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Playing ping pong can be a fun activity to share with family and friends, and if you have a ping pong table at home, you can enjoy this pastime whenever you like.
The big issue, especially if you're new to the sport, is figuring out which ping pong table is right for you. A decent ping pong table is a fairly big investment, and you most certainly want a product that provides good value for the money.
Luckily, we at BestReviews are here to help. Our goal is to aid consumers in making informed purchasing decisions. We test items in our labs, consult experts, examine data from existing customers, and perform extensive product research – all so we can create fair and thorough reviews you can rely on.
When you're ready to buy a ping pong table, navigate to the top of the page to see our five favorites. But, first, read on for our full guide.
Most of us have played ping pong, or "table tennis" as many prefer to call it, at one time or another. But why should you buy your own ping pong table?
It's fun! If you enjoy playing table tennis, why not have your own table so you can play whenever you choose?
Ping pong is an excellent family activity, and it can be a godsend for parents who are looking for something to lure their kids away from video games or TV.
Table tennis is better exercise than you might imagine, particularly when you play fast-paced games.
If you intend to play table tennis competitively, you'll ideally need a ping pong table at home on which to practice.
Don't be surprised that the net that comes with your ping pong table is wider than the table. It's supposed to overhang by six inches on each side.
An indoor ping pong table or an outdoor ping pong table: which is right for you?
Indoor ping pong tables are designed to be used inside and aren't capable of withstanding the elements.
While you can find stationary indoor tables, most ping pong tables designed for beginners and intermediate players fold away to save space when not in use.
Indoor ping pong tables tend to give you a better and more consistent bounce as compared to outdoor ping pong tables of a similar price.
Be careful not to expose an indoor ping pong table to direct sunlight or extremely hot or cold temperatures, as it could easily warp.
Outdoor ping pong tables are made from strong materials such as aluminum composite. As a result, they can last for decades outdoors.
While the materials used to make outdoor ping pong tables are hard-wearing, they do result in a less uniform bounce.
Most outdoor ping pong tables are stationary and can't be folded, though you can find some exceptions.
Some tables have a playback position where half the table flips up so you can play alone. This is great for people who want more practice but don't always have a willing partner.
The playing surface thickness of a ping pong table is important. You can find tables with playing surfaces between 1/4" and 1" thick.
The best-quality ping pong tables are 7/8" to 1" thick. This gives a consistent bounce over the whole of the playing surface.
However, if you're just playing for fun, it probably won't matter to you too much if you get a lower bounce in some areas of the table.
A thicker playing surface makes it less likely that your ping pong table will warp.
You can find convertible ping pong tables that have interchangeable tops. These tops may enable the ping pong table to double as a pool table, foosball table, or similar. This sounds like a great idea for a game room, but convertible ping pong tables do tend to compromise on quality, so you might inadvertently end up with two or three subpar games tables in one.
A strong frame will give your ping pong table more stability. To gauge strength, look at the thickness of the frame, its material, and the width of the chassis.
A frame that has plenty of contact with the ping pong table will be much more stable than a frame that only has contact where the legs meet the table.
The standard size for a ping pong table is 9' by 5', but some home models may be smaller. If you're serious about ping pong, you'll probably want to practice at home on a standard-size table – especially if you compete or intend to do so in the future.
While some people are lucky enough to have the space to keep their table tennis table in position at all times, others have to tuck away their table while not in use. Many indoor tables fold in the middle, making them small enough to store in a corner without taking up too much space. Ideally, look for a table set on casters. This will enable you to roll the table out of the way rather than having to lift it.
Standard ping pong tables are 2'6" tall, but you can find shorter and/or adjustable models to suit smaller players.
These tips will help you make safe and effective use of your new ping pong table.
Wherever you choose to set up your ping pong table, make sure you have enough room on all sides for players to move around.
Even with a good-quality outdoor ping pong table, we recommend purchasing a decent cover for it to increase longevity.
Accessory holders which accommodate paddles and balls are handy. If you have these extras, your paddles and balls are less likely to get strewn around the house and misplaced.
Watch out for kids when opening out a folding table; little fingers can get trapped in the hinges and moving parts.
If you need to clean the surface of your ping pong table, be wary. The chemicals in some cleaning products could damage the finish of the table. Instead, use a natural solution such as a mixture of five parts water and one part distilled white vinegar.
Stationary ping pong tables are more stable, but they take up more room than those that fold.
Just how much do you need to spend on a ping pong table? Below, we examine average table prices.
Basic ping pong tables cost from $250 to $700. These entry-level models tend to have thinner playing surfaces and less-sturdy frames, though their quality generally improves as the price goes up. You can find cheaper “compact” ping pong tables, but we wouldn't recommend them unless you're short on space.
According to ITTF rules, ping pong tables must be a matte dark color. The ITTF used to only approve green or blue tables, but this was amended in 2016 based on the fact 8% of men have trouble differentiating green and red (which is the color of the floor covering used at top tournaments).
Mid-range ping pong tables cost roughly $700 to $1,500. You can find some excellent models in this price range, but most won't meet tournament standards so aren't ideal for competitive players to practice on.
High-end ping pong tables can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000. These tables should be approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and meet its tournament standards.
Q. Will I have to assemble my new ping pong table?
A. While some high-end table tennis tables come fully assembled, most require some degree of assembly. Luckily, this process isn't usually too complex and generally takes no more than 30 minutes.
Q. Do I need a ping pong table that meets the tournament standards of the ITTF?
A. If you or a family member intends to play competitively, you really need to own a ping pong table that meets the tournament standards of the ITTF. Tables that don't meet these standards will feel slightly different to play on, and this would leave you at a disadvantage come competition time.
Q. Will my ping pong table come with a net and posts?
A. Most, if not all, come with a net and posts. Some are fixed in place, whereas others are removable.
Q. What should I do if the surface on which I want to set my ping pong table isn't completely level?
A. In this case, you should look for a ping pong table with built-in leg levelers. These can be adjusted to help keep your table level and stable on an uneven floor.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.