The 3 Best Pool Tables for the Money

Pool is a relaxing and social activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  Having a pool table in your own home will provide you, your family and friends with countless hours of fun.

However, a pool table is a significant purchase that must be approached carefully.  Pool tables can be expensive, and it is important to find one that is well-made and reasonably priced.

To help you find a great pool table for your home, this pool table buyer’s guide will explain the most important considerations when choosing a table.  Then, we will suggest a handful of 8-foot pool tables that are both well-made and excellent value-for-money!

Things to Consider When Buying a Pool Table

Here are a few things to consider before purchasing your pool table:

What size pool table should you buy?

Pool tables come in a variety of sizes — from massive 10 x 5-foot carom billiards tables through to tiny 3-foot pool tables designed for children.  Before choosing the size of your pool table, carefully measure your games room.  Remember that you must leave enough space around the table for people to play their shots.

If you are going to be playing pool competitively, choose either a 9 foot by 4.5 foot or 8 foot by 4 foot table.  These are the officially approved pool table dimensions from the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA).  However, billiards and snooker players often compete on larger tables.  There are certain advantages associated with pool tables of different sizes:

Smaller pool tables (7 foot or shorter):

  • An excellent choice if you have children or players with mobility problems
  • Easier for beginners to learn on
  • Games can sometimes require more strategy because the balls are sharing a smaller space
  • Ideal for some traditional British pool games like Bank Pool and 1-Pocket.

Larger pool tables (8 foot or longer):

  • Better for common American pool games like Ten-ball
  • More challenging and demanding of players
  • Better for anyone wishing to play competitively

Most home pool players consider 8-foot pool tables to be the “sweet spot” in terms of size.  They are suitable for competitive play but don’t take up a substantial amount of space in your games room.  Children can also play on a table of this size, which is useful for families.

Check the material and construction of the pool table bed

The pool table bed is the flat playing surface of the table.  Most high-quality pool tables use slate for the pool table bed.  Slate is a type of rock that can be carved in large, flat segments.  It is very durable and remains perfectly flat for many years if the table is treated well.

Some modern tables use slatron — a man-made surface constructed from resin-reinforced fibers.  Slatron is 20-times denser than particleboard and lighter than slate.  Cheaper pool tables may use timber table beds, which are prone to warping if exposed to moisture.

Consider the pool table legs

The legs of the pool table must be very sturdy and well-built to support the weight of a large pool table.  Well-constructed legs are particularly important for slate tables, because of the substantial weight they carry.

Make sure the frame uses strong materials

Having a strong frame is essential for the longevity of your table.  If the table frame begins to fail, your expensive slate top can warp, crack or become uneven.  A high-quality frame will use wood or metal with cross beams to support the top.  The number of beams used in the table will depend on the size of the table and the number of slate pieces used to form the bed.  You can ask the manufacturer of a table for more information on the frame’s construction.

Durable cushions

The pool table cushions surround the pool table bed.  They are typically made from synthetic materials or a natural gum rubber.  The quality of the cushion material will determine how reliably balls bounce off the pool table cushions.  Ideally, choose a natural material over a synthetic one — natural materials are usually better at retaining their elasticity over time.

Pool table accessories

You should also consider the types of accessories that come with the pool table.  Some tables include pool balls and cues while others are “barebones” tables.   Often, pool tables come with cues and balls, but they don’t come with a rack to hold those items when they are not in use.  Consider these additional costs when purchasing the table.

The Best Pool Tables For the Money

The following pool tables have an excellent build quality and are guaranteed to give you years of great performance.

MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table, 8′
“Mizerak Donovan II 8′ Billiard Table

“Playcraft Southport 8′ institutional slate pool / billiards table – ball return

Rating:
4.5/5
Rating:
4/5
Rating:
5/5
Style:
Traditional square leg design
Style:
Modern cabinet design
Style:
Commercial pool hall style
Table Bed:
Slate
Table Bed:
Slate or Slatron
Table Bed:
Slate
Felt colour:
Green
Felt colour:
Red
Felt colour:
Blue
Manufacturer:
MD Sports
Manufacturer:
Escalade Sports
Manufacturer:
Playcraft
Cost:
$
Cost:
$
Cost:
$$$
  • MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table, 8′
  • Rating:
    4.5/5
  • Style:
    Traditional square leg design
  • Table Bed:
    Slate
  • Felt colour:
    Green
  • Manufacturer:
    MD Sports
  • Cost:
    $
  • “Mizerak Donovan II 8′ Billiard Table

  • Rating:
    4/5
  • Style:
    Modern cabinet design
  • Table Bed:
    Slate or Slatron
  • Felt colour:
    Red
  • Manufacturer:
    Escalade Sports
  • Cost:
    $
  • “Playcraft Southport 8′ institutional slate pool / billiards table – ball return

  • Rating:
    5/5
  • Style:
    Commercial pool hall style
  • Table Bed:
    Slate
  • Felt colour:
    Blue
  • Manufacturer:
    Playcraft
  • Cost:
    $$$

MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table, 8′

1This pool table has a traditional design with thick timber legs and a timber frame.  This classical appearance makes this pool table suitable for any high-end games room.  The wood grain is absolutely beautiful and it has been manufactured with exceptional attention to detail.

The pool table bed consists of three pieces of thick slate covered in a 35% wool and 65% polyester felt.  The pockets are traditional parlour style with wood grained top rails.  The pockets are deep enough to hold 4 balls.

It is a sturdy table that looks absolutely beautiful.  The MD Sports Traditional Square Leg Billiard Table comes with all of the accessories you may require including 2 cues, triangle rack and pool balls.

Mizerak Donovan II 8′ Billiard Table

2The Mizerak Donovan II has a very sleek and modern design.  It features a polished black cabinet with chrome accents and red felt.  This design would be at home in the most technologically advanced games rooms.

The pool table bed is available as slate or slatron.  The 3-5/8” rails are made from K66 nose rubber, which gives the table a consistent rebound.  This rail material will provide you with many years of regular use.  The pool table legs include legs levellers, which are useful if your home has a slightly uneven floor.

The Mizerak Donovan II comes with a range of accessories including 2 cues, billiard balls, triangle rack, felt brush and chalk.

Playcraft Southport 8′ institutional slate pool / billiards table

3The Playcraft Southport has a traditional pool hall design that all experienced pool players will instantly recognize.  This table is commercial quality, meaning all components are highly durable and designed for constant use.

This table features a 1” Brazilian slate bed that is honed to 1/1000th of an inch.  This level of accuracy makes the table perfect for competitive players.  The slate is well supported on all sides by Playcraft’s intelligently designed sub-frame.  The table’s frame is covered in beautiful Cherry timber.  This table is a great choice for pool players who are slightly more serious about their pool.  It has been designed to stand up to the rigors of everyday use and will give a homeowner many years of use.