Buying a Used Pool Table for Your Home – Full Guide

  • By: Rob
  • Date: May 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 19 min.
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The popularity of billiards is ever-growing and it’s moving from the pool a billiards halls into the comfort of your own homes.

People are now buying a used pool table for their homes as a means of entertainment with some people making a purchase as a form of investment

With more table owners deciding to sell so they can appreciate a newer make and model this leaves a big market for people looking to purchase a used pool table.

Buying a used pool table is okay if you are considering your budget, but you must remember the adage that says ‘buyers beware.”

You might get stuck with a costly deal if you are not careful.

Buying A Used Pool Table + Detailed Buyers Guide

To avoid a situation where you’re left regretting your decision buying a second-hand pool table, I’ve made this handy guide of what to look for when buying a used pool table.

I’ll explain all you need to know in this article about:

  • Where to buy 2nd hand pool tables
  • how to buy a used pool table
  • What to look for when buying a used pool table
  • How much does a used pool table cost
  • Who buys used pool tables

And loads more useful in this used pool table buying guide! 

Where to buy used pool tables

You might be at a loss wondering where to buy used pool tables. 

If this is you, you’re not alone.

Many people when they want to buy something just pop over to Amazon or another market place, but for the most part, they don’t sell used goods, they definitely don’t sell used pool tables.

so where to buy used pool tables? 

It will depend on where you are from in the world. A useful place to start with is to check out  AZBilliards forum section, I would just search “selling a pool table” or something similar into the search bar and cross your fingers.

AZ billiards is a great place to find billiard-related information and it has a great forum where users can debate many things around billiards. Quite often you can find people selling their tables.

If you are from north America, then you can check out used pool tables on craigslist. Simply go to craigslist and search for “second-hand pool tables” or something similar to be present with a list of used pool tables for sale in your area. 

If you are from the UK, then I suggest checking out gumtree. Provings a similar service to craigslist, just search something like “second-hand pool tables” and select your locations and that should bring up people who have advertised their used pool table within your selected area.     

Hopefully, this has given you an idea of where to buy used pool tables in your area. 

How to buy a used pool table through one of these services should be pretty straightforward. Transportation will be the biggest issue, but there will be services available. 

One option to consider would be to carefully dismantle the table, this will allow for cheaper and simpler transportation. Check out my handy step-by-step guide to help along with this process if you are considering this option. 

Remember to consider the room space needed for your pool table, you need to make sure you have enough room available for comfortable cueing.

Is it OK to buy a used pool table

When you’re looking to purchase a pool table, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to buy a new or a preowned pool table. Both options have their pros and cons, but if you’re trying to decide which is better for you, here are some things to consider:

  • New pool tables can be expensive, and unless you have a lot of money to spare, a used table may be a more affordable option.
  • Used pool tables can also be a good way to get a quality table for a fraction of the price of a new one.

However, there are some things you need to watch out for when buying a used pool table.

  • Make sure the table is in good condition and has been well-maintained. If it’s been stored in a damp or humid environment, it may be warped or otherwise damaged.
  • Also, inspect the surface of the table for any cracks or chips. These can affect the playability of the table.
  • If you’re buying a used pool table, be sure to ask the seller about any repairs or restoration work that’s been done.

Overall, whether you buy a new or used pool table is ultimately up to you. Just be sure to consider all of the factors involved before making your decision.

It is possible to pick up fantastic second-hand pool tables that have been well looked after, but it’s important to be aware of the risks before parting with your cash. Buying a used pool table can be a great way to save money, but only if you take the necessary precautions.

What to look for when buying a used pool table

If you are serious about buying a used pool table then its important to not go into the purchase blind. Use this used pool table buying guide to steer you in the right direction.

Below i have detailed what to look for when buying preowned pool tables to help you navigate through the good and the bad of second-hand pool tables.

Maybe you are searching for used coin-operated pool tables for sale or cheap used slate pool tables for sale, whatever the table type you want, make sure you have checked it thoroughly before purchasing.

When buying a used pool table for your home or bar there are a number of things to consider before your purchase to make sure the table is in the best possible condition.

What to look for when buying a used pool table:

  • Table manufacturer
  • Table frame condition
  • Is the table bed level
  • Type of pool table bed
  • Size of the table
  • General build and condition
  • The condition of the table felt
  • Pool table accessories

Further explanation will be given for each topic as well as some extra things to consider.

Manufacturer

Quality pool tables hold their value even after years of usage. Check the manufacturer’s name on the apron or headrail of your table to learn about the model and place of manufacture. 

That will help you know about the design and making of the pool table since different regions like the US, Mexico, and Canada have different designs. 

You may also ask for the buyer’s receipt if available to see the original price, date of purchase, and discount sale, if any, to know your used pool table before giving your final word.

Some big table brands to look out for would be Brunswick and Diamond. If you stumble across someone selling one of these tables and it’s within your budget then you could be onto a winner.

Table Frame

The frame of a pool table determines its strength. 

A well-built table usually would have its beam designed in an “H” pattern: a center beam and two cross beams that support the slate. 

Check for frames with at least-inch thickness made from solid wood material, MDF, or sandwich boards. 

Don’t be afraid to give it a full check, under the table too. remember, this is an investment

Level playing surface

It is pretty easy to assume that a new pool table has a leveled playing surface, but when it comes to buying a second-hand pool table, you can’t always be sure.

Check if the table has adjustable legs for leveling purposes.

Even if you have a perfect table, your floor may be a barrier and may change over time. 

Although it is possible to make adjustments to a table that isn’t level, it always makes sense to check before you buy. 

Download a spirit level app on your smartphone to help determine if the table is level or not.

Learn More…
Want to learn if your table needs to be leveled and the best ways to level it… Then check out my how to level a pool table HERE

Stale or MDF bed

what to look for when buying a used pool table? What rests beneath the table cloth is a big factor. 

The table bed is the surface of the table, resting under the cloth. 

Slates are leveled and available as a one-piece material or three pieces slate. The three-piece is the most common these days and offers the best quality. 

If you are lucky enough to find one; ask if the 3-piece slate is matched; a matched type is one that has all the material cut from one slab. Generally, an -Inch slate thickness is recommended for proficient gaming. 

An alternative to a slate bed is MDF (Medium-density Fiberboard). These are hardboards that make a table cost-effective but generally do not deliver what the slate gives when gaming. 

MDF beds may start deforming over time, and that would affect the control of the balls, causing them not to play true.

Generally, slate beds are more expensive than MDF ones. 

I’m not saying MDF beds are bad, but slate ones will keep for longer, and if you’re after a long-term investment then I highly recommend a slate one. 

Learn More…
Want to learn more about the differences between a slate and MDF tables? Check out my article for all the information you need and more.

Size of the table

This is one of the most critical factors in buying a used pool table because more often than not these details are overlooked. 

The available space in your home and the length of the pool stick you will be using to play the game would determine the size of your pool table.

The most common table size includes 7 feet bar table, 8 feet standard & professional tables, and a 9ft tournament size table.

A pool cues length is usually 1.5 meters in length between 57 and 59 inches.

I have written a handy in-depth article detailing the standard size of pool tables and if your room has enough space to cue comfortably. Definitely worth a read if you are considering buying a pool table.

If I was to plan out what you need to do, it would go something like this

  •  Measure the intended pool room’s length and width before you even put your hand in your pocket to pay for a new table.
  • Measure your cue – most, as stated above are between 57-59 inches.

Armed with this information you now can make the correct decision on the pool table rather than take a gamble. No one wants to play on a beautiful 9 ft table with kids-sized cues!

When you find a potential table, be sure to take your tape measure with you. 

If you want to learn more about the correct way to measure a table then here is a guide for you to follow.

If you are buying a used pool table then a basic room measurement would be something as pictured below. Make sure to measure the pool table correctly.

pool table room measurement

Making sure the room has enough space for your used pool table is really important. 

For complete comfort, The length of the room should be the length of the table and the length of an extra 2 pool cues on each side of the table. 

The width of the room should then be the width of the table and the length of an extra two cues of each side of the table. 

You follow this principle and you should have more than enough room to play pool with your chosen cues. 

Build and condition

As with anything, parts of the table may need replacement.

Don’t solely rely on what you’re being told, do your due diligence and inspect the table fully.

Get on your hands and knees and give it a full inspection.

Remember, a used table is…. used. So expect to find some knocks and bumps.

People usually take good care of their tables because even used tables don’t come cheap!

Seeing a few scratches on the legs of the pool table shouldn’t affect its playability and shouldn’t be seen as a red flag.

On the flip side, the table has clearly been mistreated with chucks taken out of the woodwork in multiple spots and scratches and stains on the felt then you can assume that the owner hasn’t given it the care and attention it deserves.

With such a low level of care, you can only assume that there may be some more hidden issues with the table.

I would proceed with caution if I saw a second-hand pool table in bad condition.

The condition might not be so clear-cut, so be sure to give it a thorough examination.

Remember to check the:

  • Rails – run your hands over all four, feel the conditions of them
  • Pockets- put your hand in them, are there any issues. does the ball have an issue when it falls into it?
  • Bed – firmly run your hand, covering the whole playing surface of the table, feeling for bumps and inconsistencies in the surface.
  • Cushions – feel all of them, do they all have the same elasticity? hit some balls off them, and see how they bounce.
  • Warped – is it an MDF? hit a ball, not too fast in a straight line, and see if the ball runs straight.
  • Felt – any stains on it, is it pilled or wearing thin?
  • Frame – check the whole frame, even under the table. Look for mistreatment and a lack of care.
  • Mechanics – coin-operated? the hopper, collection mechanism, do balls get stuck? open the table up and see how it all works.

These might sound like obvious steps but when excitement for a new table kicks in you need to be sure you are getting the best table.

Things like the table felt, pockets, and cushions can all be replaced for a reasonable price.

Pool table cloth

Check the condition of the felt, it makes a huge difference to the way a game is played. 

If it needs replacing it could come a cost of a couple of hundred dollars so double-check the felt on the table.

If the felt is worn out and thinning it should be easy to spot.

Light glue surfaces with staples are usually less desirable compared to surfaces that are glued and screwed together, this way securing felt to the table ensures it stays properly stretched. 

Be sure to check how it’s attached.

High-quality felt surfaces have more wool material (around 80%,) which determines their durability, and 20% nylon material, ask to find out what type of felt it is, woolen or worsted? 

Worsted table felt is better quality and more likely used on better tables.

Simonis felt is some of the best felt you can buy, so if it’s made by them then you know its a quality felt.

If the felt has stains or marks on then maybe you can take a look at my guide on how to clean table felt, you might just be able to make it look new again.

If the table is perfect all except the felt, and no amount of cleaning will bring it back to a playable condition then consider investing in a new table felt for your used pool table. 

Transportation & Assembly

Consider the ease of disassembling and reassembling the pool table plus the ease of moving it to your home and the cost associated with the process.

3-Piece slate tables are easier to dismantle and move  around. I recommend that you have it professionally dismantled and installed if you need to move it.

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Accessories to check

When buying a second-hand pool table make sure to check the manufacturers’ information, the levelness of the table, and the frame. 

But quite often the accessories are forgotten about. below are essential accessories you must check to avoid spending a fortune after buying a used pool table.

Railing and cushions

One way to test the railing of second-hand pool tables is to strike a ball against it and see if the ball rebounds smoothly. 

You may check how balls rebound on a new table and test your experiment on the used table that you are planning to buy. 

Rail cushion rubber can last between 20 and 50 years, but misuse and exposure to extreme weather may shorten its life span. 

Installation of new rubber for a used pool table is capital intensive and may cost between $400 and $1,000. 

Hardwood railings are better since they provide less vibration with ball contacts, while canvass backing cushions do better in adherence to railings.

Table felt & pockets

Watch out for holes in the billiard cloth or wear due to usage. Most billiard cloths have 2-3 years of life expectancy, and initial installation may also determine the condition of the cloth.

As for pockets, they are perhaps the easiest to inspect. If you notice ripped baskets or unusually dry and cracked leather pockets, that indicates your 2nd hand pool table needs a leather pocket replacement.

Balls & Triangle

Ensure that the balls are a complete set and not mixed with balls of other cue sports as phenolic resin balls may chip polyester balls when they collide.

But replacement can always be made if some of the balls are chipped, and others discolored.

Besides, check the condition of your triangle rack; does it have any cracks? does it fit the balls correctly? 

pool balls and triangles are relatively inexpensive, that being said its always a good idea to check and see the condition as this will affect the selling price.

Pool Cue

If you find a good table and it comes with cues, you’ll need to see if they are straight or not. The best way to do this is the sight test – hold the cue as if you were aiming with it.

You don’t want to roll it on the table as most people do to determine if the cue is warped or not as this is not a good indicator if it’s straight or not.

Next, inspect the tip, see if it has a nice dome shape and it’s not too worn down. How long a tip lasts depends on how it’s used, but they don’t last forever. 

A good thing to note is that cue tips can be replaced easily – check out my step-by-step guide on how to replace a cue tip without professional help.

There are many cue tips to choose from, so if you feel a replacement is needed then feel free to check out my list of best cue tips on the market, never underestimate the importance of a good cue tip.

A pool cue is an important part of the set, so ask a question, Have the tips been replaced? Inspect the wrap, does it need to be replaced, or can it be cleaned?

Is the pool cue dirty? Over time cues will acquire a lot of dirt, oils, and dust causing the cue to become a little dirty and clammy.

If this is the case then why not give it a clean, check out my helpful guide on how to clean a pool cue shaft if this is something it needs.  

Warranty

You may check before buying a second-hand pool table to see if it comes with a warranty. 

If there is an existing warranty, it becomes void once you claim the ownership of the pool table by purchasing it from the original buyer. 

Most times, a pool table seller has no obligation to undertake the repair of any defective or malfunctioning part of the pool table after the transfer of ownership. 

This is why you need to carry out a thorough inspection before committing yourself and paying for a used pool table. 

How much does a used pool table cost

How much does a used pool table cost depends on a few factors.

Some of the main things to look for when considering the price of a used pool table are:

The make of the pool table, is it from a reputable table maker? 

Some well known reputable table makers are:

  • Brunswick
  • Diamond
  • Peter Vitalie
  • Olhausen
  • Legacy Billiards
  • Goldenwest

If you find a table from one of these then it’s likely they will be slightly more expensive, simply because they are extremely high quality and well-crafted tables. 

Brunswick Gold Crown tables have been the tournament standard for more than 50 years, so these will be highly sorted after.

The same goes for Diamond ProAm tables, another table used in tournament play and is an extremely popular one.  

The type of bed the table has. 

As mentioned, slate beds are usually more expensive than MDF or HDF beds. You can also get marble beds now but they are not as common. 

A standard is at least a 1-inch slate bed. Finding used slate pool tables for sale would be ideal if looking for a used pool table because a slate will last a lot longer than a table with a wooden bed.

The general condition

The overall condition of the table will be a telling sign as to the type of deal you will get. If there are clear signs of wear and tear then that should decrease the price a little.  Felt damage, pocket damage, cue damage and ball damage will all warrant the biggest decrease in price. All of these can be replaced easily so if there is damage to them you shouldn’t worry too much

So, you may be wondering, how much should i pay for a used pool table? 

Well, as you can see that’s a balancing act between the cost of the table brand new vs the offer price.

Before you make any assumptions on what you think you should pay, do a search for the table and see how much its current price is.

A table in mint condition might go for 2 thirds of the current sales price.

With some issues to the table or accessories that may decrease it further.

I have seen tables worth $5000 brand new in great condition with all the accessories go for $1000. 

It’s worth looking around but you can find great deals when buying a second-hand pool table.

Who buys used pool tables

You might be surprised to learn that buying used pool tables is a big thing. Many people are buying and selling for a variety of reasons.

Mainly it’s people like you and me who will buy used pool tables. Usually, you can pick-up great looking, great playing tables at a fraction of the cost.

So what are the main reasons someone would want to buy a used pool table over a new table:

As mentioned, the price is a big factor. New good tables don’t come cheap with top-end tables reaching tens of thousands of dollars.  

Buying a used pool table could be a fraction of the cost of a new good table. If the table is well looked after and taken care of there is no reason the table won’t last for years to come, perhaps even outlast you.

Another reason people choose second-hand pool tables is they have space. Maybe they have a spare room they don’t know what to do with and rather than have wasted space doing nothing, pop in a pool table and you’ve turned a once unused quiet room into the hub of the house.

Perhaps, a bar owner or social club is looking for some light entertainment and the thought of playing the high prices attached to good quality tables is simply not appealing. 

The people who buy used pool tables are the people who have some extra cash, and space and are looking for a hobby or social entertainment for friends and family. 

New vs used pool table

There are many differences between a new and a used pool table. For starters, a new pool table will be more expensive than a used one. A new table will also be made of better quality materials and is likely to last longer.

Used tables may have scratches or other cosmetic damage, which can affect the gameplay. Additionally, a used table may not be regulation size, which could lead to scoring discrepancies. Ultimately, whether to buy a new or used pool table depends on your personal preferences and budget.

How can you tell if a pool table has a slate top

If you’re considering buying a used pool table, one of the most important things to consider is the type of surface it has. Slate is considered the best option because it provides a smooth, consistent playing surface. But how can you tell if a pool table has a slate top?

The easiest way to check is to look at the manufacturer’s information or specifications. If it doesn’t say anything about the surface material, you can check for yourself by lifting up one of the corners of the cloth. If there’s a thin layer of black felt over a green board, then chances are good that it’s a slate table.

Another way to tell is by looking at the screw holes. Slate tables have screw holes that are evenly spaced in a grid pattern, while other table beds, like MDF will have screw holes, they will be more randomly placed.

If you’re still not sure, you can ask the seller or a pool table technician. They should be able to tell you what type

Conclusion

No doubt, a quality used pool table can outlast some of us and become a valued family heirloom. 

But before that commitment, ensure you consider the above factors to understand what hidden cost may arise should you seal that used table deal. 

Since budget is part of the consideration in buying a used pool table, paying a few dollars for a table that will cost thousands of dollars in repair isn’t reasonable when just a few above that can get you a new table plus installation, accessories, and warranty. 

If your goal is to get a unique or antique pool table, searching for that exceptional work of art won’t be a waste of time. Especially when some billiard table owners move their families to other areas with the option of selling their quality heirloom pool table.