Pool tables come in several sizes; it is very important to consider several factors before deciding on the one for you.
For starters, consider the size of the room where the table will be placed. While doing this, make sure to provide for sufficient movement of players, placement and usage of cues of various sizes, a suitable corner for the marker board, some sitting area for players as well as spectators and so on.
The size of pool tables range from seven to nine feet and choosing a pool table that is the largest, to fit your room is advised since, the larger the table, the more challenging will be your game of pool. Of course, if you want to pursue the game professionally, the largest size is advised.
Next, choose the make and finish of the pool table. There are less expensive and tacky looking ones in veneer finish to the very fine ones with a complete wood finish. If you are looking at keeping the pool table for a very long time then it is a good idea to invest extra and pick the wood finish ones complete with solid wooden legs. Carvings on these legs are mostly to individual taste and could bump up the cost.
A good quality table should have a minimum of one good beam in the centre for the entire length of the table. Additionally there will be two crisscrossing beams. Some tables have more than one centre beam and this is for the good.
The next very important aspect to check is the number of slates that support the pool table. If you get an old table with a single slate, it is definitely a great find, except you may not find replacements later! It is better to choose a table with 3 slates as they also ensure better leveling of the table. Check to see that the slates are directly attached to the table frame, using screws that are firmly set.
Pool tables with rails made of solid wood are the best as they bounce the ball very well. Check to see that the rails are fastened well to the frame through a felt strip and all the way through the rail. A firm rail is essential for the necessary cushioning of the ball and good play. Check to see that the pockets are of standard size. It is a good idea to ask your local pool association for rules regarding the materials used on pool tables. This helps in buying the most authentic pool table.
Next, the cloth on the table must be secured firmly. To test this, gently place your palm on the table and remove slowly. If you feel the cloth move then it is not a good buy. I say this since the cloth is one of the more expensive parts of a pool table. Also, watch out for general wear and tear on the cloth.
While installing the pool table ensure that the area around is cool and dry and definitely not damp. If dampness is found, check with your pool table supplier for installation of a mini-heater under the table or similar remedy.
Trust this helps in choosing a good pool table for yourself. Happy cueing!