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4 Pool Table 'Did-You-Knows': Tips for Buyers

While you'd imagine most pool tables being quite similar, there are actually several differences in the game relating to concepts and specs, some of which may not be common knowledge.

If you're looking to buy a pool table or simply wish to learn more about the game, this article is for you. It's time to unpack these differences!

 

1. American vs English Pool

Most people can tell the difference between Pool and Snooker (with Billiards being the generic term). But do you know the difference between American and English Pool?

American pool tables are typically larger, with a 9ft length compared to 7ft for English pool. Similarly, the ball sizes are bigger for the former. While both games feature 16 balls including cue and black balls, American Pool balls are coloured stripes and solids versus English pool's Yellow and Red balls.

American pool tables are typically larger and have rounded corners, thus making it somewhat easier to pocket balls compared to the smaller, square-shaped pockets commonly to English pool tables.   

American pool tables are also the most common type around the world, across Asia to Europe and America, and most likely the type you'd encounter in any pool hall. 

At Centrum Leisure, we focus on American Pool tables.

 

2. Frame vs Playing Area 

Did you know the pool table's frame and playing surface are distinct components?

The frame of a pool table refers to the outer structure that supports the playing surface. It typically consists of a sturdy body, rails, and legs. The frame is where you notice the stylistic differences, which include finishes such as wood or metal, as well as designs that lean towards either contemporary or classic looks.

On the other hand, the playing surface (or bed) is the flat, smooth area where the pool balls are placed and where the game is played. Usually made of slate or wood, it's mounted on top of the frame, carefully leveled to ensure consistent gameplay, and topped off with a pool cloth. 

 

3. Internal (Playing Area) vs External Dimensions 

Just as the frame and play area are dissimilar, there is also a related difference - between the pool table internal playing size and external dimensions of a pool table. 

A pool table indicated as a '7ft' typically refers to 7ft being size of the internal playing area (as explained above,  that's where the balls are placed), and is measured from rail to rail.

It should not to be mistaken for the pool table external dimensions, which are taken from the edges of the pool table frame. Because frame designs are different across models, external dimensions can vary for each pool table. Be sure to note both dimensions for game play and sizing purposes. 

In our pool table size guide, our calculations are based on the internal playing area.

 

4.  Wood vs Slate vs Composite 

Slate and Wood tables are the two common play area surfaces. But did you know that there are is a third category in pool tables - Composite pool tables?

It's known that slate offers better playing ability over wood, being more durable and weather-resistant, and offering a flatter surface for better ball roll. On the other hand, wood is lighter compared to heavy slate tables, which allows you to move it around easily, especially if you need the mobility for a dining pool table concept.

Composite material offers the best of both worlds. Made up of engineered resin material that is well-known for its weatherproof, lightweight and most importantly ultra-durable properties, it marries the durability of slate playing surfaces with the mobility and cost-effective price range of Wood tables. 

 

 

So there you have it, some misconceptions as to some of the pool table terminology. We've tried to highlight the terminology and concepts in pool tables regarding American and English pool, frames and playing area, pool table internal and external dimensions, and types of play surface material.

Because these differences may not be apparent especially for new buyers, we hope this article helps clarifies and makes your pool table buying process an easier experience. 

 

 

 

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