There are different kinds of pool tables, including:
- Slate bed. This is the standard pool table, and the most common, with a playing surface made from a slab of slate. This type of table is very heavy and should be placed where it will stay for a long time.
- Folding. These pool tables have a playing surface from lighter materials and folding legs so the table can stored when not in use.
- Coin-operated. These are typically found in nightclubs or game rooms. A coin-operated table is typically a standard table, made with wood and a slate top.
- Outdoor. These pool tables are made from weatherproof materials.
The standard pool table is 96 inches, or 8 feet, long. However, tables are also available that are 7 feet or 9 feet long.
Be sure to choose a table that will work in the selected room. For an 8-foot table, the room should measure about 14 feet by 18 feet. For a 9-foot table, the room should be at least 15 feet by 19 feet.
At the very least, a pool table will require a room that allows for the table, plus 6 inches for pulling back on the cue.
The more expensive pool tables are made of wood. Wood choices include ash, maple, oak, cherry, poplar and mahogany.
Tables made from vinyl laminate or mica laminate are typically less expensive than those made with solid wood. A mica laminate table usually has a slate top that is about three-quarters of inch thick and unframed. The slate thickness on a vinyl laminate table is about three-quarters to 1 inch and can be bought framed or unframed.
The type of cloth used on the table affects the rolling resistance and sliding friction. A slick cloth will allow the cue ball to spin longer or will draw back on the ball. A fast cloth has less resistance to rolling, so the balls will roll farther before stopping.