Pool Table Buyer’s Guide | Blatt Billiards

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June 1-16th

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Pool Table Buyer’s Guide

by David Roeder |

Have you been thinking about getting a pool table for your home but are unsure where to start? Maybe you have browsed different tables and have questions about their construction. You might have questions about what features and options you have with handcrafted pool tables.

Fortunately, our pool table buying guide will help answer your questions and provide you with a wealth of information to help you choose the best pool table to buy for your home.

What to Look For When Buying a Pool Table

billiards room

There are several different components you will need to consider for your pool table. They are broken down into different categories based on the materials used to build the table, as follows:

  • Felt/Cloth
  • Slate
  • Rails and Cushions
  • Cabinet/Frame
  • Legs
  • Equipment and Accessories

You should familiarize yourself with each of these components and the materials used for each one. Doing so will help you determine which ones will be best for your billiard table.

Felt/Cloth

The pool table felt, or cloth, is the material used over the playing surface. There are different materials used to make the pool table felt. However, the best cloth is made from a blend of wool or worsted wool and nylon that has been finished with a Teflon coating.

Both these types of cloth are durable and last fairly long, depending on how frequently you play pool. You also want the weight of the felt to be at least 22 ounces per yard or more. This provides the best durability.

  • Blatt Billiards Playing Cloth – This cloth is a blend of 75 percent wool and 25 percent nylon. Its weight is 22 ounces per yard. It is well-suited for beginner pool players and is very durable.
  • Simonis 860 Playing Cloth – This cloth is a blend of 90 percent worsted wool and 10 percent nylon. Its weight is 27 ounces per yard. It is a higher-quality cloth that is best for traction, speed, accuracy, and tournament play. It is also very durable.

Slate

Slate is the material that is used below the table felt and installed to make the pool table bed. It is made from metamorphic rock composed of sedimentary rock and volcanic ash or clay. It is a highly durable material that provides superior performance when used to build pool tables.

It comes in one-piece, three-piece or four-piece sections. Three-piece slate is better because it makes it easier to move the pool table should you ever need to relocate it, reduces the number of seams on the surface, and is less pliable then a single piece.

In addition, slate comes in different thicknesses, ranging from three-quarters of an inch all the way to two inches. However, the BCA (Billiard Congress of America) requires one-inch slate for tournament tables because it provides the best accuracy.

Some pool table manufacturers advertise one-inch slate, but it is only ⅞-inch thick. So, we recommend verifying that the slate used is the one-inch thick slate.

If you have spent any time shopping for pool tables, you will have seen other materials used in place of slate, such as:

  • MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)
  • Plywood
  • Slatron
  • Honeycomb
  • Permaslate
  • Slatine
  • Slatex

However, the primary disadvantage of these materials is they do not provide the same quality of gameplay you get with slate. Therefore, slate is the best material for the pool table bed.

Rails and Cushions

The rails are the sides of the pool table, while the cushions are the bumpers that line the playing surface. You want to choose rails and cushions made from natural materials for superior gameplay. Natural materials also are more durable and last longer compared to synthetic materials.

Cabinet/Frame

The pool table cabinet and frame should be made from natural wood materials. Different hardwoods are available and can be finished in different colors to suit your tastes.

You should avoid plastic and synthetic materials, as they do not perform well and cannot properly support the slate. When the slate is not supported correctly, it will gradually start to sag into the table, making gameplay difficult.

Additionally, the more it sags, the more likely it will break, and your pool table will be unusable. Ideally, you want a high-quality wood frame with the proper supports and cross beams to fully support the slate’s weight.

The best billiard tables use a dual-beam construction with two long beams and two cross beams. Of course, some tables use fewer support beams, but, at the very least, you need at least the dual-beam construction.

Legs

The table frame and cabinet are vital to the structure and durability of the table. As you can imagine, you need sturdy and durable legs to support all the weight. The legs should also account for the weight of players when they lean against the table to make different shots.

Ideally, you want solid wood legs that consist of a post-like construction. There are two general types of legs—single-piece and two-piece. Single-piece legs consist of a single piece of wood attached under the table.

Two-piece legs consist of an anchor system that is attached to the legs and provides added support. However, you need to verify a quad-anchor system is used, as it is the most secure and prevents the anchor system nut and bolts from loosening.

Equipment and Accessories

While you want a high-quality pool table, you will also want quality equipment and accessories for the best gaming experience.

  • Pool Balls/Billiard Balls – You will need at least one set of pool balls to play. A normal pool ball set includes fifteen numbered balls consisting of striped and solid balls. There is also a single white cue ball. If you want to play snooker, a billiards game, you will need a snooker ball set.
  • Pool Cues – You will want to have at least one set of quality pool cues. These can be made from wood, carbon fiber, fiberglass, or graphite. Most beginners start with wooden cues since they are the easiest to use when learning how to play pool. Pool cues will range in length from 48 inches to 58 inche So, you need to verify what length you need to have sufficient room to play pool.
  • Pool Bridge Cue – A pool bridge cue is an essential piece of equipment that helps you make difficult shots. Quality bridges feature a brass head and wooden handle.
  • Ball Racks – To play traditional pool, you will need a triangle ball rack. You will also need a 9-ball rack to play 9-ball. Ball racks are available in solid wood, carbon fiber, and aluminum.
  • Pool Table Felt Brush – You will need a special brush to clean the felt and keep it clean after playing pool. There are different types of brushes depending on the type of pool table
  • Cue Storage Racks – You will need either a wall or floor storage system to store pool cues, the pool bridge, ball racks, and pool balls.
  • Bridge Cue Wall Bracket – Some storage racks feature storage space for the bridge cue, and others do not. If you select a storage rack without bridge cue storage, you will need a wall bracket.
  • Pool Table Protective Cover – You will want to get a pool table protective cover to protect the top and sides of the table when it is not being used.
  • Pool Table Inserts – Table inserts are placed over the playing surface when you need added protection. For example, you have a cat that will get on top of the billiard table. A cover alone will not stop the cover from sinking into the table, but with a pool table insert, the cover will not sink.

Pool Table Set Up

High-quality pool tables usually will arrive in different sections and pieces. Putting one together requires expertise and knowledge. Assembly is an intricate process, as each piece needs to be securely put together.

The slate also needs to be placed correctly in the bed. In addition, the table will need to be leveled to ensure proper gameplay. As such, we recommend hiring a professional billiard table installer like one of our expert installers.

Pool Table Placement

nautical billiards room

The location and placement of a pool table should be in a room that can accommodate the table’s overall size. It would help if you also accounted for playing space so that it is easy to move around the table and make shots.

You should measure the dimensions of the room’s open space and use these to determine what size table will fit in the space. You do not want to use the room dimensions if there is furniture in the room. Do not forget to account for the length of the pool cues.

  • 7-Foot Pool Table – You will need, at the very minimum, a room that is 13 feet 6 inches x 16 feet 8 inches with 58-inch cues.
  • 8-Foot Pool Table – The minimum room space needed is 13 feet 11 inches x 17 feet 4 inches with 58-inch cues.
  • 9-Foot Pool Table – You need open room space of 14 feet 6 inches x 18 feet 4 inches with 58-inch cues.

Of course, if you have shorter pool cues, your room size requirements will be slightly less.

So, your first step when you are serious about purchasing a pool table is to ensure you have sufficient space in your home. Some ideal locations for your table are in a finished basement, large living room, game room, or dining room.

Pool Table Brands and Manufacturers

pool table in room with large windows

Brunswick

 Blatt Billiards table in room

Brunswick is one of the most well-known manufacturers of pool tables and billiard tables. They have been creating high-quality tables for over 150 years. They offer a wide range of designs, options, and styles.

Olhausen

billiards room with wine cellar

Olhausen pool tables are manufactured by a family-owned company in Tennessee. They are well-known for their quality, selection, and value. They have been handcrafting pool tables for almost fifty years.

Presidential

Tyler Billiard Table

Presidential pool tables are famous for their cutting-edge designs. Each table is handcrafted from exotic woods from renewable sources and Zimbabwe fair-trade artisans. They offer heirloom-quality billiard tables at reasonable prices.

Imperial

Imperial is celebrated for its balance of affordability and quality, appealing to both casual players and enthusiasts. Featured in the Imperial Collection at Blatt Billiards, these pool tables offer sturdy construction and diverse styles, from traditional to contemporary.

Each model is designed for durability and user-friendliness, making them a practical choice for any home.

Blatt Billiards Signature Tables

Blatt Custom Pool Tables

Billiards room.

Blatt Billiards is proud of our Blatt Custom Pool Tables, which we have been handcrafting for almost 100 years. We offer a choice between our Custom and Semi-Custom table to give you the flexibility to design and create the perfect pool table for your home. Each of our pool tables is made from the highest-quality materials to provide years of enjoyment.

Our Blatt Custom Pool Tables offer the most flexibility when you want to have a broader range of customizations with your pool table. Should you desire even more flexibility, our experienced pool table designers are available to work with you to create your dream pool table.

We can take your vision of what you want and transform it into the heirloom piece you desire. When we build one of these tables, we use time-honored traditions of handcrafting every piece. This is why our tables take over 400 hours to make. The result is a truly one-of-a-kind pool table you and your family will enjoy for generations. 

Blatt Semi Custom & Economy Pool Tables

Blatt Semi Custom & Economy Pool Table.

Blatt Billiards offers a range of Semi Custom and Economy Pool Tables designed to combine customization with affordability. These tables provide a unique opportunity for buyers to choose from various finishes and details, tailoring their table to match their specific decor and style preferences.

Ideal for both casual play and more formal settings, these tables also include options for dining conversions, making them versatile additions to any space.

The Blatt Billiards Guarantee

Billiards room pool table.

No matter what brand, style, and design of pool table you select for your home from our extensive selection of high-quality pool tables, each one comes with the Blatt Billiards Guarantee.

This guarantee provides 100 percent customer satisfaction for life. We love handcrafted and quality billiard tables and reflect that in our attention to detail for each table we sell or manufacture.

We will be there to ensure your table lasts a lifetime, and we guarantee you will be proud to tell your family and friends your pool table is from Blatt Billiards.

Why Should I Invest in a Handcrafted Pool Table?

Minimalist billiards room.

We understand that you have plenty of choices when selecting a pool table. However, when you want the best of the best, you need to look at a handcrafted pool table as an heirloom piece of furniture that you can pass down to future generations.

In addition, you will not find a better pool playing experience. Once you play on a handcrafted table that uses worsted wool billiard cloth, you will never want to play on any other type of pool table again.

Most importantly, you should view buying a handcrafted pool table as an investment. With the proper care and maintenance, your pool table should increase in value over time.

We hope our pool table buying guide has provided you with the information you need to narrow down your selections and choose a pool table near you for your home. Should you have further questions or need any advice, please contact Blatt Billiards at 212-674-8855 today.