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The 10 Very Best Table-Tennis Tables

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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“Table tennis is ubiquitous. Everyone is playing it. Everyone is having fun,” says two-time table-tennis Olympian Sean O’Neill. If you want to join the fun, all you need is a little hand-eye coordination, a paddle, and, well, the table. And not all tables are created equal. Some tables are lighter than others, and some models are designed to be easily stored or to withstand the weather outside. Then there are tables that look so good you’ll want them to be on permanent display.

Most table-tennis tables have a similarly constructed top, made out of pressed wood, particle board, or MDF board (medium-density fiberboard) with a metal frame, bottom (to prevent warping), and top sheet with a paint finish. The surface type will only be a big deciding factor for someone who plans on shopping for an outdoor table, which will generally have some type of weather-resistant tabletop coating.

To find the best table-tennis tables for every type of player and space, we spoke to eleven experts for their recommendations for all types of needs and budgets. (We have recommendations for table-tennis paddles as well.) If you don’t want to scroll through all the options, you can click any of the links in our table of contents to the left to jump straight to the table-tennis table that sounds right for you.

What we’re looking for

Table thickness

The thickness of the top of a table will be one of the first things you look for when shopping. Ben Rosenberg, the general manager at Princeton Pong in Princeton, New Jersey, says that the main difference between a cheaper recreational table you might see online and a higher-end model you’d see at a table-tennis facility is the table’s thickness. “At the professional level, the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) and USATT (USA Table Tennis) require a 25-mm. thick table top for competition,” Rosenberg says. “So you’re going to see a thinner table top on cheaper — and sometimes outdoor — tables.” As a good rule of thumb: look for tables that are at least three-fourths of an inch (or 20 mm.) thick.

The thicker the table is, the more bounce you get, but also the more expensive the table is. “The bounce of the ball is usually lower on a cheaper table,” says Sameh Awadallah, a former United States National Coach and owner of SATTA Table Tennis Academy. “You’re probably not going to see a 25-mm. table for $300.” When you play with slimmer tables, “the bounce is lower and not as consistent,” says Yanjun Gao, a former National Collegiate Table Tennis Association champ and the head coach of NYU’s table-tennis team. To know if it’s thick enough without getting a tape measure, look for tables that are approved by the ITTF. To achieve a consistent high bounce, you want a thicker table that will reduce vibration. “Remember, the ball is only two ounces, so you don’t want that vibration transferring to it,” O’Neill says.

You should also consider the floor that the table will be sitting on, as the ground can affect the ball’s bounce. “The softer the floor, the softer the bounce is gonna be on the ball because it carries from the ground up,” Rosenberg explains.


Certain features such as wheels will make your table easy to transport and store, while other tables need to be kept in one spot. Folding allows tables to be stored compactly when you’re not playing. Personal playback — when one half of the table folds upwards to create a wall, and gives users a chance to hit the ball back and forth and practice on their own — is sometimes an added feature with folding tables that have automatic anti-tilting locks.


Table-tennis tables are often bulky and heavy, and that combo can rack up extra delivery fees. Rosenberg from Princeton Pong says to look out for deals on shipping. “I would always recommend going through Amazon. I wouldn’t go through a table tennis distributor, just because you’re going to have to pay a premium price for that table, and you’re also gonna have to pay for shipping costs, which, over the last for your years, have skyrocketed. These tables can weigh hundreds of pounds, and some can cost $200 to $300 just to ship,” he says. “Plus, you can find good-quality tables on Amazon and generally, you get free shipping with it.” Rosenberg says to pay attention to deals from name brands and get free shipping wherever possible. If you order online, you’ll likely receive a flat-packed table that will require assembly once it arrives at your location. Some are easier to assemble than others — and may not even require tools — while others could probably use the buddy system (or several) to build. We make note of the assembly requirements for each table so you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Best overall table-tennis table

Thickness: 25-mm. top | Storage: Foldaway with 4 wheels | Assembly: No assembly required

If you’re looking to invest in a premium table that’s used by professionals (and likely by your local table-tennis club), consider the Centrefold. Four experts we spoke to recommended the Centrefold for its sturdiness and high-quality top, including California Table Tennis Club founder and head coach Gao Jun. “As a former professional player, I have used many different brands in different tournaments. The Butterfly table is the best I have ever used,” Jun says. Wang Chen, a former Olympian and the founder of Wang Chen Table Tennis Club, concurs, calling Butterfly a professional quality brand that’s used by world champions. Nison Aronov, the founder of Brooklyn Table Tennis Club, also recommends the Centrefold — he has three of these Butterfly tables in his club facility. Ben Rosenberg of Princeton Pong likes the Centrefold’s quality and portability and that it comes preassembled. “Some tables take hours and hours to put together, which is a pain.” These tables have rubber wheels that lock in place, so they can be easily rolled around and stored when folded up. (Princeton Pong has six Centrefold tables at its facility.) “They also have adjustable feet, which makes them easy to level,” Rosenberg adds.

Best (less expensive) table-tennis table

Thickness: 6 mm. | Storage: Two-piece foldaway design with playback mode | Assembly: 10-minute assembly with tools provided

John Hsu, a coach at Maryland Table Tennis Center, one of the premier tennis-table clubs in the United States, recommends the Joola Nova Pro Plus for long-term, multi-use durability — both indoors and outdoors — at a more affordable price. The Nova Pro Plus has “an aluminum coating that makes it more durable to withstand weather,” he says. You can also fold one half of the table up into playback position, so you can practice solo by hitting it against the raised side. Some of his students own this table and are happy with it — and it’s $1,700 cheaper than our best-overall pick (and the second-cheapest on our list). But with that affordability comes a tradeoff with quality. “Tables with a lower price point generally don’t have as thick of a tabletop,” Rosenberg explains. “You sacrifice thickness, which means you won’t get as good or high of a bounce.” If you won’t be playing often enough to notice those details, then the Nova Pro Plus will be a solid option for at-home use.

Best professional-quality table-tennis table

Thickness: 25 mm. | Storage: Foldaway with 4 heavy-duty wheels | Assembly: Preassembled

Maryland Table Tennis Center uses the ITTF-approved official-competition Joola 3000 SC tables at their facility. “They’re as good as any other tables in the world,” Hsu says, calling out “their very high quality.” Along with providing consistent ball bounce, the thicker wood is “more even and straighter,” Hsu says. “With thinner tables, you can have a bend in the table that will create an inconsistent bounce.” This model folds up easily and has heavy-duty, durable wheels with brakes on two of the four wheels. Yanjun Gao of NYU likes the 3000 SC, too, and of the ten tables the NYU team uses, eight are 3000 SCs. If you need a further endorsement: It’s the table Gao uses at home.

Best beginner table-tennis table

Thickness: 19 mm. | Storage: One-hand folding mechanism | Assembly: 30-minute assembly with included tools

For novices who want something lightweight for recreational use — or for kids to play on — Westchester Table Tennis Center owner and The New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz says Kettler Tables are budget friendly and reliable. Although “they aren’t as sturdy and don’t last as long as higher-quality tables,” a Kettler table such as the Stealth is ready to play out of the box and makes for a good option if you just “want something to hit on in your basement.” The Stealth has a spring-loaded-cable design with a latch that makes folding and unfolding it easy when it’s time to store it.

Best midrange table-tennis table

Thickness: 25 mm. | Storage: Foldaway with 4 wheels, playback mode | Assembly: Required

Mid-range tables like this one are hassle free and much more durable than budget tables. “When you put a table like the Waldner Classic 25 up and down, it folds smoothly,” says Judy Hoarfrost, a USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer and the owner of Paddle Palace. “It’s easy to put away.” A “really solid table can withstand running into it as a player,” O’Neill adds. “Or if you are playing doubles and someone gets bumped into the table, it is not moving six inches.” Awadallah, a former United States National coach, uses Donic Delhi tables at his three SATTA locations in New York and likes them for their good quality and the fact that they’re made in Germany — a place where, he (and Aronov) notes, one can expect reliable table-tennis tables to be constructed.

Best outdoor table-tennis table

Thickness: 19-mm. top with weather-resistant coating | Storage: Foldaway with 4 wheels | Assembly: Assembly required

The Butterfly Playback is good for folks who want to play recreationally — and at a very amateur level — and who want to stick to play outdoors most the time. O’Neill likes this one for “outdoor, beach, pool, backyard, and garage play.” There is a challenge, however: To protect the wood from warping, these tables have a protective coat made to withstand rain, heat, and humidity. If you’re a pro, you might notice the difference with the bounce consistency, but the rest of us won’t be able to tell.

Most stylish table-tennis table

Thickness: 25 mm.| Storage: Static design, not foldable | Assembly: Difficult assembly, 3D instructions included

At his facility outside of New York City, Shortz uses Rainbow Tables from the Chinese brand DHS for its unique, colorful, “gorgeous” designs. And he’s not alone. O’Neill calls these tables “pieces of art.” While the DHS Rainbow tables are currently out of stock most places online (and likely discontinued), the Revolution SVR series from Killerspin is a similarly designed, colorful table with an arched, steel base. A huge benefit to curved-leg design is the fluidity of movement it allows players. There are no corner posts to block movement under and around the table, allowing for a more physical game. One thing to note before you buy models like these, however: “You can’t fold this up,” Shortz says. “It’s pretty permanent. It’s not easy to take apart and put together again.” O’Neill compares it to a jigsaw puzzle and says “it takes four people to put together.”

Best portable table-tennis set

Thickness: Whatever surface you choose | Storage: Retractable net with stuff sack | Assembly: Portable and easy to install

If you’re looking for a less permanent table-tennis setup (and if things like thickness and ITTF-approved measurements aren’t a concern of yours), consider this set from Franklin Sports, which comes highly rated on Amazon. This combo allows you to convert any surface into a proper tabletop, thanks to two adjustable clamps and a retractable net.

Best table-tennis top

Thickness: 15mm | Storage: Two halves collapse and store flat | Assembly: Top rests on any flat table

If you want the bounce and feel of a regulation-size table-tennis table but don’t have the space for a stand-alone model, consider getting this table-tennis top from Joola, which is just the playing surface without the frame or legs. It has soft foam pads underneath, so it can rest on a flat surface — like a dining-room table — without damaging it. It’s 15 millimeters thick — not as thick as the other professional-grade models (25 mm.) on this list, so experienced players might notice the difference in bounce. But if space is an issue and you want the experience of playing on a quality surface (from a trusted brand, nonetheless), this conversion top is your best bet.

Best portable table-tennis net

Thickness: Whatever surface you choose | Storage: Retractable net with stuff sack | Assembly: Portable and easy to install

If you have paddles already and plan to use them with a portable table-tennis net, this simple retractable net from Pro-Spin is your best bet. Like the Franklin Sports set, it features two posts that prop up the net, which retract inside the handles and can stretch to 72 inches. The posts clamp onto any table, desk, or flat surface less than two inches thick. (If you need paddles, Pro-Spin sells a two-person set and a four-person set.)

Some table tennis rackets we’ve written about

Our experts

• Nison Aronov, founder of Brooklyn Table Tennis Club
• Sameh Awadallah, former United States National Coach and owner of SATTA Table Tennis Academy
• Wang Chen, a former Olympian and the founder of Wang Chen Table Tennis Club
• Yanjun Gao, a former National Collegiate Table Tennis Association champ and the head coach of NYU’s table-tennis team
• Judy Hoarfrost, a USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer and the owner of Paddle Palace
• John Hsu, a coach at Maryland Table Tennis Center
• Gao Jun, the head coach of California Table Tennis Club
Sean O’Neill, a two-time table-tennis Olympian and NBC Universal color analyst
• Ben Rosenberg, general manager at Princeton Pong
• Mitchell Seidenfeld, a former Paralympian and the CEO of Minnesota Table Tennis Club
• Will Shortz, the owner of Westchester Table Tennis Center and crossword editor at the New York Times.

Additional reporting by Alex Ivker and Katherine Gillespie.

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The 10 Very Best Table-Tennis Tables