How to Level a Pool Table
Ever played the winning shot at pool only to have the ball tilt to one side because of an unlevel pool table? Heartbreaking.
While a pack of cards may do the trick in a jiffy, it’s not exactly the most long-term or aesthetic solution.
If you’ve been looking for ways to level your pool table, this is your cue. Read on to find out how.
Find Out If Your Pool Table Is Level: What You’ll Need
The ways you can level a pool table will depend on the materials you have on hand.
Just to cover all bases, you can use:
- Carpenter’s level
- A marble and piece of glass
- Cue ball
#1 Using A Carpenter’s Level
The best way to check for level issues is to use a carpenter’s level. A carpenter’s level will measure the plumb and straightedge level of your pool table.
While there are analog or digital types of carpenter’s level, the MOST COMMON ones have a simple tube of liquid with air bubbles inside to check for unlevel surfaces.
Simply place the carpenter’s level on the side of the table you want to check and see IF THE BUBLLES settle in the middle of the two marked lines of the level.
For your pool table, it’s best to measure the following areas:
- All four sides of the table
- The middle of the table
- Playing surface of the table
- Surface areas near the table pockets
How It Helps You:
What’s nice about using a carpenter level is that you can place it on different areas on your pool table to help pinpoint the exact location of the problem.
#2 Using An App
While not everyone may have a carpenter level handy, it’s safe to say almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays.
Download a ‘bubble level’ app on your Android phone or simply use the Compass app on your iPhone.
Simply use your device as a level by placing it on the surface of your pool table or against all four sides. Follow the app instructions on how to check for levelness.
How It Helps You:
While an app may not be as accurate as a carpenter level, it will definitely be able to tell you if your pool table is grossly skewed towards one side.
From there, it will be easier to diagnose the reason (i.e., uneven floors or a short table leg) and address the situation.
#3 Using A Marble and A Piece Of Glass
Using marble and a piece of window glass is another SIMPLE way to test the levelness of your pool table if you don’t have a carpenter level.
Again, it’s important to measure all sides of your pool table using this marble technique to find the problematic area.
It also helps to observe how much the marble rolls and to what side to determine the severity and direction of the skew.
How It Helps You:
Simply place the piece of glass on the surface of the table you want to test.
Then, put the marble on top.
- If the marble stays on the window glass and does not move, your table is level.
- If it rolls one way or another, then that particular surface of the table is not level.
#4 Using Cue Balls
Finally, when all else fails, use your cue ball!
Take your cue ball and roll it STRAIGHT DOWN the length of whichever side of your pool table you’re testing.
The only thing you need to do is carefully observe the plane of movement. SQUAT DOWN so that your eye level is in line with the ball’s height. This angle allows you to see in which direction the ball rolls.
How It Helps You:
If the cue ball rolls slightly to one side, that side may not be level.
In case you’ve found that your pool table isn’t level, there are several ways to address the issue.
Now, depending on whether your pool table has adjustable legs or not, you may need to use certain pool leg levelers.
We’ll tackle both scenarios in this guide.
If Your Pool Table Has Adjustable Legs
Aside from checking the instruction manual that came with your pool table, you can easily check if your table has adjustable legs by checking if it has screw-on levelers.
If you want to raise or lower a side of your table, enlist a friend’s help to lift the table. Then simply adjust the problem leg by turning it right for more height and left for less elevation.
Keep checking the evenness by constantly referencing back to your carpenter level to check if the changes you made bring you closer to a level table.
Adjusting the legs on your pool table is mostly a trial-and-error exercise, so it will take a little patience on your part to get the table level just right.
Top tip: Some pool tables also have metal plates on their legs you can remove to adjust the table height.
If Your Pool Table Doesn’t Have Adjustable Legs
In case your pool table doesn’t have adjustable legs, don’t fret! There are several ways on how to level a pool table.
#1 Simply Tighten The Screws
Sometimes, the reason for an uneven playing surface is because the SLATE SCREWS under pool tables LOOSEN over time.
We suggest going this way first and then moving onto other solutions in case you find that the table surface is still skewed to one side.
A simple and cost-effective way to even out a pool table is by using shims.
Fast Fact: A shim is a thin and usually tapered or wedged piece of material used to fill in small gaps and spaces between two objects, like the table legs and the floor.
Shims are also easily found in home improvement or hardware stores which makes this solution one of the more straightforward ones when it comes tackling how to level a pool table.
To use a shim in leveling a pool table, follow these steps:
- Using your carpenter level, find out which corner of your billiard table has a slope.
- Ask someone to help you lift the table off the floor.
- Place the shim under the leg of the problematic corner.
- When dealing with slate pool tables, you will need to SLIGHTLY LOOSEN the screws holding the slate in place. You can then lift it up and insert the metal shim between the slate and the table.
- Check if the adjustment made with the wooden or metal shims addressed the skew.
Keep in mind that leveling a billiards table with shims is as much a trial-and-error process as balancing the table with adjustable leg levelers.
You may also need to add more than one shim so it’s probably best to pick up a couple of shims at the hardware store if you’re going the shim route.
When using a shim, just remember to consider the type of material your billiard table is made of. A WOODEN SHIM might be too weak for a slate table, so it would be best to use metal shims instead.
When it comes to leveling a pool table, even the smallest of adjustments can make the BIGGEST differences.
FlatJax is one of the few reliable pool table levelers designed to make the leveling process easy while still delivering dependable precision.
Each FlatJax plate comes with a ball driver so you can make minute adjustments, even those that are thousands of an inch which gives you more control than using shims.
To get started on leveling your pool table with FlatJax, follow these simple steps:
- Make sure all your FlatJax plates are in the fully-lowered position.
- Ask a friend to help you hoist the table up then place one FlatJax plate under each leg.
- Using your leveling tool, determine which corner is higher than the rest. Do not raise the FlaxJax plate of that corner.
- Raise the FlatJax leg levelers of the rest of the corners of your pool table to meet the height of the highest corner.
- Level the table along its length first then side to side using the FlatJax ball driver.
Remember that each clockwise full turn of the driver RAISES the FlatJax leg levelers 0.004 of an inch, so a few turns won’t be visible to the eye.
At its fully elevated height, a FlatJax plate raises up an additional 3/8 of an inch so keep checking your billiards table as settling may happen.
Fine Tuning: Pro Tips on How to Level A Pool Table
It’s easy to even out your pool table when it has such a huge angle of skew because the discrepancy is so obvious. All you have to do is adjust a leg or simply throw a shim under the table.
However, leveling a pool table when the slope is more minute gets much harder because you’re trying to get the balance just right.
#1 Check Levels Horizontally And Vertically
You might be tempted to use your carpenter level in the middle of the table and call it a day.
Unfortunately, most leveling issues are found at the sides of the table which you won’t catch if you just place your carpenter level in the middle of the surface.
Here’s a guide to follow:
- First, use your carpenter level in a vertical direction to check the entire length of your table.
- Then, turn it the other way to check horizontally.
- When going in a horizontal direction, line up your carpenter level with the diamonds painted on each side of the table.
- Check the entire length again.
#2 Use the Center of the Playing Surface as Your Benchmark
Line up your carpenter level using the center pockets in the middle of your table.
Then, slide the carpenter level SLIGHTLY from one side to the other to check which end of your table might be experiencing issues.
#3 Don’t Forget to Check Diagonally, Too.
This last tip is really to check whether all areas of your game surface are finally level.
Place your carpenter level diagonally from each of the table pockets. If your table is balanced, the bubble should be in the center and not skewed in one direction.
Cost Comparison: Leveling Service vs Doing It Yourself
There are several professional services that offer to level billiards tables for a fee.
However, this leveling process includes everything from refelting the table, evening out the table legs, and making sure the table is ready for a game.
Some services offer a fixed rate while others charge an hourly rate. Regardless of the cost structure, expect to shell out $250 to almost $400 for a professional service.
Even if they’re just there to fix your table legs, you could end up paying a sizable sum.
Definitely consider calling a friend for help to level your pool table yourself. After all, there are several DIY options that are fast, easy, and affordable and won’t take much more than a couple of minutes.
Pool tables need to be leveled from time to time to account for sag due to gravity, people sitting on it, and other factors beyond your control.
That said, remember that you don’t have to get your table completely level in order to enjoy playing a game on it.
Unless you’re playing professional pool, shooting for ‘more or less’ even is good enough for a relaxing game with friends.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, let us know in the comments and share your own inside tips and tricks to leveling your pool table.