Pool is a game that is universally loved. However, the pool tables come in different sizes and types. Therefore, knowing the difference between the many types of tables available is important when purchasing one.
This article will break down the different types of pool tables available for you to know which one suits you best. We will break the article into different sections highlighting the different types of tables based on size, use, material, etc.
Types of pool tables based on construction material
Pool tables are classified based on the material used to make the pool table. Generally, there are two general types under this classification: slate and non-slate.
Slate is a material that is made from clay or volcanic ash. Pool tables made from this material are usually of high quality. Typically pool tables made from this material have 1 to 3 segments of the material.
Three segment tables offer more stability compared to one segment table. Also, these types of tables are usually built inside a wooden housing to add strength and durability.
Advantages of Slate Tables
- Slate tables offer an exceptionally flat and level table surface for exceptional ball rolling.
- Slate is resistant to warping and hence more adaptable and flexible based on environments.
- Minimal maintenance is required since the table is made from tough slate rock.
- It is more reliable for professional and competitive matches.
- Compared to non-slate, slate tables are pretty expensive
- These tables are also heavy and difficult to move and are best suited to fixed locations
Due to their size and weight, slate tablets are best suited to professional and competitive gaming.
These tables are available in several dimensions, with full-sized tables measuring 12ft x 6 ft 1.5″ and can be fitted into rooms with a minimum size of 22ft x 16ft.
Non-slate pool tables are divided into various tables made from different materials ranging from wood to metal.
1. Wooden pool tables
As their name suggests, they are made from wooden materials, particularly MDF. They are more common to other non-slate tables. Also, they are relatively durable and cost less than slate tables.
2. Acrylic pool tables
Acrylic is a material made from a combination of poly plastic and glass. But unlike traditional glass, this material is shattered resistant. Also, acrylic tables are considerably lighter than MDF and slate tables.
They are also versatile as you can remove the top of the board and replace it with something else. They are best for outdoor gaming and are ideal for kids or people who want to train. They can be used both indoors and outdoors.
However, compared to other types, they are not as durable and are more vulnerable to breaking. As such, they are not designed to be used in professional tournaments. These tables make for good decorative tables for homes and outdoor settings.
3. Metallic tables
Metallic tables are not as standard as the other non-slate tables. However, they are pretty durable and are typically made from aluminum or stainless steel. As such, they weigh less than slate tables and full wooden tables.
They do not experience any kind of warping. These tables make for good decor pieces in the house. They are typically not used in professional settings. One of the drawbacks of these tables is that they are pricier than other non-slate tables.
They are also not as durable as slate tables and can be dented.
4. Rubber tables
These are the rarest of all non-slate tables. They are typically made from other materials, with only some parts made of rubber. For people who like doing tricks on the table, these tables are ideal as they allow for such tricks as bouncing the cue ball or spinning.
They are soft and lightweight, making them easier to move around. However, these tables require a lot of maintenance and due to the rubber material does not provide a smooth rolling. They are great for personal use and are not ideal for professional tournaments.
Advantages of Non-slate pool tables
- Non-slate tables are typically less expensive compared to slate tables
- These types of tables are also more lightweight
- Some types of non-slate, such as acrylic, can be used outdoors and offer versatility
- Non-slate does not offer the same ball rolling smoothness as slate, and when you shift from a slate To a non-slate table, you will notice the difference, which can be annoying initially.
- Non-slate tables are not as durable as slate tables.
Types of pool table depend on the different needs of players
Pool tables can also be classified based on player needs. In competitive pool tables are generally classified under English and American pool tables. The standard of pool tables in competitive sports is dictated by the World-Pool Billiard association.
In the US, the associate governing body is the Billiards Congress of America. In the UK, the affiliate governing body is the European Pocket Billiard Association.
English Pool tables
English pool tables are, on average, smaller than American pool tables. These tables are used in competitive matches under the guidelines of the EPBA. A standard English pool table measures 6 to 7ft in length. They also have smaller object balls measuring 2 inches in size, with the cue balls measuring 1 1/17 inches.
The balls used on English pool tables also measure 2 inches are often referred to as reds and yellows or blues and yellows with one number 8 black ball. The cues used on these tables have a smaller tip with brass ferals. The body of the cue is typically made of ash wood.
Advantages of English Pool tables
- English pool tables are smaller than American ones and thus require less space than their American counterparts.
- These tables also use smaller balls, and the cues have smaller tips to maximize striking strength.
- The nap cloth used on English pool tables prioritizes accuracy and precision compared to American tables that focus on power and speed.
- Feature a slate thickness of not more than 21 inches which may be less durable than the thicker sectional slates of American tables.
English pool tables typically measure 8 by 4 inches or 7 by 3.5 inches making them smaller than American tables.
English pool tables will typically fit rooms that are at least .18m x 3.94m in size.
American Pool tables
American pool tables are larger than their English counterparts, and the standard American pool table measures 8 to 9 ft long. However, you can get 7 ft long tables. When it comes to the slate on American pool tables, they are typically sectional slates available in two or three pieces.
As such, the installation is done by professionals. This is because it is harder to transport an 8 to 9 ft long slate. These tables typically feature pockets with straight cut corners that are wider than those of English tables. The balls used are usually larger, 2 ¼ inch balls. The cues used are also longer measure 12 mm
Advantages of American Pool tables
- It can be easier to play on American pool tables due to their larger playing field and wider pockets.
- Due to the use of sectional pieces of slate, these tables can be more durable
- The felt cloth used allows for faster rolling of the ball
- Tend to be heavier and bigger than English tables, making them harder to transport
American pool tables are, on average, measure 8 to 9 ft in length. However, there are 7 ft long options and even 6 ft long tables, though rare.
Pool tables that are 8 ft long will require at least 5.2 x 3.96 meters of space, while 9 ft long pool tables will require at least 5.5 x 4.1.
Types of pool tables based on use
Pool tables are purchased either for personal or professional use. In this regard, you can buy a pool table for home use or set up in a public place such as a restaurant. There are two types of pool tables in this classification, dining and commercial pool tables.
Dining pool tables
Also known as pool diners, these pool tables are designed to be used at home. These types of tables can accommodate a matching hardtop. This allows you to use the table for things other than the pool.
They feature a height that you can use ordinary dining chairs. They are typically smaller than commercial pool tables.
Commercial pool tables
Commercial pool tables are typically larger in size and are set in commercial places. They usually feature a payment system to allow customers to pay to play a game. The most common often feature a mechanic straight six coin handling system.
More modern commercial pool tables can handle electronic payments and accept multiple denominations. Others allow you to set charging per hour or day, and you can change this setting from the machine.
Types of pool tables depending on their size.
Pool tables can also be classified based on their sizes. They range in size from tournament to small min-sized pool tables.
Tournament pool tables
Tournament pool tables are used in professional tournaments, and their size is dictated by a professional association. These pool tables measure 9 ft, with a playing field measuring 100 inches long and 50 inches wide.
These types of tables are designed for rooms that are at least 5.5 by 4.1 meters in size.
Home or recreational table
Pool tables used at home for recreational purposes are smaller than tournament tables. On average, a home pool table will measure 8 ft with a playing field that is 88 inches long and 44 inches wide.
Bar size pool tables
These are the most common pool tables found in pubs and bars and typically coin-operated systems. These tables are 7 ft with a playing field measuring 78 inches long and 39 inches wide.
Mini pool table
Mini pool tables are the smallest, measuring 6 ft, and are ideal for kids to learn the game’s rules. They are suitable for small locations such as apartments and are easy to move. Their biggest advantage is their portability.
In terms of dimensions, mini pool tables range from 20 inches to 6 inches in length. Full-sized pool tables range from 7 to 9 ft. As such, any pool table under 6 inches qualifies as a mini pool table
Types of pool tables on their design
Pool tables come in different designs. As such, they can also be classified based on their designs. Here are some common pool table types based on design.
Standard pool table
Standard pool tables are the regular pool tables found in most places. They are designed only for playing pool. These are typically 8 ft tables that can be used at home or in commercial settings. They are small enough for working on your defenses while being large enough for maneuvering.
Advantages of Standard Pool tables
- Available in a variety of construction materials to fit your needs
- Are readily available for purchase
- It can be used at home and in commercial settings
- They are not versatile and are designed for playing pool alone
Convertible pool tables
As their name suggests, these tables can easily be converted into regular dining tables. They are great for home use as you can use them as both a pool table and a dining table. Some are even capable of being converted into table tennis tables and even air hockey tables.
This means you get a four-in-one and sometimes a three-in-one pool table for home use.
Advantages of Convertible Pool tables
- Since they are convertible, they help save space, especially for people with small rooms.
- These tables are aesthetically flexible and can be changed to suit the design needed at given moments.
- Convertible tables can help protect the pool table felt from abuse by children and pets if you have them.
- Most convertible tables sacrifice some pool table features in favor of flexibility, and this means they may not offer the same playability as standard pool tables.
Bumper pool tables
These types of tables are less common but are still found in game rooms. They typically feature an octagonal design though there are some with rectangular shapes. Bumper pool tables are used to play traditional billiards games.
As such, they have eight rubber bumpers arranged in a cross pattern in the middle of the table. Also, they feature a hole or pocket on either end of the table. The game is played in teams of two, and the goal is to be the first to sink your balls in the holes.
Advantages of Bumper Pool tables
- These pool tables are smaller than others, and you can fit more of them in a game room.
- Some have hardtops that can be used as dining tables or poker tables
- Requires less maintenance compared to other table types
- Bumper pool tables are not as common as other types; thus, fewer people are playing on them.
Folding pool table
A foldable table is excellent for people with limited space. These tables can be used then folded and stored when not in use. They are great for home use.
Advantages of Folding Pool tables
- Great for people with limited space as they can easily be folded for storage
- Due to them being foldable, they are also easy to transport
- They are usually cheaper than non-foldable pool tables
- Wrong installation of the table will result in an uneven playing field.
Types of pool tables on their types and Aesthetics
The design and style of pool tables also vary, and they can generally be classified into three types based on style.
Classic pool tables
These are the traditional pool tables we have become used to. They feature a red or vintage green felt and a hardwood frame. In most cases, they will have legs with unique designs, the type you find on older chairs.
These types of tables typically sport a modern design characterized by straight lines and colorful felt covers. You can find these tables with cloth covers of varying colors and patterns. Some are available with patterns of their owner’s favorite teams. They allow for more personalization than classic tables.
Modern pool tables
These are designed with modern aesthetics in mind. They typically feature pockets of varying assortments with varying bold felt colors. Some even include LED glass as the top cover. These are more high-end than the other types and, as such, cost more.
Pool tables come in a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes. Finding the right one to suit your needs will require understanding the different types of tables available. In addition, it is important to understand what each tabletop is suited for.