Photo: Glenda Taylor
The purchase of a folding table may be a spur-of-the-moment decision when you discover you need an extra surface for dinner guests, garage sales, or crafts. It provides a temporary (though possibly permanent) place to feed folks, store or display items, or provide a work surface for space for sewing, painting, and other DIY projects. Dozens of models are available in a range of sizes and prices, but until a folding table is set up, it’s impossible to tell whether it will be sturdy and strong enough for your purposes. That’s why I tested some of the most popular folding tables on the market today, examining them for material and construction quality, overall stability, and ease of use, awarding points for their performance in specific categories.
Some folding tables can handle heavy-duty loads, including power tools, construction materials, or books. Ahead, learn what to look for when shopping for the best folding table, and find out how the following models earned a place on this list. Note: Not all the tables I tested earned a spot in this roundup; you can check out the one that didn’t make the cut as well!
- BEST OVERALL: Office Star Resin Multipurpose Folding Table
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Flash Furniture 48″ White Plastic Folding Table
- BEST NARROW PICK: Hampden Furnishings 18″x60″ Heavy Duty Folding Table
- BEST PERSONAL DINING: Table-Mate II Folding TV Tray Table with Cup Holder
- BEST WORK TABLE: Disston OmniTable
- BEST PORTABLE OFFICE: GreenForest Folding Desk
- BEST PICNIC TABLE: Office Star Resin 3-Piece Folding Bench and Table Set
- BEST FOR CRAFTS: Studio Designs Sew Ready Mobile Fabric Table
ALSO TESTED: Sleekform Portland Folding Table
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Folding Table
Folding tables offer instant seating and storage. Just fold out the legs and voilà—room for guests or a surface to hold food and supplies for parties and other events. Depending on their size, shape, and materials, some folding tables are better suited to specific tasks than others.
Many folding tables are constructed from strong but lightweight materials, making them sturdy yet portable. The table’s underframe, including the folding legs, is usually metal, often aluminum or powder-coated steel, to reduce rusting and corrosion risk. Tabletop material varies; depending on your plans for the table, one of the following categories will be better suited than the others.
- Molded plastic or resin: Tabletops made from heavy-duty waterproof molded plastic or resin are ideal options for folding tables to be used outdoors. These tops are also spill- and stain-resistant, making them suitable for children’s playrooms. However, the textured surface common on molded resin tabletops can make tasks like coloring and writing more difficult.
- Plywood or fiberboard core: Those in the market for a folding table to be used indoors should check out the variety of plywood and fiberboard options. These tabletops come with a water-resistant top layer of Formica, laminate, or melamine that provides a smooth surface ideal for coloring and writing. These surface materials come in various designs, including wood- and granite-look, so you can choose a design to complement the decor in any room. Plus, these smooth materials wipe clean with ease.
- Solid wood: Typically reserved for smaller tables because wood tends to be heavy, solid wood folding tables can be used outdoors or indoors, depending on the wood species. For outdoor use, look for a table made from weather-resistant redwood, teak, or cedar. Indoors, virtually any species, including oak, cherry, or pecan, will do.
Folding tables are available in a few basic shapes, each offering different benefits.
- Round: A folding round table allows guests to easily see one another, making them well suited for wedding receptions, family reunions, or just having coffee on the patio with friends. They come in various sizes, from small two-person models to larger, banquet-size tables that can seat eight to 12 people.
- Square: Most square folding tables are relatively small, seating a maximum of four—one person on each side—and they are popular for overflow dining for extra guests, playing cards or board games, and as a designated kids’ table.
- Rectangular: A common option for banquet-style meals, accommodating larger groups, or for added work space in the kitchen, rectangular folding tables range in size from children’s versions that seat four to adult tables that can seat up to 12 people.
Folding and Locking Mechanisms
The standard leg configuration on round and rectangular folding tables features two leg sets on opposite ends of the table that fold up underneath the table for storage. Each set features two connected table legs, and the farther apart the legs are, the more stable the table will be. Square tables can have similar leg configurations, but more often, they have four individual legs, each one folding up along one side of the table.
Most folding tables feature a locking mechanism that will prevent the table from accidentally collapsing while in use. This may be a simple metal brace that locks a leg set in its open position or a metal band that slides down over the open table legs to prevent accidental closing.
Portability tends to depend on the size and weight of a folding table. Large, heavy models can weigh as much as 50 pounds, and these are often used as group seating in schools, churches, and other community buildings. These large tables are usually stored on-site. Smaller folding tables can weigh as little as 10 pounds and can be easily kept in a garage or shed and transported in the back of a pickup truck.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a Top Pick, the following folding tables had to meet some pretty high standards. Throughout the testing, they had to remain sturdy (not wobbly), balanced, and able to support the weight of the food or other items they could be expected to hold. They also had to be simple to set up and take down.
I didn’t go easy on these tables—and, unfortunately, not all of the ones I tested made the cut. However, the ones that did are among the best bets for a variety of table surface needs. Find out the pros and cons of each.
At first glance, the Office Star Multipurpose Folding Table looks like any other folding table, but I was impressed by its overall stability and the manufacturer’s attention to quality. I decided to test it as an overflow table in my home office, although it’s also suitable for outdoor use. In addition to a rectangular steel frame that holds the tabletop, the Office Star is reinforced with two steel cross bars that run from side to side under the tabletop. These braces add stability to the resin surface.
The Office Star table weighs just under 30 pounds, so it’s beefy enough to offer structural support but still lightweight enough to be considered portable. It measures 4 feet long, 30 inches deep, and stands 29.75 inches high, which is comparable to most desktop heights.
The legs snap into strong clips beneath the table for storage. I had to pull firmly to release each set of legs. When folded out, each of the legs locked securely in place, and although I tipped the table, bumped it around, and wiggled it, the legs did not collapse.
I loaded the table with a 70-pound printer and nearly all the books from my office bookcase, which I estimate weigh well over 100 pounds. The Office Star held everything without a problem. When it was fully loaded, I attempted to wiggle the table, but it remained stable. My testing left a couple of scuffs on the resin surface, so I sprayed the top with all-purpose cleaner and wiped them right off.
- Tabletop material: Heavy-duty resin
- Dimensions: 48 inches long by 30 inches deep by 29.75 inches high
- Weight: 28.9 pounds
- Sturdy and stable
- Reinforced steel frame
- Legs lock into place when folded
- Scrubbable resin surface
Get the Office Star multipurpose folding table on Amazon.
The 4-foot-long Flash Furniture Folding Table’s top is made from heavy-duty molded plastic that’s easy to wipe clean. When folded to place in a storage space, the table is only 1.75 inches thick, so it takes up very little room.
At just 19 pounds, this folding table is easy to carry. Its steel legs fold out easily and lock into place for stability. It’s rated to hold up to 330 pounds, but I felt as though putting 200 pounds on the table was pushing it, not because the steel frame isn’t structurally sound—it is—but because it’s just 2 feet wide, it seemed foolhardy to load on more.
I piled car wheels and heavy mechanic’s tools on top, and it held firm. I tested this folding table outdoors, and it sat outside during 3 days of near-constant rain. After the sun finally came out, I inspected the table’s steel frame for any signs of rusting—and there were none. The legs folded easily and snapped into place via strong plastic clips on the underside of the table.
- Tabletop material: Molded plastic
- Dimensions: 48.25 inches long by 24 deep by 29 high
- Weight: 19 pounds
- Scrubbable molded plastic surface
- Powder-coated steel frame resists rust
- Legs lock in place for carrying
- Non-scuff leg caps
- One leg cap kept falling off in testing
Get the Flash Furniture folding table at Wayfair, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Kohl’s.
Not everyone has unlimited space to set up a large, wide folding table, and that’s where Hampden Furnishings has an advantage. It measures a full 60 inches long but only 18 inches wide. I used this table to hold extra food and drink items for an outdoor family get-together, but it would be just as handy indoors.
I found that the trick to using this narrow table safely is to position the back side against a wall so the cantilever feet bars extend outward. This is a very well-made table, and it’s difficult to tip it toward the cantilever legs. The back side of the table doesn’t offer that same tip protection, so put it against a wall.
At 60 inches long, it provided plenty of room for two adult chairs or three children’s chairs to create additional seating. The steel legs lock firmly into place, and the table is surprisingly stable. The manufacturer says it will hold up to 700 pounds, and the frame may well support that, but I wouldn’t load it that heavily due to the risk of tipping backward if not against a wall.
I tested this table outdoors, and after several days of rain, I noticed no rust and the legs still folded in and out without sticking. This table takes up very little room, making it well suited for times you need a surface for food or supplies without sacrificing square footage.
- Tabletop material: Heavy-duty plastic
- Dimensions: 60 inches long by 18 inches deep by 29.5 inches high
- Weight: 29 pounds
- Cantilevered steel legs for stability
- Tabletop wipes clean
- Perfect for limited spaces
- Stable and sturdy
- Back side should be against a wall for safety
Get the Hampden Furnishings folding table at Target.
I’ve had TV tray tables in the past, and they all had a tendency to tip. Plus, I couldn’t get my legs under the table, so I had to lean way over to eat. The Table-Mate II Folding TV Table solves those problems and looks great doing so. Instead of featuring the standard bar across the front, the Table-Mate comes with cantilevered legs so I could sit with my feet extended under the table—a comfortable improvement over the old folding tray styles.
This table requires minor assembly, but I found it simple to attach the cantilever legs to the table’s main two legs—I just slid them in until they snapped into place. I used the table at full height (29.25 inches, standard tabletop height), but it can be shortened to one of six lower settings (as low as 21.75 inches) for children or even for use while sitting on the floor. The tabletop sits horizontally but can be adjusted to two tilted angles for writing or using a tablet or laptop. Another plus: The Table-Mate II folds flat for storage.
The only slight downside I noticed was that the bar that supports the tabletop would drop away from under the table if I lifted the table from the sides. This was easy enough to remedy by reaching farther under the table and grasping the bar as I lifted the table to move it.
This trusty little folding table measures 18.5 inches from side to side and is 15 inches deep—just right for holding a single place setting for a guest. There’s also a pullout beverage holder, which is a boon for keeping a glass from tipping over if someone bumps into the table.
- Tabletop material: Food-rated polypropylene
- Dimensions: 18.5 inches wide by 15 inches deep by 21.75 to 29.25 inches high
- Weight: 6.62 pounds
- Folds flat for storage
- Tabletop adjusts to three angles
- Height is adjustable
- Legs fit comfortably underneath
- The adjustment bar slipped out when the table was lifted
Get the Table-Mate folding table on Amazon or at Target.
Those in the market for a robust folding table designed to support heavy power tools may need to look no further than Disston’s OmniTable, which serves multiple project purposes. DIYers and pros alike may find themselves constructing temporary workbenches on sawhorses to hold heavy power tools, such as my contractor’s compound miter saw that weighs over 50 pounds. Without a stable bench, I’ve had to run back and forth to my workshop to cut materials and then carry them back to my work site. The OmniTable solves that problem by offering a sturdy surface that supports large tools and acts as a plug-in center for power equipment.
The OmniTable arrived flat, and my first impression (looking at the aluminum legs) was that it might not be stable enough. Plus, it only weighs 32 pounds. I’m happy to report that I was wrong. I set up the OmniTable and saw that its outward-slanted legs created a strong base. When I put downward pressure on the top with my arms in an attempt to wobble it, the table held firm. It has adjustable legs, so I raised it to its maximum height of 32 inches and put my saw in place.
The tabletop surface is double sided. One side features an orange molded plastic grid, which is suitable for holding tools and equipment. The other side has a laminated wood surface with a ruler and a protractor. I consider the protractor and ruler a foolish feature for those using the table as a workbench—it’s doubtful that anyone will flip back and forth just to take a measurement.
The OmniTable can also be used as a creeper or a dolly, and I was able to lower it, so just the caster wheels stuck out beneath. As with the flip-over tabletop, I wasn’t too impressed with these added functions—the wheels do not roll smoothly enough to move something heavy. Still, in a pinch, someone may want to use the OmniTable for either of those purposes if they don’t have a real dolly or creeper.
The best part of the OmniTable is its ability to support heavy tools and plug them into the power strip on the side of the table. It excels in that function, and for that reason alone, it’s well worth buying. The rest is pretty much fluff.
- Tabletop material: Molded plastic, wood laminate
- Dimensions: 37.5 inches long by 18.3 inches wide by 20 to 32 inches deep
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Very sturdy and stable
- Adjustable-height tabletop
- Power strip on the side
- Caster wheels don’t roll smoothly
- Added features not especially functional
Get the Disston folding table at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.
Need a work-from-home space and only have about 32 inches in width for it? That’s enough room for the impressively stable GreenForest Folding Desk. This super space saver came in a large flat box, but there was no assembly necessary. It took just a few minutes to figure out how it opened (like a TV tray table), but once I did I saw it offered more surface area than I’d imagined. The worktop measures 20.5 inches deep and 29.5 inches wide, and the desk stands 28 inches high. The steel bars on the outside add two more inches to the total width of the desk. The small upper shelf is 6 inches deep—just enough to hold a small lamp or other office item.
One of the nicest features of the GreenForest desk is the location of the horizontal support bars on the legs. The legs have two round horizontal bars, but they’re only installed on the back of the two steel legs. This configuration allowed me to pull my office chair up to the desk and sit comfortably without my legs bumping into the crossbars.
While the GreenForest desk isn’t large enough to hold a heavy CPU or printer along with a monitor and keyboard, it will easily support a laptop or inclusive computer, such as an iMac, with no problem. For those who don’t want to dedicate an entire room to a home office or just need an extra workstation for kids’ homework, the GreenForest is a handy solution.
- Tabletop material: Black laminate
- Dimensions: 31.5 inches wide (total) by 20.5 inches deep by 28 inches high
- Weight: 23.8 pounds
- Fits a space as narrow as 32 inches wide
- Comes with a small upper shelf
- Sturdy and stable
- Room for legs underneath
- Not much space for office peripherals
Get the GreenForest folding desk on Amazon or at Sears.
Get the picnic party started with the Office Star 3-Piece Folding Bench and Table Set. This picnic set is suitable for outdoor and indoor use with a frame made from powder-coated steel and waterproof seats and tabletop. Each bench measures 72.5 inches long by 12 inches wide by 17.5 inches high. The matching sturdy folding table is 72 inches long by 30 inches wide by 29.5 inches high and is suitable for seating four adults or six small children.
I found the Office Star folding picnic table to be quite handy and easy to use. The legs fold under each of the three pieces, and then they all fold in half and snap in a closed position. Each of the benches and the table come with handles for easy carrying.
I set the table up outdoors (although it could also serve indoors for overflow seating) and was impressed with its stability. The benches were relatively stable too; while they didn’t rock or tip, I wish the bench legs had been slightly angled outward to offer more seating stability—especially for active kids.
Both the bench seats and the tabletop are scrubbable. This set weathered a 3-day stint of rain, and afterward, I detected no signs of rust or corrosion on the steel legs and frame. That said, it’s probably better to store it in a garage or shed when not in use.
- Tabletop material: Molded resin
- Dimensions: Table (72 inches by 30 inches), benches (72.5 inches by 12 inches)
- Weight: 58.3 pounds
- Waterproof construction
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Each item folds for storage and includes a handle
- Bench design could be more stable
Get the Office Star folding table and benches on Amazon or at the Office Star Store.
Crafts and hobbies can require a large table surface, but often, hobby rooms just aren’t big enough to accommodate them. That’s where the Studio Designs Sew Ready Table comes in. When its drop sides are folded out, it offers a sizable 59-inch-by-36.25-inch rectangular work surface, well suited for measuring or cutting fabric or working on craft projects. Yet with the sides folded down, it measures just 12 inches wide, so it can be scooted alongside a wall to keep it out of the way.
I was impressed with the folding concept of the Studio Designs table because I don’t sew or do crafts daily, so I do not need a large table in my small hobby room. But when I do need to measure and cut fabric, it’s a lot handier to do so on a table rather than on the floor.
The catch to all this convenience? The table’s assembly is extensive. It’s not difficult, and all the fasteners and tools to assemble it are included, but it took me 45 minutes to put it all together. And that’s even after I went and got a ratcheting socket wrench to speed the process. All in all, though, the foldout idea behind the Studio Designs table is ingenious. It offers the best of both worlds—a large work surface yet compact to save on storage space.
- Tabletop material: Laminated board
- Dimensions: 29.75 inches high by 59 inches long by 36.25 inches wide (12 inches wide when folded down)
- Weight: 62 pounds
- Folds for compact storage
- Baskets for supplies
- Wipes clean
- Extensive assembly required
Get the Studio Designs folding table on Amazon.
Sleekform Portland Folding Table
I really wanted to like the Sleekform Portland Folding Table. It was the only table I tested that came with a natural wood top that I thought would complement my interior decor.
Unfortunately, the trouble started as soon as I unboxed the table. As I removed the padded foam designed to protect the table during shipping, I found that one of the wood tabletop sides had come loose and was falling off. I figured that might have happened due to rough handling, so I glued the loose piece on and inserted two screws to hold it in place. That fixed that issue, but then more problems cropped up.
The table’s iron legs are stored on the underside of the table, and each set of two legs has a latch to hold them in place during carrying or storage. The latches were useless—neither stayed closed, so the legs fell away from the table rather than staying folded.
Next, I set the Sleekform table upright, and it was extremely wobbly. I double-checked to ensure the legs were in the correct position and all the fasteners were snug—nothing was out of order. Yet just a slight bump would cause a leg to fold up and the table to collapse.
Perhaps I just received a defective model, but there was no way I could include this lemon in our lineup. It simply didn’t meet our strict standards.
Any folding table in this lineup is suitable for a range of temporary uses, but our Best Overall pick, the Office Star multipurpose folding table, ticks all the boxes. It features a sturdy steel frame and durable molded resin top and folds flat for storage. Our budget folding table pick, the Flash Furniture folding table, provides sturdy support for overflow diners or for holding various project items.
How We Tested the Best Folding Tables
My testing process was straightforward. First, I inspected the tables’ materials and examined their hinges, locks, and handles for durability. I scrutinized the locking devices that secured the legs when folded up and fully extended. Throughout the testing process, I scored each table using a rubric, and when the testing was done, I added the scores and used them to help determine the best awards for each table.
For outdoor models, I looked for molded plastic or high-density polyethylene, and powder-coated steel legs that wouldn’t rust or corrode if left out in the rain for several days. Most folding tables I tested had foldable legs or the table itself folded. Some picks came with adjustable heights or table angles, and I tried all of those functions to get a good idea of the scope of the table’s performance.
My primary concern, however, was stability. No folding table is worth the price if it tips or topples and injures someone. I made every effort to test multiple table types that would suit a variety of user needs, both indoor and outdoor.
In addition to standard folding tables, I also tested some that came with benches or folding chairs for added convenience.
Folding tables come in handy for many situations, but if this is the first time you’ve shopped for one, you may have some questions.
Q. How do you fold a folding table?
The simplest way is to rest the table on its side, release the locking mechanism holding the legs open, and then fold up the legs.
Q. How much weight can a folding table hold?
That all depends on the size and quality of the table. Some smaller lightweight tables may be rated to hold as little as 30 pounds, while a heavy-duty folding conference table may hold up to 300 pounds or more. Always err on the side of caution, however.
Q. What is the standard height of a folding table?
The top of a standard folding table is about 30 inches from the floor, which can accommodate most regular or folding chairs. In comparison, a child’s folding table is approximately 20 inches from the floor.