The first table tennis tables were the dining tables of the officers’ mess in colonial India and the parlour tables of society folk in Victorian Britain. Back then, any flat surface would be sufficient and rules varied from regiment to regiment and household to household.
Today there’s a great range of table tennis tables out there for the enthusiastic home player and committed professional alike. The choice is pretty extensive and there are options for all environments and budgets, let’s take a closer look at what’s available.
Types of table tennis tables
Table tennis tables come in all sorts of styles and materials. Wooden tables are a turn towards the unexpected mass-manufactured plastic tennis tables. You’ll find the rustic wooden style especially impressive. Unlike the conventional plastic table tennis tables, the wooden tables are less bright but more neutral in color.
The wooden tennis tables are preferred because they tend to be more durable, versatile, and sustainable. What’s more, some wooden tables are made of eco-friendly bamboo; hence they provide a lightweight design that can be displayed as home décor when they’re not in use.
Foldable table tennis tables provide you with an economical option, especially where space is of the essence. These tables differ from other tables in that they’re adjustable. The complete set of a foldable tennis table includes grip handles, removable nets, and folding legs. They require less time to assemble compared to the fixed tables.
Since these tables can be folded up, storing them is easy. They also come in a sturdy design with a steel frame to prevent them from wobbling or shifting.
Indoor table tennis tables are a great option for those who prefer to enjoy a table tennis game in the confines of their homes. A high-quality indoor table tennis table goes for almost the same price as an outdoor one.
Indoor tables come with a better playing surface compared to outdoor tables. While you can also use your indoor table outdoors, it is advisable to put it back indoors because too much exposure to sunlight can warp the table.
Table tennis is mainly played indoors, but some tables are specifically designed for playing outdoors. The outdoor table tennis tables can withstand harsh weather, however, you need to be careful when purchasing such tables because not all outdoor tables are made weatherproof.
If you have kids at home who love table tennis, you should consider buying them a junior or novelty table tennis table. There are several variations of mini tables that come in convenient sizes.
Junior tables are designed with an option to tilt the top of the table inwards. They are also compact hence easy to store.
Table tennis table tops are convenient options if you don’t have sufficient space. They are conversion sets designed to go on top of an existing table – this can either be a dining or pool table.
These table tops come with a detachable net and a post set. The separate surface comes in two halves. Each half is 4’ 6” by 5’ hence can conveniently fit on any existing table.
These table tennis table tops are suitable for indoor use and do not require any assembly.
What to consider when buying table tennis tables
Fixed or Flexible
Flexible tables can fold up and store compactly. Besides, their playing surface is retractable into a frame, making them safer in storage. Flexible tables can also come with wheels to make it easier to move them.
On the other hand, fixed table tennis tables cannot be folded; hence, they are not easy to move about. They are designed to be in a stationary position after assembly. These fixed tables come in a sturdy design but, can be quite heavy.
Table tennis tables come in all convenient sizes depending on your budget and preference. The normal size of table tennis is 9 feet long by 5 feet wide. It is advisable to go for the full-sized table tennis table for professional tennis players, especially if you have sufficient space.
You might want to consider going for tables with wheels or foldable ones for easy portability. The larger the wheels, the better since they can move smoothly even on uneven floors. They are also preferred on outdoor table tennis tables.
The standard height of a table tennis table is 2.5 feet high, which is quite high, especially if you want your kids to enjoy the thrill of the game. In this case, purchasing a table tennis table whose height is adjustable might be the best choice. Such tables have legs that can be raised or lowered to the preferred height.
Thickness of the surface
Most tops have a surface thickness of between 1 inch to ½ inches. Whatever your choice, the thickness should not be anything below ¾ inches or 19mm. Remember, tables with a low thickness tend to warp far too easily with inconsistent bounce.
High-quality table tennis tables will have a net system – some incorporate an integrated posts system. The post system is attached to a frame to enable the net to deploy depending on whether the table is folded or not. This is convenient for playing at a moment’s notice.
Besides, the net should be adjustable to control its tightness. You can go for a screw clamp net system since it can be adjusted considerably compared to permanently affixed or spring-loaded nets.
When purchasing a table tennis table, you can only get value for your money if you get something that works for you. Table tennis tables vary in price and performance depending on the target customers. There are tables best suited for beginner, intermediate or expert table tennis players.
Table tennis tables for beginners and recreational play come with a thinner table tennis top which offers less consistent bounce. The frame and leg of these tables are also less sturdy.
If you have some experience playing table tennis but do not engage in professional or competitive games, then a table suitable for intermediate players should be perfect for you. Such tables have a thick surface, a robust frame, detachable net, and strong undercarriage.
Expert table tennis players should look out for tables that are approved by the ITTF. These tables have exceptional features and offer an even bounce. If you want a professional playing experience, consider purchasing tables designed for experts.
Tables in this category may have a matte finish to provide optimal finish and reduce glare.
Are you going to be doing some individual training? If so, then we recommend a table that can be folded back to provide playback. The best tables for solo training have little or no gap between the vertical folded-up play surface and the net.
Warranty is an important aspect to consider when purchasing any equipment. When it comes to table tennis table warranty, go for a brand that offers a comprehensive plan covering wear-out of wheels, legs, net system, bracket, post, and surface.
Before you commit to buy your table tennis of choice, always look at the value you’re getting. There are cheaper table tennis tables available, but they generally have very thin surfaces and poor quality.
Table tennis tables can be expensive pieces of equipment, ideally, you should make sure that your budget reflects the type of action your table is likely going to see.
Table tennis table maintenance
Buying a table tennis table is one thing, while maintaining one is quite another. To make sure your table doesn’t collect a lot of dust, consider investing in a quality table cover.
Regardless of whether you have a table cover, regular cleaning is essential in maintaining your table tennis table. This helps to get rid of stains. Clean your table at least twice a week to prevent dirt from accumulating in parts of the table.
There are several ways you can clean your table tennis table. The simplest cleaning only requires wiping the surfaces with a piece of cloth and warm water.
The other method is hard cleaning. This is necessary in cases where the table is stained by alcohol or sticky agents. Hard cleaning will require vinegar, water, and a piece of cloth. Use pure vinegar without water if the stains are tough.
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