View Full Version : Opinions welcome on purchasing a new pool table

12-26-2006, 08:24 PM
We know very little about pool tables, but have decided to purchase one as the centerpiece for our living room. We want an attractive table of reasonable quality in the price range of $2500 to $5000. The tables we've considered thus far are manufactured by: American Heritage Billiards (Birmingham table), Brunswick (Greenbriar & Sorrento tables) and AMF (Aberdeen table).

Please reply with your opinions of these three manufacturers and rank them from best to worst. I'd also like to know if you think we should be considering other manufacturers/tables and if so, which ones.

We welcome your opinions.

... Terry

12-28-2006, 04:28 PM
im my opinion....in order..AMF 1st, Brunswick,2nd and American Heritage a very distant third. The table that i always steer people toward (because i recently researched and purchased) is an Olhausen. For the money that table will outplay. outlast and keep a higher resale value compared to any of the three you are looking at. Olhausen has the best cushion rubber in billiards today, the best warranty bar none and a customer service dept that cant be beat. i shopped for around and researched 6 months before hand and after all the material that i put together and compared...Olhausen was the best value for the dollar. It wasnt the cheapest but the "best value" by far.

12-29-2006, 12:35 AM
I have to go with the Olhausen as well. I bought one last year and I'm very pleased with it. But you can't go wrong with the Brunswick or a Connelly either. I don't have any experience with the AMF. A friend has an American Heritage and I have to say that I'm not fond of it... the cushions seemed very inconsistent.

Whatever you decide - remember to haggle for quality accessories... Super Aramith or Centennial balls, high quality cues and the like! And, unlike my friend with the American Heritage, spend the extra couple of bucks for really good cloth like Simonis 860.

12-29-2006, 07:19 AM
i couldnt agree with you more. get the better cloth and beat them down on the better aramith balls and cues.....

12-29-2006, 01:02 PM
Everyone has an opinion...you know the rest of that old saying! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Opinions aside, however, there's some research to be done when comparing tables to ensure that you're covering all the bases. Just like anything else, you can't just compare the look and price of a pool table and expect a fair judgement.

I went ahead and did some of the research for you and looked up the three tables you're considering. I'll have to say that the AMF website was not very forthcoming with information about the construction of their tables, so it will be up to you to take a look at their tables in person before buying one. I am familier with Brunswick and American Heritage, so I didn't really have to do a lot of research on those.

First off, Brunswick tables make extensive use of bracket construction (including the models you are interested in) while American Heritage uses wood-on-wood mortise and tenon construction. The advantage goes to AH hands down because metal brackets (and screws going into the wood) will loosen up over time and are a lower-end way of constructing ANY type of furniture. Interlocking mortised blocks are used in the construction of American Heritage tables. This is much steadier and will stay stable for a lifetime. All of the weight of an American Heritage table is supported by wood...not screws! POINT: AMERICAN HERITAGE

AH tables use dual-center-beam supports, as well as a seam-free slate bed to support the slate. This is pretty much unmatched in the industry. Brunswick typically uses framed slate which just sits on the cabinet and is not as durable. POINT: AMERICAN HERITAGE

The Brunswick and AH tables use regulation 1" slate. The AMF was listed as using cheaper 7/8" slate. POINT: AMERICAN HERITAGE and BRUNSWICK

All of the tables seem to have the same/similar lifetime warranty.

I will comment that the reason AH offers superior construction for around the same price (or lower) as the other tables is because they don't spend millions of dollars advertising their name on the pro curcuit like Brunswick, AMF, Olhausen, etc. I was actually pretty chagrined that you mentioned the Birmingham as one of your choices and not just the big name tables. It's a great table!

I know this goes against what everyone else is saying, but unless you're in the industry, I don't really expect most people to understand all of the details of how the tables are built (which is really important!)

Final tip: Olhausen is generally overpriced for the level of construction offered on their tables (one of those "paying for the name" deals) Just like I said before...compare the way the table is built...not just the price. I will also point out that the AMF website has a couple of tables that I've sold for around $1500 listed at $3000, so there is a chance they are price-gougers, too.


12-29-2006, 02:51 PM
nice information.....but in another post about slate you mention that "the chinese Billiard world" doesnt have a good reputation in Billiards and the fact that the slate was chinese doesnt give you the warm and fuzzies. American Heritage is made in China. Does that matter?

12-29-2006, 02:59 PM
Actually, I've been to American Heritage's manufacturing facility. It's in Sweetwater, Ohio.

I will say that some of the components like the leather pockets come from China, but the tables are crafted in the US. They handcraft the entire cabinet in Ohio and all the installers have to do is attach the legs, drop the slate, and bolt on the rails (and felt the table).

Most tables from China (or imported jobs in general) come in flat boxes. Every little piece of wood is disassembled and includes dozens of metal brackets and screws to put it all together. We call them "knock-down" tables. They break them down as small as possible to fit as many as they can in a shipping container.

In summary: some parts from China, table is crafted in Ohio.

As a side note...Brunswick provides a good example of Chinese knockdown tables. They sold the name to a Chinese manufacturer several years back. (Take a look a Brunswick table and you'll see all the brackets underneath)


12-29-2006, 08:32 PM
i dont think that is exactly true.....i met the AH rep at a store and he told me that they bring in all the tables from china unstained and stain and distribute them in Ohio. his comment to me was that they have a warehouse that distributes them in ohio.....i dont know who is right or wrong but when i looked underneath a table it said made in malaysia. that turned me off automaticaly. to use the made in america statement and twist the words to american heritage is not cool. i have not been to the factory but from what i could tell.....its not made here. i asked for a tour of the factory when i went to cleveland and the answer was "due to OSHA regulations we can not give you a tour of our factory". i had a tour through the diamond factory, steepleton factory, amf factory and i had no OSHA regulations that kept me out. so untill the table or box read made in the usa.......

12-29-2006, 08:44 PM
Well I guess the answer is easy. "POINT: AMERICAN HERITAGE". Well heck Nick... you're the first person to proclaim the AH the greatest pool table on the face of the planet. Jeez, I wish it was this easy to figure out when I was shopping for a table.

Perhaps you should take this to the main BB and see how many players jump on the American Heritage bandwagon.

12-30-2006, 07:14 AM
When I posted my question a few days ago, I really didn't expect to get so many replies. All of the information provided was extremely helpful in making our purchasing decision.

We ended up purchasing a Brunswick Hawthorn table in maple finish. The final decision came down to a delicate balance between price, aesthetics and quality.

The AMF was the least expensive table we were considering, but we weren't happy with the overall look of the table and some of the comments from this forum confirmed our feeling about the quality/workmanship of the table.

The American Heritage table was initially a strong contender. The dealer argued exactly the same points that Nick made above (almost verbatim) and in my opinion he spent too much time badmouthing Brunswick. In comparison to Brunswick, the AH tables didn't look as nice as the Brunswick and despite their playbook talking points I observed defects with several of their tables in the showroom. I was also disappointed in the quality of their collection of furniture that went with each table.

In the end the Bruswick dealer reduced the price of the Hawthorn table by $700 which brought it within striking distance of the AH table we were considering. The Hawthorn table in natural maple fits our contemporary house the best and looks like a high quality piece of furniture.

Thanks once again for all of your opinions.

... Terry

12-31-2006, 09:05 AM
i think you made a great decision. i for one would buy name and reputation first. i just think anything or anyone who tells me "that its just as good as for less" is selling the price. and as my favorite rib joint says....good aint cheap and cheap aint good.

01-01-2007, 12:23 AM
I would certainly have gone with either the Brunswick or Olhausen. The biggest thing about Olhausen is that it is all made in america. Unfotunately, not all of Brunswick is anymore. That aside, my father-in-law has an american heritage, and I have a Brunswick. While the AH is a nice looking table, it is a step below the brunswick. It has not worn as well, and goes off level more easily. Connely uses similar selling points about construction in their marketing, yet, while they are also nice tables, they seem to have more problems than brunswick or olhausen. All in all, any of those tables will be nice tables when used residentially and taken care of. However, if you are going to spend that much on a table, you might as well get the best option!!

01-02-2007, 11:41 AM
i find that kinda funny that the salesman at the AH store told the exact same story as quicknick. after reading the AH web sight......nick says he doesnt work for them but i gotta think he does. There si no ther web sight about Billiards that American Heritage is touted highly on. Especially in terms of playability. .....

01-04-2007, 11:53 AM
Our Brunswick table was delivered yesterday. It looks great and plays beautifully, but without knowing any better, I have a few concerns that I hope someone with experience can help explain:

1) The felt is stretched perfectly over five of the six pockets, but on the sixth pocket it looks different. Itís difficult to describe the difference, but Iíll do my best. You can visually see that the felt was cut in a V-shape to fit around the curve of the pocket; however, it appears that there wasnít enough slack in the felt to pull the part that was cut low enough in the pocket and therefore, we can still see this cut.

2) Although the felt is tightly stretched across the table, there are two or three lines (maybe crease lines) visible in the felt.

3) When I rub along the bottom half of the rails, I feel small bumps on some of the rails. The other rails are completely smooth. The balls will never hit these bumps and you can not visually see them.

4) When I rub along the table top about one inch from the rail, I can feel the holes that were drilled in the slate to attach it to the table. It seems that the balls will travel over these spots and was wondering if I should be concerned about this.

Since Iím new to billiard tables, I would appreciate any advice the more experienced members of this forum can provide. In particular, I want to know if these things are usual or if I need to be concerned enough to get our dealer to fix them.

Thank you all in advance for any help you can provide.

Ö Terry

01-04-2007, 12:32 PM
from what you described...no. The cloth problem in the corner is a cosmetic concern (sloppy) not a playing concern. As to the lines visable in the cloth, if you cant feel the seam its ok. Many stores buy the cloth and it is folded. The lines will come out in time. The holes in the slate never touch the ball and the bumps you feel under the rails are where the floating nut plates that are used. no concern in the playing of it.

01-04-2007, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the quick reply and your advice. I have two quick follow up questions:

1) The work is sloppy for sure, but I'm more concerned about the cloth in the pocket tearing if someone's ring catches it when taking out a ball. There's clearly a gap between the cloth and the surface of the pocket. Should I not worry about this possibility?

2) I don't think the bumps in the rails are the nut plates. The lumps feel like rubber (or glue). Some rails are completely smooth and other have these lumps. Is this just being sloppy or is it a defect in the bumper.

... Terry

01-04-2007, 02:16 PM
if its underneath the cushion (the bottom side) it could be glue and that is a manufacturer thing.it will have no effect on play. in reguards to your pocket question....as long as the cloth is flat against theslate and not "puffed"up it will be fine. If it still is a concern contact the store and have them send out a tech and voice your opinion.

01-24-2007, 07:07 PM
We too are looking to buy our first (and last) billiards table. We're considering an 8' Olhausen, Brunswick, and American Heritage (AH). My mate prefers the AH because it's significantly cheaper (maple table w/ 1" slate for about $2000 w/o all the options). From what I've read, this table is made well, but I've read concerns on the unevenness of the bumpers.

The Brunswick has the advantage of being sold by a "billiards" store that will service well, but the price is a bit more (also maple w/ 1" slate).

The Olhausen is significantly more (about $1000 more).

Which table will hold its value in the long run? Which table plays well, and over a long period of time? This table will be placed in our finished basement.

Also regarding size, our room is 17'or 18' long, but only 12'5" wide. Can we fit an oversize 8' table in that space?

Thank you!!!!

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01-29-2007, 08:23 AM
the thing about AH tables that i do not like is that the salespeople always say they are all wood. The "ALL" is MDF board covered by a veneer. They are not solid wood. I am a Olhausen Homer because i have one. Lokk at the Americana by Olhausen. It is in the same price range as the AH but it is SOLID wood not all wood.

06-29-2007, 12:54 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wannabeplayer:</font><hr> Lokk at the Americana by Olhausen. It is in the same price range as the AH but it is SOLID wood not all wood. <hr /></blockquote>

Be very careful... when you order this table be sure to spend the extra cash and order this model with the Accu-fast cushions. The website is very general about the cushions, it states that the cushions come with most of their models. The Americana is one that does not come with Accu-fast. I called the customer service number in Tennessee. Please do so just to make sure. I switched to the Reno model, same price from my local Olhausen dealer, wood veneer but the Accu-fast cushions are standard. Just offering my 2 cents.


07-02-2007, 12:52 PM
I am also looking at Spencer Marston. Has anyone had any experience with their products?