Whether you are a seasoned pro or an amateur ping pong player, the wide variety of ping pong tables available on the market can make purchasing a new table very difficult.
Many manufacturers sell their tables on the claims that their ping pong tables have been used in various championships and tournaments.
While this may seem like the easiest way to choose your ping pong table, it is by no means the cheapest, or necessary. Unless you are a professional player, you will not require ping pong tables of such caliber.
We will discuss important features to look out for when purchasing ping pong tables for regular use. We’ll also include some tips based on your intended use of the table, whether it’s just for some family fun or you’re looking to play slightly more competitively.
To help make the shopping process easier, we’ve even included information on the best indoor and outdoor ping pong tables on the market today. But before we get into that, here’s a quick introduction to the importance of you reading this article…
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Best Indoor Ping Pong Tables
Best Outdoor Ping Pong Tables
Best Table Tennis Conversion Top
The cheap and the expensive ping pong tables may look similar on the outside, so most buyers will think, why should I purchase a ping pong table that costs hundreds of dollars when I can find a much cheaper one?
The problem is obvious of course. You get what you pay for, and these cheap ping pong tables are bad. Really bad.
How bad are they, you ask? Well…
It costs money to make a thick ping pong table playing surface – after all, it’s using a larger amount of wood. Cheap ping pong tables have playing surfaces as small as about 12 mm thick.
Compare this with standard and professional ping pong tables that typically have thicknesses around 22 mm to 25 mm.
Even beginners can notice the difference a thin playing surface has in a game of ping pong. The ball just doesn’t seem to bounce quite right.
How much support does your ping pong table provide? Some of the cheapest tables provide just enough support to hold up the playing surface.
So, if you accidentally bump into it in the middle of the game, you’re going to have a bit of setting up to do again. And maybe even a bruised foot.
Furthermore, those types of ping pong tables will be completely unsuitable for outside use. Just a gust of wind and it’ll topple over. Not good.
Given all the disadvantages of the cheap ping pong tables, why not just shovel out some money and purchase a more expensive one?
Some tables even have endorsements from elite table tennis players!
The main reason is, unless you are a professional ping pong player and have a lot of experience playing on top range tables, you’re unlikely to notice much difference when comparing an expensive ping pong table with a mid-range one.
So now that we know why we should avoid the cheap and nasty ping pong tables, we need to learn how to spot a sub-par model.
There are several things you should look out for when purchasing a ping pong table. Forget about how nice the ping pong table looks or the manufacturer.
As long as your ping pong table ticks all of these boxes, then you’re good to go.
As mentioned earlier, playing on a thin playing surface isn’t pleasant. The ball doesn’t bounce quite right or as high. This leads to frustrating games – if you can even get a game going.
Table thickness is the most important factor in choosing a suitable ping pong table. After all, this is what you will actually be playing on. What’s more, it costs more to make a thick table, so this is the bulk of what you are paying for.
Here are some common thicknesses of ping pong tables and a little advice about each:
The 22 mm and 25 mm thick tables are the ideal ones you want to purchase. The 25 mm thick table provides the best bounce but the 22 mm one is almost nearly the same.
If you are serious about playing in table tennis tournaments, go with the 25 mm thick table as this will be similar to those used in tournaments. Otherwise, a 22 mm thick table will do the job just fine.
The next thing you need to decide on is if you will be leaving your ping pong table set up permanently or if it will be packed up after each use.
If you plan to be setting it up and packing it away frequently, you may want to consider a fold-up ping pong table.
These are quite simple to assemble and can be easily managed by one person. They also take up less space when they are stored away which makes them ideal for in-home or garage use.
Some ping pong tables will even come with wheels, to allow you to move them around with more ease. The best ping pong tables will have brakes on the wheels so that you can lock the table in place while you are playing.
Ping pong tables designed for use outdoors are significantly different from indoor ping pong tables. While you can use indoor ping pong tables outside, it is recommended that you do not do this.
Why you should not use an indoor ping pong table outside:
Due to the extra precautions and fortifications included in outdoor tables, they are slightly more expensive. But this extra cost is definitely worth it, since you won’t need to replace your ping pong table as often.
So what are the bonus features included in outdoor tables that indoor ping pong tables do not have?
Unfortunately, since outdoor ping pong tables are designed with the purpose of allowing your table to withstand the elements, there are some slight sacrifices in playing quality.
Metallic tables tend to cause the ball to be slower and some other outdoor tables provide different or lower bounces.
The best solution?
Unless your ping pong table is going to be a permanent fixture outside, go with an indoor ping pong table. Indoor tables provide a better playing experience and are generally cheaper.
Just make sure that you only take your indoor table outside to play when the weather is good. And don’t forget to bring it back inside once you’re finished!
If you have enough room inside your house to play ping pong, then you’ll probably be interested in purchasing an indoor ping pong table. These tables are the best quality for price. Also, table tennis tournaments are played indoors on indoor ping pong tables.
If you’re looking to get in some good practice for a tournament, it’s a good idea to practice on something similar to what will be provided in a tournament. Here are our recommendations for the best indoor ping pong tables.
The competition ready STIGA Advantage Table Tennis Table is the best indoor ping pong table. At around $400, this ping pong table is the best value for your table you can find anywhere. The QuickPlay design of the STIGA ping pong table means that about 95% of the setup of the ping pong table has already been done for you!
You just need to slide it out of the box and the table will be ready to use within 10 minutes. This makes it a good choice for those who aren’t too savvy when it comes to handy-man jobs and chores.
What’s more, the ping pong table itself comes in two halves. This allows for convenient and compact storage. Safety latches on the underside of the ping pong table locks the table halves in the upright position while they are stored.
Another great advantage of the STIGA ping pong table is that you can practice ping pong by yourself instead of with a partner!
Place one half of the table in the upright position with the lock in place right against the other table. Now you can bounce the ball between you and the table so that you can get in that extra practice before your next game.
And if you need an extra table, you can just take out one half of the STIGA ping pong table and it works wonderfully as a freestanding table. Just make sure you cover it with a table cloth so that you don’t accidentally scratch the table.
Measuring around 16 mm thick and made from high density MDF, this is not the perfect table top for professional players but it works just fine for recreational games with family and friends. The flexibility of the STIGA ping pong table makes this our number one pick for the best indoor ping pong table.
The cheapest one racks up at over $400 with a 16 mm thick playing surface. Other thicknesses of 18 mm and 25 mm are also available but at a much greater price. As with many things in life, you tend to get what you pay for in the table tennis table market.
The JOOLA ping pong table also comes in two separate halves, allowing for easy and compact storage and portability. Single playback is also possible with this table, as is using the ping pong table as two separate standalone tables if required.
The table is supported by 1.5 steel inch legs and also has a 1.5 inch resin apron to provide extra support and protection for the ping pong table. The JOOLA ping pong table takes approximately 20 minutes to fully assemble, slightly longer than the STIGA ping pong table.
Overall, the JOOLA ping pong table is quite a good pick if you’re just looking for some extra entertainment for the family that can be packed up and stored easily.
Compared with the STIGA ping pong table, this one takes longer to assemble and is quite a lot more expensive for a table of similar quality, which is why we have decided to rank it as the runner up in the best indoor ping pong table category.
If space is tight but you still really want a table tennis table then you’ll need to buy an outdoor table.
The JOOLA outdoor tennis table is the best outdoor ping pong table. At just under $600, this ping pong table contains many weather-proofing features which ensures you will get lots of use outside before it needs replacing.
The rust resistant undercarriage protects the equipment from the rain. The 30 mm by 30 mm steel frame undercarriage provides additional support for the JOOLA outdoor ping pong table from the wind.
Despite this, you probably still don’t want to leave your ping pong table outside in wild weather. Luckily, the table can be easily wheeled in. The surface of the ping pong table is a 6 mm thick aluminium and plastic composite surface.
This layer protects the table from the sun and the rain, preventing chipping of the table and also warping. This ensures that your table will always maintain an even bounce. Not only is the table weather proof, but so is the net that is provided.
Also, being a two piece table, it is easy to find storage space and allows for playback mode. Locking casters are also present for safe and easy transport of the table. This makes the JOOLA outdoor tennis table perfect for those using it in smaller spaces like garages.
The great support provided and the weather proofing features of the JOOLA outdoor tennis table makes it the best outdoor ping pong table in its category.
The durability of this ping pong table allows it to withstand most weather conditions, allowing a lot of use by your family in the years to come. Cashing in at around $500, the STIGA ping pong table is one of the cheapest outdoor ping pong tables available on the market.
It is weatherproof, containing a rust resistant undercarriage to protect the frame from the rain. The aluminium plastic surface of the table top is 6 mm thick. This layer protects the surface layer from the rain and also from warping, protecting the integrity of the ping pong ball’s bounce.
Unfortunately, the level of bounce on this table is not as great as on a wooden table. It’s enough to be playable but not perfect. Coming in two pieces, the STIGA ping pong table allows for compact storage in your garage and single player playback for more practice.
The two pieces also makes the STIGA ping pong table more portability, with a locking mechanism on the wheels which provides stability when transporting and storing your ping pong table.
And the great part is that the ping pong table comes to you 90% assembled. That means less time on the fiddly work and more time playing on your brand new table. Being similar to the JOOLA outdoor ping pong table, the STIGA comes in at a close second to the best outdoor ping pong table since it does not contain all the reinforcements as the JOOLA table.
But given that the STIGA ping pong table is quite a lot cheaper than the JOOLA ping pong table, it may just be worth to go with the STIGA and pack it up more often when bad weather is on the horizon.
First up, what exactly is a table tennis conversion top?
These are essentially ping pong tables without legs. You place them on another surface such as a pool table or your dining room table.
The Joola table tennis conversion top comes in two halves, making it easy to move around and to set up. This is the fastest ping pong table you can possibly set up, taking you about 5 minutes. Being just a table top, there isn’t any support frame or table legs to store as well, so the conversion top can be stored in many different places at home.
Measuring 108 inches by 60 inches, the conversion top is the same size as a standard pool table, so you don’t have to worry about the ping pong ball accidentally hitting and damaging your pool table.
Compared with a dining table though, there may be a bit of overhang of the conversion top. This is actually good as your dining table will still be protected. Also, if you swing and miss, you won’t hit the dining table. You just need to be more careful that you don’t accidentally bump into the conversion top, which will knock it over.
The Joola table tennis conversion top contains full foam padding on the underside. This extra layer of padding protects your pool table or dining table from obtaining scratches when you play. This is important as the conversion top is only 15 mm thick.
However, this is not absolutely fool proof and so the use of the conversion top on your dining table is not recommended if you have a well-crafted dining table. At under $400, the Joola table tennis conversion top is the ideal pick for those of us who do not have enough space at home to support a full sized ping pong table.
The Joola ping pong table even comes with a net. All that you need to supply are the ping pong balls and paddles and you’re ready to go.
Now that we’ve covered every aspect you need to know about buying a ping pong table, you’re probably excited to go out and purchase your own one now. Remember to select one that will last for many years to come!
And just also keep in mind that not all tables are the same – even though you can’t see the differences, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Often manufacturers warranties are a good indication of quality, as is the price point of a table.
Picking the best ping pong table will give you the best game playing experience and much happiness for your friends and family for many years. We wish you all the best with your purchase.