What to look for when buying a pool table
Owning a pool table provides a great source of recreation, especially for entertaining guests. Before you make a purchase, however, you need to know what to look for in a pool table.
A level surface is critical for proper play. Some tables have adjustments on the legs to allow for leveling. If the table is not adjustable, standard playing cards can be used to raise each leg as needed. Table surfaces that are not level or smooth are not easy to correct. Remember that the more a pool table is moved, the more it can fall out of level.
Look for solid hardwood used in the construction. These tables are heavier but more durable. The table should have support beams that run the full length and lock to cross members. Look for slate that is backed with a minimum of 3/4 of an inch of supporting wood.
The best slate will have a diamond-honed surface. If it comes as a three-piece slate, ask if it's matched. A matched slate means that all pieces have been cut from one slab. A table with slate that is 3/4 of an inch thick is recommended.
The best felt surface will be glued and then screwed into place. Light glue and staples will not provide a lasting surface. Ask about the wool content of the felt. The more wool in the material, the more durable it will be. Quality felt is usually 80 percent wool and 20 percent nylon.
Railing and cushions
Rails should be crafted from hardwood. The harder the wood, the less vibration will occur on ball contact. If the rails have a laminated surface, it should be high-pressure laminate. Cushions should be made with a canvass backing. This also helps the cushion adhere to the rail.
The pockets should be made from a soft rubberized plastic. Hard plastic can crack and break from use.
Once you know what to look for in a pool table, choose one with a solid warranty. A well-built table should have a lifetime guaranty.
Before you purchase a pool table, make sure you have enough space available. You need more than just table space; you need room to take your shots without contacting the walls or ceiling. Aim for a minimum of five feet of clearance on all sides of the table.
For the best game of pool, your table should be professionally installed. Angie's List can help you locate quality pool table installers in your area.