Do You Need An Indoor Or Outdoor Table Tennis Table?

Do You Need An Indoor Or Outdoor Table Tennis Table

With so many different options on the market to choose from, selecting a suitable table tennis table can often be a difficult and overwhelming process.

Not only is the quality of the table important, there are plenty of other factors to take into account, such as the dimensions of the table and how you’re planning on using and storing it.

However, arguably the most important consideration is whether you’ll use the table indoors or outdoors. Indoor table tennis tables are significantly different to outdoor ones, so it’s essential you understand the key differences between the two.

With this in mind, our guide will take a closer look at some of the most important factors to consider when making the decision between an indoor or outdoor table tennis table.

We’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions, providing you with additional information you can use to make the decision-making process a little easier!

Indoor Table Tennis Tables

It’s widely recommended to buy an indoor table tennis table rather than an outdoor one, so long as you’re not looking for a table solely for outdoor use.

This is because indoor tables provide a significantly better playing surface than tables designed for outdoors. Furthermore, the vast majority of competitive venues all use indoor tables, so it’s a good idea to get used to playing on the kind of table that other places are more likely to provide.

While most indoor tables can be used in an outdoor environment for short periods of time, this isn’t advisable as direct sunlight can cause the table to warp.

Moreover, using an indoor table safely outside also relies on the table being robust enough to withstand adverse weather conditions such as wind or heavy rain. Unfortunately, many of the cheaper indoor tables don’t provide this degree of sturdiness.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that windy conditions might cause debris to be blown onto the playing surface of the table which can impede the bounce of the ball.

Safe Storage

For safe and effective storage, indoor table tennis tables should be kept at room temperature. This is because any kind of extreme temperature can cause the top of the surface to come apart or for the whole table to warp.

So, if you’re thinking of storing your indoor table in a garage or basement which isn’t always at a set temperature, you need to be fully aware that the table could be at risk of damage because of changes in room temperature.

If you have nowhere suitable to store an indoor table, it might be a good idea to consider purchasing an outdoor table instead.

Outdoor Table Tennis Tables

If you need a table that you can leave outside for prolonged periods of time or on a permanent basis, it’s vitally important you make sure the table is specially designed for outdoor use.

This is because high-quality outdoor tables are constructed differently, with all the best models providing a weatherproof top surface, as well as a galvanized steel undercarriage, net, and posts.

Concrete Outdoor Tables

The most durable and weatherproof outdoor table tennis tables are typically made of concrete with a polished top surface. The best models all provide a playing surface with the same qualities as an indoor table, and are designed to last for as long as 50 years.

It’s worth noting that concrete tables are available in a wide range of different colors. What’s more, some are made with rounded edges, while others come with personalized steel nuts.

Budget Outdoor Tables

If you’re working to a tighter budget and can’t afford some of the top-end concrete tables, there are plenty of other outdoor options you can choose from.

For example, outdoor tables that are made of aluminium, plywood resin, or other types of resin, are all considerably cheaper than concrete tables, and still provide a surface that can withstand the various elements of an outdoor environment.

However, as a general rule, the more you’re willing to pay for an outdoor table, the better you can expect the rust and waterproofing treatment to be. What’s more, expensive tables typically provide stronger and more durable legs.

The Key Differences

The Key Differences

We’ll now take a closer, more in-depth look at six of the key differences to keep in mind when weighing up the pros and cons of indoor and outdoor table tennis tables.

1. Material

Indoor tables tend to be made of materials such as wood, fiberboard, and particleboard – all of which are good for playing table tennis. These materials however, aren’t fit for withstanding the weather elements.

For example, while wood and fiberboard are both excellent materials for providing a slick, fast-paced playing surface, they don’t deal all that well with intense sunlight or moisture.

On the other hand, outdoor table tennis tables are typically made from aluminium, galvanized steel, melamine, or other weatherproof materials. It’s worth noting that some tabletops are made from wood, but these are thoroughly weatherproofed with effective coating.

In addition, there are also plenty of outdoor tables that are made of concrete, although these are mainly found in parks.

2. Transport

Transporting indoor tables isn’t usually too much of a struggle because you can fold them into a neat and compact size. To make things even easier, some models also come equipped with wheels.

In contrast, outdoor tables are typically made from heavier materials, making transport from point A to point B significantly more difficult. In addition, many outdoor tables don’t possess the ability to fold.

Yes, there are some easily-transported outdoor models you can find on the market, but these are usually reflected with an inflated price tag.

3. Foldability

As touched upon above, the vast majority of indoor table tennis tables provide the ability to fold, whereas the same can’t be said for outdoor models.

One of the main problems of having a table that doesn’t fold is the issue of storage. You’d have to find a vast empty space to keep it safely stored, which many people don’t have access to.

Another disadvantage of a non-folding table is the fact that you can’t use playback mode. This is when you lift one side of the table vertically, so that when you strike the ball it rebounds off the folded half and comes back to you for another shot.

Not only is this playback mode a perfect set-up for practice, it’s also incredibly useful for players without many table tennis-playing friends.

4. Bounce Of The Ball

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between indoor and outdoor table tennis tables is the bounce of the ball. This might not be noticeable to recreational and beginner players, but competitive players can instantly recognize the difference.

This is mainly due to the fact that wood, particle, or fiberboard (the materials that make indoor tables) are considerably better for ABS-plastic or celluloid balls than metal or steel. In fact, you can sometimes even hear the difference when the ball hits an indoor or outdoor table.

5. The Net

Outdoor nets look pretty similar to indoor nets, except they’re designed to be weatherproof. Most indoor nets are made from solid metal or another non-malleable material, which is great for durability.

However, this does provide you with extra cardio as the ball tends to shoot off whenever it’s struck against a hard net.

6. Price

Top-end outdoor tables cost significantly more than indoor ones due to the costly materials and advanced construction methods. So, if you’re looking at a price of $1200 for a good standard indoor table, be prepared to pay at least $150-200 more for an outdoor table of a similar quality.

This is why you should only consider purchasing an outdoor table tennis table if you plan on leaving it outside on a permanent basis.

Our Recommendations

Best Indoor Table: JOOLA Professional MDF Indoor Table Tennis Table With Quick Clamp Ping Pong Net And Post Set

  • Well-respected table tennis brand since the 1950s, that’s also been the sponsor of some of the biggest tournaments around the world, including the World Championships, US Open, and the Olympics
  • If you want an indoor table that quick and easy to assemble, this table can be put together in approximately 10 minutes out of the box
  • The JOOLA indoor table has a 15mm MDF surface which is tournament quality, providing you with the very best playing experience
  • Incredibly mobile and easy to store, with two foldable halves and 3” lockable wheels

Best Outdoor Table: JOOLA NOVA Outdoor Table Tennis Table With Waterproof Net Set

  • Well-respected table tennis brand since the 1950s, that’s also been the sponsor of some of the biggest tournaments around the world, including the World Championships, US Open, and the Olympics
  • Competition-grade table that combines JOOLA’s indoor model with some impressive outdoor durability
  • With a 40mm x 40mm rust-resistant undercarriage and a 6mm thick aluminium plastic composite surface, the JOOLA NOVA outdoor table is resistant to both warping and chipping
  • The table comes 95% pre-assembled, so the total set-up time can be as quick as 10 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Table Tennis Played Indoors Or Outdoors?

Table tennis is generally played indoors, with the vast majority of competitions taking place on indoor tables.

Nevertheless, table tennis can still be enjoyed in an outdoor setting, you’ll just need to have a suitable table and the right weather conditions.

How Do I Protect My Table Tennis Table Outside?

The most effective way to protect your table if you store it for long periods of time outside, is to use a cover when it’s not in use.

There are plenty of covers on the market that fit both flat and folded tables, with most being waterproof or water resistant, as well as offering protection against the sunlight, wind, and dirt.

Can You Waterproof An Indoor Table Tennis Table?

Yes, it’s definitely possible to waterproof an indoor table. The best way to do this is to use some polyurethane sealer to coat the surface of the tabletop. For added effect, you can also coat the frame of the table if it hasn’t already been weatherproofed.

How Big Is A Standard Table Tennis Table?

The standard dimensions of a table tennis table are 274 x 152.5 x 76 cm. A full-size table with these dimensions requires a considerable amount of space, whether you’re planning to use it at home, at work, or in a club.

Can I Use Plywood For A Table Tennis Table?

Yes, plywood is a suitable material that can be used to make good quality table tennis tables, with lots of different varieties of softwood (fir, spruce, and pine) all excellent options.

It’s worth noting that hardwood plywood is also available, however due to the fact that a table tennis table doesn’t need to be super strong, it’s not all that important to spend the extra money.

What Are The Physical Benefits Of Playing Table Tennis?

When played on a consistent basis, table tennis can provide a host of useful physical benefits, including improved hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and balance. It’s also a great full-body workout that raises your heart rate and strengthens the core muscles of the upper and lower body.

The Bottom Line

To conclude, it all comes down to personal preference when deciding between an indoor or outdoor table tennis table.

Yes, indoor tables are more common in clubs and recreational centers and provide a significantly better playing surface, however outdoor tables are a great investment if you love playing the sport outside and can handle the slight increase in price.

So long as you carefully consider the pros and cons of each, you should be well positioned to make an informed decision that’ll perfectly suit your individual needs!

Dave White