5 Best Pool Tables In 2019 (Reviews & Buyer's Guide)

Best Pool Tables (Reviews)

Best High End

Barrington Claremont 100'' Slate Billiard Table Set

Barrington Claremont

Best Mid Range

Barrington Springdale 90" Claw Leg Billiard Table Set

Barrington Springdale

Best Inexpensive

Hathaway Fairmont Portable 6-Ft Pool Table Review

Hathaway Fairmont

Last Updated: 28th Nov, 2019

The game of Pool is best enjoyed with a couple of rounds of beers with your mates at your favorite pub. Unfortunately, in today's busy lifestyle, not everyone has the time to go out and play. But how about getting your very own Pool table? You can practice and play Pool whenever you want, that also right in the comfort of your home - Sounds exciting, right?

We hear you! While we can't do much about recreating the pub-like atmosphere in your home, but we sure can help you pick the right Pool table for your needs. Over the years, the prices of Pool tables have come down to a point where almost anyone can afford it. You can get a pool table across all price bands and in all types of sizes. From a regulation 8-footer table to a mini one, there are plenty of choices to suit your needs.

However, with so many options to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming to pick the best one. Brands like Brunswick or Olhausen, craft the best pool tables but are wildly expensive (3k$+). On the other hand, cheaper brands won't survive next winter.

Don't worry, we've got you covered. After trying out number pool tables and interviewing several pro-players, we've managed to put together a list of the best five pool tables for the money.

Check them out below and choose the one that best fits your needs.

For home users and recreational players, I feel the Barrington Springdale 90" is the best choice. Having personally played on the table, I found the table to be durably built with decent playing characteristics while still being priced under $500. Although the table plays a tad bit slower than the slate tables, it's something I feel casual player won't notice or mind. 

Best Pool Table Reviews

Our Top Picks for Best Pool Tables


1. Barrington Springdale 90" Claw Leg Billiard Table

Editor's Pick [Best for Most]


Specification:

  • Playing area: 7 foot
  • Size: 89.5"L x 50.25"W x 31"H
  • Bed: 18 mm MDF
  • Felt: Wool blend
  • Bumper: K-818
  • Weight: 260 pounds
Barrington Springdale 90" Claw Leg Billiard Table Set

If you are looking for a budget-friendly table with solid reviews and sturdy construction, the Barrington Springdale Claw Leg table might fit your bill. Priced under $700, this is a mid-range table offering a balance between performance and practicality. This table also happens to be the best-selling and most positively reviewed table on Amazon. It's an ideal choice for beginners and casual players who're looking for a home pool table.

This elegant, classic-looking pool table would pass for any pool hall's billiards table any day, with thick-looking, yet elegant claw feet and a robust frame topped by a classic green felt. The top is made of a robust 3/4'' (18mm) particleboard and finished with Tricot Polyester felt. The ball roll is smooth and consistent, but the gameplay is a bit slower than slate tables.

This model uses the classic parlor-style drop pockets for both an elegant look and easy retrieval. The table itself weighs around two hundred pounds and measures 89.5" long, 50.25" wide, and 31" tall. The table isn't too big to not fit in a standard room nor too small to inhibit playing freely.

The table is part of an all-inclusive twenty-three piece set. Included with the table are two cue sticks, two chalk cubes, a triangle rack, a felt brush, fifteen numbered billiards balls, and a cue ball.

Some things to keep in mind with this model; firstly, the base is made of particleboard, not slate. So, there is a chance that with age, the wood could warp, and might develop dips or dead spots. Secondly, the pool felt is made of tricot polyester material which plays a bit slower than worsted felt. Our research into this model also lets us know that there is a lingering smell from the manufacturing process that takes a while to go away.

Also, some people take issue with the fact that the claw-foot covers are in fact plastic and not wood, but then again, it is a budget table, so bear that in mind.

What We Liked
+ Value for money
+ ​Great option for ​home use
+ Above-average playing characteristics
+ Decent build quality
+ Attractive design
+ DIY installation

Watch Out For
- The bed is made out of 18 mm wood rather than slate. So, the table plays a bit slower.

2. Hathaway Fairmont Portable 6-Ft Pool Table

Budget Pick


Specification:

  • Playing area: 6 foot
  • Size: 76'' x 43.25'' x 32''
  • Bed: 18mm MDF
  • Felt: Wool blend
  • Bumper: L-Profile Cushions
  • Weight: 136 pounds
Hathaway Fairmont Portable 6-Ft Pool Table Review

Unfortunately, everyone does not have the space or the budget to get a full-size pro-quality pool table while many don't need one. For such users, there is still a ray of hope - The Hathaway Fairmont Portable 6-Ft Pool Table. Priced just under $350, this family-friendly table is sure to keep everyone entertained for countless hours.

It's an ideal choice for anyone who is looking for a portable pool table that occupies low space while not putting a big hole in the pocket.

While the table is slightly smaller than the standard tables but it's still big enough for playing REAL pool. The table is sturdily built with steel folding legs for compact storage. The blended pool felt plays quite similar to standard ones but is slightly on the slower side. The 5-inch L-profile rubber bumpers produce good bounce with predictable ball returns. Additionally, the levelers are fitted in each leg to even out the playing surface if required.

The table comes all-inclusive with two 48-inch cue sticks, 16 billiard balls (including the cue ball), chalk, a black 8-ball triangle, a brush to keep your playfield clean and a nylon carry bag.

Between the affordable pricing and above-par performance, I don't there is a better pool table than this for buyers on a budget.

What We Liked
+ Lightweight, portable and foldable
+ Excellent option for recreational and casual players
+ Bang for the buck pricing
+ Rigid frame and durable construction
+ No installation required
+ 180-days warranty

Watch Out For
- The cue sticks provided along the table are of cheap quality. You probably would want to upgrade to the better ones. 

3. Barrington Claremont 100'' Slate Billiard Table Set

For the Pro's


Specification:

  • Playing Surface: 8 foot
  • Size: 100” x 56” x 31” 
  • Bed: 1'' thick 3-piece slate
  • Felt: Worsted 60% wool, 40% Nylon
  • Bumper: K66
  • Weight: 735 pounds
Barrington Claremont 100'' Slate Billiard Table Set

If you're on the market looking for a premium pool table with slate bed, the Barrington Claremont is definitely worth considering. Most pro-quality pool tables with slate bed cost anywhere from $2500 to $4000 but not this one. Priced just under $2000, this table has all the attributes of what you would expect in a professional table while still being relatively cheaper than most.

The table bed is made out of 1-inch thick slate, which results in true and precise ball roll. The top and side rails are all solid-wood and finished with k66 bumpers for consistent and even ball bounce. The table plays not only excellent but also looks stunning. This unit is sure to add timeless style to any home's decor. The table is pre-fitted with 60% wool felt, which is a tad bit slower than professional felts but is more durable. You always have the option to re-felt the table a couple of years down the line with something like Simonis 860.

The table sports an elegant and intricate design with traditional Queen Anne legs, pure leather drop pockets, and red felt.
The table is durably built with fine attention to finishing ensuring years of uninterrupted play. Although it may seem overly expensive, if you account for the quality, performance, and longevity, the overall price would seem quite reasonable.

If the budget is not a constraint and you're looking for the very best pool table, this is it.

What We Liked
+ Reasonably priced in comparison to similar tables
+ Pro-quality table with 1'' thick 3-piece slate
+ True ball roll and bounce
+ Heavy-duty construction
+ Traditional design
+ Stellar customer support

Watch Out For
- Installation isn't free

4. Fat Cat Frisco 7.5' Pool Table

The "Classic" Choice


Specification:

  • Playing Surface: 7.5 foot
  • Size: 89.5L x 50.5W x 31H
  • Bed: 1'' Accuslate 
  • Felt: Wool blend
  • Bumper: K-66
  • Weight: 337 pounds
  • Warranty: 7 years (Only for the surface)
Fat Cat Frisco 7.5’ Pool Table Review

Third, on our list is the Fat Cat Frisco 7.5' Pool Table - a classic looking table which oozes luxury left right and center. Not only this, the table plays better than most tables with MDF bed. The table features what the company calls "Accuslate surface." The bed is still made out of a 1-inch thick MDF board, but it is further treated for warp resistance and coated with PVC coating for moisture resistance. Moreover, the manufacturer covers the surface with a 7-year warranty against any warpage.

The table is beautifully crafted with rich looking hazel-toned woolen felt that's further complemented by the beveled legs, braided edge accents, and the overall maple finish. The French-style drop pockets with braided strands add to the elegance.

Just as any pro-quality table, this table also comes fitted with 18 pearlized diamonds along the rails allowing players to align for the shots perfectly. The table comes with 6-inch K66 gum-rubber cushions, which offers superior deflection and predictable returns.

Altogether, this table is 84 inches long, 48 inches wide, and 31 H inches in height. Also included with the table are two 57" natural maple cues, a set of billiard balls, two chalks, a plastic eight ball triangle, and a brush.

The table sells for $899, which is roughly $200 costlier than our top pick Barrington Springdale. But here you get a better playing surface, full wooden body construction, better design and yes, a 7-year warranty. If you can slightly extend your budget, the Fat Cat Frisco 7.5' won't disappoint you.

What We Liked
+ Excellent mid-grade choice
+ Plays quite similar to a slate table
+ Good all-round playability
+ Sturdy frame
+ ​DIY installation
+ 7-year warranty on the playing surface

Watch Out For
- The bumpers are a bit hard, resulting in average bounce. 

5. MD Sports 7.5' Titan Billiard Table Set

Modern Design


Specification:

  • Playing Surface: 7.5 foot
  • Size: 89 x 50 x 31H
  • Bed: 18mm MDF
  • Felt: Wool blend
  • Bumper: K-66
  • Weight: 186 pounds
MD Sports Billiard Table Set Review

If you are not a big fan of the "classic" colonial furniture look that is so common with pool tables, a great option for is the modern-looking Titan 7.5'' model from MF Sports. The sleek, edgy design with grey color felt and angled metal legs looks hip and adds vibrant.

Measuring in at 7.5', the table is ideal for recreational play as well as occasional competitive rounds. The playing surface is made out of 18mm thick MDF wood with pro-grade grey felt cloth. The surface rolls true and is quite durable, while the K66 rubber bumper cushions produce accurate ball bounce. The table comes with traditional drop pockets for an authentic pool table look.

The playfield sits on top of a sturdy metal frame, ensuring a stable playing surface. The heavy-duty legs come with 6'' leveler to adjust the height and compensate for uneven flooring. The aprons, rails, and base are all made out of heavy-duty MDF and are equally durable.

The table comes all-inclusive with everything to get started. Included in the set are - official set of pool balls, table brush, wooden triangle, two pool sticks, and two chalk cubes.

On the downside, the table can't be re-felted, not that it would need one if properly maintained. Few of the buyers also mentioned the surface plays a bit slower than the standard table, but that's expected.

Priced under $750, the table is modern, well-built, and plays quite decent make it an ideal choice for home and rec rooms.

What We Liked
+ Modern and unique design
+ Durable build quality
+ Decent performance for the price
+ DIY installation
+ Comes all-inclusive with a pool ball set, two cues, chalk, and triangle

Watch Out For
- The felt isn't replaceable 

Buyer's Guide to Pool Table

Pool tables come in a wide spectrum of prices from $300 to as high as $4000. Some of the ornate and luxurious tables can even cost you upwards of $10k. So, it's imperative you account for your goals and needs first before you buy yourself one.

When making such an expensive purchase, you would obviously want to make the right choice. This buyer's guide covers everything you need to know about the pool tables and how to go about choosing the perfect one for you!

Let's start:

Purpose and Goals


First things first: Why are you buying a pool table, and what are your goals? Are you looking for a table for recreational or casual usage? Or maybe you intend to play pool seriously and are looking for a competitive-grade table. 

Depending on what your goals are, here is the breakdown of how much you should be spending:

Recreational Usage: Don't spend anything above $800. Look for a table with a wooden/MDF bed. Even though they don't play true but still are good enough for casual play. Tables in this price range are basic-looking, with an average build quality. One thing to note here is that these tables aren't that durable and need to be properly looked after for long-term ownership.

Semi-Serious/Enthusiast: If you're a keen pool player who plays seriously or might play sometime in the future, you fall in this category. These tables are ideal for home-usage. You can practice, train, and play matches on them. Such tables can cost you anywhere from $1500 to $2500. The construction quality is a lot better, making them more durable.

Competitive practice: If you're looking to train and play competitive pool, you need a tournament-grade table. Such tables cost upwards of $3000+. Tables in this price range come with a heavy-duty frame and 1"+ thick 3-piece slate. The gameplay, build quality, and finishing is top-notch.

Types of Pool Tables


All pool tables can broadly be grouped into three categories:

Budget Tables 

Budget pool table

Tables in this category don't use real slate for the bed. Mostly MDF, honeycomb, or other substitutes are used. These tables don't play anywhere near to real tables. The ball roll and bounce will be way off, and overall the table will play a lot slower. However, for recreational and casual games, this table is more than suffice. 

The frame is also not that robust and is generally made of plastic or-lower quality wood. If properly cared, such tables would last you 4 to 5 years.

Cost: Under $1000

Mid-Grade table

Mid-Grade Pool Table

Tables in this category can cost you anywhere from $1500 to $3000. The performance is way better than the budget tables. You can practice and play serious matches on these tables.

These tables come with a slate bed; however, the thickness is limited to ½" to ¾". The playing characteristics like the ball roll, speed and bounce are decent, ideal for all skill players to enjoy a game of Pool. However, the frame and other overall construction aren't the best.

Also, some tables might come with one-piece slate, but you should avoid them as it would be a costly exercise later on to re-felt it. Tables in this price band do not come with over-sized slates meaning the slate does not extend beneath the rails completely. As a result, the rails are not sufficiently supported and may misalign with time.

Cost: $1500 to $3000

Professional Quality tables

Professional Pool Table

These are the best quality tables that are used in tournaments and leagues. The materials used in the construction of such tables are top-grade. They come with a 3-piece 1"+ thick slate top, which is sanded and smoothed to 1/10000 of an inch. This results in real ball roll, bounce, and upbeat performance. The slate framing is also more robust to support the extra weight.

The legs and cabinet are generally made of high-quality wood, adding to the overall durability. Such tables would easily last you for a couple of decades if properly maintained.


Cost: $3000+

Tabletop Pool tables

mini pool table

​These are the miniature version of the pool tables designed purely for kids and teens to play with. You can consider them more of a "toy" than an actual "pool table." Mini pool tables are an excellent way to introduce your kids to the game of Pool. They're usually available in 3' to 5' size and come with or without legs.

Cost: $100 to $200

Recommended Room Size


So, the next factor you need to consider is the size of the room where you're going to place the Pool table. Room size depends on two factors. The first one is the size of the pool table itself, and the second one is the size of the cue which you're going to use.

The rule of thumb is, if you use a standard 58'' cue, you should have at least 4.5' or 54'' clearance on all sides. For 52'' cues, you need a minimum 4' clearance on all sides.

So, let's say you plan to get an 8' x 4' table and play with a 58'' cue. The recommended room size is 17' x 13'.

Ideal room size based on the table size:

  • 9-Foot table (9' x 4.5') - 18' x 13.5' (58'' cue), 17' x 12.5' (52'' cue)
  • 8-Foot table (8' x 4') - 17' x 13' (58'' cue), 16' x 12' (52'' cue)
  • 7-Foot table (7 x 3.5') - 16' x 12.5' (58'' cue), 15' x 11.5' (52'' cue)

Based on the room size, choose an appropriate table size.

Slate Vs Other bed material


A slate top is more or less the golden standard for any quality pool table, but it's also more expensive. While there is no doubt slate is the best material to construct the pool top as no other material can be as smooth and straight as slate. But does this mean non-slate pool tables are completely inferior and there is no point ordering one? Let me explain this.

The substitute to slate is wood, accu-slate, granite, plastic honeycomb, and others. All these surfaces don't play like a real pool table, but such tables also cost 1/3rd the price of a standard table. These alternate surfaces are great for casual and recreational play. Even though the ball roll isn't the same as the one in the pro-quality tables, but is still good enough from recreational standards.

So yes, if you're looking for a recreational table, you can very much settle for a non-slate pool table.

Simple or Ornate


Pool tables come in all sort of designs from traditional with queen Anne legs to modern with a hip design. No matter where you put the table, it automatically will be the center of attention, giving the room a different vibe altogether.

So, it's a good idea to choose a design that goes well with your home decor. From the color of the cabinet to the color of the pool felt, everything can be customized to suit your taste and room décor. Some colors can be slightly more expensive than others, but when you're spending this kind of money, you better get something which you like – isn't it?

Personally, I like the tradition pool table with leather drop pockets, and grey felt.

How to Spot a Quality Pool Table?


 Attributes of a Quality Pool Table

A quality pool table is an heirloom that you can pass from generation to generation, provided you pick the right one. So how do you tell the difference between a quality pool table from an average one?

You just need to look at these six elements:

1) Table Bed 

High-quality pool tables come with slate beds, which are leveled to 1/1000 of an inch. Most of the tables are fitted with ¾ inch slate while a professional pool table comes with 1" + slate bed. 

Alternative materials like plywood, slatine, accu-slate, or honeycomb don't play like a standard pool table. If you're looking for a pro-quality pool table, you should settle with anything other than a slate.

Slate Thickness

You would also want the slate surface to slide below the rails. This is known as an oversized slate. It adds more strength and support to the top rails. The underneath slate can handle the additional weight in an event when someone sits on the table edge.

2) Frame

Support Frame

The frame is something that many buyers don't give much thought into. A slate or the bed is only as good as the frame supporting it. For a ¾" slate horizontal support beam is fine, but for 1" plus slate, cross-section beams are recommended. Be sure to check the structure of the beams as it's a crucial indicator as to how well the table is built.

Also, the extra frame backing allows for stapling the pool felt rather gluing it. Overtime, glues felt can become loose but not the stapled ones.

3) Legs

80% of the weight of the pool table is the top cabinet, and the rest are the legs itself. While playing when someone leans on the table to the shoot or sit on the edge, it puts extra weight on the table legs. So, it's crucial that the legs must be sturdily built to handle the extra weight with ease.

Broadly there are three types of legs:

  • One-piece legs (best quality) – These legs are made out of one single piece of solid wood from the floor till the cabinet. Such legs are generally used in costlier pool tables upwards of $3000 and offer maximum support.
  • Two-piece legs – As the name suggests, such legs are made of two-pieces, which are joined together by nuts. They are easier to assemble, but the nut may become loose over time and may make the table a bit unstable.
  • MDF legs (low quality) – These are the legs which you find in cheaper tables. These legs are made out of MDF materials and might be covered with Queen Anne style plastic mold. They're of inferior quality and may break under stress.

4) Rail Cushions

Next, comes the cushion and rails. The ball bounce and rebound depends on them. 

Primarily there are two types of rail cushions: Synthetic and natural rubber or K66. Synthetic rubbers have excellent rebound properties, but over time the clay filler inside them dries out and becomes unresponsive. They're also expensive to replace.

On the other hand, Natural or K66 rubber are durable and maintain their true properties for a long time.

5) Pool Felt

Pool felt is the cloth that's put on top of the slate. You should look for a heavy worsted pool felt preferably 18 to 22 ounces. The heavier the cloth, the more durable it is. On the downside, heavier cloth plays slower.

Look for 80:20 or 70:30 wool, and nylon mix felt. Wool gives the felt the fuzziness and the nap while nylon gives the strength. Higher the nylon content, the faster the table will play. Newer pool felts come with Teflon coating, which protects the table from spills and liquid damage.

6) Accessories: 

All pool tables come with standard accessories to get you playing without needing to buy anything else. It includes a ball set, rack, chalk, and a couple of cues. Some of the high-end pool tables also come with a matching cover. But the quality of these accessories can vastly vary across the price range. The cues supplied with the table are more or less like a house cue, which you would need to replace eventually.

Installation – DIY or Paid


Let's say you have decided on the table you want, but what about the installation? You have two options. You can either do it yourself or hire someone to do it.

If it's slate top, I would recommend going with a professional to handle the installation part. There are so many factors to take care of that you won't be able to do it by yourself. No matter how many YouTube videos you watch, leveling the table requires years of experience, special training, and a keen eye. That said, some of the professional tables come with free assembly and set up. Check with the manufacturer about the installation part and if it's included in the cost or not.

If you have opted for a table with a wooden bed table, you can do the installation yourself. The bed comes pre-fitted with the felt, and all you need to do is bolt all the parts together. With two adults carrying out the installation, you can set up the table within 2 hrs.

Summing Up the Guide


So, as you can see, buying a pool table is anything but easy. You need to account for several factors, and if you stick to quality (which you should), you can easily overshoot your budget. That said, it's a once in a lifetime purchase which you're going to use for a long, long time. So, spending a bit extra and getting quality and durable unit makes all the sense in the world.

I hope you found this pool table buying guide helpful. If you've any further questions or you want me to review a particular pool table, you can reach out to me at [email protected].

Kevin James
 

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