How to Select a Table Tennis Table?
So you’re in the market looking for a new table tennis table? With a variety of choices available in the market these days, it is not an easy task to decide on the best tennis table for your use. There are so many different brands, different price ranges, and different quality levels. But what makes an ultimate table tennis table?
Will cheap tables have the same gameplay as an extensive table? Is one type of table tennis table better than the others?
Hopefully, this blog post will be very helpful in your quest to find the best table tennis table for your ultimate table tennis experience. In this guide, you’ll get to know how to differentiate between a high-quality table and a poor one, what features to look for when buying a tennis table, recommendations for different types of users is it for your club, school, home, or professional purposes.
Now, let’s begin with the most important bits of information.
How can you spot a high-quality table tennis table?One of the best ways of identifying if the table tennis table is high-quality or not is to check the thickness of the tabletop. The table tennis tabletop thickness can range from 12mm to 25m. The thicker the tabletop, the better will be its quality. Similarly, as you go for the thinner variants, the quality will keep on decreasing.
Always avoid buying tables that have a thin table tennis top (i.e. 12mm) because the ball will not bounce well while the table will also be flimsy and get damaged easily.
A table having a medium thickness (i.e. 16mm – 19mm) is actually decent. You can get a consistent bounce and the table lasts for a long time before its quality starts deteriorating.
However, the table tennis tables with the tabletop thickness between 22mm and 25mm are definitely the best. However, these are also the most expensive.
An amateur player wouldn’t probably be able to tell the difference between a 22mm table and a 25mm table but the 25mm table will give you the best possible experience of table tennis gameplay.
You can also search for the reviews too but for Indian tables you will not find much reviews but for other countries various review sites have the tennis table reviews.
Key features to keep in mind when buying a table tennis table?Portability
The first thing to decide on would be to decide whether you’re going to set up the table permanently or you’ll be frequently be packing it up and moving it. If you’ll be taking it up and down constantly, it is recommended to go for something that is easy to set up such as a fold-up model table.
This type of table can easily be handled by an individual since it has rollers to allow easy movement. High-quality roller tables come with brakes on the wheels that stop the table from moving around when in use.
Many players argue that table tennis tables having 1-inch thick tops are the only ones worth buying. While it’s true that such tables do have an amazing bounce, but a 0.75-inch thick top gives a similar bounce. A professional player or someone aspiring to go pro probably looks for a 1-inch thick top so that they can get a similar feel to the tables that are usually used in the tournaments.
Table thickness is a key variable when choosing the ultimate table to buy. For professionals, it doesn’t matter how nice the table looks and what brand it belongs to, the focus should be on the tabletop thickness.
- 12mm thickness – These are the cheapest tables, have a terrible bounce and they should be avoided at all costs.
- 16mm thickness – Doesn’t have a great bounce and should be bought only on a super tight budget.
- 18mm thickness – These are ideally the minimum standard needed for a table and are decent for household use.
- 22mm thickness – These have a good bounce and they’re ideal for clubs.
- 25mm thickness – These comply with professional competition standards.
You should make sure that your chosen table has really strong legs and support because it will probably take quite a beating overtime. Also, look for the leg levelers located at the bottom of the logs. These will come in handy if the floor that you’re playing on is not level. You can adjust the levelers to keep the table’s height at its standard 30-inches above the floor.
Similar to the last point, leveling is important. Place your eye at the table height from all sides of the tabletop and look for any possible warping or bending that can affect the bounce of the ball. A 1-yard or 1-meter long spirit level can prove to be handy for assessing if the table surface is flat or not.
Always go for a net with attachments with a soft covering where the table can be gripped without causing any scratches to the surface. You can even put some sticky felt at the net clamps if you want to. Also, be sure that the clamps you’re using for the net do not dig into the surface. Never drag the net clamps whenever you’re putting the net on or taking it off.
Some of the tables come with the net and post included while others require a separate purchase. The nets can easily be attached to the table in three different ways – permanently affixed, spring-loaded clip, or using a screw clamp.
- Permanently affixed
In this type, the net is often seen screwed into the side of outdoor tables. One-piece undercarriage tables come with a permanently affixed net that might be shorter than the official competition length.
Very simple to attach and detach, these spring-loaded clips are similar to clothespins and are fairly easy, quick to remove.
- Screw clamp
This one is the sturdiest option among the three as it provides strong adjustment capabilities. It is recommended that you use felt or find a table having a soft covering on the grip spots as it’ll prevent the surface from getting scratches.
One-piece or two-piece
One-piece tables tend to have an undercarriage or a single-trolley system that allows the table to stay in one-piece and be folded in the middle. Sometimes, it is also referred to as a “rollaway”. One of the advantages of one-piece tables is that it is very easy to align the halves while you can even half-open it and use it to practice alone. But the negative is that it can take a large amount of storage space.
Two-piece tables, on the other hand, are divided into separate halves, making it easily portable and space-efficient. However, these models are difficult to align and start your game. Each side might have its own set of wheels or they might be incorporated into the center of the table.
Table tennis table manufacturing and assembly is just as importantMore often than not the casual players or even some of the pro players tend to ignore the minute details. The material of the playing surface, frame under the playing surface, locking mechanism, and even the height of the net can be crucial to achieving the ultimate table tennis gameplay.
Here are some of the details that often get overlooked by most people –
- A wooden or aluminum playing surface
Most tennis tables tend to have a wooden play surface. It is great under most cases but not recommended for outdoor use especially if there is excess moisture, humidity, or extreme temperatures. These days, the weatherproof aluminum playing surface is very popular. These types of tabletops incorporate a wooden core that is sealed inside an aluminum shell. This will make it completely weatherproof while allowing outdoor use. Such tops are also engineered for resistance warping too.
- Frame, under-carriage, or chassis
The frame used under the playing surface will be critical to determine the durability of the table. Cheap tables make use of this aluminum or galvanized tubing.
Low-end type tables also become shaky overtime and even collapse. High-quality tables also incorporate heavy steel tubing with a solid center transport frame.
These tables also utilize square or oval tube legs for the ultimate stability and strength. How many cross beams are used and the number of connection points to the playing surface will also affect the solidness of the table.
- True playback feature
A lot of the tables allow you to fold them up on one side of the table and store that side while using the other half of the table for solo play. Some tables also have a wide gap between the net and the folded side when it is folded up for playback.
However, this doesn’t allow for realistic gameplay because you have to hit the ball much harder so that it doesn’t fall between the net and the folded surface.
Always choose tables that fold up in a way that it doesn’t leave any gap between the net and the vertical play surface for realistic solo gameplay.
- Locking mechanisms
A high-quality table can be differentiated from a cheap, low-quality table by the way it incorporates the locking system. A locking system prevents accidental opening/closing of the table as once the table is folded up, the play surfaces tend to get locked into position. That’ll mean that the table cannot fall and injure someone and the fingers don’t get caught in the seam between the surfaces.
- Net and post systems
Good real table tennis table generally come with a decent net system whereas the high-quality tables incorporate an integrated post system that is attached to the table’s frame in a way the net is always deployed whether it is folded or not. This allows you to instantly be ready to play even at a moment’s notice. Also, check if it is possible to adjust the net so that you can keep it tight.
The majority of the table tennis tables generally require some sort of assembly. Always be sure that you check everything that is involved including the instructions and the tools you’ll need to set it up. Also, inquire about the delivery and additional set up charges if you do need to call an expert to help you set up the table.
Take your table outdoors to know the worth of your tableOutdoor table tennis tables come in different formats and the support and legs are rustproofed/waterproofed to give the table a firm platform to stand on. The table surface could be wooden with a waterproof coating, metallic, or even some forms of synthetic laminate. As usual, you’ll have to pay more for better quality.
One of the most important elements for any recreational player is whether they can leave the table tennis table outside in the rain and win or not. You will probably have to buy a high-quality table if you want to get the precise level of waterproofing you need.
If you are a serious player, it would be more important whether the bounce on the table outdoors is similar to that of the indoor tables.
Either way, it will be a great idea to get a high-quality opaque plastic cover if you want to prevent the table from fading or warping under the sun.
You can buy a cheap tennis table for as low as 9000 INR but you should avoid such tables at all costs because the thickness of tabletops will be thin and poor-quality. These tables are cheap for a reason and they’re not good tennis tables.
How much do high-quality table tennis tables cost?
You can choose to buy a medium thickness table (i.e. 16mm-18mm) for 15000-22000 INR. This would probably be the minimum you’ll have to spend to buy a decent quality table that’ll have decent bounce and long durability.
The professional and competition quality tables having tabletop 22mm to 25mm can cost anywhere between INR 23000 and 49000. They feel great to play on while they also last a long time.
Table Tennis Table price depends on the tabletop thickness and other features as described above. Indian Brands like Donic, Stag, Cougar, Vicky making a brilliant effective tennis tables.
Which table tennis table would be best for you depending on your usage?
Table tennis tables for your home
There are generally two main reasons for people to get a table tennis table for their homes:
- Family fun
If you’re looking to buy a table tennis table for a family activity, there is no need to buy an expensive table. If you’re going to play for fun, you’d probably not be able to tell much of a difference between a 16mm table and a 22mm table. It would be better to go for the cheaper alternative.
Note – Cheaper is different than the cheapest. Avoid overly cheap tables such as a 12mm -9000 INR table. Those tables can be flimsy and the ball wouldn’t bounce properly. A 16mm or 18mm table would be much better to play on while it’ll also be durable.
- Serious practice
If you’re looking to buy a table for serious practice at home, then it would be better to get the best quality that you can afford. It is recommended that a 19mm table is a minimum requirement that you should consider.
A 19mm table would be decent for serious practice at home. Can there be better alternatives? Obviously. But why buy something out of your budget when you can make do with something cheaper?
But if you do manage to put up a bigger budget, then it would be worth buying a better quality table. The speed and bounce would be more consistent with the tables that you would have played in your table tennis club.
If you have a club in which table tennis tables are often used, then it would be better to buy the best quality table that suits your budget. A 22mm-25mm table would be a great option especially if it is in your range. One mistake that clubs tend to make is that they go for the cheaper option and that can cost them in a major way in the long-term.
Table tennis tables for a club
Cheap tables need frequent replacing which is why they end up costing more in the long run. High-quality tables last a long time, making it a more cost-effective option.
Also, the players at clubs would prefer to play on high-quality tables. If you wish for players to keep coming back to your club, you’d want to make sure that you use decent equipment. It would be a frustrating experience for someone to come for practice and they end up on a dud table where the table tennis ball has a funny bounce.
Table tennis tables for a school
It is common for table tennis tables to take a battering when used in schools. School kids often bump them, kick them, sit on them, smash them, and stand on them. Cheaper tables often aren’t able to take this much abuse and quickly get damaged beyond repair. Therefore, it would be smarter to get the best-quality tables as they would be sturdy and long-lasting.
It would be ideal to buy 22mm-25mm tables though they don’t have to be brand new. It is okay to buy second-hand tables at affordable prices. Stag School Table tennis tables in Black paint are really good for the school budget and those are brand new.
Any time you have to buy a table tennis table, make sure that you specify your need and purpose, then choose the table with an appropriate thickness. Also, keep in mind the portability, material, weight, support, net, and other important features.
Avoid going for the cheaper options as they won’t have consistent bounce and won’t provide that ultimate playing experience. Always search for your options thoroughly and buy the table that fits your requirements and your budget.
Whatever you choose to buy, make sure that you look after it properly. Take proper care of your new table and make sure that it lasts a long time.