You’re finally creating your dream game room, and it includes a pool table. You know where you want it, but you start to wonder how big is a pool table?
What are its dimensions? And, will it fit in your game room?
How Big Is a Pool Table?
"How big is a pool table?" is the wrong question to ask. What you need to ask is how long is a pool table and how wide is a pool table.
There are a few standard lengths for pool tables. Those lengths are 7 feet, 8 feet, and 9 feet long. As for width, well, that depends on the length of your table. But, you will generally find the width of a pool table to be half the total length of the table.
However, the length and width of the pool table aren’t as important as you think. Instead of asking how big is a pool table, you should be asking how big is the room for the pool table. It’s not as easy as figuring if the table will fit in the room. You have to take into account cue length, accessories, and any obstacles that might be in the room.
A Pool Table Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
In general, there are four standard pool table sizes. Those sizes are:
Believe it or not, each of these table sizes has a unique place in the game of pool.
Regulation size tables
Regulation size pool tables are not regular at all, meaning there is not one size that is “regulation.” Here’s a hint: All of the standard size pool tables listed above are regulation size pool tables.
When we talk about regulation size pool tables, what we’re talking about is the size of the playing field. That’s the area inside the pool table, not the outside edge to outside edge measurement.
A pool table has to be exactly twice as long as it is wide on the playing field to be a regulation size pool table.
If you aren't sure if a pool table is regulation, measure its playing field. If the length is 100 inches long, the width of the playing field must be 50 inches across.
Bar-sized tables are 7 feet long. They’re perfect for smaller size rooms because they are shorter and more narrow than other pool tables. Thanks to their smaller size, 7-foot pool tables are great when most of the players are kids.
Consider buying a bar-sized table if you play pool in a bar. A larger table may feel foreign to you since you aren’t used to it. This, in turn, could mess up your game.
Standard size tables
Standard pool tables are 8 feet long and are the most common size pool table found in American homes. They are also considered professional tables. That’s not because pros use this length table (although they do use them).
It’s because this size of table results in a better playing experience, thanks to the larger playing field. But, it’s also not as large as a tournament size table, making it easier for average joes to have a good game.
Tournament size tables
Used primarily in professional pool tournaments, 9-foot tables were invented for the original Billiards game. Because of the added length and width, it is uncommon to find this size pool table in private residences.
How Big Is That Cue?
Measuring the length and width of a pool table is not nearly as important as knowing what size pool cues you’re going to use.
Think about it. A pool table is a large object in the middle of the room that never moves. While pool tables come in multiple sizes, they never change size during play.
Pool cues, like pool tables, vary in length. Standard pool cues are 58 inches long (and usually in two pieces), but you can find 36-inch long, 48-inch long and 52-inch long pool cues.
Ignoring what you might prefer to play with, remember, that when you draw your arm back to take your shot, the cue goes with your arm. So, a 58-inch long cue needs more than 58 inches to make the shot. You don’t want to draw back your arm and poke your cue stick into the wall!
Pool table plus pool cue equals just right
The ideal way to determine how big is a pool table is to measure the length and width of the pool table on the outside. Then, add that to two times the cue length.
We know -- It sounds weird, but here’s how it works:
Let’s say you want a pool table that’s 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. Convert those feet to inches. So, you’re looking at a table that’s 48 inches by 96 inches long. Remember, these measurements are to the outside of the table, not the inside playing surface.
Assume you are using standard 58-inch cues. Double that 58 inches to get 116 inches. Add that 116 inches to the side and length measurements of the table. It looks like this:
48+116 = 164 and 96+116 = 212
So, if you want a table that’s 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, you need a room that’s at least 164 inches wide and 212 inches long. This means you need, at a minimum, a room that is 13.7 feet wide and 17.7 feet long.
That’s how you figure out how big is a pool table!
Don’t Forget the Extras
Keep in mind, that formula only calculates the minimum room size for your pool table. It doesn’t take into account all the extras you want and need in your game room.
You have to have a rack for hanging up the cues. And, of course, you need tables for your drinks (since drinks are not allowed on a pool table!). You’ll also need chairs so you can rest between shots and for your adoring fans to sit in while they cheer you to victory.
Once you figure out how big is a pool table, rerun the numbers and add in all the extras. Then you’ll have a better idea of what size pool table can fit in your space.
The Best Place for a Pool Table
Now that you can calculate out how big is a pool table, you’re probably realizing that your dream game room is likely the basement. The reality is that the basement is usually the only place in the house with enough space to accommodate any size pool table.
However, many basements have load bearing poles in the middle of the basement. You don’t want a pole to get in the way of your shot, but you can’t fit the table anyplace but the basement. What can you do?
In general, most pool shots are taken from the end of the pool table and not from the side. So, if you have to place your pool table near a pole, try to set the table with the pole on one side.
If, however, you can’t avoid having the pole at the table end, put the pole at the end, not the head. Don’t know which side the head is? It’s the one where you take the break shot from.
Another way to deal with a load-bearing pole is to have shorter cues on hand for those times when you have to take the shot with the pole in the way. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than no pool table!
Consider the Players
With the where is the pool table going question tackled, don’t forget about who is using it. While it’s easy to say you want the cheapest or the best pool table, these may not fit your needs.
For example, if it’s mostly kids using the pool table, you can probably get away with a small table and shorter cues.
If you’re trying to up your skill and practice for a night out with friends, consider getting a bar-sized table, too. Why? It’s not called “bar-sized” for nothing. If you play in friendly tournaments at your local bar, and you’re trying to practice at home, you may be better off practicing on something similar in size.
My Turn to Break
That answers the question, “How big is a pool table.” It’s so much more than the length and width of the pool table. There are the playing field and pool cues to think about. But, there are also obstacles to worry about. Also, you must make sure you’ve got the room for extras.
However, now you’re armed with the right knowledge, and you can start building your dream game room. Once you’ve got your pool table in place, you’ll be sinking it into the corner pocket in no time.
Featured image via Unsplash