Since 1988, table tennis has been an official sport in the Summer Olympics. The addition of table tennis to the Summer Olympics is truly a testament to the widespread popularity of this sport, both as a professional and recreational sport. However, many fans of this sport have wondered whether all tennis table tables are the same size.
A table tennis table that is full-size will be 9 feet (2.74m) long, 5 feet (1.525m) wide, and 2.49 feet (0.76m) high. These dimensions are the same as the tables used in Olympic table tennis. While other table tennis table sizes and types are available, these are widely considered ping pong tables.
If you want to know why tables smaller than those used in Olympic competitions are considered ping pong tables, we’ll break down everything you want to know! Once we’ve explained whether all these tables are the same size, we’ll discuss the different types of table tennis tables available today and how to choose the right table size for your needs.
Are Table Tennis Tables All The Same Size?
At the 1988 Summer Olympics, which was hosted in Seoul, table tennis finally made its long awaited debut as an official Olympic sport. Four table tennis events are currently in the Olympic program: men’s singles, men’s teams, women’s singles, and women’s teams. We should note that not just any sport can be included in the Olympics.
For a sport to be accepted by the Olympic Charter, the sport must be played by men in at least four continents and seventy-five countries. Another prerequisite is that women in at least forty countries and three continents also play the sport. These Olympic sports also need to be standardized to uphold the value and appeal of the Olympic Games.
Regarding table tennis, this standardization refers to the equipment used and technical specifications. For instance, the rackets used by players are randomly tested and must have a red and a black side. The ball used must be white and measure 1.57-inches (40mm). Naturally, the table also needs to meet certain criteria.
For full-size Olympic table tennis tables, the upper surface of the table (the playing surface) is 9 feet (2.74m) long and 5 feet (1.525m) wide, while the table is 2.49 feet (0.76m) high. When buying a table for table tennis that is 9 feet by 5 feet, it will usually be classed as Full-Size, Tournament Size, or Competition Size.
Tables of this size will likely also note that the table meets ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) standards. All official table tennis tables will measure these same dimensions. Unfortunately, not all table tennis enthusiasts have enough space to house a full-sized table. Due to this, many other types of table tennis tables are available in various sizes.
While it’s possible to purchase table tennis tables that are smaller than the standard size used in the Olympics, smaller tables are not considered official table tennis tables. Overall, smaller tables are commonly classed as ping pong tables – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used to play table tennis!
While there are no major differences between table tennis and ping pong, the public perceives a difference. Whereas table tennis is considered a serious, competitive sport, ping pong is played in more recreational forms in informal and social ways.
Although smaller tables that don’t meet the ITTF’s requirements might be considered ping pong tables by some, they can still be used to play table tennis. In the following section, we’ll outline the various types of tables that are available for table tennis players.
Different Types Of Table Tennis Tables
From official full-size tables to mini variants, these are the six main types of table tennis tables available today! After we’ve outlined the different types, we’ll explain how you can choose the right table size for your table tennis needs!
Official Full-Size Table Tennis Tables
As we discussed in the previous section, official full-size table tennis tables are those that share the International Table Tennis Federation’s standardized size. Of course, these “tournament sized” or “competition sized tables” are 9 feet (2.74m) long, 5 feet (1.525m) wide, and 2.49 feet (0.76m) high.
Using a table that meets the ITTF’s requirements will be advised if you play table tennis competitively or professionally. After all, this is the table size you’ll use to play competitive matches with. If you ever want to go for gold in the Summer Olympics table tennis categories, this is the right type for your needs!
Mid-Size Table Tennis Tables
Most non-standard-sized table tennis tables are classed as “mid-size” models. Many of these tables will be described as ½, ¾, or 2/3 tables. These fractions are used to describe the size of the table relative to the size of a full-size table tennis table.
You can use these fractions to better understand a table’s size before purchasing it. These tables are ideal for players with insufficient space for the standard table size. However, this type of table tennis table is also ideal for juniors who want to develop their table tennis skills.
Conversion Top Table Tennis Tables
If you want to start playing table tennis at home but lack sufficient space for a regular table, you should consider purchasing a conversion top table tennis table. With one of these kits, you’ll be able to instantly convert any dining table or suitable surface into a table tennis table! When the conversion top is not being used, it can be easily stored.
With these tables, foam or rubber padding is included on the underside of the conversion top, which protects the table or surface it’s placed on. Most kits will also include a net. Due to the design of these conversion top tables, they’re often more affordable than regular tables. However, the table surfaces are usually subpar to the premium quality of other table types.
Adjustable Table Tennis Tables
As the name of this type suggests, adjustable table tennis tables have adjustable legs. These legs can be adjusted to lower the playing height of the table. If you love playing table tennis and have children who’d also like to play this addictive game, this type of table is the ideal choice. The telescopic legs can typically be adjusted to three different height settings.
Generally, these legs can create a table height of 2 feet (0.61m), 2.26 feet (0.69m), or 2.53 feet (0.77m). When set to the highest setting, these tables are at the same height as full-size tables. Provided that the tabletop size is correct, you can have an adjustable table that can function as a full-size table.
Folding Table Tennis Tables
Folding table tennis tables are also referred to as compact tables. When folded, the table can be easily stored in small spaces, much like conversion top tables. Overall, this type of table is more affordable than full-size tables, making it ideal for beginners looking to develop basic table tennis skills.
On the topic of developing your skills, many folding table tennis tables are designed to help you improve. That’s because many of these tables allow one side to be folded upwards. Essentially, this allows you to easily play against yourself when you don’t have an opponent to compete with.
Mini Table Tennis Tables
Unlike the other tables discussed on this list, mini table tennis tables are intended for young children who are just starting to play the game. Like folding tables, these mini tables are easy to store when your kids aren’t playing table tennis.
With these tables, there are often settings that allow parents to tilt the tabletop slightly inwards. Ultimately, this helps the young table tennis enthusiasts rally with their opponents. Of course, adults can also decide to use these mini tables as a novelty table tennis setup for a fun but surprisingly tricky game!
Choosing The Right Table Tennis Table Size
Now that we’ve discussed the different table tennis table sizes available today, you might be wondering about how to choose the right table size for your needs. In this section, we’ll discuss important considerations table tennis players should keep in mind when choosing a table size!
Consider Your Table Tennis Needs
When choosing the right table size for your needs, you must carefully consider how you play table tennis. Ultimately, this will dictate the type and size of the table tennis table you purchase. If you’re a professional or competitive table tennis player, you should ideally opt for a full-size table that meets the ITTF’s standards.
However, you can consider different types of table options if you lack sufficient space for a full-size table. Mid-sized tables, conversion top tables, and folding tables are ideal for adult players with limited space. Adjustable and mini table tennis tables are ideal for those with children who also love playing table tennis!
Measure Your Available Table Space
If you love playing table tennis but are unsure of the right table size for your needs, you could start by thinking of where you want to place your table. Once you’ve decided where your table can be placed, you should measure the available space for the table. Buyers should keep in mind that they’ll require additional space to move around the table when playing.
At the edge of the table, you should have at least 7 feet (2m) to move around. At the sides of the table, you should have at least 3.23 feet (1m) to move around. Once you’ve measured the available space, you may find you have enough room for a full-size table tennis table. However, if you don’t have enough space, a smaller type of table will be better suited to your needs.
Check What Assembly Will Be Required
When purchasing a table for table tennis, most tables will require some type of assembly before you can start playing. Generally, the larger a table is, the more complex the assembly is likely to be. Due to this, you should check what assembly will be required before purchasing a table. Ultimately, this will also help ensure that you have the required tools to assemble your chosen table and start playing table tennis.
Buy Tables From Reputable Brands And Retailers
When purchasing a table tennis table, you should only buy a table from a reputable brand and retailer. Ultimately, this will ensure that you purchase a high-quality table that’s covered by a warranty. Many table tennis shops specialize in tables, rubbers, blades, and balls.
However, it’s also possible to find fantastic deals on table tennis and ping pong tables on Amazon. Websites like Amazon can also be helpful when comparing options as they allow you to read reviews left by other users. Some of the top table tennis table brands include Andro, Butterfly, Cornilleau, Donic, JOOLA, Sponeta, and Stiga.
Keep Your Table Budget In Mind
Lastly, buyers must consider their budget when choosing a table size. As we discussed earlier, full-size tables tend to cost more than mid-size, adjustable, foldable, and mini table tennis tables. However, high-quality tables will also cost more than low-quality models.
Cheaper tables tend to lack sufficient tabletop thickness, which can negatively impact your game. Tables with a medium thickness will be in the median price range. These tables offer decent bounce and will last for a couple of years. Naturally, the competition-quality table tennis tables will be the most expensive, as these are great to play on and last for many years.
Full-size table tennis tables are 9 feet (2.74m) long, 5 feet (1.52m) wide, and 2.49 feet (0.76m) high. These dimensions are used by the International Table Tennis Federation and are the same size as the official tables used in the Summer Olympics table tennis program.
However, full-size tables aren’t your only option. There are also mid-size, mini, conversion top, folding, and adjustable table tennis tables available today. These types of table tennis tables are ideal for those with limited space or young children who also love this exciting game.