July 17, 2023

best pool table

I researched various Reddit discussions on pool tables, focusing on recommendations for different types and brands, as well as factors to consider when choosing a table. Most sources were from the r/billiards subreddit and covered topics such as materials, brands, and features of pool tables. Overall, there was a consensus on the importance of having a slate table and considering factors such as space, quality of rails, and cloth. However, specific brand recommendations varied depending on personal preferences and experiences.

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Slate Tables

Slate Tables

Slate tables are highly recommended for their superior quality and durability. They offer a true playing surface that does not warp, and their dense nature ensures consistent ball movement over time. Multiple users in various discussions emphasized the importance of having a slate table as a key requirement for a good pool table.

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Cloth and Rails

The quality of the cloth and rails is crucial for a good pool table. Users suggested that Simonis cloth is considered the best option. When it comes to rails, it's essential to ensure they are made of quality materials and are properly aligned, as they can greatly affect the playing experience.

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Research

"Pool Cue Brand Tier List?"

Title: “Pool Cue Brand Tier List”

  • Reddit user is asking for advice on buying a pool cue, after playing with house cues for 6 years.
  • They want to know the best brands and lower quality ones to watch out for, with a budget between $200 to $400 for a long cue (20oz) with medium deflection.
  • A Reddit user advises that there is no defined list from best to worst for pool cues, and recommends the following:
    • Find a used butt with a common pin that you like the look and feel of, then buy LD shafts (or any other shafts) for that butt that you can move between them.
    • Don’t ignore the used market, as a good used Schon, Huebler, Pechauer, Joss, McDermott, Viking, or any number of other good brands will put a good quality cue in your hands for an affordable price.
  • Another Reddit user emphasizes that the butt is only about balancing the shaft, and recommends picking one you think is pretty. They believe that around 70-90% of feedback comes from the tip and the rest from the shaft, and suggests finding a favorite combo in feedback and practicing with it for consistency.
  • A different Reddit user recommends McDermott as a good brand in the $200-$400 price range, citing their perfect balance and adjustable weights. They share that they use an 18oz cue with an i3 shaft and an 11.75mm soft tip for ultimate control.
  • One Reddit user stresses that brand and quality are essentially irrelevant to a player’s level, and that once you hit a certain minimum level of quality (around $100), it doesn’t matter. They recommend going for lower deflection for consistency, explaining that LD shafts make it easier and safer to use sidespin, whereas heavy deflection leads to less consistency and greater error when using an angle.
  • Their tier list for claiming low deflection and actually delivering it is as follows:
    • S-tier: Predator, OB, Mezz
    • A-tier: any Carbon Fiber shaft including Cuetec’s and Pechauer’s, Meucci The Pro shaft
    • C-tier: guys who claim LD but don’t hollow out the last few inches of shaft, e.g. claim the cue low deflection because of a special ferrule.
    • D-tier: doesn’t even pretend to be LD and talks about “solid hard rock maple shaft”.
  • They share that for a reasonably priced LD

"Guide to Buying a Pool Table"

  1. Pool tables vary in price, from about $600 to $10,000 or more.
  2. Five categories of pool tables that suit different budgets and needs: non-slate table ($600-$800), economy slate bed table ($1200-$2500), a good used table ($1000-$3000), popularly priced table ($2000-$3000), and solid hardwood table ($3000-$6000).
  3. Non-slate tables are lightly constructed, easily “bumple,” and unlikely to last more than a few years. They can’t satisfy players’ level even slightly experienced.
  4. Perma-slate, plastic “honeycomb” surface or some other substitute material are commonly used in non-slate tables instead of real slate, because it is too expensive.
  5. Economy slate tables are inferior in most respects but have genuine slate playing surfaces. The lowest level of this category is made of “one piece” slate tables. which may be constructed locally in garage-type workshops. Oversized slate is an industry term for slate that extends beneath the rails. It can withstand the rail’s weight and be stable while playing. Be wary of buying one-piece slate table.
  6. Popularly priced tables range from $2000 to $3500. They can be a properly built, good playing table; one that will look attractive and be enjoyable to play on for a number of years if consumers choose wisely and know what to look for. It has many cost-saving measures, including the use of cheaper materials somewhere in the table, such as particleboard, fiberboard, laminated wood, or other composite materials. Most of these tables are strong enough to support the 400 to 600 lbs. of slate. They will sag and spread over time in an area subject to large temperature changes, such as in a basement.
  7. The top quality tables cost $4000 or more. They have top quality materials, design, and construction as well as a long-term warranty. Use of hardwoods adds value and longevity to a table. The size of the carved legs and the intricacy of the carving will affect the price of the carved leg.
  8. The types of materials used in the table’s construction create more value than others: hardwoods as opposed to softwoods, wood substitutes, metal, or plastics. Carefully select a good used table that will cost in the neighborhood of $1000 to $3000 after being fully reconditioned. Expect to be in the upper end of the

"Looking to buy a new pool table. Any brands you recommend? Anything I should pay attention in terms of materials, etc?"

  • Reddit thread on buying a new pool table, with focus on brands and materials to pay attention to.
  • General consensus that buying a new table is not recommended due to high price and that used tables, if high quality, do not really wear out.
  • One user (9 karma) suggests getting a slate table, specifically Brunswick, and ensuring quality cloth/cushions. If the table doesn’t have these, simply having it recovered will make it play like new.
  • Another user (1 karma) agrees with Brunswick, saying the slate needs to be good, flat, and level, with four points at each pocket. They caution to watch for damage to the corners or any other areas that may be hard on the cloth when stretched.
  • Several users suggest Brunswick as a top-tier brand, but point out that the table should have been manufactured before 2000 to be considered as such.
  • One user (3 karma) recommends Diamond, Rasson, then Brunswick as the order of preference for commercial tables.
  • Another user (1 karma) suggests Rasson over Diamond.
  • Several users mention budget being a factor, with some willing to spend up to $2000 max for a table, while another is willing to spend up to $4000 for a high-quality table.
  • Some users suggest ways to find good used tables, such as AZ and local league message boards, checking with pool halls and mechanics, or attending big tournaments where used tables may be sold at a discount.
  • One user (1 karma) asks if the budget includes getting the table recovered and set back up, noting that this can be quite expensive.
  • Several users caution to check the rubber on the rails, which should spring back to shape immediately and be firm but not hard.
  • One user (1 karma) emphasizes that the skill of the mechanic doing the work is also important.
  • One user (1 karma) asks for recommendations for a 9’ table for a $4k budget, to which another user (1 karma) offers https://www.mainehomerecreation.com/product-reviews/ as a good place to start.
  • Another user (2 karma) is happy with their older Valley table, which they bought for $300, moved to their basement with friends, and had the rails redone and felt put on. They say it plays as true as the popular Diamonds.
  • Yet another user (1 karma) recommends a Supreme Winner for UK 8 ball.
  • Overall, the thread emphasizes the importance of finding a high-quality table with

"Slate vs MDF pool tables???"

  • Query: “best pool table”

  • The webpage discusses the differences between pool tables made of slate versus MDF (medium-density fiberboard).

  • Users on the webpage highly recommend buying a slate table over an MDF one, due to its superior quality.

  • Slate tables offer a true playing surface that does not warp and are dense. Players can practice their jumping shots and the ball’s movement is consistent over time.

  • MDF tables are seen as a cheaper, lower-quality alternative to slate. They are much lighter than slate and can be placed on the second or third floor of a home.

  • MDF tables are prone to warping and can absorb and lose moisture, which will change the way the balls roll off the table over time.

  • Most users agree that there’s no reason to buy an MDF table over a slate one unless it’s for a “throw away” table for the kids to use so they don’t mess up the more expensive slate table.

  • Slate tables may be expensive, but they’re worth the investment for serious pool players.

  • Blatt Billiards is a hundred-year-old manufacturer that uses three pieces of slate sealed with beeswax in most of their designs.

  • Aramith uses one piece of slate in their hybrid pool and dining table. The high-quality slate ensures an excellent playing surface that will last for years.

  • The weight of a slate table is mentioned as an important consideration when placing it in a building. It can put a lot of weight on the floor and joists below.

  • Some users mention that MDF tables are not as fun to play on as slate, and others share funny comments about the difference between the two kinds of tables.

  • No mention on the brand or where one can purchase a quality billiards table.

"What are good pool tables for beginners?"

  • Post Title: “What are good pool tables for beginners?”
  • Posted in “r/billiards” subreddit 3 years ago.
  • User suggests it is essential to have a slate table, wooden ones are not worth the effort.
  • Quality of the rails and cloth also matters.
  • Factors like pocket size and table size depend on personal preference and space constraints.
  • A broken slate can be a downside.
  • Some people prefer tighter pockets, others prefer English style pockets over American.
  • Some only have room for a small table while others prefer at least a ten-footer.
  • User recommends looking for a good used table which should be cheaper, in case you don’t end up using it.
  • The user recommends looking for tables from Brunswick or Steepleton.
  • Another user recommends a table with a slate bed, to prevent easy wear and tear, and good cloth, with Simonis being considered the best option.
  • User advises to ensure that the table fits: get the right size for the space you have.
  • Ideally, you should have a cue’s length of space measured from the outside of the rail cushions + a few extra inches, if you opt for a table with slim rails.
  • Another user suggests starting off with a smaller size pool table.
  • Regardless of skill level, commercial type tables are more enjoyable to play on.
  • The consumer-type tables found at furniture stores aren’t as durable, don’t roll as straight, and rebounds off the cushions are less consistent.
  • User recommends used commercial Gold Crowns, Diamonds, Olhausens which can be found more reasonably priced.
  • User suggests going for the largest size you can comfortably fit into your space, and the highest quality table you can afford.
  • Another user concurs on looking for a used Gold Crown, unless you can only fit a 7-footer, in which case they recommend a used, but in good shape Valley or Dynamo.
  • Whatever you do, get a used table as pool tables are a buyer’s market.

"What’s the best and hardest pool table brands?"

  • User is looking for information on the best and hardest pool table brands. They want to know what the best 8 foot table brands with small pockets are, and what they see during major tournaments of pool 8 ball.
  • Some users suggest that a table with pockets that are too small may hinder positional play ability, but most commenters agree that pocket size is a personal preference.
  • It is recommended to get a larger table size such as a 9 foot Diamond table with 4.5” pockets as this will hone one’s pocketing skills while still allowing room for positional play.
  • Diamond and Brunswick Gold Crowns are considered the two tables that everything gets measured against. Valley tables are also common, but they do not usually come equipped with small pockets.
  • Some users recommend Rasson tables, which are starting to sponsor some pro tournaments in the US.
  • Cheating the pocket is considered an important skill in pool, and is necessary in order to get good position. A table with pockets just large enough to allow a ball will remove the option of cheating the pocket from a player’s toolbox.
  • Adding shims to rails can alter pocket sizes, but it’s important to hire a skilled mechanic to do so in order to prevent the rails from messing with angles and having pockets that don’t accept balls correctly.
  • Most 8 foot tables are seen in homes, while pool halls and bars tend to have 7 or 9 foot tables depending on the location. Bar or pool hall tables do not usually have small pockets.
  • In Maryland and the Midwest, 8 foot rental tables are more common than coin-operated tables. Some places have a mix of 7 and 9 foot tables.
  • Professional players at televised tournaments usually play on 9 foot tables, while bar and pool hall tables are mostly 7 or 9 feet depending on the location. Tables with larger pockets are usually found in league cut tables while tables with smaller pockets are found in pro cut tables.
  • The Diamond Pro-Am table is an example of a table with league cut pockets of 4.75” and pro cut pockets of 4.5”.
  • There is some disagreement on what the ideal pocket size is. Some users believe that 4 inch pockets are extremely tight, while others think 4.5” pockets are commonly used in pro tournaments.
  • Links to information on Russian Pyramid Pool, a game where pockets are much smaller than in traditional pool tables.

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The most important factors to consider when buying a pool table for home use

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The top 5 best pool tables for home use based on expert reviews and user feedback