Best Ping Pong Table 2018 - Ping Pong Tables reviews
A Ping Pong table is a great investment, providing hours of entertainment for each dollar spent. In addition to being fun, it's also a great way to get in some extra exercise. Kids and adults alike will be thrilled with this new addition to the household.
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Through careful study, we have taken a look at some of the best Ping Pong tables on the market. Below, you'll find a product comparison table that reflects our research in everything from product trends to consumer reviews. The Ping Pong table test winners all satisfied the necessary criteria for a properly played game.
What Is a Ping Pong Table?
Standard Ping Pong table measures five feet across and nine feet long and stands 30 inches off the ground. The net, meanwhile, measures six feet across and six inches high—easy dimensions to remember. While more compact sizes are available, these aren't considered regulation models and should be considered only if space is a primary issue.
By now, you might be wondering if there's any difference between Ping Pong and table tennis. The short answer is no. Table tennis is the official name of the game, but Ping Pong—the sound made by the hollow plastic ball when it meets a hard surface—is more widely used and familiar. Throughout this guide, we'll be using both terms interchangeably, so it's important to note that there's no distinction between the two.
How to Use a Ping Pong Table?
Using a Ping Pong table is as easy as understanding the rules of the game: Two players (or two teams of two players each) stand on opposite ends of the table, with the net between them. To decide who goes first, they can either flip a coin or choose at random; for subsequent games, the one who goes first is whoever won the last match.
The first player serves the ball across the net to the opposing player(s) a total of five times, before relinquishing the service to their opponent(s). If the serving player succeeds in hitting the opposite side of the table AND their opponent fails to return the ball, the serving player earns the point. If the serving player misses the table altogether, hits the ball into the net, or fails to meet their opponent's returned ball, then the point goes to their opponent.
Advantages and Applications
As mentioned above, there are smaller-sized Ping Pong tables available. These are suitable for those who play only occasionally for fun; serious players will certainly want to invest in a standard-sized model. Throughout our analysis, we'll be assuming that you'll be looking for one of these regulation tables, which are the only ones taken into consideration when it comes to selecting a Ping Pong table winner. But what other variants should you consider when deciding which one to purchase?
The table top should be at least three-quarters of an inch thick; serious players will want the surface to measure at least one inch thick, as this provides a better overall bounce. Also, look for strong, sturdy legs that can be adjusted for height on uneven surfaces, and make sure the table top is level all the way across.
Beginners should stick with an affordable product, as the table will likely be taking a good beating at first. The act of learning how to play can be rough on the table, especially for younger players. Once everyone becomes more comfortable and serious about the game, feel free to upgrade to something on the higher end.
Storage and Maneuverability
If you don't have a particular area blocked off where the Ping Pong table can remain set up for long periods of time, consider selecting a brand that's easy to set up and disassemble.
Also, consider the environment: Will you be keeping the table in the garage or basement, or outside during the summer months? If so, look for one that's sturdily made from weatherproofed materials. For long-term outside use, it's a good idea to invest in a cover for the table as well.
Personal preference is always a factor as well, so be sure to keep that in mind when shopping. It can be easy to get bogged down in all the details but remember—you're the one who'll be using and enjoying this product.
The color of a Ping Pong table's top surface is more than just a matter of personal preference—it can also have an effect on the playing of the game itself. First of all, consider the surroundings. The table's surface should contrast with the floor and walls (or asphalt or even grass, for outdoor tables), to make it easier to see the ball during play. Dark green is the most common color, but there are red, blue, or black options available as well.
While the proper thickness is instrumental in giving you the right bounce, it isn't the only consideration. According to International Tennis Table Foundation (ITTF) regulations, the top may be made of any material, so long as it's continuous (in other words, don't purchase a table if the top is constructed out of a mishmash of different woods or synthetics). Melamine laminate is the competitive choice for the surface.
If you're purchasing the table from a brick-and-mortar store (see the section below) and there's a model available for testing, try dropping a ball onto the surface from a height of 11.8 inches. If it bounces at least 9.1 inches into the air, then the table is up to ITTF standards. Internet shoppers can alleviate any concerns they might have about the proper bounce by buying from ITTF-approved manufacturers (see the guide below for more information on brands).
The “Back End”
The underside of the table should be well sealed in order to prevent warping. Most quality manufacturers provide this feature.
A solid steel rail provides stability and support, as well as a nifty aesthetic advantage.
Make sure the brackets that will hold the net in place are made of a good-quality metal, heavy enough to keep the net from shifting during play. Some models come with a height adjuster element; look for this feature if you want to ensure that the net consistently meets regulation standards.
Wheels and Adjustable Feet
A set of wheels will make it that much easier to maneuver the table, whether you're moving it to a different spot in the room or putting it into storage for the winter. Adjustable feet are a handy tool for ensuring that the playing surface remains level, even when the ground beneath it is not.
A high-quality table will come with built-in safety features, meant to keep the table secure when it's in storage. If you're planning on keeping your table stored for long periods of time—particularly if it will be surrounded by anything fragile—this is a good feature to look for.
See the “Useful Accessories” section below to learn more about the added features available and decide which ones to look for when shopping.
What Types of Ping Pong Tables Are There?
In this section, we'll delve further into the differences between indoor versus outdoor tables, as well as the types of materials used in the crafting of each one.
If your table will be spending most of its life outdoors, don't try to cut corners by purchasing a flimsy model meant for indoor use. All types of weather can warp and damage a table—even something as innocuous as direct sunlight—and excessive rain and moisture will ensure that the product suffers a short season.
Less-expensive outdoor models are crafted from aluminum or plywood resin, both of which can stand up to the elements for a few years or so. The tops of these tables are often thinner than indoor models, which can affect the bounce, so be sure to check the specifications before making a purchase in this category.
Alternatively, there are higher-quality outdoor tables made of concrete with rounded edges, that are built to last for decades of use. If money is no object, and you expect the table to be a staple for generations to come, invest in one of these models.
Rollaway—Usually constructed of steel with a laminate top, the rollaway is an exceedingly popular choice. With a rollaway table, the undercarriage is anchored by a pair of wheels, and all of this is attached to the table itself. They take up more storage space than some other models, but if your table is going to spend most of its life in one spot, then this shouldn't be an issue. Bonus: Some rollaway tables have a folding feature that allows you to play without an opponent, hitting the ball against the backboard surface for a solo Pong experience.
Two Halves—This wooden model comes in two separate pieces, with a wheel feature built into the center edge of one half for ease of transport, and the legs attached to the underside of the other half. Storage and transport are easier than with the rollaway, and the wooden construction is a nice design, but be aware that it also takes two people to set up and dismantle the unit.
Innovative Designs—The above selections are the most traditional, but there are other table types available if you're looking for something more visually exciting. A fancy design won't have much of an effect on the game, but it can be a great conversation piece.
How Are Ping Pong Tables Tested?
- Thickness-is the surface at least three-quarters of an inch thick?
- Frame-how sturdy is the unit?
- Setup—is it easy to follow the instructions? Can it be set up by a single person?
- Weight—Sturdiness is more important than maneuverability, but you still want a table that can be relocated without too much difficulty
- Equipment—Do the paddles handle well? Do the balls have sufficient bounce? Are there adequate storage facilities for balls and paddles when the table is not in use?
- Warranty—is this option available for those who would like insurance on their investment?
- Durability—is the surface waterproof? Scratch-resistant? Are the materials prone to rust or decay?
- Color-will it fit into its intended surroundings?
- Assembly Required-how difficult will setup be?
- Folded dimensions-will the table fit into its designated storage space?
- Country of origin-see the list of leading manufacturers below for more insight into this factor
- ITTF approval-does it holds up to regulation standards?
A Brief Rundown of the Leading Manufacturers
Now that we've discussed what you should look for in your search for a Ping Pong table, let's take a look at some of the top sellers of the product. All of the manufacturers listed below have more than one great model to choose from, so while it may narrow down your options, there will still be some tough decisions to make.
- 1. Butterfly
- 2. 729
- 3. Andro
- 4. Cornilleau
- 5. Joola
- 6. Donic
- 7. Double Fish
Internet vs. Retail: Where Should You Buy Your Ping Pong Table?
Once you've done all the research and decided what you're looking for in a model, it's time to begin shopping. The only question that remains now is: Surfing the Internet, or visiting a brick-and-mortar store? Read on for advice.
The advent of online shopping has created an explosion of options that would have boggled the late-20th-century mind. With so many choices available—and literally right at your fingertips—it can seem overwhelming to consider choosing from the boundless virtual shelves of the Internet. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should select your model from one of the online retailers. To name just a few:
- A range of options you won't find anywhere else
- Transportation is not an issue—the table will be shipped directly to your home
- Comparison shopping—you can search multiple retailers for the best deal on the same product
There's always something to be said for buying local, and if there happens to be a hip sporting goods store that stocks Ping Pong tables handcrafted by local artisans right down the road from your house, then by all means take a look at what they have to offer. Just be sure that the product suits all of the needs you've decided upon earlier (and be aware that in this situation, that's unlikely).
Another major benefit of shopping for your table in person is the tactical experience. With online shopping, you have to guess at what the product really looks and feels like; even with details about the dimensions clearly spelled out, it's hard to get a good bead on how the table will fit into your space unless you're seeing it with your own eyes.
The Bottom Line
Interesting Facts & Advice
Like most sports, table tennis has a rich background and history, with its own quirks and terminology that many of us use in everyday language without realizing its provenance. Below, we'll discuss some of that history, and share insider tips on how best to care for your new piece of equipment.
The game of table tennis began in the 1880s when lawn tennis players in England realized that there was no reason for the fun to end with the turn of the seasons. In the winter months, they began playing indoors in billiard rooms, using the tops of cigar boxes as paddles and strategically placed books as makeshift nets.
In the late 1800s, a British firm called J. Jacques and Son invented the term “Ping Pong” as a reference to its own specially fashioned equipment. By 1901, the game's popularity had caught on to such a degree that the first tournaments were being held. Later, in the United States, the term would be trademarked by Parker Brothers. This trademark meant that the Ping Pong Association, which was founded in 1901, had to change its name to the Table Tennis Association. Therefore, although most people still refer to the game and its equipment using the term “Ping Pong,” the name cannot be legally used by any company but Parker Brothers.
The first table tennis world championships were held in 1927 when a Hungarian man named Dr. Jacobi won the title. For the next decade or so, Hungarians would continue to lead the field in championship titles. The winds shifted somewhat with the Japanese innovation of using a more efficient type of rubber for the paddles, which had the effect of upping the speed to the rapid-fire spectacle it is today. As you can see from the above synopsis of leading equipment manufacturers above, Asia continues to make strides in the field and remains highly competitive.
Table tennis made its first Olympic appearance at the Seoul games in 1988. Today, professional players in China are revered as highly as are film stars and famous musicians in the United States. Its roots in England are still honored as well, with the game's popularity holding steady even nearly a century and a half after its humble inception.
Figures, Data & Facts
- During a table tennis match, players can burn between 200 and 350 calories an hour, with some of the most elite players burning up to 500 calories per hour during intense matches.
- There are more than 1500 varieties of “rubbers,” or paddle covers, used in the manufacturing of table tennis equipment.
- Before the term “Ping Pong” was coined, other names for the game included Gossima, Whiff-Waff, and just plain Indoor Tennis.
- The International Table Tennis Foundation was founded in 1926, with the cooperation of Austria, England, Germany, and Hungary.
- China holds the most Olympic gold medals in table tennis, but it didn't win the World Championships until 1959.
- The person heralded as the best Ping Pong player in history is a Swedish man named Jan-Ove Waldner, known as “the Mozart of table tennis.”
- In Vienna, there are Ping Pong tables in nearly every public park; residents and visitors alike often carry paddles with them while touring the city.
- Many destinations worldwide have Ping Pong themed nightclubs and resorts, even in places such as New York City or Sardinia, Italy.
- In the 1970s, when tensions were running high with the United
- States and China, a series of table tennis games were played in order to help foster goodwill between the nations. This move was successful enough to spur a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon in 1972.
- The world record for the number of times a Ping Pong ball has been passed back and forth across the net in one minute? 173. This record was set in 1993 by a pair of players named Jackie Bellinghamand Lisa Lomas.
- Table tennis was banned in the Soviet Union between the years of 1930 and 1950, as officials considered the game to be “ugly.”
- While the original balls were made out of celluloid, all international events since July1 2014, have used balls made of plastic instead.
Easy Setup in Just Five Steps
- The first thing you'll want to do is locate the perfect spot for your table. If you've chosen an easily maneuverable model, then this isn't a major concern; just choose whichever location seems most convenient at the time. You can always move it later if any issues arise that aren't immediately clear.
Some places you'll want to avoid:
- Close proximity to a fireplace, woodstove, or another direct heating source
- Tight walls or corners—the game requires a good degree of movement
- Close proximity to downward staircases
- Hilly areas, or patches of lawn with steep drop-offs (for outdoor tables)
Remember that the table itself will measure 9 feet long by 5 feet wide. Use a tape measure to block off the space if you need to and remember to leave some room for maneuverability on each end.
- Once you've chosen a spot, lay the box flat on a wide end. Open all the taped seams carefully, using a knife or a box cutter. After you remove all the packaging, lift out the table (or table halves) and lay it upside down to install the legs.
- Depending on the model, the ways of attaching the legs might differ (some of the designer tables may come with the legs already folded beneath it, or else have an undercarriage with no legs to speak of at all). Follow the box's instructions on how to complete this step, then turn the table upright so you can install the net.
- Attach the net according to the manufacturer's instructions. This is usually as simple as installing the metal pins on each side of the table's center, then sliding either end of the net (there will be sleeves provided) into the pins. Be sure that the net is taut, with no gap between the bottom of the net and the table's surface.
- Once the net is in place, you're ready to begin play.
10 Tips for Care
Keep it clean
Keep it clean
Choose its home wisely
Choose its home wisely
Respect the equipment
Respect the equipment
Give it a rest
Give it a rest
Go beneath the surface
Go beneath the surface
Use spray paint for touch-ups
Use spray paint for touch-ups
Sandpaper the scuffs
Sandpaper the scuffs
Keep boundary lines white
Keep boundary lines white
Decide whether to invest in a cover
Decide whether to invest in a cover
If you plan to keep it in the garage or basement when it's not in use, however, a cover can help to extend the life of the table top. Prolonged exposure to the elements can cause the table's surface to break down, creating a slick surface that will inhibit the ball's bounce.
As mentioned above, a cover might be a good idea. But what other goodies are available for the table tennis enthusiast? When it comes to sports equipment, the sky is often the limit. There's always another cool new gadget or device hitting the market, whether it's meant to improve your game or simply make you look better while playing. Here, we'll detail some of the latest and hottest trends in the table tennis industry and provide tips on whether or not the products are worth the investment.
These will extend the life of your paddles while making them more eye-catching and therefore easier to find in a crowded rec room. If you're serious about the game and often travel with your paddles, then these are definitely worth considering.
These are similar to paddle cases, but they only fit around the business end of the paddle, leaving the handle free. They serve much the same purpose, as far as protection is concerned, and offer a cheaper alternative if the paddles are stored near the table at all times.
While a vinegar and water solution can be used in a pinch (see Useful Tips, above), die-hards have this specialized equipment as an alternative. We don't think it's absolutely necessary, as Ping Pong table maintenance isn't that complicated.
There's a strong case to be made for investing in a set of spare balls, especially for outdoor players. They're both affordable and worth the cost. A lost ball will end the fun in a hurry if it's the only one available.
For maintenance and repairs. There's no reason to buy this until you need it unless you're training for the world championships or the Olympics, and the lost time would completely derail your schedule.
Side pouch for ball storage
This is a must for households with rambunctious younger children or small pets. For others, it's a neat feature to have as well—there's great peace of mind in knowing the equipment is in its proper place.
This device allows a single player to practice his or her serve, without having to chase the ball around the room after each attempt. Whether or not you purchase one relies solely on your level of competitiveness. We think it's a cool option, but certainly not a necessity for casual players.
Frequently Asked Questions
- With so many choices available, how will I know which table is right for me?
This is a universal question in the world of commerce, particularly nowadays, with a multitude of options just a click away. Guides like this one are meant to help you decide which option best suits your needs.The best part? A Ping Pong table is an investment that's meant for fun—casual players will likely be happy with any of the standard-sized models available. More intense competitors will want to take the search more seriously, but even then, there are plenty of quality options out there.
- Are paddles and balls included with the table?
Interestingly, for higher end equipment, the answer is usually no. Some of the smaller recreational models will come with basic paddles and a ball or two, but the leading manufacturers sell all their equipment separately. You should purchase the accessories immediately after you've picked out a table—you don't want to get the equipment home only to realize you have no way to play.
- Should I buy pre-assembled paddles, or have customized ones made?
There's no need for a first-time table buyer to invest in customized paddles. The leading manufacturers offer pre-assembled paddles that will give you just as much satisfaction as the pricier customized ones.
- What are the different components of a paddle or racket?
The paddle can be broken down into several components:
- Blade—the wooden base of the paddle.
- Piles—the layers of wood that make up the blade, which contribute to the paddle's speed (see the next question for information on speed designation). 5-ply and 7-ply are the most common.
- Rubber—the sheets of rubber covering the blade.
- Top Sheet—the actual outer layer of the rubber.
- Pips—the tiny pockmarks that cover the rubber's surface, which allow the ball to make proper contact with the paddle.
- What are the different speed designations of a paddle?
From slowest to fastest, the speed designations of a paddle are as follows:
- To settle an argument: Is the thing you used to hit the ball called a paddle or a racket?
According to the ITTF, the official name of the instrument used to hit the ball in table tennis is a racket. However, it's sometimes referred to as a bat, sometimes as a paddle, and it really doesn't matter what you call it as long as it's used for its intended purpose.
- What do some of these funny terms, like “looping” or “chopping,” mean?
If you listen to professional players (or watch the sport on TV), you'll likely hear a lot of terminologies that sounds strange. Here's a brief explanation of some of the common terms used in table tennis:
Backhand—as in regular lawn tennis, this term refers to a shot that's made with the paddle to the left of the outside elbow for right-handed players, and to the right of the elbow for lefties.
Block—a quick return, made just off the bounce, performed by holding the paddle directly in the ball's path without a forward strike. Effective when the speed of the opponent's strike is such that a forward attack would result in a wild ball.
Chop—a backspin (or underspin) shot, which forces the ball down when struck by the opponent's paddle.
Cross-court—when the ball is hit on the diagonal, traveling corner to corner.
Down the line—when the ball travels along the side of the table, parallel to the sidelines.
Drive—a flat shot, probably the most basic, with very little spin. A good practice shot for beginners.
Flip or Flick—a short, fast stroke used to attack a backspin shot. Performed by leaning in and forcing the ball up into the air so that it lands just on the opponent's side of the net.
Loop—a topspin shot which allows the ball to curve in the air, causing it to change direction when hitting the table. This makes for an unpredictable return on the part of the opponent and is usually effective in point scoring. Highly popular among professionals.Pips Out—refers to a specialized brand of racket, in which the pips face outward instead of inward. Usually not encountered in regular table tennis (“pips in” is standard, as it allows for a better spin).
Push—a passive underspin shot, usually performed over the table and close to the net, used when the ball's positioning makes it impossible to perform a forward attack.
Put-away—an uncontested game-winning shot.
Rally—refers to the period of time when the ball is in play.
Receive—the term for a return shot, following the serve.
Smash—a “put-away” shot whose speed makes a returning shot impossible.
Twiddle or twirl—refers to the turning of the paddle. Used to trick the opponent, who won't know which side of the paddle is being used for the strike (though this is more difficult now for professional players, as ITTF guidelines state that both sides of the racket must be the same color).
Spin—the rotation of the ball while in play. There are three different types of spin:
- Topspin—when the top half of the ball is hit, causing it to spin away from you and drop toward the table (especially effective at higher speeds)
- Backspin—when the bottom half of the ball is hit, so that the ball spins toward you
- Sidespin—similar to a curve ball in baseball, the sidespin makes the ball spin sideways and therefore grip the rubber when it hits the opponent's racket (also often results in an unpredictable bounce)
- Which Ping Pong table is the best?
All of the top seven brands listed in the above summary are highly reputable, and virtually any purchase you make from them will be satisfactory. That said, there are a few that have appeared on several “Best Of” lists in the past year or two. These include the JOOLA Rally TL Table Tennis Table, the Butterfly Rollaway Table Tennis Table, and the JOOLA Inside 15mm 5/8″ Competition Grade Table.
- What should I do if my Ping Pong table is defective?
If the product is still under a manufacturer's warranty, then you should be able to write to the company to receive a replacement part. If it's a severe problem, then you might have to exchange the table for one of equal or lesser value.
- Will a Ping Pong table warp if left in the garage?
It depends on both the quality of the product and the garage's conditions. If the table is made of good material, is packed and secured properly, and left in a cool, dry spot that isn't prone to flooding, it should handle the storage well.
- Will a Ping Pong table fit in an SUV?
The SUV's dimensions don't provide enough space to fit a regulation size table, even if the table is folded down to its transport mode. If you need to move your table, you're going to have to either rent a U-Haul or strap it to the roof (this is an undertaking that requires great care; do some research via YouTube or another informational website before making the attempt).
Alternatives to the Ping Pong Table
Table Tennis Sets
These portable, inexpensive sets usually consist of the following: a pair of paddles, a ball or two, and a net that can be attached to a regular table (the width will be advertised on the packaging). This can transform your dining room into a table tennis venue with minimal effort and very little money spent. Obviously, there are drawbacks to this approach. The product is generally not high-quality, and the ball won't achieve the proper bounce on the softer wooden surfaces often used for dining tables. Depending on the vigorousness of your play, it might also cause damage to the table itself. Further, dining rooms aren't usually conducive to active sports, not even ones as well-contained as table tennis. These sets would be put to better use on a spare table that's usually kept in storage and only used during large gatherings.
Pool Table Converters
If you have a standard-sized pool table in your family or rec room, there are kits available that will transform that surface into a Ping Pong table instead. These are pricier than the more rudimentary dining table sets. Some pool tables might even have them built in as an added feature. Again, they're not as professional, but they will allow you to play a decent game without having to invest in another table altogether.
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