Whether you are a pro tennis player or just getting started, the right equipment is crucial for your success. To bring your best game to the table, you've first got to find the best indoor table tennis table for you!
Also known as ping pong tables, table tennis tables come in a variety of sizes and features. Read on to learn the different types of tables and how to spot the best one.
Which Indoor Table Tennis Table is Best?
There is an array of tables available for ping pong or table tennis. If you're specifically buying the table for children, you can also find a mini-size or junior-size table. But generally speaking, there are 3 most popular types of table tennis tables:
- Full-sized: This is a standard 9 feet long, 2.5 feet high, and 5 feet wide table. If you have space for it in your home and you're serious about the game, a full-sized table is a logical option.
Conversion tops: If you are short on space, i.e., your home isn't spacious enough, you can still enjoy an indoors table tennis table by choosing something with a conversion top.
These tables only consist of the surface/top of a table and can fit over the top of any large table you may already own, like a dining table, pool table, conference room table, etc.
Adjustable height: Want your small children to be able to play the game like a seasoned pro? Adjustable height tables have legs that can raise and lower the height of the table.
Players with small height will be able to get to the ball when it's close to the net and experience the full playing surface.
What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Table Tennis Tables?
Table tennis is usually considered an indoor sport, but it can also be played outside – as long as you have the right table. The only difference between an indoor table and an outdoor one is the materials they are constructed from.
Indoor table tennis tables are specifically designed to be used indoors and they are often made of solid wood, particle board, plywood, or even plastic. These materials can become damaged or warped when continuously exposed to the sun, rain, and wind.
Outdoor table tennis tables are made from a mixture of wood and metal and then finished with a protective coating to withstand the weather elements. These tables have a weatherproof surface or top that's constructed out of aluminum and concrete, which makes them highly durable and resilient.
This is why most models of outdoor tables are more expensive than indoor tables.
So, keep these factors in mind when buying the table tennis table. Don't buy an indoor model if you are planning to put it in your yard or another open space.
What Type of Undercarriage Do You Want?
An important part of any kind of table tennis table – unless it's a conversion top – is its undercarriage. The undercarriage of a gaming table consists of the supporting frame that lies beneath the table. The majority have wheels, but in some cases, it may also be permanently fixed.
Below are the two most common types of undercarriages:
One Piece: Table tennis tables with one-piece undercarriage stay in one piece and can fold in the middle. Think of it as a single-trolley system which is also known as a "rollaway".
If you want a table where it's easy to align the two halves and you may even use it half-open to practice on your own, choose a one-piece undercarriage. But keep in mind that this type of table takes up a lot of space in the storage.
Two Piece: If you want a table that requires less space to store, consider a table with two-piece undercarriage. These tables can be split into multiple parts or "halves", which makes them easy to store even in a limited space.
On the downside, these tables are a bit more challenging to align as the wheels may be incorporated into the center edge or each part may have its own wheels.
How to Find a Good-Quality Table Tennis Table?
The easiest way to determine whether a table is worth anything is to see the thickness of its surface or top.
The thickness of the tops of table tennis tables ranges from 12mm to 25mm. As the thickness goes up, the bounce also goes up. In other words, tops with thinner surfaces have less bounce.
This means the thicker the surface, the better the quality (and higher the price).
If you play the game occasionally, you can get away with a thinner surface table like 12mm-thick. These tables are a bit flimsy in construction and the ball doesn't bounce very well.
Even medium thickness surfaces of 16mm – 19mm are far better than a 12mm or 14mm thick table. These tables offer consistent bounce and they will last many years, if maintained properly.
However, if you're planning to compete in a match or are very serious about sharpening your table tennis skills, you must invest in a tennis table with thicker surface like something between 22mm – 25mm thick. Understandably, these tables are also the most expensive.
What Type of Net Do You Want in Your Ping Pong Table?
Before you buy the table, read the product description carefully as it may not include the net and post. Some tables require a separate purchase of the net (and post), while some come equipped with them.
You can attach the net to your brand-new tennis table in three ways:
- Permanently affixed: Very few models of indoor tables come with permanently affixed nets as these are generally meant for outdoor tables. If you're buying a tennis table with one-piece undercarriage, odds are that it will have a permanently fixed net that's shorter than the official competition measurement.
- Screw clamp: Out of all three types, these are the sturdiest option and they allow for strongest adjustment functions. We recommend finding a table that has a soft covering on the grip areas so the top doesn't get scratched.
- Spring loaded: These are the easiest to attach and detach with no hassle whatsoever. Spring loaded clips are the quickest to remove and they usually look like clothespins.
For all the busy-bees out there, here is a quick summary of this post:
- Pick a full-sized tennis table if you're an adult and serious about the game.
- Pick a conversion top table if you have limited indoor space.
- Choose an adjustable height table if you're buying the table for adults as well as the kids.
- Outdoor table tennis tables are weather-proof and expensive – unlike indoor tables.
- Buy a tennis table with one-piece undercarriage if you have enough storage space and want an easy-to-setup table.
- Buy a table with two-piece undercarriage if you're short on storage space and don't mind aligning the several different parts of the table every time you set it up.