Pool table with billiard balls and cues

Since the initial rise in popularity of billiards way back in the 1700s, friends, families, and even enemies have gathered around a pool table to chat, settle bets, and have fun. A pool table is a perfect addition to any game room or basement. 

But unless you're a seasoned pro, you probably don't know what makes a good pool table and how to tell the quality pool tables apart from the poorly constructed ones. 

Billiard Factory pool table buying guide will answer all of your burning questions and give you some quick tips to help you choose the perfect pool table. 

What Makes the Perfect Pool Table?

Not sure what goes into creating the perfect tool table? Keep reading to find out. 

Types of Tables

There are two main types of pool tables: slate and synthetic slate. Every table needs a sturdy slab of material underneath the felt to create the ideal playing surface. For most pool tables, this is achieved using slate. 

Slate is a sturdy rock formed from mined volcanic ash. It is crafted into all kinds of products, including large smooth slabs for pool tables. Slate has proven time and time again to be the best material for the job, but other materials are sometimes used to cut down on the final price and weight of the table. 

If you're chasing the perfect pool table, you'll want to go with slate. Plywood, fiberboard, particleboard, slatron, and honeycomb are all slate substitutes in low-end pool tables. But they're not as sturdy and are vulnerable to cracking and warping problems. 

Pool Table Styles

The perfect pool table for your game room is one you love to look at. There are three main styles of pool tables: classic, transitional, and modern. 

Classic pool tables are what you probably picture when you think of billiards. They are often simple in design and use the traditional green felt and antique styling on the frame and legs. 

In contrast, modern pool tables have more striking features and architecture and a sleek, modern finish. 

Lastly, transitional pool tables blend aspects from both modern and classic styles. 

Key Factors to Consider

Below are some important factors to consider when choosing the perfect pool table. 


For the best quality pool table, always choose one that utilizes slate as the base rather than a substitute. Slabs of slate for pool tables come in varying thicknesses, but the three standard sizes are 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4", with 1" as the ideal thickness. 

Frame and Leg Construction 

The frame and legs of a pool table are two of the deciding factors in the table's overall quality. The frame and legs must be sturdy enough to support the slate and the weight of players leaning against the table during play. Look for a pool table made from good quality hardwood, such as cherry, walnut, or oak. 


Every pool table has a cloth lining, but not all cloth linings are created equal. To achieve that signature fuzzy texture without compromising the integrity of the fabric, you should look for a table with a cloth lining made from a blend of wool and nylon

Some cloth linings also come coated with Teflon to make them resistant to stains. This is especially useful for families with small children. 

Sizing and Space 

Eight-foot tables are the professional standard if you have enough space and provide the best playing experience. However, pool tables are also available in six-foot and seven-foot lengths.

When deciding what size pool table is appropriate for your space, you have to keep in mind the extra room required to use the pool table. You must have enough room to navigate every side with your cue and take a shot from anywhere. Check out Billiard Factory's room planner to help you design the perfect space for your pool table.   

Don't Forget the Accessories  

To round out this pool table buying guide, we encourage you to consider what accessories you'll need before making any final decisions. To get the most from your pool table, you'll need:

  • Pool cues
  • Ball sets
  • Ball racks 
  • Chalk
  • Chalk holders
  • Cue tips
  • Cue cases
  • Table covers
  • Cleaning supplies

Determining which accessories are included can help you decide which table offers the best bang for your buck.