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Pool Table Buying Guide

If you want to get the most bang for your buck when buying a pool table, follow these simple rules and you'll always end up with a great table! Check   the   name   brand.   Not   all   tables   are   equal.   Brand   names   command   a   premium.   Beware though! Not all models of a specific brand are good! Research    the    specific    model.    Some    manufacturers have   entry-level   tables. These   tables   are   often   made of   particle   board   and   veneered   in   a   hardwood   skin. The   difference   can   be   hundreds   or   even   thousands   of dollars. If   you're   buying   a   table   with   leather   pockets,   check the   leather.   Often   times,   the   previous   owner   didn't maintain   the   leather;   causing   dry-rot.   This   shouldn't   prevent   you   from   buying   the   table.   But, it should be a negotiation point when it comes to how much you should pay. Check   the   rubber   on   the   rails.   Tables   that   get   a   lot   of   sunlight   will   often   have   dry-rotted rubber.   The   signs   to   look   for   are:   1)   Little   to   no   rebound   of   the   ball.   2) A   "thud"   sound   when a   ball   is   bouncing   off   the   rail.   3)   Hard   and   soft   spots   when   pressing   into   the   rubber   with   your fingers. Tables needing new rubber will also need to be recovered. Find   out   when   the   cloth   was   last   changed.   Pool   tables   require   maintenance.   It's   par   for   the course.   Even   with   no   play,   it   is   recommended   cloth   be   changed   every   5   to   7   years   (even more   frequently   for   heavily   used   tables).   No   installer   will   offer   a   warranty   on   used   cloth.   So, if   reusing   the   existing   cloth,   make   sure   it's   good.   Otherwise,   use   this   information   to   your advantage when purchasing. Look   for   rusty   hardware.   If   you're   buying   an   antique   table,   this   may   not   be   a   big   deal. However, on modern tables (since the invention of climate control), this is a sign of neglect. Always   look   for   tables   with   "framed   slate".   A   quality   table   will   have   a   wood   frame   attached to the slate. This serves as both an anchor point for the cloth and it adds structural stability. Look   for   broken   /   missing   parts.   Rail   aprons   (the   piece   of   wood   that   hangs   off   the   rail   and covers   the   side   of   the   slate)   are   often   broken   or   loose   due   to   abuse.   Heavily   dented   and dinged   top-rails   are   also   a   sign.   This   doesn't   make   the   table   bad.   But,   damage   does   effect the sale price. Avoid   "honeycomb"   playfields!!!!   If   the   table   is   extremely   lightweight,   it   probably   has   this type   of   playfield.   "Honeycomb"   playfields   consist   of   a   cardboard   inner   structure   with   a   press- board    top.    These    tables    are    basically    children's    toys    at    best.    They    should    NEVER    be considered anything more. Typical   price   to   move   a   pool   table   is   going   to   be   around   $400.   Stairs   and   distance   will   also   be a   factor.   Recovering   is   roughly   the   same   (unless   both   services   are   performed   at   the   same time).   Knowing   this,   and   having   the   above   mentioned   tips,   your   buying   experience   should   go smoothly.

Buying a Used Table vs. New

Here's   where   I   fill   you   in   on   the   dirty   little   secret   of   pool   tables   (and   furniture,   for   that matter).   A   new   pool   table   loses   half   of   its   value   the   instant   it's   installed   in   your   house!   So, that   table   you   just   spent   $4000   dollars   on   last   week   will   now   only   sell   (used)   for   $2000.   New pool tables have a higher depreciation than cars. Here's where you, as a buyer, can make some EXCELLENT deals. Typically,   the   sale   price   of   a   pool   table   is   just   the   beginning   of   what   you ACTUALLY   pay. A   play package   (i.e.   cues,   balls,   triangle   rack,   lighting,   etc.)   will   run   anywhere   between   $250   to   over $1000.   In   addition   to   that,   you'll   also   pay   a   delivery   and   installation   charge   of   between   $250 and   $500.   Finally,   add   in   state   and   local   sales   taxes.   So,   a   table   that   retails   for   $3000   with   a (moderately priced) play package of $500 will end up costing just at $4200! When   purchasing   a   used   pool   table,   the   play   package   is   generally   included   in   the   price   of   the table.   Thus,   adding   to   the   overall   value.   Sales   tax   doesn't   usually   apply   on   private   party   sales. If   we   use   the   "half   value"   mentioned   above,   a   "like   new"   $3000   table   should   sell   for   $1500 (including   the   play   package);   even   less   if   the   table   needs   recovering   and/or   new   rubber.   Add in moving costs of about $400, and your total investment should be around $2000. As a side note... The table you purchased used (assuming it isn't abused) will not depreciate! There   are   some   advantages   to   buying   a   brand   new   table.   However,   most   buyers   will   never   take advantage of those benefits. There   are   lots   of   great,   used   tables   out   there.   And   the   prudent   shopper,   armed   with   this information, will be rewarded with years of hassle-free entertainment.
Being forearmed with a bit of knowledge when buying a pool table can save you HUNDREDS of dollers!
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