably be more familiar with that speed anyway.
We hope this article has helped you in your search for your pool table felt replacement, and we welcome any and all feedback on how our information could be improved. Take care, and happy shooting!