Liberty Games > Pool Tables > British vs. American Tables


What is the difference between British and American Pool Tables?


A number of people looking for a pool table to have in there home tend to be unclear on the differences between a UK standard pool table and an American pool table. Which table style gives you the best game is really down to personal choice, but this article will help to clear up the uncertainty. Until the recent past there has been little officialdom surrounding British pool tables.


British pool tables come in either 6ft or 7ft sizes, this refers to the overall length of the pool table, and their respective widths are 3ft (for 6ft tables) and 4ft (for 7ft tables). The playing surface is approximately 1ft less from each edge than the overall size of the table and is measured from the nose of one cushion to the nose of the opposing cushion. British pool tables use 2 inch pool balls, the most respected make being the Aramith pool balls. The pocket size of British pool tables should be directly related to the British 2” pool balls, the calculation is the ball size multiplied by 1.6 to find the opening diameter. The cushions for a British standard pool table requires the cushions to fall into the pockets no less than 3 inches from the centre pockets and no less than 2.5 inches into the end pockets. Although any cue can be used to play pool, most tables in the UK are supplied with 48 inch pool cues as standard with the table. A full size cue is 57inches but this can restrict your cueing room in many home games rooms. The pool table cues that come as standard with a British pool table tend to be a one piece cue with a screw on tip, however two piece cues are increasingly popular.


An American pool table is much larger than a British pool table. A full size American pool table is 9ft in length and is played on by 2 ¾ inch pool balls in the ‘spots and stripes’ style. American tables have different cushion designs to British pool. Instead of having a flat surface for the ball to make contact with, American cushions tend to be made from a wedge shape of rubber culminating in a thin point of contact for the pool ball. American pool tables due to their size are usually built with a 3 piece slate. Each piece of slate is levelled and then joined by light cement before the cloth covers the play surface. In general an authentic American pool table will have ‘bucket pockets’ or in other words the balls will simply fall down into a collection cup instead of being returned through the table. In some cases it could be argued that the American pool tables have got the edge in terms of look and finish over the British tables, however British pool tables are catching up. Suppliers such as Liberty Games are certainly leading the field these days with their innovative pool table designs, they even have a range of pool table dining tables that bring the game to your home in a practical sense.

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