by Staff Writer
A billiard table offers hours of entertainment and something to center social gatherings around. And, depending on whether you want just want a billiard table to practice on or a table for friendly pool tournaments with your buddies, a good billiards table is a solid investment. When you're buying a pool table, just like anything that will last you several years, you'll want to know a few things first.
What is the difference between billiard tables and pool tables?
Billiard tables are a more general term that encompasses a few more specific types of game tables. While the size and shape of the tables are very similar, there are some differences. The most common table type is a pool, or pocket billiards, table. Snooker tables are very similar to pool tables, but the pockets of snooker tables meet the rails with a much more rounded manner than pool tables, which have sharper corners. Carom billiard tables don't have pockets.
How big are pool tables?
Pool tables vary in size, but the three most common sizes are 7-, 8- and 9-foot tables. The width of a pool table should be half of its length, so a 9-foot-long pool table will be 4.5 feet wide.
How much space do I need for a billiards table?
You will want a minimum of 3 feet on every side of your billiards table, ideally more. Five feet on every side of the table should give you plenty of room for a 58-inch pool cue. If you don't have 5 feet on every side, you might want to consider buying shorter pool cues.
What features do I need on my pool table?
The features you should look for depend on what you want. You can get table pockets that return the balls to one location or hold the pool balls in the pockets to be retrieved manually. Solid hardwood rails are likely to hold up better over time than softer woods, and some pool table manufacturers will add mother-of-pearl inlays in the wood rails of the table. Some other features to consider are the design of the table, the color of the felt and whether the slate is one solid piece or not.