Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter? (Explained)

Pool Table Felt Color Does it Matter

Yes, pool table felt color does matter. Many people make the mistake of underestimating a colors’ importance, but studies have shown our eyes to be much more sensitive to certain colors.

Green and blue are considered the best colors for many reasons, including performance, but certainly our eyes have an easier time on the two least distracting colors.

Digesting bright colors for long periods can cause eye strain and fatigue over long sessions, however, the sensitivity experienced can be worse for some players.

Not everyone feels the same type of negative effects strain from one color to the next. The color choice matters less if you don’t play competitively, but more so casually with friends and family.

Key Takeaways

  • Pool table color does matter, but typically for different reasons among serious and casual players
  • Eye fatigue can be a real problem playing for long periods on bright colors
  • Different colored playing cloth requires different type of lighting for optimal performance

Why Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter?

Whether you’re a player that plays many hours each day or rarely ever, it’s good to know why the color of the felt matters, which I will explain below.

Compliment the Interior Design

The felt color can complement or contrast with the room’s decor, enhancing the overall look and feel of the space.

Certain colors can make a design statement.

For instance, black felt can give a sleek, modern vibe, while traditional green might evoke a classic billiard’s hall atmosphere.


The color of the felt can affect the visibility of the balls.

Lighter colors provide a better contrast with most pool balls, making it easier for players to see and aim.

Bright or unconventional felt colors can lead to increased eye strain over long periods of play.

Why Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter

Dirt and Stain Coverage

Lighter colors might show stains more readily, while darker colors can make dust more visible.

Darker colors might also show fading or wear more obviously than lighter or more traditional colors.

Player Performance

Competitive players often prefer colors that are easier on the eyes and offer better contrast with the balls, like green or blue, to aid in shot accuracy.

Recreational players might be more inclined to choose felt color based on personal preference or room aesthetics rather than playability.

A great choice of playing cloth for casual players on a budget is the Championship Saturn II.

The Teflon coated, budget friendly cloth won’t bust the bank, however, it performs like a premium pool table felt across a range of colors.

Championship Saturn II Pool table felt
Championship Saturn II pool table felt

Eye fatigue

Eye fatigue is one of the biggest reasons why the color of pool table felt matters, especially to competitive players.

As I mentioned at the top of the article, our eyes can have a difficult time adjusting to some colors.

Bright colors of cloth can be very intense and very distracting, which causes our eyes to strain when trying to focus.

Put simply there can be too much going on and over long periods looking at bright colors, like for instance red, it can leave some players with headaches and strained eyes.

  • Likewise, it is why serious players who intend on spending multiple hours at a time on the table should care about the color.
  • The colors that typically cause the most discomfort are bright red, yellow and orange. Recreational players who play far less frequently will feel the effects less.

A Pool Table Requires Contrast

One of the big reasons color matters so much, aside from eye fatigue, is the contrast it provides to a table.

When choosing a color of pool table felt, it is one of the most important things to consider.

  • Colors of the same shade as some of the balls will clash.
  • It can make it harder to separate a dark cloth from the edges of the balls, which need to stand out for full visibility.
  • It’s a particular problem on black felt, as is shadows and the fact that the 8-ball can get lost at times in the color.
  • If your table has black pockets, they can also appear merged into the dark felt.

Best Colors for Contrast

Blue and green are widely seen as the best playing cloth colors for many reasons.

Standard green pool table felt is the traditional choice and has many benefits.

Simonis 860 standard green premium pool table felt

However, scientific studies point towards tournament blue as the particular shad of cloth that is optimal for gameplay.

One such reason is the amount of contrast that tournament blue provides between the cloth and the balls.

  • Some players like to draw an eye-line from the edge of the object ball to the pocket when making shots.
  • The distraction from some colors can make it more difficult to maintain the line, and it’s often reported easier on blue felt.

Professional billiard tournaments have increasingly adopted tournament blue for a few reasons:

  1. It’s easier to track ball movement for fans at home watching on TV.
  2. During long games, it’s easier for players’ eyes to dissect, causing less eye strain and fatigue.
  3. Tournament blue provides the contrast across the pool table under the bright lights during televised tournaments.
Simonis 860 tournament blue premium pool table felt

Lighting is Important

Regardless of the type of player you are or the length of your sessions, you’re going to want to use optimal lighting on the table.

Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter (Explained)
Lighting can make a big difference to the color of pool table felt

How a table is lit can make a real difference to its aesthetic appeal.

  • Crucially, different colors need different amounts of light.
  • In general, you need less lighting if you have a bright felt color because they reflect too much light back off the cloth
  • On darker colors, less lighting is required, as they absorb more than they reflect.

Final Thoughts on Does Pool Table Felt Color Matter?

Does pool table felt matter?

Yes it does matter and sometimes in a big way. If you typically don’t play all that often, maybe only with friends the odd evening, the color is not going to make or break your enjoyment.

If you play competitively and take practice seriously, it will matter a great deal more. Some colors can have a huge impact on your ability to play for extended periods.

It doesn’t affect everyone, but a lot of players report eye sensitivity with certain colors that are too bright. Darker colors may look cool, however they lack the contrast that every serious player craves.


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