The 7 Best Pool Tables

Updated September 07, 2017 by Sam Kraft

7 Best Pool Tables
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Put a billiard table in your home and you'll have the most popular house on the street. Whether that's a good or bad thing is entirely up to you, but these pool tables will give your family hours of fun for years to come. Plus, they come in sizes to fit any room, designs to match any decor, and at prices to meet any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pool table on Amazon.

7. Barrington Billiards

The Barrington Billiards looks striking at first glance with its traditional ball and claw foot design and classic drop pockets. In reality, the legs are built from plastic, but that won’t prevent it from looking stylish and providing a fun group activity.
  • weighs less than 200 pounds
  • scratch-resistant rail coating
  • smaller than regulation size
Brand Barrington Billiards
Model BLL090_066B - Springdal
Weight 259.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Fat Cat Tucson

With a modern arcade design and blue polyester cloth, the Fat Cat Tucson will liven up your basement or game room. It comes with everything you need to get a game of cutthroat going, including cues, a set of balls, chalk, and a resin triangle.
  • side ball return system
  • leg levelers to keep table even
  • heavy and difficult to move
Brand Fat Cat by GLD Products
Model 64-0146
Weight 214.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Bello Games Deluxe Folding

If you’re looking for a fun starter table for kids, or just something you and your buddies can mess around with, the Bello Games Deluxe Folding is a nice option. It's quite small at just four feet long, but it can easily be stored under a bed.
  • felt offers good resistance
  • no assembly required
  • no way to level it
Brand Bello Games New York, I
Model 1108
Weight 40 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Yves Empire Pavillion

The Yves Empire Pavillion exudes sophistication and skill, with handcrafted legs and a cherry finish. It’s not the way to go if you envision kids jumping on it or drinks being spilled, as this model is well-suited for billiards enthusiasts and talented players.
  • 1-inch thick slate
  • durable maple wood
  • requires professional installation
Brand Yves
Model SC-514-06-P
Weight 1000 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Hathaway Hustler

The blue felt and black cabinet of the Hathaway Hustler give this table a contemporary vibe that blends well with its sturdy construction. It's a tournament-style model with rubber cushions that offer fast action and dependable performance.
  • choose from 2 size options
  • top rails are 4 inches wide
  • rigid pedestal-style legs
Brand Hathaway
Model BG2515PB-P
Weight 280 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Fat Cat Frisco

It’s tough not to notice the classy wool cloth, beveled legs and sharp mahogany veneer that the Fat Cat Frisco brings to billiards rooms. It deep and durable French-style drop pockets elicit thoughts of pool sharks in an old Western saloon.
  • includes 7-year warranty
  • rails with white diamond inlays
  • leg levelers are hidden
Brand Fat Cat
Model 64-0127
Weight 429 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Mizerak Donovan II

Sporting red cloth and chrome accents, the Mizerak Donovan II has a sleek design that will take a man cave to the next level. Its reinforced pedestal-style legs give it a sturdy stance and balls roll smoothly on its surface for a satisfying game play experience.
  • 2 bed styles available
  • rubber rails offer steady rebounds
  • directions are easy to follow
Brand Mizerak
Model P5223W2-parent
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Billiards

The origins of billiards games, which are generally referred to as cue sports, actually lie in outdoor lawn games that date back over 600 years to the Late Middle Ages. Early forms of games like croquet and golf, namely the french jeu de mail, or "game of the mallet," were popular among the royal class in France as early as the 1340s.

From France, the lawn games spread to England and Scotland. In the meantime, indoor versions of the games became a necessity for royal figures like King Louis XI because they wanted to play year-round. The original tables were laid with green cloth to simulate the grass on which the games had typically been played outdoors.

The game's popularity with the noble classes of France and England lent an aspirational air to billiards play outside of those circles. Mary, Queen of Scots was famously buried in her billiards table cloth in 1587. The game was well-known enough to be mentioned by Shakespeare in his plays, including Antony and Cleopatra, which was first performed in 1607.

In early forms of the table games, balls were pushed with a wide-ended stick called a mace, rather than struck with the point of a cue. In the late 1600s, the cue was introduced to combat the difficulty of pushing the balls when they were close to the edges of the table. Players had been flipping their maces to use their narrow-ended handles, called queues, to push the balls for some time, so the cue was developed as a more precise solution.

Initially, the raised edges of the billiards table, called banks, were used only to prevent balls from falling off the edge during a game. Over centuries of play, players realized they could use the banks to ricochet balls to their desired destinations. Thus, the bank shot was born, and table edges were intentionally constructed with materials known for their rebounding power.

By the early 1700s, the game had made its way to popularity outside of the ruling classes of France. Billiards tables could supposedly be found in most cafes in Paris by 1727. The game became increasingly popular in England in the 1800s, as the Industrial Revolution made it much easier and cheaper to manufacture equipment. Formats of billiards tables varied by regional preference, though the current form, which includes the addition of pockets around the perimeter, was fairly well-established by the 1850s.

The Anatomy Of A Billiard Table

Billiard tables are comprised of very few parts. The most important of these is the bed, which is the cloth-covered playing surface. On high-end tables, the bed is often made of slabs of slate. The slabs are typically laid with epoxy or resin between them and then sanded down to ensure a flat and seamless surface.

Home billiards tables may use slate as well, though the slabs are usually a bit thinner than those used on tournament tables. Wood is also used for cheaper and lighter tables, though it is avoided among professional and luxury models due to its tendency to warp. Plastics and other synthetics are also popular on the low-end.

The cloth that covers the bed is usually green, emulating the grass lawns on which the game was originally played. A type of cloth used may vary depending on the desired effect on the friction of play as well as the overall quality and cost of the table. Thicker, blended felts tend to slow down the balls more quickly during play, but are preferred by bars because of their durability. High quality billiards cloths are often made from wool, which provides a smoother and faster playing surface.

Around the bed is a raised edge, usually referred to as the rails. These are cushioned on the inside to facilitate rebounded bank shots. The cushioned layer is usually made of vulcanized rubber, while the rails themselves are typically wooden. In tables with pockets, the rails are usually used to support them, and feature cutouts for the balls to fall into. Leather pouches or nets are usually used for the pockets themselves.

The body of the table is called the cabinet. Depending on the table, it is either a single solid piece or can be disassembled for transport. It is generally made of wood, with four curved legs supporting it at each corner. Many bar tables use an internal mechanism built into the cabinet to collect the balls after they've landed in one of the pockets, which are actually openings to a system of tunnels. This ensures that the balls never leave the table, cutting down on theft and loss. It also expedites the process of setting up for the next game, as all the balls are collected in a central location within the cabinet.

Games You Can Play With A Billiards Table

To this day, a wide variety of games are played on billiards tables. Generally speaking, these games can be divided into two categories, carom and pocket. Depending on your game of choice, you might choose to buy a table designed specifically for a particular use.

Carom tables do not have pockets and are usually five feet wide by 10 feet long. These tables date back to the 18th century. Games played on this type of table include straight rail, the champion's game, balkline, cushion caroms, three-cushion billiards, and artistic billiards.

As we know them, pocket tables, also called pool tables, date back to the 16th century. As their name suggests, they are defined by the inclusion of pockets at various intervals around their perimeters. They typically feature six pockets; one at each corner, plus one at the midpoint of each of the long sides. The style of balls used depends on the player's game of choice, as does the table's dimensions.

Some of the games one can play on a pocket table include eight-ball, which is the most popular version of pool in the United States, as well as nine-ball, three-ball, one-pocket, and bank pool variations. Snooker is another popular pocket table game, though it is usually played on larger tables and includes 22 balls. Many other variants are played around the world.

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Last updated on September 07, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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