The 8 Best Mini Pool Tables
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in December of 2015. For those who harbor billiard aspirations yet inhabit apartment-sized spaces, one of these mini pool tables could be the recreational solution you need. Some are small enough to enjoy on a coffee table while others stand on their own four feet. They are an affordable way to hone your skills for the big leagues or just for the kids to have some fun around the home. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best mini pool table on Amazon.
Miniature Pool Table; Maximum Fun
Most cost less than $25 and will be worth the purchase even if only played with on occasion.
These squat units stand only a few inches in height, as they are designed to be perched atop a table, desk, or counter.
Cue sports -- the name given broadly to games involving play with balls, sticks, and tables -- have been enjoyed for centuries. There are mentions of billiards found in writings about 15th century French royal courts, in the plays of William Shakespeare, and in many other historical sources, a few of which date back as far as the 1300s. By the mid-1800s, a game quite similar to modern pool had emerged and, by the dawn of the 20th century, its standardization was underway.
Most pool tables used in regulated competition (and found in commercial pool halls) measure either 9-feet by 4.5-feet or 8-feet by 4-feet. They feature six pockets, and the balls used in play are 2.25-inches in diameter. If you want to play (or practice) pool on a table that will be recognized by the World Pool-Billiard Association, then you will have to do so using one of these sizes of table. However, not only are full-sized pool tables expensive, with most options costing well over a thousand dollars and many priced much higher, but they are also often prohibitively large. A 9-foot by 4.5-foot table, for example, necessitates free floor space measuring, at minimum, 16.5-feet by 12.5-feet, which is a larger area than many rooms in many homes.
Fortunately, there is no reason not to enjoy hours of recreational fun on a much smaller table. Many miniature pool tables offer affordable and convenient recreation that employs the same mechanics and rules applying to a full-sized game of billiards albeit on a smaller scale.
If you are considering a mini pool table for your home or to be given as a gift, first decide whether the table is more for novelty and occasional fun or if you want a table that does indeed function like its full-sized counterparts. A small pool table with the same attributes as a regulation unit -- from cup shape to felted surface to rail response -- will cost several hundred dollars, but many are well-made enough to last for years of regular use. Consider a table that measures between five and six feet at least along its longer axis to get a verisimilitude of official pool play, and also look for a table with a bed height of approximately 30 inches above the ground. (Regulation tables must be between 29.25 and 31 inches tall.)
If you are less concerned with a diminutive billiards table that offers you the ability to hone genuine skills and are more interested in playfully passing time, consider a tabletop pool table. These squat units stand only a few inches in height, as they are designed to be perched atop a table, desk, or counter. Most such options still measure several feet on a side and thus allow for challenging shots and plenty of fun, but few approximate genuine pool play given their dimensions.
Finally, there are even smaller pool "tables" that are essentially toys, though are still suitable for momentary diversion. These truly miniature versions usually measure little more than a foot and half on the longer sides and can be treated as much as decorations as play objects. Most cost less than $25 and will be worth the purchase even if only played with on occasion.
The Basic Rules of 8-Ball Pool
Just because you don't own a full-sized pool table doesn't mean you can't play a "real" game of pool; after all, so long as all the players involved in a match are using the same equipment, then the playing field is level, as it were, and you might as well take the challenge seriously. To do that, you must know the rules of the world's most popular pool game: 8-Ball.
The break shot must either pocket a ball or send at least four balls into contact with rails.
The game starts with all the balls racked at one end of the table, with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle. The cue ball is fired at the racked balls from the far side of the table. The break shot must either pocket a ball or send at least four balls into contact with rails. If one number ball is pocketed, the player then assumes its cohort -- stripes or solids, e.g. If one stripe and one solid (or more of either) are pocketed, the player may choose. Sinking the 8-ball on the break wins the game; sinking the cue ball while breaking results in loss.
Game play then involves each player subsequently trying to sink his or her respective balls while avoiding driving the 8-ball into a pocket. Sinking the 8-ball prior to the pocketing of all of a player's other balls results in a loss. Players continue taking shots after each successful sinking of a ball, and switch turns after a missed shot. Pocketing of an opponent's ball is considered as a missed shot. All non-obvious shots should be called.
If a shot is taken in which the cue ball is pocketed, driven off the table, or fails to touch another ball and at least three rails, it is a scratch. The opposing player may then position the cue ball as desired in the third of the table from which the break shot was taken.
When all of one player's balls (all stripes or solids) have been legally pocketed, that player then commences trying to sink the 8-ball. Doing so wins the game; a scratch while shooting for the 8-ball results in a loss.
Mastering A Trick Shot -- No Large Table Required
If you are only going to learn one pool "trick," let it be the masse shot. Pronounced mah-SAY, this "shot" simply refers to putting "spin" on the cue ball, driving it along a curved line as opposed to in a straight line.
The closer the cue tip strikes the center mass of the ball, the less spin will be created, and vice-versa.
To successfully complete a masse shot, you must hold the cue at a much steeper angle than would normally be used with straight shots. By driving the cue down into the ball, you force it to effectively pop out from between the tip of the cue and the table, which creates spin when properly executed.
The ball will still be driven forward in the general direction as established by the vector of the cue; the degree of spin is established both by the up/down angle of the cue and by where you strike the cue ball. The closer the cue tip strikes the center mass of the ball, the less spin will be created, and vice-versa.
Practicing masse shots (often though slightly inaccurately also called "putting English on the ball") does not require a full-sized pool table at all; it merely requires full sized billiards balls, a good cue, and lots of patience.
Statistics and Editorial Log