Is Red a Good Color for Pool Table Felt?

Is Red a Good Color for Pool Table Felt

The world of billiards is filled with traditions, techniques, and choices that can influence the game. One of the more popular color choices of pool table felt is red.

While green has been the traditional color for centuries, there’s been a growing interest in using red pool table felt color. But why? Let’s get into it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Red felt can cause eye strain for some players.
  • There’s a science behind the impact of colors on our vision.
  • Personal preference plays a significant role in the choice of felt color.

The Science

There are lots of studies into different colors, and the scientific findings help to tell us a lot about how we perceive different colors.

For instance, cool colors like blue, evoke calmness and relaxation. When used as a playing surface, they allow better focus and tracking of balls.

Imperial Ramsey Pool Table with Red Colored Felt

Red Can Be Distracting

When playing pool, you want what is known as “soft eyes”, which means allowing the muscles in your eyes to relax, enabling easy and quick focusing.

Bright “hot” colors like red can make your eye muscles strain because there is a lot going on, making focusing more of a conscious act.

  • Too much distraction for our eyes can cause headaches and eye fatigue.
  • There’s also a reason traffic cones are red, orange, or fluorescent. T
  • hey work great for drawing attention, but on a pool table, not so much, making it harder to focus on the balls when aiming.

This becomes more of an issue during long playing sessions at the table, which is why you don’t see professional billiard tournaments using red pool table felt.

It’s not optimal for players, nor for the audience watching from home trying to track ball movement.

The Human Eye and Color Sensitivity

The human eye is fascinating. We have cones that detect color, and by population:

  • 64% are red cones
  • 32% are green cones
  • 2% are blue cones.

This distribution means that red is a dominant color for us.

This can explain why red is such a strong color in our perception and straining to our eyes over long periods.

The Benefits of Playing on Red Pool Table Felt

Benefits of Red Pool Table Felt

Aesthetic Appeal

Red is a bold and vibrant color that can make a strong visual statement.

  • It can instantly become the centerpiece of a room, drawing attention and admiration.
  • If the interior design of the room has red elements or a theme that complements red, a red pool table can seamlessly fit in, enhancing the overall decor.

Personal Preference

For those who have a particular liking for the color red or want their pool table to stand out, red felt can be the perfect choice.

  • Playing on a red table can offer a different experience compared to the usual green or blue tables.
  • It can be refreshing and can even pose new challenges, enhancing the game’s enjoyment.

Mood and Atmosphere

Colors can influence mood.

  • Red, being a warm color, can create a lively and energetic atmosphere, great for when a player’s buddies are over.
  • Given its uniqueness, a red pool table can often become a conversation starter, making it an excellent choice for social settings or commercial establishments like pubs and clubs.
Championship Saturn II Red Pool table felt
Championship Saturn II Red Pool table felt

Who is Best Suited to Red Pool Table Felt

Recreational Players

Casual players who play for fun and relaxation, rather than those who play competitively/professionally, are usually more open to experimenting with different felt colors, including red.

Recreational players tend to prioritize the visual appeal and design of their game room and prefer a color of pool table felt that matches a specific interior design theme.


Traditionalists love the standard green felt, whereas non-traditionalists who like to break away from the norm and make a statement might opt for red felt.

Commercial Establishments

Performance and gameplay matters less to commercial establishments than grabbing attention.

Pubs, clubs, and other commercial venues might choose red felt for their pool tables to attract attention, create a specific ambiance, or match the establishment’s overall theme.

Players with Specific Vision Preferences

A minority of players might find that the contrast between the balls and red felt suits their vision better, making it easier for them to plan and execute shots.

Championship Saturn II Red Pool table felt
Championship Saturn II Red Pool table felt

Practical Implications of Red Pool Table Felt

Chalk Choices

One practical consideration is the choice of chalk.

If you have red felt, red chalk will make cleaning and maintenance much easier.

  • Using blue chalk on red cloth can create a messy appearance.
  • Non-traditional chalk colors leave streaky results in red playing cloth.

Eye Strain and Fatigue

As mentioned earlier, red can cause eye strain for some players, especially over extended periods of play.

Casual players, only at the table for a limited time, won’t be affected as much, however serious players should be prepared for potential eye strain/fatigue and even headaches for some individuals.

Other Considerations

While the color of the felt is essential, other factors can influence the playing experience.

The quality of the felt, the type of pool table, and the lighting in the room can all play a role in how the game is played and enjoyed.

Alternatives to Red Colored Pool Table Felt


  • Burgundy pool table felt is a deeper shade of red.
  • Less bright than pure red, and is slightly easier on the eyes during extended play.
Simonis 860 burgundy pool table cloth


  • Green pool table felt is the traditional choice and one of the most common colors.
  • Easy on the eyes, widely available, and good contrast between balls and cloth.
Simonis 860 standard green premium pool table felt


  • Black pool table felt is a sleek and modern color that is very popular among casual players.
  • Stylish and suits modern decor but can have problems with shadows, ball visibility and dust.
Championship Saturn II black Pool table felt
Championship Saturn II black Pool table felt


  • Blue pool table felt, in particular ‘Tournament Blue‘ is scientifically proven to be one of the best for performance and gameplay.
  • Good contrast with the balls, used by pros, easy on eyes and used increasingly in professional tournaments
Simonis 860 premium pool table felt


  • Tan pool table felt is an earthy color that is relaxing and homely.
  • Complements rooms with natural wood finishes or rustic decor.
Simonis 860 tan pool table cloth


  • Yellow pool table felt is a bright and cheerful color, that has connotations of happiness, summer and positivity.
  • The Bright colors need to be matched well with dim lighting, or the colors can deflect too much light back into the eyes of players.
Gold ProLine Classic 303 Teflon pool table felt
Gold ProLine Classic 303 Teflon Pool Table Felt


  • Gray pool table felt is a neutral and versatile color.
  • The color offers a modern aesthetic without being as stark as black, which is slightly better for ball contrast and shadows.
Steel Gray ProLine Classic 303 Teflon pool table felt
Steel Gray ProLine Classic 303 Teflon Pool Table Felt

Frequently Asked Questions About Red Felt

Why Is Red Pool Table Felt Color Considered Controversial?

Red felt can cause eye strain for some players, especially when combined with bright overhead lights. The brightness of red can be distracting, making it harder to focus on the balls.

Are There Any Benefits to Choosing Red Pool Table Felt?

For some, the choice of red is purely aesthetic. Red can be a bold and vibrant choice that stands out in a room. It can match certain interior design choices or personal preferences.

How Does Red Colored Pool Table Felt Compare to Traditional Green or Blue?

While green and blue are traditional colors that are known to be easier on the eyes during gameplay, red offers a unique and bold aesthetic. However, some players find red to be more challenging to play on due to its brightness.

Can Chalk Marks Be More Visible on a Pool Table with Red Felt?

Yes, especially if using blue or green chalk. If you opt for red felt, it might be beneficial to use red chalk to minimize visible marks.

Is Red Pool Table Felt More Expensive Than Other Colors?

The cost of the felt usually depends on its quality and brand rather than its color. However, specialty or custom colors might have a slightly higher price point.

Can I Replace the Red Colored Pool Table Felt If I Change My Mind Later?

Absolutely! Pool table felt can be replaced if you decide to change the color later on. However, it’s a process that might require professional assistance to ensure the felt is stretched and applied correctly.


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