Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables
As an Authorized Pool Table Dealer in Maryland for both Brunswick Billiards (since 1967) and Olhausen Billiards (since 2007) we are often asked by customer which company makes the better pool table: Brunswick or Olhausen? This is like asking "Who makes the better car, Ford or Chevrolet?" Fans of either manufacturer will always be loyal to their brand, but I will try and objectively examine the pros and cons of the two largest pool table manufacturer's in the world.
First of all, we need to distinguish between the different price points of pool tables made by Brunswick and Olhausen. At the time of this blog entry www.brunswickbilliards.com lists pool tables on their web site anywhere from $1,799 to $39,999 in price. Olhausen Billiards does not list MSRP prices but they start around $2,150 and the sky is the limit for custom built one-off tables. It is impossible to compare pool tables apples to apples at such varied price points. Both companies have "value" branded tables with cost cutting engineering, and in the case of Brunswick, an import China made group of tables marketed as Contender by Brunswick. To be fair you need to look at tables in the mid price point that feature top of the line engineering but not excessive ornamentation to drive the price point up. Lets say between $3,000 and $5,000 MSRP.
A great head to head comparison between Olhausen and Brunswick is the Brunswick Camden Pool Table vs the Olhausen Santa Ana Pool Table. They both have an MSRP of around $4,000 and feature all of the top features and engineering standards available to the respective manufacturers. Both the Olhausen and the Brunswick are top selling pool tables in Maryland and around the rest of the country.
Both tables feature solid hardwood construction with no MDF, Veneer, Composite Wood, or glued together finished wood. This is the real deal solid kiln dried lengths of lumber only on both tables. Olhausen uses primarily North American sourced hard maple, although any wood is available as this table is custom built to order. Brunswick uses South American hardwoods on the Camden, including Jequitiba. Jequitiba is a species of hardwood known for its similarity to Mahogany and uniform grain and texture. Both the Maple on the Olhausen Santa Ana and the Jequitiba/Poplar combo on the Brunswick Camden are beautiful in person, uniformly hard and durable, and match modern wood accents in the home.
One of the largest differences between Olhausen and Brunswick construction is the "Knock Down" cabinet of the Brunswick vs the pre-built "Uniliner" framed cabinet built by Olhausen. While the factory squared and perfectly stable base frame of the Olhausen is impossible to beat, not everyone can get that large a piece of furniture into the room pre-assembled. Brunswick builds the hands down best Knock Down cabinet in the industry, with almost flawless construction perfected by tens of thousands of mass-produced units. Olhausen does boast better "minimum cabinet deflection", but as impressive as these tolerances are they will not effect the roll of a 6oz billiard ball.
The most hotly contested element of the Brunswick vs Olhausen debate is the cushion rubber: Olhausen Accu-Fast vs Brunswick Super Speed Cushions. Both feature laboratory testing for consistency, patented manufacturing techniques, and decades of tournament professional play. In the end this comes down to personal preference as they do feel different when you play on the Santa Ana then switch to the Camden. More serious pool players do tend to prefer the Santa Ana if only because the pocket openings are 1/4" tighter than the Camden for more challenging play.
Overall most people would be lucky to own either the Olhausen Santa Ana or the Brunswick Camden Pool Table. If you like the idea of custom building a table with your wood finishes, rail sights, or you just like Made in the USA furniture the Olhausen Santa Ana is an easy choice. If you want a designer pool table with 160 years of brand heritage and the signature Brunswick roll and rebound don't hesitate to bring a Camden home! Both tables are available at your local Robbies Billiards Home & Patio Showroom.
UPDATE: Brunswick discontinued the Camden model in 2015 for part 2 of this article Click Here