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Speed Cloth vs Felt: What's Best for Your UK Pool Table?

In the world of pool, the surface material of the table can significantly influence the quality of the game. The two most popular choices in the UK are speed cloth and felt. These materials have their own set of characteristics that can either enhance or hinder your gaming experience. In this article, we delve deep into the nuances of both materials, helping you make an informed decision for your UK pool table. Let's embark on this journey of discovery.

Whether you are a seasoned player or a novice, the choice between speed cloth and felt is a pivotal one. The material you choose can affect the speed, accuracy, and overall enjoyment of the game. In the UK, where pool is a cherished pastime, understanding the differences between these two materials is crucial. Let's dissect each material to understand their pros and cons better.

Understanding the Basics

Speed Cloth

Speed cloth, also known as nylon cloth, is a modern alternative to traditional felt. It is known for its smooth and fast surface, which allows the balls to travel at a higher speed. This material is commonly used in UK pool tournaments due to its durability and consistent play characteristics.


Felt, on the other hand, is a classic choice that has graced pool tables for centuries. Made from a blend of wool and nylon, it offers a slower, more controlled game. Its texture provides a certain resistance that can be both a challenge and a boon for players.

The Detailed Analysis

Durability and Maintenance

  • Speed Cloth: Speed cloth is renowned for its durability. It is resistant to spills and stains, making it a low-maintenance option for pubs and clubs. Moreover, it does not pill or form little balls of fuzz, which is a common issue with felt. This means that speed cloth can last longer, providing a smooth playing surface for years.

  • Felt: Felt, while classic and loved, requires more maintenance. It is prone to pilling and can show signs of wear and tear more quickly. However, with proper care, including regular brushing and avoiding spills, it can offer a long-lasting playing experience.

Playing Experience

  • Speed Cloth: The playing experience on speed cloth is notably faster. The balls glide smoothly across the surface, allowing for swift and dynamic games. This can be particularly beneficial for experienced players looking for a challenging and fast-paced game. However, it might be a bit too fast for beginners who are still honing their skills.

  • Felt: Felt offers a more controlled and slower game. The slight resistance that felt provides can help players execute precise shots with more ease. This can be particularly beneficial for beginners who are learning the nuances of the game. Moreover, it offers a traditional playing experience that many purists appreciate.

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Speed Cloth: Speed cloth offers a modern and sleek look. It is available in a variety of colours, allowing you to choose a hue that complements your interior décor. Moreover, it gives the pool table a contemporary touch, making it a centrepiece in any room.

  • Felt: Felt exudes a classic and timeless charm. It is often associated with luxury and tradition, making it a preferred choice for those looking to create a sophisticated gaming space. Moreover, the rich texture of felt adds a touch of elegance to the pool table.

Cost Considerations

  • Speed Cloth: Speed cloth is generally more affordable compared to high-quality felt. Its durability and low maintenance requirements make it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

  • Felt: High-quality felt can be a bit on the pricier side. However, many players are willing to invest in it for the superior playing experience it offers. Moreover, it can be a worthwhile investment if you are looking to create a luxurious pool room.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between speed cloth and felt is a personal decision that depends on various factors including your playing style, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Here are a few considerations that might help you make an informed choice:

  • Playing Style: If you prefer a fast-paced game, speed cloth might be the right choice. Conversely, if you enjoy a slower, more controlled game, felt would be more suitable.

  • Budget: Consider your budget before making a choice. If you are looking for a more affordable option, speed cloth might be the way to go. However, if you are willing to invest in a luxurious playing experience, felt could be worth the investment.

  • Aesthetics: Consider the aesthetic appeal of both materials and choose one that complements your interior décor and personal style.

  • Maintenance: If you are looking for a low-maintenance option, speed cloth would be a better choice. However, if you don't mind putting in the effort to maintain the table, felt can offer a rewarding playing experience.

Historical Background

  • Speed Cloth: Speed cloth, although a relatively modern invention, has quickly gained popularity in the UK and around the world. Initially embraced by the snooker community, it found its way into the pool world due to its uniform, fast-paced playability. Its introduction marked a shift in the game dynamics, introducing a faster, more streamlined playing experience.

  • Felt: Felt has a rich history, being the traditional choice for pool tables for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the early days of the game, where it was prized for its smooth yet slightly resistant surface, which allowed for a game of skill and precision. Its deep-rooted history in the game makes it a timeless choice, embodying the spirit and tradition of pool.


In conclusion, the choice between speed cloth and felt is a nuanced one. Both materials have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. In the UK, where pool is more than just a game, it's a tradition, making the right choice can enhance your gaming experience manifold.

Whether you are a seasoned player looking for a challenging playing surface or a beginner wanting to learn the ropes on a more forgiving material, the choice between speed cloth and felt is a significant one. By considering factors such as playing style, budget, and aesthetics, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs and preferences.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to enhance the joy and satisfaction derived from a game of pool. So, choose wisely and enjoy countless hours of fun and competition on your UK pool table.

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