All those late nights playing pool with the guys may have taken a toll on your pool table. What was once a vibrant green felt is now all scuffed up, discolored, and lifting up off of your table. What’s a pool table owner to do?
Well, the solution is as easy as peeling off that tired felt and replacing it with the best pool table felt your money can buy. Want to learn the specifics? Here’s everything you need to know about pool table felt, how to replace it, and how to find the best one.
If you want to skip to our top recommendation then check out the Simonis 760 Pool Table Felt. It may be a little expensive, but the quality is excellent.
When is It Time to Replace Pool Table Felt?
First things first – is it really time for you to change the felt? Keep in mind that it’s normal for felt to scuff up a bit or to develop lighter patches where chalk might settle. And even when that happens, your felt might still be entirely playable.
If you want to find out if it’s high time for a replacement, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you constantly having to press down on lifting felt to ensure that the balls aren’t interrupted during movement?
- Is the color of the felt making it hard to see the balls in play?
- Does the felt’s texture interfere with or hinder the movement of the balls across the surface?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then yes, it might be time for a pool table felt replacement. Of course, any aesthetic issues with your felt – like burns and bruises – might not call for a replacement. But things like divots, picks, and pilling may impact the way you play, and thus require that you change your felt.
The Two Types of Pool Table Felt
The felt used for pool tables will usually combine wool with either polyester or nylon. When deciding on the felt for your pool table, you’ll be confronted with two main choices.
- Woolen Cloth – Woolen cloth is what’s usually used on typical pool tables. It’s made from 60% wool, and feels like that typical felt texture that most of us are accustomed to. In terms of gameplay, woolen cloth will cause your billiard balls to move slower. Over time, they’ll start ‘pilling’, which means the shedding of the felt resulting to small fuzzy bits of fabric coming off of its surface. Woolen cloth is best for casual users because of its affordable price.
- Worsted Wool – When you first touch worsted wool, you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually feel like felt at all. More similar to a woven suit, you can actually see the weaves when closely inspecting this type of pool table felt. They’re often called ‘speed cloth’, and are ideal for tournaments because of the way they encourage balls to move much faster. You can expect worsted wool to be far more expensive than woolen cloth.
There are some pool table felts that aren’t quite as common on the US market. Snooker cloth is a special type of pool table felt that’s designed for speed, featuring directional weaving that helps your ball move with greater precision. There’s also carom cloth which is developed to be especially thin for high-speed play and trick shots.
Some choices use nothing but polyester which might be strange to play on. But if your pool table is located outdoors, then this type of cover might be more resistant to the elements.
Choosing the Ideal Pool Table Felt Color
You’ve probably seen those classy maroon-covered pool tables, or those cool deep blue felts that really make billiard balls pop. What do these colors mean, and are there guidelines to choosing the right pool table color?
While they might look like they all mean something, pool table felt colors are actually just a matter of preference. What you really need to consider is the aesthetics of your space.
Maroon felt works great with heavy wooden pool tables, while blue and orange felt can give a really sporty look to more modern pool table designs. If there’s anything you might want to avoid, it’s gray or black felt. Why? Aside from messing with the visibility of your cue and eight ball, these felts can also be more prone to aesthetic damage.
Extending the Life of Your Pool Table Felt
Aside from telling the guys to take it easy the next time they strike that cue ball, there are other things you can try to extend the time between pool table felt replacements.
- Use a break pad to protect your table felt from developing burns and divots on the headstring.
- Regularly brush away chalk and other debris by using a pool brush.
- Keep a microfiber cloth close at hand to wipe your billiard balls and keep them from spreading dirt and dust on your felt.
- When not in use, cover your table with a pool table cover to protect it against ultraviolet rays and moisture.
At the end of the day though, there really is no such thing as preserving your cloth for a lifetime. At best, pool table felt should last anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on how you care for it. Playing with some caution and finesse also helps reduce the damage your felt sustains during its lifespan.
Buying the Right Pool Table Felt Size
So, now that you’ve decided on the pool table felt type and color, it’s time you looked into sizes. If you have a standard-sized pool table – like a 7, 8, or 9 foot table – then you can find a pre-cut felt to fit it.
But if you’ve got one of those custom-sized tables that aren’t as common on the market, then you might have to look for felt that isn’t pre-cut. Why not just buy a slightly bigger felt and cut it down to size?
Before you think about DIY-ing your pool table felt size out of a bigger pre-cut piece, it’s worth mentioning that these felt pieces have specific measurements for pockets and rails. If you make a mistake cutting it down to fit your table’s size, then you might mess up the whole thing.
But if you’re hiring someone to replace your pool table felt for you, then ask them if they can work with a bigger piece of felt for a custom-sized table. They’ll likely provide you some information on what size you need to look for.
As long as it’s a possibility, always opt to hire a technician to replace your pool table felt for you. It’s tricky and incredibly easy to mess up, so if you’re new to the process, you might be better off hiring someone to do it while you watch from the sidelines.
The Best Pool Table Felt Choices
If you don’t want to have to replace your pool table’s felt again too soon, you need to make sure you’re buying a quality felt replacement. Check out these top recommendations and why they’ve landed in the good graces of pool table owners worldwide.
- Simonis 760 - The Original Worsted Blend
- Combed worsted wool and high thread count assure long lasting wear.
- Available in 66" and 78" widths.
If you’re looking for premium quality, there’s no other brand that does it better than Simonis. This company has been in the market since 1680, and they’re the only pool table felt manufacturer with their own cue-sport dedicated mill. So you can expect their fabrics to be especially ideal for optimizing your pool table.
Many of those who have come to love Simonis claim that their 760 felt is one of their best pool table felts to date. Designed for speed, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching your cue ball slide and glide over this premier felt. Of course, game play is exceptionally improved, making it easier to calculate your shots and get the power you want out of every strike without having to put in that much effort.
Aside from its impressive performance, the 760 comes in a variety of shades – from the traditional green, to a beautifully sophisticated camel shade. Plus, word on the street says that the 760 is resistant to stains, so you can preserve its beautiful color for longer.
In terms of the cost, the Simonis 760 might be a little more expensive than most of the other choices available. But hey, if you were looking for quality felt that guarantees to improve your pool experience, then the Simonis 760 is definitely worth top-dollar.
- Liberally cut 6 rail cloths plus 8 ft. bed cloth: 100-inch x 50-inch
- 75% Wool 25% Nylon blended woolen fabric
- Blended Wool and tight weave provide superior cloth stretching capability
It’s smooth, consistent, and pretty fast for a wool felt. To prevent stains and aesthetic issues, the entire thing is coated in a thin layer of DuPont Teflon that helps make the cloth more resistant to damage and discoloration. And despite being a woolen felt, it surprisingly doesn’t pill as bad as some of the more expensive woolen choices available.
Each Championship Saturn II cloth comes pre-cut, but your package will come with a bunch of extra felt. So if you were planning to make the replacement by yourself, then you’d have quite a bit of excess material to work with if you ever encounter the need to patch up a few mistakes.
With a great range of colors for you to choose from and impressive performance, there’s a whole lot to love about the Championship Saturn II Cloth. So if you were hoping for great quality at a bargain price, this one’s definitely it.
- Fits 8 ft Pool Tables
- Pre-Cut Rails
- Fast, Professional Speed
ProForm High Speed Cloth is impressively durable, and while it might not be as fast as our Simonis choice, it definitely offers a unique playing experience if you’re used to playing on woolen felt.
With a 70% worsted wool to 30% nylon ratio, ProForm’s High Speed Cloth can be especially satisfying to play on if you prefer controlled speed that doesn’t make it feel too hard to get your cue ball going where you want it to.
The cloth comes in a range of colors – perhaps more than you’d usually see from other designs. They come in unconventional hues, like khaki, wine, spruce, and steel gray, which can make it exciting to choose a color for your table.
On the downside, the felt itself isn’t stain-resistant, so you will have to take extra precautions to make sure you don’t end up spilling anything on it. But even then, the cloth does hold up against wear and tear pretty well. So if you consider its cost and how long it’s likely to last, then it really does make an intuitive choice.
If playing on your pool table just isn’t as satisfying as it used to be, then maybe it’s time you considered replacing your pool table’s felt. But before you bag the first choice you find, take some time to consider the important details that could make or break your pool table recovery.
Keep this information in mind the next time you find yourself in the sticky situation of replacing your pool table’s felt. Make a sound choice for your new cloth and who knows, you might just be able to breathe new life into your table and give the guys a run for their money the next time they come over to challenge you to a game of pool.