Difference between indoor and outdoor ping-pong table
The main difference between indoor and outdoor ping-pong tables is the additional weatherproof modification featured in outdoor models to counter against natural elements like the sun, wind, rain, snow, and UV rays. This greatly influences their construction and other adaptability aspects.
While indoor table tops are thicker and mainly made of wood optimized for performance, outdoor tops mostly feature thinner warp-resistant melamine, resin-treated wood, aluminum and other weatherproof and rustproof metal variations that are optimized for protection against the elements.
Natural elements can cause rusting, warping, discoloration, and corrosion. Outdoor Ping-pong tables avert this through usage of anti-glare finish, rustproof galvanized steel frame and legs that can hold up against the wind, leg levelers for stability on uneven surfaces, and waterproof covers, among others.
The thin tabletop and other weatherproof modifications in outdoor models affect the natural bounce of the light Ping-pong ball while strong gusts of wind affect projection. Some manufacturers have fixed this by making heavier balls.
Most of the outdoor Ping-pong tables can also be used for indoor games, letting you play anywhere. However, indoor tables are the best for competitive players due to their thick, high-quality wooden surfaces which give a natural true bounce.
Why do you need an outdoors ping-pong table
Ping-pong is a fun and addictive physical and mental workout that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. The fast-paced intense game burns calories and improves reflex, concentration, cognition, and coordination skills. Outdoor Ping-pong tables allow you to enjoy these health benefits anywhere, in any weather. The tables offer flexibility and versatility in use and storage. They are suitable for recreational players with limited spaces, and they don’t require room temperature storage like the indoor models. The unrestrictive conditions provide easy maintenance.
You can also install the table in public spaces, such as parks, and socialize while you play, without being at the mercy of natural elements.
Alternatively, you can have solo play sessions by propping up one half of the table for playback mode.
How to properly place your ping-pong table outside
- Identify a location with a flat surface to set up your table or use the adjustable anti-tilting leg levelers to even out the playing surface on irregular terrain.
- Use the screws to fasten the net and adjust it to your preferable tension.
- Once you have unfolded the table, ensure you activate the wheels locking mechanism to secure the table in position as you play.
Tips on playing ping-pong outdoors
- Look for a table that is designed to withstand natural elements without affecting performance.
- In windy weather, install the table next to a tall wall or fence to minimize the effects of wind on ball projection.
- Secure the table with the lockable casters to prevent it from toppling or gliding around.
- After playing, fold the table and fasten it with the safety latch to avoid accidental opening and closure.
- In case a cover is not provided with the table, you can buy one separately for additional protection and longevity.
- Stay hydrated, especially when playing in hot weather.
Features to consider while choosing an outdoor Ping-pong table
Below is a detailed analysis of the fundamental factors that determine the best outdoor Ping-pong table. We have included examples of brands and models with these features to help you in your decision.
One of the best advantages of a ping-pong table that can be used outdoors is that you do not have to worry about space limitation. You can install any size anywhere, including in the backyard and public places.
The size of the table will be determined by your level of play and the table’s intended purpose, whether for recreation, practice or official competition. A standard tournament ping-pong table is 108 inches long, 60 inches wide and 30 inches high. National competition tables are 144 inches long and 72 inches wide while international games feature a table length of 168 inches and width of 84 inches.
Outdoor tables vary in their playing, playback and storage dimensions. With the exception of stationary models like Cornilleau 510M Outdoor Stationary that are designed to be erected permanently, majority of outdoor tables can be folded to reduce their size for storage. For instance, STIGA XTR is significantly reduced in size when folded; from 108 inches long, 60 inches wide and 30 inches high to 64 inches long, 60 inches wide and 23 inches high. Most outdoor models can also be adjusted so you can lower the height, if need be, for children to play.
Due to the modifications required to withstand natural elements, outdoor tables tend to be heavier than their indoor counterparts. This can affect their assembly, movement and storage. Luckily, most models have foldable and collapsible features that can be easily taken apart for installation and quickly disassembled for storage afterwards.
Some tables like Kettler Top Star XL come in two connected halves while others like Butterfly Easifold and Harvil Outsider come in two separate halves that are connected with a clasped-on net. Foldability eases disassembly and movement and optimizes storage.
The thickness of the playing surface is one of the main determinants of the quality and performance of a ping-pong table. Generally, thicker tables deliver a better natural bounce.
Outdoor tables feature thinner weatherproof surfaces ranging from 4 mm to 7 mm to accommodate the other protective material. This yields a lower quality bounce than the one found in indoor models with thick, solid wood table tops. It is for this reason that indoor ping-pong tables are recommended for professional players.
For outdoor tables, you should go for a minimum thickness of 6 mm for a decent bounce.
The material used in the laying surface construction has a huge impact on the overall quality of your play. The construction material used in indoor table tops is optimized for ball performance whereas in outdoor tables, the focus is on resilience and protection from natural elements.
Indoor ping-pong table tops are made of solid wood which gives a natural bounce, but is prone to deterioration when exposed to moisture and direct sunlight. In contrast, outdoor table tops are designed to withstand natural elements, and this is reflected in their construction with thin, weather-resistant aluminum or stainless steel, laminate, melamine coatings, and anti-reflective finish.
Aluminum composite is the most common material used on outdoor table tops because it is light, weatherproof, and rust-resistant. Resin-treated wood is also used for surfaces, with Butterfly Easifold’s compreg top being an example. Cornilleau 510M Outdoor Stationary features a weatherproof laminate table top with patented finish which provides 10 times anti-glare protection than a normal finish.
Frame is all
The frame of an outdoor table reinforces the playing surface by keeping it flat and rigid, and provides support and stability to the table to prevent it from warping, buckling or toppling. Manufacturers use aluminum and galvanized stainless steel due to their sturdiness and weather-resistance. Thick frames offer better support and more resilience.
Look for frames with rounded or padded edges that will not tear into you if you bump into them.
Outdoor ping-pong tables feature thick legs made of steel, aluminum, or zinc alloy because they are strong, durable and weatherproof. Generally, thicker legs are sturdier and more durable than thin ones.
The legs are sometimes powder-coated, such as in GamePoint Tables Outdoor Ping-pong Table and STIGA XTR, to make them rustproof. Stiga XTR also has self-opening legs which deploy automatically during assembly or disassembly of the table.
Legs are attached to large, lockable caster wheels for smoother movement, compact storage and additional safety.
Another feature to look out for when considering the legs is anti-tilting levelers which allow you to adjust the height of the table to level it out on uneven surfaces. Outdoor tables will generally have them to adapt to the often irregular grounds, though Kettler Top Star XL seems to be one of the rare models that lack this capability.
The best outdoor Ping-pong table has large caster wheels, thick, galvanized steel square legs that are rustproof, and in case of thin legs, they should be supported with diagonal bars.
Net and posts
A net should be strong to avoid sagging and ripping, weatherproof, durable, and easy to adjust the height and tension. The post should be weather-resistant and sturdy for support and stability. Whereas posts are mainly made of steel, nets are made of nylon, plastic cotton blend or steel. Manufacturers usually include nets and posts in the package to make it easy to assemble the table.
The net should be close to the table surface and its sides should be close to the posts. Some nets are permanently fixed while others are removable for convenient storage.
The nets are attached to the table with clamps or loaded spring clip-ons, with the latter providing a firmer and more secure grip. Clamps offer more flexibility in adjusting the height and string tension of the net. They are covered with rubber to protect the table from scratches.
Outdoor tables have various protective measures in place to keep you safe while you play. This include rounded or padded corners to prevent injuries, safety latch and dual lock feature to prevent accidental opening or closure of the table, and lockable wheels to avoid sudden movement.
Accessories provide additional value to your outdoor table. Balls and paddles come with the table, or are purchased separately. Some models have a built-in ball dispenser and accessory holders where you can conveniently store the balls and paddles.
Warranty shows the level of confidence the manufacturer has in the table. Considering the Ping-pong pounding an outdoor table takes and the natural elements it is exposed to, a long warranty is reassuring. Cornilleau 510M Outdoor Stationary comes with a 10-year warranty on manufacturing defects.