6 Tips to Increase the Speed of Pool Table Felt

Gee, your pool table is slow!

The last words you want to hear when your friends come over for a friendly or maybe fiercely competitive game of pool.

Increasing the speed of your pool table felt will not only make the balls roll faster, it will make for a faster and more enjoyable game for everyone.

The balls, rails, cloth, ambient temperature, humidity as well as general cleanliness will affect the speed in which your balls roll on the table.

Let’s dismiss the following options:

  1. Replacing the felt/cloth – This is usually done professionally and can be quite costly (Here are some suggestions for felt if you want to do it yourself)
  1. Replacing the bed with Slate – Ok this one is just not practicable but it should be noted that a slate bed will always play faster than an MDF bed regardless of the felt used
  1. Hitting the balls much harder (duh! …enough said!)

6 Tips to make your pool table play faster:

1. Ensure that you clean the felt regularly

Regular brushing of your pool table felt is a very important part of keeping the cloth clean. You must use a special brush to sweep any debris from the table. Start by sweeping any debris around the edges towards the pockets. For the rest of the table, sweep any debris towards the middle. Use a straight motion, not circular. It’s wise to invest in a good quality pool table brush.

It is also possible to vacuum the felt with the right attachment on your vacuum.

2. Keep the balls really clean

In order to keep the felt clean you must also keep all of the balls clean as any dust or debris that rests of the balls will no doubtedly end up on the felt as soon as the next shot has been taken.

Use warm water with a little bit of detergent on all of the balls. Making sure to dry each one after washing.

3. Try a different cue ball

Not all billiard balls are equal and the same can be said for cue balls. Billiard balls are made of a special phenolic resin that resists cracking and chipping while providing strength. Manufacturers use slightly different chemical compounds when producing cue balls therefore resulting in slightly different quality (and speed) cue balls. Try to spend a bit more money when buying your cue ball as it will make a difference, not only in speed but in longevity.

4. Buff the balls with auto wax

This is a trick used by many billiard enthusiasts. Start by cleaning all the balls, then dry them off. Next apply some Auto Wax, let it dry then buff off the wax with a microfiber cloth. Doing this will result in the balls being much faster (for around the first 10 games) then result in a little faster after that.

5. Clean the felt with damp cloth

Cleaning the surface of your table with a soft, damp cloth will ensure that excess dust and marks are removed. This method should remove most of the marks and stains that cannot be removed by brushing. This cleaning of the felt in a straight line in called “blocking” and helps prepare the surface in the case of ironing.

6. Iron the cloth with low heat

Ironing your pool table cloth will always help keep it fast and smooth. Make sure you are doing this after brushing and blocking the table felt. Ironing must be done carefully and on LOW heat. This maintains the “nap” effect on the table. Professionals always recommend using a special pool table iron to perform this task. This iron specifically has very low heat and no steam.

How to Measure the Actual Speed of a Pool Table

A device called a Stimpmeter is used to measure the speed of a pool table. This is used in much the same way that a Stimpmeter is used to measure the speed of a golf putting green. Pool Stimpmeters have not been around for a very long time and unfortunately lack standardization that their pool counterpart has.

A Pool Stimpmeter involves a predetermined ramp where the distance a ball travels can be measured. For more information, be sure to check out this article

Final Thoughts

When you own a table, slow felt is something that you can easily get used to but through regular maintenance, you can ensure that your pool table is kept is optimal playing condition. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s really helpful to have a flat pool table too, since a game won’t be enjoyable…. even if your felt is fast, if your table is unlevel.

Finally your friends can’t say to you that “I would’ve beaten you if your pool table was faster!”

Now rack’em up… It’s your break!