Talk to the pool purist or even the avid beginner and most will tell you that the question of whether the best pool table is a slate table or a wooden table is not a question worth asking. Anyone who has played on both table variants will know the difference between a regular sliding slate bedside table and a less reliable wooden one. While other factors such as table leveling also play an important role, high-quality slate bedside tables give a real straight shot to the ball every time you play a shot.
When we talk about the use of slate or other materials in the construction of the pool table, we refer to the bed which is located under the felt and on top of the construction of the table. It is essentially in this bed that billiard balls roll through when you play your shot, so it is important that it is straight, flat and level. Any deviation can lead to the ball rolling away from the real line. This deviation becomes even more pronounced as the ball rolls more slowly, but it can also be evident during hard and fast shots.
Consistently straight shots
Consistency is the key to a good game of billiards or billiards. Slatron, a synthetic material, is the most common slate substitute for pool tables. While it is cheaper than a large, flat slate bed, it is still of significantly lower quality. Not only do Slatron beds and those made from other non-slate materials indicate that your shots will be more prone to inconsistencies, but they are also much more likely to dive, deform and disfigure in general over a period of time. Slate is a strong and robust material that will not suffer the same disfigurement.
Deformation and disfiguration in non-slate tables
Non-slate beds are also more prone to environmental and weather conditions. Slatron and wood based materials are certainly more subject to moisture and even to excessively low and high temperatures. Some of the lower quality pool tables that don’t use slate can deform very quickly. While slate pool tables can be more expensive than their non-slate counterparts, you need to consider how long each will last and how long they will withstand the pressure of use and non-use.
Considering the weight of the slate
Slate is a heavy material and not only is it a consideration when building a pool table, but it can also be worth considering when buying. The transverse solid wood frames are generally needed to ensure that the pool table is able to support the weight of the slate bed and this can add additional weight. However, while this can be a problem for shipping and moving the table, it shouldn’t be a problem in most billiard rooms at home.
Other factors that determine the quality of a pool table
The level of the table itself will also be a factor that determines the consistency of the shots played. A well-made table on a flat surface that uses good quality slate will play the best shots and will continue to do so constantly throughout its life. Conversely, a poorly made table, one with poor slate bed material or one that is not properly leveled, will inevitably lead to poor throws and an unpredictable shot from the balls.