News — pool table review


Brunswick vs Olhausen Pool Tables part 2 2

The most common question I receive on a daily basis from customers is still "who makes the better pool table Brunswick or Olhausen?"  I attempted to answer this question in my previous blog Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables but since that was written Brunswick discontinued the Camden model that I used to compare the manufacturers.  The point of using the Brunswick Camden vs the Olhausen Santa Ana was to compare two middle price point tables with all the top of the line construction bells and whistles.

Today I am going to compare two tables designed to appeal to a much broader customer base and specifically engineered to hit a lower price point.  The majority of slate pool table sold in the US fall between $2,000 and $2,500 so lets compare Brunswick vs Olhausen Pool Tables in this more affordable price range.  Over the last 10 years we have two pool tables that are all time best sellers in this category.
The first table I would like to offer for comparison is the Brunswick Allenton.  This table is marketed under the Contender Line and is available through Costco, Sears, and some other mass merchant sellers.  The Allenton can still be purchased through the authorized Brunswick dealer network for the time being.  To compare I have our Olhausen Grace Pool Table.  The Grace by Olhausen is only available at Robbies Billiards Home & Patio and carries our Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee.  I am comparing these tables because they are very similarly priced, have a similar style, and are very popular for residential 1st time pool table buyers in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.  The finish on both tables is very consistent and durable.  Olhausen has a catalyzed lacquer finish with a matte texture and very smooth hand.  The Contender Allenton has a high gloss multi stage finish with a plastic like clear coat top layer for added durability.  If you like a more natural wood look the Olhausen finish is superior but the Brunswick finish may be more durable over time.
From an engineering standpoint the Brunswick Allenton and Olhausen Grace are very different.  The Allenton is made in Vietnam from South East Asian Hardwoods and Veneers, Plywood, and features Tru-speed cushion rubber (not Super Speed).  The base frame is shipped disassembled and must be built and squared on site in your home.  Brunswick builds a great knock down product but it is obvious the Allenton is not built to the same standards as the Brunswick Collection Tables that it imitates.  From the hardware to the packaging you can tell this table was built to hit a price point.  The Allenton features the same 1" tournament slate at the Brunswick Collection Tables but that is the only component of the Contender series shared with the higher end tables.

The Olhuasen Grace is a simple table with a solid Fruitwood cabinet and legs (better known as Poplar) and real Accu-Fast tournament cushions.  The rails are only 5" wide vs the 6.5" or wider rails on higher end Olhausen tables but they are real North American Rock Maple rails.  The cabinet is factory squared and pre-assembled but can be knocked down if needed to get into a tight space.   The slate is the same 1" tournament Brazilian slate that Olhausen uses on all of their pool tables and the entire table is built by hand in Tennessee.  Unlike the other Olhausen tables, however, you cannot custom build a Grace any way you like.  The Grace only comes in 7' or 8' and in Traditional Mahogany or Original Cherry wood finish options.  This is a concession to the price point and a great example of how an American company can stay competitively priced against China and Asian manufactured pool tables.

The verdict here is simple.  The Allenton is not a bad table by any means but is does not compare to the Brunswick Collection tables it apes.  If you are in the market for an import pool table you are still better off with the Contender line than other China made products. The Olhausen Grace is clearly a baby Olhausen but it still features everything that makes an Olhausen table special.  From the cushions to the hand built solid hardwood cabinet, you are still getting a real Olhausen when you buy a Grace.  If Made in the USA is still important to you then the debate is over.

Presidential Celebrity Pool Table Review 0

Today we are going to reveiw the Celebrity Pool Table, one of the most popular tables by Presidential Billiards.  Presidential is world famous for thier unique African manufacturing facilty and rare building materials like Teak and African Mahogany.  Featuring a lifetime warranty, solid hardwood construction, and three piece 1" slate the Celebrity is a great place to start evaluating this companies product.

Style:  The Celebrity is a transitional style pool table that fits nicely in todays more contemporary homes.  By transitional I mean that it has a very traditional style rail assembly but a funky "tusk" style leg that flares out and a trendy Espresso dark chocolate wood finish.  This table literally "transitions" between traditional style carved leg tables and the more geometric modern style pool tables starting to become more common place.  Overall, the table is a looker (the picture does not show how this looks with modern leather shield pockets instead of those old school fringe pockets) compared to many cookie cutter designs in this price range.  If you don't like the tusk style leg you can opt for a more traditional Square Tapered Leg but the Tusk Leg is what makes the Celebrity so cool.  Grade:  A-

Construction:  Presidential uses exotic African Mahogany in the construction of the Celebrity.  This tight grained wood finishes like Maple and is eco friendly to harvest.  They do not skimp on the wood in this table either!  There are DUAL 2" wide center beams and 1.5" cabinet construction, no veneer or MDF in this pool table.  The 1" framed slate is Brazilian sourced and levels nicely as most major manufacturer's in the industry buy thier slate from the same couple of suppliers.  Level really does come down to how good the installation tech is at his job.  Our one complaint about the Celebrity is the Knock Down construction of the cabinet is not as solid as tables from manufacturer's like Olhausen who pre-build, square, and level the cabinet in the factory.  The hardware on the Celebrity is substantial but we would like to see a more robust leg bolt on this table to make up for the extreme curve to the "tusk" style leg.  Grade:  B+

Value:  The Celebrity pool table retails for around $3,000 putting it slightly above some of the el-cheapo China made pool tables but below the majority of Olhausen and Brunswick solid wood pool tables.  When you factor in the Solid African Mahogany construction, the funky transitional style, and the excellent reputation of Presidential Billiards this is a very tempting table if you like the look.  Think of it as a value version of the best selling Olhausen Chicago Pool Table.  Grade:  B+

Conclusion:  The Celebrity pool table by Presidential Billiards is a fairly new design but has already become a top seller around the country.  Transitional and modern style tables are very hot right now and the Celebrity hits all of the right buttons.  While we would like to see some improvements on the overall construction there is no doubt this table blows away most China made pool tables for build quality and price point.  Final Grade:  B+


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?

Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables

Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables 6

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 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 JequitibaJequitiba 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

Olhausen Americana Pool Table Review 1

Best Pool Tables Under $2,000 1

 Very few new pool tables fall into the highly affordable sub $2,000 price range.  Early in the 2000's oversees manufacturing began to drive down the cost of entry level slate pool tables.  Before 2001 your main option under $2,000 was an ugly laminate box with 3/4" slate and plastic pockets.  These "basement dwellers" were an eye sore but played fairly well and still lurk in many Man Caves.  Much has changed with the advent of import pool tables and less expensive manufacturing techniques.  You will not find many premium tables for under 2 Grand as most of what you see online is "off brand" and available from fly-by-night drop shippers running web site only stores.  If you know where to look, however, there are some VERY good deals to be had for less than $2,000.  Here is our list of the Best Pool Tables for under $2,000.

The Grace is the only American Made Pool Table to make our list and remains a huge seller in Maryland, Virginia, and even DC.  It is not hard to see why.  The Grace has simple appealing lines that are design neutral, looking just as good in a contemporary setting as a traditional one.  The table is solid hardwood as well, something else almost unheard of in a sub $2,000 pool table.  The dark Original Cherry finish is flat-out the nicest looking "black cherry" finish at this price anywhere in the USA or China.  Finally, it has a real Lifetime Warranty from Olhausen Billiards, the largest custom manufacturer in the United States.  The only drawback is the Grace only comes in 8' with no customization or finish options.  That is a minor compromise when you get so much for around what you would spend on these comparable tables!  If you want to pick your own wood finish, legs, need size options, or just want to make it your own, start looking at pool tables in this range.

The best selling table in our Williamsport Maryland showroom for three years running is the Legacy Billiards Rylee pool table.  The import Rylee with its "perfect corner" construction, solid hardwood, and Carved Ball and Claw leg hardly looks like a table that would be well under $2,000.  Combine that with Five wood finish options, three leg options, 7' or 8' sizes available, and you have a game changer.  With a lifetime warranty from the largest stocking manufacturer on the east coast, the Legacy Rylee is a serious piece of  equipment for half the price of similar models from competitors.  Legacy might not be as well know as Brunswick or Olhausen, but with tables like the Rylee it will not be long before everyone knows the name.

While the Contender series Brunswick tables do not have the same construction as higher end "Brunswick Collection" pool tables, they are still very well built and last for years.  The best selling table in the group is the Brunswick Tremont, a simple but elegant carved leg table almost a third of the price of similar style tables in the Brunswick Collection.  The Tremont is so popular we decided to bundle it up with a rack, a ping pong top, accessories, and delivery for $2,499.  While this might not be a solid hardwood heirloom pool table you can rest assured it has the industries best Lifetime Warranty from the 160 year old Brunswick Billiards Company.  The Tremont only comes in 8' size with ball and claw legs and the Chestnut finish, but that just happens to be our most popular combination anyway!

The Black Wolf is a throw back to the days of Laminate "ball return" style tables sold primarily during the 70's and 80's.  Boy things are looking up with the Brunswick Black Wolf.  Starting under $2,000 you can even get a Ball Return System, something almost completely gone from the modern pool table industry.  If retro cool mixed with a modern color scheme is your cup of tea the Black Wolf delivers.  Wide Rails?  Check.  Heavy duty dent and mar resistant laminate?  Check.  Real three piece diamond honed 1" Framed Slate (same slate as sits on all Brunswick Tables, even THIS ONE!)  Check.  Lifetime Warranty, even on the cushion rubber?  Check.  The style is not for everyone but the Man Cave still needs tables like the Black Wolf and even your wife can't complain when you get all of this for under 2 Grand.