How to Choose a Billiard Table: Buying Guide
In our previous post we have discussed all the aspects of a billiards room interior design. However, there are a few questions to ask and a few things to know before you buy the centerpiece of any pool room – the table. How to choose it properly and what points to consider? Let’s find this out in our post!
The weight issue
Besides the size, billiard tables sufficiently differ in weight. The most lightweight option is a table with a bed made from laminated particle boards. Such pool tables are as much superior in terms of price as they’re inferior in terms of the quality of the game: the balls are rolling slowly and loudly. And on top of that when it comes to laminated chipboard it’s almost impossible to make sure that the surface would be strictly horizontal: be aware that there’s a really good chance that the balls will slide down now and then and change their course.
Pool tables with natural stone beds are far heavier; such a table would never budge no matter how hard you push it. Along with ideally even play field you get an extremely stable construction.
However, even in this case there are two weight classes available: simpler models have slim slate slabs with the thickness of just about 19 mm. And as you imagine the thicker the slab is, the more stable and reliable the table is. That is why pool tables with the size of above 9 feet are equipped with heavy-weight beds, the thickness of which starts from at least 38 mm. On such a table it is hardly possible that the balls will happen to move suddenly. And this is not in the least surprising: the tables with slim and thick slate beds may have a weight difference of 200-300 kilos.
Conclusion: Pay attention to the thickness of the slate bed of a billiard table. The thicker the slab is, the more stable the table is, and the more flawless the game will be.
The material issue
With modern technologies billiard tables can be produced from various materials. Frequently, with cost-saving in mind, manufacturers opt for non-natural materials, and very few companies remain committed to solid wood and natural stone. An MDF billiard table, for example, will also serve you well and will be relatively stable, unless you dismantle and assemble it a few times. This point is just the matter of your choice.
It’s also worth mentioning that contemporary producers of billiard tables also found a way to save on the bed. Now instead of genuine slate frequently used is artificial stone. Maybe it’s not a big deal and you will hardly notice any imperfections in the quality of playing. But it should be taken in account that to make an artificial stone bed reliable and durable it should be mixed with modern chemicals. What are they is not well know. But it’s known exactly that high temperatures cause processes of oxidation and thermal destruction of polymers; and in billiards the temperature in the pivot and impact points of the balls rises up to 250 degrees Celsius. By the way, that’s exactly why the bed cloth can feature white spots – these are actually burn marks.
Conclusion: Billiard tables made from artificial materials are not comparable to natural wood ones in durability. The so-called artificial stone is a new thing in the billiards production. Not much is known about it and all its features are expected to reach their fullest expression only years later.
The price issue
All the above-mentioned factors affect the price of a pool table. Skillfully using multiple clever ruses, manufacturers seek ways to reduce their costs; in particular, replace wood with MDF and natural slate with artificial stone.
The same applies to other components of a pool table: bed cloth, rubber cushions and corner pockets. The most beloved point of cost savings is picking cheaper bed cloth, in particular, of some Chinese manufactory. However, so far neither Chinese manufacturer has created an adequate analogue to the Belgian Aramith balls or Belgian billiards cloth. Eventually, some manufacturers use IwanSimonis cloth by default, while others offer it as an additional luxurious option.
That is also true of the pool table colors. Very often the choice is limited to just a couple of options. And any alternative is paid extra. Certainly, having all the tables equally painted is cheaper. This reminds of Henry Ford’s announcement made at the dawn of the automobile business: “A customer can have a car painted any color he wants as long as it’s black”. Fortunately, now you can find companies with a more contemporary approach to business that allow their customers to choose the color of their billiard table without having to pay any extra money.
Conclusion: A pool table has far fewer parameters to consider than a smartphone. So, don’t hesitate to compare important characteristics and choose good things!
Enjoy the game!