I have always loved pool, there is something magical about striking that perfect shot and hearing that satisfying thump as your target ball clatters into the intended pocket.
Unfortunately, it is a sound I don’t hear very often. Because, you see, despite being a lifelong enthusiast of the game, my skill level never quite catches up with my enthusiasm level.
Not that this deters me, more practice is all that’s needed, or so I told myself. Eventually, I got the chance to have what I’d dreamed of all my life, I had a room where I could place my own pool table and begin to equalize that gap between skill and enthusiasm!
Then came the tricky bit.
Just what size of pool table could I squeeze into the room and still comfortably play pool?
I’m sure we have all faced this scenario, playing on a table that has somehow been crammed into a space that no pool table should fit into. Then comes that crucial game clinching shot and that not so satisfying clunk as the back of your cue meets the wall. Out comes the 24” cue and the shot is missed; the only compensation is that I have an adequate excuse!
I was determined that this wasn’t going to happen to me, now that I was in a position to finally have a pool table at home, I was determined to do it correctly.
Research was required. Just what size room do I need for a pool table?
Pool Table Sizes
It really isn’t rocket science when selecting the best pool table for your home, however, to get the optimized playing experience you need to make sure that you choose correctly. A decent pool table, particularly a slate bed model, isn’t the lightest of items, it isn’t something you can fold away and place in the cupboard under the stairs once you finish playing.
We all want to play on the best sized tables available but squeezing a 9ft table into a room that it barely fits into is not going to make for a happy game experience, particularly when the standard pool cue length is 58”. The moral here is that you need to be prepared to compromise.
Pool tables obviously come in a range of sizes and while it’s always nice to play on larger tables you can still have a whole load of fun playing on smaller tables. But let’s be realistic here, a 6ft table is probably about as small as you want to go if you want to play a serious game of pool.
So, with a six foot table really the minimum size you should be looking at, what is the maximum size?
I think for most people we can rule out the 12ft tables, these are really hefty bits of kit that advanced players and pros would feel at home on, but not us mere mortals. Apart from that they are heavy, expensive and require room sizes that not many of us have the luxury of having, never mind having to spare.
So really, we are looking at table sizes of between 6 and 9ft for a decent home pool playing experience. Legacy Billiards have a great range of tables in this size range and even some that can quickly be turned into dining tables if you are having trouble persuading your significant other!
Finally don’t despair though if you have to use a smaller table, you can still have a load of fun on a smaller table, for instance Barrington have a nicely made 5ft table that can be folded away when not in use.
The next thing to consider is the cue length. I am quite lucky as being on the short side I have always preferred a shorter cue. My preference has always been a 52” cue, that being said most players use a longer 58” and ideally you want to be able to calculate the room size to accommodate for this cue length.
If you have taller friends or you yourself are on the taller side, then many taller players will use cue lengths of up 61” in length. Don’t fret too much about this though, most players will readily adapt to different cue lengths.
This is only part of the equation though, once you have your table size and cue length sorted you need to allow for the back-stroke distance required when playing your shot. An easy way to do this is simply to double the length of the cue, so effectively for a 52” inch cue allow for 104” and so on.
Room Size for Pool Table (Including Handy Reference Table)
So now we know about the table and cue choices. It is now time to consider the last part of the equation, what size table and cues can you use in the room set-aside to host your pool table.
Of course, it is impossible to cover all shapes and sizes of rooms, you may have an alcove put aside for your table, or one leg of an L-shaped room. Whichever it is the following table will help you select the optimum size.
The chart takes into account cue lengths from 48” to 58” which are by far the most common lengths and each pool table size has three corresponding room sizes to allow for these different pool cue lengths.
[table id=1 /]
This table will tell you at a glance just what size of room you require for your pool table and cue sizes.
How to Calculate your Ideal Room Size for a Pool Table
Okay so by now we know all the factors that will determine the room size you require for that gleaming new pool table. In this section we will put all that knowledge together in a step-by-step guide taking you through the steps, so if your criteria fall outwith those covered in the above table you know the steps you need to take to calculate your own required room dimensions.
Pool Table Dimensions. It should go without saying that in order to calculate your room size you need to know the table size you intend to put in it. Either get the measuring tape out or check the dimensions with the seller. The width of the table is always half the length, so for a 6’ table the width is going to be 3’.
Cue Length. Although it is handy to know this before you calculate your room size, remember that it is always possible to compromise here and knock the cue size length down a notch or two if space is tight.
As a rule, it is recommended you double the length of your cue size when making this calculation, this allows for a full backstroke when playing those power shots. For instance, for a 52” cue allow for 104” round the entire table.
Do the Math.
Now you have all the information you require to calculate the room size. To do this simply take the length of your pool table and add double the length of your cue to it, for instance a 6’ table with a 58” cue would equate to a length of 15’ 6”, this gives you the required length of the room size, for width perform the same calculation. Using the same example as above it would work out as a room size of 12’ 6” ((36” + 116”)/12).
And there you have it a nice simple calculation that gives the optimum minimum size for the size of room you need to accommodate any combination of pool table size and cue length.
Before we leave this section, let’s discuss one further factor, the ideal distance between the pool table and the walls of the room.
I touched on this earlier and this distance is covered in the above table, and in the calculation.
But really this is the absolute minimum distance you require, sure you will still be able to comfortably play in a room this size, but that’s about it. There would be little room for any furniture and the room would feel quite claustrophobic.
In an ideal world it would be perfect if you could leave 6’ space round the entire perimeter of the pool table, this leaves you plenty of room regardless of the cue size and still leaves room for placing some furniture. Off the top of my head this could be a small table, for perhaps placing a beverage like maybe a beer upon.
Consider the Pool Room Decor.
Now that you know the perfect size of room it is time to consider the decor, obviously as we already mentioned you will want a table for soda, or perhaps something stronger. And some seating is great too, bar stools are always a great addition in any pool room.
Further considerations you may want to look at is this space above the table, as you may wish to hang a light for that genuine pool room appearance (not to mention letting you see what you’re doing). Wellmet is a fantastic brand that has a wide range of lights to suit any decor and all space requirements.
Finally, another great way to save space is to use a wall mounted rack for cues, balls and chalk etc. Flintar has a great range of space saving wall mounts that can suit any decor.
Pool Tables in Smaller Rooms.
So, by now you have done the calculations and determined what size of pool table you can fit in your room. But what happens if the room is just too small, is it still worth getting a pool table?
Hey, this is pool we are talking about and a game of pool under any circumstances is better than no game of pool at all.
So what options are there?
The first thing, do not to try and cram an oversized table into a tight space, this won’t lead to an enjoyable experience!
Whilst not ideal there are good tables on the market that are smaller than 6’ x 3’. Perhaps not ideal, but as I said any pool table is better than no pool table.
But before I would consider downsizing on the table it is perhaps worth looking at some other options.
- Consider investing in some shorter cues. I’m not talking about shorty cues here (see below) but if the measurements are close and it is a matter of a few inches here and there, then why not invest in some 48” cues.
- It is also possible that you can fit a table in easily along three of the required dimensions but no matter how you try to fit it in there is always one wall where it is going to be found wanting.
- This isn’t a disaster; it just means it’s time to get a set of extra short cues for playing those tight shots. Now my own experience of these cues isn’t great, but most of the places where I have played these cues have been afterthoughts.
There are a host of nicely made shorter cues that can still let you play a decent shot despite the compromised size. And if you have kids, then these cues make ideal starter sets for them too.
This route is also worth looking at if you have an obstacle like a pillar inhibiting the size of table you can use. In fact, this is one instance where you may still want to consider a larger table if the only thing that is stopping you going large is something like a single column or one awkward corner.
So, there you have it, a complete guide into what size of pool table comfortably fits into a room. I only wish that some of the bars and clubs I’ve played in over the years had heeded the same advice.
In an ideal world, we would all love to have a 9’ table and all the room we require to comfortably play every shot. But let’s face it, not many of us are so lucky. But with a bit of thought and some careful measuring and perhaps a bit of compromise here and there you can still get a great game of pool in most sized rooms. And those short cues are always a great excuse.
I should know, I use it on a daily basis!