The below literature is an in-depth researcher’s guide for someone looking to purchase a pool table for their home, for a client, or for a friend. Our goal is to help you make the most educated decision.
Similar to other furniture (couches, dining tables, dressers, bedframes etc.), a pool table is a large investment with regards to economics, home décor/design, and time spent enjoying your table.
With 100 years of experience, here is what we find to be the most important questions and initial steps in no particular order:
To begin, the most common pool tables sizes found in the market are 6 Foot, 7 Foot, 8 Foot, 8.5 Foot (also referred to as 8 Foot Pro), and 9 Foot. Only 8 Foot, 8.5 and 9 Foot are considered regulation sizes (see regulation notes below). 9 Foot is considered to be a professional tournament size pool table (Pool Hall, Professional Leagues).
6 Foot pool tables are more commonly found in bar/restaurant environments. We usually do not recommend this size for competitive/entertainment purposes unless your space is very small. If your space is small/tight – we may first recommend reviewing a 7 Foot model with shorter cue stick lengths to help adapt to lack of space or obstructions.
The 9 Foot Model is considered a tournament size table, the “Real McCoy” if you will. This size is best for those who have a very large space, are skilled/competitive players, and those looking for a true sized professional pool table. If you have ever visited a pool hall, or seen movies such as The Hustler, or The Color of Money – this is the size they compete on.
The 8 Foot Model is the most popular sized pool table sold today for homes, or amenity spaces. We like to refer to it as the “not too big, not too small size”. It’s a great size for competitive/skilled players, but also accommodates entertaining average players who may consist of your friends, or family members. It’s easier to entertain a larger audience on an 8 Foot versus a 9 Foot model (easier play, faster games).
The 8.5 Foot Model is a bit more rare, as not all pool tables are offered in this size, and it’s usually sold when someone would like to purchase a 9 Foot pool table, but do not quite have the space for it.
Quick Important Sizing Note: In the “billiards table world” tables sizes are not literally proportional to their size/name. For example, 7 Foot Tables are not 3.5 Feet x 7 Feet, 8 Foot tables are not 4 Feet x 8 Feet, and 9 Foot tables are not 4.5 Feet x 9 Feet. They do fall within a similar dimensional range, but we will get to the exact measurements momentarily and how they are defined.
The Billiards Congress of America (BCA), only regulates three sizes: 8 Foot, 8.5 Foot, and 9 Foot. What do we mean by regulates? This means that no matter where you purchase your pool table from or who the maker is, the ball playing area on these three sizes are always the same per pool table size selected.
The playing area is defined as the exact surface area on the pool table where the pool balls roll and bounce/hit inside the rubber rails. It is not the overall length x width of the pool table, but exactly inside rubber to inside rubber. The playing area is where your cue stick begins on the table, which is why it’s typically best to use the playing area for floor planning.
Every single 8 Foot Pool Table model has a playing area of 44 Inches x 88 Inches, every single 8.5 Foot Pool Table model has a playing area of 46 Inches x 92 Inches and lastly, every single 9 Foot Pool Table model has a playing area of 50 Inches x 100 Inches.
7 Foot Pool Tables are not professionally regulated, and the playing area will vary from maker to maker, but typically within 36 Inches – 39 Inches x 76 Inches – 78 Inches.
The playing area is the most important factor when determining the right size table rather than the actual outside dimensions of the pool table. The reason is the playing area is where your cue stick begins, and in turn, this will tell you what in the room (walls, support beams, furniture) may be in the way or an obstacle when shooting pool. The overall/outside dimension or footprint of the pool table is generally more important to walking space, or general layout aesthetics, but not for determining the table playing size that best fits.
For CAD layouts, or physically using blue tape or measuring tape – place the playing area dimension(s) into the floor plan drawing or on the physical floor. Once the playing area is on the floor plan, we can then measure the distance from each angle of the edge of the playing area to the surroundings. This will determine what cue stick length with what table size will work best together.
A pro-regulation cue stick is approximately 58 inches long. The following sizes most commonly sold are then 52 inches long, 48 inches long, 42 inches long, and lastly 36 inches long.
There is nothing inhibiting to the game of pool with a shorter cue stick, but ideally, your cue length would be 48 inches to 58 inches long for best ball control. Having an assortment of lengths to accommodate one’s layout is very common. Do not feel going with a larger table size, and short cue sticks is the wrong decision. The shorter cue sticks may allow one to purchase their preferred larger pool table.
Blatt Billiards provides full CAD services, and room size guidance.
What are contributing factors to higher quality pool tables?
In no particular order, the most common factors to review are your table’s Slate, Frame, Rubber, Pocket Size, and Materials/Finishes.
While different customization factors such as wood species, materials, and finishes may alter the table costs or quality as a piece of furniture – it must first play as a precision instrument internally.
It is important to know, regardless what your budget, style, or lead time might be, Blatt Billiards will have many options for your search!
Blatt Billiards Value Collection – This is our curated line of designer focused, and entry level priced pool tables. Brands that may fall into this line are Brunswick Billiards, Presidential Billiards, Imperial USA Billiards, and Plank and Hyde. These tables will start roughly at $2,000 & up. The goal of this line is to provide professional play, and design at an affordable price point