Best Picnic Tables

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
89 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best picnic tables

The sight of a picnic table inspires thoughts of grilling outside, playing yard games, and basking in the glow of the summer sun. Perhaps you have fond childhood memories of sitting around the picnic table eating burgers, chips, and homemade potato salad off a paper plate. But a picnic table isn’t just about nostalgia; it’s a functional piece of furniture that comes in handy when you’re spending quality time outdoors.

It used to be that everyone owned a replica of the same picnic table. It was made of wood with the classic attached benches, and it gave you slivers if you slid across it just the right way. Today, there are many more options. If you’re in the market, you will need to choose from an assortment of picnic tables made of plastic, aluminum, steel, and wood. Some are more decorative than others, and prices vary considerably.

Our buying guide will help you determine which picnic table is right for you. Be sure to check out the picnic tables we’re endorsing as the best, too; you might just find your favorite.

Don’t forget the tablecloth! Placing a tablecloth on a picnic table is an easy way to protect the table while adding ambience to the meal.

Considerations

Table materials

Wood is the most traditional picnic table material. Different types of wood offer different degrees of durability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. Price varies depending on the type of wood used, too. The most affordable picnic table wood is fir. Composite or treated wood picnic tables are the most durable. If you’re looking entirely for aesthetics, many people agree that redwood is the most beautiful.

Aluminum picnic tables are low-maintenance items that can last for a number of years. This furniture will not rust, but it should still be taken inside when extreme weather hits, especially if there are high winds. Aluminum is lightweight, and the wind could carry off the furniture.

Picnic tables can also be made of plastic, metal, stone, or concrete. Plastic tables are more common than metal or concrete ones. Concrete picnic tables are usually found at parks or event venues because they are cemented to the ground, rendering them unmovable. Plastic tables are an affordable option for those who aren’t looking for a picnic table to last a lifetime. Metal picnic tables aren’t common because picnic tables are usually used during the summer, and metal gets hot in the sun.

Shape

Circular and oval picnic tables are great for small spaces. They also are perfect for anyone who needs wheelchair accessibility. The table’s edge is rounded and doesn’t have any angles that would prevent a chair from fitting comfortably near it. A circular table can add a bit of softness to a backyard, especially if the table will be placed on a poured concrete slab or angular deck.

Square and rectangular picnic tables are more traditional shapes. They’re easy to find, but sizes differ greatly. When selecting a table, think of how many people you will be serving most of the time. A square table is perfect for a couple who loves to camp and spend time outdoors. A rectangle would work better for a family of four or more people.

It’s also possible to purchase a farmhouse picnic table or a buffet-style picnic table. These are best used for large gatherings because of the extra table space and seating they offer. A farmhouse table is both long and wide. This type of table was originally used to sort and can produce in a farmhouse.

Attached vs. detached seating

Do you want a picnic table with attached or detached seating? The classic picnic table has benches that are welded right to the table. These picnic tables are essentially one big piece with attached benches. Some one-piece picnic tables have benches that still retain some form of movement. For example, they may lift up for wheelchair access or collapse to allow more leg room.

The modern version of a picnic table has detached benches. This style of picnic table is more similar in construction to a patio furniture set than a classic picnic table. Many people find these tables easy to use and conveniently portable. Most tables are accompanied by benches that span the entire length of the table. Usually two benches suffice, but if the table is an odd shape, there may be more.

A buffet-style picnic table is similar to a farmhouse table, albeit thinner.

Purpose

We understand that not all picnic tables will be used solely for picnicking. In fact, most tables available are multi-use tables. For example, in addition to eating, you may use the table for doing arts and crafts.

Aluminum is easy to clean, while wood may absorb some of the mess. Portable tables can be carried along to places, while permanent ones will remain in the yard forever.

Features

Collapsibility

Some picnic tables have the ability to collapse completely. Others have the option to collapse a section of seating for more space or accessibility. Likewise, there are tables that two-in-one picnic tables that can be configured as a bench or as a table.

Sustainability

People often search for items that reflect their views on the world. Environmentally minded folks may look to purchase a sustainably sourced picnic table. This may mean it’s made completely of recycled materials or that the wood was grown without pesticides or chemicals. A picnic table like this becomes not just a possession but a reflection of one’s own beliefs.

Non-tipping benches

What’s more embarrassing than falling out of your seat? Not much! Some picnic tables are designed so the weight is distributed along the bench or seating. That way, there’s no risk of tipping the bench or having it become unbalanced. These tables are safer, especially for children and the elderly.

Picnic table prices

For a smaller picnic table and set of stools, the average price range is from $50 to $100. These sets will last, but they don’t add much to the aesthetics of your yard. For a picnic table that’s more traditional and larger, expect to pay between $100 and $200. These basic tables do not have much in the way of special features, but they are made from quality materials. The priciest picnic tables cost more than $200. Many of these products are decorative as well as functional. If you spend this much, you’re likely to find something made from weather-resistant quality materials.

Tips

  • Decide if you want to keep your picnic table outside or inside a garage or four-seasons room; that will help you determine how portable the table needs to be.
  • If you can’t find the color you desire, remember that some wooden tables can be stripped and restained — or even painted.
  • The average picnic table stands 28 to 34 inches from the ground. The benches average heights of 18 to 20 inches. Determine what size picnic table you’d like depending on your desired elbow room and space you require for eating.
Picnic tables aren’t just for camping. Create a romantic getaway in your own backyard with the additional purchase of some hanging lights and a sheer tablecloth. Add some wildflowers and a candle or two, and it’s a unique date idea for the money savvy.

FAQ

Q. Are classic “old-style” picnic tables still available?

A. Yes, but they may be difficult to find. Some custom woodworkers will create classic wood picnic tables for a greater cost. Most likely you will find traditional picnic tables available with slight modern additions.

Q. Do parks have standards they must abide by when providing picnic tables?

A. It all depends on the city and park. Most cities have some standards for providing adequate seating. They will take into account the number of accessible tables, the dispersion of those tables, wheelchair seating, clear ground space available, and whether there are structures already on the park land.

Q. Are there smaller tables available for smaller yards?

A. Absolutely. Picnic tables come in varying sizes, and some are even adjustable for different scenarios. If your yard is smaller, it’s recommended to look for a differently shaped table. Maybe a smaller circle table would fit better in the space you have available.

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