What is a decent inexpensive pool table for kids to learn on?

Posted by Michelle 03 FEBRUARY 2016
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What pool tables are good for kids to learn on? Well, we get asked this question a lot from parents looking to buy a good quality pool table that won’t cost the earth. It can depend on the age of the child or if it is something the child has already expressed an interest in.

One thing you will find at Home Leisure Direct is that we don’t sell any of the toy tables you find on other retailers websites. In our opinion, if it’s not slate bed, it’s not worth playing on and will almost certainly not improve your game.

My advice would be if the child is very young, say under 8 years old to take a look at these cheaper toy tables to see if pool is an interest before investing in something that will last until they leave home and beyond. The only trouble with these table is that if a child is trying to learn to play it can prove quite difficult to get the balls to do what you want for a number of reasons. 

Tennagers Playing Pool - pool table for kids

More often than not the toy tables or MDF tables will be between 4-7ft. Trying to play pool on anything smaller than 6ft is simply a novelty and in no way indicative of the game. The downside of the larger MDF tables is that the key factor taken into account when the manufacturers are making them is a low price, which will always sacrifice the quality. There is often very little support in the middle of the table which causes bowing in the MDF which then causes the balls to roll where they shouldn’t.

Buy cheap and you buy twice. Actually in this case with pool tables you're probably talking buying several times! Mini tables are built to last the holiday season with MDF being able to last slighly longer but this isn't without a drop in the standard of the game. Expect the surface to become uneven and the games to become more frustrating. You can buy a slate bed from us from as little as £699. MDF tables are only slighly less expensive by a few £100. We also have finance options available so make sure you check out the finance section.


Fancy improving your game? Check out our ultimate guide to playing pool with 4x world champion Karl Boyes here.

My opinion would be that if your young child has openly expressed an interest in playing cue sports or they have had a table top pool or snooker table as a young child, to chose a slate bed pool table. There is no way you can develop your skill on a MDF table. It is just something designed for a low cost, high volume selling birthday or Christmas present that will hopefully last as long as the obligatory 12 month guarantee to then be packed away in the garage after the child becomes frustrated that they can’t get the balls to go where they want.

So lets discount the idea of an MDF pool table if you are serious about your child developing their skill and take a look at what’s available on the market. So long as your child is just about tall enough to reach the table, he or she can begin to learn the beautiful game of pool.

You can of course go for either English pool or American depending on budget and space you have available. Personally I prefer American pool, it is a more forgiving game for beginners and it means your child can develop their confidence on a table with larger pockets. It is a faster game and I would bet that American pool tables are used more often by the whole family in homes over English pool tables.

A kids pool table doesn’t have to be of “kids” quality. A pool table is something that should last potentially a life time. Chose a slate bed pool table and adjust the feet to lower it to the height required. 

The beauty of the slate bed pool table is that it’s perfect to play on and with some slight adjustments to the height of the table people of all ages can enjoy a proper game of pool. 

 Signature Bristol Pool Dining Table

I’ve played on the cheap Argos pool tables over christmas over the years and it’s nearly as much about luck as it is skill. The table is hardly even, the balls are smaller and just roll when they want and the enjoyment is soon gone when you realise it’s a total piece of rubbish. Is there anything better than getting the real thing of anything?

If you are looking at an English Pool table we have the Elite Pool Table which is priced at just £677.00 as a entry level product. It has a slate bed and comes in either 6 or 7ft so a good table to learn on at a very low price. The next table up from this which has a better quality and grade of slate, would be the Cambridge Pool Table at £847.00 respectively.

Cambridge English Pool Table

Photo: The Cambridge Pool Table 7ft in Light Walnut with Green Cloth

If you think American pool would be your ideal type of table when we have the Harvard American Pool Table, a 7ft starting from £899. If you are looking for a larger and more commonly sized 8ft American Pool Table you are best to look at the Atlanta American Pool Table at £1619 as an entry price point or the extremely popular 8ft Buffalo Eliminator II at just £1817.

Buffalo Eliminator II Pool Table

Photo: Buffalo Eliminator American Pool Table 8ft

In all honesty, as long as you purchase a slate bed pool table it will have the same playing characteristics as you will find in your local pool hall or pub so will be more than sufficient for children and teenagers to learn on. If you are serious about your child developing and improving their game, then please take a look at this article on Pool and Snooker Cues and why it is so important to buy a good quality cue.

Written By:  Michelle Beresford

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