Other than available space, the biggest factor most people have to consider when buying a pool table is the cost. We all know that a high-quality, well-built pool table isn’t going to be cheap. But exactly how much does a pool table cost?
On average, a new slate pool table for in home use will cost between $1800-$3000. However, pool tables with MDF (wood) beds are significantly cheaper and can usually be purchased for around $700-$1500.
There are lots of different factors that effect the overall price of a table. We’ll discuss them all and look at some examples so you can get an idea of what to expect in your price range.
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What Determines the Price of a Pool Table?
Essentially all pool tables do the same thing: they allow you to play pool. So why do some cost $600 while others require you to draw from your 401k to afford them? Let’s look into that now as we discuss the factors responsible for the steep price tags you see on some tables.
Slate or MDF (wood)
The top of the pool table (the surface underneath the felt) is typically constructed of either slate or MDF. However, this one variable can mean the difference in a $800 table and one that costs 3x that amount.
MDF tables are always going to be cheaper than slate. This is because MDF is a wood-based product and costs less to source. Its also very lightweight and easy to move when compared to its slate counterpart. But because MDF is wood-based, its more prone to warping over time. This is especially true if its not kept in a dry, climate-controlled environment.
Slate on the other hand, costs a lot more to source than MDF does. This added cost ultimately trickles down to the consumer in the form of a steep price tag. But unlike MDF, slate is highly unlikely to ever warp. It also provides a truer, more consistent playing surface which is why most serious pool players choose slate over MDF every time. If you want more info on slate and MDF tables, check out my article Slate or MDF: How to Decide Which Table is Right for You.
A tournament sized pool table is 4.5ft x 9ft. But for most homeowners, finding the space for a table this big is next to impossible. There are, however, tables on the market as small as 3ft x 6ft, and with this decrease in size, comes a decrease in price as well.
Typically, the larger the table, the more expensive its going to be, regardless of whether its slate or MDF. This is because larger tables require more materials to produce it including slate, MDF, wood, felt, etc. All this extra material also means extra weight, when then turns into added shipping cost. And any time it costs more to produce and distribute a product, it costs more for us to buy it.
If you want a high-quality table that will last a lifetime and then some, you’re going to have to spend more to get it. Most tables that have high price tags are built with solid, high-quality materials and parts which justify their increased cost.
This typically means the legs and cabinet of the table are made with real wood which helps better support the weight of the table over time without bowing or warping. Also, the bumpers and felt are of superior quality and provide a far better playing experience when compared to cheaper tables. Every component on a high-end table is upgraded to provide an awesome playing experience and increased life span.
On the other hand, budget friendly or entry level tables are usually constructed with cheaper materials to help keep costs as low as possible. While this is good for your wallet, its not so good if you want a table that will be maintenance free for years to come.
Bar style tables are great for playing with friends and having a good time. With 4 legs, 6 pockets, and a smooth playing surface, they typically do everything you need them to. However, most of them aren’t designed with a ton of character or style, and this is reflected in their price.
On the other end of the spectrum are models that look more like a work of art than a functioning pool table. Aiming to be more aesthetically pleasing, they’re typically crafted with exotic materials and boast intricate design details that set them apart from standard pool tables. But with this one of a kind look comes a steep bump in price. If you favor a table that’s well pleasing to the eye, just know that it comes at a cost.
Any pool table that has a big name attached to it typically costs more to buy. This is because most well known brands have built a reputation for excellent quality and superior customer service, as well as offering extended warranties on their products.
Unfortunately though, the peace of mind that comes from buying a brand name table isn’t without additional cost. Names such as Olhausen and Brunswick are some of the most well known and trusted in the industry. And any time you see their name on a table, or others like them, you’re guaranteed to get a high-quality table along with a nice dent in your wallet.
What Other Costs Are Associated with Buying a Pool Table?
Typically when buying a new pool table, the cost of shipping and assembly is included in the total price. And depending on what you buy, it may even come with everything you need to start playing immediately.
But in the event these expenses aren’t covered in your purchase, or you buy a used table, what should you expect to pay for moving/assembly and the gear you need to get started? Lets take a look at that now.
Moving and Assembly
When buying a pool table, especially a used one, it can be tempting to try and move it yourself with the help of a few friends. Although doing this may save you some money, this is a job best left to the professionals, especially if you’re buying a slate table.
Most quotes I have found for moving and assembling a pool table are between $300-$600. This price can vary depending on the weight of the table, how far it has to be moved, are there stairs that have to be climbed, etc.
Another potential cost to be aware of when buying a used table is repair work. If the table needs new felt or is in rough overall condition, having these issues addressed can be costly. Just be sure to check out a used table thoroughly and get quotes in advance for any necessary repair work and moving/assembly expenses.
The good thing about buying used tables is that you can usually get them at a fraction of the new cost. A lot of times when people are moving, the hassle of moving a pool table just isn’t worth it. So instead of taking it with them, they let it go cheap just to get it out of the way. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to buy a table without spending a fortune. And most of the time, used tables come with everything you need to start playing immediately.
All in all, buying used is a great way to save some cash, assuming it doesn’t need a lot of work and the moving/assembly expenses aren’t too bad.
We all know that when it comes to pool, there are certain must have items. But if you’re table doesn’t come with them, that means even more money coming out of your pocket.
Fortunately, there’s a ton of budget friendly gear out there to help get you started. Let’s go over some of the essential items you’ll need to get started as well as how much they’ll cost.
Cues – Having a good set of cues is a must for anyone who owns their own table. The most budget friendly way to do this is by buying a pack of them instead of individual cues. Most of the time you can get a 4-pack of 58” cues for around $50. Not too bad considering some cues cost more than a table itself!
Billiard Balls – You simply can’t play pool without a set of pool balls. Fortunately for all of us, a good set isn’t too expensive. Typically a good set of regulation size and weight billiard balls will run you somewhere around $50.
Racking Triangles – Without racking triangles, you have no way to set up for the break. These items are relatively inexpensive but they are essential. A set of triangles should cost about $15.
Chalk – Chalking your cues is essential to making solid contact with the cue ball and avoiding miscues. This is the most inexpensive item you’ll need. You can usually get a 12-pack of standard blue chalk for around $6-$7.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered here are a few other items you may want to consider purchasing. While these items aren’t essential to being able to play, they will help extend the life of your gear.
Cue Rack – Instead of leaning your cues against a wall, which could lead to warping, its better to keep them in a rack. This will keep your cues completely upright which is crucial to preventing warpage. A solid wall rack or floor rack will run you about $50.
Table Cover – Keeping your table covered when not in use is a great way to extend its lifespan. The last thing you want after dropping some serious cash on a table is for excess dust and debris to build up on the felt, effecting its playability, or even worse someone spilling a drink on it. A high-quality table cover will go a long way in keeping your table in excellent shape. For a nice cover that will fit an 8ft table, expect to spend around $40.
Cleaning Supplies – Keeping your gear clean and well-kept is essential to maintaining their playability and getting the most out of them. This includes your billiard balls, table, and cues. And there are certain products you need for each of them.
A good pool cue cleaner will help remove dirt, oil, and chalk residue from your shaft, keeping it silky smooth and in optimal playing condition. For your table you’re going to need felt cleaner and a brush to help remove dust and excess chalk. And for your billiard balls, a cleaner/polish combo kit will help remove any chalk buildup and scuff marks and keep them shining like new. For all of these items you’re looking at about $60 total.
Keep in mind that these totals may vary depending on what you buy. Check the Amazon links above if you’re interested in seeing what I found for those prices.
What Kind of Pool Table can You Expect in Your Price Range?
I know we’ve talked a lot about what can affect the price of a pool table and the other costs associated with buying one but I’d like to show you some examples of pool tables at different price points so you can get a feel of what to expect.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options to choose from under the $500 mark. The one pictured above is made by Lancaster and seems to be pretty solid. Its a MDF (wood) table so it isn’t going to be as heavy or sturdy as slate but for under $500, it looks to be a good deal. Its a 7.5′ table and comes with everything you need to start playing immediately including, 2 pool cues, a set of billiard balls, racking triangles, chalk, and a table brush. If you’re looking for a budget friendly entry level table, this one by Lancaster may be a good one to check out.
In this price point you can expect a pretty well built product. It wont be top of the line but it should last a few years without giving you any serious problems. The one pictured above is the MD Sprots Titan. Its a 7.5′ table and like the one just mentioned, it comes with everything you need to start playing right away. Its made from heavy duty materials so its a lot sturdier than the previous table, however the top is not slate so its still fairly light and easy to move. You can check out this table for yourself here on Amazon.
If you want a table that will provide years of maintenance free fun, this is the price point you need to be at. Most tables in this price range will have a slate top and be built of high-quality materials and parts. The Barrington Claremont table, pictured above, is a great representation of what you can expect in this price point. It has a slate top, elegant Queen Anne legs, leather drop pockets, and a gorgeous deep red felt top. This table is made from solid, high quality wood and will last for years to come. Check out the Barrington Claremont here, on Amazon. You’d be surprised at just how much this table has to offer.
Pool tables above $3000 are typically top notch. Most of these will be made of premium materials and parts that are guaranteed to last a lifetime if not longer. Tables at this price point are usually more stylish as well and the Playcraft Brazos River Table is a prime example of a quality table at its finest.
This table is not only top notch in terms of materials used and construction, but in terms of looks as well. Its constructed of select hardwood that’s then distressed to give it its amazing appearance. It features a solid 1″ slate top that is honed to 1/1000th of an inch for a guaranteed smooth/flat playing surface. You also have a choice of over 25 different felt colors. The slate top is also fully supported by a box frame to prevent sagging and the trestle style legs provide superior bilateral strength.
Tables of this caliber are definitely more pricey but they are well worth the cost for anyone who wants a table that will last a lifetime and double as a work of art. If you want a table that you can pass down to your kids and grand kids, this is the price point you need to be at.
Having any table is better than having no table. And with so many options on the market today, finding one within your budget shouldn’t be too hard to do. Just remember that the old saying “You get what you pay for” is usually true when buying a pool table. If you’re dead set on owning a slate pool table but can’t afford to buy new, definitely consider buying a used table. You’d be surprised at the deals you can find on used tables.
I hope this article has helped you learn what you can expect in a table of various price ranges. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out or check out our other helpful articles for all of your billiard related questions.
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