Pool is a classic game that knows no age or gender. Since its inception in the 15th century, generations have enjoyed this game requiring a perfect blend of strategy and dexterity.
Choosing the right table can be complicated, so we outlined some tips to help you. We reviewed different models and selected the top 5 portable pool tables that can be perfect for your home. And once the selection has been made, we also have some pointers to help you care for your game room’s newest addition.
As with any other purchase, especially something that costs hundreds to thousands of dollars, you want to be very careful in choosing a table.
What factors should you really consider?
Once you have identified your desired table size and the price that suits your budget, you can then narrow down your choices and focus on the specific features that you want to look for.
The playing surface is the most important factor in choosing a pool table. Time and again, slate has proven to be the best playing surface. It is made of solid rock and is extremely durable. However, slate tables usually cost more than $1,000. On the other hand, MDF is a more affordable alternative. It is made of fiberboard and is more susceptible to warping over time.
The playing bed is covered with different types of material. Worsted wool provide the fastest ball roll, but woolen cloth is most commonly found in non-professional tables. Thoroughly examine the cloth and make sure that it is evenly laid out before doing anything else with the table.
You should also look for cushions or bumpers that provide a consistent bounce.
It is also more convenient to play on pool tables with an internal ball return mechanism. It automatically collects the pocketed balls so you can easily re-rack and start a new game. Less setting-up means more fun!
There are also multi-use tables available that allow you to enjoy not only pool but also table tennis and air hockey. Some even have the option to be turned into a craft or adinner table.
The above-mentioned features are pointless if your table is impossible or difficult to level. The frustration is unimaginable! Therefore, it is a must that you purchase a table that has adjustable leg levelers so that it will stay perfectly flat no matter how uneven the floor is.
Now that you know what key elements to look for, it’s time to check out some of the best options.
Top 5 Pool Tables
There is a wide selection of portable tables on the market today. Manufacturers come out with several models to make sure that they address every buyer’s need. Whatever criteria you may set, there is surely one that will meet your requirements.
We took care of the tricky part and assessed all of them for you. Based on our scrutiny, we now present the top 5 portable billiards tables:
It didn’t get its high rating for nothing. This mini pool table will give bigger and more expensive tables a run for their money.
People love how easy it is to set up. It has metal folding legs that can be adjustable for easy leveling and excellent portability. It comes with a complete set of accessories so you will be ready to play in no time at all.
Its size makes it ideal for small spaces. It is also easy to move and store, although you do need extra hands because it weighs 190 lbs.
Then again, this weight also gives it the stability that is essential for pool tables. Combine that with a sturdy MDF playing bed and durable melamine rails, and it will surely be enjoyed for many years. Just remember to be cautious with the felt as it is quite delicate.
If are looking for an affordable, space-saving and high quality mini pool table for your kids, the Fairmont is your best bet. Click here to check out a more detailed review.
Versatility without sacrificing quality is one of the reasons why a lot of people raise two thumbs up for the Hathaway Maverick.
This 7′ table allows you to enjoy both pool and table tennis. Its pool playing field is red felt with a thick 3/4″ MDF. Both the felt and the rubber cushions are not excellent, but definitely good enough for what they are intended for – fun, casual play.
If you want a change of pace, you can quickly shift to table tennis by putting together two 1/2″ board pieces on top of the pool table.
Both games require the table to be perfectly parallel to the ground. You don’t need to worry at all because the Maverick has leg levelers to create that much needed stability.
Its desire to satisfy doesn’t end there. You also get all the necessary game accessories. Talk about acomplete package!
If you want a second game option with a single table purchase, you should buy the Hathaway Maverick. To read a more detailed review of this awesome table, click here.
This multi-functional table does not only allow you to play billiards or table tennis. You can also use it as a dining table. Moreover, you can adjust it to fit even the most uneven surface with its individual leg levelers. However, it is advisable to identify where to place it permanently because moving this 300-pound monster is not easy.
It has two benches that are as multi-purpose as the table itself. You can comfortably sit on them to enjoy your meals or have a relaxed conversation with your friends and family. You can also use them to neatly store the complete game accessories that come with the table.
For its price and usefulness, buying the Hathaway Park Avenue is definitely a wise decision. Want a more detailed review? Click here.
Buyers who prefer reasonably-priced, but well-made billiard tables naturally turn to the Fat Cat Tucson MMXI.
While its blue polyester surface is a bit delicate, its railings and rubber cushions are very solid. They also give a nice and steady ball bounce.
Its arcade-style legs have levelers that can adapt to any floor surface. However, moving it around can be quite taxing because it weighs more than 200 lbs. and does not have wheels.
This attractive 7′ table contains an easy ball return system that allows you to move on to the next game with no delay – definitely a plus point for convenience!
The table is also complemented with two 57″ two-piece cues and other pool accessories.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, but modern-looking, efficient, and long-lasting pool table for your family, look no further than the Fat Cat Tucson MMXI. If you want a more detailed review, click here.
The Hathaway Hustler‘s contemporary design is supplemented by satisfying performance at a very affordable price.
To start off, assembly is a breeze. It has adjustable leg levelers for you to achieve that perfectly stable surface. Just remember to get some help because it’s really heavy, but with some help setting it up will take less than an hour.
The wool and polyester blend felt isn’t exactly the smoothest, but it has very minimal effect on ball roll so you can still maintain a high level of play.
It has one of the best cushions for pool tables in its price category. Made of pure gum rubber, the ball bounces off perfectly.
When a game is over, the pocketed balls automatically roll to the central receptacle. You’re now ready to re-rack!
The general consensus among our reviewers: the Hathaway Hustler provides good value for the money. Read our full review of the Hathaway Hustler here.
A single-purpose pool table is the traditional type most people are familiar with. It allows you to focus your attention and energy on perfecting your billiard skills. As such, you can expect them to be proficiently made to provide the best pool experience.
On the other hand, multi-purpose or combination game tables arequickly gaining popularity, especially in the home market. They are not only twice or multiple times as fun, but they are also space-saving and cost-efficient.
Multi-purpose tables are designed for playing two or more games. The table’s main playing field is usually for billiards. You can change the game by simply flipping the table or inserting an attachable top. Some featured games include air hockey, table tennis, and foosball.
The Top Brands
Hathaway and Fat Cat by GLD Products are just two of the most popular pool table brands in the market today, and fairly so because they have built their reputation as carefully as they have fabricated each of their pool tables through the years.
Hathaway Games and Sports
Four of our top 5 tables are manufactured by the game room specialist Hathaway Games and Sports. They have been known to brilliantly fuse traditional manufacturing techniques with innovation. The result? Superior quality products that families have been enjoying for generations.
Their products include tables and accessories for billiards, air hockey, darts, poker, and a lot more.
Hathaway pool tables are recognized for being space-saving and easy to assemble- just how you want your home tables to be. They also have a good mix of both classical and contemporary designs to suit different tastes.
Most importantly, their products give the best value for your money. High-quality and inexpensive normally don’t go together, but Hathaway makes it possible.
Fat Cat by GLD Products
GLD Products have been loved by family gaming enthusiasts for over 30 years already. Aside from pool tables and accessories, they also offer other favorites like air hockey, table tennis, darts, and classics such as backgammon and dominoes.
Most Fat Cat tables measure 7 feet, making them ideal for space-constrained home game rooms. Their rails are also known to have stable K66 rubber bumpers and circle sights to help you in calculating those angles. However, it is not common for all of their tables to have an internal ball return mechanism.
Whether you prefer a classic look or a modern design, there are Fat Cat options to choose from.
Their tables also suit low to mid-range budgets. For as low as $700, you can buy a good quality pool table for your family.
Other Things to Consider
Let’s say that you’ve finally found the perfect table. You now need to make a conscious effort to keep it as close to perfection as possible.
We have compiled tips for giving your table some tender and loving care so you can preserve its optimum condition for many years to come:
Keep it clean. Most pool tables come with a brush that you can use to remove chalk and dust from the felt. Just remember to brush lightly so you don’t damage the cloth. It is also advisable to use a small, low-powered vacuum cleaner occasionally to thoroughly remove unwanted materials. Don’t forget to clean the balls as chalk can also accumulate on them and get transferred to the felt.
Know what to avoid. Some items may seem harmless but can actually damage your table. Pieces of metal like coins or jewelry can scratch the felt and put it at risk for larger, irreparable tears. Place your drinks anywhere but the table. Moisture easily ranks as billiard table enemy number 1. It is also advisable to keep your pets away from the table. They can damage not only the cloth but other parts of the table as well!
Cover. It is best to cover your table when not in use, especially when it is exposed to natural lighting. Even if it is indoors, sunlight peeping from the windows can fade and damage the cloth over time.
Protect other parts of the table, too. You should keep the legs, rails, and cabinets clean as well. For wood surfaces, use a furniture polish or wax. For laminate surfaces, a damp cloth and mild cleaner will do.
First anniversary check-up. After marking the first year of your table, we recommend having it examined by a professional. Is the table still level? How tightly are the rubber cushions attached to the rails? Are there cloth damages or surface cracks? He should also make proper recommendations to immediately address any concerns.
How to Play Pool
A pool table is one of the most sensible recreational investments that a family can make. Imagine the long hours of fun and bonding over this piece of furniture that you can pass on to generation after generation.
Do not be intimidated by the weight or composition as most of them are fairly easy to set-up and maintain. A lot of them also offer convenience features such as leg levelers, a complete set of accessories, and aball return system – all to make life easier and more enjoyable for you!
Hathaway and Fat Cat offer the best options. Their decades of experience and passion for the game allow them to really know what buyers want: quality, affordability, and beauty. Their tables give you all that and more.
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