You’re in the market for a ping pong table and you need some advice. Well you’ve come to the right place! This review covers the type of tables available, differences to look out for and what’s best suited for your household or workplace.
Want to fast track your research? Here are our table recommendations:
|Table||Category||Our Rating||More info|
|STIGA Advantage Indoor Table Tennis Table||Economy||7/10||Check price on Amzon|
|JOOLA Inside Table Tennis Table||Economy||7/10||Check price on Amazon|
|JOOLA Rally TL Table Tennis table||Mid-range||8.5/10||Check price on Amazon|
|Killerspin MyT4 Pocket Table Tennis Table||Mid-range||9.5/10||Check price on Amazon|
|Butterfly Centrefold 25 Table Tennis Table||Premium||9/10||Check price on Amazon|
Things to consider when buying a ping pong table
When buying a ping pong table the main factors you want to consider are value for money and longevity. But there are also these criteria to take into consideration:
Indoor or Outdoor?
So one of the first questions you need to answer is will you be playing indoors or outdoor?
The majority of players classify table tennis as an indoor sport although outdoor play is becoming more and more popular.
The key area of concern for playing outdoors is – you guessed it – the weather! Table tennis balls are light and any slight hint of wind will make the game difficult to play. And if it rains, forgot about playing. Any wet patches on the table will ensure the ball doesn’t bounce and will slip and slide everywhere. Not fun at all.
Despite the weather concerns, outdoor play does have some benefits. On most occasions you will have more room to play than an often tight fitting room.
The biggest difference you’ll notice with indoor and outdoor tables is the construction material. Indoor table tops are made from wood, whereas outdoor tables are usually built with a combination of metal and wood and use a protective coating. The frames for outdoor tables are sturdier, which also reflects in a higher price.
Once you’ve worked out where you intend to play, the next most important factor to consider is whether you have enough space for a table tennis table. Tables do come in a range of sizes. The standard table size is 9 ft (2.74 m) long, 5 ft (1.525 m) wide, and 2.5 ft (76 cm) high.
With this in mind, our guide on how much space you should allow is a further 6.5 ft (2 m) from each end of the table and about 3 ft (around 1 m) at each side of the table.
So if you choose to play indoors, you need a room which is at least 15.5 ft (6.74 m) long and 8 ft (2.5 m) wide. It’s often forgotten but also ensure you allow about 7ft (2 metres) of height with no lower hanging lights or other objects.
Some other factors that you should be mindful of include:
- Obstacles: if you’re playing in the garage with a ton of other items in the room, it will be annoying trying to find the ball. Try using bed sheets or other items to cover these up.
- Flooring: aggressive table tennis play requires a lot of feet movement. So having enough grip on the floor surface is important. If you find your surface slippery, there are floor mats which you can use.
- Storage: If you’re sharing space with other equipment (such as your car in the garage), be sure you have enough space to store the table when not in use. In this instance the rollaway tables are quite effective.
What if I don’t have enough space?
You’ve measured the room and determined that a standard size table won’t fit. Thankfully there are other options for you to consider:
- Buy a smaller table: table tennis tables do come in a variety of sizes. You might consider going down in size if your space is too small for a standard size table.
- Buy a conversion top: you might have a dining table or another large table, presumably within a large room. Conversion tops allow you to transfer a regular table into a table tennis table. They are usually made from thin wood to give a realistic bounce.
- Go outside: maybe an outdoor table could work for you?
- Use a robot: a robot is useful if you can only squeeze in a standard table but only have enough space for you to manoeuvre.
The undercarriage is as important as the table surface. It forms the foundation of the table and can come in a range of styles summarised below.
The rollaway is a common undercarriage style. The wheels, table and legs are all integrated and can be folded. They’re perfect and convenient if you need to quickly pack up and use the space. A standard size table folds up to approximately 6 feet in height and usually supports single player use.
As the name suggests these tables are built to stay! Constructed from solid wood, with metal or plastic supports, solid tables are often found in arcades or competitions. Unless you have a dedicated space, these tables are generally not very well suited for home.
A style that has been gaining popularity of late are tables with two sides completely separate. The separate halves are joined together using the net and posts at the centre.
This table type offers some advantages:
- They’re lighter and easier for one person to move – especially if you have a fair distance to go or your going up and down stairs.
- They require less storage space.
Single player mode is also possible with these table types. So besides taking a little longer to setup, their versatility would suit most players.
Construction quality and table thickness
Like paddles, the ITTF also provide a stamp of approval for tables. Anyone can buy an ITTF approved table but they’re expensive and better suited for tournaments and clubs. They’re made to last longer with a thicker playing surface and strong undercarriage.
When it comes to table construction, the thickness of the table almost always has a direct correlation with the quality (and price) of the table. The basic rule to remember is that the thicker the table, the higher the quality. Table thickness ranges from about 12 mm to more than 25 mm (ITTF approved tables are usually 22 mm or more). The main difference players will notice with a thicker table is a bigger bounce. Typically, 15-18 mm tables are reasonable for recreational players.
The ITTF does not specify any particular rules on the material of the playing surface. Though the majority of tables are made from wood, you’ll also find them made of plastic, metal, fibreglass or even concrete! However, the rules state that the surface must have a uniform bounce of 9 inches when a ball is dropped from a height of 12 inches (30 cms).
Last but quite important is the price of the tables. Before buying a table you should do your research, understand your playing level, how you will intend to play and set an affordable budget.
If you’re practising to become a pro, you’ll want to replicate an environment like your table tennis club. However, the majority of players are looking for a good quality product at a reasonable price.
Tables can range from anything from around $100, upwards of $1800, and like most things you get what you pay for. The following reviews cover a range of tables that would suit different budget and playing levels.
Coming from one of the largest brands in table tennis is a table that tops our list. The STIGA Advantage is one of the most versatile rollaway tables that would suit the majority of amateur players.
The STIGA advantage is made to regulation size using a durable 1.5” powder coated steel. It also boasts a 1.5” resin apron to prevent the table from warping its shape. Being an entry level table it does not match the quality of steel or sturdiness of professional tables. But for the recreational player it’s well made and is excellent value for money.
The table top is ⅝” in thickness and is made from high density MDF. After playing on this table for several days we found the bounce to be impressive and one of the best in this class. The STIGA Advantage also comes in a ¾” and 1” table top.
Other aspects we liked include the smoothness of the table surface and playing lines. These help give a consistent ball response and provide a quality feel. We were also impressed with the professional grade clamp on net, which would even surprise those in the market for a high-end table.
Comparing the STIGA Advantage to the JOOLA indoor you will find more similarities than differences. Yet, the sturdiness of the frame score high and make the STIGA advantage our recommended entry level table tennis table.
Suitable for the majority of recreational players who want to be the garage champ.
- Solid construction
- Good value for money
- Best bounce in the category
- Net quality not great
- On the heavy side
The STIGA Advantage’s closest challenger is the JOOLA Inside, which is an equally impressive table from another well known brand. Sharing similar characteristics its difficult to separate the two tables.
The JOOLA Inside comes 95% pre-assembled and only requires about 10-15 mins to get it up and running. The rollaway table is constructed using 1.5” powder coated steel, together with a 1.5” apron and overall is well made and has a solid feel. When compared to the STIGA, while the steel is the same thickness it does have a slightly lighter weight.
Where you’ll find the biggest difference is in the table top. The JOOLA Inside comes with a ⅝” thick table top made from medium density MDF board, making it lighter than the STIGA. This also impacts the bounce of the ball and subtle differences were observed where the JOOLA recorded less bounce. The top comes with a laminate coating which can be more prone to peeling. However, this wasn’t something we observed during our testing.
Regardless, the JOOLA does pack some sound features for a table in the category. It’s easy to use, anti-tilting locking devices help secure the table, while the 3” locking casters to stop the table from moving. The net included is also the best in the category. It comes with a heavy duty clamp system and strong, high quality net material.
Suitable for recreational players looking to step up their game with regular practice.
- Overall good value for money
- Well constructed undercarriage
- Best in class net
- Table top provides less bounce
- Laminate table top prone to peeling
Our review of the mid range tables starts with the JOOLA Rally or JOOLA Triumph as its often referred to. You can get started with this separate half rollaway table in around 15 minutes by fastening 8 bolts. The table comes in both ⅝” and ¾” table top sizes. While we focus on the 3/4″, most of the characteristics apply to both sizes.
The table top is made from a medium density fiberboard and provided consistent, responsive bounce during testing . JOOLA apply a detailed polyurethane paint process to the top surface. This helps the ball travel faster and also protects from scratches and markings. After several hours of play, we didn’t notice any wear and tear.
The undercarriage is the same in thickness (1.5”) and materials as the JOOLA inside – so it carries a consistent level of quality construction. JOOLA have added some nice touches which differentiate the Rally from others. The frame includes a 3-ball storage space at each corner of the table. And you’ll never lose count with the introduction of a magnetic scoring abacus. The high quality net system found on the JOOLA Inside is also included.
Finally, the JOOLA Rally comes with some impressive safety features, including:
- a double anti-tilting locking system that locks the table into position during storage and while playing; and
- 3” locking caster wheels are well made and will ensure stability.
Suitable for the multiple-time garage champ or empty office spaces.
- Well constructed
- Great looking design
- Comes with ball storage and scoring system
- While its a step up, you don’t get a whole lot more from Joola inside
Our other mid-range table recommendation goes to the Killerspin MyT4 indoor table. The MyT4 is a separate half, rollaway table that weighs a staggering 203 lbs! It’s one of the heaviest tables that we reviewed, which make it great for stability but tricky to maneuver. The assembly for this table requires more time, with a two person operation taking around 30 mins.
The table is constructed using a high grade steel which feels sturdier than the JOOLA Rally. We made a number of attempts to move the table around by pushing it but with strong locks on its 3” wheels it didn’t budge. The undercarriage feels smooth to fold and with its automatic gravity locker, packing up is easy and safe, even for children.
One of the most impressive features of the table is the unique storage space for up to 8 ping pong balls and 1 paddle in each end. These revolutionary storage pockets are built right into the table frame and make it super convenient. The paddles can also be kept stored while the table is folded upright for storage.
The only downside with the MyT4 is with the table top. Being a mid range table, it only comes in a 15mm thickness which is unusual. Yet, whether it’s the repeat roller coatings or the high grade MDF board, the playing surface produced real zip and impressive bounce.
Overall, our two thumbs up to the MyT4 and our recommendation for best mid range table tennis table.
Suited for the wanna-be pro player looking for something solid that will last.
- Solid and sturdy undercarriage
- Great bounce and zippy surface
- Convenient features of storage
- Higher priced
- Only a 15mm top
- Heavy and difficult to move
Our top pick in the premium table class is the outstanding, ITTF approved Butterfly Centrefold 25 indoor table. Weighing in at a whopping 280lbs this is THE table! It’s built with one thing in mind – to last!
To earn the ITTF approval, the Butterfly Centrefold 25 comes with a 1” thick table top wood playing surface that is scratch proof. You’re not going to get a better bounce or quicker surface that this. It’s incredible how much more the ball reacts on this table than any of the others. This apparently is also helped by what Butterfly call the 25 + top, an ingredient added to the surface to increase consistency of the bounce. We’re not here to verify the technicalities, but its definitely our pick for the best playing surface.
The undercarriage is one of the toughest. It includes a 1 3/4” structural galvanized steel frame to support the playing surface, with a 2” x ¾” steel rail and 2” square steel legs. All this steel, coupled with the 1” top, contribute to its excessive weight and make it difficult to maneuver. However its 4 sturdy 5” rubber wheels ensure that you can move it around when you need.
The downsides of the table can be found with the lack of nice to haves – no ball or bat storage and no playback position available. However, being used at many international tournaments this table is designed for competitions and likely not to be found in the home.
Suited for table tennis clubs or super super keen workplaces or enthusiasts!
- Built to last
- No assembly required
- Comes with a 5 year warranty
- Expensive than other options
- No storage features
- No playback position
Who would have thought that there are so many factors to consider when buying a table tennis table? But with table prices ranging from $100 to upwards of $2000, it’s better to do your research. Most importantly you need understand your playing requirements, usage and the space you have to work with.
Rather than focus on a set of indoor tables, our review has broken down tables into three groups of playing requirements – entry, mid range and premium. We hope this will help you identify what better suits your needs and save you time doing your own research.
At the same time, we know a large portion of buyers are looking for a table tennis table with simple but effective recreational use. So with that in mind, our recommendation for best ping pong table the majority is the STIGA Advantage table.
For a regulation-sized indoor table, the STIGA advantage ticks the box for value, quality and storage space. It will allow you to enjoy many years of practice in becoming a better table tennis player.