Anyone can host a game night with a deck of cards or favorite board game, but Ping-Pong is an excellent way to add variety while entertaining friends and family. Ping-Pong is a social game where you can play one-against-one, two-on-two, or even practice by yourself to level up your skills the next time people come over.
Ping-Pong, also known as table tennis, was invented in the 1880s as an after-dinner alternative to lawn tennis. Participants used whatever they could find for equipment, from lined-up books functioning as a net and small boxes as paddles. The sport gained popularity quickly.
According to the Olympic website, “there are 40 million competitive table tennis players and countless millions playing recreationally, making it the sport with the most participants worldwide.” Having the best Ping-Pong table enables you to enjoy this enormously popular game at your convenience.
- BEST OVERALL: JOOLA Inside 15 Foldable Indoor Table Tennis Table
- RUNNER UP: MD Sports Regulation Size Foldable Table Tennis Table
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: JOOLA Midsize Compact Table Tennis Table
- UPGRADE PICK: JOOLA Tour Regulation Size Table Tennis Table
- BEST MIDSIZE: Stiga Space Saver Indoor Table Tennis Table
- BEST OUTDOOR: Stiga XTR Indoor/Outdoor Table Tennis Table
- BEST PORTABLE: GoSports Mid-Size Table Tennis Game Set
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ping-Pong Table
The best Ping-Pong table should meet a variety of criteria: It fits the space available, lasts a long time, and doesn’t warp. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when looking at Ping-Pong tables for entertaining.
Ping-Pong tables are classified as either indoor or outdoor tables.
- Indoor tables typically feature wood tops, making them more vulnerable than surfaces that use other materials. These tables usually have a wood/resin board, UV-resistant finish, pigment coating, screened lines, and sealant. They’re not recommended for use outdoors, in places with excessive humidity or moisture, or in areas that experience extreme temperatures.
- Outdoor tables need to withstand the elements, so they are generally constructed with an aluminum surface for playing outside without fear of damage. An outdoor table usually has a UV-resistant finish, screened lines, pigment coating, resin-treated board, and a dimpled aluminum underside. These popular weatherproof tables incorporate a wood core sealed within an aluminum shell that is engineered to resist warping.
A regulation-size Ping-Pong table is 9 feet by 5 feet with a height of 30 inches. Many midsize tables on the market are about two-thirds the size of regulation tables. For entertaining purposes, the size of a Ping-Pong table is more about the space available than adhering to regulation-size standards.
A Ping-Pong table (or other gaming tables like air hockey or foosball) should fit properly in the room, so be sure to measure the space and add at least 5 feet on each side of the table to ensure a comfortable playing area. Also, the size that a table transforms to when it’s folded is usually much higher than the table height.
Then there’s the often tricky part about how to move the Ping-Pong table to the desired spot. Indoor tables likely need to go through doorways and potentially up or down the stairs, so make sure the table measurements fit the home before you order. For an outdoor table, size is less of an issue because the table can generally move around the outside of the home.
Play Surface and Table Thickness
What the top of the Ping-Pong table is made of influences how the ball bounces. This level playing surface should ideally be made of a medium-density board with a high percentage of resin to give it better warp resistance and bounce. Better-quality tables have several finishing layers to enhance the bounce and prevent colors from fading. Look for a smooth playing surface that has screened-on lines rather than taped lines, as tape can also affect how the ball bounces.
The thickness of the tabletop gives the Ping-Pong ball bounce consistency and provides the surface warp resistance; the thicker the table, the greater its warp resistance. When a Ping-Pong ball drops from about 12 inches above the tabletop, it should bounce to about 8 inches; the tabletop’s thickness will affect the height of that bounce. Thin tops may have lower bounces in parts of the table, but a table where all bounces are consistent is preferable. The thickness of the tabletop can range from half an inch to 1 inch. A half-inch thickness is sufficient for most home tables, but a playing surface of around three-quarters of an inch makes a noticeable difference for more serious players.
Nets and Post Systems
The net divides the sides of the Ping-Pong table. The size of a net is usually about 6 feet across and 6 inches high, but the size may vary depending on the table’s length. Nets are typically made of synthetic plastic, nylon mesh, or cotton cloth, but all net materials should be taut for gameplay. If the net is flimsy, there should be a way to adjust the tension to tighten it.
Some nets come permanently attached to the Ping-Pong table, making them less adjustable, while other nets are removable and need to be reattached when the table is set up. There are three types of net assemblies: 1) they’re permanently attached to the table, 2) connected with a spring-loaded clip, or 3) use a screw clamp.
The post system secures the net in place and connects to the frame of the Ping-Pong table. Higher-quality tables have an integrated post system that keeps the net in place at all times.
The frame is a vital contributor to a Ping-Pong table’s durability. Lower-end tables with cheap frames get unstable over time and may fall apart, making the right frame a crucial part of the purchase decision. Better-quality tables use heavy steel tubing and oval or square tube legs for added strength and stability. A frame that has multiple cross beams and connection points to the playing surface provides additional support.
Some tables have versatile frames that allow the tables to fold for easier storage. Smaller tables may be able to fold in the table legs, which makes them flat enough to store under a bed or in a closet. If a table folds into the central transport frame, they’re safer to keep because they resist tipping over. The smaller and lighter the Ping-Pong table frame is, the easier it is to transport.
Folding tables can also provide the option for playback, where the user folds one side of the table up into a vertical position for one-player Ping-Pong practice. Better tables fold so there isn’t a gap between the vertical surface and the net.
A helmet is not necessary to play this sport, but Ping-Pong tables still come with a variety of features to stay safe while playing. Some safety features include:
- Wheels that assist in transporting the Ping-Pong table. Wheels on some tables make it safe for one person to move and unfold the table. Bigger wheels, or multiple wheels, give a folding table better support.
- Wheel locks or brakes to secure the table in the playing area and keep it from rolling away.
- Leg locks or bracing struts that secure the table while it’s in play.
- Other locking systems prevent the table from opening or closing when it’s stored away.
- Protective corners round out hard 90-degree corners to soften any accidental bumps during gameplay.
In many instances, additional accessories for a Ping-Pong table are necessary, such as paddles, balls, accessory holders, or a table cover.
- Paddles for beginners are classic hard paddles, but higher-level players may want one with specific characteristics. Different paddles suit different types of gameplay, ranging from those who go for powerful shots to those who prefer to shoot with more precision to keep the other player running around.
- Ping-Pong balls can be made of celluloid or non-flammable plastic. Different types of balls are used for competition, training, or recreation. A regulation-size ball is approximately 1.5 inches in diameter.
- Accessory holders may come already integrated into the Ping-Pong table, or can be added as needed. These holders give rackets and balls a storage solution.
- Ping-Pong table covers keep the table pristine while it’s set up or stowed away, protecting it from spills, fading, or damage.
When ordering a Ping-Pong table, read up on the type of assembly required. Some tables come pre-assembled, ready for use right out of the box. Other models are 90 to 95 percent assembled, requiring merely some finishing touches; in these cases, it takes just minutes and usually doesn’t require tools. For more complex tables, assembly takes longer, especially for heavier ones. In those cases, the table may require two people to set it up safely and correctly. Proper assembly ensures that the table doesn’t have gaps or an uneven surface that can distort gameplay.
Our Top Picks
The right Ping-Pong table can provide years of fun and gameplay. Based on the considerations outlined above for what makes the best Ping-Pong table, we’ve rounded up some of the best tables on the market in a variety of categories.
JOOLA’s indoor Ping-Pong table is a solid choice for groups or single-user playback. Slightly thicker than half an inch, the competition-grade wood composite tabletop ensures consistent ball bounce and warp-resistant table durability. Eight sturdy steel legs help the table stand up to party use. The table comes with a regulation-size net-and-post set, with a spring-activated removable clamp post and an adjustable net-tension system.
This model is quick and straightforward to assemble. It rolls into position on 3-inch locking caster wheels for stability during gameplay and easy movement when it’s time to put the table away. During setup, use the adjustable leg height to make sure that the table is level, no matter the ground surface. When finished playing, separate the two sides and nest them together for a space-conscious storage option. Whether in use or stored away, this Ping-Pong table has dual-safety anti-tilt locking devices to keep the table secure. Intended for indoor use, this table can withstand occasional outdoor use on sunny days.
Good for groups and singles, this indoor Ping-Pong table from MD Sports maneuvers from a flat table surface to playback position easily. The full-size table is durable, supported by steel legs and topped with a nearly 0.6-inch-thick wood tabletop. The plastic siding and aprons provide additional support to the table’s structure, soften head bumps when bending to pick up a ball, and give the table a little extra style. Available in blue, black, and white, this table can suit many decor styles. Included in the box is a net-and-post set, two paddles, and two Ping-Pong balls, enabling immediate play once the table is assembled.
To reclaim some space after the game is over, this model folds down quickly and easily. During the next setup, wheel it into place and lock the 2-inch caster wheels to keep the table secure. It doesn’t come with adjustable leg height, so always set it up on a level surface.
The JOOLA Midsize Compact Table Tennis Table is two-thirds the size of a regulation table (72 by 36 inches), good for smaller spaces. While it doesn’t have a standard table’s width, it still has the 30-inch regulation height and a table thickness of 1.8 inches. It is only 62 pounds, comes in two pieces, and is easy to transport. While it is an indoor table, it also works for outdoor play on nice days, but the table shouldn’t be left exposed to the elements.
Unlike many other types of Ping-Pong tables, this model comes assembled right out of the box. Merely unfold and lock the legs to start playing immediately without further setup. It comes with a regulation-height net-and-post set that attaches with a screw clamp. When finished, simply fold the legs of the two separate table halves to store it under a bed or in a closet. The two halves of the table can also provide surfaces for crafting, family board games, or poker night.
For those who take game night seriously and want to play like the pros, this tournament-grade table is an ideal option. Using a professional-grade wood composite tabletop surface and eight steel legs, this indoor table is durable, stable, and can withstand years of use. This tabletop’s thickness (nearly 1 inch) leads to a truer ball bounce and makes the table warp-resistant. Adjustable height levers on the legs ensure the table stays level, whether it sits on carpet or vinyl floors. This table can also flip into single-player playback mode, for practicing alone.
For storage, the table separates into convenient nesting halves, so it takes up less room and wheels easily out of the way. No matter if it is in use or stowed away, this Ping-Pong table has a dual-safety anti-tilting locking device to keep it from being a safety hazard.
The Stiga Space Saver table offers value for Ping-Pong users short on indoor space. Not as wide as a standard table, but just as tall, this model is a smart choice for users who want a table that sets up and folds away easily. The 0.6-inch-thick wood tabletop and welded steel apron make it a solid entertainment table that gives the ball a consistent bounce on the table’s surface. The table stays firmly in place due to the white steel frame and eight welded square legs with adjustable leg levers. This table does not have playback mode for single-player use.
When not used for playing Ping-Pong, fold the legs and store the table under the bed or in a closet. Additionally, it can be turned into two tables that can serve other uses, such as a snack table for parties. Available in blue or woodgrain to suit color preference, this small table offers the versatility needed in a smaller space.
The Stiga XTR Ping-Pong table can be used indoors or outdoors because of its all-weather durability. Constructed from heavy-duty welded steel to support the frame and the aluminum tabletop, this table is rust-free, waterproof, and resists sun damage. The table includes an all-weather net-and-post system, regulation-style silk-screened striping, and exterior-grade powder coating and galvanized steel to keep the table secure. The table legs have levelers to balance the playing surface on uneven terrain.
Requiring just a five-minute setup, this table is foldable and swiftly converts to a playback position for solo play. When game time is over, the table conveniently folds into an ultra-compact storage position with self-opening legs that automatically engage when opening and closing the table. The halves nest together for slim storage, and locking the wheels keeps the table securely in place until it’s time to play again.
For those who like to bring the Ping-Pong party with them wherever they go, GoSports offers a bright red, 38.8-pound table that’s easy to transport thanks to its integrated transport handles and an aluminum frame that’s both sturdy and lightweight. The folding design allows one person to carry the table, making it a breeze to pack up and transport.
This midsize model unfolds to 36 by 72 by 30 inches, with a wood playing surface that gives a Ping-Pong ball the perfect bounce. It may be a bit of a tight squeeze for playing doubles, but this table’s convenience factor means taking turns is a fine option. It includes two paddles, a game net, and four balls. The instant setup enables the user to unfold the table easily, play, and store in a closet or under the bed.
FAQs About Your New Ping-Pong Table
A Ping-Pong table can be a wonderful addition to a home, offering a fun new sport to play and an opportunity to socialize. Picking the best Ping-Pong table relies on the criteria outlined above but also requires an understanding of how best to use the table. Here are some frequently asked questions about Ping-Pong tables.
Q. Is Ping-Pong a good workout?
Ping-Pong is an Olympic sport, meaning that it requires a certain amount of athleticism to play. It’s an easy way to burn calories and helps build strength, speed, and agility, according to Killerspin.
Q. Is there a difference between table tennis and Ping-Pong?
Not at all. Table tennis and Ping-Pong are the same sport, but more serious players tend to refer to it as table tennis.
Q. What is the best thickness for a Ping-Pong table?
The best thickness for a Ping-Pong table is about 0.75 inches if you want a good-quality table with a consistent ball bounce.
Q. What type of plywood is used for Ping-Pong tables?
Ping-Pong tables can be made out of softwoods like fir, spruce, and pine.
Q. Can I use a Ping-Pong table as a dining table?
Yes, but it’s best not to use it as a dining table, as the temperature of some dishes can warp the playing surface.