How can you keep the family entertained when it’s near impossible to go outside? Table games can serve as a solution for the boredom.
While not everyone has a game room in their home, installing a shuffleboard table can bring in the much-needed fun if space can provide it. Otherwise, there are other space-hogging options.
Yes, let’s put it out there: a shuffleboard needs space. And not just for the size of the table but for empty spaces as well so people can actually move around and enjoy the game.
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Shuffleboard tables come in different sizes, from nine feet to 22 feet. It is also advisable to provide at least 2 or 3 feet of clearance space on ALL sides to ensure that there is enough room for everyone.
While there are other considerations when buying a shuffleboard, size should be at the top because it wouldn’t make sense to get one if it would be a nuisance when added to your home.
So if you know you have space, you can start thinking about the other factors that affect the quality of play.
You can expect to see quite a few Playcraft models in this list, and this is the first of them.
The Woodbridge model might not have an electronic scorer, but it makes up for it by simply being an affordable and high-quality option.
The Telluride model from Playcraft should, by rights, be the best table on this list, but it comes at a rather hefty price.
But you’ll never go wrong in terms of its quality.
Hathaway Challenger Shuffleboard
Finally, a non-Playcraft model.
Like the Woodbridge model, scoring with this one is done manually but it does have a nice design and looks.
How to Choose a Shuffleboard Table
You can’t just go “I want a shuffleboard table” then do an online search then purchase the first one you like the look of. No, there are quite a few considerations to make when you want to bring one into your home.
A shuffleboard is quite a huge item, so size considerations should definitely be at the top of your consideration list. Everything else will fall into place depending on preference: table finish, a thickness of the playfield, scoring systems, material quality, etc.
This guide will cover what you need to know before making a purchase. That said, here’s a look at what you need to consider before making a shuffleboard table purchase:
As mentioned quite a few times already, size is one of the most important – if not the most important – factor you have to consider when purchasing a shuffleboard table. Think of it this way: you have to park the table somewhere in your home but you also have to get it in through the door.
So you don’t just have to consider the available space you have in your room, but also the dimensions of your door or wherever else deliveries need to pass. That said, take out the measuring tapes and start listing dimensions so that you can search for options that match those criteria.
Shuffleboard tables can range from nine feet to 22 feet, but there are makers who offer smaller models in the range of six to seven feet. But you shouldn’t just allocate space for the size of the table; there should be about two or three feet of clearance space on all sides so the room where it’s put in doesn’t feel too cramped.
Here’s a guide to the common table dimensions to give you an idea of what you can go for:
- 8 feet – one of the smallest tables and the ideal option for when you just want a bit of fun at home
- 9 feet – this size is offered by almost all the top brands and it’s not so huge as to be intimidating
- 12 feet – also offered by well-known brands
- 14 feet – belongs to the small to mid-size table options
- 16 feet – a common mid-size table choice with anything bigger resembling a full-length table
- 18 feet – slides are obviously longer and models of this size usually have climatic adjusters
- 20 feet – the next option if you can’t get the regulation size table
- 22 feet – regulation size table and one used in professional tournaments
It’s tempting to go for the 22-foot option because you feel just like one of the pros, but sadly you have to consider the space you have. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with getting the short options if you just want a bit of fun.
Traditional shuffleboard tables are usually three inches thick. That amount of thickness ensures that you not only have a stable playing field but that you can also sand it should you want the table to be refinished.
You might not notice this quality in shuffleboard tables much if you’re in it for fun. But if you start taking the game a bit seriously, you’ll start to notice dents appear after a series of games.
You’ll be fine with a three-inch thick playfield, but that thickness is determined by the number of finishes and sealants used to the dimensions of the wood. For example, an epoxy polymer is popularly used in many models but it actually minimizes the actual thickness as some makers tend to overuse it.
So even if a table is described as having the three-inch thickness, take care to read the description carefully to check that it really is describing thickness and not a combination of thickness and coatings.
Yes, a shiny table looks really attractive but it’s the material that should count. Since tables expect dropped pucks and other kinds of impact during gameplay, it helps to get a model made of durable wood.
Lots of wood varieties are used as surface materials for shuffleboard tables, including Canadian Soft Maple, North American Maple Wood, Poplar, Russian Birch, and White Maple.
Of those options, maple, birch, oak, and mahogany make the best surface materials.
Choosing a solid hardwood also works best because they are of good quality and can withstand dents and damages caused by accidents.
Finishes are applied on tabletops to prevent the formation of air bubbles. They can either be poured or sprayed, with the latter being of lesser quality.
If you can, go for finishes that have been poured because it can prevent cracks from forming should there be any surface imperfections.
In terms of the kind of finish to go for, polymer finishes are the best. There’s a good reason for that: they last longer and are more durable than lacquers and shellacs.
Outer Cabinet Structure
Apart from the actual surface, it helps to look at the structure of the outer cabinet as well. Since it is responsible for holding everything together, the best material for it should be hardwood.
Then again, hardwood is mostly used by professionals but there’s nothing wrong if you go for it. A cabinet made of solid hardwood adds weight, which helps keep the table in place should the game get rather intense.
A more cost-effective option is MDF particle board outer cabinets.
Changes in temperature and humidity levels affect your shuffleboard table. Since no one wants to play on a misaligned board, climatic adjusters are here to save the day.
Although not all tables have them, you can always purchase your own. Then again, it would be nice to have them as part of the package.
You’ll usually find around four to six adjusters when you look underneath the table. They are basically two supporting beams that allow the playing surface to have a slight bend since the best tables are those with a concave shape.
There are two types of scoring grids: the 3 level grid (or 1-2-3 scoring system) or the triangular scoring grid used on outdoor tables.
The 3 level grid is the most common option for indoor tables while the scorer for the outer variety features six scoring sections.
Also, scorers can be manual or electronic, but the choice of which is best depends on your preference. Of course, expect to pay a lot more when opting for an electronic scorer.
While there are a lot of things to consider before buying a shuffleboard table, taking them all into account helps you get the best option possible. Then again, a lot of these considerations will boil down to preference and budget.
But if there is one factor you shouldn’t ignore, it’s the size of the table. As mentioned, once you settle on a size everything else will follow.
7 Best Shuffleboard Tables
1. Playcraft Woodbridge Shuffleboard Table
If you just want a shuffleboard table in your home that is of high quality and provides excellent gameplay, you won’t go wrong with this option. It comes with a 1-5/8″ thick solid hardwood butcher block playfield that is finished with several coats of satin polyurethane.
There are different size options for this one: 9 feet, 12 feet, 14 feet, and 16 feet. The first two options come with a 1-2-3 indoor scoring pattern while the latter two feature a 1-2-3-4 pattern.
This model’s one-piece cradle is made from hardwood micro-lam plywood while the corners are made of hardwood for stability. A color-coordinated carpet finished the interior walls and floors.
Reinforced double-paneled pedestal legs support the cradle with 6″ metal leg levelers and cabinet storage. The 9 foot and 12-foot models feature two legs while the 14 foot and 16-foot models have three.
- It is a good quality entry-level shuffleboard table
- It comes in different dimensions to suit different space requirements
- It is an affordable model
- It comes with minimal directions for a model that needs to be assembled
2. Playcraft Telluride Pro-Style Shuffleboard Table with Electronic Scorer
This is the second of many Playcraft models featured on this list. While the Woodbridge model featured manual scorers, this one comes with an electronic one.
While an electronic scorer is advantageous in many ways, there are other reasons this can be considered as your table of choice. First, the table looks gorgeous: it clearly has a quality finish.
The solid hardwood construction guarantees durability and the rich espresso stain on the wood give it a professional look. The clear birch accents are also a nice touch.
Both the cradle and leg applique are made of unique solid hardwood. Plus, one piece horseshoe lends the cradle additional strength.
The carpeted gutters and side wall help reduce noise while the playfield is made of edge-glued, kiln-dried Canada maple with a 1/4” inch poured polymer surface.
This model features a 1-2-3-4 scoring system as well as a 24″ stained hardwood overhead electronic scorer with a plexi face. It also comes with Pro-style threaded climate adjusters and 3″ leg levelers.
- It is a professional-looking table
- It comes with an electronic scorer
- It features climatic adjusters
- The assembly isn’t particularly easy to do
3. Hathaway Challenger Shuffleboard
The first non-Playcraft model on this list is also a good one. You are guaranteed silky smooth play thanks to a hardwood butcher block coated with a polyurethane surface.
Each pedestal-style leg also serves as a storage cabinet. The leg cabinets are a dark cherry laminate with antique bronze hinges to give it that classic, vintage look.
The table also comes with independent leg levelers to ensure a flat and steady surface. It also has integrated climatic adjusters to ensure optimum gameplay.
You can choose between a 9 foot or a 12-foot model and your choice of PVC laminate, cherry, or walnut finish.
- It offers quality gameplay
- It features built-in storage
- Adjusting the table might be a bit difficult for some
4. Playcraft Extera 12′ Outdoor Shuffleboard Table
Most of the items on this list so far have been indoor tables, but this one is designed specifically for use outdoors. It is made of aluminum and comes with large leg levelers.
You can choose between a 9 foot model with 15” wide playfield or a 9 foot model with 20” wide playfield.
- It is designed for outdoor play
- Although designed for outdoor play, you need quite a large space to ensure comfortable play
5. Playcraft Coventry Shuffleboard Table
Design-wise, the Coventry is one attractive table. The cradle is made of solid hardwood stained in rich espresso, but it’s the clear maple accents that make it stand out.
The Coventry model is available in either cherry or honey finishes. The cradle also features unified horse collar ends with stained, hardwood applique detailing, which are also found on the leg panels.
You can get this model in the following lengths: 9, 12, 14, and 16 with climatic adjusters. It features a traditional indoor 1-2-3 scoring system with outlined block numbers.
This model features a 1 3/4” thick solid hardwood butcher-block playfield that has been finished with 1o coats of lacquer. It also has carpeted walls and gutters.
- It has an attractive design
- It comes in different lengths
- The lacquer finish isn’t exactly the best choice
6. Playcraft Georgetown Shuffleboard Table
This model features a hardwood veneer cabinet and is available in cherry, espresso, or honey. It comes with a 1-3/4” thick solid single stave butcher block playfield that has been finished with 10 coats of polyurethane for a smooth and glossy surface.
The scoring system is done manually through a 1-2-3 system on the 12-foot models while the 16-foot models feature 1-2-3-4 scoring systems. It also comes with a climatic adjuster, leg levelers, and leg storage.
- It is offered in different stains and lengths
- It features leg storage
- It requires assembly which can be quite tricky
7. Snap Back Tavern Shuffleboard
At seven feet, this is one of those non-traditional sized shuffleboard tables, but it’s one that those saving on space can put in their homes. Other than its size, the table also comes with an electronic scorer which makes scoring convenient.
This shuffleboard table is made from dense fiber wood. It also comes with leg levelers to ensure stability and durability.
This model comes with a 2.3-inch thick playing surface with a smooth and clear coating to ensure an easy glide.
- It is one of the smaller tables available for those who don’t have that much space
- It features an electronic scorer
- It is good enough but there are better options
In the end, your shuffleboard table of choice will boil down to preference. There might be some materials that you prefer over another, or you like a certain finish over something else.
No matter what kind of table you end up with, make sure to make a pick from options that are in your desired size range. From there, you can decide which elements you can do with or without.
How To Play Shuffleboard
You got the table but you’re not sure how to play? Check out this video to learn all the basics about playing Shuffleboard