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So, you are looking to have a bit of fun at home, and you decided that a pool table is the way to go. After all, it’s one of the best games that you can equip your rec room with.
It takes a lot of skill, it’s a good hobby, and a good way to spend time with friends. If you get good enough, you can even join professional leagues.
However, before you start dreaming of being a pro, you need a pool table to practice on first. Buying one can be intimidating and difficult, which is what we are here to help with right now.
Let’s get to it and go through the steps you will need to do to successfully buy a pool table.
How to Buy a Pool Table
Without further ado, let’s jump in.
Step 1: Consider Your Needs
The first step to buying a new pool table is figuring out what you want it for. Just as with everything else, there are many types of pool tables – they come in different sizes, designs, and so on.
Some pool tables are very small, cheap, and designed to be used by kids or just for a bit of fun. Then you have those pool tables which are very large, made of quality materials. Those that are intricately designed and have some cool features.
You need to consider all of this.
For instance, if you want to play a couple games with your kids every now and again, buying a massive pool table for professionals is not ideal. On the other hand, if you want to get some serious practice in, so you can join a professional league someday, then buying a small, cheap, and wobbly pool table is not the best choice.
So, what do you want the pool table for? That’s the question you need to ask yourself before even proceeding further.
Step 2: Choose the Room for the Table and Measure It
Before you get started with choosing a specific pool table, you first need to consider which room of your home it is going to be placed in.
For one, this is of course due to size constraints. You can’t put a 10 foot pool table in a room that is only 11 feet long. You need to measure the specific room to make sure that you have enough space to spare.
Speaking of measurements, something you want to ensure is that the room is indeed large enough. For instance, most pool tables are regulation size, which means that they are twice as long as they are wide.
Also, you want to make sure that you have around 5 feet of extra space on all sides of the pool table, or else you won’t have enough room to maneuver with the cues. Going back to the regulation size, if you have a 5 x 10 foot table, you will need 15 x 20 feet of space.
Moreover, if you want to make sure that the noise level is kept down, so you don’t disturb others, consider a pool table for your basement, attic, or even the garage. However, if you want an intricate and ornate pool table, it can make for a good centerpiece in a main room.
Choosing the room is a big part of the purchasing process.
Step 3: Set Your Budget
The fact of the matter is that you can find a cheap and small pool table for $500 to $1,500, and these are the lower-end tables. On the other hand, for a full-size high-end pool table with quality materials and an intricate design, you can expect to pay $10,000, or even more. For a medium quality pool table, expect to spend between $2,000 and $4,000.
Therefore, before honing in on specific pool tables, you first need to set a spending limit.
How much can you afford to spend and how much is a reasonable amount for you? It really all depends on how much spare cash you have and what kind of quality you are looking for.
Check this article to learn more about how much getting a table will cost you.
Step 4: Hit the Stores
A very important part of buying a good pool table is buying it at the right store.
If you want to go to a store with people that are knowledgeable about pool tables, you will want to go to a hobby or leisure store, preferably a store that is solely dedicated to pool tables.
If your knowledge of pool tables is limited, then you will want a sales agent that can help you out. Going to a department store or shopping online may be fine too, but you won’t get the same level of customer service.
If you cannot go to a specialty store, then it is a good idea to do some brand research, so you can get a good idea of what brand to go for.
When you are in the store, always pay attention to detail. Check for things like the table’s look and feel. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. This is a big purchase and you have the right to be fully informed.
Step 5: Research Specific Models
Once you have visited some stores and have found a few tables that you are interested in, don’t buy it just yet. Go back home, turn on your computer, and do some solid research into those specific pool tables.
Make sure that you have found a high-quality model or at least the level of quality that you can afford. Doing your due diligence will cost you time upfront but save you time, frustration, and money down the road.
Step 6: Check the Warranty Terms
A big tip that we have here, once you have selected your pool table and are purchasing it, is to always get the best warranty whenever possible.
Things can and do go wrong with pool tables, and if this happens to you, being covered for all scenarios is ideal. You don’t want a pool table that breaks within a few months, only to figure out that you are the only one on the hook for it.
Step 7: Figure Out Transportation and Installation
Before you enter the PIN for your credit card, make sure that you have a solid plan for getting the pool table back to your home and for having it installed. It is easy to break a pool table or to damage your home, both during transportation and installation. Not to mention the fact that it is bulky and heavy.
Whenever possible, you do really want to have the professionals take care of this, even if it costs extra.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips, & Tricks
To finish this off, let’s go over some of the most important factors, tips, and tricks that you need to take into account when purchasing a pool table.
Don’t Install it Yourself
The fact of the matter is that installing a pool table, as well as getting it back home, are both relatively difficult. A lot can go wrong here. Therefore, you do want the professionals to do this. This way, if something goes wrong, it’s not you who has to take care of the problem.
Go for Slate if Possible
Yes, a pool table made with slate as opposed to MDF or some other cheap wood is going to cost a lot more, and it will be much heavier too. With that being said, slate is what the professionals play on. It allows for a better feel and gameplay, and you can be sure that it’s the most durable option around.
Pay Attention to the Table’s Legs and Frame
Something else to keep in mind here is that you always want to pay attention to what the pool table as a whole is made of, specifically the frame and legs. Generally speaking, the best option here is a frame made of real wood, something like maple, oak, mahogany, or similar. Also, when choosing the legs, you can choose from perfect legs or two-piece legs. Two-piece legs will be cheaper, but also less stable and less durable than so-called “perfect” legs.
Pay Attention to the Table’s Felt
Another pool table purchasing trick is to always look at the so-called “felt”, which nowadays is usually a combination of wool and nylon, complete with a Teflon coating. If you are going for maximum durability, you want the felt to weigh between 18 and 22 ounces per yard.
Pay Attention to the Table’s Cushions and Rails
When looking at the cushions or rails, it is wise to choose ones made out of natural gum blends. These last longer than synthetic rails and they won’t lose their bounce over time.
See If There Are Any Included Accessories
If you are going for an all in one approach, check to see if all of the accessories, such as the cues, balls, and racks are included. If you go for a combo option, chances are that you can save some money.
Should you decide to go with a standalone table, make sure to check out my recommendations for pool balls.
Confirm the Strength of Your Floor
Before making any purchase, ensure that the room you want to put the pool table in is up to standard. You don’t want to put a pool table in a room that has a really old floor that may not support the table’s weight. You may need to consult a professional to figure this out.
The bottom line is that as long as you know what your budget is, how much space you have to spare, and what kind of pool table you want, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a good pool table that will suit your needs.
Just be careful, take your time, and do plenty of research.