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Hainsworth Elite Pro Cloth vs. Smart Cloth: A Comprehensive Comparison

The world of billiards and pool tables is intricate, and every component contributes to the quality of the game. One essential element is the cloth that covers the table. Hainsworth, a leading name in the industry, offers various premium cloths, with the Elite Pro and Smart Cloth being two of its most popular options. In this article, we will explore these two variants, helping you understand their distinct features and determine which might be the best fit for your table.

The Fabric Weave and Composition

1. Introduction to Hainsworth

Hainsworth has been crafting fabrics since 1783, establishing a reputation for excellence. Its expertise transcends beyond pool and billiards, covering everything from protective clothing for firefighters to fabrics for the Royal Family. With such a legacy, it's no surprise that their pool table cloths are some of the best in the world.

2. Hainsworth Elite Pro Cloth

Features and Benefits

  • Composition: A worsted cloth, the Elite Pro is woven to ensure that it's smooth and flat without any fluff or nap. This characteristic ensures speed and accuracy.

  • Durability: Designed to withstand the challenges of professional play, it's built to be robust and long-lasting.

  • Performance: Its nap-free finish ensures minimal ball deviation, making it a favorite for American Pool players.

  • Aesthetics: Available in a wide range of colors, the Elite Pro can be matched to any room décor or personal preference.

Best Suited For: Players looking for speed and precision, such as professional players and enthusiasts who want a nap-free experience.

3. Hainsworth Smart Cloth

Features and Benefits

  • Composition: A woolen cloth, the Smart Cloth offers a perfect balance between speed and control. Its slight nap provides a different playing experience than worsted cloths.

  • Durability: Hainsworth's Smart Cloth is known for its longevity. It's resistant to spills, stains, and general wear and tear.

  • Performance: It offers a controlled speed, making it an excellent choice for players who prefer a slightly slower game or are just starting their billiards journey.

  • Aesthetics: Like the Elite Pro, the Smart Cloth comes in various colors, ensuring it can complement any pool table.

Best Suited For: Players who prefer a more traditional woolen cloth feel, establishments like pubs and clubs where the cloth might be subject to spills, or amateur players seeking a more forgiving speed.

4. Direct Comparison

  • Feel and Gameplay: The most significant difference lies in their feel. Elite Pro, being worsted, offers a faster game, while the Smart Cloth's woolen nature provides a bit more resistance, slowing the balls slightly.

  • Durability: Both cloths are highly durable, but the Smart Cloth's resistance to spills and stains gives it a slight edge, especially in commercial settings.

  • Maintenance: The Elite Pro's nap-free nature means it requires less maintenance in terms of brushing or ironing. On the other hand, the Smart Cloth, due to its nap, might require more frequent care to maintain its optimal playability.

  • Price: Prices might vary based on retailers, but generally, worsted cloths like Elite Pro tend to be slightly more expensive than woolen variants like the Smart Cloth.

5. Which Should You Choose?

Your decision will largely depend on your playing preference and where the table is located:

  • For Professional Settings: If you're setting up a table for tournaments or professional play, the Elite Pro's speed and precision might be more desirable.

  • For Casual or Commercial Settings: The Smart Cloth, with its durability and traditional feel, might be better suited for pubs, clubs, or homes where the game is more leisurely or where there's a higher risk of spills.

  • For Aesthetics: Both cloths offer a wide range of colors, so you're covered no matter which you choose!

Hainsworth Elite Pro Cloth vs. Smart Cloth

6. The Fabric Weave and Composition

Beyond just worsted and woolen categorizations, the way a fabric is woven can drastically impact its performance.

  • Elite Pro: Being worsted means the Elite Pro has a tighter weave, resulting in a cloth where individual fibers are less noticeable. The cloth's smoothness, due to this tight weave, ensures minimal friction, which translates to a faster ball roll.

  • Smart Cloth: The woolen cloth, in contrast, has a more open weave. This creates a discernible nap or a slight directional texture on the surface. This nap can affect the ball's trajectory, especially if it's not properly maintained.

7. Impact of Environmental Factors

  • Elite Pro: Worsted cloth, like the Elite Pro, generally reacts less to environmental changes. So, if your pool table is in an area with fluctuating humidity or temperature, the Elite Pro might provide more consistent gameplay.

  • Smart Cloth: On the other hand, the woolen nature of the Smart Cloth might be more susceptible to such fluctuations. However, its resistance to spills and stains can offset this susceptibility in environments like pubs or clubs.

8. Long-Term Maintenance Costs

While both cloths are durable, their distinct natures can influence maintenance costs over the long run.

  • Elite Pro: Given its nap-free structure, the Elite Pro is less likely to show wear and tear like pilling. Its tight weave structure might also repel chalk and dust more effectively, leading to fewer professional cleanings.

  • Smart Cloth: The Smart Cloth's nap requires regular brushing to maintain its directionality. Over time, if not adequately cared for, the nap can wear down, leading to potential inconsistencies in ball roll. Moreover, while it's spill-resistant, it might still require occasional professional cleaning, especially in high-use settings.

9. Historical Prestige and Player Reception

  • Elite Pro: Favoured in professional settings, the Elite Pro has earned a reputation for consistent, high-speed gameplay. Many professional players appreciate the predictability and speed it offers, especially in high-stakes tournaments.

  • Smart Cloth: The Smart Cloth, with its traditional feel, holds a special place in the hearts of many long-time players. Its slightly slower pace can make the game more strategic and is often preferred in traditional British pubs and snooker halls.

10. Versatility Across Game Types

Different pool games might benefit from different cloth types.

  • Elite Pro: Given its speed, the Elite Pro is often chosen for American Pool games, where the tables are larger, and a faster roll is essential.

  • Smart Cloth: British Pool and Snooker, played on smaller tables, often utilize cloths like the Smart Cloth. The additional control and strategy offered by the woolen nap can enhance these games.

Hainsworth Elite Pro Cloth vs. Smart Cloth A Comprehensive Comparison


Both the Hainsworth Elite Pro and Smart Cloth bring exceptional quality and performance to the table. Your choice should be based on your playing style, the table's location, and your personal preferences. Whether you lean towards the silky speed of the Elite Pro or the traditional feel of the Smart Cloth, you're investing in a product backed by centuries of expertise.

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