Table Tennis Table Buying Guide
Buying the 'right' Table Tennis Table can seem like an impossible task. With a huge range of tables on offer from dozens of brands, it's tough to narrow down your choice and pick the perfect table for your needs. However, Masters Traditional Games is here to help with our handy guide on buying the best Table Tennis Tables. Whether it's an Outdoor Table Tennis Table for the family or an Indoor Table for serious competition play, our guide can help you recognise the important features your table should have. Then, once you've narrowed down your search, browse through our hand-picked selection of Table Tennis Tables from the biggest and best manufacturers, such as Cornilleau, Butterfly, Donic-Schildkröt, Stiga and Sponeta. And, as ever, our friendly team of experts are just an email or phone call away.
See also: Table Tennis Tables.
Outdoor models are undoubtedly the most popular choice of Table Tennis Table and it's no wonder why. Not only are Table Tennis Tables big and take up a lot of room - so having one in the garden makes a lot of sense - you also can't beat playing Table Tennis outside on a hot, sunny day - it's the perfect accompaniment to a family BBQ and a fun, social activity for all ages. However, it's important to choose an outdoor table wisely as they are exposed to the elements and have to cope with extreme changes in temperature and humidity. This is why you should never use an indoor table outdoors.
Outdoor tables should be constructed with fully weatherproof materials and be suitable for outdoor storage all year round, although covering the table in winter is always recommended. The playing top should be resistant to all types of weather and also feature an anti-glare coating that reduces sun reflection. The best playing surfaces for outdoor play tend to be a resin laminate as this ticks all the boxes. Playing top thickness should also be considered as this determines the ball bounce and generally the playing quality. Typically, the thicker the top, the better the bounce, and we recommend at least a 5mm thickness on the top for satisfactory performance.
Another key feature is the wheels. Big, sturdy wheels are very useful on outdoor tables as they allow for easy movement over any surface. Likewise, leg levellers / adjustable feet are a must for the uneven outdoor ground.
For family tables, safety is obviously a key concern and it's important to check what safety features any potential table has. Ensure your table has a locking mechanism to secure the tabletops in place during play and when folded upright, and make sure the wheels have brakes to prevent unwanted movement that could be dangerous.
Cornilleau are one of the leading outdoor Table Tennis brands and their range of tables suit most budgets. We would recommend going for at least the 100S as this gives you a sturdy frame and a decent 5mm top. For those looking for a table that's higher spec and more robust, then the PowerTec table by Donic-Schildkröt is highly recommended.
Table Tennis really is an indoor sport and for serious players only an indoor table will do. If you have the space and take your Table Tennis seriously, then you should opt for an indoor table as the playing quality is generally much better.
The key part of any indoor table is the playing top material and thickness. The top should be wooden (or wood derivative) and, at the high end / competition spec, you will find 22mm or 25mm tops that will provide optimum bounce and shot reliability. For home use, a 19mm top will suffice - perhaps even 16mm for more casual players - as this will provide good bounce, speed and spin and be much more affordable. Any thinner than this and you get poor performance and bad durability.
It's important to remember that indoor tables are designed to be stored indoors in a heated house. For garages, cellars etc. we would strongly recommend opting for an outdoor table instead.
Ultimately, your choice will likely come down to budget and with Table Tennis Tables you generally get what you pay for. Cheap tables will have thin tops with poor bounce and unreliable consistency and expensive tables will have the best thick tops for optimum performance. A good middle ground is a 19mm top table, such as the Butterfly Easifold 19 which is good all-rounder for both casual and more serious players.
For heavy, intensive use in schools, clubs, hotels and other public or commercial venues, a more robust table is often required. This is where static Table Tennis Tables are in a league of their own. Public / commercial use tables will likely get some rough treatment and won't be cared for in the same way as a family table so it's important to go for the most robust model your budget allows. Generally, play quality and performance will be of less importance than durability and longevity.
The most robust are static tables that don't fold and can usually be fixed to the ground. These tables are also often supplied with a metal net to prevent theft or damage. Static, ground-fixed tables are also 'safer' as the heavy tabletops are never folded upright and the table won't collapse or buckle under the weight of people sitting or leaning. This is obviously a key concern in school playgrounds and holiday resorts.
For school playgrounds and other outdoor venues, you can't go wrong with the Cornilleau Proline 510M.