Many people want to be part of the new Golden Age of Shuffleboard. Once thought to be a game for retirees, shuffleboard tables are now accepted as a great party game. However, many people raise concerns about their size before considering adding a shuffleboard table to their game room. So how large are shuffleboard tables, exactly?
The regulation shuffleboard table size is 22′ (6.7m) in length and 30″ (76.2cm) in width. However, the most common tables found today are between 9′ (2.74m) and 14′ (4.26m) in length.
What are the standard sizes for shuffleboard tables?
Table shuffleboard tournaments you go to will feature playing surfaces 20′ 8″ long, 20″ wide and 31″ tall. Along the cradle, this gives us a 30″ wide table. These sizes are determined by the Table Shuffleboard Association, although unofficial tables can be way shorter while preserving the width.
In addition, pucks should be 2 5/16″ in diameter and ¾″ in height. Home use tables can have slightly different playing surface or cradle sizes. However, the difference in gameplay is negligible if you’re not interested in official tournaments.
Historically, this is the shortest tables have ever been. Until the 19th century, tables could be as long as 32′ (9.75m). Table shuffleboard was at the peak of its popularity when it took a major hit with the Prohibition. As it was normally played in taverns, the thirteen years of Prohibition made the game’s relevance dwindle.
When shuffleboard came back to prominence in the 50’s, manufacturers decided to reduce the table size considerably for mass production. This is how the standard of 22 feet came to be.
The next best sizes for shuffleboard are 16, 18 and 20 feet long tables. Notice their length is almost always an even number. If you’re considering a career in shuffleboard, but can’t afford to have a tournament-size table at home, try these sizes. They are useful for training and developing your style and technique.
What is the best shuffleboard table size for me?
There are a few factors that can sway your decision towards one or other table size. Amongst these factors, the ones worth mentioning the most are:
- Who is going to play with you?
- How often do you intend to play?
- What price are you willing to pay?
- How much time do you have to maintain the table?
Who is going to play with you?
Regulation-size tables aren’t that good if you’ll play mostly alone or with a partner, even if you have professional ambitions. The reason for this is that a table two or four feet shorter won’t affect your game experience significantly.
Thus, these more expensive and harder to handle tables should be reserved for your local association. At home, a 16, 18 or 20 foot table will do just fine. If you consider shuffleboard as a personal hobby, consider an even smaller table, such as a 14-foot one.
If you want to play outdoors with friends regularly, a larger table might be a good idea. However, if the table is going to stay indoors for night parties, the shortest possible table will meet your needs.
The skill level of the people you want to play with also matters a lot. If you want to introduce the sport to a child, for instance, a short table is the way to go. Always go for the lowest common denominator and improve from there.
Shuffleboard is, above and after all, a form of bonding — growing together is essential. As such, including as many people as possible in the activity is a natural goal to consider.
How often do you intend to play?
It’s possible to correlate table size to levels of difficulty. Smaller tables make for easier games, whereas the regulation size is the hardest mode. Generally speaking, you have to find a balance between challenge and accessibility.
Should you play every day, it wouldn’t make much sense to have a 9-foot table. Conversely, if you only ever intend to play shuffleboard on holidays, maybe the longer tables won’t appease your tastes much.
It’s important to point out that playing with teams is very different from playing solo or one-on-one. Different rules and betting games can diversify shuffleboard a lot, but not all tables support that.
What price are you willing to pay?
To be fair, you can find cheap and expensive tables of all sizes. The least you’ll play for a shuffleboard table is under $1,500 for a new 9-foot table. The most expensive table you’ll find will be a professional, 22-foot one, for about $16,000.
The range is immense, and the truth is that you can find 22-foot tables for $5,000 and 9-foot tables for $12,000. So price is only decisive for extreme preferences for either the lowest prices or highest quality.
What you get with the higher price point is mostly durability. Vertically staved playfields tend to be more expensive because they resist extreme temperatures much more than butcher-block constructed play fields.
That is not to say price doesn’t matter at all: balancing quality and price is obviously important. A middle-range table in terms of size, price and quality will come for $5,500.
However, since prices vary wildly, the average price can be misleading. You can find a solid 16-foot table for $2,000, and a stellar one for six times as much.
How much time do you have to maintain the table?
The playing field requires a lot of care, as it must remain slightly concave, smooth and dry. That’s why it’s covered with shuffleboard wax, which must be reapplied every so often.
Despite its name, shuffleboard wax is actually a powder made from a combination of silicone beads and ground corn. This is a special mixture you won’t find easily, except in specialized retailers.
Thus, the maintenance requires commitment, which is bigger the larger is the table. Tables are mainly made of wood, so they absolutely must remain dry at all times. If you want to play outdoors, consider getting a smaller table so that it’s easier to move around. You’ll have to store it somewhere safe and dry.
How much space do I need to allocate for a shuffleboard table?
Speaking of moving your table around, let’s talk about how much space your shuffleboard table needs. Aside from the size of the table itself, players need enough clearance to perform shots correctly or watch other players.
A two feet clearance on every side is enough to allow many people to play and watch. This means you’ll need to reserve, at most, a 26′ x 4′ 30″ (7.92m x 1.98m) area in your game room.
But that’s the most extreme case. You’d probably only ever need that much space if you were to host an official tournament with an official table. Smaller tables need much less space even though the width remains the same.
Whatever the case, remember to keep enough clearance for everyone to play comfortably. You can even lean one side of the table against the wall, provided all players can play using the same hand. Check out for left-handed players!
In addition, it’s extremely important to observe the door’s width. You want to be able to move the table as comfortably as possible, considering they are pretty heavy. That, and remember the table doesn’t bend, so it’ll be really hard to move it around. Make sure your door is at least 34″ wide and you have enough room to manoeuver the table to take it where it’s going to stay. This might determine the size of the table you’re going to get!
Can I Adjust a Table’s Height?
Although the regulation height for shuffleboard tables is 30″, every table will come with levelers. Most manufacturers also provide tools to make sure the playfield is level, too.
Adjusting a table’s height is simple enough. You just have to use a heavy duty wrench to adjust the levelers until they provide the satisfactory height. You can buy sets of new leg levelers for up to $80 (for ten levelers). Remember: the longer the table, the more legs it has.
Because tables are made of wood, you’ll need something to absorb variations in size and height due to climatic changes. This is why most tables come with climatic adjusters. They automatically compensate for the swelling your table will have in humid weather.
Besides, climatic adjusters can be used for fine-tuning your playfield. Once again, remember to keep your shuffleboard table in a dry place. This will prevent the warping and bowing of your playfield.
Can I build a shuffleboard table with a custom size?
Alternatively, you can simply create a custom size shuffleboard table. If you choose to buy from manufacturers, you’ll find the playfields themselves in either 9′ 12′, 14′, 16′, 18′, 20′ or 22′ sizes.
However, building your own table allows you to add a few perks, like customizing the cradle size or the playfield. Meddling with table measurements requires knowledge about why the standard sizes are the way they are in the first place.
It also takes plenty of wood craftsmanship skills and at least 60 hours, but if you have access to the right materials and tools, go for it.
In particular, you want hardwood for every part of your table. Oak, mahogany or maple are the most recommended types of wood. You’ll spend around $1,000-1,500 in the process, so it’s definitely cheaper than buying one. Below you’ll find a great video by Jeff Fischer explaining how to build a shuffleboard table. He provides a series of videos. They are slow to watch but informative.