Billiards is one of the popular games which has been in existence for many years. Many of the billiard enthusiasts want to have their own table at home to spend time with their family and friends playing their favorite game.
One needs to choose billiard/pool table sensibly to get the best from the game. Today, a large variety of billiard/pool tables, designed to suit the needs of different individuals/groups, is available in the market.
You can make a better purchase decision if you have knowledge (at least basic) about them. In this article we tried to give you some basic information on different types of billiard tables segregated based on the make, material and mechanism.
Basic types of pool tables
Basically, there are two types of pool tables that are used to play billiards. They are the English pool tables and the American pool tables.
• English pool tables – The English pool tables are usually 6 to 7 feet long and are mostly used in clubs and pubs. The balls on these tables are small in size measuring between 1.5-2 inches and so are the pockets. The center pockets are open allowing the players to pot even from tighter angles, while the corner pockets or the ‘jaws’ are narrow.
• American pool tables – Compared to English tables, American tables are larger, usually 7 to 9.5 feet long. Even the balls and the pockets are big; they can easily accommodate balls as big as 2¼ inches. Unlike jaws on English tables, the jaws here are wide making it easy to play shots along the cushions. The center pockets are not that open, supporting a straight-cut style rather than angular shots.
Billiard tables based on the make and the material
The playing surface that lies beneath the cloth of a billiard board, typically called as the ‘bed’, is the main component that decides the playability and precision of the game. Different materials are used to make these beds, based on which the cost and durability of the table varies. Following are three popular types of billiard beds.
• Slate bed tables – These tables are made of thick slates whose thickness varies from 19mm to 30mm. Slate bed tops are used on bigger and expensive tables which sometimes accommodate 2-3 beds. These tables provide an excellent even playing surface that makes it easy for the balls to roll smoothly at precise directions and that is why they are the only table tops that are used in tournaments.
Slate beds are durable than any other tops and withstand water and moisture. The cloth stuck to this top may wear overtime but it can be easily replaced. The only disadvantage of these tops is they are very heavy, thus the transportation and installation becomes cumbersome.
• Slatron bed tables – Slatron bed tables, made of a synthetic material called slatron, are synthetic alternative for slate beds. Slatron is composed of a plastic layer that surrounds particle board. Though the quality of slatron beds is far below that of slate beds, they are durable than any other synthetic beds. These beds are less expensive, light in weight and thus are easy to transport and install.
The disadvantage of slatron table beds is their tendency to decay over time causing the table to warp. Further, as they are light in weight, the pool table can tip over when someone leans on it with force. However, good quality slatron tops last long and cost less compared to slate tops.
• MDF bed tables – The medium density fibreboard (MDF) bed is another type of synthetic bed used as an inexpensive alternative for slate beds. MDF surfaces are made by compressing tiny pieces of wood or saw dust together under heat and pressure. They are just like particle boards used in slatron beds. MDF beds are also lighter and the repairs are also affordable.