What Pool Table Accessories Will I Need?

On purchasing a new or used pool table you might be wondering what accessories you will need to get the most out of your game. Pool table accessories can be broken into three categories.

  1. The essential accessories include balls, pool cues, triangles, and chalk
  2. Additional accessories to improve your gameplay include rest sticks, gloves, and pool table lights
  3. Accessories to maintain and organize your table include table covers, cue racks, brushes, and cleaning solutions

Essential Accessories – Pool Balls

Almost all pool tables will have their own set of balls included with the table, but the quality differs depending on the brand of the table. There are 15 object balls, plus the cue ball which equals a total of 16 balls for a game of pool. The size, style, and materials used for the balls vary.

The size of the pool balls will depend on the type of table used. An English table will use balls measured at 1 7/8 inches in diameter and an American table will use slightly bigger balls measuring 2 ¼ inches in diameter. Make sure you are using the correct size of balls to match the configuration of your table.

Some sets simply use different colors to distinguish the balls apart such as red and yellow. Other sets use solids and stripes. The 8 ball is almost always solid black no matter the style of the set.

The hardness, friction coefficient and resilience of the balls will affect the gameplay. Standard ball sets are usually made from plastic, polymers, or polyester. These materials are fine if you want to go for a more affordable option.

Higher quality ball sets are made of phenolic resin. Phenolic resin maintains its shape better and can last up to five times longer than other ball sets. Phenolic resin is also known to create less ball burn and has a shinier appearance than other materials, but it is more expensive.

Essential Accessories – Pool Cues or Sticks

Most pool tables will come with 1 or 2 cues included, but like the balls the quality and size will vary depending on the type of table you purchased.

Basic pool cues come in one piece and are made of ramin wood and are what will be typically provided with your table. These cues are built for economic purposes and are normally what you would find provided in your local a pub or club. The butt of the cue is unweighted and features an 11 mm screw on tip which can be replaced if damaged.

Ramin cues are a good option for those on a budget and for children learning how to play the game due to their light-weight. While ramin cues are cheaper they lack durability.

English pool cues are 57 inches in length and tend to be thin bodied with a small tip, measuring around 8-9 mm wide. The wood used is usually ash, which gives English cues their noticeable grainy appearance. A small ferrule made of brass is used to provide extra strength. The price for English cues varies greatly between brands starting around thirty dollars going upwards of several hundred dollars.

American pool cues are slightly longer in length at about 58 inches and the tip is larger measuring 13-14 mm in size. An American pool cue is principally made from maple wood and the ferrule is usually plastic. The plastic provides the cue with some shock absorbing qualities, which is needed for striking the bigger and heavier cue balls.

American cues tend to be slightly more expensive than English cues, but again the price changes greatly depending on which brand you go for. American cues start around forty dollars and go upwards of several hundred dollars.

Essential Accessories – Tiangles, Diamonds, and Chalk

The triangle sometimes referred to as a rack, is a piece of equipment that is used to place the cue balls in their starting positions at the beginning of a game of 8 Ball. A simple plastic triangle will usually be included with the purchase of your pool table. An additional triangle made of wood or even metal could be purchased as an extra accessory if you wanted it to match the decor of your table or games room.

A diamond refers to another kind of rack which is used for playing the game 9 ball. While you can use your triangle to arrange the balls it’s much easier to use a diamond-shaped rack. Like triangles, these can be made of plastic, wood, or even metal depending on how much you want to spend.

Chalk is an essential accessory in pool because it increases friction between the tip of the cue and the polished surface of the cue ball. Without chalk to create added friction your cue tip will slip off the spherical surface of the cue ball, resulting in a missed shot.

Pool chalk often has added compounds such as silica, abrasives, thickening ingredients, and dyes. You may want to consider purchasing chalk which matches the color of the cloth of your table to avoid marks. Pool chalk is quite cheap and often sold in bulk.

Additional Accessories – Rest Sticks

Rest sticks are used when you cannot make a shot on your pool table using a conventual pool cue. This may be because of a long distance or an obstruction. Children with a shorter reach may especially benefit from using a rest stick to assist them with longer shots.

The cross headed rest stick is the most commonly used. It allows for extended reach as well as a high or low trajectory depending on which side the player uses. This allows for players to apply a backspin or a topspin to their shot.

The spider rest stick allows players to take a shot over an obstructing ball. The swan neck rest stick works similarly to the spider but is wider allowing players to play around several obstructing balls.

The extended rest stick allows players to reach long shots across the full length of the table. You may want to consider purchasing at least one rest stick to make it easier when taking difficult shots.

Additional Accessories – Gloves

Pool gloves are another accessory to consider if you want to improve your gameplay. Sweaty hands or a humid room will cause the cue stick to become slippery which will affect your shooting skills.

Gloves will ensure your hands remain dry and can improve the overall handling of the cue stick. This lets you have better control, balance, and power over shots. There are numerous styles and designs available ranging widely in price.

Additional Accessories – Pool Table Lights

Depending on the location of your pool table, you may need additional lighting. You want lightening which avoids casting shadows on the pool table. Special pool table lighting can be installed over your pool table.

These lights are specially designed to cast no shadows and to brightly illuminate the table. Pool table lights are an expensive accessory to invest in, so consider if you can achieve the same result using spotlights in your ceiling.

Maintenance Accessories – Table Covers

Table cover will assist in protecting your pool table while it is not in use. Table covers will prevent the sun from bleaching the cloth on your table. A cover will also ensure your table is free of lint and dust.

Waterproof table covers are also available which can be useful guarding against spills if you have a habit of placing drinks on your table when you are not using it.

Maintenance Accessories – Cue Racks

Wall mounted cue racks have the advantage of not taking up any floor space. Wall mounted cue racks normally come in two separate parts drilled into the wall. The top part allows you to neatly clip your stick into the wall where the bottom provides a resting place. Sizes and styles vary but are usually not very expensive.

Standalone cue racks mean you can avoid drilling and have the flexibility of moving the rack around the room. Sizes, styles, and prices vary but many people like to use a rack out of a wood which matches their table. Novelty racks shaped like cue balls, animals or people are also available if that’s more your taste.

Maintenance Accessories – Brushes and Cleaning

Brushes can be used to maintain the playing surface on your table and remove chalk marks, lint, and dust. Brushes are normally made of nylon or horsehair and come in different sizes to allow you to reach under the cushions of your table. Brushes are quite cheap, and one will often be included with your table.

Cleaning solutions can be applied to the cloth of your table which can be especially useful if you have already spilled drink or food. Ball polish can also be purchased to keep cue balls clean and shiny. However, some table owners have suggested the same results can be achieved by simply using a washcloth and water.