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Billiards

Best Pool Table

When selecting the best pool table, the most important thing to think about is size. Not all rooms are created like pool halls with tons of room, and often, home rec rooms require something smaller than standard size. So measure before going out to purchase a new pool table, keeping in mind to add at least 10 feet to each dimension of a table to allow enough room for shots. Professional tables are 9 feet in length so a large amount of space is required, but as this list will show you, size isn't important to recreational play.

Slate bed tables are the best to look for and, as such, are also the most pricey. They last the longest and offer the best play. Pool tables made of MDF (pressure treated wood) usually still give excellent play at lesser cost, but they are more prone to warping over time if not properly maintained in a controlled environment. Some MDF tables have steel rods, which limits warping and extends the life of these tables.

This list will look at the best and most versatile pool tables for everyday use with the average household in mind, and each one has made the list based upon a variety of selection criteria. First, these picks utilize quality materials in the construction of each table, including the cabinet, the playing surface, and the felt covering on the surface. The cabinets are sturdy and crafted from strong wood and other high end materials so these tables won't sag or split (thus making the playing surface uneven). The playing surfaces, if not slate, are made of MDF or other reliable slate substitutes such as plywood, fiberboard or slatron. The felt will be a wool and nylon blend with a Teflon coating to keep the material durable and fast, so the balls react properly as they spin across the table.

These tables were also chosen by considering the quality of their side rail and cushion quality, crucial areas where the balls bank across the table during game play, and if they aren't made of materials such as K-66 rubbers or other gum types, then the balls won't bounce accurately. You do not want any dead spots on a rail and these tables have been built with proper materials to avoid these problems. Finally, the legs are constructed to remain sturdy and stable for the life of the product as they hold the majority of the weight of the table; they’re securely attached to the support frames and built to withstand years of play.

Each of these picks represents the best of these criteria in products that are available on the market right now. We also took assembly requirements into account, so keep in mind many of these table have different assembly requirements that could prove difficult for some consumers to navigate successfully without some professional help.

Playcraft Sprint Red Cloth Pool Table

The Sprint brings home real billiard hall gameplay with this table measuring seven feet in length and comes in red, electric blue, or green durable Taclon cloth covering. The table doesn't require much assembly once it's delivered to your house, simply install the legs (which also include levelers to ensure the table is straight and even all the way across) and you're pretty much ready to get started.

The playing surface is composed of resin infused HDF with a pvc coating and k65 rails that provide true and accurate ball response at every part of the table. Tubular aluminum and steel supports round out the package in this well-made and reliable table that you can find at an affordable price of under $1000. The company also offers an optional 2-in-1 table-top insert for ping-pong on one side and push hockey on the other to make the table a complete gaming center for hours of enjoyment.

Fat Cat Frisco II Billiard Table

Measuring seven feet in length, the Frisco II is an attractive table which brings subtle class to any room. Covered in a brown wool blend cloth, the playing surface is built from 1 inch MDF Accuslate which is designed not to warp over time; in fact, the manufacturer is so sure it will remain straight and completely even, it comes with a seven year warranty. The thick, beveled legs and cabinet are wood veneer mahogany and six inch thick side rails with K66 rubber bumpers which offer excellent ball movement and response for true authentic billiards playability. White diamond inlays along the rails and fringed drop pockets round out the beauty of this sturdy table. The table also comes with a pair of 57 inch long cues, chalk, a full set of pool balls, and a resin triangle for racking them up.

Bello Games New York Deluxe Pool Table

If a regulation size table is just too large for your home but a table-top version is too small, then you may have found just what you're been searching for in the Deluxe Pool Table from Bello Games New York. This table measures 44 inches in length and 24 inches wide, which is considerably less than half the size of a regulation-size table so it can fit in any living room that can't accommodate the dimensions of the larger version. There's no assembly required here either; just take it out of the box, unfold the legs all the way out and place it wherever you want.

The first thing you'll notice about the table is how much it weighs, as it’s heavy and sturdy enough to present a stationary, reliable playing surface. The Deluxe doesn't look, feel or play like one of those cheap tabletop-style tables either. The cabinet is made of solid hardwood and the surface cloth has a thick texture much like that you'd find on a real pool table; while the balls react with the same velocity and inertia off the bumpers as they would at your local billiard hall.

Despite its smaller dimensions, the Deluxe uses regulation balls which are included in the package and you can even use standard size cues to shoot. The table comes with a set of cues that are almost too lightweight for even the most novice of players, but they should do the trick nicely for a night of fun and games at home.

Fat Cat Tucson 7-Foot Billiard Table with Ball Return

The Tucson is Fat Cat's seven foot table that retails for well under $1000. It uses 18mm thick MDF for the playing surface with thick rubber bumpers and they've covered it all in a brilliant blue polyester cloth. The table is black with silver accents and combined with the blue surface, this is one sharp-looking addition to any room.

Playability of the table is nice and even, with good ball response along the bumpers and it comes equipped with a ball return for easy, one-stop access when you're ready to rack them up again. This also includes the cue-ball which will roll into the hopper on every scratch; if it's late in the game, you'll have to shuffle around to find it among all the others that have been sunk already.

Assembly isn't too complicated but it does take time, as you have to negotiate multiple pieces of 17 different parts that make up the entire product. Yet despite the use of MDF instead of slate, this table is still very heavy and you're going to need at least two sets of hands to maneuver and turn it upright once you've finished putting it all together. The Tucson comes with everything you need to play in one box; along with the table you get a set of regulation size balls, two 57 inch cues, two pieces of chalk, and a triangle.

Carmelli Sharp Shooter 40" Table Top Pool Table

Carmelli Sharp Shooter 40" Table Top Pool Table

Made entirely of thick "CARB" certified MDF, the Sharp Shooter is a forty inch long table-top version of a typical pool table. The CARB designation means it’s much stronger and resilient than your everyday particle board or plastic so you need not worry about letting the little ones play with this without supervision. But you'll want in on the action anyway because despite the size of the table and the subsequent smaller balls and cue in relation, the Sharp Shooter still offers plenty of fun which provides a great introduction of this game to children. The L-shaped legs at each corner ensure stability during game play and soft pads safeguard whatever table or counter-top you choose to set the game up on. When you're done playing the table is lightweight at only 24 pounds, making it easy to store until the next game night.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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