University of Toronto Table Tennis Club

Picking the Best Ping Pong Table – What Really Matters

October 31, 2016 · No Comments

Picking the Best Ping Pong Table – What Really Matters

Although ping pong tables can cost upwards of $3000 dollars, people still don’t do the proper research into understanding the important characteristics that really determine the best model/brand for him or her.

The first and most important attribute a person should focus on is surface thickness. The thickness and material of the ping pong table top will significantly determine the quality of the table’s bounce, which ultimately determines 95% of what is labeled an ITTF approved table tennis table.

Thickness Associated with Price

  • Expect a 5/8” thick top for cheaper tables commonly priced under $400.
  • Expect a ¾” thick top for mid-quality recreational tables priced under $800. These are the tables most commonly found in garages world-wide. Tables of this thickness price provide the best value as they aren’t particularly expensive, but still play reasonable well.
  • Expect a surface thickness of above ¾” for higher quality tables found in tournaments. While a thickness above ¾” does signify that the table belongs to a higher threshold of class or quality, at this point the materials used by the manufacturer also weigh significantly on the performance of the table.

Therefore you should also focus on the identity of the brand or manufacturer to help determine the best table tennis table for you. Butterfly, Cornilleau, Stiga, JOOLA, and Killerspin are all popular and reputable table tennis brands.

Outdoor Ping Pong Tables – What’s Important?

How you compare important characteristics in an outdoor ping pong table is similar to indoor tables except for one obvious thing, outdoor tables are supposed to be used…outdoors. Who would have guessed? But what is less obvious, is how an outdoor table should perform compared to an indoor table of the same price range.

While outdoor tables are more expensive, it’s for good reason. Manufacturers have the added task of trying to make an outdoor table’s bounce just as good as an indoor table, but the surface has to be coated and created with a distinct material or technology to withstand the elements like rain and UV exposure. An indoor table left in the rain will bubble-up, and an indoor table left in the sun will cause the paint to fade. 

While all the major brands mentioned above have outdoor tables for sale, I recommend checking out Butterfly and Cornilleau as they excel above the rest at making long-lasting high performing outdoor tables that people love.

Outdoor vs Indoor Same Price

Simply put, a $500 indoor table will perform better than a $500 outdoor table. That’s because the manufacture doesn’t have to focus on weather-proofing their tables, and that fact tells. Even on the more expensive outdoor tables, it’ll be hard to accomplish an ITTF approved bounce unless you purchase one of the more expensive tables like the Cornilleau Sport 500M.

Other Important Characteristics

Surface thickness is the most important attribute you should consider when purchasing a new ping pong table for Christmas or any other occasion.

But that does not mean the other attributes are not important. It all depends on who the table is for. If you know that your kids are going to be jumping all over the table or you know the table is going to get consistent use, then a thicker chassis or apron will help prevent the table from bending.

If you are worried about space, consider one of the tables with thin storage dimensions or even a table that detaches into two separate halves.

One thing that brings despair upon even the most courageous individuals, is having to take hours to assemble something with tiny pictures and poor instructions. While the majority of tables you encounter should have quick assemblies, a few will take more than a couple hours.

If assembling a table is something you don’t look forward to, look for a table with quick-play or a table with a reported short assembly time.

Conclusion

If you look at the table tennis tables currently for sale, you’ll notice the price increases in accordance with the table’s surface thickness. Don’t be distracted by some of the useless characteristics they will try and highlight between models.

Think to yourself, does the increase in wheel size from 2” to 3” or a change in how the wheels are locked really impact your opinion of the table? Look at other tables being offered in the same price range to really gauge the quality of the table. And remember, the surface thickness is the characteristic you should care most about!

You can find the original article here.

(Sponsored by pingpongruler.com)

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