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Dining Pool Table Buyers Guide

Dining Pool Table Buyers Guide 0

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, but 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.presidential carmel pool table with dining top and benchpresidential carmel pool table
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. 
robbies billiards custom dining pool table rockville maryland

This brings me to another dining pool table design feature:  legs pushed all the way to the corners.  Take a look at our best selling Robbies Custom Dining Pool Table 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.

aramith fusion dining pool table black lacquer

aramith dining pool table fusion walnut

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 numismatic 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.
canada billiard la condo dining pool table lacquer finish
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 robbies.scheduling@gmail.com, call 301-331-7024 to talk to an expert, or plan a visit to our Rockville pool table design showroom to see these tables for yourself.

Pool Table Reviews 0

Over the years I have written pool table buyers guides from the perspective of a local family retailer in Maryland since 1954.  The pool table reviews include tables from Brunswick Billiards, Olhausen Billiards, and many other companies and are kept in our Blog page.  Here is a full list of our pool table reviews so you can compare and shop some of the best selling pool tables in Maryland, Virginia, and DC right here at Robbies Billiards Home & Patio.  There are also links to our most popular buyers guides, enjoy!
Olhausen Americana Pool Table Review

Aramith Fusion Dining Pool Table Review

Brunswick Tremont Pool Table Review

Cuszoom Pool Table Review

How much room do I need for a pool table?

Pool Table vs Shuffleboard Table:  What should I get?

Cuszoom.com Pool Table Review 1

Aramith Fusion Knock Off While working with a preferred designer in Northern Virginia we ran into an issue with a pool table from cuszoom.com.  Normally I would not refer visitors to my web site to a competitor but in this case I feel obligated to provide some education.  We are the authorized manufacturer's representative for the Aramith Fusion Pool and Dining Table in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.  The Fusion Table has been around for years and is a favorite among designers, architects, and buyers looking to source a table for apartment buildings.  The hallmark of the Fusion Table you can read in detail from my previous REVIEW, but in simple terms it has a super modern clean look like nothing else on the market.  

While I have a very good relationship with the designer in this case she could not pass up a "Fusion Look Alike" on cuszoom for half the price.  She placed the order with them, paid in full via check, then confirmed that the table would be available in 2 to 3 months.  As a designer the Pool / Dining table was for a client so her cost basis and delivery time frame was now promised to her client.  As the delivery date approached my designer took the time to contact Cuszoom.com to confirm the table would be shipped and presumably set up at the clients location by the promised delivery date.  At this point she was informed the table that she bought and paid for months earlier was in fact back ordered for another few months.  In a panic she contacted us looking for a way to fill this order under a very tight time frame.  

Her first disappointment came as the price of a real steel frame slate top pool table was much higher than what she had budgeted with her client.  As there was no other real option at this point she confirmed the order with us for a real Aramith Fusion Pool/Dining Table.  When she called cuszoom.com to get a refund there was some confusion.  Apparently they could now fill the order ASAP!  When my designer friend called me back to apologize and cancel her Fusion Table order as everything was going to move ahead smoothly with cuszoom I was more than a little exasperated.  Having never heard of this company with I started digging online.  What I found was troubling to say the least.  I forwarded the following link to my designer from Complaintsboard.com.  To sum it up, cuszoom.com is aparently an Internet Scam.  There are dozens of people complaining about false advertising, missed shipping deadlines, a total lack of customer service, and in some cases downright fraud.  Cuszoom also has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau stemming from multiple customer complaints.  After reading this my designer immediately re-ordered the Fusion table for her client.  Weeks later she has yet to receive a refund or even a return call from Cuszoom customer support.  This is definitely a case of "if it seams too good to be true it probably is" and  reinforces the need to make an effort to seriously research a companies reputation before spending thousands of dollars!

 

Aramith Fusion 7' Dining Pool Table Review 5

 

As part of our blog we are continuing to review some of the best selling and most unique game tables available today.  One of the most unique tables in the world is the Fusion Table by Aramith.  The Belgian Aramith brand is the largest and best know maker of billiard balls in the world.  Aramith was recently purchased by Iwan Simonis, a 300 year old company and one of the largest manufacturer's of pocket billiard table fabric in the world.  With this type of corporate pedigree, we expect big things from the Fusion Dining Pool Table!  The Fusion Table is available in 7' only with half a dozen wood finish options, powder coated steel, and stainless steel cabinet styles.  What makes the Fusion Table truly unique is the patented leg riser system that allows the table to rise from 30" dining height up to 33" (regulation American Billiards table height) making it a true hybrid dining and billiard table in one. 

Style
The Fusion Table by Aramith was the first steel frame ultra modern style table to hit the US market almost a decade ago.  The design was almost indistinguishable from a high end modern dining table and did not look like anything on the market at that time.  The very clean minimalist modern lines are beautifully proportioned with the legs pushed all the way out to the corners of the table.  The lack of visible pool table pockets and very little depth to the play surface look cleaner overall than similar tables that have entered the market over the years.  Very chic wood finish options like Wenge (Dark Chocolate), Grey Oak, and Walnut fit beautifully into the modern high rise apartments and contemporary homes in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC.  The one piece steel frame blends seamlessly into the rails of the pool table when the dining top is removed, wrapping the steel frame over the rail edge as a final touch.  Despite many knock offs and modern competitors, the Aramith Fusion Table is still the best looking metal frame dining style pool table money can buy.
Score:  A


Construction
In order to look the way the Fusion Table does some very unique engineering comes into play.  The slate play surface is one piece 3/4" slate instead of the typical 1" three piece slate you see on modern high end pool tables.  To push the legs out to the corners of the table almost 300 pounds of steel are used to construct the frame as lighter materials would bend or wobble under the weight of the slate play surface.  The wood rails and dining top are actually veneered manufactured wood or HDF (High Density Fiberboard).  This is typical of most modern dining furniture but very rare on slate pool tables over $3,000.  Another odd bit is that all of the hardware is designed to be put together with an allen wrench, just like you would a dining table from IKEA!  The main issue we have with the Fusion Tables construction is that without 1" three piece slate you cannot truly get the play surface flat, and the light weight 3/4" slate on the already generally light 7' table size does not help.  Over all, the Fusion Table is very well constructed for a high end steel frame dining table but leaves much to be desired as compared to industry standard pool table construction in this price range.
Score:  B-
Value
When trying to determine the relative value of the Fusion Table you run into a problem:  do you compare this to other modern style 7' pool tables or try and figure out what it would cost to get both a high-end modern dining table in addition to a high end modern pool table for your home?  Very few tables give you the true combination, and all of the major manufacturer's offerings are priced similarly to the Aramith Fusion Table (MSRP $7,995).  The fact is you can get a better playing 7' three piece slate table for less than half the price of the Fusion Table.  Throw in a high quality dining conversion top for around $1,000 and you are still way less than the hybrid style Fusion.  The problem is, nothing can substitute for the 30" dining height and low profile cabinet that allows you to put any standard dining room chairs around the Fusion.  Typical pool tables sit too high and do not have ample room to tuck your legs under the table when you attempt to use them while dining.  No other manufacturer has designed a way to "raise" the play surface up to the more comfortable (and regulation) pool table playing height of 33".  So to be fair, you really are getting two things in one, making the Fusion Table a good value if you were going to spring for a $2,500 plus modern steel frame dining table and still wanted to add an ultra modern 7' pool table at over $5,000.
Score:  B

Conclusion
The Aramith Fusion Dining Pool Table is definitely not for everyone and is very controversial among specialty retailers around the country.  Putting aside the taste specific modern style, most pool table buyers will be happier with a better playing three piece slate table in solid wood for under $4,000.  Most high end dining set customers will not want to spend close to $8,000 and not even get dining chairs.  If you only have room for one or the other though, the Fusion Table truly stands alone as the Worlds only table that works both as a regulation 7' pool table and a gorgeous modern dining table.  What sets the Fusion Table apart is to some degree it's exclusivity and "wow" factor.  High end apartment buildings and corporate headquarters while disguised as a conference table are the natural habitat for the Fusion.  When we demonstrate the Fusion Pool Table leg risers in our Maryland Showrooms it never fails to drop jaws in amazement.  Despite some complaints about the odd ball construction, this table is still engineered to last for decades with heavy duty steel and diamond honed slate.  Our final recommendation would be to use the Fusion primarily as a dining table and sometimes as a pool table to impress your friends, not the other way around.  With these stunning lines and modern materials you will spend more time admiring your Fusion Table than you will playing on it anyway!
Final Verdict:  B