Planning to purchase a billiard/pool table? Confused with the variety of options available in the market? Don’t worry. We are here to help you out.
The basic appearance and construction of billiard tables remained the same from many years. But, there is a significant change in the materials used, quality and accuracy of construction of billiard tables. Since a typical billiard table comprises of different components like the playing surface, table cloth, cushions, etc. the quality of each of them defines the quality of the table. Therefore, while purchasing, you need to pay enough attention towards each of these components to get a superior quality and durable billiard table.
Here are some factors you need to consider while purchasing a billiard table:
Base frame Base frame is the main body of the billiard table that comprises cabinet and table legs. The base frame should be strong enough to provide solid base to the playing surface. Hence, choose a base frame made using hardwoods like Oak and Mahogany. To enhance the look of the billiard table, you can choose traditional hand carved table legs.
Modern manufacturers also produce base frames out of MDF (a synthetic alternative to wood). This material reduces the cost of the tables; however, they are not as durable as the tables made of solid hardwood.
Playing surface The surface beneath the pool table cloth is the playing surface or the bed. The quality of playing surface material and its construction determines the precision and playability of the game.
For long lasting performance of the table, choose the bed made of grounded slate bed. Though the tables made of slate beds are expensive, the quality of play they offer often outweighs their cost.
If you are on a tight budget, you can go for less expensive alternatives that have playing surfaces made of particle boards or MDF beds (they are specially designed for domestic purpose). These tables are less durable and are prone to warping or breaking if you don’t take enough care.
Table-cloth The fabric used to cover the playing surface is called the billiard table-cloth. It is also called as pool table-cloth, table felt, billiard cloth, a cover, a green, etc. It is usually made of wool, cotton, nylon or a blend of all. There are two main types of billiard table-cloths available Worsted cloth and Napped cloth. Before choosing one, take a look at various factors that define their quality.
Fabric with smooth finish – The worsted cloth offers smooth playing surface without any nap or pilling. But the napped cloth has a noticeable nap and thus affects the roll and speed of the ball. Due to less resistance of worsted cloth it provides faster ball speed, increased accuracy and thus a faster game.
Durability of the fabric – The durability of the table-cloth depends on factors like the tightness of the fabric weave, thread count, ounce weight per yard of fabric, quality of the installation and the amount of play. The tighter the fabric weave the better is the durability of the table cloth; loose weaves will wear faster because of the less material used. Worsted cloth generally has tight-weave, thus, assures better precision and playability.
Further, good quality fabric will weigh a minimum of 19 oz per yard of fabric and has higher thread count.
If you are planning to purchase an inexpensive table, better not to go with tournament grade, high quality fabric. You can go with inexpensive fabrics that offer a decent game. However, you need to replace them once they start wearing.
Rail assembly A billiard table’s rail assembly has various components like the rails, cushions, pockets and gully boots. Make sure that the rails are made with same hardwood used to make the base frame. If you want you can add details for the finishing parts like the corner bosses and the angle spots with metals such as brass, copper and chrome.
The cushions of billiard table are made of rubber and cushion blocks from wood. To enhance the quality of the play, look for the cushions made from high quality pure gum rubber.
Billiard table pockets and their inner parts like the gully boots and the ball return are usually made of plastic or hard rubber. To reduce the noise when the balls are potted and to minimize the wear to the surface of the balls, choose the pockets and others made from hardened rubber.
Quality of billiard balls Superior quality billiard balls are crucial. So, while choosing a set of balls you need to make sure that they are well constructed. In general, two types of billiard balls are available English league balls and the American league balls.
Balls made from polymer or phenolic resin are harder and are of high quality. They often come with smooth surfaces; thus, they reduce friction wear on the cloth and improve the play. The weight of the billiard balls on the table should be same to make sure that they are behaving alike when struck, in order to ensure a fair game.
Other things to consider Besides the quality of the material, there are some other things you need to consider before making a purchase. They are:
Available space in your house Before going for shopping you should know the available space in your house to accommodate the billiard table. Billiard tables are available in different sizes; you can choose one based on the available space.
Budget Budget is one constraint that could stop you from purchasing a high quality, durable billiard table. However, based on how seriously and how often you play the game, you can either go for expensive and durable ones or inexpensive synthetic alternatives that offer a decent game.
Interior/exterior use Unlike traditional billiard tables, modern tables are designed for outdoor purposes also. These tables are made with weather resistant material and thus can be used in your garden area or in any outdoors.
Repute, expertise and experience of the dealer Approach a reliable dealer who has enough expertise in making or selling billiard boards. Purchasing from such dealers help you get good products and better after sale services.