How To Tell If A Pool Table Is Slate? Easy Tips To Know

Are you having trouble with how to tell if a pool table is slate or not? Or are you merely a novice player and want to learn about different types of pool tables?

The material can greatly influence your performance. So if you want to own a table at home, you also need to consider the pool table that suits your playing style, fits your budget, and gives you more comfort while playing.

Whatever your situation is, we are confident that the information in this article will satisfy you!

How Can You Know?

Our ways to distinguish two types of slate and wooden billiards tables below will help you easily conquer this seemingly difficult task. Don’t hesitate anymore; just dive in!

By Sight and Touch 

If you are just entering a billiards table shop for the first time, various tables there and the seller’s profitable offers may somewhat confuse you.

Except for the typical slate pool tables on the market, the table surfaces are covered with fabric (usually felt), so guessing its material by looking directly at it is almost an impossible task.

Typical slate pool table
Typical slate pool table

Here’s a pretty useful tip you will need: you can bend over (or even sit on the ground) and take a close look at the pool table’s underside – the manufacturer does not cover this area with fabric.

In good lighting conditions, with the naked eye, you should determine whether the color you see is that of a slate or wood. You can also use a flashlight to see more clearly the gray, dark blue of the stone or the brown of the wood.

Some categories, although their original material is slate, are then processed to a suitable shape and size. But to reinforce sturdiness, manufacturers still put supporting wooden slats under the slate surface.

In this case, you’ll figure out when you get your hands on the inside of the marble pockets in the corner of the table.

A more careful person can also use a hard object available or even your nails and tap under the pool tables’ backside or inside the bag. The resulting sound will be the most accurate signal for your concerns.

A sound on wood is deeper and more resonant, while a slate surface will generate a brighter sound.

Cost of the Table 

Perhaps pool players are always worried about whether the billiard table they buy is really made of slate or not. But you can rely on the price difference between the two types of slate and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) tables.

The price of slate models is usually higher than wooden one. While a slate model on the market ranges from $1500 to $5,000, a wooden one is quite reasonable, costing from $500 to $2,000.

This doesn’t mean you can’t buy cheap slate design or high-quality (with a high price, of course) wooden design, but you get what you pay for. You can even snag a used MDF table for under $500 or slate pool tables for less than $1,000 online.

Weight of the Table 

Distinguishing between a slate table and a wooden table is not that challenging. The difference between these two materials is particularly obvious in terms of weight.

Let’s take some specific measurements for you to imagine. The popular weight of a slate design is somewhere between 900-1000 pounds.

In contrast, the heaviest wooden billiard tables only reach 500 pounds, the compact laminate tables weigh only approximately 100 pounds.

Therefore, in case you can lift part of the edge of the table without too much effort – we’ll bet 99% that the table is made of wood. A slate table won’t let you pick it up no matter how much you sweat.

Even when you get help from another person, lifting a slate one is beyond your reach.


The next factor that tells stone and wood billiard tables apart will require a little bit of your sensitivity.

The slate kind feels more solid, firmer, and smoother on each ball. That’s why distinguishing the table material based on the feel of billiards requires a lot of agility.

A good pool player will not spend too much time judging the material of the table they are playing. Instead, they usually pay more attention to the way the ball is moving and its speed.

Guess material of pool table through gameplay
Guess through gameplay

A high-quality slate table enables smoother balls, giving a sense of professionalism. You will need less force for further distance when pocketing.

The feeling of playing is difficult to explain in detail, but it is one of the best ways to conclude, as long as your experience is seasoned and reliable.

Is it Portable? 

Another simple way to recognize the type of a pool table is its portability. A stale table is not something that you can transport easily. Even with help from others, lifting a stone table is still a challenge.

Meanwhile, as a wooden table is lightweight, it will definitely make the task of moving your pool table a lot less stressful. For some models of MDF tables, you can completely move the table alone without disturbing others.


The structural elements of a pool table also play a big role in reflecting its impression on users. Compared to the monolithic structure of slate models, MDF models will often not be as sturdy. In other words, wooden pool tables look significantly more fragile than slate ones.

Wood fragile construction pool table
Wood fragile construction 


After we explain this factor, you will be a little surprised if you think billiards is the only game to play with pool tables.

Buying a pool table to satisfy a hobby at home is a pleasure for many people. However, you can have more entertainment than expected.

As for a wooden table, you can disassemble the pool table and transform it into a ping pong table to play with your children on weekends, thanks to its structural flexibility.

While a slate type can’t support any of your purposes other than playing billiards, it has the potential to deliver a long-lasting life agreement.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the slate can last up to 20-25 years if properly maintained.

How to Tell if Pool Table is 3 Piece Slate

The 3-piece slate pool table is an improvement over the 1-piece version. The 3-piece model is also manufactured originally from one slate.

Cutting it into 3 pieces allows the manufacturer to calculate and assemble more reasonably, making the 3-piece slate table easily compatible with many floor conditions – in case your floor is quite rough.

To determine if your pool table has 1 piece or 3 pieces, you can look and even touch underneath the part near the centre pocket. You will feel a gap between the two different pieces if it is a 3-piece.

A 3-piece slate pool table


After reading our article, we hope you find the answer to the question.

Since the material will greatly affect your performances, the sturdiness and durability of a slate model or the cheapness and portability of a wooden one will be something you have to consider carefully when choosing.

Whether your purpose in reading this article is to buy yourself a new billiards court or simply differentiate between choosing the right type, we hope you have all the tips in hand to purchase a good one after reading this article.

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