How to Tell If Pool Table Is Slate? 

For an experienced pool player, one glance is enough to tell whether or not the table is made of slate.

These players are also quick in spotting the difference between a wooden table and the ones made of slate.

If you are inexperienced with pool tables, this article will enable you to distinguish between a slate pool table and one that is made from wood.

Wood Pool Table vs. Slate Pool Table

To begin with, slate pool tables are heavy. They are expensive to purchase, provide good gameplay, and are incredibly durable.

On the flip side, a wooden pool table is inexpensive, light to move around, and not as durable.

In this article, we will discuss the standards by which you can compare a slate and a wooden pool table.

We will also discuss how either of the two materials affects the quality of your game.

As discussed above, slate is expensive. Despite that, most pool players prefer a slate pool table because of its quality, and the gameplay it offers.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that will help you distinguish between a slate pool table and its wooden counterparts.

How to Distinguish Between a Wooden and a Slate Pool Table

When comparing a slate and a non-slate wooden pool table, some of the most important factors to consider are cost, portability, quality, and gameplay.

If you manage to get a firm grasp over these indicators, you will be able to identify the material used in your pool table, in less than a minute, without even removing the clothing.

Being able to identify these differences helps you make your purchasing decision, when you are out in the market place, shopping for the best pool table for your needs.

Let’s Break It Down.


It is a no-brainer that regardless of which pool table you go out to buy, it will be expensive. As discussed above, the best indicator that will help you identify the material used in your pool table is the price.

The price value of a slate pool table is far more than that of a wooden one. But what is the reason behind this disparity?

The price of a slate pool table is more because of its MDF body. The MDF body not only covers the slate surface, but also the surrounding areas.

However, some pool tables in the marketplace are made of wood but have a slate finish. Now your street smartness is about to be put to the test.

A wooden table masked in slate will never provide the gameplay slate can provide. Furthermore, a wooden table will be cheaper.

Pool tables cost between $1000 and $20,000. A pool table made of slate by a reputable manufacturer will be somewhere in the upper half of this price range.

Wooden tables are cheaper because of the wood laminate used in them. Interestingly, some wooden pool tables come with MDF bodies too, but that doesn’t make the gameplay any better than that of a slate pool table.

As a result, the wooden pool table costs around $5000-$1000. If you are out in the market for a pool table that is easier on the budget, go for a wooden pool table, instead of a slate one.


Another factor to consider when distinguishing between slate and wood is portability. Over here, portability refers to the ease of moving the pool table around.

As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, slate pool tables are heavy and difficult to move from one place to another.

Nowadays, pool tables with three layers of slate are becoming increasingly popular. Their heaviness provides them immense stability, thus making your gameplay more enjoyable and free from distractions.

However, as far as their maneuverability is concerned, they are far heavier to move, compared to traditional slate pool tables.

On average, slate can weight somewhere between 200 to 250 Kilograms, which makes it difficult for the user to move it from place to place.

If you are planning to shift your slate pool table to a new place, make sure you have enough people to help you move it around.

If portability is the issue, you should go for a wooden pool table. Not only are wooden tables light, but they can also be easily moved from one place to another. You can even move them by yourself, without needing an extra hand.

It sounds strange but a full-sized pool table is far lighter and portable than a small slate pool table. A wooden pool table weighs just a little over 200 kg, which is much lighter than the lightest table, made out of slate. Some slate tables out there weigh about 500 kg.

So the next time you come across a pool table that is extremely heavy, you can easily figure out what it’s made of.


As far as gameplay is concerned, slate passes with flying colors. But what is the reason behind the flawless gameplay offered by a slate table? Slate is a kind of rock, the grains of which are extremely flat and parallel.

As a result, the pool balls on a slate table move much smoother and quicker than on a wooden table. Unlike a slate pool table, pool tables made out of wood or other materials have grains that are uneven and blocky.

Irregular grains on a pool table tend to impede the movement of the ball on the table.

Furthermore, irregular grains make the smoothness of your shot suffer. If the surface of the pool table is not up to par, your game will be affected, regardless of the felt that is used.

If you are finicky about the quality of your gameplay, a slate table should be your number one priority. However, if you are bound by money, a wooden table would do.

If you fail to figure out what your table is made of, all you have to do is play a few shots. Depending upon your experience, you will easily detect the material used.

Table Quality

As far as quality is concerned, a slate pool table stands way out of the crowd. As discussed above, slate provides you the gameplay that other materials fail to provide.

Just one game on a slate table will enable you to tell the difference.

Slate can sustain liquid spills. In case you drop some beer on your slate table, all you have to do is change the cloth/felt, and you are good to go.

Unlike a slate pool table, playing it rough on a wooden table will jeopardize the quality of the table. Also, a slate pool table can sustain enough rough shots from the players. Wood, on the other hand, isn’t as strong and can’t support rough play.

Wooden pool tables cannot sustain liquid spills, and lose their performance in fluctuating temperatures. Wood is a touchy material, and if the weather is too hot or too cold, wood will surely expand or contract.

If you want to make your wooden pool tables last long, make sure to take extra care.

On the contrary, a slate pool table is a one-time investment and doesn’t need too much care. The most you can do is replace the felt, and you’re good.


Identifying a slate pool table isn’t that difficult, but inexperience can keep you from differentiating between a wooden table and a slate one.

However, by following the tips mentioned above, you will easily be able to tell the difference. The best way to enhance your knowledge about pool tables is to spend enough time playing pool.

The factors mentioned above will surely come in handy when you are out in the market, shopping for your very first pool table.

Other Pool table related articles you may find useful: