How To Choose A Folding Table

Folding tables, by definition, are portable units with legs that either fold into or flat against the table top surface. They can be small, like a TV tray, or large, like those tables you might see at potluck dinners. Wondering if you need one?

Have you ever been hosting a big family dinner, and a few extra guests showed up? Your dining table sits 8 but now there are 12 hungry people, wondering where to sit. Or maybe you decided to host a card game with the fellas but the wife is using the dining table for a scrapbooking project, stuff strewn all over the entire surface? You aren't going to play poker with your buddies on the floor.

These are but two examples of why having a good, sturdy folding table is always worthwhile. Folding tables are one of those items that, even if you only use it for Thanksgiving dinner overflow or as an alternative level space for the kids science fair project, it is better to have and not need, than need and not have.

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What kinds of folding tables are there?

Folding tables come in a multitude of sizes and uses, shapes and heights, with corresponding weight constraints. The table can have a simple, singular application, or a broad list of possible uses. It all depends on what it will be used for. Once you know that, picking the right table is easy.

  • Bed tray: These are great for eating, or any work that can be done on a lap while sitting on the couch or laying in bed. Some have a portion that pivots to an angle, for reading or laptop use.
Brown Classic Wooden Breakfast Tray
Dark Brown Traditional Wooden Bed Tray
Brown Elegant Rattan Breakfast Tray
Brown Classic Manufactured Wood Bed Tray
Brown Modern Wooden Laptop Tray
Brown Contemporary Wooden Adjustable Bed Tray
  • TV tray: A solid choice if you enjoy eating in the living room in front of the TV.
Brown Modern Wooden TV Tray
Dark Brown Modern Wooden Snack Tray Table
Black Modern Wooden Folding Tray Table
Black Contemporary Metal Expanding TV Tray
Brown Traditional Metal TV Tray
Brown Elegant Wooden Foldable TV Tray
  • Puzzle/Card table: This is often square, padded, and has easily collapsable legs that disappear under the table for storage. Great for those pick-up games of bridge.
White Classic Plastic Rectangle Folding Puzzle Table
Black Simple Wooden Square Puzzle Table
White Classic Plastic Folding Table
White Modern Plastic Folding Puzzle Table
Black Classic Plastic Square Puzzle Table
White Modern Plastic Rectangular Folding Table
  • Dining table: Need we say more? These are awesome if you only have limited space in your home, but want a dining table for family meals. Set it up, eat a meal, put it away. Simple and elegant. Also useful to expand your existing dining table if hosting a large dinner party.
Brown Simple Solid Wood Folding Dining Table
Brown Classic Manufactured Wood Dining Table
Brown Traditional Manufactured Wood Folding Table
Brown Modern Manufactured Wood Dining Table
  • Simple rectangular tables: From a buffet set-up to selling girl scout cookies. From peddling crafts at a farmers market to teaching children how to draw or how to make a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks. There is no end of options with this large portable surface.
White Classic Plastic Rectangular Folding Table
White Simple Plastic Folding Table
Black Classic Plastic Rectangular Table
Silver Steel Modern Folding Table
White Plastic Classic Rectangular Table

How tall are folding tables?

In the realm of height, folding tables fall into two categories:

  • Fixed height: The table legs cannot be moved or adjusted to increase or decrease the overall height. Most tables are fixed height with legs that raise the tabletop surface to between 28 and 36 inches. These can accommodate most chairs.
  • Adjustable height: There is a button and notches on the legs that allow the table to become taller or shorter as the need requires. Adjustable folding tables can be raised and lowered within 6 to 8 inches of their maximum height. Although adjustable tables with cross-style legs (similar to the logs on ironing boards) can be much more versatile with heights, becoming very short, or very tall, depending on how close the legs are pulled together or spread apart.

What are the best materials for a folding table?

The three materials most commonly used in folding tables are wood, plastic or resin, and metal. Most are a combination of two of these. For example:


  • Hardwoods are acceptable for indoor and outdoor use. Common in picnic tables and outdoor furniture. Uses steel pins and hinges.
  • Pressure laminate or particle board is a cheap material that is susceptible to moisture. Not recommended in the outdoors. If it gets wet, it will deteriorate. It has a laminated top, and a steel frame with steel, folding legs.
Brown Traditional Wooden Octagon Folding Table
Brown Modern Solid Wood Folding Puzzle Table
Brown Classic Wooden Square Folding Table
Brown Stylish Bamboo Tray Table
Brown Classic Wooden Folding Puzzle Table
Brown Modern Wooden Rectangular Folding Table

Plastic and resin

Plastic folding tables are hard, but can be damaged if cut. They are some of the lighter of the folding table options, and only require steel for reinforcement, not constructive stability. That said, they still need steel legs to support any weight put on the table.

Black Classic Plastic Square Folding Table
Brown Simple Resin Folding Table
White Classic Plastic Square Folding Table
White Modern Resin Rectangular Folding Table
Black Classic Plastic Folding Table
White Classic Plastic Round Folding Puzzle Table


  • Another lightweight table option is aluminum. Often used in picnic tables and camping. Great for outdoors.
  • Steel folding tables can have between one and four legs, and are heavy, reinforced with solid welds to support a lot of weight. Can rust and not advisable for outdoor use.
Black Modern Metal Square Folding Table
Black Contemporary Metal Circular Folding Table
Black Classic Metal Square Folding Table
White Modern Aluminum Folding Table
Gray Modern Metal Rectangular Folding Table
Black Modern Aluminum Folding Table