Unless you’re playing competitive table tennis like a pro, you don’t really need to invest in a costly ping pong table. If you plan to buy a table to be set up at home for the family to play, you can try some of the less expensive models available both online and at sports stores in town.
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Some of the features to look for when buying a ping pong table include:
Portability: You have to decide whether you plan to have the table permanently set up in a room or would prefer to pack and keep it frequently. If you decide the latter, it’s best to find a model that’s easy to assemble, with rollers to move, and that can be done by a single person. Good-quality roller tables have brakes on their wheels that can be clamped down, so that the table doesn’t move when in use.
Placement of the table: The most important aspect to consider when buying a table is whether you intend to keep it indoors or outdoors. There are outdoor tables that come with water and rust-proof legs and support. The surface of the table can be of wood with synthetic laminate or a waterproof coating. The better the quality of the outdoor table you opt for, the higher will be its price. If you want a weather-proof table for the outdoors, you’ll have to invest in a high-quality table. Another option is to get a high-quality waterproof cover to protect it from the elements when kept outdoors.
Sturdy legs: One of the key features to consider when buying a ping pong table is that the legs are sturdy with good support. Since they will take a good beating for a couple of years, they need to be strong. Also, opt for one with leg levelers at the bottom as they are great for uneven surfaces. These are screwed on and keep the table about 30 inches from the floor.
Thickness: Professionals will insist on buying a table with a 1-inch top, which does indeed give a healthy bounce. However, a 0.75-inch top is also a good surface with a decent bounce to play on. Again, it depends on your budget and whether you want to prepare for a pro tournament, which would then entail going in for a table with a one-inch top.
Check the net: Select a net that comes with a soft cover on the attachments, so that no scratches appear where they grip the table. One option is to attach felt strips where the clamps grip the surface. When removing the net from the table, never pull the clamps as they damage the surface.
Leveling: When selecting a table, keep a keen eye on any signs of warping on the table. Check the table height from all sides to make sure there are no signs of warping or bending which will alter the bounce. A spirit level would be ideal for assessing the flatness of the table.