So you’ve picked the room, made the measurements, set aside the cash, and the time has come to purchase your table. But there’s another aspect of buying a table that deserves some attention: delivery and installation. It may seem obvious, but many first-time pool table buyers get caught off guard by logistical nightmares, extra fees, or confusing assembly instructions. Therefore, it’s no surprise that people commonly ask me, “Do pool tables come assembled?”
Like other large pieces of furniture, most new pool tables arrive at least partially dismantled and must be assembled after, or as part of, delivery. The level of assembly required varies based on the type and brand of the pool table. The same is usually true of used tables, but this often depends on the seller.
Every Pool Table Is Different
The type and design of a given pool table will dictate how it is packaged and delivered. The material it’s constructed from also plays a part, as this can make an enormous difference in the weight and maneuverability of the table. It helps to know what you’re getting into with your new pool table, so let’s look at the different styles and what the delivery process is like for each.
Three-Piece Slate Tables
This is the most common type of pool table on the market – and the most complicated to assemble. These generally come with the cabinet fully assembled in one large box. The legs, rails, pockets, and felt are either in their own box or packed snugly inside the cabinet frame. The slate pieces that constitute the table’s playing surface are kept separate and need to be moved individually – each section can weigh around 150-250 lbs., depending on its thickness.
One-Piece Slate Tables
This design is rarely used for in-home pool tables due to the difficulty involved in transportation and delivery. The slate bed itself can weigh upwards of 450 pounds, so it is usually wheeled into the house on a piano dolly, if possible. When stairs or other obstacles are involved, the movers or delivery crew must carefully carry it themselves. As you can imagine, these pros are pretty stout individuals!
The other components of the table are typically packaged in the same way as a three-piece table, as described above – with one notable exception.
Coin-Operated Slate Tables
The better commercial coin-op tables found in bars feature one single piece of slate as their playing surface. These usually have a heavy-duty cabinet frame that is fully constructed in the factory, complete with the slate, rails, felt, and ball return system. Only the legs need to be attached on delivery.
The cabinet is extremely heavy (between 700-800 lbs.) but can be set on its side for transport on a special dolly. This is the only kind of slate table that can be moved in this fashion without the risk of damaging the slate. “Faux” coin-op tables for in-home use are usually designed and delivered the same way.
MDF/Slate Alternative Pool Tables
Many pool tables use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or specially-made “slate alternatives” for their playing surface. While not as resilient as real slate, these materials are significantly lighter and make for inexpensive, easily transportable pool tables. As such, assembling them is usually a less involved process.
Some models come with the cabinet already put together, meaning only the legs need to be mounted. On others, the playing surface and rails arrive in one piece but the cabinet framework needs to be assembled. This Barrington Belmont is a good example of a mostly pre-assembled MDF table.
- 23 PIECE SET includes the Barrington Billiard Table; 2 cue sticks; 2 chalk cubes; 1 triangle rack; 1 felt brush; 15 numbered billiard balls; and 1 cue ball. This handsome claw foot pool table completes any game room.
- FAMILY FUN that develops physical, mental and emotional control in people of all ages. Form your youngest child to your great-grandmother, billiards is a leisure activity that anyone can learn and play.
- STRIKING ball and claw leg design is richly ornate. With its exquisite styling and detail, this game table is sure to become the focal point of indoor activities in your family room or man cave.
- STRONG DECK SUPPORT is 3/4 inch thick particle board with tan professional-grade wool blend felt surface. Stop dropping hard-earned quarters into arcade games; play billiards in your own home.
- CLASSIC DROP POCKETS add an authentic look and feel to your home entertainment collection. Easily retrieve balls and rack 'em up for another game. Table weighs 218 lbs and measures 89"L x 50.25"W x 31"H.
Portable Pool Tables
Some tables come as one complete unit, with no assembly required. These are lightweight and have legs that fold up into the cabinet body for easy transportation. Though this kind of design may seem flimsy, the better models are very sturdy and play surprisingly well. Foldable tables are especially great for beginners or for getting the whole family in on the action. This Fat Cat Trueshot is one of the most popular models.
- Your purchase includes One GLD Fat Cat Trueshot Pool Table of 6 ft. | Set of billiard balls, Two cues, One billiard brush, One ball triangle and Two chalks | A case is not included
- Pool table dimensions – 76” L x 43” W x 32” H | Weight – 114 lbs. | Balls (each) – 2.25” Diameter | Cues (each) – 57” | Playing table thickness – ½” | Indoor only
- Compact design allows you to enjoy your favorite game in spaces you never thought possible
- High quality building materials allow for lightweight play and portability without sacrificing strength
- The perfect size for younger players learning the fun of pool | Sleek black cloth complements any room decor, from traditional to contemporary
Can I Assemble My Pool Table Myself?
If you’re so inclined – and you have the right tools – you can assemble your pool table on your own or with a helper. In fact, some pool tables come with a detailed set of consumer-friendly assembly instructions. The tools required for assembly vary, but most commonly they include:
- A set of screwdrivers.
- An Allen wrench (often included with the table).
- Staples of glue for the pool table cloth.
- A socket wrench set.
- A carpenter’s level.
However, keep in mind that most slate bed tables (especially higher-end models) are not meant to be assembled by the consumer.
That’s not to say it can’t be done – it can. There are plenty of helpful resources and videos on the subject, some of which are provided by the manufacturers themselves. But it’s crucial that you follow the instructions for your specific table to the letter – when it comes to pool tables, the devil is in the details.
Be prepared to set aside as much as 6 hours for assembly if you’ve never done it before. Depending on the complexity of the table, it could take anywhere from 1 to 6 hours to assemble.
Professional Pool Table Assembly
Most billiards dealers offer delivery and “installation” of their pool tables. Installation typically includes placement, assembly, and leveling of the pool table in your home. This service can be pretty pricey (~$250 or more) but it may just be worth it for peace of mind and to save the hassle of trying to do it yourself.
The cost and the time it takes will, of course, depend on the table. A proficient two-person crew can have a faux coin-op table ready to play in under an hour, but a traditional 3-piece slate table can take up to 4 hours to fully assemble.
Used Pool Tables
If you’re purchasing a used table, it’s probably worth your while to hire a moving company that specializes in pool tables. They can disassemble, deliver, and reassemble the table to make the whole process easier. Some sellers even include this service in the price of the pool table. For more on buying used tables, check out my other article here.
A Word On Warranties
Many prominent pool table manufacturers offer extended or lifetime warranties on their tables. These almost always have a clause stating that the warranty will be voided if the table is assembled or installed by anyone other than an authorized partner of the manufacturer. Keep this in mind before you consider the DIY approach to assembly.
Before purchasing a pool table, take into account the assembly requirements of your chosen model and be sure to include installation fees in your budget. Whether you’re buying new or used, online or from a showroom, it pays to do your research and ask questions when possible.
Most sellers will be happy to oblige you. If they’re hesitant to provide details on delivery and installation, move on. Finding and installing the right pool table for your home (and your budget) doesn’t have to be an ordeal!