Helpful Advice on Buying a Table Tennis Table

So you want to buy a table tennis table, but you are at a loss as to what table would work for you and what you should be looking for?  How do you determine what makes one table better than another and what do all the different features mean.  Hopefully this advice will help you find the perfect Table Tennis table to suit your needs.

Indoor or Outdoor?

Firstly you need to think about where you are likely to be playing and storing your table.  Indoor tables are made of fibreboard and are not designed for the rigours of outdoor play.  This is not just about getting wet it is also about being exposed to the sun for long periods.  Indoor tables are suitable for storing and play in a garage or contained shelter outdoors but if you think there would be exposure to the weather, play safe and go for an outdoor table.

A good quality outdoor table like those we have in the Stiga range for example, have a melamin resin board surface which is designed to resist water and exposure to the sun.  The surface will also give you a good bounce to your ball so overall play will not be affected.  It should be said however that even the best outdoor table should be covered up when you are not playing with it to protect the surface from unnecessary wear and tear and this will prolong the life of your table.

Is this table for fun family use or does is it going to see lots of play?

If it’s your first table for the family and is only going to be used casually then it is recommended to go for a cheaper option such as the Stiga Style which is a good economic table but is still good quality.  However if someone in the family is serious about table tennis, investing in a mid-range model such as the Stiga Competition Compact will provide a better quality of the play and ball bounce.

Is the table going to be permanently set up or stored?

If you have sufficient space to leave your table set up permanently it will certainly help maintain the stability of the table and save you having to set up and pack away after each game.  Tables such as the Stiga Expert VM are perfectly designed for this purpose.  They have a very stable undercarriage and will give you a great game.

If you will be frequently packing it up and putting it away then ideally you will want a table with a ‘Roller’ option.  There are tables which have fold out legs or assembly frames but they are unlikely to maintain their stability over many set up and break-downs.  The Roller tables such as the Stiga Privat Roller CSS are specifically designed for easy set up and fold-up put away without fuss.   Most of these models can also be easily handled by one person, with rollers to allow you to move them effortlessly.

If you are looking to pack up and store lots of tables then you should be looking at tables that have the ‘Compact Storage Solution’ (CSS).  The Stiga Privat Roller CSS has this ability and these are designed to allow table to slot together to make efficient use of space.

Table Thickness:

For Indoor tables 25mm+ or 1 inch thick table tops are the best quality for indoor play as these give a nice, even bounce to the ball.   For casual play however 16-19mm thick tops will do the job.  I would not recommend an indoor table with less than 16mm thickness.

Serious tournament players will want to go to a 25mm thick top as they will be wanting to play on a similar surface to what they will play on in league and tournaments.

Outdoor tables are more about the quality of the surface and durability than the thickness but for a better ball bounce you would be better looking at a 5mm thickness.

It’s not all about top consider the table Legs & undercarriage:

Do not be fooled by a bargain table with a solid top and a cheap undercarriage as it is the undercarriage and the legs that are what keep the table stable and ensure you have a table that is good to play on.  If you go for a cheap undercarriage you will find that over time your table will end up wobbling during game play.   It is not easy to be able to identify what makes up a good undercarriage but all of the Stiga Tables listed in our range are tested to ensure they have the correct undercarriage for the appropriate table.  What is helpful in determining what tables have a better quality undercarriage is to look at the weight of the table.  If they both have the same surface thickness but one is heavier you can be somewhat assured that the heavier one has a better undercarriage

You also want to make sure that the table tennis table you buy has good strong legs and supports.  A great feature to look for is if a table has leg leveller’s as these can be very handy when the floor you are playing on isn’t level. These can be screwed in and out to keep the height of the table at its recommended 76cm (30 inches) above the floor.   A spirit level can be very handy for assessing whether the table surface is level.

Does Brand matter?

This is an age old question, brand Vs non-brand and does it really matter? Well if you are going to invest in a table tennis table you want to ensure you are getting good value for your money and some of the more recognised brands will ensure you are getting a table that is of a good standard and will stand the test of time.  Stiga and Butterfly are the most renowned brands in table tennis and their tables are very good quality and you can be assured of the after service and support should there ever be a problem with your table.  All out Stiga tables come with a 2 year warranty.  We also ensure that you get a great price on all our tables.

ITTF approved

ITTF or the International Table Tennis Federation is the governing body of world table tennis and they will only recommend the highest quality of equipment and tables so if you are looking for a table that is fit for professional players to play on and which will be of exceptional quality look for one that is ITTF approved.

Table Net:

Most Tables should come with a net set but the quality will differ dependant on the table that you buy.  Official net rules specify that the top of the net, along its whole length, shall be 15.25 cm above the playing surface. The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be as close as possible to the supporting posts. Look for a table tennis net with attachments that have a soft covering where they grip the table, as you don’t want to scratch the finish unnecessarily. Make sure that the clamps that are used by the net don’t dig into the surface or the underside of the table (Putting some felt or material between a clamp and the table can reduce the risk of this).

With a screw attachment, screw the clamp so that it is firm but is not over tightened or it will end up leaving an impression in the table. Also when putting on or removing the net do not drag the net clamps or you will cause unnecessary indentations and scratches.

 

(Written by Stiga UK sales)