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Choosing the Best Ping Pong Table for Your Rec Room, Garage, or Backyard
A ping pong table makes a great addition to any games room, backyard, or community centre. Whether you're looking to add a little extra fun to your yearly backyard BBQs, spice up family night with some friendly competition, or hone your skills for serious competition, you'll find everything you need to know right here.
What's the difference between ping pong and table tennis?
Absolutely nothing. There's a common misconception that ping pong and table tennis are two slightly different variations of a similar sport. But both terms refer to the same exact sport, played with the exact same rules and equipment, on the exact same size of table with the same size of net. At the consumer level, you'll find lots of different types and sizes of tables, but these differences are purely for the sake of convenience and variety.
Choosing a Ping Pong Table
There are lots of different types of table tennis tables to choose from. Selecting the right table has a lot to do with how you plan on using it and how much space you have at your disposal.
Full Sized Table
If you're looking for the complete table tennis experience, a full sized table is your best choice. Since these tables don't fold up, you'll need a dedicated space large enough to set one of these tables up permanently.
Some full sized ping pong tables feature adjustable legs that allow you to raise or lower the playing surface to one of several heights. This is a perfect option for anyone with kids who want to play as well.
If you're pressed for space but still want the option of playing ping pong on a full size playing surface, a conversion top is the way to go. Consisting of only a table tennis surface and net (no legs), this type of table can be quickly placed on a regular table or pool table, and easily stored out of the way when not in use.
For those with kids, a mini ping pong table makes a fantastic addition to any play space. They're usually easy to store out of the way when not in use, and highly portable, so you can quickly take them from the living room to the backyard to the garage.
If you don't have an indoor space that's suitable for playing ping pong but you have a large and relatively flat backyard, consider an indoor/outdoor ping pong table. These tables are made from weatherproof materials and can be left outside year-round.
Table Surface and Thickness
For relatively serious players, one of the most significant factors when choosing a ping pong table is the playing surface. Competition-grade tables have table tops made from wood and, as a general rule of thumb, the thicker the table top the better.
How Much Room is Needed to Play Ping Pong?
A full size table tennis table is 9 feet long and 5 feet wide, and depending on your style of play you'll need a sizable playing area. Professional players require lots and lots of space to accommodate their high-speed play, whereas once-in-a-blue moon players can get away with far less space. For recreational play, it's recommended you have a playing area that's roughly 19 feet long and 11 feet wide.
How to Choose a Ping Pong Paddle
Ping pong paddles (also known as table tennis rackets) are almost always made from wood or laminated wood. Each side of the paddle (sometimes called a blade) will be topped with a thin layer of rubber. Beyond these basic characteristics that all ping pong paddles share, you can find paddles in different sizes and some with a layer of sponge between the rubber and the wooden blade. Oversized paddles are ideal for beginners, while paddles with a layer of sponge offer enhanced ball control.