How to choose a perfect ping pong table? A complete guide.


how to choose a ping pong table

Last Updated on 2 months by Shadman

You may be wondering how to choose the ideal ping pong table for you. It all depends on what you want. A professional will not play on the same table as a pure beginner. 

There are different kinds of ping pong tables to choose from according to your needs.

Some are actually designed to allow you to train in real conditions, like the Cornilleau table tennis table (amazon link) while others are specially made for entertaining with family or friends.

In this guide we will explain to you very clearly how to choose a ping pong table.

There are many criteria to take into account in order to find the perfect table for you, but if you want to go for a shortcut, these four things below should help you. Let’s see these different criteria together:

  • Your budget
  • The dimensions
  • Indoor or outdoor ping pong table
  • Surface

Your budget:

First of all, one thing has to be clear, a ping pong table is a cost. And the more you want a high-end product, the more you will have to pay the price. 

The price of a table is included in a very wide range, between 150 and 1500 or more dollars approximately

However, you should not focus on the price of a product. Some tables have a relatively low price and have much higher quality than more expensive tables and vice versa.

If you just want to have fun with your friends, you can spend between 200 and 300 dollars, and you will be completely delighted with those that the product offers. 

On the other hand, if you want to improve your level and keep a regular rhythm of play, it will be necessary to pay around 500 dollars

If you are a professional, it will not surprisingly cost you a large sum of money, sometimes approaching four-digit prices.

The dimensions:

For competitions, there is an official dimension (274 cm long by 152.5 cm wide) but not all brands respect these dimensions exactly.

If you want to get started at a high level, by doing many competitions, I can only advise you to buy a table perfectly respecting the competition dimensions. 

However, if you just want to have fun on the weekends, you definitely don’t have to look for a table that meets competition standards.

There are even express tables for small spaces, for people living in apartments for example. These tables can measure 150 cm long by 75 cm wide.

It’s up to you to choose what you prefer; taking into account the kind space you have at home to store this table.

Indoor or outdoor ping pong table?

Having an outdoor table will allow you to play and store your table outside, without worrying about the weather or climatic conditions in general. 

Most often, the outdoor tables are specially equipped and protected so that its use is optimal outdoors. They include, for example, protection against rain, so that the materials do not degrade. 

It can also have protection against the brightness of the sun, you will be able to play and easily see the ball even if the sunlight is very intense.

However, protecting your outdoor table remains essential. Indeed, even if protection products are applied, daily aggression of heavy rain will greatly reduce the life of your table.

You can read about maintaining and cleaning of a ping pong table here.

You will understand, an indoor table, is a table specially made to be used and stored indoors. 

Therefore, not all protective products are present on indoor tables, the price is often generally lower than that of outdoor tables, but this is not a universal truth.

An indoor table is not like a poor quality table compared to an outdoor table. Choose between an outdoor or indoor table depending entirely on your advantage. 

You just have to ask yourself the question if I take an indoor table, is there a risk of it being damaged? If this is the case, lean on an outdoor table, it is not that complicated.

The surface :

We entered into the most subjective part of the choice of the table. If we can give you advice, it would be to choose a table in priority for its material qualities (solidity, protection, movement, …) than for its aesthetic qualities.

We can still advise you to get a relatively dark table. Since the balls are, the vast majority of the time, yellow or white. Prefer therefore a blue or black table in order to distinguish the ball easily during the rallies.

How to choose a good ping pong table for you?

These 4 concepts above should give you a simple idea to find the right ping pong table quickly in the short term. But if you want a perfect ping pong table for a long time you should spend a few more minutes here.

As you can easily see, choosing the right table tennis table is not very difficult in itself.

But there are a few important principals you should know in order to find the best quality table for your home that meets all your requirements.

First, we want to give you some tips that are important to consider in order to choose a ping pong table.

By following them, you will realize that your research will take much less time than you expected.

Finally, to be even more useful to you, we have had the opportunity to choose many models, on which we give you opinions which are both complete and objective.

So, if you have any doubts about a particular model, do not hesitate to consult these opinions which will bring you a lot of very valuable information.

Checklist for choosing the best ping pong table

Write your needs down

First of all, before you even start looking for the best ping pong table, it is important that you make an order to put the odds in your favor.

First, start by identifying the expectations you have for your next piece of equipment.

To do this, note somewhere all the characteristics that seem important to you.

You can, for example, note the color of the model you are looking for, its size, its ease of transport, or even its price.

All these requirements will allow you to target much more precisely the ideal equipment for you.

Indeed, during your research, you will be able to filter the results according to some of these requirements, which will obviously be going to save you a lot of time.

Space

People of all ages love ping pong. This is an ideal game for getting into or going back to the sport. Its more physical, more engaging. You can play everywhere, as long as you have a ping pong table, rackets, and a ball.

Before placing a ping pong table in your place: small or large spaces, in an attic, in front of a garage, on grass or rough terrain, in a small room or a large game room, on table rectangular, round or square… you need to ask this question to yourself: do I have at least 15 m²for a standard size table?

This article will help you to know more about how much space you need for a ping pong table?

If not, a Medium table will require 10 m². Finally, if you only have 4 m², you will opt for a Small table.

Please note: the smaller the support size, the more precision and focus you will need to defeat your opponents!

WEATHER RESISTANCE

Will your table live and sleep in the garden, or in any outdoor space? It will, therefore, suffer the onslaught of rain, UV, snow, and worse, humidity, so choose an outdoor table.

Most of These tables benefit from a treatment of the metal parts against corrosion, and the melamine tops resist durably to the bad weather, without deforming nor losing their quality of play.

maintain and clean ping pong table

Most of these tables come with 8-10 years warranty and if you want to extend the service life, remember to protect it with a cover.

For a table to be called weather-resistant, It will have to pass two tests: the first consists of immersing it in a basin to make sure that the trays and the metallic structure do not degrade, and the second consists in placing it in a salt spray reproducing the seaside environment.

These tests make it possible to guarantee that the resistance of the tables will meet the requirements of the 8-10-year warranty.

If, on the other hand, you install your table indoors (garage, game room, attic…) or if you never leave it in the rain, you can opt for an indoor table.

At the same thickness, the wood particle board generally provides a better bounce than outdoor boards for a price that is often lower.

EASE OF MOVEMENT

If the storage place and the place of practice are far away, observe the way to go: opt for big wheels if the terrain is uneven (gravel, lawn …), and if the course is smooth (bitumen, slabs, tiles), small wheels will suffice.

Of course, if your table is always installed in the same place, opt for a fixed table (but remember to take an open table cover if it is an outdoor table).

Test the ease of movement by measuring the force necessary to move the table in different directions on a regular floor.

EASE OF OPENING

To quickly start a game, the ease of opening the boards also comes into play. It is defined by the type of system which makes it possible to block and unblock the 2 boards.

The so-called fixed tables have no opening system and require manual installation and uninstallation of the 2 trays.

For the other tables, the opening/closing system can be centralized or not.

In the case of a centralized system, there is only one handle to operate under each top. In the case of a non-centralized system, there are two locking handles located on the sides of the two tops.

Measure the ease of opening according to the time it takes to move from the closed position of the table to its open, ready-to-play position.

STABILITY

Once the table is set-up, you have to look at the advantages that improve the playing experience.

The work done on stability allows the table to remain in place despite the terrain on which it is set up and the demands of the players.

Stability depends essentially on the presence of adjustable legs, the presence of brakes on the wheels, the overall weight of the table, and the thickness of the metal tubes of the structure.

REBOUND QUALITY

Finally, to ensure that your playing experience is perfect, you’ll pay attention to the quality of the rebound. Indeed, what could be more annoying than a false bounce that prevents you from catching a ball?

A good bounce quality guarantees a homogeneous bounce, trajectories that are not random (but only dependent on your ball strike), and a sufficient bounce height to allow quality exchanges.

Two elements essentially influence this advantage: the thickness of the plates and the rigidity of the metal structure which supports these plates called a belt.

Measure the quality of rebound using the following test: drop a ball from a height of 30cm on the plate. It is the height of the bounce that will estimate the quality of the bounce.

MATERIALS

Tables for table tennis are made from different materials: particleboard, automatic gearbox, MDF, chipboard, FSF, rubberized melamine.

Typically, indoor tables are made of MDF, particleboard, automatic gearbox, chipboard with melamine coating. And all-weather ping pong tables – from the FSF, AKP, melamine.

Particleboard – the cheapest material, provides a good ball rebound.

Melamine-coated chipboard is a material that has a smooth surface that is resistant to water and mechanical damage. More expensive chipboard provides good gaming performance.

MDF – this material has a high density and strength, has a smoother surface than chipboard, and high moisture resistance. Provides a good bounce of the ball.

ACP – aluminum composite panel – is a multilayer material, which consists of 2 aluminum sheets. A plastic or mineral filler is placed between the aluminum sheets. 

This lightweight, resistant to UV radiation and the environment material provides good gaming characteristics.

FSF – plywood glued with formaldehyde adhesives – has a high level of moisture resistance, increased strength and wear resistance. Provides a good bounce of the ball.

Rubberized melamine is a rubberized plastic that provides perfect gaming performance.

What to look for in a small or a medium ping pong table?

SMALL (> TO 4M²) AND MEDIUM (> TO 10 M²) PLAY AREAS
After selecting the size of table tennis table (small or medium) that will best fit the space available for playing, you will look at these product advantages to make the right choice:

EASE OF INSTALLATION
If you need to clear the table after each game session, you will prefer a table that sets up quickly. Keep your rackets and balls handy to get the game started even faster!

RESISTANCE
Know if the tables are designed to last and tested in real playing conditions, a table with a metal structure will last longer than a cardboard structure. So choose the right table for your frequency of play.

Note that the Small tables are designed for indoor use (and storage), while the Medium table could stand up to the test of time and stay in the garden. (just be sure)

BOUNCE QUALITY
Finally, the quality of bounce is essential to enjoy pinging.

The thicker the board and the more stable the table (depending on the nature of the structure, metal, or cardboard), the better the stability and the quality of rebound.

Now you know, everything to choose your Medium or Small table.

Choose table according to your need

knowing exactly what you expect from a ping pong table will most likely save you a lot of money.

For example, if you want to acquire equipment just for fun on vacation, then a cheaper model like this STIGA mini table (amazon link) may well suit you, while a model ten times more expensive would disappoint you.

Finally, keep in mind that in this category, in particular, it is not the price that determines the quality.

Certainly, if you dream of getting a professional ping pong table, you will have to plan a certain budget.

However, we also had the opportunity to analyze very respectable economic tables and able to satisfy you to the highest point.

This is why it is important to set yourself a maximum budget that should not be exceeded under any circumstances.

There are many models in this category, so it is certain that you will find the one that is most suitable for you without being forced to sacrifice all your savings.

Suggested ping pong table depending on your need

We will now list the five criteria for choosing a table tennis table. Also, we suggested one table tennis table depending on each criteria that we thought to be a great choice. Make sure to check them out.

As you can see, these specifications are not very difficult to take into account.

Indeed, brands or sellers are generally very specific about these different characteristics. 

Of course, nothing prevents you from asking the question directly to the seller or the brand, although this may take longer since you will obviously have to wait for an answer.

The type of ping pong table

The first criterion to take into account concerns the type of ping pong table you need.

In this area, there are two kinds of tables that we will present to you below. By knowing them, you will be able to identify more easily which of them is likely to suit you the most.

The outdoor ping pong table: As the name suggests, these are table tennis tables mainly made for outdoor play, as the Cornilleau 250S Crossover.

Such a model has many very precise characteristics which obviously allow it to withstand the vagaries of the weather, but also to offer optimal playing comfort.

For example, some brands have developed a specific coating, called Soft-Mat, which reduces the reflection of the sun on the table.

So even when the brightness is at its maximum, you can still play in excellent conditions.

Concerning the materials, these are created to fear neither cold nor humidity.

However, even if you choose an outdoor ping pong table, we advise you to acquire a protective cover and store your equipment as sheltered as possible.

The indoor ping pong table : Unlike the previous table type, the indoor ping pong table is developed for indoor use.

This does not mean that its quality is lower, but that its characteristics are different.

First of all, the coating is generally blue, which allows you to play with the greatest comfort in the world since you will see your ball perfectly, whether it is white or yellow.

In addition, this coating absorbs artificial light so that you do not suffer any reflection.

In terms of design, an indoor ping pong table like the STIGA Indoor Table (amazon link) is made on the same principle as an outdoor table.

However, depending on the model you have chosen, some elements may have been deleted, such as a varnishing of the paint for example.

Finally, pay close attention to a very important point. An outdoor ping pong table can be used indoors.

However, the reverse is not possible. Using an indoor table tennis table outdoors could decrease your comfort of use.

The dimensions

This is probably one of the criteria that you need to pay the most attention to.

Indeed, all ping pong tables, whether indoor or outdoor, do not have the same dimensions at all.

The official table tennis tables, which are used for competition, are 274 centimeters long by 152.5 centimeters wide.

However, if you are looking for a table simply to entertain yourself with your loved ones, you can opt for a more compact model which will have the advantage of being very easily transportable, just like this Butterfly table on amazon

Obviously, if your goal is to become a world champion in table tennis, it is better that you choose a table whose dimensions are strictly in accordance with the rules in force.

Before making your choice, make sure of the intended use of your table as well as the evolution that you want to know.

Finally, it should be borne in mind that a ping pong table whose dimensions are identical to the official ones is bulky equipment.

Which will therefore require that you devote a relatively large space to it, which unfortunately cannot be suitable for all homes.

The coating

The coating of a ping pong table has a direct impact on your playing comfort, but also on your performance.

It is therefore very important to be particularly vigilant regarding this criterion, even if it is the most difficult to know.

Today, the tables are generally coated with a light blue paint, which has the advantage of contrasting well with the yellow or white of a ball.

However, not all of these blues are created equal since, depending on the make and model, they undergo different treatments.

Some are treated not to reflect light while others are not treated at all.

Generally, the Cornilleau brand, world leader in this field, offers this basic treatment with each of its equipment.

So be very careful of unpleasant surprises that could have a direct impact on your final satisfaction.

In addition, some ping pong tables do not have white markings, such as the Kettler 6 table tennis table. 

These models are therefore specifically developed for leisure since you will not be able to play by respecting the official rules.

So be very careful about coating a ping pong table, and make sure that it will meet your expectations with the greatest accuracy in the world.

Do not allow yourself to compromise and only choose a model that suits you best.

Ease of storage

As we started to tell you earlier, the ease of storing a ping pong table should be taken with great care on your part.

Indeed, if you have a small apartment, unfortunately you will not be able to afford a professional ping pong table, the dimensions of which, even when the equipment is folded, remain large.

In addition, if you are looking for a table to play table tennis on vacation, it will be better to opt for a model that can be transported very easily, like this indoor table on amazon.

To give you an idea, a table offering official dimensions generally measures, when folded, 1.80 meters high by 1.20 meters wide and 1.50 meters long.

Finally, the ease of storage of such a product obviously passes its weight.

In this area, the latter is very variable since it can range from ten kilograms to more than 80 kilograms.

Fortunately, the heavier models generally have multidirectional wheels which allow you to move your equipment very easily without having to provide any physical effort whatsoever.

Additional accessories

Finally, when you start looking for your future ping pong table, you will come across some models that offer additional accessories.

These may vary from product to product, but in any case, they are capable of increasing your user experience.

The most common accessory offered with a table tennis table is the net, which also comes with a support and a tensioner.

But it can also happen that you receive a support to store your balls or your rackets for example.

However, the most important accessory of a ping pong table, which is unfortunately not often offered with the products, is the tarpaulin.

This helps protect your equipment from moisture and dust.

However, such an accessory is relatively cheap financially since for a professional table like the JOOLA Rally, it only costs around forty dollars.

What is the perfect thickness for a ping pong table?

An indoor ping pong table must have a thickness between 16 and 22 mm in order to offer good game quality and an even bounce. The ideal thickness used in professional models is in fact 22 mm which guarantees the best gaming experience.

Conclusion

Ping-pong is a sport that can be practiced for both pleasure and competition. It is important to keep in mind that not all ping pong tables are created equally.

There are thousands of tables for sale in the world, it is up to you to analyze your needs and your means in order to make the utmost use of your table.

You now have all the keys to choosing a ping pong table!

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