The pool is likely one of the most common indoor sports in the world. Professional and amateur players both play this game. You can find at least one pool table in bars and restaurants. It is also professionally played. Earl Strickland, Efren Reyes, and Lee Vann Corteza, to name a few well-known players. Some other names to call this game include:
- bank pool
- straight pool
- and seven-ball
Some pool-industry bodies call it using the generic term pocket billiards. However, this refers to a broader classification of games. It includes a Russian pyramid, snooker, and Kaisa. The main equipment pieces you will need to play pool are the cue sticks and balls. Of course, you’ll need a pool table to play on. In this article, we will be focusing on the table.
It comes in several sizes, such as bar and standard. You can also find a tournament or full-size model. It has a playfield of 39 inches x 78 inches and 44 inches x 88 inches. You can also find 50 inches x 100 inches models.
We will dig deeper into pool tables in the following sections. It is surprising because it comes in different types and sizes.
Before diving deeper, let’s go through a short history of the pool game. Its origin is similar to the croquet, which started as a lawn game around the 15th century in Northern Europe. Throughout the years, it gradually evolved to what we know as pool or billiard in the present day.
From an outdoor game, it moved indoors to a table. It was typically of wood material, with a layer of green to mimic the feel of grass. Borders around the table’s edges help keep the ball within its area. The word billiard was derived from the French word “bille,” a ball, or “billart,” one of the wooden sticks. During this time, nobles and royalty typically play billiards.
In the original game, you play pool by shoving the balls with maces. The cue stick was later developed in the late 1600s to provide variation. The issue here is whenever a ball is near a rail, using a mace may cause inconvenience due to its large head. The players will have to grab the handle and strike the ball. The queue or handle means tail. It’s where we get the word cue. Men were only allowed to use the cue for a while. On the other hand, women can only use the mace because it assumed the mace could more likely rip the cloth.
Moving on to the pool table. It originally had flat walls, keeping balls from falling off. They refer to it as banks because it resembles a riverbank. However, billiard players eventually discovered that the balls bounce off the banks and aim back at them. The term “bank shot” was born from it. Initially, wood was the bed material primarily used until around 1835. That’s when slate gained popularity because of its durability. Slate also does not warp over time, unlike wood. By 1839, a famous rubber manufacturer discovered the rubber vulcanization process. In 1845, billiard cushions were made of rubber.
Pool tables have evolved from one standard design to several types and sizes. Nowadays, you can find one almost everywhere. At home, think about the possibility of having one. Would not it be nice to hang out with your family or friends over a game of billiards? You can even play it alone after a stressful, long day at work.
However, the standard size is too big in most homes. It is where the different types enter, so there sure is at least one that fits your lifestyle. We will be dividing this section into four main subsections:
- According to Size
- According to Style
- According to Materials
- According to Surface Fabric
According to Size
The mini is the smallest pool table among the four. Its length can range from 20 inches to five feet. Its size translates to how one uses it. Three feet or four feet size would work well for teenagers and children who want to learn how to play.
Tabletop ones would fit well for small kids. You can easily take with you the small ones and play a game or two in the office or at work. It may not be the grandest among these four sizes, but it is portable and kid-friendly.
A bar table is bigger than a mini, coming in at around 7 feet long. It is smaller than the professional regulation pool table. Not only can you find this at home, but also at small restaurants and bars. The playing surface is roughly around 78 inches. On the other hand, a small bar box table is a foot shorter than the bar table. It comes in at only 6 feet long.
The small playing area makes it easier for players to hit great shots, but you may also run into other problems while playing at a bar. Before purchasing one for yourself, please take time to look for issues. It includes things such as dead rails and tough pockets. A non-standard size cue ball could be a challenge to hit your shots.
Eight feet is the length of a standard pool table. You can comfortably play eight to nine balls. It is the perfect size for your home regardless of your skill level. Professional games also use the same.
The large table is the last one under the size section. It comes in a length of at least nine feet. Because of its wide area, players require more skill when playing at this one since shots are more challenging to make. Moving from one point to another also needs to be learned. Nine feet tables are the size used in regulation tournaments. It is also the most popular in pool halls.
According to Style
If the size is not your primary concern, you can look at the style. Keep in mind the same style can come in several sizes.
The contemporary’s trademark styles are bold, sporty colors and straight lines. It typically comes in red and blue, providing contrast with each other. The contemporary would fit right if you have a game room at home. You can design it with the emblems of your favorite sports team if you are feeling creative. If you prefer darker colors, you can choose one made from wood materials.
Traditional pool tables are the opposite of contemporary and modern ones. Its style typically includes ornate carved feet and legs. The diamond-shaped sights and solid wood rails can help you improve your shot.
Craftsman is far more expensive than most other pool tables. Do consider this style if you have the budget for it. These are custom manufactured and typically feature visible dovetail joints and simple lines. They’ll come with beautiful, finished wood. It can easily fit and blend with your other pieces of furniture at home. However, this type may weigh a lot heavier than the others because of the materials.
The distinguishing characteristics of an industrial pool table are the crossbars and iron legs. The metal parts of the industrial make it appealing, combined with the classic wood look. Its design includes simple, straight lines. It gives more attention to the legs.
We also use wood to make a tropical pool table. What sets it apart is that the wood is handcrafted and designed with a Hawaiian theme. When facilitating a room that houses this style, you can add plants.
According to Materials
Manufacturers use different materials in a pool tabletop. Among all its parts, the top is likely the most important one.
Slate is the gold standard when it comes to tabletop material. Clay sediment layers are compressed into a sedimentary rock to form a blueish-gray material we call slate. When the sediment material hardens in thin layers, it results in a robust rock with naturally flat layers.
Expect to pay more due to the tedious process of manufacturing slate. Do know slate provides the best quality surface. To give you an idea, 4 feet by 8 feet slate model would cost more than $1,000. Some even cost more than $10,000.
Brazil and China are some of the big slate exporters. Italian slate from the Ligurian region is the best, so expect to pay more premium. Although expensive, the slate will surely last for several more years than other materials. The bed will not twist or sag. Even after spilling liquid, it will not warp at all.
Plastic makes a honeycomb, a honeybee-like surface with hardened plastic layers. Other synthetic materials would warp, but honeycomb does not. The major con is its rough surface. As a result, it is not the most stable material for a pool table. On a positive note, the lightweight construction makes the whole thing easier to move around.
Slatron is also known as permaslate. It is also synthetic material manufacturers use—hardened and condensed layers of plastic cover particleboard. Among the three synthetic materials, slatron is the practical option and the most durable.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a flat material made by adjoining small pieces of wood. It will warp over time, so it is not the best for long-term solutions. Several factors cause warpings, such as liquid spills and temperature changes. Warping compromises the quality of playing billiard.
Wood is pretty typical in pool tables and is more durable than metal. It is also cheaper. They are significantly heavier, so it may be challenging to move around.
Plastics and Rubber
According to Surface Fabric
Surface fabric is the final factor to consider when purchasing one. The three most common fabrics are worsted wool and wooden cloth. Polyester is the third.
The polyester has a clean, classic look. You can find it on several tables. However, its downside is that it wears out fast. We use polyester on most outdoor pool tables.
A wooden cloth is a type of fabric. Manufacturers also refer to it as napped billiard cloth. It typically contains different cloth materials, with at least 60% being wool. It has become the first choice in surface fabric due to its durable and heavy qualities. Moreover, it does a great job of hiding chalk and dust.
Worsted wool uses fabric woven with yarn. The balls run at a fast, consistent speed. It makes it the best surface for pool tables. It lasts longer than wooden cloth and polyester and requires less maintenance. As expected, worsted wool is more expensive.
Pool Table Sizes
The pool comes in several sizes. You can typically find the tournament or full-size in games played by professional players. All other sizes greatly rely on the room size you are placing it.
Here is a list of the most common pool table sizes in the market.
- 12 feet (Snooker): 140″ (356.9 cm) x 70″ (177.8 cm)
- 10 feet (Oversized): 112″ (284.5 cm) x 56″ (142.2 cm)
- 9 feet (Standard Regulation Size): 100″ (254 cm) x 50″ (127 cm)
- 8 feet+ (Pro 8): 92″ (233.7 cm) x 46″ (116.8 cm)
- 8 feet (Typical Home Option): 88″ (223.5 cm) x 44″ (111.8 cm)
- 7 feet (Large Bar Box): 78-82″ (198.1-208.3 cm) x 39-41″ (99.1-104.1 cm)
- 7 feet+ (Bar Box): 74-78″ (188-198.1 cm) x 37-39″ (94-99.1 cm)
- 6 feet (Small Bar Box): 70-74″ (177.8-188 cm) x 35-37″ (88.9-94 cm)
The actual sizes are not the same because this depends on the manufacturer. There may be slight differences, so it is best to check before purchasing.
Standard Pool Table Size
The standard pool table size is 8 feet and has a playfield of around 44 inches x 88 inches. In the United States, this is the most common size sold for private residences and homes.
If you have the room for a larger one, we suggest you go for it. You can also choose a smaller size if you think the standard is too big for your area.
The only major thing that sets the standard pool table apart is the size. Other than that, it is more or less the same.
Folding Pool Table Dimensions
It may come as a surprise to you, but there are pool tables you can fold. It solves the problem of people who want to have one at home but do not have permanent space. The dimensions are similar to the regular ones. The height ranges from 27 inches to 32 inches. In comparison, a traditional one is between 29.25 inches and 31 inches.
Are they any good?
They may not be as stout as the traditional ones, but the best foldable pool tables are solid and sturdy. Its quality would ultimately depend on materials and model. Make sure you go for a good brand. Low-quality ones are easy to wobble or shake, which could entirely affect your gameplay.
What are they made of?
Most have a playing surface made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Manufacturers typically use solid hardwood or manufactured wood for the frame. Alloy steel is another common material that’s used. Metal frames are more durable and heavier but can affect mobility. Some models have crossbeams for added reinforcements. The legs’ material is the same as the frame.
How much do they weigh?
These tables weigh anywhere from 40 lbs to 150 lbs. A lot of factors affect weight, such as materials and size.
There is no one size regulation for a pool table. However, the table to width length ratio must be 2:1. If you would like to use a table with an 8 feet length, the width should be 4 feet.
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) does not stipulate a particular size. The typical lengths are 7 feet, 8 feet, 8.5 feet, and 9 feet.
Having one at home is likely the ultimate dream of anyone who loves to play pool. The perfect one is the bar size.
Depending on the available space you have at home, there are three bar types. They include the large bar box, bar box, and small bar box.
If you have a huge space available, you can go for the largest one. They measure about 78-82 inches x 39-41 inches. It offers a lot of areas for playing and will attract professional players.
The bar box comes in the middle-ground, measuring around 74-78 inches x 37-39 inches. However, it is not very popular because professionals do not use it often.
The smallest is the small bar box, measuring around 70-74 inches x 35-37 inches. They take the least space among the three and are very popular with those having limited space. If you are playing for leisure, this would be a great size because the distances between pockets are shorter.
In general, we consider eight feet tables as the professional size. We recommend going for the largest size that can fit your room. It generally provides a more pleasant playing experience.
Pool Table Dining Table Combo
In modern times, there are pool tables that double as dining tables. If space is an issue or you want something different at home, getting a combo would be a great idea. The catch with most of these is that they are usually higher than the standard dining table.
Pool tables need a height of 29.25 inches to 31 inches when measured from the playing surface. The rail adds about 1.25 inches to 1.75 inches. Lastly, the dining top would fit right on top of the rails. It will give an additional 0.75 to 1-inch height.
Standard dining tables have a height ranging from 29 to 30 inches. Pool dining table combos have a height of 33 to 34 inches, and four to five inches higher.
When purchasing, take accurate measurements and see if it fits your needs. Look at the design and see if you can work with it. Otherwise, it would be best to have separate pieces of pool and dining tables.
Measuring is easy. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can measure a pool table. You will only need a measuring tape, a pen, and paper.
How to Measure Pool Tables
- Take your measuring tape and measure the inside of the playing area.
- Take the height and write it down.
- Take the width and write it down.
- The width of the pull is always half the size of the length.
We measure from the playing area because different manufacturers equip theirs with varied rail sizes. Some make the table huge, while others make it seem small. On the other hand, the playing area is standard in the industry.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding pool table dimensions.
A 7-feet pool table is not too small. It is otherwise called a large bar box, which fits great in rooms with huge spaces. If you prefer to have more space, a standard or professional option would be the best choice for you.
The standard 8-feet pool table with a playfield of 44 inches x 88 inches is the most popular.
Professional players usually play on the following size tables – 7 feet, 8 feet, 8.5 feet, and 9 feet.