It is incredibly frustrating to be playing a game of pool, when you take a shot and random cue balls start rolling where they shouldn’t. Plus, playing on an uneven surface means it won’t be a fair game! Thankfully, leveling your pool table is not nearly as difficult as it may seem. This article will tell you exactly how to level a pool table, no matter what type you have. You’ll see that there are many options open to you to level your pool table using tools you already have around the house or that you can easily buy online. Whether or not you are experienced with DIY or care about having a sleek look, there is an option for you!
Without further ado, here’s how to level your pool table in a few simple steps.
Step 1: Read The User Manual
Before you jump into any one leveling method, the first thing you should do is read the user manual of your pool table. If you don’t have it, you can most likely find it online. Look for the section that deals with leveling the surface and read it carefully. This section should make clear whether the table has adjustable legs that can be leveled with screws or whether you should level it using shims. And if you don’t have a pool table yet, click here!
Step 2: Measuring For Level
Once you know the method you will use to level your billiard table, it’s time to check the level. This will tell you which side the table slants toward and thus which legs need to be raised. There are a few different ways to assess level. For best accuracy, you can use a carpenter level. Smartphone leveling apps can also give you a fairly accurate answer. The ball and marble methods can also work if you’ve got a good eye. If you’re not sure how to do this part, don’t worry – we’ll go into it in more detail below.
Step 3: Adjusting The Height
Step 4: Using Shims
If your pool table is not adjustable, you will most likely use shims to level it. Shims are essentially wedges or plates of metal, wood or even rubber used to raise your table. It’s possible that your pool table came with metal shims designed just for this purpose. If not (or if you’re worried about damaging the floor), you can easily buy wood or rubber shims online. It’s useful to have multiple shims of different thicknesses so you can adjust your table level as precisely as possible.
Though they may not be the classiest option, playing cards can make very effective shims. You can use several cards if your table legs need to be raised significantly or just one or two for those final minute adjustments.
If you’re concerned about the level of precision you’ll be able to get with shims or you simply want the table to look sleek, there is another option. You can use a leg leveler such as FlatJax pool table levelers. If you’re interested in this technique, we’ll discuss how to use FlatJax and its pros and cons further below.
Step 5: Adjusting Legs Through Screws
If your pool table comes with adjustable legs, you’re in luck! The leveling process will be quick and easy. All you need to do is follow the manual’s instructions. For most pool tables with adjustable legs, you can tighten or loosen them with a screwdriver, to raise or lower them. If you have a cordless drill, this makes the process even quicker as you can adjust the screws in no time. Now that your table is perfectly even, all you need is some stellar pool cues.
Remember to test the level with a carpenter level or whatever method you are using as you go. You may have to do this a few times to fine tune your table and make sure it is perfectly level.
Leveling Tools You'll Need
The most basic tools you’ll need are some kind of level and shims. Metal shims are the most durable, but wood ones usually come in a wider variety of thicknesses. Rubber shims work great on tile or hardwood floors as they prevent slipping. For final adjustments, you can use playing cards.
If your pool table has adjustable legs, you’ll need a screwdriver. Alternatively, a cordless drill is great to have as it makes it much easier to loosen and tighten screws, something you’ll probably have to do several times.
Various Leveling Methods
There are various methods you can use to check whether your pool table is level or not.
A carpenter’s level will tell you how level your surface is and therefore how much it needs to be adjusted. This is the most surefire way to check if your table is level or not. Remember to use the level on all 4 sides of the surface for best accuracy.
If you don’t have a carpenter level, you can use a level app on your smartphone. These days, there are lots of apps available, though they may not all be equally accurate – make sure to check the user reviews!
Chances are, you initially noticed your table wasn’t level due to balls rolling when playing pool. The ball technique is a practical method that can work for those with a trained eye to assess the ball’s movement. With a controlled movement, roll your ball straight over the different sections of the surface. Watch carefully and observe the directions it takes. If the ball goes straight, then your table is perfectly balanced, but if it swerves to one side, it requires leveling.
How To Level A Pool Table With FlatJax Pool Table Levelers
How They Work
FlatJax pool table leg levelers work by allowing you to make incremental adjustments to your pool table, without having to lift it every time. Once you have installed the levelers, you can adjust each one individually with the included ball driver.
Step 1: Finding The High Spot
First things first, you need to find the highest corner of your pool table. As described above, you can use a carpenter level or smartphone app to do this or more DIY methods such as the ball and marble methods.
Step 2: Installing FlatJax Pool Table Leg Levelers
Before putting in your FlatJax levelers, make sure they are all fully retracted. When at their lowest level, they should measure ½” (1.27 cm). Then, place one of the levelers under the leg of the highest corner of the table. This will be your baseline that you will adjust all the other levelers to match. Next, you can install the rest of the levelers under the remaining three table legs.
Step 3: Making Adjustments
Now that all your levelers are in place, you can start adjusting them. Your goal is to raise the three lower corners so that they are level with the highest corner. One by one, use the included ball driver to turn the adjustment screws clockwise.
Note that each full turn of the adjustment screw raises the leg leveler by just .004″ (0.1 mm)! This allows for maximum precision, but it means that the process can be very time consuming. If you know that certain corners need to be raised quite a bit, turn the adjustment screw several times before checking the level.
Step 4: Checking For Level
You will probably need to move between steps 3 and 4 several times throughout the process to fine tune the level. This can be tedious, but by the end you will have a perfectly level table!
FlatJax: Advantages And Disadvantages
How To Level A Pool Table On A Carpet
Leveling a pool table on a carpet is basically the same as on any other surface, with a few extra steps.
- Allow Your Table To Rest: If your table has been on the carpet for a while already, you can skip this step. But if it is newly positioned, leave it for a few days before leveling. This is because the level is likely to change as the table settles.
- Measure For Level: Just like on any other surface, you can assess the table level on a carpet with a carpenter level or any other method.
- Adjust The Height: Now you can follow the same steps described above to level your table, using shims, screws or FlatJax levelers.
- Check It Again: After leaving it for a month or so, check the level again and make adjustments if necessary. It is possible that over that time the table has settled further into the carpet, changing the level slightly. You may have to repeat this and adjust the table periodically.
3 Types Of Pool Tables
There are three main types of pool tables that all lend themselves to different leveling methods.
Metal Plates (Shims)
Some pool tables come with metal shims included, which are very durable and save you the trouble of sourcing them yourself!
If you’re not sure whether your table has its own shims, look in the accessory bag or under the surface.
Some pool tables come with adjustable legs, making leveling them super simple. Most of these only require a screwdriver to adjust and some can be leveled by hand!
If your table does not come with metal shims or adjustable legs, you can use wooden shims which are easily available online. You can also use the playing cards method or FlatJax levelers described above.
Causes Of An Uneven Table
There are a few different reasons why you may have an unlevel pool table.
- The Floor Is Unlevel: It is very common for floors to be slightly warped or not perfectly flat. Usually it’s not noticeable to the naked eye, but you can check the level of your floor with your carpenter level or smartphone app.
- The Table Is Unlevel: If the table has been handled roughly, lifted from the end or stood or sat on, this could have caused structural issues which have warped or cracked it.
Pool tables are not designed to carry a human body weight.
- The Leg Levelers Are Unlevel: Some pool tables come with in-built levelers that could have been damaged, thus causing it to slant.
Pro Tips On How To Level A Pool Table
These pro tips can ensure your playing surface will be perfectly flat and not interfere with the game at all.
#1 Check Levels Horizontally And Vertically
When you are checking the levels of your pool table, make sure to check both horizontally and vertically. That means you should assess the level of all four sides of the surface, so you can know exactly which corners need adjustment.
#2 Use The Center Of The Playing Surface As Your Benchmark
The only way to adjust the playing surface is to raise the table legs. It’s impossible to adjust your table from the middle, so keep this as your benchmark. Then you can raise all the corners to be level with the center and get a perfectly flat surface.
#3 Check Diagonally, Too
When making your final level checks, assess the level diagonally. It is possible that a carpenter level or level app will read level for each side, but you’ll notice a slight slant when measuring diagonally.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can level a pool table yourself. If it has adjustable table legs, this will be very easy. If not, you can use shims or FlatJax levelers to level your playing surface. However, you may need an extra set of hands to lift the table – or you can make use of a table lift. Note that it must be raised from the middle and not the end, as this can damage it. Remember, pool tables can be heavy! Click here to learn how much they weigh.
You level an uneven pool table by adjusting the legs with screws if they are self leveling or by using shims. Some tables come with their own metal shims or you can order wooden or rubber ones online. You can also use playing cards for minor adjustments. Finally, another option is to use specially designed levelers such as FlatJax for perfect accuracy.
You level a slate pool table by using the screw method, the shim method or FlatJax levelers. Whether your table is slate or not does not necessarily affect how you level your pool table. What does affect it is whether it has adjustable legs, in which case you use the screw method, or not, in which case you can use shims or FlatJax levelers.
A pool table needs to be as level as you want it to be! As a baseline, you don’t want the table’s unevenness to be causing balls to roll by themselves. Most casual players are okay with a surface that isn’t noticeably uneven. But if you’re aiming to be a pro, you might want it as level as possible. In this case, you may need a machinist’s level as even a carpenter level has limited precision.
Yes, you can put a pool table on a carpet. However, if you decide to do so, you will need to wait a while before checking whether or not it is level. This is because as the table slowly settles into the carpet, its level may shift. Once it is in place, leave it for a few days before checking the level
So there you have it – that’s how to level a pool table! As you can see, there are multiple ways to go about it depending on your specific table, the surface it is on and your own priorities. It’s a lot to take in! But hopefully you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there are several options available to you and that it’s perfectly possible to level your pool table all by yourself.