“You’re into table tennis, aren’t you? We’re thinking of buying a table for the house. What’s the best table tennis table?”, I’m asked. “Well, that depends. What do you want it for?”, I reply.
This is a fairly regular conversation. I guess you could say I’ve become an expert at helping people select the best table tennis table for them. Anyway, here’s a blog post that should act as a solid compilation of all the conversations I’ve had over the years. I’ve also included links to all of my table tennis table reviews.
This is post was originally written in October 2014 but was updated in December 2017. It’s pretty massive, so feel free to skip to whichever sections are most relevant to you. Let’s get started. And the first question I’ve got for you is an important one…
Do you really need a table tennis table?
Having a table tennis table in your home can be a brilliant way to increase the quantity of your practice – we did the majority of Sam’s Expert in a Year practice on the table in his kitchen). However, it can become quickly forgotten about and stuffed away in a corner somewhere. There are a couple of things you should consider first…
1. Do you have space for a table?
A full-sized table tennis table is 9ft x 5ft (or 274cm x 152.5cm). If you are thinking of buying a table to use inside your house it is probably worth marking that out on the floor and seeing if it seems realistic to be able to play around it (you’ll need at least a meter on all sides even if you are just playing for fun).
- Recreational players probably need at least 5m x 3.5m.
- Players looking to do actual training need a minimum of 7m x 4.5m.
- Local tournaments will usually give you a playing court which is 9m x 5m.
- At national level tournaments, the court will be 12m x 6m.
- For international competition, the ITTF stipulates a minimum court size of 14m x 7m.
Do you have enough space? If the answer is no, you can always get an outdoor table tennis table instead. You’ll also need an outdoor table if you are going to have a table in your garage or shed. Indoor tables can warp, even when kept in a garage.
2. Who are you going to play with?
If you’re just playing for fun then you can play with whoever happens to be around. If you’re looking for some serious practice then you’ll need to think about who you are going to play with. There are plenty of options;
- Does anyone in your house play? If so, you’re golden.
- Do you have friends that live locally that play? Training with them at home will save on practice fees.
- Can you afford a coach? Lots of table tennis coaches will come to your home.
- Could you buy a robot? If you don’t have anyone to play with you could always invest in a table tennis robot.
In conclusion, if you are looking for serious training you need to make sure you’ve got enough space and you have somebody to play with. Once you’ve got that sorted you need to decide how much money you’ve got to spend.
What is your budget?
The cheapest full-size table tennis table on Amazon.co.uk (and the current bestseller) is £140. The most expensive table is £3,599. That’s a pretty big difference! You don’t need to spend thousands on a table tennis table, but if you want a competition standard table you should expect to pay at least £500/$700.
Cheap table tennis tables
Lots of people think that “a table tennis table is a table tennis table” and decide to buy the cheapest one they can find. The only problem is… these tables are horrible. The cheapest tables are usually only 12mm thick and even a recreational player can tell that the ball doesn’t bounce correctly. Some cheap table tennis tables don’t even advertise the thickness of their playing surface!
If you are on a really tight budget I would recommend buying a 16mm table. These still aren’t amazing when it comes to bounce, but they are a big improvement on the virtually unplayable 12mm tables. Ideally, you are looking for 19mm+.
The importance of table thickness
If you got to this point in the post I’m sure you’ve already noticed my main concern when it comes to table tennis tables… table thickness.
This is the key variable. Forget about how nice it looks and what brand it is (and everything else) and focus on table thickness. This is what you’re paying for.
- 12mm – The cheapest tables. Avoid at all costs! Terrible bounce.
- 16mm – Not a great bounce. Only buy if on a tight budget.
- 19mm – Ideally the minimum. Will cost you £300.
- 22mm – Good bounce. Ideal for clubs. Cheaper than 25mm.
- 25mm – Competition standard table. Will cost at least £500.
Now for my recommendations…
The Best Table Tennis Tables
Here are my top eight best table tennis tables, roughly in order of price…
- Butterfly Compact 19 (Indoor)
- Stiga Advantage (Indoor)
- Dunlop Evo 8500 (Indoor)
- Joola Tour 2500 (Indoor)
- Butterfly Europa 25 (Indoor)
- Killerspin Revolution (Indoor)
- Kettler Classic 10 (Outdoor)
- Joola Outdoor (Outdoor)
1. Butterfly Compact 19
The Butterfly Compact 19 table tennis table features a 19mm playing top and surprisingly sturdy legs. However, the main selling point is the tiny amount of space it takes up when stored away. It’s called “compact” for a reason. A fantastic entry-level table. I’ve actually got three of these at my table tennis club. Read my full review here.
2. Stiga Advantage
Table tennis tables always seem to be more expensive in the USA. If you want something decent, you need to spend a little bit more. The Stiga Advantage is your best option – over 900 positive reviews can’t be wrong! It has a 16mm playing surface, a solid undercarriage, and comes with a professional net. Read my full review here.
3. Dunlop Evo 8500
I don’t often recommend Dunlop table tennis products but the Dunlop Evo 8500 is too good to ignore. It features at 25mm professional quality table top, a very solid undercarriage, and is ridiculously good value at £499.99. It is also the official table of the World Championship Of Ping Pong! Read my full review here.
4. Joola Tour 2500
If you’re looking for a great value professional table tennis table with a 25mm playing surface the Joola Tour 2500 is the one for you! It’s similar to the Stiga Advantage in style and design but will give you a far superior bounce and overall playing experience. Read my full review here.
5. Butterfly Europa 25
Official table tennis tournaments must use ITTF approved tables. Arguably, the most loved of these is the Butterfly Europa 25. It comes with a 25mm anti-skid playing surface and a 5-year warranty. Maybe that why it’s the table of choice for the English National Championships. Read my full review here.
6. Killerspin Revolution
The Killerspin Revolution is without a doubt the most beautiful table tennis table ever created! It’s been referred to as ‘the Ferarri of table tennis tables’ and will add a level of flair to any club, office or upscale games room. If you can afford it, this is the ultimate table tennis table. Read my full review here.
7. Kettler Classic Outdoor 10
The Kettler Classic Outdoor 10 is an exceptional outdoor table tennis table that is manufactured in Germany. It looks great and has a strong undercarriage, but the main selling point is the weatherproof 22mm ALU-TEC+ composite top. It gives a certified true bounce just like an indoor table. Read my full review here.
8. Joola Outdoor
I wish everyone looking for a good outdoor table tennis table could experience the Kettler Classic Outdoor 10. Unfortunately, it’s super expensive outside of Europe. If you’re buying an outdoor table in the USA your best option is the Joola Outdoor which plays well and is an absolute bargain at under $450. Read my full review here.
Other Table Tennis Tables
& Conversion Tops
Butterfly Junior Table Tennis Table (3/4 size)
& Joola Midsize
The Butterfly Junior table is a three quarter size table which is suitable for home and school use. It has a green 12 mm playing surface and strong protective edging trim. Two separate halves with dimensions of 206cm long x 115cm wide x 77cm high, with legs folding in for storage. There are two wheels on each half for easy movement. Ideal for limited playing area and stores away in minimum space.
If you’re struggling for space and still want to get a table then the Butterfly Junior is a good choice. It’s made by Butterfly, so you know it’ll be good quality, and it can be stored away really easily, taking up next to no room when it isn’t up. It also comes with a net, bats and balls. I doubt the bats and balls will be very good but it’s nice not to have to buy a net.
If you want to play serious table tennis that the Butterfly Junior probably isn’t for you. If you’re just looking for a table for fun, and particular for young children, then it’s a great option.
Table Tennis Table Tops
And that leads me nicely on into table tennis table tops. You don’t have to buy a full table tennis table. You can also just buy the top and put it on another table. This might sound a bit silly but it really isn’t. In fact, the table tennis table we have been using for the Expert in a Year challenge, in Sam’s kitchen, is just a table tennis top placed on top of their dining table!
I guess you would need to make sure that the table you are going to put it on is the correct height. I think most tables are pretty much the same height. Sam’s table, with the table top on, is a few mm lower that a standard table but this doesn’t really make any difference and it hasn’t seemed to effect him in any way.
If you want a full-size table then make sure you go for a 9ft one. Other than that you are looking for the same thing as always, table thickness.
Butterfly Table Tennis Table Top
This is the table top that we have been using in Sam’s kitchen. When I first saw it I have to admit I was skeptical. I’d never played before on just a table top and thought it was going to play horribly. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised and it was fine. We have been playing on it for almost a year now and I don’t have any complaints.
Sam leaves it out all of the time and they all use it as a dining table and desk. It is very easy to pick up and put away though and can be stored up against a wall or in a large cupboard. The fact that is doesn’t have any undercarriage or anything other than the table top means that it takes up hardly any space when stored away.
Before I played on Sam’s I wouldn’t have considered a table top as a genuine option for people but now I think it’s perfectly fine for home use and could even be a better option that buying an actual table!
And that’s it!
I said it was going to be a pretty massive blog post and it certainly was. This must be my longest post to date at almost 5,000 words.
I hope that I have made the process of buying a table tennis table that bit simpler for you. I will keep this post updated regularly so that the tables and prices stay current but the majority of the information here should be relevant for a long time.
The Final Word
- The best value 19mm table tennis table in the UK is the… Butterfly Compact 19!
- The best indoor table tennis table for under $400 is the… Stiga Advantage!
- The best value 25mm table tennis table in the UK is the… Dunlop Evo 8500!
- The best value 25mm table tennis table in the USA is the… Joola Tour 2500!
- The best outdoor table tennis table in the UK is the… Kettler Classic Outdoor 10!
- The best outdoor table tennis table in the USA is the… Stiga Vapor!
- The best looking table tennis table ever created is the… Killerspin Revolution!