How Are Pool Tables Measured?

So you’re looking to get a pool table?

If you don’t want to end up like Frank Costanza and Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld, you’ll have to plan out what size you’re getting.

Knowing how to measure the pool table correctly is very important if you have one or are buying one.

How to Measure a Pool Table?

Measuring the exact sizes of a pool table requires the measurement of some key quantities.

First, remember that Pool tables are usually twice as long as they’re wide. This is a ratio that is generally followed to build a great pool table. This “1:2 ratio” is the standard around the world.

Second, the pool tables are measured according to their width. The width is measured from nose to nose from the long cushions. This is where the center pocket is. The nose of the cushion is situated where the balls come into contact with the cushion.

Since different manufacturers use different angles and sizes of cushions, the measurement method remains the same.

There is a little room for error, just one inch though. Hence, you will almost always get the same dimensions when you mention the different standard sizes for pool tables.

For the more professional tables which are used for tournaments, an eighth of an inch is allowed for error.

Thirdly, the height of a professional pool table ranges between 29 ¼ and 31 inches. This is either the actual height of the table or the table bed which houses the balls.

This is the standard height for pool tables around the world.

Standard Sizes

The four standard sizes of the pool table include:

  • The 7-foot pool table, which is also known as the Bar Size table. This is usually found in bars of all sizes around the world. They are also shown in cartoons and films as being in the middle of the bar.
  • The 8-foot pool table, which is also known as the Standard Size table.
  • The Pro 8-foot pool table, which is known as the Standard 8-foot Antique Size table. The 8-foot pool table dimensions aren’t the same though. However, they still measure out as an 8-foot table
  • The 9-foot pool table, which is called Tournament Size. This is, as the name suggests, often used in tournaments. The size is much bigger than that of the 7-foot table and thus provides a larger view of the game. It also presents a much bigger playground for players to compete on.

Pool Table Slates

The measurement of a pool table also includes the slates. It’s paramount that you figure out how to move your table to the room that you want to place it in.

This includes making sure how many slates the table has. A pool table slate is an individual slab which is a 1-piece slate. It can also come as three separate parts like a 3-piece slate.

Pool tables that were made from the 1990s onwards were made from a 3-piece slate. This type of slate is much easier to remove, move and replace. Pool tables from the 60s to the 80s were made from 1 piece slates.

If you’re unsure when the table was manufactured you should check underneath the railing of a side pocket. The 3-piece slate has a separation under the railing and the 1-piece table doesn’t.

However, if you’re unsure of how many slates the table has, then you can remove the felt to view them.

Does Pool Table Size Matter?

Yes! However, this requires more clarity.

Since bigger tables are good for different tournaments and smaller tables are good for others (such as house or outdoors). Here is what the size of a pool table means in practicality.

Smaller Pool Tables

Smaller tables are usually chosen for faster games. The smaller size will allow players to take shots more often and proceed faster. You will also be taking shorter shots; hence the game will comparatively be easier than on a large table.

Less distance between the rails also means that you’ll be taking much easier bank shots.

The disadvantage of a smaller table, however, is that there will be overcrowding. Without much space for the balls to move, you won’t have a large enough place to maneuver and play shots.

Larger Pool Tables

Larger tables have the advantage of more room. Hence, players will have a larger room to play with and make shots. This is great for different variations of the pool that need room to run around.

The second advantage of larger tables is cue ball control. While it’ll be harder to make shots, you will be less hindered in lining up a great shot. Hence, you’ll be able to control the cue ball much better without other balls hogging the play area.

Thirdly, you’ll be able to take longer shots. These are much better for tournaments rather than small games. The games you play on larger pool tables will inevitably be longer as a result. Take this only if you’re planning on having a tournament.

Another advantage of a larger pool table is that it’ll help you be better on a smaller one. A larger pool table will help you measure your shots better. Hence, it’ll teach you how to maneuver and judge your shots better.

Difference Between American and British Pool Table Sizes

The main difference between the two terms is the table dimensions and equipment sizes. American pool tables employ balls that are 2 ¼ inches in size. The English pool uses balls that are 2 inches in size. Table sizes differ as well. English pool tables are usually much smaller.

While American pool tables start from 7-footers, the English pool tables are as small as 6 footers. These are called mini tables. They crowd the balls together into corners and clusters. This can create a lot of frustration.

As far as the World Pool-Billiard Association goes, there are only two sizes approved for tournaments. The first is the 9 x 4.5 ft model. The second is the 8 x 4 ft model.

For the 9 ft table, the playing surface measures about 100 inches by 50 inches. This includes a margin of error of about an eighth of an inch. For an 8 ft table, the playing surface measures nearly 92 inches by 46 inches. Again, the margin of error is about 1/8 of an inch.

Why the Difference exists?

The difference exists since the English pool tables hit the English pub scene in the 60s. This meant that the lounges it had to occupy were already laden with dart players and drinkers.

Hence, it had to fit a lot of crowded places.

The cue tips that were used were also 8 to 9 millimeters in width. Americans, in contrast, use 13 mm wide cues. Today, however, due to the popularity of 8 and 9 ball pools, the bigger American tables have been adopted.

Pool tables are very different sizes around the world. However, the standard sizes will usually serve you well for a tournament or home play.

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