The American billiard industry is undergoing radical transformation as a result of the onslaught of cheap foreign imports. Many traditional American "manufacturers" have largely given up manufacturing are now importing most of their tables. Some simply gather or assemble foreign made components. Meanwhile, numerous new brands have appeared on the market, who falsely present themselves as "American". Not surprisingly, their quality varies greatly and deceptive advertising is a common practice.
A basic problem with the imported products, apart from the questionable quality of materials used, is the necessity of shipping disassembled components.
Unlike furniture, a pool table must not only look nice but also perform well as a playing platform. The structural integrity of the frame as well as its ability to withstand contraction/expansion wood with temperature and humidity changes, is key to how long the table will last and how well it will play. An inferior quality table is bound to cause problems when the table begins to settle and the wood or fiberboard expands and contracts.
The first step in buying a pool table is to consider the purpose and function of the table, and the amount of money you are prepared to spend. Pool tables vary greatly in price, from about $600 to $10,000 or more. Some highly ornate or antique pool tables may cost as much as $15,000 or even much more. The good news is that if you know where to look, you can order a pool table in the wood species and finish of your choice. The many customization options that we offer will enable you to specify a pool table that is uniquely yours.
A starting point is too determine the size pool table that your room can accommodate. Then you can decide on the wood species and finish, including the possibility of utilizing exotic hardwoods on the rails and decorative trim, or even the entire table. Other options include the shape of the rails and the type of diamond sites. You can choose different colors of billiard cloth, and pick from wide variety of leather pockets including custom pockets.
In lower-priced tables, you can expect all manufacturers to utilize a number of cost saving measures. Most of these tables will incorporate cheaper materials somewhere in the table, laminated wood or other composite materials. The frames of some will sag and spread over time which can render them unplayable. Be especially wary if your table will be subjected to a lot of humidity or large temperature changes (e.g. in a basement), because some of these artificial materials can deform under adverse climatic conditions.
Extremely modestly priced tables will sometimes have laminated or veneer surfaces, and laminated wood or fiberboard cross members and structural components.
Top Quality Tables
When purchasing a table for $3,500 or more you should expect top quality materials, design and construction. Price alone however, does not guarantee quality, so you should shop and compare, and ask lots of questions. First, consider the kinds of materials used in the table's construction. The method of building a pool table can determine its value. The use of hardwoods instead of soft woods, wood substitutes, metal/plastics adds value and longevity to a pool table.
Know what you are getting. If you are going to be spending $3,500 or more for a quality pool table, then be sure you know how to recognize the materials used in the pool table's construction. What may look like solid hardwood at first glance could in fact be something else. A healthy degree of skepticism is essential because in recent years, the amount of deceptive advertising and misleading sales presentations has increases with the growth in the pool table market.