Ping pong, or table tennis depending on which you prefer, is a great game that can be played by virtually anyone. It is difficult to master, however, but that is what has led to so many people being hooked on it. Unlike a sport like golf, though, you can play ping pong in the comfort of your own home, at a recreation department, at a bar, or virtually anywhere. Today, we will be specifically looking at outdoor ping pong tables. There are some unique factors that you have to look at in order to find a good outdoor ping pong table, and we will be doing that today with this buying guide. We are going to go over all of the key components of a ping pong table and make sure that you know what is good for use outdoors. We will then take a look at some of the best tables that you can buy for play outdoors.
Top Outdoor Ping Pong Table Comparison Chart
Outdoor Ping Pong Table Buying Guide
Regulation Size and Look
One of the first things you need to determine is whether or not you want an official table. An official table will be the correct size, according to the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation). The size that is considered official is nine feet long, five feet wide, and 30 inches tall. The net is mandated to be six inches high, and it is required that the surface be either green or blue. To go even further, to be considered regulation the ball must act a certain way when dropped on the table. It must bounce 8.75 inches when you drop the ball from a height on one foot. These are all very precise and technical terms, but they are important to many people. If you are looking to have something that can be used for tournament play, all of these rules must be followed. This is also something that you are going to want to have if you are training to be a very serious player. A football player wouldn’t want to practice on a field that was only 40 yards long, so you wouldn’t want to practice on something that doesn’t have the same standards that you will find in competition. So this is something that cannot be overlooked. For those of you that are much more casual in your style, this probably will not matter to you unless you just want to be like the pros. This is by no means a requirement!
We imagine that there are a decent number of people wondering why you would play ping pong outside. This is a fair question, and it should be answered right here. Most of us learned of the game by playing indoors or by seeing it played indoors on TV. But that doesn’t mean that the sport is just restricted to the indoors.
Outdoor ping pong tables are a great idea for anyone that is short on space. Space is a major factor in purchasing anything like this, and if you don’t have enough space to adequately move around it would be a major drag. By moving outside, you can completely eliminate this worry altogether. This is the major reason you would want to move outside to play.
Another reason is to enjoy the weather. This is probably something that is overlooked by many, but it can change your whole mood to play outside rather than inside all of the time. It gives you something to look forward to, and it also allows you to be a little bit different than the rest!
Ping Pong Table Features
All ping pong tables, no matter where they are intended to be used, have certain features that they have in common with one another. In this section, we’ll discuss what these tables have, and why each piece is important.
Legs are very important because they are the mechanism that holds the whole table up. A great table is going to be rendered virtually useless if the legs are not up to par. The way that you measure how sturdy the legs are is through looking at the thickness of them. You can measure this in person, or you can ask. We will point out thickness when it is a factor in our list at the conclusion of this buying guide. The thinner the legs you have on your table, the less sturdy it will be over time. No matter how good the table, just think of people leaning on it over time. It eventually is going to give way if it is thin! Another thing to note is how the legs connect to the table. In the most durable tables, there are multiple connectors between the legs and the frame of the table itself. If there is just one connector, it will not last very long. Two is better, but it still not going to last that long. Having more than two is what you want to see. Lastly, there are some tables out there that have leg “levelers.” These allow you to adjust the height of separate legs. This is useful for people that would be playing on uneven surfaces or just somewhere that is not 100% level.
The net is an understated part of the ping pong table, but it must also be up to snuff if you are going to be able to play for extended periods of time. Most tables come with what is called a “stationary” net. A stationary net is simply a net that remains in place. The net can be removed when it is worn out, but it isn’t something that you change out very often. There are some that you do need to do this with, so if you are looking for that feature you might need something special.
The surface of the ping pong table is probably the most important and the easiest thing to look at when examining a potential table. As you probably already know, most tables are made from wood. The type of wood, though, will help determine the quality and price of the unit. This also directly impacts how long it will hold up. For outdoor tables, you find something a little bit different than you usually would find with indoor tables. Outdoor tables need to have some form of protection from the elements and from moisture. To do this, they are coated with an aluminum barrier. Note that the table itself is still made from wood, but it will have this aluminum there to help seal it and protect it. What this does is help prevent the table from cracking into pieces and warping. Neither are very fun at all. Cracking is very obvious, but warping would see one side of the table leaning or taking up a different shape than it was intended to have. So neither is desirable, and you will want to see some type of barrier put onto the table to ensure it lasts!
Wheels are also a factor in the purchasing decision. Wheels make life so much easier sometimes as you don’t have to deal with carrying everything or taking it all back apart after every single use. Even in outdoor models, this is something that many will find desirable to have. If you do want them, expect to pay a little bit more money just for their convenience and for the extra engineering work that went into producing them.
Some tables come with paddles and ball pockets included. This makes it very easy to store your accessories with ease so you don’t worry about losing them. If you are a forgetful person or just want this feature, then it is an option for you to select.
Playback is a way of playing by yourself. This is something that is not needed by all people, but it may be something you want. This is when you see the table propped up at a 90-degree angle across from the user. This allows the player to practice by herself or himself whenever they want. Not all tables come with this feature, so this is why this is the last feature that we have listed under this section. This can allow you to learn how to play faster, hit the ball more solid, or just enjoy being alone in a time of solitude. We will note tables that have this feature just in case you want to purchase one of them!
Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Tables
One unfortunate aspect of outdoor tables is that they bounce on them is usually more inconsistent than the bounce would be on indoor tables. This is due to the surface. Like we talked about before, the aluminum coating helps preserve the table, but it also has a tendency of producing more of an unpredictable bounce to the ball. It should be noted, however, that this gap has closed considerably over the years. So, it’s not nearly as big of a problem as it used to be.
Maintaining Your Table
One massive suggestion we’d like to make is for those of you that are planning to store your table in a basement or some other type of storage. Because of the changing humidity, it’s highly recommended that you buy an outdoor table. Like we’ve said before, the surface is coated and it will help you maintain your table for much longer. Even if you don’t plan on using it outside, this is a great idea for you to follow.
Another thing that can be done to maintain your outdoor table is to store it inside. This might seem paradoxical, but it will really help the table last much longer. It doesn’t have to be stored in the middle of the living room; it can be stored on a patio, in the garage, or basement. Humidity won’t matter because of the coating, but it is still wise to make sure it’s not in direct contact with the elements.
A table cover can also do wonders for you. A table cover is an easy way to make sure that dust and dirt don’t get on the table, and it can also do a great job in a pinch if the weather is approaching. These covers are specifically designed for use in conjunction with outdoor tables, and as a result are sometimes a little costly. They are a lot like tarps in essence, and many companies make them to go along with their own line of tables. So you can’t just assume that it will fit your table!
This is something that will drive a lot of your interest or your lack of interest. Having a table that requires assembly can be a disaster for some, but it can be a fun time for others. There are varying degrees on the scale of assembly in regards to ping pong tables. With some, they are practically all assembled once they’ve arrived with you. These “preassembled” tables are rare, and they will cost a little more because of their engineering. But they do exist. Some tables just take about 20-30 minutes and are very easy to assemble. Others still yet come with poor instructions, and they could lead you to take practically a whole day to assemble the table. Depending on the type of person you are, you need to carefully look at which is best for you!
Best Outdoor Ping Pong Table Reviews
Kettler’s Champ 5.0 is a great choice for those looking for a regulation-sized table with accessories. The table itself has a certified tournament bounce as well as being glare-resistant and resistant to fading. It also features wheels, so you can easily push it wherever it needs to go. It also has the playback feature and a locking mechanism to keep it in place. It is a premium table, and it comes at a pretty steep price.
- Certified tournament-approved bounce
- Comes with accessories
- Has wheels and playback
- Hefty price
- Not meant for people who are more casual
If you are looking for a table that can be used indoors or outdoors, then Cornilleau has the one for you, but it will cost you quite the premium. This table has wheels on it, has anti-glare protection, has the playback feature, and is coated to be weatherproof just like the Keller before. Its wheels are huge in comparison, however, so it should be even easier to roll. It has galvanized steel around the edges, and it is also friendly for wheelchair users!
- Even easier to roll
- Great for users with impediments
- Very expensive
- Doesn’t come with any other accessories
For those that hate assembling items, this is the one for you. The Stiga XTR is 95% preassembled, so you basically just take it out of the box and begin playing with it. It has wheels, aluminum composite exterior is built to withstand the elements, and has a playback available as well. And it all comes at a very reasonable price as well!
- Great price
- Nice shiny look
- Almost completely assembled upon arrival
- Has slight cosmetic blemishes at times
- Doesn’t have adjustments for unlevel surfaces
Like the three predecessors on the list, JOOLA’s table has wheels on the bottom for easy transport. It also includes a quick assembly which should take 15-20 minutes and is about the same price as the Stiga. It has playback, an aluminum/plastic surface, and it is protected from rust damage. It also has leg levelers in case of rocky or uneven terrain. This Joola is super heavy-duty with 6-inch “off road” wheels and tournament certified. It features an aluminum/plastic composite surface for outdoor durability.
- Leg levelers ensure it is level
- Easily assembled
- Good price
- Good outdoor durability
- It is heavy to unload without help
- The net included in a little suspect compared to other nets
the Vapor from Stiga is the most inexpensive table on the list so far. But like its brethren, it still has wheels, a playback function, composite aluminum, and is rust resistant. It also includes a net and leg levelers to make sure it stays nice and level. It also has a one year warranty, so that is a major plus!
- Great price
- Stays level with leg levelers
- Has wheels and playback
- This is a two-piece table
- Does not come with accessories
Coming in at a moderate price is the Kettler Top Star model. The Top Star comes with all sorts of accessories, which includes the net, rackets, balls, and a table cover. It also has wheels like all of the others we’ve seen so far and can be easily folded for playback. It is weatherproof as well like we’ve seen with all of the others!
- Comes with all kinds of accessories
- Good moderate price
- Easily movable with its wheels
- Maybe a little too much for casual players
- Does take a little while to assemble
This is more of an entry-level type offering from Kettler, yet it includes all of the same accessories as the above table at the lower price point. The surface is tournament-approved, it has the huge and thick black wheels, and it has climate control to prevent warping or cracking of the table. Like all of the Kettler products, it has a safety pin to hold it in place.
- Great price
- Has massive wheels
- Includes lot of accessories
- Takes a little while to assemble
- Support legs aren’t the greatest
This is the very first table on the list to not have the traditional blue color. This one is green, and is meant for both indoor and outdoor use. It still comes at a reasonable price, however. It has a tournament-approved bounce, an apron design that will prevent the sides from warping, and the playback feature as well.
- Different look from most
- Bounce good for tournaments
- Reasonable price
- Does not come with accessories
- Instructions prove to be difficult
Harvil’s Outsider is a real budget-friendly table. And it also includes accessories like balls, rackets, and a cover for the table. It also even has wheels, which is a bit of a surprise at this price point. It is quite heavy compared to others similar, but something had to give given its price. It does have a guaranteed warranty for up to a year as well.
- Great price
- Comes with accessories
- Has a warranty
- Quite heavy
- Bounce is a little off compared to normal tables
This Joola is similar to the Joola Nova (higher on our list) and differences are negligible. In fact, for most people, the differences between the two include things that probably won’t make any difference in your life like more heavy duty wheels and support legs on the Nova. Otherwise, they’re nearly identical in looks and function. They both include aluminum plastic composite surfaces and rust-resistance powder-coated undercarriage. Even the matching net is weatherproof.
This version has heavy duty 3-inch wheels compared to the 6-inch versions on the Nova.
The folding halves sit firmly on 4-wheel trolly systems for good mobility and the anti-tilt locks make it easy to unfold half the table for single player purposes.
- Aluminum Plastic composite surface
- Sturdy Construction
- Only slightly less “heavy duty” than it’s close cousin the Joola Nova
Conclusion & Recommendations
To wrap up what we have learned today, you can just think about what you call the game. Do you play “ping pong” or do you play “table tennis.” For those that play ping pong, you can feel safe in looking at the more moderately priced items. These items will fit your needs without you having to break your piggy bank for something you don’t necessarily need. For table tennis players, you’re going to want to look at the more expensively priced items to make sure that you get what you’re looking for! Either way, you are getting something that will keep you entertained and having fun for a long while to come.