A table tennis table is a vital part of the game, obviously, and you should know the ins and out’s of all the different features and things that matter before buying a pig in a blanket, so to speak.
In this article, you will learn how to choose a table tennis table, what features you need to look at, brands to trust, and some tips and tricks on how to keep your table in good condition. Without a further due, let’s begin with the question outdoor or indoor?
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- Outdoor or indoor use?
- Where is your table for?
- How much space will you need?
- Table for serious or recreational use?
- How much are you willing to spend?
- Table’s dimensions
- Does the table fold?
- What kind of undercarriage?
- What about the net?
- What about conversion tops?
- Which brands should you trust?
- Things to remember
Outdoor or indoor use?
Before examining the table itself, you need to determine whether you want one for indoor or outdoor use. The main differences between the two are that indoor tables are of better quality and more fitting to table tennis; however, outdoor tables will also work as they should. Outdoor tables can be used outside, whereas indoor tables never shouldn’t.
After determining this, let’s move to the question, where is your ping pong table for?
Where is your table for?
Now that you have your table category in mind (indoor & outdoor), you need to determine where your table will be placed and used? Below you can find some common areas.
- Table Tennis Club
- Bars & Pubs
- Youth Centre
- Recreational Center
This is an important step because every place doesn’t have the same amount of space. For some places, you might want an easily transported table that folds. For others, an elegant table that is as much a decoration as a table tennis table. For other places, you might need a more durable and sturdy table, or you might even need a junior table.
Think about the different features you think you would need, which will then drastically aid you in choosing the RIGHT table tennis table for you where you will be satisfied!
How much space will you need?
Before buying a table tennis table, there is nothing more important to check than the size of the desired space you are considering placing the ping pong table. This applies both indoor and outdoor, and you want to make sure that you will have enough space to play table tennis comfortably. Let’s take a look at what that will require.
The size of a full-sized table tennis table is 9ft long (2.74m) and 5ft (1.525m) wide.
Ideally, you would need a room that has room for 6ft (2m) behind the table and 3ft(1m) on the sides, so the room would need to be 22ft (6.74m) long and 11ft(3.525m) wide. For visual understanding, it would look something like this.
Table for serious or recreational use?
Now that you know whether you want an outdoor or indoor table, where you want to place it, and that you have enough space, there’s a couple of things to determine. Do you need the table for serious or recreational use?
If you need a table for serious or competitive table tennis use, then you need to make sure that the tabletop is thick, the undercarriage is of high quality, and perhaps you want it to be easily folded and transported.
For recreational use, you can be looser with the features when considering table tennis tables. The final thing to determine before looking at the actual tables is what this means when talking about money.
How much are you willing to spend?
This is where most people fail or get confused when they are buying table tennis tables. If you want a table for serious use, you can’t expect to get higher quality with the same investment as a recreational table. Below you can find some rough average numbers.
- Cost of a Recreational Table: $300-$1000
- Cost of a Good Table Tennis Table: $1000-$1500
- Cost of a High-Quality Table Tennis Table: +$1500
- Cost of an Average Outdoor Table Tennis Table: $500-$1000
- Cost of a Junior Table Tennis Table (3/4): $150-400
Keep in mind that the prices can and will vary on both sides of the end costs, but these are some numbers that you can expect. Obviously, if you aren’t a serious table tennis player and want a table that you can play ping pong from time to time, you will get off cheaper, but tables for table tennis clubs can cost up to $4000 and even more.
Determine your budget, and you will find the optimal table for you in no time. Lastly, I would recommend that you put all your must-have features and want on a piece of paper in addition to the budget so you can easily look from there because, as you can see, there are lots to remember. Now, let’s proceed with how and what to examine in a table.
There are many things in ping pong tables when talking about lengths, widths, heights, and thicknesses so let’s look at these first.
As quickly hinted above, full-sized table tennis tables are 9ft long (2.74m) and 5ft (1.525m) wide. In 98% of the cases, you will want to get a table with these dimensions.
However, there are also junior tables that are 3/4 of the regular table. This means that it is 6.75ft (2,05m) long and 3.75ft (1,15m) wide. As the name suggests, these tables are for juniors, but adults can also play on them. This table could work if you have limited space, but I highly recommend full-sized tables for the natural feel of table tennis.
If you are serious about table tennis, this is probably the most important part of looking at the table! The tabletop’s thickness has a great effect on how well the ball will bounce. Generally, the thicker the table, the better and more optimized the bounce will be for table tennis. Also, it has a major effect on the overall quality and price as well. Let’s take a look how what the thickness tells of the table.
- 12-16mm: Poor Quality
- 16mm-19mm: Fair-Good Quality
- 19mm-22mm: Good – Very Good Quality
- 22mm-25mm: Excellent Quality
Keep these metrics in mind when looking at the table. For recreational players that want to play a relaxed pass along, 12-16mm thickness may suffice, in my opinion. However, you should at least look at tables from +15mm thickness.
If you are a serious player, I wouldn’t go below 19mm myself, but everyone has different opinions on this, so if you aren’t sure, try different ones yourself!
Does the table fold?
Another major feature that you need to think about is whether the table tennis table folds or not? There is more than one reason why. Let’s start with the playback mode.
Playback mode means when you fold the other side of the table vertically, so you can practice table tennis alone by hitting the lifted table, and it will bounce right back at you like in the movie Forrest Gump.
Personally, I couldn’t live without the playback mode because, for me, at least I can’t always find someone to play with, and if I can’t, I still want to play table tennis alone. However, there is more than one way to play ping pong alone, so if you don’t want a folding table but want to play alone, don’t panic.
The biggest thing to consider when deciding on a folding or non-folding table is storage and transport.
Learn more: Does Table Tennis Tables Fold?
Storage and transport
Think about it; if you can’t fold your table tennis table and would need to move it, you would have a 9ft long (2.74m) and 5ft (1.525m) wide object to deal with. However, when you can fold it, you can store it in a far smaller space, and the transporting becomes effortless. All folding tables have wheels as well, so it’s a breeze.
This is a feature you need to think about where you are planning to place the table. I definitely recommend folding tables for table tennis clubs, but for elegant homes and workplaces, a beautiful and simple table with slender legs would be quite amazing. Again, this is a matter of needs and preferences.
What kind of undercarriage?
The table’s undercarriage is a vital part in terms of how practical it might be, how much the table will weigh, whether it will fold, whether it has two halves, and looks. As you can see, there are many reasons to pay close attention to it.
The most common undercarriage is found in tables that can fold and are equipped with wheels. The best thing about these is that, as the name suggests, you can easily roll them away and pack them in a neat package.
It isn’t without cons. Rollaway tables have more height than others when they are closed, which can cause problems if you need to put it in a van or transport it to another building.
Other tables are in two pieces that require a different kind of undercarriage. Usually, tables that aren’t rollaway ones but are still separated can fold the legs to the table, making them take less space than rollaway tables.
A con to these is that they don’t have wheels, so the actual transportation and moving will require two persons if you aren’t superhuman.
Tables that really don’t have undercarriages do not fold or go to a neater size. These tables are often purchased for one place alone, and no or little intentions of ever moving them around.
You can get a more simplistic and elegant table if you decide on this kind, but you should acknowledge that you don’t have playback mode, and moving and storing them elsewhere will be hard.
These special innovative undercarriages are often seen when watching competitive games where high profile athletes are playing, the Olympics, or some major events. There are many special undercarriages such as;
- Special Colors
- Unusual Shapes
- See-Through Undercarriage
- Neon-Lit Undercarriages
As you can imagine, imagination is the limit here, and we will certainly see some cool ones in the future. If you want one for yourself, the DHS Rainbow is quite cool, and so is the SVR DaVinci table from Killerspin.
Undercarriage for wheel chair users
For wheelchair users, it is essential to get a table that has an undercarriage designed for that use. As you might know, many tables have their legs at the end of the table or in a bad position for a wheelchair user.
As a rule of thumb, a table for wheelchair users needs to have at least 16inches (40cm) of space before the undercarriage and legs appear below the table. You can easily spot a table fit for wheelchair use from a letter W which means fit for wheelchair play. This is recommended by the ITTF for the manufacturers to make it easy to find one.
My personal favorite is rollaway because you can find all kinds of tables with that undercarriage. If I had an exquisite and big home, I would think about getting a singular table with no undercarriage but the legs because those tables are gorgeous.
Anyways, this is another thing to think about so write it down!
What about the net?
Many people don’t even pay attention to the net when deciding on a ping pong table either than if it looks somewhat special or eye-catching. Yet, it is important to think about it too. Most table tennis tables have a screw clamp or spring-loaded clip nets. However, there are fixed nets as well.
Screw Clamp Net
With a screw clamp net, you can have the best and precise adjustments that a net can have. Also, the stability is top-notch, which is why most high-quality tables have screw clamp nets.
Spring-Loaded Clip Net
Spring-loaded clip nets are also very popular because you can easily and quickly install the net by squeezing the clip and releasing it when placed on the table.
Finally, pre-fixed nets that are hard and often made from metal are usually found in outdoor table tennis tables. Pre-fixed nets are weatherproof, but they will bounce the ball god knows where when you hit it, as you can expect.
Learn more: 5 Best Table Tennis Nets and Posts Of 2021
What about conversion tops?
Finally, there are conversion tops that you can purchase as well. Conversion tops are ping pong tables without legs and undercarriage. They’re just the tables. The benefits of conversion tops are that you can place the tabletop on a table you already own, and they are also easily stored because of the absence of undercarriage.
There are a couple of things that you need to make sure of before buying a conversion top. These are the dimension of the object you are placing it on, foam backing or pads, and the thickness of the tabletop.
Where will you place the conversion top? Your dining table, pool table, or something different? Whatever that may be, you should check that it is big enough to support the conversion top and that it won’t just wiggle and be weak on it.
Every conversion top have slightly different recommendations for the underneath tabletops dimensions; however, for a full-sized conversion top, an average recommendation is 7ft (2.1m) long and 3ft (90cm) wide table beneath.
Also, you need to check that you have enough space to play in a room or yard you are planning on playing. We went that through above already, so revisit that step and make sure you have enough space.
Finally, table tennis tables are 2.5ft (76cm) high, so you should check that the underneath table will be about a similar height. Slight differences won’t be a big deal.
Foam Backing or Pads
Most conversion tops have EVA or PVC foam protection underneath the tabletop, and whether that is in the form of pads or full coverage, you shouldn’t even consider buying one without them.
Depending on the conversion top, they will weigh at least as much that when they are shifted during gameplay or attachment, your table underneath could scratch or get damaged even worse.
Finally, a topic that we are already familiar with is the conversion top’s thickness. I previously explained that serious players usually go for at least 19mm thickness, and recreational players should look at tables set at least 15mm.
In conversion tops, the story is the same, and I would look ones only +15mm so that you can get that good bounce and sturdy quality out of it.
Read also: Can Ping Pong Tables Stay Outside?
Which brands should you trust?
When you are thinking about a new table tennis table for yourself, it is such a big purchase that I won’t recommend buying one from unknown brands (Read Also: Can You Fit a Table Tennis Table In a Car?) (Read Also: Can You Fit a Table Tennis Table In a Car?). There are many quality and trustworthy table tennis brands out there, but 4 of them are definitely my favorites in ping pong tables.
These 4 brands are trustworthy and known in the table tennis industry and provide nothing but quality.
Now, there are final things that you should remember and keep in mind after you have your new table because I assume you want to keep it in good condition! Let’s take a look.
Things to remember
If you decide that an indoor table is more towards your needs, you need to remember that you shouldn’t keep it outside because direct sunlight, high temperatures, moisture, and debris can permanently damage your table.
Also, there are various table tennis table covers that you should take advantage of. These aren’t only weather covers because they will protect the tablet from scratches, debris, and dust which will only make the table last far longer.
Finally, remember to clean your table tennis table from time to time. It’s not rocket science, and a simple pre-dusting, wiping with hot water, and careful drying afterward will do the trick.
When you follow these steps, I do not doubt that you will find the perfect ping pong table for your needs and have no problems with it after unpacking because that’s the reality in many people that don’t do proper research afterward.
Below is a short recap of what to look for before buying.
- Outdoor or Indoor
- Where is the Table For
- Your Budget
- How Much Space Will You Need
- Table’s Dimensions (Size & Thickness)
- Does the Table Fold
- Storage and Transport
- What Kind of Undercarriage
- What Kind of Net
- Make Sure It’s Form a Trusted Brand
I sincerely hope that this article was helpful to you and that you got at least a step closer to finding your dream table tennis table!