Ping pong is one of those beautiful, inclusive sports that anyone can play. Grown-ups, kids, older adults — everyone likes to get in on the action when there are a table and some paddles lying around.
And ping pong is great! It breeds physical fitness, dexterity, quick reflexes, and fosters a spirit of community that turns any get-together into a laughter-filled romp. Everybody loves Grampa diving as he tries to catch a smash as if he were 90s-era Andre Agassi. You can even picture the wild golden locks barely contained by a bandana.
But, not any old table will do the trick when it comes to playing the game. First, you need to take into account whether you’re going to be playing indoor or outdoors — not a minor thing! Then, there’s thickness, quality, cost, and in what environment you will be playing the game.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Outdoor or Indoor Play
This is probably going to be a major factor to consider. After all, you can’t just leave any ping pong table out in the open; some will get wet and become warped, others will have casters and hinges that can get rusted, or simply will have no ability to bear the brunt of the elements.
If you’re thinking about buying a table that you’re going to leave outside, then make sure that it’s built out of solid materials that can stand wind, rain, even snow! Better still, make sure that your table is foldable or has good-quality casters to store or move it around when you’re not playing. Your table will thank you for the love, and it will last longer.
Of course, none of these things are necessary if you’re going to be buying a table for indoor play. It doesn’t have to be quite as resistant, and you can get away with purchasing one that doesn’t have such a super-high quality. One thing you will want for sure, though, is for it to be foldable. You’ll thank us for it!
Spotting a Quality ping pong table – Thickness!
The trick to identifying a good ping pong table is going to be thickness, without a shadow of doubt. The average thickness of a ping pong table is probably going to range between 12mm to 25mm.
As a rule of thumb, thicker tables will mean you’re purchasing a higher-end product. If you go with tables that are too thin (12mm), then you’re very likely going to encounter issues like durability and a surface with a very poor bounce.
Try them if you’re in a pinch, but trust us, there’s nothing worse than watching discouraged family members or friends stop playing because the table has crappy bounce. You’re also going to face the sad, sad reality that these tables just don’t last very long — the surface tends to get scratched and worn really easily
Tables with a thickness between 16-19mm tend to fare ok, but if you’re willing to splurge on an even thicker table, all the better. But hey, we know that maybe you don’t want to go for pro on your first table. Just go medium-quality and above, and you generally won’t regret your purchase.
A Matter of Cost
Cheap tables will set you back around a hundred bucks. You’ve already heard what we have to say about their thickness — you’re better off buying a couple of video games for your kids. They’ll last longer, and you’ll get more fun out of them. What you want is a product that will last and will provide joy and entertainment for many years to come.
It’s better to save up a bit more and then make a good, solid purchase that will last for longer. It doesn’t even have to be one of those fancy indoor tables that they use in tournaments either! A good, medium-thickness table (16-19mm) will cost you between $250 to $350 approximately.
Sure, you can spend a lot more if you want, but if you’re going to be hosting amateur ping pong matches when your friends come over for dinner, it’s not really necessary. These tables will provide you with a decent bounce and last you a few years.
Now, if you want to get interesting and buy competition-grade tables, you’re going to have to break the piggy bank. These will cost you between $400 to $1000. These are great and last a very long time, but they’re not really necessary unless you want to emulate Forrest Gump and get an actual championship going. Your mileage may vary, as they say. Different strokes for different folks.
Don’t take our word for it, though! Read some reviews over at Ping Pong Ruler to get more information and accurately assess what type of table is great for you!