There are various materials that a table tennis table can be made from, and one of them is wood. However, there are many different kinds of wood, so it’s not like all wooden ones are the same.
In this article, you will learn what different wood can ping pong tables be made of. I’ll also explain what other kinds of materials can be used, the optimal table thickness, and more!
Before moving on to further things, what wood can be used for ping pong tables?
If a ping pong table is made out of wood, it is often soft or hard plywood. Soft plywoods include pine, spruce, and fir, whereas hard plywoods include oak, walnut, and maple. In most cases, a ping pong table is made out of soft plywood because it’s cheaper and one doesn’t need to be extra durable.
As you can see, plywood includes many different kinds of woods that a ping pong table can be made out of. Next, I’ll explain a little further about the differences between soft and hard plywoods, but first, you will learn what is plywood.
What is plywood?
Plywood is a wood piece made out of thinner layers of wood, also called veneers. A veneer is a thin slice of wood that is peeled of the wood, so to speak. These veneers are often less than 3mm thick, so the plywood that a ping pong tabletop is made of consists of multiple pieces of veneer.
This is where plywood gets its name because it consists of plies (layers) that are the veneers.
So, given that a veneer is often 3mm or thinner, all ping pong tables consist of 4 veneers in minimum because the thinnest ping pong tabletop available is 12mm.
So why are ping pong tables made out of plywood? Plywood is made out of multiple layers, so they are less prone to moisture damage and swelling. Also, high temperatures and sunlight have a lesser effect, and the wood won’t shrink as much as a solid wooden tabletop.
Now, let’s take a look at soft plywoods and hard plywoods to see the difference.
Softwoods grow faster than hardwoods, which makes them not as dense, and as a result, they are softer. Because softwoods grow faster, they aren’t as durable, which generally makes them cost less. This is why most table tennis tables are made out of softwood because there is no need for them to have the durability as hardwoods have.
There are hundreds of different kinds of woods in the world, but some common softwoods that a ping pong table is made of are:
Hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwoods, but not always. The reason for this is that they are harder to source because they grow slower. Also, hardwoods aren’t as usually used to make ping pong tables because they are denser, which makes them heavier.
Some popular hardwoods are:
What other materials are ping pong tables made of?
In addition to plywood ping pong tabletops, other materials are often used. Let’s start with the most common one.
Particleboard is another common material that ping pong tables are made of. Unexperienced people often confuse particleboard and plywood as the same thing; however, that certainly isn’t the case.
In short, particleboard isn’t made out of thin sheets of wood glued together as plywood is; it is made out of wood chips to make up a wooden sheet-like appearance. As you can see in the picture, it is made out of thousands of wood chips composed together.
Anyways, particleboard is easier to cut and shape accurately, which is why there are so many particleboard ping pong tabletops. Also, particleboards will withstand moisture and heat than plywood which makes them less prone to warping. Another great advantage to have is a table tennis table.
Indoor table tennis tables are almost always made out of plywood or particleboard; however, you need something more durable than that for outdoor conditions.
Plastic is a popular material used in really affordable outdoor ping pong tables. It costs very little compared to other materials, yet plastic will last well outdoors whether it is hot, moist, or cold.
However, plastic tables don’t look nearly as high quality as other materials, especially ones made out of wood. For recreational outdoor use, a plastic table will be great!
Metal is another popular outdoor table tennis table material with high quality and heavyweight. For example, you can spot metal tables in public parks, for example, and they often don’t have wheels but can be bolted to the ground for free use.
There are also metal outdoor ping pong tables with wheels available for individual purchase if one wants a quality table outdoors.
Concrete ping pong tables are extremely heavy and made exclusively for the outdoors. These tables don’t have wheels and have a set spot where they can be played, such as in a public park, schoolyard, or a specifically designated spot for outdoor ping pong.
Compared to plywood or particleboard tables, these lack quality in everything except they can hold the weather elements better, which is what they are made for. You still can get a decent ping pong match even on a concrete table.
Considering all the materials and their differences for table tennis, the thickness of a ping pong table also matters, most importantly, the bounce quality. To learn more about the subject, check out my guide about it!
If you’re interested in how to make a ping pong table of your own, check out my beginner guide for simple instructions!
How thick should a ping pong table be?
There are many things to check before buying a new table tennis table, such as the undercarriage, material, and foldability. However, by far the most important step is to examine the tabletop thickness. What is the best thickness you can have?
The optimal ping pong table thickness is 25mm because it is the thickest option available and thicker is better when it comes to table tennis tables. However, the range of thickness is 12-25mm, and thicker is also more expensive. You can determine a good thickness by reflecting your skills and intended use.
25mm tabletops are used in the Olympics and International competitions, so if you aren’t training for one, the chances are that you can get with a thinner tabletop. Learn more about tabletop thickness in my article if you need to know more because you will find everything you need there!
Are ping pong tables wood?
If you want the most beautiful and luxurious table tennis table, you might want to look at all wooden ping pong tables, such as the RS Barcelona Walnut. Tables such as this one are often made by hand with the most luxurious wood parts, and the design and details are the best possible.
As you can guess from the sound of that, they are costly and meant only for indoors. Such a table is often bough also as a decor element for an elegant home in addition to just ping pong.
Not all wooden ping pong tables need to be luxurious. Technically, if you are handy with woodwork, you could make a ping pong table of your own for less than one from a store. Most likely, you wouldn’t be able to make so many features to it, such as folding, but as a humble ping pong table, it could be relatively easily done.
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.