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Setting up your home for relaxation and de-stressing is a must – especially in the era of coronavirus quarantines. One way to do that is with a dedicated home sport such as ping-pong.
Ping-pong (a.k.a. table tennis) was first played by the upper-class as an after-dinner parlor game in Victorian England. Over time, the sport developed with gear innovations and tournaments around the world until it became an official Olympic sport in 1988. But despite ping-pong’s professional status, the sport’s humble beginnings as a casual game between friends is still very much a part of its character.
Even though ping-pong is still considered a bar sport by most, it actually provides some real health benefits. Besides offering a fun way to relax with friends or family, table tennis also improves hand-eye coordination, sharpens the brain, and even burns calories (around 272 an hour for a 150-pound person).
Another reason why ping-pong is such a popular home game is that anyone can enjoy it. Have a friendly rally with the kids, a casual game, or a by-the-book tournament with your most competitive friends.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Ping Pong Table
Space: Before upgrading your game room, man cave or garage with a ping-pong table, make sure you have the space. Regulation tables are five-feet wide and nine-feet long, plus about six inches on either side for the net. But you’ll also need some room to move around. While table tennis pros require a 46 x 23-foot space, most recreational players should only need about 17 x 11 feet of playing space.
Style: Ping-pong tables come in a few styles, including single-piece tables, collapsible competition tables and conversion tables. Collapsible tables are the most common, providing a regulation table that can be folded up and moved around when not in use. Conversion tables are ping-pong tables without legs, allowing you to place it on an existing billiards or dining table. We left out single-piece tables in our roundup because they’re far more expensive and really more high-end decor than indoor sport.
Storage: Even if you plan on using your new ping-pong table regularly, it can still be handy to have a table that folds up, rolls or collapses. This will let you move the table when space is needed for something else and even let you bring the table to a different room or the yard.
1. STIGA Advantage Indoor Table Tennis Table
Stiga is perhaps the most-trusted brand in the ping pong table world. The Swedish brand has been selling high-quality tables since the Eighties, and they’ve always been some of the best on the market. This kind of brand reliability is an important factor when buying something for your home that will ideally last for years.
The Stiga offers a lot in terms of convenience. The table is made of two independent halves that fold individually. The two pieces also nest for compact storage. Plus, the table has eight locking wheels for easy movement around your home.
We also like this table because it’s very easy to set up. It comes 95% assembled, so you can start ponging about 10 minutes after opening the box. A full-size net and net posts are included.
The table is a bit of an investment, but there’s a lot to like between its easy assembly, maneuverability and lasting build quality. Measures 108 x 60 inches.
PROS: Trusted brand, easy setup, high-quality.
CONS: May be too big for some spaces.
2. JOOLA Indoor Table Tennis Table
The German company Joola is another trusted brand with high-quality ping-pong tables. They started way back in 1953 and their tables have since been used in several high-level tournaments, including a few Olympic games.
This Joola 25 table is their top-of-the-line option with tournament-level specs, including a competition-grade net and a one-inch thick tabletop (this is surprisingly hard to find). This extra thickness (compared to the 5/8-inch thick Stiga) provides a little bit of extra bounce that serious ping-pong players will appreciate.
Despite the table’s competition specs, it’s also highly usable in a busy household. The whole thing folds up and rolls, allowing storage or movement around the room. Either side of the table can also be folded up into Playback Position for single-player use.
But while the table can be folded and rolled around, it is quite heavy at 300 pounds, and some users say it’s a bit bulky. This means you can still move it around a room on the casters, but trying to take it to a separate room might be tricky.
PROS: Tournament-grade dimensions (108 x 60 inches), trusted brand, foldable.
3. MD Sports Table Tennis Set
This table from MD Sports is another option worth considering. MD Sports isn’t as well-known in the table tennis industry as Joola or Stiga, but they’re still a fairly established brand selling a wide variety of indoor games.
The table’s measurements are regulation standard – five by nine feet – and the net is tournament-grade.
If you want some individual practice, this table also folds in half like the Joola. When you need to store the table or move it out of the way, it folds up completely and includes casters to roll it around. The table also comes mostly assembled, requiring just a few bolts and the net to be clamped on before playing.
The real draw for the MD Sports table is its accessibility. It’s easy to set up and start playing right away. It has a more basic build than premium options, but it’s a good choice if you’re not all that serious about ping-pong and just want something around the house for fun.
PROS: Regulation size, easy set up.
CONS: Lesser build quality.
4. Butterfly Ping-Pong Conversion Table
Not everyone has room for a whole ping-pong table – especially if your den, garage or man cave is already taken up by a billiards table. If that’s your case, take a look at this conversion table from Butterfly.
The conversion table doesn’t have legs, allowing you to lay it on top of an existing surface. It’s made of two halves for easy storage and setup, and comes with two slim clamps for the net. Although it’s marketed for billiard tables, it’ll work just fine on any dining table that’s around 30 inches tall.
The table maintains a regulation size of five by nine feet and has a thickness of 3/4 inches. Underneath is foam padding to protect the table, which adds a little bit of extra height.
Although the Butterfly table is meant to be set up and taken down regularly, it is quite heavy at a total of 150 pounds. This keeps the table steady during play and ensures the best experience, but it can make moving the table a bit tricky.
PROS: Works on any table, doesn’t take up space, easily movable and put away for storage.
CONS: Heavy, possibly not regulation height.