Choosing the Best Table Tennis Table
Chances are that you are not a top-level tournament player. No matter if you are a champion or a beginner, or are just looking for the best cheap table out there, sorting through the scads of tables out there can quickly become a mind numbing process. Table tennis is a great game that provides fun and exercise so finding the right table for you is worth an investment of your time, and, luckily for you, we did some of the legwork for you, looking at much more than price points and dimensions, to help you choose the right table for your next match.
Things to Consider When Buying a Table Tennis Table
From dimensions to color to low price, think of these factors when making a comparison of different models.
- Who will use it: keep in mind that what works for beginners might not suit the needs of tournament players who require regulation size equipment
- Placement: what works for home recreational use may not be right for schools; also, think about if the table will be for outdoors use, or if it needs to be easily portable
- Location: Tables placed in public areas often get more use, so consider durable construction and materials, from table top thickness to legs and bracing
- Practice or Play: Some models have better playback configurations than others, so carefully look at the ease of switching between game and playback modes as well as the size of the gap between the horizontal and vertical pieces when in payback mode
- Portability: Make sure wheels are up to the job (bigger is better) and also have quality locking mechanisms so your game is not affected by a constantly shifting playing surface
- Cost: the best table tennis table for the money is the one that meets all of the needs listed previously
Other things, such as colors and legs with cool styling play a part in the purchasing decision, but make functionality a priority over looks. Finally, there are few good models for $300 or less.
Top 10 Table Tennis Tables On The Market
From ease of assembly to bounce to color, there are scads of choices out there.
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1. Kettler Top Star XL Weatherproof Table Tennis Table with Outdoor Accessory Bundle
The Kettler Top Star is great option for outdoors play. While not exactly inexpensive (at the time of publishing, the list price was $1,148.85), it comes with balls, rackets and a cover, and many rave about this table…after assembly. From smooth tournament lines that make for a completely even playing surface to Kettler’s “Certified True Tournament Bounce,” it is the crème de la crème. The table’s safety locks make it simple to fold up for easy storage or to switch to solo play. When in the playback position, there is not annoying gap between the vertical and horizontal pieces.
However, getting to the point where you can play a game is a major gripe of buyers. Despite the manufacturer claims that takes two people only about 90 minutes to put it all together, the true assembly time seems more in the neighborhood of 3 hours, and some claim it took them an entire day to do the job. It is not just the size and weight of the table that make assembly a challenge. There are many parts to put together, and the included instructions could be better.
Nonetheless, this table is durable and built to handle all sorts of weather, from torrential rain to desert heat. The table’s 7/8-inch thick weatherproof sealed aluminum composite top uses a proprietary climate-control underside to control expansion and contraction. Sturdiness and resilient design carries through underneath, including four central wheels that allow the tabletop be transported over different surface types. Even the included accessories can take a lot of use; the included rackets are also weather resistant. Also included are three high-visibility orange balls and a vinyl cover. Putting it together may be a challenge, but the finished product receives stellar reviews.
2. JOOLA Tour 1500 Indoor Table Tennis Table
With an official size playing surface and a tournament grade net, the JOOLA Tour 1500 offers many features for a reasonable price. Similar to other JOOLA tables, the Tour 1500 is relatively easy to put together. This playing surface consists of painted 5/8-inch MDF. It separates into two halves that make it a cinch to fold up and move. The wheels (something often overlooked) receive across the board kudos. Additionally, it has a compact profile when folded, making it portable and easy to store. In fact, aside from a few complaints about dealing with the manufacturer and stripped screws attached to the MDF top, there is very little negative press on this product.
The Tour 1500 table features leg levelers, important when the table is placed on an uneven surface. Combine that with the table’s sturdiness (something sometimes lacking in more inexpensive tables), as well is its portability and storage size, and the Tour 1500 may have all an enthusiastic home table tennis player really needs. However, perhaps one of its most attractive attributes is that, for the money (under $500) you get a lot of quality.
3. JOOLA Inside Table Tennis Table
This is another Joola model that offers a lot of bang for your buck. It features all the “must-haves” and several “nice-to-haves.” It even multitasks – the two halves of the table can be separated, which means it is not only easy to store, but that each piece can be used as a table for other uses, from parties to craft projects. However, when it comes time to get the competition on, this table delivers, providing hours of fun and exercise. With all these things going for it, it is no wonder that it is a perennial favorite of buyers.
Some reviews note a lack of stability in this model. Additionally, there are several quality and assembly issues mentioned by more than one purchaser. Poor quality painted surfaces, stripped screws and mismatched side rails are among the more common complaints, and some have reported broken and missing parts as well. It appears the manufacturer is responsive to complaints; nonetheless, no one wants to deal with the hassle of fixing what should be a perfectly usable new table. A few purists also think the 5/8-inch thick MDF top does not provide good bounce.
On a brighter note, the table is easy to assemble. If you need to make more room for other activities, the whole thing folds up, and its dual safety locking devices and wheels (4 for each half) means it can be easily moved out of the way. While the Joola Indoor table may not have many features competitive players expect, it is a great option for home recreational use.
4. JOOLA Nova Outdoor Table Tennis Table
Several components make the Nova a great table for outdoors use or for a garage. From top to bottom, the Nova demonstrates its durability. It starts with a top made with 6 millimeters of an aluminum/plastic composite topped with multiple paint layers. The result is a waterproof surface that resists warping and chipping and that retains consistent bounce despite weathering.
However, nothing is perfect, and with the Nova, there are repeated complaints of missing parts. One review on Amazon commented, “Customer Service at Joola must here (sic) this a lot, as they had very specific instructions on who to contact in the event of missing parts.” Just keep in mind that very few reviewed tables get away with no complaints in this vein.
The good news is that the infrastructure supporting the JOOMLA Nova top meets weather challenges head on. It is made of powder coated 30 mm steel that should last for years. Additionally, should you need to move and store the table, the two sides of the tabletop use a unique trundle system that makes each piece very portable.
5. Rally TL 300 Table Tennis Table with Corner Ball Holders and Magnetic Scorers
Joola again outdoes itself with a regulation size recreational table tennis set up that keeps everything in its place. The Rally goes beyond just game play with special touches such as JOOLA’s patented corner ball holders and magnetic scorekeepers.While those things are nice touches, not everyone loves them, describing them as cheap and flimsy. These items are not necessities by any means, and if they are what make you think this is the table for you, consider your motivations. Your decision should be based on something other than what might just be gimmicks. Another big gripe for some is what makes this table attractive to others. It consists of two separate pieces. Some find this a great feature for moving the tables, using them for other purposes, and even putting it into playback mode. However, others express concerns over movement between the pieces of the top.
The Rally TL does go beyond just bells and whistles. It boasts a 30 mm by 30 mm powder-coated undercarriage and includes anti-tilting technology as well as adjustable feet. Additionally, it easily folds up to permit single player “playback mode” for practice. The Rally TL 300’s charcoal-colored painted 15 mm MDF surface employs a detailed polyurethane paint process that resists scratches and ball marks. It even comes with a matching net and is a solid option for indoor use.
6. Viper Arlington Indoor Table Tennis Table
Most buyers look for tables for indoor use with great playing surfaces and a reasonable price. The Viper Arlington dies all this…with style. Red tabletop edges offset the table’s black 5/8" MDF top surface, giving it a racy look. The table also features 1-1/4" square legs that lend some great styling to its overall look. Supporting all that styling is a 1-1/4-inch frame that ensures integrity and evenness. The Viper Arlington also includes an easy to use locking system that makes switching to single-player bounce back mode or folding up the entire table for storage a quick process.
This model’s portable nature is enhanced by one if its greatest selling points, specifically its wheels -- all eight of them. Each rubbery wheel has a diameter of 2 inches, making rolling the folded table easy, whether over stone, tile, wood, or carpet, as well as transitioning between different surfaces. The table moves in two separate pieces, adding to its portability and maneuverability, which is great, except if you are an enthusiastic and physical player. After a few bumps, the tops may become misaligned. The wheels do lock in place, but it is not enough to keep the two sides together in some games.
Nonetheless, this is a well-engineered piece of equipment (aside from separating tabletops) and can be purchased for under $500. It is a solid table made of some quality materials, and it requires little assembly. This means you can get it up and into playing condition a lot faster than other models that come with many small parts and dubious assembly instructions, all at a relatively inexpensive price.
7. JOOLA Midsize Table Tennis Table
For enthusiasts with limited space, the large dimensions of many ping-pong tables make having a regulation size one impossible. However, plenty of home players enjoy the game on more compact playing surfaces, and the JOOLA Midsize table Tennis Table perfectly fits that niche. Not truly a mini version of official size models, it stands at the regulation height of 30 inches. However, the playing area is 72 inches by 36 inches (ITTF regulations require a playing surface measuring 108 inches by 60 inches). This translates into great gaming for limited spaces.
What it also means is that this table requires far less space for storage. Each table half stores separately. Additionally, as with some other JOOLA tables, the separating sides make for multi-functionality. On their own, each table half can serve many purposes, from holding board games and jigsaw puzzles to the perfect food serving surfaces.
However, this table has no wheels, which may make moving the table, even in pieces, a challenge for some. The good news is that the entire structure folds against the back of the table so that no legs are visible. Additionally, there have been reports of a lack of locking mechanisms to keep the legs in position. However, the most common complaint is that it is just too small, which really is not a valid complaint if you think about it. After all, this is marketed as a midsize and not a regulation size table.
When used for its intended purpose, the JOOLA midsize also delivers a great table tennis playing experience, and may present the most appealing option for beginners and children. The table comes with a compatible net and post, and other than attaching that, requires little if any assembly. Don’t let this table’s diminutive size fool you. Its surface delivers great bounce. It features sturdy construction. In short, it provides everything needed to have fun playing table tennis.
8. Cornilleau Sport 500M Outdoor Table Tennis Table
If you want to play table tennis year-round, a table suitable for a garage or for outdoors may be the way to go. Plus, nothing says an outdoor table is not suitable for indoor use. Bear in mind, however, that the qualities that make a table weather-resistant also generally increase the price tag. Nonetheless, the Cornilleau Sport 500M has an edgy, modern look that would complement many rec room decors.
It starts with arched legs that not only provide great support but also look cool and are a welcome change from the typical tubular steel frames seen on so many other tables. Those legs rest upon adjustable feet to ensure game time stability. It is not surprising that a table made in France manages to look good even when folded up for storage!
Looks are not everything, but complaints about this table are few and far between. Some grouse that the Cornilleau Sport 500M requires several hours for assembly and that it is HEAVY. Beyond that, it costs more to buy (close to $1500) than many other tables.
In terms of practicalities, the Sport 500M measures up. Its regulation size playing surface includes a 7 mm resin laminate playing surface with an anti-glare matte finish for better visibility and ball adherence. Cornilleau even gives you the option of choosing the best table tennis color for you, blue or slate gray. Add to that its highly functional corner protection pads and a weather-resistant adjustable net, and you may find this is the best table tennis table for sale, despite its price tag.
9. STIGA InstaPlay Table Tennis Table
Get your game on almost immediately after your new table arrives. The STIGA InstaPlay is a reasonably priced option that offers some exceedingly good things beyond requiring no assembly.
The InstaPlay’s black tabletop is thicker than most – ¾ inch versus the 5/8 inch thickness of many others. Surrounding the top is a sturdy 2-inch steel apron that protects table corners and increases support. The styling and integrity continue with legs that measure 2 inches square and look cool. At the bottom of it all are 3-inch Mag ball bearing wheels – a total of eight that make transporting the table easy and safe. Moreover, each side of the table can be stored independently.
Many users extol the InstaPlay’s sturdiness and durability. However, keep in mind that this is a heavy piece of equipment, and thus may require a few strong backs to get it into the right room in your house. Additionally, some take issue with the odd placement of the legs, which might get in the way of serious play. Then again, it was not built as a tournament table. Just take care when moving it -- you don’t want to throw out your back getting it into position before you can play your first game on this gem.
10. Butterfly Personal Rollaway Table Tennis Table
If you need affordability, portability and playability, consider Butterfly’s rollaway table. Between the company name and the “personal” description, this table may sound a little too cute. Move beyond the name and you will see that with this table, portable and personal do not equate to useless or delicate.
This is a regulation size table. It just happens to fold up easily for great storage options. The Butterfly allows for easy bounce back playing for practice and a workout, and easily handles matches between two or more people. Table tennis table dimensions are about more just the size of the playing surface. The thickness of the top also plays a huge role in overall quality and playability. For most home players, a top that is at least ½-inch thick provides plenty of durability and ball “bounce.” The Butterfly Personal Rollaway tabletop is ¾-inch thick. Its rails are made of 1½-inch heavy gauge steel. Its legs are 1-inch round steel. The entire thing rests upon 5-inch wheels for portability.
The Butterfly has some defects. For many, putting together the Butterfly Personal Rollaway is pretty straightforward. However, some complain of poor directions and badly organized and packaged parts. And, it is not the best if you anticipate doing a lot of solo playing and have less than perfect aim. When one side of the table is raised for bounce back, there is a sizable gap through which many a ball can slip.
While some found this model to be of lesser quality than most other Butterfly tables, in general, the consensus is that it offers good ratio of quality for price.
Common Table Tennis Questions
According to the ITTF, competition tables must have a has a rectangular playing surface with dimensions of 2.74 m (108”) long and 1.525 m (60”) wide and stand 76 cm (30”) above the floor.
The table itself measures about 9 feet in length and 5 feet in width, and then you need space to move around in during play. Most sources recommend at least 5 feet of space behind each end and at least 3 feet on each side of the table, although many people get away with less clearance and just bump into walls and furniture occasionally. Keep in mind that rooms with low ceilings may impeded game play as well.This is assuming you are not hosting league tournaments or such in your home (they require a lot more space). If space is an issue, consider a smaller, non-regulation size unit, or go with one designed for outdoors use.
First, check what the table’s manufacturer recommends. For indoor tables, start by dusting the tabletop off using a soft cloth. Once or twice a month, remove the net and wipe down the surface with a soft cloth dampened with water or a cleaning solution. There are plenty of cleaners on the market, but you can just make your own using one part white distilled vinegar to six parts water. Be sure to wring out the cloth well – you don’t want the water to saturate the tabletop material.
Yes. Weight Watchers reports that beginner players may burn between 200 and 350 calories per hour of play and that advanced players in competition may burn 500 calories per match due to their footwork and movement. Plus, it works muscles throughout the body, including:
- Calves muscles
- Hip abductors
- Abdominal muscles
It’s Not Just a Game
Table tennis is a serious sport. Olympic competition demonstrates just how athletic and skilled top players are. This does not mean you shouldn’t play it for fun, however. Table tennis provides countless hours of entertainment for families, for schools and social groups around the world. Choosing which model to buy requires considering your budget, your space availability and your level of play. Keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for, and a table that costs under $200 likely won’t last. Once you make a decision, get to it. Your body and your mind will thank you!