How to pick a pool table

how to pick a pool table

There are six things to think about when deciding how to pick a pool table:

  • Slate
  • Legs
  • Frame
  • Cushions made of felt or cloth
  • rails
  • accessories

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The Buyers Guide For How To Pick A Pool Table


When considering how to pick a pool table the slate pool table is incomparable to anything else. Plywood, fiberboard, slatex, permaslate, slatron, slatine, and honeycomb are common substitutes. But none of them can match the accuracy and smoothness of slate.

What is slate? Slate is a type of rock or shale. It has been crafted over thousands of years from volcanic ash or clay. Then it is mined, crushed, cut, and polished. It’s made into flat, smooth slabs that are ideal for cue sports like pool or billiards.

The thickness of the slate used for pool tables is classified into three categories: 3/4″, 1″, and 1-1/4″ slate. The Billiard Congress of America (BCA) mandates at least 1″ slate on tables used in tournaments and competitions because it considers 1″ slate to be the most accurate slate currently available.


pool table

The cabinet carries 90% of the weight of the pool table. Strong legs are necessary to sustain this weight. Players sit and lean against the pool table and add additional pressure. Post or “ideal” legs and two-piece or “industry standard” legs are the two different sorts of legs.

Post legs are solid wood from the slate to the foot and they are regarded as being “perfect”. They are dependable and will not stop the game play experience from degrading over time.

There are two different kinds of two-piece, or “industry standard,” legs. These leg systems eliminate solid legs by attaching the legs to the cabinet with anchor systems.

The first kind is the single anchor system, which consists of a single nut and bolt combination. Over time, this kind of system will become loose and have an impact on the game play.

Of the two types of two-piece legs, the quad anchor system, which provides four nut and bolt combinations, is the more secure.


As a lack of support can cause the slate to sag, break, and become uneven, a pool table’s slate is only as good as its wood frame.

A top-notch pool table will have cross beams to add strength and slate that has been supported by wood frames that have been bonded to the bottom.

The size of the slate will determine the kind of structural beams required. 3/4 pool tables are available and “Two cross beams are sufficient for slate.

However, a larger slate, such as 1 “and higher, should use a quad-beam structure. This includes two cross beams and two long beams.

Just keep in mind that larger slate requires more framing and to inquire about the number of beams beneath the slate.

Fabric / Felt

Modern billiard cloth or pool table felt is commonly made out of a wool and nylon blend that has been treated in Teflon. Look at the felt’s ounce weight per yard to gauge a fabric’s tensile strength; for the longest possible lifespan, we advise between 18 and 22 ounces per yard.

Many players are concerned with speed and traction on the table despite the fact that durability can be an issue. Wool is typically spun into combed fibers for woven fabric. This speeds up the procedure and increases accuracy.

The felt on your pool table will wear over time and you might have to refelt your pool table. Check out our post on how to refelt a pool table.

Pillows / Rails

Cushions and rails are typically comprised of:

  • synthetic materials,
  • natural gum,
  • or gum mixes.

The synthetic rails are frequently formed using clay filler, which can dry out and lose its bounce. This creates a “dead rail.”

However, K-66 profile rails and cushions made of natural gum materials offer consistent bounce that will endure as long as you own the table. We advise using natural gum rails rather than synthetic ones.

When you’ve figured out how to pick a pool table

Even though the pool table itself is the factor that will have the greatest impact on your game. The playing equipment is quite significant. The following is a brief list of billiards supplies:

Pool Cues

Billiard balls are struck with tapered wooden objects known as cues, pool cues, or cue sticks. Despite historically being exclusively composed of wood, modern cues also include synthetic materials like fiberglass, graphite, and carbon fiber in addition to the traditional maple. They can be 48″ to 58″ long and weigh between 17 and 22 ounces.

pool cue, bridge stick, and balls

Bridge Sticks

When the pool player can’t get to the shot they want without lying down on the pool table. They get a bridge stick. Bridge sticks enable players to position the shooting cue on the bridge so they can hit their shot. Games typically require players to remain at least partially on the ground during shoots. Typically, bridge sticks feature a tapered wood shaft and a brass bridge head.

Billiard Balls

Billiard balls are used in the game of pool and other cue sports. 15 numbered balls, sometimes separated into stripes and solids, and one white or clear cue ball make up a typical billiard ball set. Color, size, and diameter can change depending on the locale and the cue sport being played. Russian pool, for instance, employs bigger cue balls, whereas American pool utilizes smaller cue balls. Pool balls were originally made of clay, bone, and ivory. John Wesley Hyatt introduced nitrocellulose, sometimes known as Celluloid, for pool balls in 1869. The industry later transitioned to plastic materials like Bakelite and Crystallite, and today’s billiard balls are made of phenolic resins, plastics, polyester blends, and acrylics.

Pool ball racks are wooden frames on which the billiard balls are placed before play begins. The 15-ball “triangle” rack, which offers the pattern 1-2-3-4-5, is the most popular. Normally the eight ball is place in the middle of the third row and the one ball position in the front. You can play pool, snooker, eight-ball, and other games on these triangle racks. The “diamond” rack, which is used to play nine ball, and has the pattern 1-2-3-2-1. It is another sort of pool ball rack.

Other pool accessories include:

  • tally ball shakers
  • tally balls
  • table coverings
  • rail brushes
  • training balls
  • cue repair kits
  • cue chalk
  • chalk holders
  • talcum powder
  • table covers
  • pool cue cases
  • wall racks
  • and much more

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