Table tennis is a wonderful sport whether it is played indoors or outdoors. Table tennis as a competitive sport is always played indoors, however, with friends and family, it’s fun to play outdoors as well. There is a question that usually rises when talking about this and it is; what is the difference between indoor and outdoor ping pong tables?
In this article, you will learn just that and the 7 main differences, how you should treat and handle them, among other important things considering the tables. First, however, before we get ahead of ourselves, I need to explain the difference between indoor and outdoor table tennis tables is?
The difference between indoor and outdoor table tennis tables is that indoor tables are meant to be played indoors because of weather elements such as heat, moisture, wind, and debris. They are often constructed of different materials. Also, the ball bounces better on the indoor table.
In addition to the many reasons stated above, there are much more to be aware of; however, the reasons above are the most important differences. If you want to understand all the major differences fully, you need to stick with me and check out the 7 reasons below. Let’s begin!
The first and most noticeable difference is the material they are constructed with. Indoor tables are constructed of materials that are better for table tennis in many ways; however, these materials aren’t fit for the weather elements; therefore, there are also outdoor tables that can be outside without the fear of ruining the table. Let’s take a look at what indoor tables are usually constructed of.
Indoor table tennis tables are often constructed of wood, particleboard, or fiberboard. Fiberboard and wood are the best materials for the tabletop; however, these aren’t too fond of intense sunlight or moisture. The frame is often constructed of light metal, which isn’t the concern, at least the same as the delicate tabletop material. Most competitive table tennis tables are made from fiberboard these days.
Outdoor table tennis tables, on the other hand, are made from aluminum, melamine, galvanized steel, or other weatherproof materials. Cheap ones are often aluminum, whereas quality outdoor tables are often galvanized steel or other high-quality steel. Some tabletops consist of wood, but these are heavily weatherproofed with proper coating. Also, the nets, frame, and wheels are weatherproof. There are also some concrete outdoor tables that are commonly found in parks, and they aren’t meant for moving.
2. Ball’s bounce
One of the biggest differences between outdoor and indoor tables is the ping pong ball’s bounce. This isn’t always noticeable to recreational players, but competitive athletes and people that have much experience with the sport can instantly see the difference.
This is because wood, particle, or fiberboard is far better for the celluloid or ABS-plastic ball than metals and steel. You can even hear the difference when the ball hits an indoor or outdoor table.
Read also: Why Do Ping Pong Ball’s Bounce?
Storage is another reason where you need to be careful, especially with indoor tables. When the weather allows it, you can take an indoor table tennis table for an outdoor session.
However, you need always to keep it inside because too much sunlight or heat can cause the tabletop to crack, which would be really bad for the entire future of your matches. Wood and fiberboard don’t like moisture either because they will up the moisture and become uneven, and the quality condition will fade.
Also, some indoor tables don’t fold, which would make the storage space a big problem. Do you have free space equal to a full table tennis table? If so, that’s great, but for most people, that would be out of the question.
Given that outdoor tables are made from heavier materials and don’t sometimes fold, you can imagine that moving it from point a to point b isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it sounds extremely hard.
When it comes to indoor tables, transporting them isn’t usually that big of a deal because you can fold them to a neat and compact size with commonly found wheels to give you aid. Making things even better, there are differences between indoor tables, and there are some really slender ones out there that don’t weigh much.
On the other hand, you can find easily transported outdoor tables as well; however, it isn’t as common, and when you find one, it is much more expensive than the indoor table. More on costs later.
5. Folding properties
As briefly discussed already, there are differences between the folding as well. For example, there are models in indoor and outdoor tables that fold; however, the vast majority of indoor tables fold, whereas it’s not so in the outdoor models.
Many problems come when a table cant be folded. Storage and transportation being two of them. Imagine if you can’t fold a table tennis table, storaging it would require huge space and don’t let me get started on the transportation which would be difficult, to say the least, if you don’t have an empty truck lying around.
The third con with tables that don’t fold is something that I couldn’t live with, and that is the playback mode. As a table tennis player myself, I don’t have many friends that are super into table tennis, so I often practice it alone with the playback mode. This means that one side of the table is lifted vertically so that when you strike the ball, it hits the folded half and comes back to you for another strike.
Naturally, a table that doesn’t fold won’t let you play table tennis alone. However, there are other ways to practice table tennis alone as well.
Learn more: Are Table Tennis Tables Foldable?
6. The net
I always get amused when I look at some of the outdoor table tennis table’s nets. First of all, there are proper outdoor nets that are weatherproof. These look the same as indoor table nets but are only made weatherproof.
The funny thing is when I look at some indoor tables, the net is made from solid metal or some other material that doesn’t bend or anything. So that is a recipe for extra cardio every time you hit the hard net, and the ball shoots off far away.
Anyways, indoor ping pong table nets are usually made from nylon, and some nylon nets are also fit for outdoor play.
Finally, there is the cost. This really depends on the model and materials used in the specific table, so it’s hard to compare tables directly and accurately. However, in general, outdoor table tennis tables tend to cost more because of the more costly materials and construction methods.
If you want a proper indoor table tennis table, let’s say with a cost of $1500, be prepared to pay at least $200 more for a similar quality outdoor table tennis table, if not more.
Can you use an indoor table tennis table outdoor
In short, you can use an indoor table tennis table outside if the weather allows it. Meaning that the heat can’t be too high, and there isn’t direct sunlight because the tabletop can crack. Also, any kind of moisture is terrible as well. So at the end of the session, be sure to bring it back inside.
That being said, I highly encourage you to check out my post about this subject, where I will go more in-depth to the matter and reveal some interesting facts and tips that every table tennis player should know. Also, if you plan to keep your indoor table in the garage, for example, and some moisture can get in, I suggest that you get a weatherproof table tennis cover to keep your table safe from damage.
Learn more: 5 Best Ping Pong Table Covers (Full Guide)
Can you waterproof an indoor ping pong table?
Technically, you definitely can weatherproof an indoor ping pong table. The most certain way to do so is to use a polyurethane sealer and carefully coat the tabletop with it. You can also coat the table’s frame as well if it isn’t weatherproof already.
Can outdoor ping pong tables get wet?
Outdoor ping pong tables can certainly get wet; however, in that case, there is nothing to worry about. At least when it comes to the damage to a table. However, if you wish to play table tennis but it’s wet, you need to dry it properly so the ball and paddles won’t get affected by it.
You might be interested in: Why Is Table Tennis Played Indoor?
When comparing indoor and outdoor table tennis tables, it’s important to remember these 7 factors when deciding one for your purposes. Even when indoor tables have more perks, an outdoor table is an excellent investment if you love playing outdoors and can handle the slight price increase when comparing similar quality tables. As said, some tables do fold and have a single-player mode, are compact inside, and can relatively easily be transported.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.