So, you’ve decided that the time has come to add another dimension to your entertainment game, or games room, and are looking at some of the best pool tables around to fill that extra bit of space.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this review, I am going to be taking you through all you need to know about choosing the right pool table so that when the time comes to make that all-important decision, your choice will be that much easier.
Some of the best pool tables for home use are not necessarily the ones that take up the most space, and look like something from the eighteenth century. Sometimes the most fun is had on a table-top version, and the kids are sure to love their new, easy-to-use boredom destroyer.
This review is going to arm you with the necessary knowledge to help you make the most informed decision on what is the best pool table for you.
Top Picks On Pool And Billiard Tables
Different Types of Pool and Billiard Tables
In this portion of the review, I am going to take you through the different types of pool and billiard tables that are around today, as well as their dimensions, and some of their differences. This is going to help you make a better decision regarding the type of table you want to add to your home.
English Pool Tables
Usually between 6 and 7ft in size with balls measuring 2-inches. The pockets are slightly smaller than its American counterpart and the pockets “jaws” are also narrower in the corners. The center pockets are more open than the American table, so that shots can be made from tighter angles.
American Pool Tables
Generally larger, ranging between 7 and 9.5ft. The larger pockets are designed to accommodate the larger balls, measuring 2 1/4inches. The corner pockets are wider making cushion shots easier than on the English table, while the center pockets are more closed, showing a “straight-cut” style rather than opening at an angle.
Pool Dining Table
These tables are designed to be multi-purpose, being used as both a pool table and a dining table. Both the height of the table and the depth of the body are designed so that you can sit comfortably at the dining table with regular dining chairs, eating at a normal height.
Table Top Pool Table
These are especially great for kids as they are usually significantly smaller in size, and can be placed on a table top of almost any height table to be played. They offer the same challenges as the real deal, but come in much more convenient and space-saving packages. Smaller cues and smaller balls make the playing surface feel more authentic in size, while the felt cover is usually indistinguishable from regular size tables.
Slate Bed Tables
A playing surface made from slate rock will ensure a consistent playing surface. Thicker slate is used on larger, more expensive tables, and can sometimes come in two or three pieces. Slate bed tables give the best and truest playing surface, and they will not deteriorate over time.
MDF Bed Tables
MDF is a type of hardboard that is made from hardwood fibers, glued together under heat and pressure. MDF playing surfaces are built to be cost effective, and are much lighter than slate bed tables, making them convenient to move and store. Over time MDF beds are known to warp slightly, causing the table to play untrue.
From The Manufacturers
Hathaway Games and Sports
Over the past ten years, Hathaway Games and Sports has earned the distinction as the fastest growing brand of game room products in the industry. Their passion comes from producing exceptional and innovative game room products, that are stylish in any surrounds.
This brand offers superior quality construction, fit, and finish are achieved through the use of old world craftsmanship, combined with modern machinery, to craft their entire collection. Hathaway Games and Sports pride themselves on their exclusive selection of products, providing hours of entertainment while connecting families and friends, and enhancing lifestyles.
In the world of indoor and outdoor games, MD Sports is the industry leader when it comes to design and manufacture. Striving to deliver the best products possible, while surpassing their customer’s expectations through the tremendous value of their offerings to the market.
MD Sports was founded on two basic core principles: to design fun and innovative products at a great value, and to take pride in their work and the products they develop.
Founded in 1975, Playcraft set out to create a line of game room products that represented quality and value. Thanks largely to the company’s careful stewardship, Playcraft fast became the preferred brand amongst schools, hospitals, government agencies, the military, and other institutions.
Using this as their solid foundation, Playcraft expanded their reach to home markets, carrying forward these same founding principles. Today, Playcraft is the leader in the home recreation market, and continues to deliver the highest value game room products.
The Top 5 Pool Tables Reviewed
Hathaway has produced this stylish and completely portable table with a rigid 1.25-inch diameter, easy folding leg system table with 1.5 inch stabilizing leg levers to ensure the table’s stability, and a constantly level playing surface.
The table top playing surface is a ½ inch thick carb certified, Poly sealed MDF playing surface that comes with a blended polyester/wool blue felt.
The Hathaway Portable Pool Table comes in a stylish package with its matte black melamine cabinet color, and chrome plated corner
castings, while the rope net pockets are designed to take care of your balls, minimizing damage caused by regular play.
This portable pool table comes with wide, 5-inch melamine top rails, rounded rails sites and fast-action I-cushions. Hathaway has included all the necessary equipment for you to be ready to play, and this table comes with a full set of balls, two pool cues, two pieces of cue chalk, a table brush, a triangle rack, and a polyester bag for easy storage and transport.
Trademark’s Mini Table Top Pool Table is a game that is tons of fun, without taking up tons of space. This is a table top version of the real deal that is just as fun, and better yet, measuring in at only 20 inches in length, it can be played in any room in the house.
This Mini Pool Table is both lightweight and easy to move, yet is big enough to handle any heated, big-game action. The table features two center compartments for ball returns, a full set of 16, 1-inch diameter pool balls, two pool cues, a triangle rack, table brush, and cue chalk.
The Mini Table Top Pool Table requires no assembly, so play can begin right away, making this table an awesome addition to almost any room in the house.
The Sports Bank Shot 40-inch Pool Table is a fantastic table top mini pool table that is ideal for the kids. It’s quick to set up, simply attach the legs and you are ready to get the games started.
The table comes with all the attached accessories, including: two pool cues, 15 ball rack, set of billiard balls, cue ball, cue chalk, and a table brush.
The table top is constructed out of MDF and comes fitted with a green billiard cloth to cover the table top, while the frame is finished in a stylish-looking, cherry laminate.
Although this table is much smaller than the standard hours of fun that will be had on it, being one of the best billiard tables for kids.
This Arcade Billiard Table from MD Sports is more than just a game room table. With its sleek and stylish red felt playing surface and black-and-metal color scheme, this table looks good anywhere, and is one of the best billiard tables for looks and gameplay.
The steel frame is designed to keep the body flat and level at all times, while the internal ball drop pockets boast fabric nets on each hole, keeping your billiard balls neat and looking new.
The table comes with a sleek and stylish look, while the block legs come in a contemporary style. The legs employ some adjustable levers to ensure the table always has a flat footing, and will ensure a true roll of the balls.
The table top is made from a MDF wood construct, while the body and rails feature a scratch resistant PVC complete with a laminate finish to help protect the rails, and add durability to the table. The strong particle board deck support ensures durability and even ball roll. The table includes a rack, a full set of balls, and cues, and weighs in at 193 lbs.
T&S have come out with this insanely amazing table top Pool and Billiard table that measures only 30-inches in length. Ready to play right out of the packaging, with some minor assembly required, you will have the fun up and running in no time.
Once the four legs have been installed, the fun can begin. T&S have included everything that you need to get started in this set. That includes: two cues, a triangle rack, 15 balls, a cue ball, pool cue chalk, and a brush for cleaning the table top.
Weighing in at a meager 7 pounds, this fun and versatile game is easy to take anywhere, so the fun doesn’t ever have to stop. Perfect for weekend getaways or taking to a friend’s barbeque, this table top pool and billiard table is one of the most convenient and best pool tables for home use, and is one of Amazon’s top sellers.
The Next Best Pool And Billiard Tables
With so many options available to choose from, there are only so many that can make the top five. Not that rest aren’t tops, but I feel these top five will more than meet your entertainment, space, and budgetary needs. Let’s have a look at the bottom half of the tables contenders.
Maverick’s pool table top is highly-durable, and is made from thick MDF with a high quality felt covering. The table tennis top is a two-piece blue top with a black edge trim.
It has a stylish look, sporting silver laminate and chrome-plated corner caps. The reinforced rubber cushions provide and accurate and fast rebound.
The Sharp Shooter table top comes covered with a blue felt surface, and features L-shaped legs boasting no-mark pads to protect your floor and tables.
The compact and portable design make for easy movement from room to room, and comes complete with all the accessories necessary to start playing.
The Empire USA Signature Series is a top-quality, fully hand-crafted from Maple wood pool table, that comes with a 1-inch thick slate rock table top.
Included are high-quality leather pockets for a complete and elegant look. This table is designed to be an easy DIY set-up, but professional installation is recommended.
Comes with a PVC laminated, 15mm Particle board table top with sturdy legs and panel support.
It comes ready to play, fully equipped with all the accessories and the installed lever make for great stability options. The drop pocket design further allows for easy access to balls while keeping them protected and secure.
More than just a pool table, this multi-game combination table top is one the whole family can enjoy for hours on end.
Featuring three game room games: Pool, Table Tennis, and Foosball, this table top comes complete with everything you need for all the games to start the fun right away.
Pool And Billiard Table Buying Guide
Here I am going to give you some pointers on things to take note of and look for when deciding which pool table is best suited to your needs, budget, and skill level. There are some definite aspects to consider when making your decision, let’s have a look at them.
Table Top Composition
Your pool table’s table top is one, if not the most, important aspect of your table. If the top begins to warp or lose its shape, your pool game will be just as warped as your balls roll untrue. Deciding on a table top is more a matter of budget than anything else when purchasing a home pool table. I’m going to take you through some of the variations, and give you the ins and outs of their differences.
- Slate Core
Slate is a solid rock that does not typically warp or buckle, and can be used for many, many years without degrading. They usually require a professional installation and a sturdy floor to hold their weight. Slate is more commonly found on your more expensive pool and billiard tables.
Slate core is a mixture of wood and concrete, and provides a sturdier surface than wood. The main issue around a slate core table top is that over time it tends to warp due to the weight of the rails on the outsides of the table, causing your balls to roll to the rails all across the table.
Wood is used as an inexpensive alternative to slate and slate core and is usually made from plywood or particle board. These tables are usually lightweight tables and have the tendency to warp rather quickly. They are great tops for kid’s tables as the uneven roll of the balls does not have as big an impact on them and their games.
The cabinet of the pool table holds around 90% of its overall weight, meaning that this must be supported by a pair of strong and sturdy legs. Taking shots and leaning on and against the table is extra stress that is being placed in the legs, and is something that need to be seriously considered.
A solid pair of legs on a pool table will give you the confidence that you need to play from those awkward positions, as well as those uncomfortable shots. Legs that have a locking mechanism for extra stability and security, and possibly even under-foot, anti-slip materials are assured to give you the stability you need.
A solid frame is a must! The frame of your pool table is responsible for supporting and holding the weight of the table top, and a weak frame will lead to warping, cracking, and sagging of the table top. Tables fitted or designed to carry slate tops will usually have a number of cross beams for added, and necessary, support.
The need for a sturdy and quality constructed frame is absolutely essential. The frame is the centerpiece of the table and thus must be able to handle the weight that is put on it, as well as the bumping and occasional sitting that it will occur. A good thing to remember is that the heavier your table top, the sturdier your frame needs to be.
Modern clothes or felts are typically made from a wool and nylon blend that is coated with Teflon. The durability of the cloth is determined by looking at the ounce weight per square yard of the felt.
For a cloth’s maximum life it is recommended that you use a cloth ranging anywhere between 18 to 22 ounces per yard. Speed and traction are also issues that need to be looked at when deciding on a felt top. Worsted cloth is typically made from wool of which the fibers are combed before they are spun, helping with speed and accuracy.
I hope that this review of the best pool tables will be helpful to you when you decide to make that long-term investment. Choosing a pool or billiard table must meet your budgetary, space, skill level, and entertainment value criteria. These criteria will help you to answer that important question of, “What is the best pool table for my needs?” I hope that this review is going to help you find the best pool table for you. Happy playing!
Watch billiard pro Jeanette Lee the "Black Widow", as she give pointers about aiming in pool.