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Snagging the Best Pool Table for the Money in 2017

Table

Size

Surface

Price

Rating

Mizerak Donovan II

Read review

8'

Slatron

$$$

Mizerak Dakota BRS

Read review

8'

Slate

$$$

Mizerak Dynasty Space Saver

Read review

6.5'

MDF

$$

Who doesn’t want to get the most for their money regardless of the item you’re buying? I do and in my pool table rummage, I realized that getting the best pool table for the money depends a whole lot on why you want a pool table. If you’re a lot more like me and hate to spend money on a something that doesn’t have a solid secondary market, you’ll use the internet and find out which brand, styles and features command the best price used

No home rec room is complete without a billiards table. Whether it showcases a sleek laminate or an authentic wood veneer, a pool table adds a level of class to a game room that entertains friends and family when they visit. Choosing the right table begins with your budgetary constraints – because when it comes to pool tables, you really do get what you pay for. Additional considerations include the size of the available space in your home, and how seriously you play.

Getting a Pool Table for the Money

This buying guide comprehensively highlights three of the top entry-level and mid-grade tables by billiards manufacturing tycoon, Mizerak:

1. Mizerak Donovan II 8-Foot billiard table

2. Mizerak Dakota BRS 8-Foot billiard table

3. Mizerak Dynasty Space Saver 6.5 Foot billiard table

And if you’re contemplating the best place to buy a pool table, whether you’re looking for a new addition or a used piece, Amazon’s marketplace has an unparalleled inventory of cheap and affordable tables in a variety of styles to best match your room’s décor and playing needs. Now let’s start building a personal game room you’ll be eager to show off!

Overview of our Top Picks

The Mizerak Donovan II 8 foot pool table provides the consumer with two bed options: slate and slatron, which are friendly to most budgets ($1,285 for slate; $850 for slatron – advertised on Amazon). For the slight difference in price between slate and slatron, we advise you to purchase a table with a slate bed, which allows for a greater game and a big range of finish and cloth color combinations.

As an introductory, mid-range game table, it has sufficient durability that will be appreciated by those looking to add some fun to their game room. Its laminated cabinet makes the price conservative, and you still get quality K-66 cushions all around – plus it comes complete with all the accessories to get started right away.

If you’re looking foremost for a showpiece, this series is a good choice with its unique red cloth, classy black cabinet, and drop pockets which are encased in a stylish chrome. Read full review here.

The Mizerak Dakota BRS 8-Foot pool table showcases a solid, clean design with proven value that fits any budget ($1,100 for slate; $975 for slatron – advertised on Amazon). Its main convenience feature is the plastic rail integrated pockets and an internal ball return system for practical play and easy game resets. However, the quality of this mechanism has been said to be lacking by users who’ve complained the balls have a tendency to get stuck. These owners made modifications to the existing system, which they said was quick, easy and improved the ball return.

If you’re looking for a piece that’s kid-friendly and you’re not a serious player, this series is a good choice. More experienced players could find the quality of the materials frustrating. If pool is your thing and you care about quality, you may want to continue on to high-end tables if your budget permits. Read full review here.

The Mizerak Dynasty Space Saver 6 .5 foot pool table may be downsized, but it still covers all the angles!

The Dynasty is available only with an MDF (medium density fiberboard) playing bed. With a price point of $460 (advertised on Amazon) this table is largely considered a toy, and is ideal for young children or players just looking for some casual fun, not precision play.

MDF tops can also warp or sag, swell and bulge if exposed to moisture or placed in a high humidity area. However being lighter weight allows the Mizerak Dynasty to be moved easier and is a good pool table option if being placed in an upper level of the home.

Like the Dakota, the Dynasty is also outfitted with plastic rail integrated pockets and an internal ball return system, however unlike Dakota users, Dynasty players conversely loved the feature and did not have issues with the PVC. Read full review here.

Price Point

Billiards tables are investments, and can always be resold without a great level of depreciation in value. If you’re wavering between options, don’t downplay your purchase, because even post ownership a quality table will hold its price.

For the sake of this review, all three Mizerak models fall within what we can call the “affordable” and mid-range” price point.

1.Affordable – in this range you will be looking at spending anywhere between $400 -$700, and the type of table you buy will typically cater to those who enjoy the occasional game and who do not the pool so seriously. The bed will be made of MDF, and the cabinet laminated. The cloth will be a lower grade, but with careful use, a table of this quality can still be enjoyed for years.

2.Mid-range – in this range prices reach from $800 - $1,000 for slatron, and $1,000 - $2,000 for slate. In this bracket, you’ll be purchasing a more robust and aesthetically attractive table – and the materials used for construction are of premium quality. Mid-range tables are the type you would find in pubs and pool halls. They are of a commercial standard, well finished, and available in a wide range of finishes and cloth colors.

3.Professional - when purchasing this level of table ($2,000 +), you should expect the highest grades of materials, designs and workmanship. This range table will include exotic veneers or hardwoods, inlays and other types of embellishments like mother of pearl or semi-precious gem sights. This table range will have all the construction features of the mid-range table, but with the most durable and precise materials.

Playing Surface

1. Slate bed tables have a playing surface made from slate which is then covered in cloth. The slate may vary thickness between ¾” (found on most entry level tables) and 1” (the standard approved for tournament play by the BCA). The denser slate is used on larger (8-9 foot) and more expensive table, oftentimes being assembled in 2-3 pieces. Slate bed tables are the ones most commonly found in pubs and halls. It provides the most precise playing surface that won’t deteriorate over time. If the cloth becomes damaged or worn, it can simply be replaced.

2. Slatron bed tables are constructed from a man-made material comprised of resin-reinforced wood fibers. It has a glass-smooth surface that is 20 times denser than particle board (MDF). Although slatron is considered the most durable of synthetic slates, its quality is far below that of real slate, as it has a tendency to decay and warp over time, causing resistance when playing. Surface spills can accelerate this process.

3. MDF bed tables have the playing surface made from Medium Density Fiberboard. MDF is a composite type of hardboard which is made from wood fibers glued under heat and pressure. This makes the table very cost effective to build and lightweight – allowing you to relocate or reposition it around your home more easily that slate or slatron tables, which are typically stationary. The downside is that MDF’s response is not the same as you would experience on a slate or slatron bed table and that, over time, like slatron, the MDF can begin to warp, so the ball doesn't play true. If you are confined to a tight budget, an MDF table will give you a good game, but you need to ensure you don’t use or store it in a humid environment. Also, be vigilant when moving it, as they are not built nearly as robust as slate and slatron bed tables.

​Ball Return and Drop Pockets

A ball return system is where the ball, once pocketed, returns to the end of the table using a system of internal gutters, typically made of PVC. The ball is then held at the end of the table awaiting the start of the next game. On more inexpensive tables, the return function can be a bit sticky, causing balls to get stuck.

Drop pockets are where the ball is pocketed and then just sits until retrieved.

Table Size and Player Proportion

A huge step in prepping your game room is to measure the area you’re working with. Your new pool table should be the central piece of furniture. In order to make everything fit correctly and ensure you’re not too crowded when trying to shoot, use the chart below to check your measurements (provided by the BCA).

Size Chart for Pool/Billiards Game Room

The chart below displays the minimum size required for the combination of any pool table size and cue length in your home game room.
Table Size 42" Cue 48" Cue 52" Cue 58" Cue
7'(39" x 78") 10'9" x 14' 11'6" x 14' 9" 12'2" x 15'5" 13' x 16' 3"
8' (44" x 88") 11' x 14' 7" 12' x 15' 7" 12'7" x 16'3" 13' 5" x 17' 1"
8 1/2' (46" x 92") 11' 1" x 14' 11" 12' 1" x 15' 11" 12' 3 x 16' 7" 13' 7" x 17' 5"
9' (50" x 100") 11' 5" x 15' 7" 12' 5" x 16' 7" 13' 14" x 17' 3" 13' 11" x 18' 1"

7 Foot Tables are economically sized and useful in rooms that are too small for a larger billiard table.

8 Foot Tables are the size most recreational players are used to, and are the most popular proportion for home usage.

9 Foot Tables are the most recognized size for professional tournament play.

Cushions

Ideally, you want the natural gum rubber content in the cushion to be 65% or higher. Cushions, such as the Pro-Am K-66, have a 72% natural gum rubber content, and will provide years of accurate, consistent and lively play. They provide the best reaction to the pool balls and are less likely to dry rot over the years. The higher the percentage of live gum rubber, the better and more consistent the rebound will be. K-66 cushions are also required by the BCA for tournament play and have been rigidly tested for accuracy and speed.

That about covers all the essentials for helping you choose a pool table. Now it’s up to you to decide how to personalize your game room. Just remember to keep your budget and the space allotment of the room in mind. After that, it’s up to you to choose other favorite games to add, the décor, and, most importantly, the guests with whom you want to share all your hard work!

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