Dining Pool Table Buyers Guide
At Robbies Billiards we have spent decades helping buyers decide what size, type, and style of pocket billiards table works best for their individual needs and budget. One of our fastest growing and most misunderstood categories is Dining Pool Tables. Most people think of the Beverly Hillbillies and their "fancy eating table" when I bring this up. Little do they know there is a special category of pocket billiard tables specifically designed to double as full time dining tables. This category of pool tables is ideal for customers who want to put a game table in an upstairs room like a study or dining room and be able to use the game table to eat and entertain as well.
The most common misunderstanding about dining pool tables is what makes a dining pool table different from a pool table with a dining top. That sounds a bit odd but it makes all the difference in how the table is used on a day to day basis. For example, here is a very popular luxury rustic style American 8' pool table called the Carmel shown here with and without a leaf style dining conversion top.
You can definitely see the appeal of a trendy luxury farmhouse style furniture pool table like the Carmel as it would look GREAT in just about any home. The dining top and bench seats allow the pool table to be used as a dining table as well, but there is a catch! According to the Billiard Congress of America pool tables need to have a uniform height of the slate play surface of 29.25" to 31". The pool table rail ads another 1.25" to 1.75" of height plus the dining top sits on risers or pads on the rails for an additional .75" to 1" rise. With a dining conversion top American pool tables with have a height of 33" to 34" or more depending on the table design and how far off the floor it is shimmed for leveling purposes. Standard dining table height is 29" to 30" Max to accommodate your typical dining chairs putting any pool table 4" to 5" too high to eat comfortably!
Many customers I talk to see this or similar pool tables online and think they can replace their existing dining table without issue but that height difference makes ALL the difference in sitting comfortably and enjoying a meal, especially for kids. This is why you often see custom height dining benches offered with this style of pool table/dining top combo, you really don't have many options finding dining chairs tall enough to work with a pool table featuring a dining top. Bench seats built 3 to 4 inches higher than standard help but the table still hits petite diners mid-chest. Another issue can be the shape of the pool table legs allowing foot space under the table itself. Bulky legs will interfere with seating and this varies from one pool table design to another.
This brings me to another dining pool table design feature: legs pushed all the way to the corners. Take a look at this design and you will see that the legs pushed to the corners allows for more room to place dining chairs and diners' legs under the table when eating. The table is still 33" high with the top installed, but we are getting closer to true dining table functionality and appearance with these style pool tables. Unfortunately with the pool table slates weighting around 600 pounds this creates major issues engineering a stable and true playing pool table so you diffidently want to demo this style of table before considering a purchase and make sure the installer has long term Guarantee of Level.
A common question we get is "why don't they just cut the legs down a bit so the table is lower with the dining top?" This is a great question with an easy answer: If you do that you would not have adequate room to get your legs under the frame/rails, they would be too close to the ground! Next question is usually, "then why don't they make the frame thinner on the sides so you have room for your legs?" Another great question with a more complex answer: In order to support the weight of the pool table slate the frame must be beefy enough to not sag, so to thin up the table frame you have to reinforce the frame with metal beam construction. Metal beam construction is a critical feature of true "dining pool tables" that are built at 29" to 30" heights with thinner profile frames so your legs will fit underneath when eating.
So I explained why a pool table with a dining top is not truly interchangeable with your existing dining table but thankfully there do exist true Dining Pool Tables. The fundamental feature of a true dining pool table is that the table is either built at or can be lowered to standard 29" to 30" height with the dining top installed. The most popular true dining pool table of the 2000's is the Aramith Fusion table pictured here.
The first thing you notice about this table is the incredibly thin profile of the steel frame and legs. Many residential customers and commercial designers buy this table simply for the look as it bears little resemblance to a traditional pool table and makes a statement just sitting there being admired. The legs are pushed all the way to the perimeter of the table frame to create a more sleek modern profile and allow maximum leg room under the table when dining. The key design element to the Fusion Table however is the patented ability to rise from 29" to 32" in height using the patented pneumatic risers in the legs. There are definitely some trade offs in playability with this engineering (you can read all about it on our Fusion Table Review) but if you need an every day dining table this is very hard to beat.
Another table that features a hardwood frame built at 29" high with steel reinforcement beams is the Canada Billiard La Condo dining pool table. This is another best seller because it can be custom built in dozens of woods and finishes in anything from 6' to 9' size options. The trade off with this table is the fixed dining height of the table, but as a premium three piece tournament slate design it is a necessary trade off if you expect perfect roll and rebound during billiard play.
The first question I ask customers visiting our Rockville Maryland pool table design showroom when they inquire about using a pool table as a dining table is "how often do you plan on eating at this table vs playing pool on it?". If the answer is occasional dining with the table primarily used for billiards I recommend just about any regular high quality three piece slate pool table with a dining top or even a ping pong conversion top. This will be fine for overflow seating or "buffet" table use a few times a year.
However if the answer is that it needs to be an every day dining table I strongly recommend customers consider getting a real Dining Pool Table like the Fusion or the La Condo. Because of the fine materials and extra heavy duty steel beam construction real Dining Pool Tables are often much more expensive than standard three piece slate home pool tables. For a buyer who really wants both it is well worth the additional investment long term to get the right table the first time.
As always if you have additional questions about the different pool table and dining pool table options available please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 301-331-7024 to talk to an expert, or schedule an appointment to visit our Rockville pool table design showroom to see these tables for yourself.