Today we are going to review one of the best selling shuffleboard tables in the World, the Grand Champion by Champion Shuffleboard Company.
As Champion Shuffleboard (formerly American Shuffleboard) dealers for almost two decades we have sold dozens of Grand Champion model Shuffleboard Tables. For years this was the true benchmark for furniture style tournament shuffleboard in the home or business, but how does it stack up against modern table competition? This table features a solid hardwood and veneer cabinet, customizable furniture finishes, and the trademark poured polymer finger joined maple play surface. Size ranges from 12' all the way up to tournament 22' lengths. The Play Surface carries a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects and the cradle/legs have a three year warranty.
The Grand Champion is a step up from the more rudimentary Champion Shuffleboard Model in the style department. The maple veneer and hardwood cradle and legs are available in any number of custom wood stains and wood species. The most popular is a medium to dark mahogany on maple wood with natural maple accents, like the one shown here in one of our Maryland showrooms. The design on this table is simple and classic, based on the antique tables from the early 20th century. The Vintage Charleston model is a more expensive evolution of this style concept. For years the Grand Champion was the nicest looking table on the market with this kind of build quality and it still holds up today. The game has changed, however, with much nicer looking finished wood cabinets hitting the market at this Price Point. Bottom line is if you want the traditional Champion Shuffleboard look that has come to define this manufacturer look no further than the Grand Champion. If you want a shuffleboard table that matches your pool table or more updated style room this will stick out like a sore thumb.
Champion Shuffleboard can be credited for inventing modern shuffleboard table engineering. The 3/4" maple boards finger joined to create the play surface and the poured polymer 1/4" thick created the first maintenance free shuffleboard that never needs refinishing or sanding. This is still true today, where most manufacturers are still perfecting the curve of the play surface, the spacing and "tune" of the climate adjusters, and even the moisture content of the the wood. Champion figured this element out years ago, giving them a real edge on quality play surface construction. They back up this engineering with a lifetime warranty on the wood and poured polymer where many other manufacturer's will only guarantee the polymer, hoping it will not crack over time. The cradle, leg, and scorer construction are not as bullet proof as the play surfaces unfortunately. We have had some issues over the years with veneer splitting or scorer mechanisms failing prematurely. Most of these problems are quickly remedied but you get the impression the engineers at Champion are better handling commercial table construction than building fine furniture. Fit, finish, and presentation of the cabinets remains a work in progress, but as one of the largest custom manufacturer's in the country you have to think it will only get better over time. In the end, the play surface is what you are really paying for and Champion builds one of the best.
The Grand Champion is an upper-mid priced shuffleboard table when compared to similar construction and style tables from other manufacturers. This makes it a good value if American Made and having a premium warranty are high on your priority list. If furniture style or price point are more important to you then better looking and certainly less expensive tables are available. Everything is going to be a trade off, but it is hard to argue with twenty plus years of happy customers who still own Champion Shuffleboard tables worry free. The best value in the Grand Champion size range is 16' and larger, perfect for a nice rec room or commercial space. Better values in the smaller sizes are available as import boards (less expensive) or from other custom manufacturers (more style options). The Grand Champion is certainly a long term investment and if you look at the purchase over decades instead of just years, this is a very good value.
In the end you cannot go wrong with a Grand Champion Shuffleboard Table if you want a larger size and traditional look. Another often overlooked aspect of larger shuffleboard tables is the scoring. Champion makes the absolute best commercial score units on the market, so if you want to drop $1,500+ on a nice commercial scorer like the one in the picture at the top of this review, buy a Champion board. We love the Champion play surface when setting these up because the thinner (3/4" maple boards in stead of 1" like most manufacturer's use) tend to "curve" better and stay more true without adjustment. The climate adjusters are also factory installed before shipping so the boards come in semi-tuned and never warped. The cradle is a classic design but can be a little plain jane for this price point. The plastic sleeve covering either end of the board is great for durability but looks kind of cheap compared to this tables big brother, the Grand Champion Limited Edition. We also do not like that the cradle and wood components other than the play surface do not carry a lifetime warranty against splitting, cracking, ec. We sell pool tables for a fraction of the cost of the Grand Champion that have a lifetime warranty on all wood components, why not this? Complaints aside, this is a great board than anyone would be lucky to own.
Final Verdict: A-