Guide to Buying a Ping-Pong Table (2021 Guide)
Updated September 28th, 2020
Shopping for a ping-pong table can be a daunting task. There are many options to choose from and there's isn't really a best table for everyone. We will try to help you find the one that best suits your particular needs.
We have been helping customers buy tables since 2001 so we have a good idea of what could be going through your mind. Let’s cut through the noise and tell you what information you need to know before buying a ping-pong table. Hopefully, this article can save you hundreds of dollars that you would have spent on a lower quality product or a table that wasn’t quite right for you.
Ask yourself if you need an indoor table or an outdoor table. Do you value design or sturdiness? Are you buying it for yourself or for your children? Do you require portability? Would you like to have racket holders? How important is the quality of the bounce?
Are you concerned that you will end up wasting your hard-earned money on a ping-pong table that isn't right for you?
If this is the case, then you have come to the right place! We would like to help you buy the best table for your needs.
A ping-pong table may be just what you need to level-up your playing skills, spice up dull evenings, and entertain friends. Ping-pong provides hours of fun while also helping you burn hundreds of calories.
Should you buy a table?
Do you have room for a table?
First, make sure you have an appropriate room and the right amount of space.
Table Size Considerations
Ping-pong tables can come in multiple sizes but there is only one official regulation size. You can find both regulation/standard-sized tables and non-regulation/non-standard tables. The latter are intended for recreational use only. Regulation-size, or competition-size ping-pong tables, are sized according to the dimensions mandated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) regulations. Almost every table you will come across will be a standard-sized table.
The standard size of a ping-pong or table tennis table is: 9ft x 5ft x 2.5ft or 108in x 60in x 30in.
On the other hand, non-regulation recreational ping-pong tables come in different smaller sizes. There is no standard small size and different manufacturers have their own variations. The most common size of a non-regulation ping-pong or table tennis table is 6ft x 3ft x 2.5ft or 72in x 36in x 30in.
When buying a table, you also need to consider how much space you have around the table. We recommend having at least 4-5 feet of space on all 4 sides to play a game of ping-pong comfortably. If you don’t have enough space, you may want to hold off buying a table.
We strongly recommend figuring out where you have space available in your home or office before deciding to buy a table. For home setups, make sure the playing area is not near anything that can easily break. Fragile or expensive items should be moved or protected if they are near the table. Similarly, the placement of a table in a workplace affects not only the players, but also the other employees. The biggest concern is the noise level so the playing area should be isolated enough to not distract others or interfere with their work.
Outdoor Table Considerations
Outdoor playing areas typically have more space to work with, but there are still some factors to consider when choosing where to set up your table. It’s great to play outside in the fresh air, but too much sunlight or wind can make it difficult. If you live in a windy place, try to choose a spot with some natural barriers (walls, trees, etc.) to minimize the effects. You will also want to consider the ground underneath the table, especially if your table requires a level surface. Grass or dirt allows for better shock absorption, but it can be tough to move properly when compared to a wood deck or concrete.
For more on Outdoor tables see: Best Outdoor Ping-Pong Table
Who are you going to play with?
It is said that a famous rap star once faked repair problems in his home so that he could play ping-pong with the handyman when he came over.
Sounds desperate but very true! Ping-pong is a two-person game, so you must have someone to play with. Even the lowest-priced ping-pong tables cost a considerable amount of money, so make sure that you have someone to play with. Otherwise, your table may start collecting dust in a corner.
- Do you have friends who would be interested in playing with you?
- Are family members interested in playing?
- If you are considering getting a table for an office, are your colleagues interested in playing?
If the answer to these questions is positive, then go for it. Otherwise, it may be better for you to join your local club instead of buying a table that you may not use.
You may be extremely passionate about the game and it may be tough to find someone who feels the same way about the game. So you have to find a real playing partner.
Some players pool-in money to buy a ping-pong table. This can be a good way for players on a limited budget to get a table. Just make sure the cost-sharing and table usage details are discussed beforehand.
If you work in an office, you may want to convince your boss that getting a table is a good idea. Ping-pong is a great way to unite employees and keep their minds sharp with physical exercise while giving them a healthy break from sitting down all day.
No serious competition
If you want to take the game seriously but have nobody around that could play at your skill level:
- Consider finding a table tennis coach in your area if you could afford one
- Consider getting a ping-pong robot - this is a great option if you want to practice on your own.
What’s your budget?
Once you have decided that a ping-pong table is a practical choice, it is helpful to decide on a budget. Ping-pong tables are available for as low as $400 and as high as $4000.
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end table. Recreational home players can often find a durable high-quality table that plays like a competition table for less than $700.
We can classify tables into these price points.
Non-Regulation-Size Ping-Pong Tables
Priced between $100 and $450, these tables are the most affordable. They are ideal for children or entry-level players who have a small budget or who do not have space for a full-size table.
You will also find full-size tables in this price range but they generally have very thin surfaces that lead to a poor and an inconsistent bounce and are unlikely to hold up well over time.
Non-regulation sized tables are lightweight and offer portability and easy assembly. Here are some examples:
For more options see Small Fun Tables.
For the reasons mentioned, we do not recommend purchasing a regulation-sized table in this price range. By increasing your budget, you may be able to find a durable full-size table.
Low-End or Recreation Class Ping-Pong Tables
Priced between $450 and $600, recreation class tables are an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates. They offer a great balance of price, quality, and features. You can find a lot of variety in this price category.
When compared to higher-end tables, the options in this price range typically have a thinner table-top with a less consistent bounce. The legs and frame of the table are less sturdy as well.
Tables in this category offer considerable value for the money and you can have a lot of fun playing on them.
Here are my recommended models we have in this range:
For more options see Basic Home Tables.
Mid-Range Ping-Pong Tables and Entry-Level Outdoor tables
Priced between $600 and $1000, you will find mid-range ping-pong tables are most suitable for homes, sports clubs, school gyms, local recreation centers, and even for players looking to train competitively. These tables come with high-quality characteristics like a thick playing surface, strong undercarriage, robust frame, and a detachable net. Entry-level outdoor tables typically fall in this price range.
In this category, you can find indoor tables of exceptional quality for a great price. Some of the tables made in China can perform as well as many high-end European tables that carry a much higher price tag. Additionally, European tables with lower specifications can also be found within this price range.
Here are a couple of the best-selling models we have in this range:
Designer, Competition-Grade, Premium Outdoor Ping-Pong Tables
In the $1000+ price range you will find competition-grade, ITTF-approved premium quality ping-pong tables, designer tables or premium outdoor tables. These tables have the highest-quality features that provide an even bounce and a higher playing experience. Indoor tables in this price range are mostly purchased by official competition hosts, high-end sports bars, and competition players. These are the kind of tables you would find in regional, national and international competitions.
If you are looking for a sturdy and durable outdoor table, this is the price range you will be looking into.
In general, these tables are extremely well-designed. You can expect to get what you pay for.
ITTF-Approved tables provide a consistent bounce on all parts of the table. They have a matte finish on the playing surface for optimal friction and reduced glare. These tables are typically produced in Europe and held to the highest standard. For non-approved tables, the higher price tag can be justified by the use of premium materials and excellent craftsmanship. All premium tables are incredibly durable. This category includes the higher-end outdoor tables as well since they demonstrate these characteristics.
Some of our competition table models:
- Butterfly Centrefold 25
- Cornilleau Park Outdoor
- Cornilleau 850 Wood ITTF Indoor
- Cornilleau 510M Outdoor
- Cornilleau 700M Crossover Outdoor
10 Features to Look For When Buying a Table
Surface thickness refers to the thickness of the table-top; it is perhaps the most important factor that you should consider when purchasing a table tennis table.
A thick table surface means an even bounce; ITTF requires the ball to bounce at least 23 cm when dropped from a height of 30 cm on the table. Tables with low thickness produce uneven bounces that will dampen your playing experience.
As a recreational home or office player, you don’t need to follow ITTF rules.
Competitive games are normally played on a table surface of 25mm thickness, but non-regulation tables come in various thickness levels. Please keep in mind that the specifications for indoor and outdoor tables vary greatly, as outdoor tables are often thinner and made of different materials.
Here are the most common table thicknesses for indoor tables:
14mm and thinner
We do not recommend indoor tables in this category as the bounce will likely be inconsistent.
For beginners, only purchase if you are on a tight budget or want a very lightweight table.
For intermediate players, 18 and 19mm tables have a good bounce and moderate weight.
The second best; found in club class tables. 22mm tables can provide an exceptional bounce, especially tables from the top brands.
The best performance and most consistent bounce; found in competitive-class tables.
The weight of a ping-pong table is directly proportional to its durability: the heavier the table, the longer it will last. Competition grade tables can weigh more than 300 pounds and recreational tables are usually much lighter.
The weight of the table reflects the quality of wood, sturdiness, and durability. A heavier table is often made from higher quality wood or wood composite, which means you get an even surface for an even bounce. The thickness of the table-top and frame play a major part as well. A 25mm table will be considerably heavier than a 15mm due to its table-top and more robust frame.
If you move and change houses often, you should probably consider a table that weighs less and has wheels, for greater portability. A heavy table is difficult to move, especially if it doesn’t have wheels, and you don’t want to pack and ship a gigantic table each time you move.
The sturdiness of the frame is another essential factor to determine your table choice. Look for a table with a durable frame made from excellent quality materials like aluminum or stainless steel. Moreover, look for tables that have more connecting parts because they are sturdier.
The frame is the main structure of your table. You have to pay very close attention to the frame because it is a fundamental building block of every ping-pong table.
Indoor vs Outdoor
Are you going to place your table inside your home, or do you want to put it on a patio or lawn?
Location considerations are crucial, as outdoor tables need to be weatherproof. Since outdoor tables are exposed to natural elements like wind, rain, sunlight, and humidity, they are made from sturdier and cured materials (metal, synthetics). They are generally more expensive than indoor tables, but they will certainly last longer.
There are no hard and fast rules, you can use outdoor tables indoors but it might not be the most cost-effective option. However, outdoor tables can be a good choice for garages and other spaces that experience high humidity or large fluctuations in temperature. The different materials of outdoor tables hold up well over time in these conditions, while the lifespan of an indoor table could be shortened.
For our outdoor table options see Outdoor Tables.
The net of a table tennis table is also essential to the game. Apart from its material and construction, the type of net supported by the table is also important.
These are the most common types of nets for table tennis tables:
Non-Standard Fixed Nets
On some tables, the net posts are fixed to one half of the table or to a center post. They cannot be removed or replaced with a standard net.
These nets allow you to start playing without having to assemble the net every time you play. On the other hand, fixed nets are harder to replace once they wear out since they are unique to each table or brand.
Some ping-pong tables offer clamp net posts that can be attached and detached.
These nets typically allow you to fine-tune the height with a height-adjustment screw and adjust the tension on the net with a string.
They offer versatility but take some time to assemble.
A clip-on net is similar to a clamp net but it is attached to the side of the table with a clip rather than a clamp.
They are faster to attach to the table than clamp nets.
Wheels, Portability and Storage
Ping-pong tables are large and weigh 100 pounds or more. Therefore, the ease with which you can move the table can be an important deciding factor. If portability is important, look for tables that have wheels with their legs and those that can be folded and transported easily.
Larger wheels roll better on uneven surfaces and this is particularly important for outdoor tables. Higher-end tables often have the largest and most durable wheels and this helps when moving the table across the lawn or patio. If you plan to move your table frequently or your playing area is fairly uneven, choosing a table with large wheels is a great idea.
Different Table Designs
One-Piece Folding Tables
The one-piece folding ping-pong table design consists of two halves that are connected through a central folding mechanism. When not in use, the table can be folded up and stored in the standing position.
While you can find the one-piece design on some recreational tables, it is often the higher-end tables that have this feature. The systems vary in their complexity and ease of use. Some are built to be very compact when folded and others prioritize easy setup.
These types of tables often have a fixed net system. With a fixed net, there is no need to detach the net and store it in between use as it is fixed to the table. When you’re ready to play again, you just unfold the table and the net will be in place.
Two-Piece Table with wheels
A two-piece ping-pong table design is one with two separate halves that roll independently and are joined together to form the whole table. The two halves can be folded up and stored side by side. By placing the two halves together, some two-piece tables take up less space than a one-piece table. The table can normally be set up by 1 person, but it may require a little more effort.
Since these tables separate into two halves, they are easier to lift up and move if needed. However, rolling both halves together is a little more challenging than pushing a one-piece table.
You will find detachable nets on these tables, which require a little more set up than a fixed net system. Also, some players worry that the two halves are not strongly secured. While this can be an issue with some tables, players are not allowed to move the table or support themselves on it, so you’re unlikely to encounter a problem.
Stationary Table Design
This design is similar to the two-piece folding table design but there are no wheels attached to the legs. There usually are two small wheels on each half that extend from the side of the table for portability. The table legs fold down into the setup position. This design is extremely compact and is recommended for customers that do not need to move the table in between playing sessions. They can be quite heavy and require some effort to set up each time. For full-time and semi-permanent uses, this is a nice design to consider.
Some ping-pong tables cannot be folded and are not easily transported. Just like furniture, they are designed to remain in one place once they are set-up. These tables are very sturdy and usually heavy.
Killerspin Revolution tables fall in this category.
Choosing the right table design is essential as well. Two-piece design tables can be stacked against each other and typically offer the most compact storage. For portability, high-end one-piece design tables can make it faster to move the table over long distances, as the table halves move together securely.
Our customers sometimes initially buy a table intended to be used in a single place but later discover they need to fold it often to use the room for a different purpose when they are not playing. Consider thinking long-term before making your buying decision - these tables can be in your house for many years!
You may need to find a sweet spot between portability and looks when buying your table. Some of the best looking tables are not very portable. Thinking about the logistics can help you save a lot of hassle and money in the future.
Playback mode is a sought after feature. A table that offers fold up playback mode is one where you can fold up one table half and use it as a backboard for your shots. This allows for solo practice when you do not have someone to play with. This feature is most commonly used by beginners to get a feel for the game.
On the other hand, you will rarely see an advanced player practicing like this since the trajectory of the ball, when hit with sufficient spin and speed, does not accurately reflect in-game conditions. For the best solo practice, we recommend table tennis robots as they provide a more realistic ball trajectory and practice experience.
Playback mode is most often found on two-piece tables.
If you are buying a ping-pong table for your home, it is important to see how much assembly is required. The assembly process can take as little as ten minutes or it can last for hours. Ideally, you would buy one that needs little time to assemble. You can check for the assembly time in the product description or customer reviews. There may even be a product-specific manual or demonstration video available.
Fortunately, almost all models can be easily assembled. You have to be a little cautious though, sometimes you can damage the frame and surface if you don’t know exactly how to place the pieces together.
Table builds for professionals typically require complex instructions, but most tables are pretty easy to set up. Make sure to see what tools are required to properly assemble the table. For more complex assemblies, you will almost certainly need some specific tools and this information should be in the instructions.
In general, you don’t have to pay for assembly service. By doing a little bit of research and watching some videos on YouTube, you can often figure it out yourself. I’d suggest reading the installation manual before buying the table to have some idea beforehand.
Worst case, if you order a table that requires assembly and you are not too technical, you can hire somebody to assemble it for you. You can find a local handyman to help with this task, but first, check to see if they are familiar with the process.
Spare Part Availability
We recommend purchasing a ping-pong table that is manufactured by an established brand. If you lose or break a part of the table, replacement parts will be readily available. Furthermore, purchasing a model that is already popular increases the likelihood that the manufacturer has spare parts when you need them.
Once considered the mainstay of mildewed basements, garages, and old school dive bars, ping-pong has made a flashy comeback in high-end sports bars, restaurants, and recreation rooms around the world.
Ping-pong’s reclaimed fame is reflected in the giant ping-pong robot developed by a famous tech company, astronauts playing microgravity ping-pong, and Facebook creating a virtual reality that lets users play ping-pong in space. One person even taught their dog to play ping-pong!
Encouraged by these entertaining trends, many millennials are purchasing ping-pong tables for their homes like crazy and we at Megaspin are excited to help you buy ping-pong tables from one of the best brands in the world.
Table Top Color
Examining the specifications and features of a table is a great way to figure out which table is right for you, but finding a table that matches your taste in style (or home decor) is important too.
While it can be as simple as picking your favorite color, there are a couple of details to consider.
Blue is the most common color and you can find it across most major brands. If you take a look through a tournament hall, you will likely see a blue sea of competition-level tables. Over the years, green has also been a popular color and many green tables have a “classic” look to them.
Black and gray tables have gained in popularity as well. Tables in these colors have a more neutral look and can pair well with other furniture and decorations. If you are searching for something even more unique, Killerspin tables come in many stylish colors.