Italian Slate vs Brazilian Slate: Which is Better?

One of the most important factors that define the quality table is the flatness of the surface. While both Italian and Brazilian slate are some of the best materials, Brazilian slate offers a slight advantage in this respect due to its rigidity. Italian slate is a softer material that offers some flexibility whereas Brazilian slate is much harder.

Much of the differences between these two materials originates in the geographical location and the history of the mines used to source slate. Italian mines have been mined for over 200 years making them much deeper than Brazilian mines. The result is that Brazilian slate is mined much closer to the surface where moisture content is lower. This (moisture content) creates one of the key differences between Italian and Brazilian slate.

Brazilian Slate Billiard Table

Playcraft is the maker of this 1″ Brazilian backed slate table.


Brazilian slate provides a slight advantage over Italian slate due to its strength and flat surface. Italian slate is still a very high-quality material but Brazilian slate should always be used for outdoor tables.

What is Italian Slate?

Slate is a hard metamorphic rock made from a variety of minerals including clay, quartz, mica, and other elements. Slate is hard, durable, and has a high resistance to moisture; these are the main attributes why slate is the preferred surface for quality billiard tables.

Going back to the basics of slate, it is the makeup of the slate that largely determines its qualities. For this reason, Italian slate was seen to be the superior choice for many years. The mineral makup of the slate found in this area provided the best conditions for optimum play. The biggest difference between Italian slate and Brazilian slate is that Italian slate is much softer so it can’t be used outdoors.  For indoor billiards tables, Italian slate is completely fine and a significant improvement from wood or plywood tables.

SEE: The Best Pool Tables Under $3,000

What is Brazilian Slate?

Brazilian slate is much harder than Italian slate. Along with this, it’s also much stronger, durable, and flatter. It’s nearly impossible to break a Brazilian slate table and they provide very smooth surfaces for fast play and accurate shots.


Brazilian Slate Pool Table

The Great American Diamond Black Table is made from the finest imported Brazilian slate.


Conclusion: Which to Choose?

Brazilian slate provides a better playing surface than Italian slate but that’s not to say that Italian slate is inferior. It’s still a very good material but Brazilian slate provides a slight advantage. The biggest difference you’ll notice is going from a wood/plywood table to a slate table. For outdoor use, always choose a Brazilian slate table. Aside from that the decision relies on how serious you are about the table and your budget. If money is not a factor, go with a Brazilian slate table. Shop for pool tables.

More Information:

  1. Pool Table Slate Thickness: ¾ Inch vs 1 Inch
  2. Pool Tables: Carpet or Hardwood Floors?
  3. What is the Best Size Pool Table to Have?