Pool, often also referred to as billiards, has long had something of a seedy reputation. Smoke-filled rooms and low-value gambling have long been associated with the game, leading billiard brawls to be frequently featured in movies ranging from Rush Hour to Mean Streets. But there’s nothing uncouth about the game itself — it’s a game of geometry and strategy, making it as interesting to math teachers as it to seasoned players.
If you’re looking to step up your game for the next time you set foot in a pool hall (or you’re looking to avoid pool halls altogether), it can be worth investing in a pool table for your home or game room. A good pool table should be the cornerstone of any serious game room, because pool is the kind of rewarding (and challenging) game that you can always improve upon.
Technically, there is a difference between billiards and pool, and that difference actually impacts the type of table the games are played on. Billiard tables don’t have pockets, and the object is to hit the other player’s balls by bouncing off the sides of the walls. But since traditional Billiards is far less commonly played than pool, it’s not uncommon to hear the two used interchangeably by casual players.
We’ve rounded up some of the best billiard pool tables, including premium, high-quality tables, and some convenient options for small spaces.
1. Barrington Hawthorne 100″ Billiard Table Set
This stylish pool table from Barrington has a classic look; it features ball-and-claw table legs, a glossy brown wooden finish, and a traditional green felt top. Keeping in tradition, this table utilizes a traditional ball drop at each of the pockets, rather than an automatic ball return like many modern tables. The felt top is made from 50% wool, and the edges of the table are reinforced particleboard. In addition to the table, cues, a rack, balls and chalk are included.
Pros: Classic design with striking ball-and-claw table legs. Comes with all the necessary accessories like cues, balls, a rack, a brush, and chalk.
Cons: Table is very heavy, so help will be required.
2. Mizerak Dynasty Space Saver Billiard Table
Mizerak’s compact design makes it a good option for spaces where a full-size table might not be an option. It’s 6.5′ long, so it’s substantially smaller than a full-size table without veering into novelty territory. Levelers at the bottom of the legs make it easy to adjust the table to be level, even if the floor itself isn’t level. This table has a light wood veneer, plus a traditional green top made from nylon. This table uses an automatic ball return for convenient reracking. Balls, a triangle racker, chalk, brush and two cues are included.
Pros: Compact size and affordable price, included are all necessary accessories to start playing right away after assembly.
Cons: Slot for automatic ball return is small, which can make it difficult for those with larger hands to retrieve the ball.
3. Fat Cat by GLD Products Fat Cat Trueshot 6’ Pool Table
Even if you have an apartment, you can have a pool table. This option from Fat Cat proves it. The compact 6′ size is large enough for serious play, but the folding legs make it easy to put away when not in use. The table has a sleek and modern black finish with shiny metal accents. It has drop pockets, rather than an automatic ball return, allowing the table to maintain a thin profile. A brush, chalk, balls, triangle rack and cues are included.
Pros: Space-saving fold-up design. Includes all accessories needed for play. Levelers at feet keep table even.
Cons: Included cues are not very good.
4. Atomic 7′ Hampton 3-in-1 Combination Table
This smart option doubles as a dining table — in fact, if you didn’t already know it was a pool table, you’d never guess. The removable tabletop matches the finish of the table, making it look like a regular dining table. The tabletop can be flipped over and set up as a ping pong table, or you can remove the tabletop entirely to reveal the pool table. Two matching benches are included, which also have internal storage for keeping the game equipment, and the benches can be slid under the table during play.
Pros: Convertible table works as a table tennis table, dining table and as a pool table. Matching backless benches are included.
Cons: Pool table itself could be better constructed.