If you are considering purchasing a pool table then there a number of key elements that should be taken into account before making that all important final decision.
1. Budget This is probably where most people start when looking at various options and given today’s financial climate it becomes even more important. In order to purchase a table with the longer term in mind it’s worth considering how much money you need to buy the right table rather than how much money you have today – which may mean you end up with a short term option that you simply find you need to replace in a very short period of time. Pool tables range in price considerably based on some of the key elements that are referenced below.
2. Size Pool tables come in a number of different sizes (generally 7′, 8′ or 9′) and although you may have the money to purchase any one of the available options it’s worth giving careful consideration to the room you have available for your pool table. You should not just take into account the actual size of the pool table but also the required playing space around the table. It’s not worth having an 8′ pool table in a space that means your pool cue is wedged up against a fireplace or a window when trying to make that all important shot.
3. Branded/Non Branded There are different types of branding to consider in respect of buying a pool table. There is the manufacturers brand, such as Olhausen and then there is the design brand, such as Harley Davidson. The two elements teamed together often determine the end price of the table. You could expect to pay in the region of $ 2500 upwards for an Olhausen 7ft pool table. However, if you want a Harley Davidson Olhausen table then that could increase the price to approximately $ 3000 upwards. Saying that, your friends will always be there to play on a Harley Davidson Olhausen Pool Table wouldn’t they?
4. Slate/Non Slate Slate or non slate – that is the question. Well actually, if you ask most purists they would say it’s not a question at all, it has to be slate. OK, let me back up, first we should cover what the slate actually is. Underneath the billiard felt is the play surface. Traditionally this has always been slate and is generally the preferred option. Slate gives a even play surface that will last for years. Saying that, non slate options have come a long way. There are now materials like accuslate which is essentially a high density fiber board but the quality is so good that you actually get a 7 year warranty with it. Given the choice, go for slate, it’s definitely the best option. There are however a couple of reasons you might not want to choose slate. The first is cost, real slate table are a lot more expensive and the second is weight, if you table is going to be somewhere where you need to move it slate really isn’t an option. Once a slate table is there it’s there for good. Slate usually comes in three pieces, each piece weighs in the region of a couple of hundred pounds. Not often used any more, slate can come in one single piece. The major disadvantage is the weight of the slate in one piece. The advantage is that you have no seams as you would with a 3 piece option.
5. Felt/Accessories There are many options to consider as accessories for your pool table. Starting with the felt, be aware that not all pool tables come supplied with the felt and you would then need to purchase this separately as an additional cost to the overall price you pay. Even if your pool table does come with felt, you can purchase felt in many different colors, designs and qualities to enhance the overall look and feel of your pool table. Once you have your table and felt then the world is your oyster as far as accessories are concerned. Ensure that you have a good quality pool table brush to protect your investment. You will obviously need pool cues and once you have them consider a wall mounted cue rack, standalone cue rack or cue claw to store your cues when they are not in use, which won’t be that often of course! Other accessories include pool balls, ball racks, cue chalk, bridge cues and cue cases amongst others
6. On Line/Retail If you buy a pool table on line then unless the e-tailer is based in your state you are not likely to have to pay sales tax which can make quite a big difference on the end price of a pool table. If you buy from a retail store then you are always going to be paying sales tax on top of the final price you are given. That said, then there is a clear advantage in dealing face to face with someone in a store as you have the advantage of being able to negotiate yourself the best price. This is not as easy on line, however, still possible if you are prepared to pick up the phone and talk to them. The best e-tailers have freephone customer services numbers with real people at the end of the phone! You don’t get anything if you don’t ask! The advantage of dealing with an on line store is that their overheads are lower than a physical retail store and so the cost to you should be less.
7. Shipping If you are purchasing a pool table of any sort the cost of shipping can either be built into the price that you see and include FREE shipping or the shipping can be shown as a flat rate or volume/weight based charge in addition to the base price of the pool table. Be aware if you are looking on line for a pool table and comparison shopping not all e-tailers show prices in the same way. Be careful to ensure you are comparing like with like and that ultimately you end up with the best deal.
8. Installation Again, be aware that most pool tables are not delivered to you fully assembled. In fact some tables require qualified installers to ensure they are set up to the manufacturers required standards. Installation is likely to be a further cost on top of the price quoted either on line or in a retail store. If you buy from a store then be sure to ask what the cost of installation is and when it can be completed. If you are buying on line then be sure you have access to someone capable of setting up your pool table.
Hopefully these tips will prove useful to you in your search for the perfect pool table.