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Tips for Buying Your First Pool Table or Dart Board: What You Need to Know

Are you considering buying a pool table or dart board to take your game room to the next level? Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, investing in quality equipment can enhance your playing experience and provide hours of entertainment for you and your friends. In this article, we’ll discuss essential tips for buying your first pool table or dart board, ensuring that you make an informed decision.

Pool Tables

  • Size matters:

Before purchasing a pool table, measure the room where you plan to place it. A standard 8-foot table requires a room at least 13’6″ x 16’8″, while a 9-foot table needs a space of 14′ x 18′. Don’t forget to account for the cue length and player movement around the table. It’s crucial to have enough space for players to move comfortably and for the cue to clear the walls and other obstacles. If you have limited space, consider a smaller 7-foot table or a convertible table that can be used for other purposes when not in use.
  • Slate vs. non-slate:

High-quality pool tables feature slate beds, which provide a flat, stable playing surface. Slate is a dense, fine-grained rock that is precision-ground to create a level surface that resists warping and maintains its shape over time. Non-slate alternatives, such as MDF or particleboard, are less expensive but may warp or sag over time, affecting gameplay and causing frustration. If you’re serious about your game and want a table that will last for years, invest in a slate table. Keep in mind that slate tables are much heavier and more difficult to move, so consider the logistics of getting the table into your home and the structural support of your flooring.
  • Felt quality:

The felt, or cloth, on your pool table should be durable, smooth, and tightly stretched. Look for high-grade worsted wool or a wool-nylon blend, as these materials resist wear and tear while allowing the balls to roll smoothly. Cheaper felts made from synthetic materials may pill, fuzz, or wear out quickly, affecting the roll of the ball and the overall playing experience. When choosing a felt color, consider the aesthetics of your room and the level of contrast you prefer between the balls and the cloth. Darker colors like green or blue are classic choices that provide good contrast, while lighter colors like camel or red can add a unique touch to your game room.
  • Cushion rubber:

The quality of the cushion rubber directly impacts the responsiveness and accuracy of ball rebounds. High-quality pool tables use pure gum or natural rubber cushions, which offer consistent performance and durability. Cheaper tables may use synthetic rubber or lower-grade materials that can harden, crack, or lose their bounce over time. When testing a table, pay attention to the feel of the cushions and how the balls rebound off them. The cushions should have a firm, lively bounce that sends the balls on a true path without losing speed or accuracy.
  • Frame and legs:

A sturdy frame and legs are crucial for a stable playing surface. Look for tables with cross-beam support and solid wood or metal legs to minimize vibrations and ensure longevity. Cheaper tables may use particleboard or plastic components that can warp, sag, or break under the weight of the slate and regular use. When inspecting a table, give it a gentle shake to see if it feels solid and stable. Check the leveling mechanisms on the legs to ensure that you can adjust the table to compensate for uneven flooring.

Dart Boards

  • Bristle boards vs. electronic boards:

Bristle dart boards, made from sisal fibers, are the standard for professional play and offer an authentic experience. The tightly packed fibers heal themselves after each dart hit, providing a durable and long-lasting surface. Electronic boards are a modern alternative that automatically track scores and offer various game options, making them a good choice for casual players or those who want to mix up their gameplay. However, electronic boards may not have the same tactile feel as bristle boards and can be more expensive to replace if damaged.
  • Blade wire:

In a bristle board, the blade wire separates the scoring sections. Thinner wires reduce bounce-outs and improve scoring potential. Look for boards with triangular or diamond-shaped wires for the best performance. These wires are less likely to deflect darts and cause frustrating bounce-outs. Some high-end boards feature razor-thin or even “blade-less” wires that are embedded into the board to minimize interference with the darts.
  • Mounting and lighting:

Proper mounting is essential for a stable and level playing surface. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for hanging your board at the correct height (5’8″ from the floor to the bullseye). Use a sturdy mounting bracket and anchors to ensure that the board stays securely in place, even during intense games. Adequate lighting is also crucial for reducing eye strain and improving accuracy. Position the lights to minimize glare on the board and shadows on the throwing line. Consider using LED lights for energy efficiency and adjustable brightness.
  • Dart selection:

When choosing darts, consider factors such as weight, barrel material, and flight shape. Darts typically weigh between 16 and 26 grams, with heavier darts being more stable in flight but requiring more force to throw. Tungsten darts are popular among serious players for their slim profile and balance, while brass and nickel-silver darts are more affordable options. The barrel, or grip, of the dart can come in various textures and shapes to suit different throwing styles. Experiment with different dart styles to find what works best for your throwing technique and hand size. Don’t forget to consider the flight shape and material, as this can affect the dart’s stability and trajectory.
  • Scoreboard and accessories:

Don’t forget to invest in a scoreboard to keep track of your games. A traditional chalkboard or dry-erase board can add a classic touch to your game room, while an electronic scoreboard can automatically calculate scores and display them in a clear, easy-to-read format. You may also want to consider accessories like a dart mat to protect your floor from errant darts and a dartboard cabinet to store your darts and accessories when not in use. A cabinet can also add a touch of style to your game room and keep your equipment organized and out of the way.


Investing in a quality pool table or dart board can provide years of enjoyment and help you develop your skills. When choosing a pool table, consider the size of your room, the quality of the slate, felt, cushions, and frame, and the overall stability and durability of the table. For dart boards, look for high-quality bristle boards with thin, durable wires, proper mounting and lighting, and a selection of darts that suit your throwing style and preferences.   Before making a purchase, research different brands, read customer reviews, and compare prices to find the best value for your budget. If possible, visit a local billiards or darts shop to see the equipment in person and get expert advice from knowledgeable staff. They can help you navigate the various options and find the best equipment for your needs and skill level.   By considering these essential factors and doing your research, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and take your game room to the next level. Whether you’re hosting friendly competitions or practicing solo, a quality pool table or dart board can provide endless hours of fun and challenge. So take your time, weigh your options, and invest in equipment that will help you enjoy your favorite games for years to come.organized and out of the way.

Elevate Your Game Room with Front Range Pool Table Company!

Ready to transform your space into the ultimate entertainment zone? Look no further than Front Range Pool Table Company, your trusted source for premium pool tables and dart boards in Colorado. Our expert team will guide you through selecting the perfect equipment that fits your space, style, and skill level.   From high-quality slate pool tables to professional-grade bristle dart boards, we have everything you need to create an unforgettable game room experience. Don’t settle for subpar equipment that could affect your gameplay. Visit Front Range Pool Table Company today and discover our wide selection of top-notch products.   Our knowledgeable staff will help you navigate crucial factors like table size, felt quality, and proper mounting for dart boards. We’ll ensure you make an informed decision that you’ll enjoy for years to come.   Take the first step towards countless hours of fun and friendly competition. Contact Front Range Pool Table Company now to explore our inventory or schedule a consultation. Your dream game room is just a call away!

FAQs About Buying Your First Pool Table or Dart Board

What size room do I need for a standard 8-foot pool table?

A standard 8-foot pool table requires a room at least 13’6″ x 16’8″ to ensure enough space for player movement and cue clearance.  

What’s the difference between slate and non-slate pool tables?

Slate tables provide a flat, stable playing surface that resists warping, while non-slate alternatives (like MDF or particleboard) are less expensive but may warp or sag over time, affecting gameplay.  

What’s the difference between bristle and electronic dart boards?

Bristle boards are made from sisal fibers that self-heal and offer an authentic experience, while electronic boards automatically track scores and offer various game options.  

Why is the blade wire important in a bristle dart board?

Thinner blade wires reduce bounce-outs and improve scoring potential. Look for boards with triangular or diamond-shaped wires for the best performance.  

Should I visit a local billiards or darts shop before making a purchase?

Yes, visiting a local shop allows you to see the equipment in person and get expert advice from knowledgeable staff, helping you make a more informed decision.