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Table Types

Ping pong. Whiff whaff. Table tennis.

No matter what you call it or how you play, a solid ping-pong table can provide hours of fun and frustration, relaxation and exercise, and even a ticket to the Olympics. But before you pick up a paddle and swing away, here are some tips to help you select the perfect ping-pong table for you.

Get on My Level

There are generally three types of ping pong tables for purchase:

Home Tables

Best for: The first are for personal use and generally live in basements, not unlike prolonged houseguest. These models are basic and come in a variety of sizes in the home or the basement. These are basic, non-standard models perfect for home use.

School and Rec Center Tables

Best for: Tables for schools and recreation centers are designed to last, often being built with stronger materials to withstand the years.


Best for: High-end competitions, like the Olympics. These babies are the real bread winners of the ping pong table family, and made with high-end, durable materials designed for competition.

Nets, Brackets and Posts

Nets are generally made of synthetic rope and stand six inches high and six feet long. The brackets on the end of the table keep the nets attached and ready to go.


If you’re a dog, then there’s only one color of table to play on. Then again, if you’re a ping-pong playing dog, does the color really matter?

Green is the classic finish, but gray and blue are still used in professional settings, as seen in the 2015 World Table Tennis Championships. Any color works for home used, but it should contrast with the floors and wall for easy visibility. 


Most tables are made from particle board and wood composite. However, the piece de résistance of table tennis materials is a solid resin that resists warping. After getting topped with an anti-gloss paint, be sure to cover your table when not in use.

Indoor vs Outdoor

Most ping pong tables are designed for indoor use as they aren’t waterproof and can’t swim. It might be fun to move them outside for an afternoon barbecue or party, but be sure to move them inside once you’re done. Tables are easily damaged and very difficult and expensive to fix.

Table Base Type


Stationary ping pong tables come with extra stability and leg levelers. They aren’t foldaway or portable and need a permanent home. These are best for people who play multiple times a week or even every day.

Rollaway or 2-Half Tables

These tables fold, disassemble, have a locking chassis, and can store vertically. Their larger wheels make them easier to move and transport, and are best for people who play on the weekends or a few times a month.

Playback Mode
This is when half the table folds up to create a wall so persons can practice and play by themselves. Playback mode is great for space-conscious players who still would like to increase their stamina and skill.

Conversion Tops
This is a ping pong table that can convert to other games, like air hockey and foosball. These types of tables are easy to store and come with padding to prevent scratching. Conversion table are best for people who play a few times a year.

Stable Tables

The chassis is the locking feature under the table that keeps it stable and folding during use. Frames will have a fiberglass, aluminum or metal base. Permanent installations will have heavier bases with one entire piece instead of interlocking scaffolding.


Sports Flooring

This is the same kind of stuff you’d find in a gym that you’d play handball or recreational basketball on. Most professional table tennis players opt for this type of flooring as it is used during most tournaments.

Sprung Wood Flooring

Wood is great for ping pong because it has the right texture to grip the shoe, allowing players to roam freely—and quickly. Ideal wood floors for ping pong tables are floorboards raised above a concrete foundations that aid in shock absorption.

Short Industrial Carpet

Though short industrial carpet provides ample shock absorption, but also increases the chance of tripping.

Non-Slick Vinyl Flooring

Though this type of flooring can be slick, it still can provide decent shock absorption with underlay.

Concrete and Tile

This type of flooring is the most dangerous, and also very common among households in the US. Whether in a garage or game room, be sure to always wear cushioned shoes that provide good grip.

Who’s ready for some Ping Pong trivia?

Ping Pong was…

  1. Developed by frontiersman in the late 1800s who played a primitive version of the game called “paddle-whippy.” This consisted of smacking bottlecaps at unsuspecting persons with old planks of wood. Unlike regular ping-pong, there were no returns or keeping score—only pain.
  2. Developed in Victorian England as an upper-class parlor game. During its early days, most used a golf ball and called it “whiff-whaff,” using a row of books as the net.

The answer is…B!

Though no one knows for sure, all signs point to a British origin.

The modern-day ball and paddle…

  1. Were invented in 1901 by table tennis enthusiasts.
  2. Were invented by Parker Brothers when they acquired the rights to the name in the 1920s.

The answer is…A!

James W. Gibb invented novelty celluloid balls on a 1901 trip to the US. This was shortly followed by E.C. Goode who developed the modern racket by attaching a stippled piece of rubber to the blade.

Table Tennis was introduced as an Olympic Sport during…

  1. The 1996 Atlanta games after the success of “Forest Gump” forced it into the limelight.
  2. The 1988 Seoul games after being officially admitted to the summer Olympics program in 1981.

The answer is…B!

The 1998 Seoul games featured both singles and doubles tournaments. In fact, table tennis was ranked #5 at the 2004 Athens games!

The difference between Ping Pong and Table Tennis is…

  1. Table Tennis is played with red paddles, while Ping Pong is any other color
  2. Table Tennis is the term used for competitive play, while Ping Pong is the term used for recreational play.

The Answer is…B! Though Ping Pong and Table Tennis are inherently the same game, they’re called different names based on skill level.