Economy Level: This level table will feature a ¾" slate playing surface; however, in many cases, manufacturers will use a "one piece slate" that is virtually impossible to level to a dead flat playing surface. Another common way for a manufacturer to cut costs is to use short slate. Short slate does not extend completely under the top rail. Short slate is picture framed in wood, holes are drilled in the wood and the rails are fastened to the wood, not the slate. This will result in poor rail alignment, rail vibration and ultimately poor table play. The cabinet material and top rails are typically made of particleboard covered in low-grade laminate or vinyl. They appear beautiful in the beginning, but Be Aware, particleboard will decay or crumble over time. Low-grade laminate or vinyl surfaces can scratch or tear easily. Support bracing components are commonly made of assorted scrap materials. The cushions and hardware are typically of the lower grade. You can expect fair table play at this level. The normal warranty is a one-year limited warranty. The average life expectancy of an economy level table is five to seven years. Economy level tables are commonly priced by themselves. Make sure the price you are quoted includes delivery, installation, cloth and playing equipment necessary to play "Be Aware".
Mid Range Level: This level of table has been the most popular. Many different styles are available, to compliment any décor. This range of tables will feature a "full-size" three-piece genuine 1" slate playing surface. The slate will have a full support pad. The interior cabinet will be supported by both cross and center beam supports. The top rail will be made of cross laminated hardwoods, the cushion rubber will have a K-66 blended gum rubber profile. (The Billiard Congress of America has approved this cushion for tournament play for over 35 years.) Genuine color blended pockets add to the design at this level. The frame cabinet, blind aprons and legs will be constructed of density board covered in oak veneer or kiln dried hardwood lumber. The legs will have a large 4" x 4" foot-plant to ensure transfer support strength to the slate playing surface. The mid range level offers excellent playing characteristics, attractive designs, and should be considered a lifetime investment. If the manufacturer has not cut corners on his product, this range table will feature an "Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee".
Custom Level: When purchasing this level of table, you should expect only the highest grades of materials, designs and quality workmanship. This range table will feature exotic veneers, or exotic hardwoods. This level table should have all the construction features of the mid range table with higher-grade materials used in all facets of the manufacturing process. Unique features and intricate designs are standard at this level. Although they add to the cost, it truly sets them apart from the average pool table. When shopping for this level of table, ask a lot of questions, especially "why does this table cost more than the mid-range?" Although it should be obvious, make the salesperson explain the differences. This range table should be considered an "heirloom" that can be passed down from generation to generation. It will feature an "Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee".