We’ve decided to write the complete ping pong table buyers guide, in order to help you make the right choice in purchasing a table for your home.
This article will help inform you on the features to look for when purchasing a ping pong table, and what the ideal conditions are for each feature. The guide will look at five key features, namely: Play Surface, Assembly, Storage, Net and Post, and Frame.
If you’re interested, we’ve reviewed some affordable, quality table options here.
The first thing to look at when considering a ping pong table is the thickness of the top. A playing surface should have a thickness of at least 15 millimeters. Anything less than that will warp a bit too easily and not give consistent bounce.
Ping pong tables are constructed from particular boards. One should look for a board with medium density, and offers a higher percentage of resin in the board – this provides better warp resistance. The finish of the table is also an important factor. Better tables have a number of layers of finish that enhance the bounce and resist color fading.
The majority of ping pong tables have a wooden play surface. This is ideal for indoor play, but not for outdoor use, as wood is way more vulnerable to the elements than other materials. So if you’re looking for an indoor table – a wooden surface is your go-to choice.
In terms of outdoor play – a weatherproof aluminum play surface would be your best bet. These tops have a wooden core but are sealed by an aluminum shell.
Another key feature to consider is the setup time. Setting up and building a ping pong table can be quite a mission. Sadly, it’s something that has to be done as it’s a large piece of equipment!
One should look for a table that has an efficient manual, that has clear instructions. Some companies have even installed mobile applications, which are used solely for the purpose of helping customers set up their new table.
If we can give you one crucial tip – make sure you follow every step in the manual. Otherwise, you may double your time in building the table!
Next is storage. There may be times where the table will have to be packed away, so that space is made for other equipment in the house. For this reason, it would be wise to pick a table that folds up and stores compactly.
Tables, where each half of the playing surface folds into each other and turn into a central transport frame, are easier to store. They are also easy to unfold and get back into their playing form.
Having big or multiple wheels will make it easier to transport the table around the house.
Another benefit of having a table that can fold into half is the playback feature. This is when you fold one of the sides of the table up, giving it a wall-like structure. Players can use this ‘wall’ to practice, as they can play shots against it – giving them a true return every time.
It might also be worth considering getting a smaller table. Smaller tables are generally easier to pack up and can be stored in more confined spaces – ideal for smaller houses with less space.
Net and Post
Most ping pong tables come with a net and post system. The general rule is – the higher the quality the table, the higher quality the net system.
Having a sturdy and durable net is a very important thing to have, as it can be a nuisance constantly having to correct the net.
The net assembly consists of the net, its suspension, and the supporting posts – which include the clamps attaching them to the table. The net should be suspended at around 15 centimeters above the playing surface – that is, from the top of the net, down to the playing surface.
The standard nets are:
- Spring-loaded clip net
- Hand-tightened screw net
Spring-loaded clip net
These are the easiest to attach to the table, and are great for home use. The problem with these is that they become worn over time, and start coming out of place more easily.
Hand-tightened screw net
This net is a bit harder to attach, and will take more time. However, these nets are a lot more sturdy and will surpass the test of time.
If we were to pick a net – it would be the hand-tightened screw net. These are way more durable and you won’t have to adjust the net to ideal dimensions nearly as much as you would for the spring-loaded net.
The frame is the structure under the playing surface, which is a critical component to the durability of the table.
Cheaper tables utilize aluminum tubing, which becomes rather shaky over time. These structures can ever eventually start collapsing over time – which can cause an unwanted halt to a game of ping pong.
Higher quality tables will go for heavy steel tubing in their frame structure. They will also install an oval or square shape in their legs, which provides the ultimate strength and stability.
The number of cross beams in the frame will also have a significant impact on the stability of the table – the more cross beams, the greater the stability.
Overall, choosing a ping pong table isn’t an easy choice. We feel that the aspects just covered in the above are the most important to consider when purchasing your dream table. If you’re in the market, we’ve reviewed a few tables over here.
We hope that our guide above will help you pick the best ping pong table under five hundred dollars from the lot that will meet your needs and preferences. Check the features of each table to determine which table will offer you the best playtime.