A pool table is an investment that your family will cherish for many years to come. It’s a natural gathering place, a source of endless fun, and an elegant feature for any home. As with any investment, it is wise to do your research before shopping, so you can go into the store knowing what to look for. Here’s how to choose a billiard table that meets all your needs.
Pool tables come in a wide range of price points — from fairly inexpensive entry-level units to artistic tournament tables with much higher price tags. If you are a first-time buyer, you can still get a great deal on a high-quality table, as long as you know what to look for. Don’t be fooled by online deals or Big Box stores who offer shockingly cheap tables. They are usually made with low-quality wood and glue. You’ll want a reputable pool table dealer with expertise, so you can get your questions answered honestly and know what you’re paying for.
The best pool tables are made with slate. Today’s billiards tables are built using three large pieces of slate. Slate originates from shale rock, which is composed of clay and volcanic ash. The pros play on 1” thick slate, but standard is ¾”, which is still very durable.
The frame supporting the table is very important — it holds everything together. Olhausen frames have been tested up to 27,000 pounds! With a top-quality frame you get the unmatched reliability of performance and safety. Look for a table with a solid, well-made frame. Billiard tables use a variety of wood types like maple, cherry, oak, mahogany, and others. These wood types are mostly a style preference, although you will want to ask what each table is made with so you can choose your favorite.
Billiard Cloth Surface
The quality of the billiard cloth will affect the playability of your billiards table. Good billiard cloth is mostly wool, and some nylon. Perhaps even more important is how the billiard cloth is affixed to the table — no staples should be present. The cloth on a high-quality table will last for many, many years. At The Pool People, we offer a variety of colors and surface speeds, so you can match your cloth to your personal preference. We can even screen print a logo or an image of your choice onto the playing surface.
Billiard table legs come in a vast array of styles from modern to antique. Legs can be tapered, straight, ball and claw, or fully customized. You’ll want to select a billiard table based on function as well as form. Check to see if the pool table is perfectly level. Then ask if the legs are what we call “perfect”, or if they are “anchored”. Perfect legs are those that are made with solid wood while anchored legs are affixed with screws. If the legs are anchored, ask your billiard dealer if they are quad or dual-screwed. Quad-anchored legs will last much longer than dual.
Lastly, you’ll want a pool stick that fits you (plus extras for guests), a set of balls and a rack, chalk, and perhaps a bridge stick. A rack mounted to the wall to hold cue sticks is standard in the billiards world. It will make your game room look clean and professional.
At The Pool People, we have an unmatched collection of high-quality billiard tables and accessories. We carry Brunswick, Olhausen, Golden West, and more of the best names in the billiards world. We also have lightly used tables in excellent condition. Come on down to one of our showrooms to see over 50 tables on display! We have locations in Schofield, Stevens Point, and Rhinelander, WI. With the best selection in the area, you are sure to find the perfect billiard table for your recreational enjoyment at The Pool People.