Buying A New Pool Table?
Know what questions to ask and what to look for.
Pool table construction
Is it a slate pool table? If not, you are buying a toy, not a real pool table. Any playing surface other than slate will eventually fail and not play true. Residential pool tables generally come with 3 pieces of slate for ease of delivery and installation. The industry standard is a 1” thickness.
Better tables have a wood backing on the underside of the slate so the cloth may be stapled to the slate as well as glued. This assures proper stability and adherence of the cloth to the slate.
Is the entire table solid wood or just the rails and legs? The difference here is important based on your lifestyle. If you suspect you may be moving several times, a solid wood table will dismantle and re-assemble with more structural stability than a table whose components consist of fiberboard with a wood veneer or laminate outer surface.
Brackets, lag bolts, nuts, and screws grip tighter and more securely into solid wood when installed, and will continue to do so during subsequent installations. Fiberboard is softer than solid wood, so as your pool table is dismantled and reassembled several times, the screw holes enlarge and the screws and bolts don’t secure or tighten down as well, sometimes causing your table to wobble a bit over time. Additional washers, and or larger screws or lag bolts may be needed to take up the slack, adding to material and labor costs during installation.
If you are in your dream home, or don’t see yourself moving a number of times, solid wood components vs. wood veneer or laminate is of little importance. With professional installation and leveling, both types of tables will play the same.
Table delivery and installation
Who will deliver and install? Unlike most furniture deliveries that add only cost to your purchase and no additional value, that is not the case with a pool table. The installation is equally as important as the product being installed.
It will take about 2- 3 hours to deliver and install a pool table and is a skill requiring time, patience and precision to assure your table plays properly. The cheapest delivery and installation will generally cost you more in time and aggravation and can turn your buying experience into a nightmare, particularly if your table is not perfectly leveled upon installation.
Adding another $50.00 - $100.00 to have the work done correctly by experienced, trained professionals is money well spent. If your installers are delivering lawn furniture on Monday, a refrigerator or hot water tank on Tuesday and your pool table on Wednesday, say a prayer!
Table packaging and delivery access
Most tables come as kits and are delivered in cartons requiring precise assembly, installation, and leveling. Most slate comes in 3 pieces, and while extremely heavy is not large. The exception is a single slate table which can be problematic on many deliveries.
Make sure you measure doors, ceilings, hallways and access routes into your home and pool table room. Tables featuring 1-piece slate are generally commercial style tables, whose cabinets may be 1 piece also. These often times do not fit through doorways and up or down stairs. Our staff is always able to help you determine what the best table for you might be.
What size table is right for you?
What size table should I purchase? There is little to no cost difference between a 7 ft. and an 8 ft. pool table. About 80% of all tables sold for residential use are 8 ft. The playing surface measures 44" x 88" on an 8 ft. pool table. When determining what size table will fit in your area, add roughly 60” around the table in all directions. The 60” should be measured from the play surface, not the overall table size. This will allow enough room to attempt any shot on the table (using a standard 57” or 58” long cue) regardless of where the cue ball may sit.
Are "Made in USA" tables better?
Are there differences in pool tables based on where they are made? There can be. Where a table is made is only as important as how it is made. For example, if you find 3 tables all constructed with the same materials, style and amenities, the table "Made in the USA" will most likely cost more than a table made in Asia or Africa. The non-USA tables are not a better-built table, will not play better or last longer. The labor cost is greater in America, therefore the USA-built pool table will likely cost more to purchase. Simply put, the reason to buy a pool table "Made in the USA" is to support the American work force. If this is your philosophy, and you buy automobiles, electronics, shoes, clothes and the like made in America, you can do it with a pool table as well.
Another reason to invest in a table "Made in the USA" is customization. Small U.S. pool table manufacturers can and do build custom pool tables and can create a unique table just for you. Custom tables transcend the typical pool table that happens to be a "piece of furniture". These pool tables are truly pieces of fine furniture that happen to be pool tables as well. Unique tables can exceed the $10,000 - $20,000 price range and will not play better than any other slate pool table.
Buy online or brick and mortar?
Should I buy my pool table online or from a local company? Only you can answer that question. Buying a pool table should be a fun and exciting time. Shopping online doesn't allow you to see an actual table before making a purchase. And you can't play on the table first before buying. An online purchase won't provide the education or correct information you need regarding a table before you buy it. Are you willing to rely on online reviews for your information? Where in the online purchase process can you explain what is important to you as a consumer when buying a pool table? Where can you go for help after your online purchase if you have an issue with the table or had problems with delivery or installation?
Also, keep in mind that when you go to an online retailer, you see and read only what the online retailer wants you to see and read.
If convenience is what you're after, it's hard to beat “point and click”. Price points are virtually the same between online stores and brick and mortar. Most stores will price match on the same products if a discrepancy exists.
Is online "Free Delivery" really "Free"?
When an online store offers free delivery for a pool table, the 6 or 8 boxes mentioned earlier will arrive by truck and be dropped off in your garage or basement. A second visit is then required by some crew to assemble the table, provided it fits in your dedicated pool table room. This assembly will cost about $350.00. If you select "White Glove Delivery", your table is dropped off at a terminal and a crew will pick it up, deliver it and install it. We've seen "White Glove Delivery" costs ranging from $450.00 - $700.00 depending on the table and your location.