The rack that came with the used table I bought was OK, but it was a little too small. The space behind the last row of balls and the bottom of the triangle was about ¼” and that made it far to difficult to remove the rack without hitting the balls and ruining the work. What I liked about it was that it was very thin, which made it great for straight pool. Also, the wood sides were very hard, apparently having a hard finish. It left the balls in perfect alignment, but it was annoying as heck to see that perfect rack go to waste as you bumped the balls removing the rack.
I looked for a replacement. I decided against the thick wooden racks (different brands) used at the halls I frequent, because they all seem to have the same two problems. First, the wood gets banged up a little on the inside, leaving small depressions where the balls touch the wood. This makes the space for the balls just enough bigger so that they can’t be forced into contacting one another, no matter how you rearrange the balls or how hard you press them into the rack. Actually, pressing hard just exacerbates the problem, by enlarging the depressions in the wood.
The 2nd problem is that the depressions at the front of the rack sometime grab hold of the head ball enough so that when you slide the rack forward, the head ball is pulled away from the rack.
The Sardo rack is very highly touted, but I shied away from it because of mechanical complexity. I wanted something simple and reliable that would last forever. I figure that plastic always breaks sooner or later. I admit, I have no personal experience with the Sardo rack, nor have I heard anyone say they’ve had any particular problem with it. I just went with my gut and passed.
I bought a Delta 13. This simple, aluminum rack does an excellent job and I couldn’t be happier with the results I get from it. I get a perfect rack, first time, every time. The hard metal won’t ever get the depressions that cause problems with wooden racks, so I won’t be needing to replace it over the years. It has small lines in the middle of each side, along the top, so proper alignment is a snap.
The only downside I experienced is that it’s loud. The noise the balls make when clanking into the rack is both louder and higher pitched than the softer, duller thud they make against a thick wooden rack. My table is in my finished garage (central heat & air) but the walls and floor are cement and that seem to accentuate the sound. Nonetheless, I’ve gotten used to it, and it was a minor problem to begin with. Sometimes when I rack for the first time of the day, especially if it’s the first time I’ve played in a few days, I’m surprised at how loud and harsh the sound is. Then when I slide the rack away from the balls and they’re perfect, I smile and all is right with the world.
I chose the standard Delta 13 instead of the Delta 13 Elite. The elite is beautiful, and made from 6 pieces rather than the one piece construction of the standard Delta 13. But it’s much more expensive, and I already thought I was spending too much. When I found out that I could get the sides of the Elite model engraved I was almost persuaded to get it instead, but then I learned that the engraving was going to cost $70, $40 for set-up and $10 per side. And I was so looking forward to seeing “Pool Student” engraved in my rack.
The rack comes in black, which is the one I got, blue, red, gold and green. If you go with engraving you have a choice of fonts and they’ll do logos too. Checking on the website to make sure nothing had changed since I bought mine, I now see that engraving is free for the 1st side and $5 for the other two. Logos are $25. I’m glad to see the price change, but it’s way too late for me.
I know there are 3rd parties selling strips to fit into the sides to deaden the noise, but I thought they were too expensive too. I can’t say whether they work, I didn’t try them.
Wrapping up, I really like my Delta-13 rack and I highly recommend it. It’s well worth the extra money compared to a good wood rack, and it should last as long as you do.