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A beloved bar game or rec room game, pool (or billiards) offers a balance of physical activity, focus and skill (plus it can be played after a few drinks) making it the ideal sport for parties and hanging out with friends.
Although most of us associate pool with nights of imbibing at the local watering hole, the game actually has some real benefits. It’s not strenuous, but walking around a pool table and stretching for shots is far more healthy than sitting on the couch or playing video games. This makes billiards a great companion for watching sports or movies with friends. Pool also provides some mental benefits as well by sharpening focus and improving critical thinking.
But the most important value of pool is that it’s plain fun for all ages. It’s a vessel for hanging out or bonding with the family, making it a worthy investment for any household.
However, upgrading your home with a pool table is no small task. The tables are large and often pricey, so buying one requires some consideration. To help with the search, we’ve created this pool table buying guide with few of our favorite options on Amazon.
What to Know Before Buying a Pool Table
Size: Pool tables come in either seven, eight or nine-foot sizes. Seven-foot tables (also known as bar-size tables) have a playing field of 39 x 78 inches. Eight-foot tables are standard size with measurements of around 44 x 88 inches. Tournament size nine-foot tables have a playfield of about 50 x 100 inches.
Which size you pick depends on your skill level (bigger tables for better players) and how much space you have. Here’s the basic room size needed for each table:
- Seven-foot table: 16 x 13-foot room
- Eight-foot table: 17 x 13-foot room
- Nine-foot table: 17 x 14-foot room
Style: Although pool tables aren’t usually bought for decoration, they’re still a bulky piece of furniture that should be good-looking. We chose pool tables with a few different styles to match your home’s current decor.
Assembly: Pool tables can be a hassle to assemble, but some are easier than others. You’ll want to check for ease of assembly – especially if you won’t have anyone to help put the thing together.
1. Fat Cat Reno Pool Table
If you’re looking for a standard, well-built eight-foot table, this Fat Cat Reno is the way to go. The high-quality table uses a maple wood veneered construction with a cherry finish that’s not too old-fashioned and not too modern. This makes it feel sturdy and look good with almost any decor.
The Fat Cat’s measurements are right on par with regulation standards at 89.5 inches long, 50.5 inches wide and 31 inches tall. It’s bigger than a bar table for serious players, but not too large for beginners.
Assembling the Fat Cat table isn’t a breeze, but it’s not too hard compared to some tables. The real trouble comes when you have to flip over the table after assembly, as it weighs 335 pounds. So, unless you’re a strongman, you’ll want a few helping hands to flip the table and get it in the right spot. However, this weight does have an upside: once the table is set up it feels exceptionally stable.
PROS: Nice design, standard size, high-quality build.
CONS: Quite heavy.
2. Barrington Hawthorne Billiard Table
Barrington Billiards offers several high-end pool tables such as this Hawthorne model. It boasts a tournament-ready 100 by 50-inch space, making the table ideal for serious pool players. Beginners can still have some fun, but the added size will up the difficulty a bit.
The Hawthorne table is also pro-level in terms of design. Many pool table buyers are looking for a timeless style that you might find in a classy wood-paneled speakeasy. This table delivers exactly that. It features a wood build with scratch-resistant cherry veneer and ornate design details such as claw foot legs. In short, it’ll add some sophistication to any garage, man cave or game room.
The Hawthorne table is easy to assemble, though it still takes a few hours. You’ll want some muscle to lift the table and flip it over (rolling it may break the legs).
The only downside to this premium pool table is the included cues. They’re not very good, but you’ll want to buy more cues anyway for doubles and games.
PROS: Solid build, classy design, tournament size.
CONS: Included cues are not great, very heavy.
3. Hall of Games Edgewood Billiard Table
Want something more modern? Check out Hall of Games’ Edgewood table. It showcases an industrial look that goes well with modern interiors.
The Edgewood table has a nice size of 84 by 44 inches. If you’re used to regulation tables, this won’t feel any different but it’ll save a bit of space. Plus, the minimal design keeps overall size down as well.
The table also boasts a very handy feature that most tables don’t have: leg levers. These hidden devices under the feet allow you to individually adjust each leg so the table is perfectly level. This is very convenient, as many floors are surprisingly slanted. When leveling the table, place a ball in the center and tinker with each leg until the ball stays in place and stops rolling around.
PROS: Modern look, versatile size, leg levers.
CONS: Contemporary silhouette is not for everyone; some may prefer a more traditional design.
4. Rack Scorpius Billiard and Table Tennis Table
If you’re upgrading your game room with a pool table, why not add a ping pong table as well? This table from Rack Scorpius comes with a flat ping-pong surface that can be placed on the pool table or stashed underneath.
The convenience continues with the table’s size. It has a seven-foot play space, which is what you’ll find in most bars. This means it’s not quite as professional as an eight or nine-foot table, but the saved space and beginner approachability might be worth it.
We also like the Rack Scorpius because it’s very easy to assemble. Most people need an hour or less to put the thing together, which is great if you want to assemble the whole table yourself.
We do have a few critical notes about this table. It’s not very good-looking, but that should be fine if you’re just setting up a garage game room. Also, this table’s sturdiness rating is slightly lower than others.
PROS: Compact, converts to a ping-pong table, easy to assemble.
CONS: Not the best looking, less sturdy.