How to Choose the Best Table

Buying a ping pong table can be a serious commitment, however a lot people don’t know what to look for and end up purchasing a table they don't like. In this article we will introduce what we think are the best table tennis tables under $500, $750, $1000, $1500, and $2000 dollars. We also include a short summary of why that table is better and what you should expect when purchasing a table in that general price bracket.

You should also check out our ping pong table comparison chart which separates tables by price and indoor/outdoor use while simultaneously comparing the important characteristics in an organized fashion.

Most Popular and Most Affordable

The best ping pong table is the JOOLA Inside 15. It's the most popular table ever sold in the entire world, has a 5/8" playing surface, and has all the characteristics of a professionally built table for less than $500 dollars.

Cheap Outdoor Table Tennis Table

If you're looking for the best outdoor ping pong table, then look no further than the JOOLA Nova Outdoor. It's very easy to assemble, has great reviews regarding its durability outdoors, and still has the same high quality and consistent bounce you would expect from a more expensive indoor table. Otherwise, continue reading as we dial in on the best value table tennis table for each price bracket.

Outdoor VS Indoor Table Tennis Table

Overall, you can expect indoor tables to have a more consistent and uniform bounce when compared to outdoor tables in the same price range because outdoor tables are built with a weather resistant material in the surface that directly affects the quality of the table tennis ball’s bounce. Therefore, expect indoor tables to be equal-to or better-than outdoor tables in the same price range in respect to playing quality.

Outdoor ping pong tables are sturdier and generally built with larger wheels and a simplistic set-up system along with a playing surface designed to withstand the weather conditions. Indoor tables are built to maximize playing quality and table design. Indoor Tables are obviously designed to be played indoors and should be purchased with the intent of doing so. Playing with an Indoor table outdoors while it’s raining or leaving a table uncovered in an area with high humidity for extended periods of time can warp and eventually ruin the table. Consider a table tennis table cover or even an outdoor ping pong table if you live in such an area.

JOOLA Rally TL 300 JOOLA Inside 15 Stiga Insta Play Stiga STS 420
JOOLA Rally TL 300 review Joola inside 15 table review stiga insta play review stiga sts 420 ping pong table review
Thickness: 5/8" Thickness:: 5/8" Thickness:: 3/4" Thickness:: 1"
Frame: 2" Steel Legs Frame: 2" Steel Legs Frame: 2" Steel Legs & Apron Frame: 2.5" Steel Legs & Apron
Wheels: 3" Wheels: 3" Wheels Wheels: 5"
Assembly time: ~20min Assembly time: ~20min Assembly time Assembly time: ~30min
Playback: Yes Playback: Yes Playback: Yes Playback: Yes
Leg levelers: 1.25" Leg levelers: 1.25" Leg levelers: 3.5" Leg levelers: 3.5"
Ball storage: Yes Ball storage: No Ball storage: Yes Ball storage: Yes
Scoring abicus: Yes Scoring abicus: No Scoring abicus: No Scoring abicus: No
Outdoor: No Outdoor: No Outdoor: No Outdoor: No
Review Review Review Review
Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

We have a giant comparison chart that compares a lot more tables, check it out!

Don't Be Fooled by Flashy Gimmicks

Choosing the right table tennis table lies in finding a balance between what you wish to purchase in terms of quality, and what you are realistically willing to spend. There are many different table tennis table designs, each built for a different price bracket or an individual looking for something just a little bit different, but the important characteristics that significantly affect playing quality are rarely effected to the extent that the price changes. Don’t pay more than you have to, continue reading as we discuss what we think are the best table tennis tables in 2016.


Best Table Under $500

joola inside table tennis table

For under $500, you are not going to find a ping pong table with a ¾” playing surface that will consistently provide a high quality and uniform bounce. The best you can expect is a 5/8” playing surface, however that will hardly be noticeable unless you are a serious player or intend to be a serious player.

JOOLA Inside 15

Even though the table does not have the ¾” top that we would ultimately like to see, the JOOLA Inside ping pong table really is the best cheap table for sale for under $500. We felt comfortable choosing the JOOLA Inside as the best table under $500 because it arrives assembled, it’s easy to store, it’s light-weight compared to other tables, it can be separated into two separate halves, and it still provides a high quality playing experience that people seem to love.

It should be noted that the JOOLA Inside has been the world's best selling table for the last 2 years

You can see a full review of the JOOLA Inside 15 here


  • It has a 5/8” 5/8-inch (16mm) table top for consistent playability
  • Dual safety locking devices; 2 separate halves with 4 wheels per half for easy mobility and compact storage
  • Table halves can be used as two freestanding tables for entertaining
  • Includes net and post set

Best Table Under $750

For under $750, you’re not going to have a lot more variety to choose from than before, but there should be one noticeable difference, and that’s the thickness of the table top or playing surface. The most important aspect to pay attention to when purchasing an indoor table tennis table is the thickness and material of the table top. A good quality table will have at least a ¾” table and may come with a 1-3 year warranty.

Wheels, Locking Mechanism, and Chassis

Aside from the table top, the only modifications that I see in quality between the $750 price bracket and the $500 are the size of wheels, the locking mechanism, and the chassis. These things don’t have a large impact on the playing quality of the table, so if I were you, I would pretty much remove them from influencing my decision.

However if you believe that a specific adjustment ( bigger wheels, thicker chassis, etc. ) might be important to your decision, then check out our comparison chart which lists each table's important attributes next to other tables in the same price range.

Other than the surface thickness, I would focus my attention on a larger chassis to prevent long term damage as a result from players jumping or falling on the table. Children seem to enjoy leaning and sitting on the tables which can bend the chassis making the surface uneven, a stronger chassis would help prevent this.

stiga insta play ping pong table
stiga insta play review

Quick Assembly, Low Hassle

The second most important characteristic when deciding on a ping pong table is assembly time. Fortunately the majority of table tennis manufacturers have figured out ways to essentially ship the table pre-assembled or with a 20 minute max assembly time, however you can still come across tables with poor instructions that can take 4 hours or longer to assemble.

Assembling just about anything can be a real pain, therefore I believe it's important to choose a table that arrives preassembled or with a quick-play feature to make assembly quick and not a hassle.

Stiga Insta Play Table Tennis Table

If I wanted to buy a table tennis table for under $750, I would buy the Stiga Insta Play table tennis table because of its easy assembly (none) and the quality of the playing surface. Not only that, but this table has been around for years and the impressive amount of customer reviews demonstrate that this table is a great purchase for the price.

You can see a full review of the Stiga Insta Play Here.

  • No Assembly Required with InstaPlay Technology
  • 3/4" Thick Black Table Top with Silk Screen Striping
  • 2" Legs and 3" Mag Ball Bearing Wheels with Locks
  • 2" Steel Aprons with Corner Protectors
  • 66" Net and Post Set Included

Best Table Under $1000

For $1000, you should expect a tournament level table with a 1” thick table top. At $1000, you are at the point where you can really start looking at higher quality tables that will provide a more professional playing experience.

Easy Assembly

Again, I concentrated on a table that would be easy to set up and has a thick playing surface. Maybe you do, but I hate spending 5 or more hours putting together a table with poor descriptions and missing tools, especially if this is Christmas morning. A lot of the tables I researched had assembly times of 5 hours or longer, so this really helped narrow down my view for the best table tennis table under $1000.

Stiga STS 420
stiga sts review

Why Is This Table Better?

The major difference between price increments of $750 to $1000 was the option for a 1” table top opposed to a ¾” thick table top. While this extra ¼” may seem trivial, it has a dramatic effect on the quality of play and if you are seeking to play competitively, you’ll want a 1” thick competition level table.

Secondary Characteristics

Again we see a change in the materials used in the chassis and a slight increase in the size of the wheels, levers and apron. These affect the quality of play very little but are designed to make the table last longer. If you believe that the table will be used consistently or around rough-playing individuals, I would pay a little more attention to the chassis thickness and the width of the apron.

Stiga STS 420 Table Tennis Table

For under $1000 I chose the Stiga STS 420 ping pong table because it’s one of the only tables under $1000 that still has a competition level, 1” playing surface as well as an easy assembly. I was considering the Stigs STS 520 until I realized it was $100 more expensive for only a different chassis, this is in addition to requiring two people and over 5 hours to assemble. That’s why I chose the STS 420, assembly takes less than 20 minutes and only requires 4 bolts be screwed in and then you’re ready to go!

  • Tournament-Grade Table with Exceptional Playability and Durability
  • 1" Thick Table Top with Silk-Screened Striping
  • 2.5" Heavy-Gauge Steel Legs with Leg Levelers and 5" Ball Bearing Mag Wheels
  • 2.5" Powder-Coated Steel Apron with Patented Full-Length Ball Storage
  • 72" Premium Clipper Net and Post System Included

You can see a full review of the Stiga STS 420 Here


Best Table Under $1500

best table tennis table under $1500
joola atlanta olympic table tennis table

If you’re looking to spend upwards of $1500, you can expect a professional level, high quality table. The playing surface should be 1” thick and the overall design should look very stylish. The table should be ITTF approved and I personally would look to purchase a table that has been used at the highest level. If the professionals have used the table or it was used in a nationally recognized event, we can only assume the table is made of very high quality and will provide a great playing experience.

With Quality Comes Sacrifice

As the quality of the table increases, it becomes more difficult to manufacture pre-assembled tables, so at this point, don’t expect the tables to arrive assembled. However, again, I hate assembling these tables, so I chose a table with a relatively short assembly time that still had great reviews and at least a 1" thick playing surface.

JOOLA Atlanta Olympic Table Tennis Table

That’s why I chose the JOOLA Atlanta Olympic table tennis table. It was the official table for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games, it’s ITTF approved, and it has a simply assembly compared to other tables in the similar price range.

You can see a full review of the JOOLA Atlanta Olympic Here

  • Pro-quality table tennis table with unique transport system
  • Fast, high-density 22mm wood composite playing surface
  • Tournament-grade net with height-and-tension adjustment system
  • Foot pedal raises entire table off floor for easy rolling on 5-inch casters
  • Official table of 1996 and 2000 Olympic games; ITTF approved

Best Table Under $2000

Butterfly Centerfold Rollaway 25

If you’re willing to spend upwards of $2000, you can expect and better guarantee that you are getting a tournament level high quality table that the professionals would use. At this point you should be looking at the best table tennis tables on the market, the same tables that are used in world-class tournaments. The table should be made of the highest 1” thick table top, the wheels should be at least 3” large, and the chassis should be solid steel designed to not bend or wear easily. The surface shouldn’t scratch easily and possibly most important of all, it should come with a warranty.

Butterfly Centerfold Rollaway 25

I chose the Butterfly Centerfold Rollaway 25 because it was the official table of the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Open ITTF Pro Tour Championships, it’s both ITTF and ITTC approved, surprisingly comes preassembled and features a 1” scratch-proof top is surrounded by a hard PVC band and strong two inch steel rim.

You can see a full review of the Butterfly Centerfold 25 Here

  • Butterfly - Official Table Sponsor & Supplier of the 2012, 2014 & 2016 World Table Tennis Championships
  • Approved by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)
  • Legs are placed 400mm inward which complies with the ITTC ruling for wheelchair competitors
  • Adjustable feet for leveling the table
  • Made in Germany and backed by a 3-year warranty

Conclusion

Hopefully this article helps you make a more informed decision when choosing a table tennis table. While I didn’t focus on outdoor tables, the same principles can be applied to determine table quality.

Remember that the main aspect you should pay attention to is the table's surface thickness. Expect a 5/8” thick or less top on a cheap table tennis table, a ¾” thick surface on the high quality recreational tables and then a 1” thick surface or higher on the highest quality competition level tables.

Pay Attention to What Matters

Pay attention to the other models available. You may be willing to spend $1500 on a table tennis table, but that doesn’t mean you should. Often times there will be a $100-$200 dollar difference between models but the only thing that’s changed is the size of the wheels, the locking mechanism, and maybe the chassis or net. While I understand these aspects may be important to some individuals, it’s not the main characteristic that ultimately determines the quality of your table.

So all you parents looking for the best table tennis table, please pay attention before you spend money on a table you won't be happy with! Also, if you're looking for ping pong paddles don't forget to check out our guide on the best ping pong paddles money can buy!