Is a 3 Piece Slate Pool Table Good? (Is it better than 1 slate or wood MDF tables?)

It can be exciting to shop for a pool table (new or used!), but before you walk into the showroom, you should already know if you want a three-piece slate pool table, a single piece slate pool table, or a pool table with an MDF bed.

Three-piece slate pool tables are considered the best because they allow for the more precise and attractive methods of leveling. They are also easier to move without damaging the slate.

While the three-piece slate pool table is the favorite among most pool tables, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of pool table bed. In this article, we’ll give you the ins and outs of each of these options so you’ll be prepared to buy a pool table that suits you!

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Three-Piece Pool Tables

For the most part, the advantages of a three-piece pool table far outweigh the disadvantages, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a table and your lifestyle. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might choose a three-piece table as well as the reasons you might not.

What we like about three-piece pool tables:

  • The three-pieces divide the weight of the slate, which makes it easier to move the pool table.
  • They can be leveled with greater accuracy.
  • With three-piece slate, you level the late, not the table, which results in very precise leveling.
  • The leveling takes place within the table, so you don’t have to worry about hiding shims.
  • Most quality tables are made using three pieces of slate, so you should be getting a great product all around.
  • The slate will be less likely to sag or bow over time.

What we don’t like about three-piece pool tables:

  • To properly install and level a three-piece pool table, you need to have the help of a professional. You’ll see none of the benefits if you do not have an expert install and level the slate.
  • If the slate shifts for some reason (unlikely, but possible), it can create an uneven playing surface.
  • If you want to move the table, you’ll need to hire a professional to take it apart and reinstall it.
  • Three-piece pool tables tend to be more expensive to purchase and to install than other tables.

Basically, the only drawback to three-piece pool tables is that they’re going to cost more. So if you have the money to spend, it is definitely the way to go.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of One-Piece Slate Pool Tables

Although one-piece slate pool tables aren’t as nice as three-piece pool tables, they aren’t all bad.

What we like about one-piece pool tables:

  • They are usually less expensive.
  • If you’re comfortable with DIY projects, you can install and level a one-piece slate on your own.
  • There are no seams to worry about.

What we don’t like about three-piece pool tables:

  • They may sag or bow over time.
  • You level the table, not the slate, which means it may not be as accurately leveled.
  • Because you level the table, you need to prop up the legs. Some people find the methods of doing this unsightly.
  • The single piece of slate will break more easily if you need to move the table.
  • The single piece of slate can be difficult to move due to its weight.
  • It may cost more to have a professional move the table because it is hard to lift the single piece of slate.
  • They usually don’t come in the preferred 1” thickness.

If you’re looking to buy a used pool table and install it yourself, then a one-piece slate pool table might be just what you’re looking for. We have more information on buying used pool tables in this post.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of MDF Pool Table

Honestly, if you’re looking for a pool table that is going to last decades, then a pool table with an MDF bed is not the way to go. However, if you just play casually and want to have some fun with the family, then there isn’t anything wrong with an MDF bed.

What we like about MDF pool table beds:

  • They are usually far less expensive than slate tables.
  • They are super lightweight.
  • They can be moved around easily.

What we don’t like about MDF pool table beds:

  • MDF does not offer the best playing surface.
  • Sagging is a major issue.
  • They don’t hold up as long as slate tables.
  • They are usually made from cheap parts and feel cheap.
  • You can’t usually buy used or sell these tables for much.

If you’re looking for an MDF pool table, we have some included on our list of the best pool tables on Amazon.

Is a 3 Piece Slate Pool Table Good?

A three-piece slate pool table is the way to go if you play pool competitively or with any regularity. It will last you longer, and you’ll have the best level. If you can’t spring for it, then a one-piece table is still a good investment.

MDF pool tables should only be purchase if you don’t expect to play pool for years to come, and you don’t mind if the table doesn’t offer an optimal playing surface.


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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