Choosing The Right Table For Your Needs
Let me be honest with you: I suck at ping pong. Basketball too, for that matter, but I still love playing ‘em. There’s something about it. Few games are as fast-paced and skill-based as ping pong, and if you want to get good (or at least not embarrass yourself) you need a table of your own to practice with.
But what kind of table? How do you know it’s a good one? Well, There are just a few things you need to know:
Indoor Table Tennis Comparison Guide
|1||STIGA Advantage Indoor Table||10||Buy on Amazon|
|2||JOOLA Inside 15mm Table Tennis Table||9.9||Buy on Amazon|
|3||JOOLA Midsize Compact Table Tennis Table||9.8||Buy on Amazon|
|4||EastPoint Sports 1-1-33725-DS Table Tennis Table||9.6||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Joola Tour 2500 Indoor Table||9.4||Buy on Amazon|
Outdoor Table Tennis Comparison Guide
|1||Stiga XTR Outdoor||10||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Joola Outdoor TR||9.8||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Kettler Outdoor table||9.6||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Cornilleau 500m Crossover Indoor/Outdoor||9.2||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Killerspin MyT7 Blackstorm Outdoor||9.0||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Joola Outdoor Nova DX||8.9||Buy on Amazon|
How to Pick The Perfect Table Tennis Table For Your Money
Regulation size ping pong tables are 9 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2 feet 6 inches high, with a net 6 feet long (yeah, it’s supposed to hang over the side) and 6 inches high. But let’s be real:
You’re probably not a professional ping pong player. Not if you’re coming to me for help anyway. That’s fine, though, it means we get to have a little wiggle room. Consider that size a guideline more than a rule, but most tables are going to fall within about a foot either way of those measurements.
Indoor or Outdoor
Generally speaking, the bigger place you have to play, the better it is. Contrary to popular belief, serious ping-pong players move a lot. Not quite as much as tennis players, but more than just the length of the table.
So following that, outdoor tables have a bit of an edge unless you’re putting your table in the local YMCA or something, right? Well, sort of. You have to sacrifice some stuff for certain outdoor tables, and maybe you don’t want to be a serious ping-pong player and just want to play with some buddies in your garage.
Plus: You can always just move an indoor table outside as long as the weather’s good. Not like you’re going to want to play in the rain anyway.
It all comes down to personal preference at that point. Just figure out where you’re normally going to play (and where you have space to store the sucker), and choose from there.
We’ll talk about special considerations for outdoor tables when we get down there.
When it comes to ping-pong tables bigger (well, thicker) is better:
The thicker the table top, the better the bounce. Most good tables are about 25-30 millimeters (around 1”) thick, but there has also been a recent push for making 3/4” the standard. It pretty much comes down to preference and what you can find, but thicker is never worse (though thinner can be).
For a cheap table, you’re looking at under $200, but the higher quality tables are going to run you between $400 and $1000. We’ll be looking at a range of tables today so don’t worry: Whatever your price range, I’ve got you covered.
Keep in mind foldaway tables can be hazardous to the little ones.
If you’ve got kids (and even if you don’t, for that matter), properly secure your table, so it doesn’t fall on them, and they can’t get caught in the middle when the two halves unfold.
The design of the undercarriage can change a lot. Mostly one or more of a few things:
- Whether it has wheels or not.
- Whether it’s designed for wheelchair play.
- The stability of the table (remember: Wood is good)
- Aesthetics (hey, looks are important too!)
But now that we’ve got all of that hammered out, let’s start looking at some good indoor tables (and we’ll take a gander at some good outdoor ones after that!):
Top Five Indoor Ping Pong Table Reviews
The Stiga Advantage could be considered the successor to the older model Stiga st4100 and Stiga st3100. It is an excellent table and my pick for best ping pong table under $500.
Coming in at full regulation size, and in a beautiful slate blue, this table is perfect for the average player.
Regarding the combination of safety and quality, this table can’t be beaten.
For the former, its table halves break entirely apart, store inside one another, and have safety latches: This completely removes the “guillotine” motion of other folding tables that can make them so dangerous.
On the quality front, it’s made of high-quality MDF, and everything is made with tournament quality construction in mind. Its table top is 5/8” thick, well within the standard range. It also has all the features you’d expect from a modern table, including “playback mode” (it can fold up one half for solo play) and leg levelers.
If you want a table that has most of what makes the Stiga Advantage great, for a bit less green, Joola has you covered. Pretty much everything you can say about the Stiga you can say here:
It’s the same size (regulation sized), same thickness (5/8”), same color, easy to assemble (just bolt the legs on and you’re good to go), playback mode, leg levelers, separate table parts, the whole nine yards (or feet in this case). There are only two major things that aren’t the same:
The price (the Joola 15mm is under $400, and about $50 cheaper than the Stiga Advantage), and the safety features. While it does feature auto locking mechanisms, it doesn’t have the same sturdy clamps or storage quite as compact as the Stiga Advantage, which puts it a bit lower on my list.
Still, if the safety features aren’t a big deal to you, saving that extra $50 is never a bad thing.
Do you want to play ping pong in the living room of your tiny apartment? Then boy do I have a table for you!
It’s got some weird dimensions (6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 2 feet 6 inches high), which makes it way shorter and thinner than usual. What this means is it can fit tiny spaces: Move your beanbags and coffee tables out of the way, and you can throw down pretty much anywhere!
Now, obviously, this table isn’t going to be as good as a regulation-sized table. It being two feet thinner and three feet shorter than a normal table means it’s going to be a little slower paced and you’re going to need to play a little more gently with it. However: That’s not necessarily a downside.
This makes it perfect to play with kids and folds up extremely small (a 3 foot by 3 foot near-perfect square when folded). I’m not going to lie and say this is the best tablet on the market, but for what it is, and it’s definitely the best ping pong table for under $200 (and the best table for small spaces, hands down), so it’s great for people with kids or space constraints.
Here’s our best ping pong table for under $300. It’s another folding table, but this one gets special mention for being regulation size while unfolded, while still being compact while folded (85% the size of other tables, according to Eastpoint).
This one I recommend for its combination of price and versatility. It’s cheap, but not cheaply made, and being regulation sized makes it great for learning to play on. It being so compact while folded makes it easy to store, of course, but I think it’s more important for one other thing: It makes it the perfect table for moving between indoor and outdoor play.
All the other indoor tables on this list are a bit too cumbersome and heavy to casually move between indoors and out, save the Joola compact (which is too small to really justify the move). This is something to keep in mind when purchasing: If you ever want to play outside, but don’t want a permanent fixture in your yard (or aren’t allowed to store things outdoors, say in an apartment complex or dorm) this is the perfect table.
Our pick for the best indoor table is another Joola; if you’re wondering why they appear so much on this list, the answer is simple: They’re the official USATT tournament table brand, so they have a lot of high-quality models.
This one, in particular, is a true tournament table: Full regulation size, and a full 1” thick table top.
Everything nice I had to say about the Stiga Advantage applies here, and more. It’s sturdily constructed (the undercarriage, in particular, is well made and quite thick, so it’s very stable and strong), comes with separate folding table sides for “playback mode”, can be safely secured (though still not quite as well as the Advantage), and it’s not too bad to look at. Like all tournament tables, it’s a bit heavy (250 lbs), but the quality is worth it.
It’s a bit pricier than the Advantage, coming in at between $600 and $1000, but the thicker table top (making for a faster, stronger bounce) and sturdier, heavier construction makes it the best all-around table and justifies that relatively slight price jump nicely.
I want to address something head-on: I am not sponsored by Joola or anything like that. They appear a lot on this list because they’re high-quality tables at relatively low prices, and I like the specs on the vast majority of their products better than many of the other brands. When it comes to picking a ping pong table, you want the fundamentals to be great, and that’s what Joola does well.
I didn’t go into this expecting to pick so many Joomla tables, but sometimes that’s how things shake out. They’re a big name for a reason after all. But, moving on…
…Though before we get into the outdoor tables, let’s look at a unique feature to look out for in an outdoor table, and a consideration:
Most indoor tables are made of the same stuff: Steel undercarriage, MDF laminated top. An outdoor table is, naturally, going to be made of different stuff, usually an aluminum/plastic composite.
This makes the table weatherproof, but it’s also going to change the playing surface “feel,” and balls will bounce differently. Especially when you take into account that the table surface is sometimes (but not always) much thinner, and one other detail…
Usually, you don’t get the wind blowing indoors unless something horrible is happening. Outside though? A different story. Simply put, your game is not going to be the same outside, and you can’t expect it to be. Random gusts of wind can make the game unplayable, or at least partially luck based.
If you’re willing to play around that it can make for some unique challenges and rules, but don’t go into buying an outdoor table expecting it to be the same as playing indoors.
Keep in mind; outdoor tables are a bit more expensive on average. Expect the low end of $500, and be prepared to shell out $1000 or more for quality.
Now, let’s get started on the:
Top 6 Outdoor Ping Pong Table Reviews
Starting us off again is Stiga, with a decent entry. Solid construction, with a regulation size top and weatherproofing, as expected. It has independent table halves, but unfortunately lacks the safety latches of the Advantage.
It does have wheels, but they lock and do have integrated levelers for uneven playing surfaces (like grass, or sloped ground).
The main issue with this table? At close to $500 it had to make a sacrifice: It’s got a mere 1/4” thick table. Still, it’s not a BAD table, just not as good as many entries here, lacking many of the extra standout features besides being weatherproof.
The table top of this is quality! The rest…hit or miss. First the good:
The table top is about 7/8” thick, giving it a very nice bounce, comparatively. The construction is very solid, and the table is regulation size. This makes it a great table to play on if you don’t need to worry about its two major downsides.
Downside 1: The table lacks levelers (and the wheels are fairly small and cheap). This means you’re not going to be doing much with it on uneven ground or rolling it through grass very easily, strictly limiting it primarily to flat concrete outdoors.
Downside 2: It doesn’t come mostly preassembled like a lot of the tables on this list and is reportedly pretty difficult to put together, so keep that in mind. You’re not going to be up and playing within 10 minutes out of the box; it’s going to run you about 2 hours.
It’s not a deal breaker for everyone (if you’ve got a solid back porch or patio to play on, it’s fine) but for those looking for something they can set up anywhere, give this guy a pass, especially with its ~$1000 price tag.
Hello! This is what I’ve been looking for.Great surface (7/8” thick; claimed to be full tournament bounce), solid aluminum covered wood construction, good wheels, and fully weatherproof (rain, sleet, or snow the pong will come through).
Unfortunately, it again doesn’t have levelers…but what it does have is a much more acceptable reason for skimping on them. This beauty comes in at under $600, making it MUCH easier to justify the purchase. This also allows me to (partially) forgive it’s reportedly difficult to construct nature. I still feel as though it should be easy to assemble and move, but at least the price is good.
Let’s get this out of the way: This table is not for everyone. It’s WAY too expensive to justify the purchase for most people, coming in at about $1500. However, it’s a specialized table:
This table was made to be wheelchair accessible. The other features are largely aside from this fact, though it is still a quality table with a well made (if thin) 7mm surface and extremely solid looking construction, with an automatically retractable net.
But this table’s main claim to fame is it being able to be played by people who are wheelchair-bound. I do not recommend this table to anyone else; while it is an acceptable table it is simply too expensive aside that fact. But it having that accessibility is very commendable and a rare find, so it has my seal of approval.
Hey, what do you know? An outdoor table with leg levelers!
This is also one of the nicer looking tables we’ve looked at today. Red and black is simple, of course, but is a welcome change from the deluge of blue tops. It’s regulation size, but has a distressingly thin 4mm surface(the thinnest we’ve looked at), though by all accounts the bounce is still pretty good given it’s an outdoor table, where a lower bounce is expected.
If it weren’t for the price, this would be my pick for best table. It has everything we’ve looked for, being made of sturdy weatherproof materials, the right size, and a good bounce…but it is a little pricey at a little under $1000 even with the nifty side ball storage. I still give it the edge over the Stiga, but it falls under king Joola in our final entry, which is even better.
This bad boy is everything we’re looking for. Good surface, at about average for an outdoor table (6mm) and solid aluminum plastic construction and rustproof undercarriage.
More importantly: It has leg levelers and good wheels. Seriously, why did so many of these tables lack such key features?
All around though it’s an excellent table, and hard to beat…which is why it wasn’t, in this category at least. It has every feature every other table has on this list save the wheelchair accessibility and nifty ball storage but comes in a much more manageable (and easy to assemble) ~$600 package.
The wheelchair accessibility is a great feature, don’t get me wrong, but most aren’t going to need it, and if you don’t need it that extra $1000 is just wasted. Similarly, I simply can’t justify suggesting the Killerspin over this just for the nicer colors and ball storage; it’s nifty but not $400 worth of nifty.
I think the lesson we should take away here is: Joola tables are always a safe bet. In both categories they were far and away the best mix of price and quality available on the market, competing largely with themselves the whole time. The Tour 2500 and Nova DX are EXCELLENT tables, beaten only in very niche categories (like wheelchair accessibility, which is either a necessity or complete waste of money with no in-between) and nice, but overall unnecessary features.
While the other categories on this list are good, and many could be considered better if money is no object, I tend to value the basics first and bells and whistles last: And Joola are masters of the basics, making sure each of their tables has necessary, expected features before putting anything else on their tables, unlike some of the competitors.
Oh, as for the overall winner? The Joola Tour 2500. Indoor tables are always going to be higher quality than outdoor.
I can’t help you get better at ping pong (though this guide should be able to help you out) but what I can do is help you pick out a good table.