5 Key Differences Between Pool Table and Snooker Table

People play many games on the rectangular, wooden table covered with green fabric. It includes many games, but pool and snooker are the two most famous cue sports globally and have a long history.

Anyone who hasn’t played these cue sports might not be able to tell the difference, but they are totally different games. That is why the tables, balls, and even cues players use in these games differ. However, they may look the same to many people, even the ones who play these games.

There is a cultural and geographical dimension to these games. That is why pool is popular in America. Simultaneously, snooker is more prevalent in England and its previous colonies, such as Canada, Australia, and India. People even play it in Europe and the Middle East.

Despite looking the same, the tables for these games are different from each other. We have attempted to highlight the differences between these tables in this article. If you were wondering about it, you’ve come to the right place; read on to know more.

Pool Table vs. Snooker Table

FeaturesPool TableSnooker Table
Size3.5 X 7 feet – 4.5 X 9 feet5 X 10 feet – 6 X 12 feet
Height29.25 – 31 inches33.5 – 34.5 inches
Pockets6 Large6 Narrow
Playing SurfacesProvide More FrictionSmooth
AccessoriesChalkExtension Arm & Spider

1. Size

There are various pool table sizes. The most common size in use in barrooms is 3.5 by 7 feet. Bars generally have limited space, and these tables take up the space of a few chairs. You can also find them in homes with a smaller square-foot size and at single-car garages.

The other size that sells the most is 4 by 8 feet, which fits almost all recreational rooms in homes. The table size in use in professional tournaments is 4.5 by 9 feet. Skilled players settle for this size if they want to buy a table for the home. You can also find pool tables in various forms, including square, circular, hexagonal, and even zig-zag.

Originally, snooker tables were made according to the room size in the 19th century so that rooms could easily accommodate them. Later, after an agreement between manufacturers took place, manufacturers followed a standardized size of snooker tables. The size for these was 6 by 12 feet.

In the 1900s, manufacturers made modifications and introduced a table of 5 feet 10 inches by 11 feet 8.5 inches. This is now the size of a standard snooker table. You’ll be able to tell the difference between a pool and a snooker table based on the size right away.

Snooker tables are quite large. This might be because players use more balls in snooker compared to pool. You can find tables of 12-foot length in Europe. In America, the tables have a length of 10 feet and are shorter than those in Europe.

2. Height

The height of the table is the distance from the floor and the table bed. It determines how low you’ll have to bend while playing. Pool tables have a lower height than snooker tables. You can find pool tables in heights ranging from 29.25 – 31 inches. This height range is the standard in professional tournaments as well.

British tables generally have the same height as the American ones. Their frame is well-built with strong legs. Pool tables can not deviate from the normal range of height. The height has to be standardized, and a pool table that doesn’t have regulation height will throw players off.

As we said earlier, snooker tables are higher than pool tables. Just as there is a difference between English and American snooker table lengths, there is also a height difference. British snooker tables are generally two inches taller than the American ones. You can often find snooker tables with a height of 33.5 to 34.5 inches.

According to BCA (Billiard Congress of America), the height of snooker tables is measured from the floor to the top of the cushion rail. This height should be 34 inches, but a relaxation of +/- 0.5 inches is permissible.

Some players might develop back pain from stooping too low during long gaming sessions. 34.5 inches is considered a good number for a table height for tall players.

3. Pockets

A pool table has a total of six pockets. One pocket is in each corner, and two are on the long side. You can also find various types of pool pockets. The cushion rubber used in the pockets of a tournament pool table has a V-shape.

Pool table pockets are larger than the ones found in snooker tables. These pockets have wide straight cut openings. This might be because of the ball size used in the games. The balls used in pool are bigger compared to the ones used in snooker.

The pockets in pool tables have cushioned lining that dives into the pockets at a steep angle. With pockets of this angle, you need a very precise shot to pocket a ball.

There are also six pockets in a snooker table. They are in the corners and on the long side of the table. A regulation snooker table pocket has a rounded opening. These pockets are smaller, which makes the game a bit challenging. This might also be because snooker balls are smaller compared to pool balls.

The cushion rubber in these pockets has an L-shape with a cushioned nose with a tall flat surface of 3/8 inches. The cushions of these tables dive into the pockets in a curved manner. The mouth of the pocket is wider this way. This makes an exact angle at which a player pockets a ball differently than they would in a game of pool.

4. Playing Surfaces

There are slate bed and MDF bed tables. MDF is a type of hardboard made from wood fibers under heat and pressure. These tables are cost-effective and light, so you can quickly move and ship them.

Slate tables, on the other hand, have a surface made with slate that also has a cloth covering. Slate bed tables provide true playing surfaces that don’t deteriorate with time.

Also Read: Slate vs. Wood (MDF) Pool Table: Which is Better?

The playing surface required in pool has a bit more friction than a snooker table. Since pool tables are smaller than snooker tables, they don’t need the extra smooth surface that will make the ball glide faster. Tables with a slate surface are preferable because they last longer and don’t warp like wood in a humid environment, affecting the game.

Snooker tables consist of wood like oak, walnut, and mahogany. The top can either be slate or wood, like pool tables. Felt cloth covers the surface of these tables to ensure that the surface is even and smooth. The cloth used in World Snooker Tournaments is made with Merino wool, which provides a smooth surface for a quality game.

Snooker tables are bigger than pool tables; that is why the rules require you to control the ball with more accuracy. The playing surface needs to be very smooth so that the relatively smaller balls can easily cover the distance. The cloth used can be either nylon or wool, which provides a super smooth surface. These cloth materials can be costly, but they last for a long time.

5. Accessories

Snooker Cue Extension

To have an improved experience of the game, accessories are a part of cue sports. Pool doesn’t have any noteworthy accessories that are different from snooker. The standard accessory used with pool tables is chalk for the cue tip.

Players use chalk with pool cues to prevent miscues. This is a shot in which the player fails to strike the ball. Good quality chalk helps to prevent that from happening. Players also chalk their cue ends so that they don’t hit the ball in an awkward manner.

Snooker tables use extension arms because of the large size of the table and the difficulty of the shots. This extension arm is used with the cue so that the player can reach the ball. It helps you make your cue longer. This is not a requirement in pool because pool tables are smaller than the ones for snooker.

Learn More: 5 Main Differences Between Pool Cue and Snooker Cue

Other accessories used in snooker are the spider. A spider is a type of rest that has an elevated head and contains three heads. It helps a player take shots when the intervening balls block normal rest. Players use a spider when the shots are too far away for you to bridge them with your hand.

Conclusion

The rules and styles of all games evolve due to differences in thinking among players. People will always know snooker as the game of strategies, and you must play it slowly. Contrarily, pool is a fast-paced and short game.

Pool tables are small and lower compared to snooker tables; pockets are large with big openings, while snooker tables have small pockets with a curved opening.

Other differences are subtle, but you can find them in the table playing surface and accessories. Now you know the basic differences between pool and snooker tables. Next time you see these tables, you won’t find it hard to differentiate between them.

That being said, have you ever wondered whether you can play snooker on your pool table? Well, you are not alone, and it turns out, you can! Here you can read all about playing snooker on a pool table.

Daniel Bouie - SportsDean
Daniel Bouie
Daniel Bouie has been playing and helping others learn the ins and outs of pool for eight years. His profound love for the game inspired him to become a qualified billiard instructor in 2015. He frequently practices in his spare time and teaches private lessons to novice and intermediate players.

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