Table Tennis Buying Guide
Who will be using the table?
Beginners and Recreational players - if the table is for a beginner or if you are looking to use the table for fun in your garage or basement, you do not need a professional table built for tournaments. It would be sufficient to purchase a recreational table.
If space is limited, and the table is required solely for recreational reasons, you might want to have a look at the non-standard small tables.
Schools, Game Rooms and Recreational Centres - if the table is meant for use by several players, durability and robustness should be one of the first things to consider. In this case you need to look for a club quality table or a competition table.
Tournament Players and Table Tennis Clubs - If you intend to use the table competitively or for professional match training, look for a competition table or for a refurbished competition table. Competition tables offer a thick surface (greater than 3/4") allowing for a very consistent bounce across the entire surface. If you intend to organize competitions ensure the table description says it is ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) Approved or USATT (USA Table Tennis) Approved.
Rollaway or Stationary?
Stationary tables are generally more stable than the rollaway tables on wheels. But unless you are either buying a competition or have ample space to have a stationary table permanently set-up, it is recommended to go for a rollaway table. Naturally, the larger the wheels, the easier it will be to move the table around.
Will you be using the table Outdoors?
If want to have the option of playing table tennis outdoors, look for an Outdoor table. Outdoor tables normally have the top, bottom and sides encapsulated in aluminium to be more resistant to moisture. Such tables would also have wheels so you can fold the table in two halves to move it easily for storage.
Features to consider
Playback position. Picture showing JOOLA Inside
Playback Mode (see photo) - Tables with this feature allow you to lift one side of the table vertically to practice alone. While this feature is popular with beginners and children, other players will realize that practicing this way is not very effective because the ball will not follow the natural trajectory experienced during a table tennis match, especially when basic spin is applied.
Table Surface Thickness Indoor tables are normally 1/2" to 1" thick. Most competition tables are 1" thick, or slightly less, but unless you play in tournaments, you will barely notice the difference. A table thicker than 3/4" will offer a consistent bounce and is recommended for serious players. Outdoor tables are normally thinner and are made of aluminum or resin. This results in a metallic bounce, but the material helps durability in outdoor conditions.
Frame Chassis and Legs These features determine the table's stability. Consider the thickness of the table legs, the table frame and the number of connection points in the table chassis to determine the stability and strength of table.