Are you looking to buy a new pool table but can’t decide between wood and slate? Perhaps it’s time to replace your pool table and you are unsure what to opt for?
Or maybe you are curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
When it comes to purchasing a pool table, knowing whether to opt for a wood or slate table can be tricky. Slate is the more popular choice, but it’s quite expensive, and that steep price tag can put customers off.
You try to find more information, but no matter what you do, you just can’t find the help.
You start to wonder if you will ever be able to purchase the pool table of your dreams, or at least decide if wood or slate is the one for you.
You resign yourself to a life without your own pool table, doomed to haunt bars and pool halls forevermore.
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers that you need. Keep reading to find out the differences between a wood and slate pool table to help you make the right choice for you!
Wood And Slate Tables – What’s The Difference?
Let’s get straight into it and take a look at the difference between a wood ben table and a slate bed table. Wood bed tables, or a wood table, uses MDF as its playing surface and tends to be a more affordable option.
Slate bed tables use slate as their playing surface. Slate tends to be used on high-quality tables and is the more expensive option. You would find slate pool tables in professional players’ homes or competitions.
Now that we have identified the big difference between these tables, let’s look at them in closer detail to help you make your decision today!
The first thing you will want to consider is the playability of the table. Most dedicated pool players will tell you that there is a difference when playing on a slate table compared to a wood table.
Slate tables allow you to play a faster game on a smoother surface, where the balls can roll across the felt with ease.
MDF tables, however, can sometimes have ‘drag’ which means that the balls will travel less distance, even if you use the same amount of shot power when playing. This means harder work for you and other players!
For those that have always played on a slate table, you will certainly notice a difference if you swap to an MDF table. It can be frustrating at first, but when you get used to it, it shouldn’t impact your game too much.
It’s worth mentioning warping here too. Warping is when the table bed bows, sags, or twists. We only see this issue with MDF tables and can be caused by moisture, humidity, or any temperature changes.
Anything from a leak in the ceiling to spilling some water on your table can cause it to warp and impact your play dramatically.
The location of your pool table can also increase its chances of warping. For example, if your table is kept in a basement with damp issues, over time it could warp.
The extent of the warping will depend on the amount of exposure to moisture and humidity that your table has, so no two tables will warp to the same extent.
However, it’s worth noting that almost all MDF tables will warp over time. Given the materials used, it is almost unavoidable, unless you keep them in a dry and moisture-free environment.
When it comes to slate tables though, you don’t need to worry about this. Slate does not absorb moisture the same way wood does, so the chances of it warping are incredibly rare.
And if it did warp, it would likely be the table rather than the slate bed warping.
But, as we said, you don’t need to worry about this with slate. These tables are far stronger than MDF ones and use high-quality materials that can stand the test of time.
Your slate table will remain flat which is a huge advantage, especially for serious players and those that want a pool table to last a lifetime. When it comes to playability, the slate tables certainly perform better.
Portability is another important factor worth considering. Here, MDF tables are the clear winners! Compared to slate tables, MDF ones are incredibly light and can be moved around with ease.
Now, this might not seem very important to you, but if you ever need to swap the room your pool table is in, or are moving house, then you will be glad that you have a lightweight table to move!
That doesn’t mean that MDF tables only weigh a few pounds, but they roughly weigh 200lbs, which compared to slate tables weighing roughly 800lbs or more, you are sure to prefer moving the lighter table!
Some MDF tables feature folding legs too so that you can store them when you aren’t using them.
These tables are an excellent option for those with limited space or who aren’t able to dedicate an entire room to their pool table. You would never get this amount of flexibility with a slate table!
It’s worth thinking of slate tables in the same way that we think about pianos and refrigerators. These are bulky items that we put in place and don’t think about moving them, as they are too heavy and bulky to move around every time you want to switch up your home.
If you purchase a slate table, it’s best to make sure that you have space you can dedicate to it. The last thing you want is to struggle to move a bulky table around your home trying to find a place for it. It would be incredibly difficult to move a slate pool table without dismantling it.
Even when dismantled, these tables are extremely heavy. A one-piece slate top weighs between 500 and 600lbs, not including the rest of the table!
Three-piece slate tops can weigh more, with a rough weight of 250lbs for each piece! If you are moving or installing a slate table, it’s best to get a professional to do this.
The last thing you want to do is try and move the table yourself and end up damaging the table or hurting yourself. Instead, it’s better to have a professional install a slate table.
Yes, there is an added cost to this, but we think it’s worth spending the extra and enjoying a correctly installed table!
As we mentioned earlier, slate tables are more expensive than wood ones. They can cost twice as much, if not more, than wood tables!
When you consider the large price difference, it’s no wonder those on a budget opt for the cheaper MDF tables. When making your decision, it’s worth considering your budget carefully and selecting the table that you can afford.
So why do slate tables cost so much more? Well, the slate used in most pool tables is made overseas, meaning it costs manufacturers more to source than MDF.
Once they have the slate it also needs to be shaped, packaged and shipped with the rest of the table. As slate is so heavy, there are increased shipping costs to this too, all of which drive up the cost of a slate table.
And as the slate is so heavy, the table needs to be made from stronger, high-quality material to ensure the slate has enough support. And again, these stronger materials will push up the cost of the pool table.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are different qualities of slate that can impact the cost. If you opt for a custom table for example, with the best slate on the market, then that is sure to push the cost even further up.
MDF tables, however, are far lighter and cheaper to produce. As MDF is so lightweight, the rest of the table does not need to feature heavy-duty materials to support its weight as slate tables need.
This means that the cost can be kept quite low as cheaper materials are used instead.
MDF tables might not use high-quality materials like slate, but they offer a lower price point that makes them a fine option for those looking to purchase a pool table without breaking the bank.
Pros And Cons
Check out our pros and cons of wood tables for some final information before you make your decision today!
- Lighter than other tables
- Can move easily around your home if needed
- They are known to warp over time
- Not the best quality compared to slate tables
- Unlikely to make a profit if you sell the table
- Doesn’t last as long as slate tables
Check out our pros and cons of slate tables to help you make your final decision today!
- High-quality materials used
- Incredibly durable
- Flatter playing surface
- Good resale value
- Can be heavy
- Tricky to move
What To Consider When Purchasing A Pool Table
Now that we have covered the differences between wood and slate tables, let’s look at some factors we think you should consider before purchasing your pool table. Keep reading to find out more!
The first thing to consider is the space that you have in your home for the table. Even if you have the space for a tournament size table in your room, that doesn’t mean you should go and purchase the larger table!
Along with the space that the table takes up, you will also want to consider the space you need for your pool sticks when shooting the balls.
In small spaces, you could find yourself hitting the wall with your cue every time you try to take a shot. Not only is that going to damage your wall, but it’s going to be frustrating and take the fun out of the game!
Before making your purchase, we recommend measuring the room. You will want enough room for the pool table and to take shots from every side of the table with ease.
Doing this before buying the table will help to avoid any issues when the table arrives and means you can enjoy playing pool on a table suitable for the room you have.
To work out if you have enough room, you will want to add the length of two pool sticks to the length of the table. Standard cues are 58 inches long, making the total two 116 inches.
Add this number to the length of the table you are considering purchasing and write the total down. Next, do the same for the width of the pool table and note the measurement.
These two measurements are the dimensions needed in your room for the pool table to fit comfortably.
You will then want to measure your room to check that you have the space for the dimensions. If you do not, you will need to consider a smaller pool table or a different space to store the table.
How Often Do You Play?
Next, you will want to consider how often you play pool. It can be difficult to find time to relax and shoot some pool, especially when juggling work, maintaining your home, raising children, seeing friends, and getting plenty of sleep.
And as tempting as it can be to buy a pool table so you don’t need to factor in travel time to play a few games, it can often be the activity that we skip.
It can be frustrating to spend your hard-earned cash on a table and not get to use it. So we strongly recommend only purchasing a table if you are going to use it.
Otherwise, you just end up with a large storage table that never gets used, and who wants that? In these cases, your table often ends up being the thing that you sell to clear some space in your home or make some extra money.
If you don’t have the time to play, then it’s not worth spending the money on a pool table, especially an expensive one!
Another thing to consider with this is the type of pool player that you are. Casual pool players won’t have the same table requirements as a professional and vice versa.
Professional players will want a slate table, as this is the table most tournaments are played on. They will want to splash the cash and get a table similar to the ones they will be competing on.
Casual players, on the other hand, don’t need to worry about spending the extra cash. If you are purchasing your pool table to use for entertainment and some fun, then an MDF table will allow you to do that without breaking the bank.
Finally, you will want to consider your budget. Be sure to consider your finances carefully here and create a budget for your pool table that is realistic.
There is no point spending more than you can afford for a table you will only use a few times! Consider along with your budget what you want from your table and the type of player that you are to help you make the right decision.
For example, if you are looking for a table that will last a lifetime, then it can be worth spending the extra money and getting a slate table. This way, you won’t need to replace the table if it breaks at any point.
You can, of course, get MDF tables that will last a long time, but you will need to keep them in a moisture and humidity-free environment.
You will also want to be mindful of young children playing with them and ensure that they are using the table correctly and aren’t damaging the table and its lower-quality materials.
It’s also worth considering purchasing a table second-hand if the one you love is out of your price range.
People sell their pool tables for many reasons, whether it is because they are moving, need the space, or have simply lost interest in the table.
Either way, you can grab the table you want at a lower price, making high-quality tables more accessible.
For those that are purchasing a slate table, we recommend paying the extra money to have a professional move and assemble your table.
It saves you the hassle and ensures that the table isn’t damaged. Factor this cost into your budget so you aren’t hit with any nasty surprises when you get the final bill!
No matter what you choose, there is sure to be a pool table out there that suits your budget!
And there you have it, the differences between wood and slate pool tables! We hope this has helped you understand more about these tables and decide which one to purchase today.
Whether you decide to save some money with wood, or treat yourself to a slate table, be sure to use our guide to consider all the different factors and purchase the table that is right for your home.
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