We will start by discussing the importance of ping pong table thickness. You may ask, “Why start there”? The reason is that table thickness is the most important factor in determining the overall quality of the table itself. If a table top is too thin it should be eliminated from consideration even if it is within your budget. A thin table top will make for a flimsy table that will start to break down in a short time. The bounce will also be unpredictable and untrue. Both of these flaws make this table unacceptable.
How thin is too thin? Here are some general thoughts on indoor ping pong table thicknesses that directly affect overall table quality.
|Less than 15 mm (approximately half an inch or less)||Our recommendation is that you not even consider buying these tables. These are tables of the lowest quality. Ball bounces on these types of tables may be inconsistent in some sections of the table top surface. These tables will warp much easier over time and will not be able to withstand the slightest of humid conditions.|
|15 mm (0.590551”)||This lightweight table is for beginner players that are on a strict budget.|
|18 mm to 19 mm (~.75”)||This table is for more serious players. It will have a good bounce and it should maintain good quality with moderate use for a reasonable period of time. A good standard table for casual play has a top thickness in this range.|
|22 mm (0.866142”)||These high quality tables can be found in public use. You can find them in clubs, schools and bars and also in homes with more serious players.|
|25 mm (1”)||ITTF for international tournaments only approves tables with a minimum thickness of 25 mm. These are tables of the highest quality, with consistently true bounces and great durability.|
Outdoor tables do not share these same measurement concerns. The main quality concern for an outdoor ping pong table is the table’s ability to withstand all weather conditions. This includes both rain and ice but do not overlook the rays of the sun as well. Look to place the table where there will be at least some shade. Also you should consider looking into an anti-glare coating or other protective layer to further preserve your table.
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR PING PONG TABLES
Outdoor tables are more expensive than indoor tables because they have sturdier frames and are waterproof to withstand the elements. They are often made of concrete, plastic, fiberglass or noncorrosive metals. Even if you place your table in a sheltered area like a garage, shed, barn or pavilion you still may be better off purchasing an outdoor model especially if it is unheated or if there is higher humidity there. If you don’t then there is a high probability that the table will warp.
Advantages of Outdoor Ping Pong Tables:
- Are generally more sturdy
- Space is less restrictive
Advantages of Indoor Ping Pong Tables:
- Generally less expensive than outdoor tables
- Can play when weather is inclement or too windy
INDOOR PING PONG TABLES
If you are leaning toward choosing an indoor table then the biggest question is whether you have the adequate space available to play an enjoyable game there. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)has determined that the standard-sized table is:
2.74 m (9.0 ft) long, 1.525 m (5.0 ft) wide, and 76 cm (2.5 ft) high
The net is 6 feet long, overhanging 6 inches at either side and is 6 inches high. You can get by with 3 feet of play area beyond the perimeter edges for the table if the play is casual. It is recommended this be increased to 5 feet if the play is more competitive.
You should choose the standard size table if your space allows for it and especially if your table is for more serious play.
The section that follows has been added to help you get the most enjoyment from your table. It is a good idea to have these points in mind as you are looking to purchase a new table.
- Lighting: It should adequately illuminate the play area but should be constructed in a way that it does not interfere with occasional aggressive play. Sturdy lighting with a low profile away from swinging paddles will work best. One light near the middle of the table and one near each player is a good idea as well.
- Shoes: The less desirable the floor, the more important a player’s shoes become. Avoid running shoes and choose a shoe that is thin and light that will not hinder fast side-to-side movement. Clunkier running shoes with a wider heel will not be the best choice.
- Floor Color: If possible for the best experience choose a floor that has a color that is in contrast to the table. Imagine playing with a green table that is on top of a green floor. This combined with the fast paced game of table tennis will make play much more difficult and is also a potential safety issue. In most table tennis tournaments the flooring color is red for this reason.
- Wall Color: While we are on the subject, the color of the walls should also be in contrast to the floor and the table as well.
- Ceiling Height: The biggest concern here is player safety. A swinging hand smashing into low-hanging duct work may require a trip to the emergency room. So put safety first. If the players are highly competitive, then low ceilings may be an issue. Otherwise for casual play low ceilings are fine.
- Concrete or Tiled Floor: A concrete or a tiled floor is fine if it is level and smooth. Remember that a hard floor will be rough on the knees and ankles. These types of floors can also be dangerously slippery if there is an occasional beverage spill.
- Carpet: There are some advantages to carpet but stay away from thicker types. A low pile carpet will hold up to traffic better and it will be a bit easier to move upon. But even with a low pile carpet, there eventually will be wear with heavy play.
- Laminate or Wood: Another possibility would be to go with a laminate or wood floor. That would work fine because players will be able to move around and shuffle their feet across the smooth surface.
- Anti-Slip PVC: For higher end tables with more competitive players, an indoor Anti-Slip PVC flooring may be the best choice.
- Other Safety Concerns:Make sure that the play area around the table is free of any hard or sharp edged obstacles. Also ensure that there are no fragile items in the vicinity as well. It may be a good idea to move that antique Chinese vase that is worth a king’s ransom to a safer location!
- When the table comes off the delivery truck, can the table get through to the desired play location? Make sure by measuring all of the areas that the table will pass through as it makes its way through the home or building.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS IF THE ROOM SIZE IS TOO SMALL?
- You can purchase a non-regulation size table. Non-regulation ping pong tables generally have dimensions that are approximately 6 feet X 3 feet X 2.5 feet.
- Buy a foldable table that can be stored nearby when not in use. When anyone wants to start playing, furniture could be rearranged enough to make it work.
- Buy a ping pong table top. If the room is of relatively adequate size but some space is already taken by a dining room table you may solve the problem by buying just the table top. This of course would be for casual play and not for seriously competitive players. The ping pong table top is stored away when not in use and then can be placed on top of the dining room table when you are ready to play.
- If none of these work, you always have the option of getting an outdoor ping pong table.
OTHER PING PONG TABLE FEATURES TO CONSIDER:
- Tables that fold up one side to enable playback practice is a good feature for a table to have. This is especially helpful when training beginners.
- A table that is ITTF Approved will generally be an assurance of quality.
- Buying a table made by an established brand will bring a proven track record. Most tables from well known brands also come with good warranties.
- Look at the sturdiness of the frame. A stainless steel or aluminum frame would be a good overall choice.
- Does the table have any safety features like lockable wheels or padded corners?
Buying a high quality ping pong table is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Once you start to consider all of the finer details there is definitely a lot to take in. We hope that you found some helpful guidance in this Ping Pong Table Buying Guide article. If you have any questions or would like to share how this article was helpful to you please reach out to us by using the “Contact Us” page.
Now go and build some great memories and create strong personal bonds around your new ping pong table. While you are at it, show off that killer spin ball you’ve got!