Table Tennis Buying Guide

WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN A TABLE TENNIS TABLE?

WE WANT TO GIVE YOU THE BEST POSSIBLE INFORMATION IN THIS GUIDE. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO CALL US AT 855-473-4488 FOR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR USAGE BASED ON THE MOST UP TO DATE INFORMATION.

Our company deals with a wide variety of customers. We have a great deal of experience in the table tennis table business. We design and fabricate table tennis tables. Most of our customers play table tennis recreationally at home and are interested in a table of good quality without going overboard. We also sell to institutions and clubs for competition.

Some of our people have been working in the table tennis business since the mid 70’s.
We are asked all the time: what qualities and features should I look for in a table tennis table? Objectively there is no set of features in and of themselves to define this question.
It depends more on how you will use the table. Table tennis table features can be made in substandard ways. Some manufacturers offer features just to appeal to consumers without the feature having any practical purpose.

As a company with a long history of working in the table tennis table industry, we know some features, when designed and manufactured properly can be very useful when you have a need to play the game more effectively. The quality of each feature and the entire table, is determined by the current design and manufacturing quality of a particular model.

In what follows is a review of features to give you our perspective on the importance of those features. While we trust the information below is useful, we invite you to call us to answer any questions or discuss further what type or quality of table will best work for the level of play you intend to achieve.

Playback Position:

The ability to fold up one side of the table and have a player hit the ball against the vertical side can be very useful. You will find that almost any table can be put into this position. In fact it is hard to find a table that does not have a play back position. The playback position can be useful even with a gap between the net and the vertical side because in order to hit the ball hard enough to come back to you, the return will easily clear the gap between the net and vertical side.

Wheels Of good quality will roll well for years. Steel casters will last for many years if of a good quality. We judge wheels by how often in our experience we have provided replacement wheels to a customer. A wheel will be easier to replace if it is made to an American standard.

The importance of all casters swiveling: If all casters swivel, you will not on a flat surface have to lift the table off of the floor to point it in the right direction to roll. All casters swiveling is important.

Recommended Wheel Sizes For Surfaces

Carpet - Larger wheels are helpful on carpet. Anything over 3 inches will usually do.
Concrete, Tile or other hard surfaces- Any wheel over 2 inches will be adequate.

Ball bearing Casters

Ball bearing casters are like other features not necessarily beneficial. The ball bearings if made too cheaply can give out. If they are made too cheaply , it can cause a wheel to fail and lock up.

Wheel locks

Wheel locks are not really an important feature in a table tennis table. In fact wheel locks are often just an annoyance when they engaged and you are pushing your table. When the locks or one of them is engaged when your table is in the stored position, your table will not be ready to push. You must make sure that each wheel that has a lock , is unlocked. When table is in the out for play position ,it will not need locks. Some customers think that table tennis tables need wheel locks to keep them stabilized when out for play. This is not the case since the end legs (which do not have wheels) resting on the floor surface combined with the weight of even a relatively light table tennis table will hold it in place. Wheel locks are as a result not very useful.

Bounce Quality

This feature that is extremely important. It is the most underrated important feature of all. Recreational customers commonly say “I’m not a pro so the bounce is not important. The fact is the bounce is even more important for a recreational player that a highly experienced player. When we refer to bounce quality, we are referencing the consistency of the bounce over the surface of the table. An experienced player will be able to detect a difference in bounce consistency and to adjust for it in how they play there racket angles and in other ways. Still the experienced player will much prefer a table tennis table that bounces consistently. A recreational player will not be able to detect the difference in bounce across the surface of a table tennis table. The recreational player as a result will miss shots that are really due to the table inconsistency. It will not be much fun for the recreational player and as a result the table will not be used very much.

Fold Up

Almost all table tennis tables these days will fold up and roll away. In fact it is hard to find a table that will not fold up and roll away. It is always best to have an adult or two fold up a table. With the exception of only a few tables , folding of a table tennis table is done by folding one half at a time. The overall lock quality and the automatic engagement feature is important in in folding and overall safety. See the lock category for more on that subject.

Overall Safety

There are several considerations for safety in a table tennis table:

Safety while folded up: This is determined by the quality of the lock or locks. A strong steel l lock that automatically engages upon being folded up is the best kind of device. See lock information below.

Safety while unfolded and out for play.: Locking levers and other stabilizing factors such as bracing of good strength and in all the right places influences safety.

Information as to how you operate locks. If it is not clear how you operate the locks , fold and unfold the table it can result in someone just pulling on a table and creating an instability. Many tables are made overseas and the instructions in English are poorly written or there is only a graphic and no actual wording at all.

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Locks.

It is best to have locks that have all components made of steel. The lock will have two basic components. The lock and the catch both need to be made of steel. If both parts are made of plastic the lock cannot be nearly as strong as an all steel lock[o5] . If one or both components are made of plastic, as is often the case, the locking mechanism will not have the strength of an all steel lock.

Net & Post

A normal C clamp is considered the most stable. A built in net and post does have the convenience of not having to be removed and re applied., but does not stabilized the two table halves by clamping them together in the center.

Top Finish for play

It is important that the finish be durable and hold up over time. A painted table tennis table surface needs to have a protective finish over the paint to have real durability. Painted surfaces without a clear finish over the paint. Without a clear finish the top from the ball bounce will tend to degrade over time. Paint may even come off on the ball. As a result the table surface will change in appearance . Along with the chance in appearance , the ball bounce will vary depending on whether the ball lands on a more worn or less worn area of the table surface.

Top Finish for durability. A clear coated painted surface or Melamine laminated surface will be durable and easy to maintain. Melamine is said to hold up better over time

Rolling Mobility. This depends on the surface over which you will roll the table. larger wheels can be helpful over a carpet. A smooth surface such as concrete, tile or a wood floor will allow you to have just about any size of wheel s work well for you.

Aprons

Fasteners: Fasteners are a hidden element of overall durability. Nothing beats steel for durability. We feel that there is an overuse of plastic in table tennis table. Plastic being cheaper is used by many manufacturers as much as possible to add to profit margins.Leg Levelers: Leg levelers are a feature that is very much overrated by consumers. When people think leg levelers for a table tennis table , they most often think of two potential problems:

1)Table tennis table shoppers think that they need leg levelers because play will be greatly effected by a table that is not level. Consumers often think of how play in billiards can be significantly effected by an unlevel table. In billiards though , the balls are practically always on the surface of the table, so an unlevel billiards table will cause all of the balls to not roll true. In table tennis play, a table that is not level will not effect play very much or not at all because only a small part of the ball hits a small part of the table.
2) Some people who are shopping for a table tennis table think that without leg levelers a table tennis table may wobble, because a leg or legs may not touch the floor. People sometimes think that a table tennis table may rock. Table tennis tables (particularly folding table tennis tables) are flexible and fold down from the chassis and will meet the floor surface. A floor surface would have to be unlevel to an extreme degree for a table tennis table not to have all of its legs meet the floor. If a table tennis is set up on an unlevel floor, shims can also be used to make it level.

Overall Material-Steel Vs Plastic:

There is a wide overuse of plastic in the design of table tennis tables. Plastic locking mechanisms are not as strong as steel. After tooling costs are paid, plastic parts are much cheaper to make. However plastic parts are not as strong as steel parts. Plastic is an acceptable material though when used for very light duty purposes or just for ornamentation.

Warranty- Who is offering the warranty is more important than how long it . It is one thing for a manufacturer to offer a warranty or to entice a customer to buy with an especially long warranty. It is another thing to for a manufacturer to actually perform their table tennis table warranty and send the customer a replacement part or parts. We know the reliability level of each manufacturer on warranty and we heavily favor those who have a history of being responsive to customer needs for warranty support. All of the manufacturers offer replacement parts and not labor with their warranty.

Assembly- Assembly time can vary greatly for table tennis tables. Often the instruction sheets for assembly are the problem. Many tables are made overseas and lack enough content in English to be useful. Some manufacturers are attempting to resolve this problem.

Delivery –Our Delivery is the best.

The truth is that shipping for this kind of item is generally terrible for large items like table tennis table sand game tables, and other large items. We understand the importance of delivery in good condition. We have a network that in most cases will allow our customers to receive delivery inside their home and up or down a flight of stairs at no extra cost.
Some table models can be delivered inside and assembles for as little as $49 more. We emphasize selling the best value tables possible, no matter the selling price. A table can be good when it leaves our origin shipping point, but is not so good if it has been dropped a few times in transit. The companies that sell table tennis game tables and other large items are often not so careful with the selection of freight companies chosen to deliver to your home. The lowest price and most bare-bones service are chosen over careful handling of your goods.

Leg and Brace Thickness

Leg thickness can add to stability if the leg outside dimension is not the only part of the leg that is thick. If the wall thickness of a leg is too thin, than the leg may be weak even with a substantial outside dimension. Sometimes a leg or brace will have the dimension changed by the manufacturer to save money and yield a higher profit. We periodically measure and re evaluate parts of tables including the wall thickness of the legs, braces and other parts. We want to know when there is a change in specification. This is another reason to contact us by phone, so we can give you the latest change if any on a table tennis table.

Color; Traditionally table tennis tables have been green. However blue has become very popular in recent years. Black has also become more popular in the last few years. All of these colors are within the regulations.

Top material: Tops are predominantly made of particleboard. Many years ago tops were usually made of plywood, and particleboard was a cheap substitute for plywood. Over the years particleboard of a much higher quality that the early versions. The particleboard of today is available in many quality levels, and much of it is more stable than the plywood of today. Medium Density Fiber Board-MDF This board is a finer fiber than particleboard, but is heavy and brittle. This is a material that is commonly used for game table (such as foosball, air hockey etc.) and because many of these manufacturers in China particularly already use this material for their other products, they utilize it for table tennis table tops. Many of the table tennis table tops that are made of MDF are very thin. When you convert the mm over to inches , you will find out just how these tops really are.

Top thickness: There are tables with thick tops that are cheaply made and not as good as some thinner tops, but that is rarely the case. A top on an indoor table should be at least ¾” or more. A good 1” top is definitely better than any thinner top in two important ways.
1) A 1” top is much more resistant to warping than a ¾” top. You gain a tremendous amount of resistance to warping with a 1” top over a ¾” top . The increased stability with a 1” top over a ¾” top is far greater than the added ¼” might suggest.
2) A 1” top will yield a much more consistent bounce than a ¾” top. Consistency of the bounce is the most important feature that customers tend to overlook. Customers will commonly say “ I am not a pro, the bounce doesn’t matter to me”. The reality is that the bounce matters even more to an inexperienced player. An experienced player will be able to detect an inconsistent bounce or that a table has a low bounce and adjust. A less experienced player will likely just miss a lot of shots that are really the fault of the table. It will as a result not be very much fun and the table with the dificient, inconsistent bounce will not be used very much.

Metric To Inch Conversion Chart For Table Tennis Table Tops
MM Inches
12mm Less Than ½ Inch. 12.70mm Converts To ½ Inch
15mm Less Than ⅝ Inch.. 15.88mm Converts To ⅝ Inch
16mm Converts To ⅝ Inch
18mm Less Than ¾ Inch.. 19.05mm Converts to ¾ Inch
19mm About ¾ Inch. 19.05 mm Converts to ¾ Inch
22mm Converts Most Often To ⅞ Inch. 22.23mm Converts to 7/8
25mm Converts Most Often To 1 Inch. 25.40 Converts to 1 Inch
Conversions Are Gotten From Wood Industry Database

Chassis coatings.

Many table tennis tables are powder coated rather than painted. Powder coating gives a metal part a very solid surface that depending on its quality greatly resist corrosion in any atmosphere. We have a coating measuring device to check the thickness of the powder on metal surfaces. We periodically check the thickness of various table tennis table chassis to measure their current quality .

Ease of folding and Rolling

The overall ease of folding and rolling are determined by a combination of factors such as ease of the fold itself, lock operation and security, overall wheel operation. Simplicity of the folding, lock security, and understandability of how the table is folded and the how the lock is engaged and released is very important.

Top finish

Many of the top tables in the world are finished with a thin laminate. This is typically a very thin layer of melamine that could even be thermo fused into the wood material. This type of table that has been used in many world championships and will be used in upcoming world championships. The laminate will provide greater resistance to liquids and will be easy to maintain for many years.