What's the difference between American and English Pool Tables?

This is one of the most popular questions from our customers, what really is the difference between the American and English pool tables? Is it just cosmetic differences? are they different games entirely? 

Well, there more differences than you might think between American and English Pool Tables which we will put in very simple terms for you to make it easy.

Whilst this blog will serve as more of a crash course into the numerous differences between the tables, there are many, many more differences between the two games (such as ball size, cue type. rules etc) so be sure to check out our in-depth video guide and buyer's advce page on exactly what makes these two games so different.


English Pool Tables

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English Pool Tables are usually 7ft, which is the size used in Pool Leagues up and down the country. You can get tables in 6ft which is ideal for a smaller room and popular in the home, or in the local pub where space is at a premium.

We do offer 8ft English Pool tables but we would really only recommend this if you are an experienced pool player and definitely want a table of this size. At the tournament level, tables of this size are only used for the sake of appearance on television, but playing English pool on such a large table can be a challenging change to the game which isn't recommended for beginners. An 8ft English Pool Table plays a great game and it is a touch more challenging than a standard 7ft, but you will find you have more space to move the cue ball around, although the potting distances will be greater.

English pool tables also have the distinct characteristic of curved pocket entrances. These curved pockets make shots into certain pockets (particularly the corner pockets) more challenging, with more shots 'rattling' in the pocket jaws rather than potting. Conversely, the shots into the two centre pockets is left much more open, making the entry much easier to approach and aim for.

This is in part caused by the style of cushion that an English pool table uses. English pool cushions have a very distinct shape, and provide a wide, flat surface to balls to come into contact with. The cloth is then stretched over this, and then down to the bottom of the cushion.

An English pool table cloth also has a very distinct texture. Running your hands over an English pool cloth, you will notice a fuzzy, napped feling to the cloth, almost like felt. This nap is also directional, like velvet. The result whilst playing is an overall slower ball speed.


American Tables

 Buffalo Pool Table

You might be wondering what the American Pool Table size is in comparison to English Pool Tables, an American Pool Table is much larger. 

American Pool Tables range in size from 8ft to 9ft, with 9ft being the official size used at the profesional level and in tournaments. This makes the overall playing surface much larger, and compliments the larger spots and stripes balls which are used, but we do offer smaller 7ft or even 6ft tables for those with less space to work with.

Much like English tables, American pool tables have their own unique set of pockets and cushions. The American cushion and pocket style gives a much more 'sharp' appearance, with the cushion rubber being a large triangular block along the length of the cushion, effectively producing a 'blade' for balls to bounce off of.

This sharper shape extends to the pockets, where the entry is cut straight. Almost opposite to English tables, this makes the corner pockets easier to shoot for, whilst the side pockets become a lot tighter.

Finally, the cloth used on American tables is very distinct, and again a departure from what is used on an English pool table. An American pool table cloth is similar in texture to cotton, in that it has no nap, and the base weave of the material can be seen. This smoother cloth reduces friction, meaning an American pool table will play considerably faster than a table fitted with an English cloth.


Both games are fantastic and becoming more and more popular. We sell hundreds of pool tables every month to home customers, schools, pubs, staff recreation rooms and youth clubs. It's such an easy game to just pick up a cue and play, even for children. Then as your skill level grows the game becomes more and more rewarding as your position play improves and you are able to build impressive breaks.

We sell one of the largest ranges of Pool tables in the UK and can offer free knowledgeable advice on any of our pool tables or help you find a pool table to suit your needs. Just give our sales team a call on 0800 622 6464 and they will be more than happy to help.


Written By: Michelle Beresford

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