Looking to buy a table tennis table and looking for suggestions on what factors to consider before you do that. Having spoken to some of the top buyers of table tennis tables, gym owners, club managers and others who are in the sports business industry, here’s what you need to look at before you get going with your purchase for a table.
A table tennis table is one of the three most important equipment one will need for the sport along with its racket or paddle and the ball.
Whether you are buying a table tennis table to be put in your garage or lounge to play with your friends or for your local clubhouse or to prepare yourself to play professionally, choosing the correct table is very crucial to the success you will have in the sport.
There are some great brands available in the market. Stiga is the most popular brand around but one can choose from many reliable brands Butterfly, Donic & Sponeta.
More on this later and in a separate piece we will also give suggestions on which table tennis tables can be bought depending on your budget and review some of the top ones.
Here we shall look at the main factors that one must keep in mind while buying a table tennis table.
- Our Excellent Guide to the Best Table Tennis Rackets for Beginners
- An Exhaustive Guide to Table Tennis Balls: Cost, Weight & Speed
Where Will it be Used? Indoor or Outdoor?
Where the table will be placed and used will be one of the most important factors when deciding which table that one should buy.
If it’s going to be used indoors in one’s lounge, clubhouse or basement, different aspects need to be considered. Same way, if the table is going to be a garden, playground or garage shed, the conversation about what to look into the table will be completely different.
Indoor tables have a much better playing surface than the outdoor ones.
Because the ones staying out will have to deal with sunlight, rain and wind, the surface it is made of it will be fundamentally different from the ones used in indoor tables.
Even the way the table is folded and stored is different depending upon where it’s going to be used. Most of the outdoor tables either don’t require folding or can be stored in a very different way then the indoor ones.
Indoor tables need to be stored in a fashion which is convenient and uses relatively less space.
Thickness of the Table
Another very crucial aspect to consider when buying a ping pong table is the thickness of its surface. And with its surface, we mean the shiny top layer of the table and not the vertical thickness of the table’s frame.
The thickness of the table can range from as low as 12 mm to around 25 mm. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the top surface of the table, the better the table will be.
A thicker surface will allow even bounce while playing and will last for longer.
Whereas if you buy a table which doesn’t have sufficient enough thickness to it, the bounce on the different parts of the table is likely to be variable.
And the quality of the table will also drastically go down within just a few months.
Of course, as the thickness of the table surface increases, so will the price of the table but it is better to go for a table which is slightly expensive but thicker rather than going for a cheaper alternative that needs to be changed a few months down the line.
How Easy it is to Move? The Ping Pong Table’s Mobility
Portability & ease of moving is also another crucial factor to consider when buying a table tennis table.
There are various ways a table can fold and can be stored. Unless you are going to be placing the table in a large hall or at a sports club where the table can stay put all the time, portability of the table is going to be a huge consideration.
For most people, a ping pong table is unlikely to be a permanent feature of their lounge or garden’s furniture.
And it is likely to be folded back and moved to another place almost after each time it is used. The table that one should be buying should be easy to fold and the locking mechanisms need to be safe and simple to understand.
Size of the Wheels
The wheel size is also a factor that one needs to keep in mind when choosing their table tennis table.
Even though it is not a deal-breaker but its still very important. If the table that one buys is going to be moved a lot or is going to be moved on harder concrete surface or grass, the wheels need to be bigger and sturdier to ensure that the table can be moved easily.
But if the movement of the table is going to be on the slicker indoor surface or the distance isn’t going to be too far, smaller wheels are easier to handle and manage.
One also must note that most of the tables’ brakes to ensure that it doesn’t move are connected to the wheels. So the strength of the wheels is a crucial consideration as a weak set of wheels may make the table move while one is playing or make it difficult to move from one place to another.
How Easy is it to Store
As discussed in the earlier section about the portability of the table, the ease of its storage is one is an important consideration while choosing the table. Most tablets can be folded in two halves with the part where the net is serving as the dividing point.
The tables can be securely locked upright and can be stored in the basement or garage and would take less than 24 to 36 inches of space horizontally.
One needs to clearly understand how much space the table will take to store while choosing which ping pong table to buy.
Where will one store has to be a crucial consideration as the majority of the wear and tear that the table will see will not be from actual playing on the surface but from how it is stored during the times it’s not used.
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How Much do Table Tennis Tables Cost?
Just like everything in the world, the budget is an unwanted but necessary consideration when deciding which table to buy.
It’s perhaps the most important to look at because unlike some of the other racket sport equipment, a table tennis table isn’t the cheapest. Also it’s usually used way more regularly than other equipment and hence a greater chance of wear and tear.
We all would want an all-weather ping pong table that has all the features and the highest thickness that is available but how much we want to spend on it is always one of the most crucial factors.
Moving on to the cost of table tennis tables, we have a full article dedicated to this aspect here, but for now to give you an idea of the costs, here’s how things look.
The most economical tables that one will find on the market will be around $100-125. The medium-range tables are likely to cost somewhere around $250-350.
And then there is the premium range, where tables are going to cost you back anywhere around $400-1000.
How much does one wants to spend on the table is a personal decision and is likely to be based on what they are looking to get out of the equipment.
If the main aim of buying the table for you is to just play the sport for recreation & keep your self active, a lower cost table may not be a bad choice.
But if one wants to improve their game or use the table in a competitive environment, going for a model that will last longer and give consistency performance is crucial.
If you are playing to use the table regularly and want to improve your game, there are some key features that one should always look out for in a table tennis table.
The tension and height of the net has to be adjustable as one would want to change it as they become more proficient in the game.
Also, many tables do come with an inbuilt paddle and ball storage to ensure that all of your equipment stays in once place.
Corner protectors are also a crucial feature that one should strongly consider getting. Sharp edges of the table can hurt the players and corner protectors can be a great help.
Also, the certain model of the tables come with an inbuilt ball dispenser as well as a protective cover to make sure that dust and wind do not impact the table when stored.
Best Picks to Choose From For Various Uses
The questions we often get is which table tennis tables should we buy? Should we go for the cheapest one? Or do we make a one-time investment in it and hope they last long enough?
Well, the indicative answer can be found from the guide below for our best table tennis table for a particular category.
For Amateurs and Beginners who want to play Indoors
- JOOLA Inside 15mm 5/8 Inch Competition Grade Table Tennis Table
If you are looking to buy a ping pong table only for recreation & playing with friends and family or you are just starting as an amateur in the sport, this is a great option to go for.
This is an ideal table to use indoor, whether that is in your lounge, a clubhouse or the school.
Described as the “Best Low-End Product From a High-End Brand”, JOOLA Inside 15mm is one of the best quality product, offering solid stability, and an excellent surface evenness.
One of its best features is the table allows the legs to be adjusted based on the variations on the floor, a taut net which is easy to clip on to the table, excellent finishing of the surface paint to go with a very small size when folded.
And if you are worried if you would be able to assemble or dismantle it, don’t be – takes less than half hour to do it all. Also, it can be folded quickly enough.
This will cost anywhere around $350 to $400 and is an ideal first table for any player looking to start the sport.
For Proficient Players Who Want to Play Indoors
- Butterfly Easifold 19 Rollaway Indoor Table Tennis Table
If you are a serious player and want something better and higher quality to play Ping Pong indoors, Butterfly Easifold 19 is a perfect solution. It comes 90% pre-build and one only needs to add wheels and brackets to use it.
It has a 19 mm thick tabletop and comes with an independent undercarriage along with a playback mode. The table comes with a three-year warranty as well.
It has a beautifully smooth surface and can move around easily indoors without really scratching the surface, it occupies minimum space and is also USATT approved to use in tournaments. It costs around $700 but is worth it for a school, home or recreational centre.
Outdoor Table for Home or Individual Users
- Cornilleau 250S Crossover Outdoor Table Tennis Table
The Cornilleau 250S Crossover comes with a laminated playing surface as well as galvanized steel frame for protection outdoors.
It can withstand heat, rain or wind alike without any performance issues. It comes with a 3-year playing surface warranty along with a 10-year frame warranty.
It has a really hard and dense playing surface along with huge wheels and side panels to ensure it can move smoothly on concrete or grass. It also has a racket and ball storage on each of the sides. Plus it has 2 wheel breaks to secure the table in wheel mode or storage mode.
The table costs around $900-1000 and is ideal for looking for an all-weather outdoor solution.
Table for Clubs & Schools for Heavy & Rough Usage
- Butterfly Space Saver 22
Schools, sports clubs and community centres are likely to have a very rough and it makes sense to go for a model which is going to last long and give consistent performance.
In most clubs, the players would expect the decent quality of equipment whereas lower quality tables in schools would not last very long. So it makes sense to go for a higher-end version which will last for a long period.
Butterfly Space Saver 22 is a combination of incredible performance, excellent durability & amazing portability. It has very compact storage and is ITTF approved plus wheelchair friendly.
The only downside of this model is that it does not offer a playback mode but for a publicly used table, it is not a deal-breaker.
This table comes with a five-year extendable warranty and will cost around $1250 to $1300.
Remember, buying a ping pong table can depend on many factors from the money that you want to spend to the level of sport you wish to play as well as whether it’s going to be placed indoors or outdoors. At the end of the day personal preferences matter more than anything else.
Now that you have gone through the factors you might want to consider before you buy a table tennis table, you could move on to our next guide on whether you should buy an indoor table or an outdoor table. You can also check for our recommendations for indoor tables here and outdoor tables here.