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Slate vs. Non Slate Pool Table

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Have you ever wondered why people make such a big deal of slate vs non-slate pool tables? Slate tables are the most common form of pool table for those that want to experience the best quality play possible, or so the theory goes. Additionally, slate tables are commonly more expensive than their wooden brethren. So, which one suits your playstyle the best? Whats a slate pool table? What is the difference between a slate and wood pool table? Is it worth the extra money for a slate table or can you save a few bucks and just go for a lower-quality model without slate (see Best Pool Table Ping Pong Combo)? Read below to find out what we think about slate vs particle board pool table (and other non-slate materials).

Pool player lining up shotSLATE POOL TABLES

The slate pool table surface is made from a polished slate rock mixed with other minerals to give a smooth and leveled surface. The slate table has a thickness of roughly one to two inches. Slate pool table surfaces also vary according to the number of slate segments (1 or 3). The slate table with three segments is often considered to be the preferred option due to extra stability and durability compared to a one-segment table. Three-segment tables can withstand more force without breaking than a single segment table. It is also essential to note that the slate pool table should be tucked in a wooden frame to add resilience to avoid damaging the slate edges.

Related: What is the Difference Between Pool, Billiards, and Snooker?


• It has a perfectly flat and leveled table surface for maximum ball rolling and perfect shots. Also, it can be balanced to a precision tolerance of 0.0001 inches.

• Due to its resistance to warping, it is more flexible, durable, and adaptable to environments.

• It requires minimal maintenance since the surface is made from slate rock and hardened by quartz minerals.

• It is durable for decades since the slate rock is hard, waterproof, and doesn’t affect extreme temperature and humidity changes.

• It is also easy to clean and with zero maintenance cost, hence there is no need to worry if water splashes on its surface. Just replace the surface cloth but not the slate.

• It is more reliable for commercial purposes since the slate surface provides a fair gaming experience if it is used for pool league tournaments.

Table felt or cloth is easier to replace than the cloth on their wooden counterparts.


• Considerably more expensive to buy pool table slate

• Heavy and difficult to move

• Expensive to ship

• Assembly requires more in-depth knowledge about pool table setup. It is often recommended to hire trained professionals.

• Because of its weight, it requires a permanent space and positioning to avoid moving around, which might also damage the floor if frequently dragged around.

A Games Room with Pool Table in a GarageNON-SLATE POOL TABLE

As the name suggests, this is a pool table surface made from wood and synthetic slates like Slatron or Accuslate pool table. The question is, are non slate pool tables any good? Playing pool on this surface, you will still enjoy the game; however, the level of quality and enjoyment cannot match that of playing on a slate pool table meaning the action is often a little less “true”. Non-slate pool tables are often pressed by fiberboard around the board to make them more durable; hence, you will find the different levels of quality with non-slate tables. In particular, ensure you read non slate surface reviews (i.e. slatron pool table review) before buying. If you’re interested, take a look at our picks of some of the best non-slate pool tables currently available.


• They are inexpensive (see Best Affordable Pool Tables) since the material for making the underneath surface is made from synthetic and wood products compared to the slate, which is mined and requires an artisan, thus incurring more cost.

• Lightweight and easier to move

• Flexible and easier to assemble/dis-assemble

• Recommended for children and beginners


• Easier to be damaged by spills due to the wooden layer

• It cannot withstand extreme humidity and temperature, which results in warping; hence, it is good to consider keeping it in a place free from moisture and high temperature (see Should You Put a Pool Table in a Garage).

• The trueness of the surface is not perfectly flat and smooth, thus reducing maximum ball control.

• Non-slate table cloths are not easy to upgrade since most of them do come as a complete unit out of the box.

• It is not durable since the materials for the pool table materials degrade faster. These tables need to be replaced much sooner than a slate model.

• Extra precautions should be taken to extend the longevity of the table.

• It is not recommendable for commercial purposes as it chips and wears off faster, and the gaming quality is low due to the uneven surface.

• As compared to the slate table, the non-slate table cannot be leveled to precision, which increases the probability of the ball rolling in the wrong direction.

Final Thoughts

Slate tables are commonly considered to be the cream of the crop in relation to which one is best. If you are wondering how long do pool tables last, you can rest assured that slate tables last for many years, provide a more stable playing experience, and are the common choice for tournaments. Unfortunately, you can expect to spend more money when purchasing a slate model than a non-slate one. Which version works best for you depends on how you plan to use it. For example, if you wonder if outdoor pool tables are worth it, you can expect to pay much more than a fiberboard model in the home. If you want to save a few bucks and still have a great time playing pool in your home, a non-slate model is probably best for you. Finding a non slate pool table for sale isn’t as difficult as a slate model, although learning how to tell if a pool table is slate without being told could be interesting. On the other hand, if you are looking for tournament-level play and plan on keeping a table for generations, the slate model may be the best choice.