Though it has only recently become a professional sport (by professional league standards) ping pong has been a leisure sport enjoyed by people for over eight decades now.
With lower standards of physical fitness required to play but still providing a great workout, ping pong offers an excellent middle ground for those who are looking for a sport they can play at home.
Best Ping Pong Table 2018
However, ping pong tables are far more varied than one might think and have a number of features that can differentiate them from one another. For instance, the thickness of the actual model is arguably the most important factor. But even that will depend on your skill level and setting (READ MORE: Step-by-Step Guide for Choosing the Right Ping Pong Paddle).
That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best ping pong tables, highlighting what each product is best for. Then we provide a thorough buyer’s guide so you know what features are must-have and which are merely nice extras. By the end, you will be able to find the best table tinnis table to suit your needs.
|Name||Indoor/ Outdoor||Weight (pounds)||Table Surface (inch)||Special Feature|
|STIGA Advantage(Editor’s Choice)||Indoor||190||5/8||Quick and easy setup|
Eight 3” black casters with locks
Premium, tournament-quality cotton-blend 72” net
|JOOLA Inside(Editor’s Choice)||Indoor||194||5/8||Quick Assembly Clamp Net|
Separate Table Halves
1.5 inch apron and 1.5 inch diameter sturdy steel legs
|Butterfly Centrefold 25 Rollaway||Indoor||290||1||Fold & Roll Design|
5 Inch Locking Rubber Wheels
Tournament Net Included
|STIGA XTR Outdoor||Outdoor||178.6||1/4||All-Weather Aluminum Tabletop|
1.25" Steel Legs with Levelers
3" Wheels with Locks
Independent Table Halves
|JOOLA Midsize||Indoor||66||2/3||Made for Small Spaces|
Great for Multi-Use
Comes 100% Pre-Assebled
Separate Square Halves
STIGA Advantage – Best All-Around Value Ping Pong Table
STIGA is one of the venerable makers of ping pong equipment, having been founded in Sweden in 1944. Also making various other indoor sports equipment, the brand is still recognized primarily for its ping pong equipment.
While the brand’s tables are not quite as well noted in the professional arena, they are one of the first and few brands to offer a model that is 30 mm in thickness.
That being said, the Advantage is not made nor marketed as a professional grade table tennis table. Though, in fairness, it is unlikely that you are professional ping pong player or truly have the need for that type of product. Not to mention the much higher price tag associated with it.
Instead, the STIGA Advantage is a top-tier consumer grade ping pong table with a price tag that is roughly $100 or more less than its next closest competitor. That is why we have ranked it our best all-around value ping pong table.
It should be noted that this model itself is not especially impressive when compared to the “objective” standards of the market. This is because a consumer grade ping pong table will simply not stand up to a professional grade. As such, the 15 mm thick STIGA is considered a touch thin. Though it is actually the thickest model in the consumer grade. Even one more millimeter of thickness would actually qualify the STIGA as an institutional grade ping pong table.
Though, one thing that all STIGAs do right is their folded locking mechanism. While it is not the only brand on our list to feature one. The STIGA locking mechanism to keep the folded table halves from accidentally falling is still a nice touch and noted for its quality. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said for every aspect of the STIGA when folded. Specifically, this product features the largest storage profile out of any that we saw at 28”. This makes this the overall largest model in storage that we saw.
But it is still pretty darn good. The legs are made out of 1 ½” steel and are square for better stability. They also feature the more durable screw-type leveler that can provide up to 1 ¼” of difference. The wheels are 3” and feature a ball bearing system which provides for a smooth, effortless transport. Of course, the 190-pound weight may make that a bit difficult, but it is only 10 pounds heavier than average.
JOOLA Inside 15mm – Best Indoor Ping Pong Table
Outside of STIGA, JOOLA is the other ping pong brand that has developed a reputation stretching back to the early days of the sport. Though they may not have the longest history, JOOLA is still often used for professional play.
And has been used for professional competition at numerous Olympics as well as for various professional organizations like the ITTF, NATT, and USATT.
The JOOLA Inside 15 should be understood within its intended market. However, as this is not a professional grade ping pong table. Instead, this is a top-tier recreational grade table which can be denoted most notably by its actual model.
At 15 mm thick, the JOOLA may not impress those who are used to mid-tier institutional grade or top-tier professional grade ping pong tables. But it should be more than sufficient for the average leisure player which is why we named it our best indoor product.
Like other top-tier recreational models, the JOOLA features a solid frame system that provides plenty of stability. The legs are made out 1 ½” steel and square shaped for maximum stability, while the wheels are 3” and feature an excellent locking mechanism. The frame further provides additional safety when folded for storage with a safety latch that is on par with other top brands.
With only 8 bolts necessary to complete the installation, the JOOLA comes 95 percent pre-assembled and can go from boxed to ready for play in under 10 minutes. If you do not have a partner to play with, the JOOLA has you covered here as well offering a half-folded playback arrangement which can help you practice and develop the quick-twitch reflexes necessary to excel at ping pong.
One thing that is a bit disappointing about the JOOLA is that they seem to ride a bit higher on their name and are a bit more expensive than other top-tier recreational grade tables. Also, despite the fact that this is one of the smaller tables in a storage arrangement, it is still fairly heavy at 189 pounds and will be difficult to transport up or downstairs.
Butterfly Centrefold 25 Rollaway – Best Professional Ping Pong Table
If money is no issue and you simply want one of the best ping pong tables on the market, the Butterfly Centrefold 25 Rollaway should easily be one of the top tables on your list. Pretty much everything about this model screams “professional,” and it should: this is the table that was used at the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Open ITTF Pro Tour Championships.
That being said, this product does have some limitations when it comes to versatility. But is pretty much the only area where you are liable to find any limitations.
As is expected from a professional model, the Butterfly measures the competition regulated 9’ x 5’ x 30”. But it is the table’s storage profile that is truly remarkable. At only 19” deep, not only is this the only table approved by the ITTF. It also provides the smallest storage profile out of any other product on our list. Though it does come at the expense of not being able to be used in a one player playback arrangement.
A look under the hood yields just as impressive results as the body, legs, and wheels all boast the best ratings that we saw. The wheels are 5” and made out of solid rubber with a metal locking mechanism. This will make moving the table when stored much easier while also providing a more stable base when unfolded. Adding to that stability, the legs are made out of 2” steel. The square legs also end in screw-type height adjusters to ensure a level playing surface.
When looking for downsides, you will generally have to nitpick at things that technically have little to nothing to do with quality of the table’s playability. For instance, these model are technically used. They were used for the aforementioned championships. While they have been rigorously tested and only used for a few hours, they still may have marks where the professional players hit the table with the ball or paddle.
Perhaps the biggest issue of these models is their size. At 280 pounds, these are by far the largest products on our list and will present moving challenges even for two people due to a ping pong table’s naturally bulky design. If you need to move the table up or down one or more flight of stairs, you may want to pay someone else to do it. Also, the corners are made out of hard PVC. This is not so much of an issue, but the fact that the corners are still sharp angled instead of rounded can cause injury if hit or ran into.
STIGA XTR Outdoor – Best Outdoor Ping Pong Table
Still, this is an all around decent option if you need an outdoor type and despite the fact that it is one of the pricier products on our list, it is actually still reasonably priced for an outdoor table which are generally more expensive than indoor models anyway.
That said, this product is only 6 mm thick, which is thin even for an outdoor type, and is barely thick enough to qualify for the bare minimum of what you should expect from a quality outdoor model. On top of that, the aluminum surface will generate an odd metallic sound as the ball bounces on it. A thicker table would still generate a somewhat metallic sound, but it would not resonate as much and be a bit more muffled.
JOOLA Midsize – Best Compact Ping Pong Table
This one, on the other hand, is clearly situated for those of you that do not have as much room to spare as a professional (or even recreational) model would demand. Still, it does provide some nice features which is why we ranked it our best compact table tennis table.
First, this model is only 12 mm thick which is actually a good thickness for an outdoor table but is a bit thin for an indoor. In fact, this is actually the thinnest indoor table that we reviewed. This means the ball will not bounce as well, though its smaller size means that it does not necessarily need to bounce as high or hard as it would with a full-sized table.
Best Ping Pong Table – Buyer’s Guide
The material of your ping pong table will differ mostly depending on where you intend to use it. Indoor models will generally have less variation in the materials used than outdoor.
This type will be made almost exclusively from some type of plywood. Outdoor tables, on the other hand, can come in a few different varieties of material in order to safeguard against the wear and tear of the environment.
Plywood – this is the most common type of material used for table tennis tables and will be used for both indoor and outdoor models. That said, it is far more common for use with indoor products as plywood can warp over time when exposed to moisture or humidity and varying changes in temperature. Outdoor models made from plywood will have other protective materials to ensure that it can withstand the environmental changes and stressors.
Melamine – is a material that is used exclusively for outdoor tables. Rather than being made from organic pressed wood materials, melamine is actually mixed with a resin to form a hard surface. This allows the table to be thinner while still retaining an adequate bounce rebound. Often, though not always, melamine products will also be coated with other materials to provide additional protection from the elements.
Aluminum – is used exclusively for outdoor models and is not intended to be the exclusive material of the table. Instead, aluminum is meant to provide a weatherproof protective sheet for either plywood or melamine tables. The naturally rust-resistant aluminum can form an effective barrier from changes in the weather for plywood. Or melamine and ensure that the product does not warp or rot, though this depends on the quality of the seal.
The thickness of the table will depend primarily on two qualities. Where you intend to use product and for what purposes you intend to use it. An outdoor model is generally significantly thinner than an indoor. Similarly, a table meant for professional or tournament use will be much thicker than a table meant simply for recreational use.
Indoor v Outdoor– Because outdoor models are not used for professional or tournament settings as there is not professional outdoor association. They tend to be significantly thinner than indoor products and vary in thickness far less.
An outdoor type will generally be between 3.5 mm to 12 mm thick.
Obviously, the thicker the table, the better rebound the ball will produce. But the minimum acceptable thickness for an outdoor model only needs to be about 5 mm thick.
Recreational – The requirements for a recreational ping pong table are determined strictly by the level of quality that you demand. However, a consumer grade ping pong table which has no potential use for heavy or tournament use can have a thickness of 12 mm to 15 mm. It is important to note that these thinner models are far less expensive but they are also less durable and provide a poor bounce rebound.
Institutional – Institutional grade ping pong tables do not need to be professional or tournament quality, but they do need to be able to withstand the abuse of continuous play. This type is liable to be found in a rec center, a school, or a church.
International – This is the highest grade of ping pong table and is suited for both professional and tournament play. Unlike the prior two grades, an international model does not have the luxury of determining its thickness based on personal preferences.
Instead, the product must meet certain requirements as outlined by the governing competition body and rule system used. In this range, you should expect the table to be no thinner than 22mm with a thickness up to 25 mm. Keep in mind, the professional grade of ping pong table will demand a 25 mm thickness model to meet the regulations of the International Table Tennis Federation.
The legs of a ping pong table are important mostly because there is a good chance that at some point in time you or another player will eventually lean on the table. Whether during play or out of game. In this instance, you will want to make sure that the legs are sturdy enough not only to support the table but additional weight as well.
Material – Thankfully, most products follow a fairly standard formula when it comes to the legs which is to make them out of steel.
This can be potentially problematic if you intend to move your table frequently. But it is a far better alternative than having the model collapse under your weight.
Aluminum is an alternative but does not offer the same structural support as steel, while concrete is occasionally used for permanent institutional products.
Design – In terms of design, legs are either made of a circular or square shape. Square legs are ultimately more sturdy than circular ones. But so long as the legs are made from a reasonably thick gauge of steel. It should not matter too terribly much either way. If the table folds up, which many of them do, having some sort of locking mechanism at the base of the legs will help prevent the table from moving during play.
Leveling – Another quality about the legs that can be important is the ability to provide some degree of leveling. The importance of this quality will be wholly dependent on where you intend to use the ping pong table. If the ground where the product will be set up is already flat, then there is no real need to make sure the table offers the best leveling functions. Of course, if the ground where the table has some inherent degree of grading, then you will want to make sure that the table can account for this slope. Even if it is minor.
The two most common types of leveling features include legs with springs inserted into the legs at the feet and feet which use a screw design to raise or lower the model at one of the four corners. The spring option provides the simplest solution that requires no additional effort on your part, but the springs will eventually give out over time. Screw feet may be a bit more time consuming and require assistance to use. But they are far more stable and long lasting. And you will likely have another player to help you anyway.
The size of the product can be measured in one of two ways: playing size and storage size. If the table will be a permanent fixture, then obviously the storage size becomes fairly irrelevant. The playing size will be more or less important depending on the size of the space where you will play and whether or not you play in any kind of regulated competition.
Playing – The standard playing size for a regulation competition ping pong table is 9’ long by 5’ wide. The model should also be 30” tall or 2 ½’’. Keep in mind that the net brackets will generally hang off the side of the it and can add up to as much as 6” on either side. Though it is more common for the net to only add about 1” to 3” on either side.
It is also important that the product has at least 3’ of clearance around all four side of the table to provide the players room to move around during play. If the space you intend to set the model up is limited, consider using a table that is smaller than regulation size.
A “midsize” table is generally 6’ long by 3’ wide but still 2 ½’ tall. Though there some midsize products which are actually smaller than that as well as a few which are slightly larger.
Storage – If the ping pong table is intended to be used in a multi-purpose space or you simply do not wish to constantly occupy 45 sq ft with an occasional leisure item, the size of the table when stored will be important. While you can do very little to reduce the width of the table, many mid-tier and top end models can be folded or split in half for easier, more compact storage.
In this regard, the two most important measurements of the folded product become the height and the depth. The height of the folded model can differ depending on the hinge mechanism used to collapse the table. Though you should expect the height to be at least about 5’. The depth can vary far more greatly than the height or width and can range from anywhere to under 2’ to more than 4’ for the highest end tables.
For most people who are not professional players, the balance between budget and quality should draw them to the STIGA Advantage. With a table that is the thickest recreational grade, a sturdy frame and wheelbase. And a price that less than its next closest market competitor, this is a hard value to beat.
Of course, if you are a professional ping pong player or simply want a professional grade ping pong table, the Butterfly Centrefold 25 Rollaway is easily the best performing model on our list. With the thickest product at 25 mm as well as the most durable and sturdy frame. Not to mention the smallest storage profile, this table beats all the others at just about every metric.
If you need a specialized ping pong table, the STIGA XTR provides a decent outdoor option. While the table could be a bit thicker, a price more in line with indoor models rather than the more expensive outdoor type is hard to pass up. If space is limited, the JOOLA midsize provides a solid, if unimpressive, option.