Wood vs Slate Pool Table – What is the Difference?

Purchasing a pool table can be a large investment. There are many different factors that play a role in which pool table is the best for you. Before buying, one of the questions that many people ask is what is the difference between a wood vs slate pool table?

Depending on what your goals are with your pool table, a slate or wood pool table could be right for you. Typically, experienced pool players say that you need to buy a slate pool table. There are however times when a wood pool table might make more sense for you. Also note that wood and MDF pool tables are synonymous when you are shopping!

Wood Pool Table


The material used to construct wood pool tables is lighter than slate. Because of this, it’s much more mobile and easy to move around your game room.

Wood material is much cheaper than the slate material used to make pool tables. Because of this, wood pool tables are naturally cheaper than slate pool tables. So, if you are on a budget a wood pool table option might be the preferred option for you.

In addition to price, wood pool tables are often times the best pool table for kids. This is because of two reasons. First, as mentioned before, a cheap pool table is preferable for kids and beginners just starting out. You don’t want to invest a ton of money into something when you don’t know if the people using it will like it or not.

Second, there aren’t many options out there for mini pool tables made of slate. The best pool table for beginners many times is a table that is smaller than regulation size. There are an abundance of mini wood pool tables but not so many slate options.


You get what you pay for. While wood pool tables are a cost effective option, some aspects of a wood table are just naturally not the best quality. For example, wood tables are susceptible to warping over time if the table isn’t in a perfectly climate controlled area.

So, if you plan to keep your pool table in your garage or you live in a super humid area, your wood table could be warped over time. Also, if you happen to spill a drink on the table it will be absorbed and warp your playing surface.

Aside from this, the gameplay of wood pool tables are much slower compared to slate. Many makers of wood pool tables will try to tell you that the feel of their table is similar to a slate table, but they are embellishing. Players don’t have the same level of speed or control.

Best MDF / Wood Pool Tables

Slate Pool Table


As you can imagine, a slate pool table surface will provide superior gameplay. Balls will roll straight and true. Players can control the cue ball with precision.

Professional pool and billiards tournaments are played on slate bed surfaces for this reason. If you are the type of player who loves to improve, you will want to play on the best surface.

A slate pool table is extremely durable. Warping should not be an issue unless you really hit something hard into the surface of the table. Temperature won’t have an effect on the table. You might need to replace the cloth from time to time, but the surface itself could last you a lifetime.


The main reason people choose a wood vs slate pool table is price. Slate pool tables are definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum.

This is largely due to the fact that the heavier material costs more to source, shape, and transport. Some of that cost naturally gets passed along to the end customer.

The weight of slate pool tables can also be viewed as a downside. Often times pool tables remain stationary for months and years on end, but there are people who prefer a more portable or transportable pool table.

Best Slate Pool Tables

Wood vs Slate Pool Table – Final Decision

At the end of the day, your preferences and goals for your pool table matter when deciding wood vs slate pool table. For beginners, kids, or folks on a budget, I recommend a wood pool table. For intermediate, expert, or aspiring players with a little more of a budget, I definitely recommend ponying up for a slate bed pool table.

Wood vs Slate pool table – where to buy?

You can easily buy various pool tables on Amazon. If you haven’t already, take a look at our Best Pool Tables guide!

A game room designer and consultant for over a decade, home games and game room ideas are my passion. We are the experts in the most fun part of your home!