Table tennis is a popular pastime for millions of people worldwide, but it can also be an expensive hobby. The tables alone can cost hundreds of dollars, and those who want to play both indoors and outdoors must usually buy two, doubling the expense. This begs the question, can you use an indoor table tennis table outdoors?
You can use an indoor table tennis table outdoors, but it is not necessarily the best idea. If you do, do so only for short periods. Outdoor table tennis tables are made of more durable materials than indoor tables, so taking your indoor table outside risks it being ruined by the elements.
Though all proper table tennis tables are made to be durable, this particular definition of the word “durable” depends on the environment in which you will keep your table. Let’s look at the materials that table tennis tables are commonly made of, why you can’t use an indoor table outdoors, and what you can do instead.
Using Indoor Table Tennis Tables Outdoors
Table tennis is almost exclusively an indoor sport, so indoor tables are more common. But sometimes you want to have some fun outdoors. How effectively you can use an indoor table tennis table outdoors depends on three factors: the conditions of the outdoor environment you will keep the table in, how it was manufactured, and how long you will keep it outdoors.
The Outdoor Conditions
Outdoor conditions are usually vastly different from those you find indoors, which is why humans have been seeking and building shelters for millennia. A few outdoor factors that can play a vital role in how well your table tennis table can hold up outdoors are:
- Rain and other moisture. This should be an obvious factor, but it’s worth mentioning. All table tennis tables are made primarily of wood, which means they will eventually start to rot, buckle, and burst in any moisture.
That does not simply mean “keep it out of the rain,” though. Some climates have high levels of humidity, especially during certain seasons. Humid conditions mean the air is also full of moisture that will eventually seep into the wood and ruin it, creating bumps and rough patches in the table, making it impossible to play on the surface.
- Sunlight and heat. Indoor tables are not made to withstand lots of direct sunlight. The light and heat from the sun will eventually ruin the table’s surface, fading both the color of the surface and the lines painted on it. Direct sunlight is not a good idea for indoor tables.
- Dust, dirt, and grime. We know that dust settles on everything, even indoors, but that’s even more true outdoors. Since there’s very little to keep the dust away from the table, it will settle on the table and ruin the surface. Simply cleaning the table regularly won’t help much because the dust will gradually scratch the surface and ruin it even more.
How Table Tennis Tables Are Manufactured
There is a significant difference between how indoor and outdoor table tennis tables are made, especially their cores and surfaces. Both are made primarily of wood, but outdoor tables are reinforced with metals like aluminum alloys to keep the wood from buckling.
Furthermore, the surface of an outdoor table is covered with a coating to protect it from the elements it will be subjected to. Indoor tables don’t have any of this protection because it isn’t required, and it costs more to apply the coatings, making the table more expensive.
How Long Will You Keep The Table Outdoors?
Of course, the chances of the elements ruining the table instantly are very slim. Unless there’s something like a massive downpour or snowstorm, most of the elements will take time to erode and ruin the table.
So, in general, it’s safe to take your table tennis table outside for short periods. Try to avoid areas where it can get wet or exposed to lots of sunlight and wind, and take it back indoors as soon as possible. If you follow these steps, for the most part, it should be safe to use your indoor table tennis table outdoors.
Why Would You Use Your Indoor Table Tennis Table Outdoors?
The main reason why people sometimes want to take their table tennis table outdoors is that there might be limited space inside their homes to play properly. They might also want to entertain a few friends or their family, and playing table tennis next to the pool while the meat is on the BBQ sounds like awesome summer fun.
However, apart from the obvious risks of damage, another big question is, would you be able to play properly outdoors? The sun may create glare on the surface of the table. Furthermore, ping pong balls are so small and light that just one stray breeze will throw the ball off course entirely. It may not be windy at the moment, but we all know how quickly a breeze can pick up.
So, at this point, you should ask yourself, is it really worth the effort of taking your table tennis table outside and trying to play? Disassembling some tables can be a lot of effort, and if you go through all that trouble and find that nobody can play due to wind, it will be a massive letdown.
The Solution To Using A Table Tennis Table Outdoors
Apart from buying two separate tables, there are essentially two safe solutions if you want to play table tennis both indoors and outdoors.
Use The Table In A Properly Sheltered Spot
If you want to use your indoor table tennis table outdoors, one option is to create an area that is adequately sheltered from the wind and dust (in other words, walled in) but also from the sun, rain, and moisture (like a roof). This will work, but then you must ask yourself, is your table tennis table still outdoors?
Nevertheless, this is a good solution. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to build a long-term shelter in your entertainment area where you can keep your table tennis table safe and entertain your guests.
Buy An Outdoor Table Tennis Table
It’s not a good idea to use an indoor table tennis table outside for long periods. But there’s no reason why you can’t use an outdoor table indoors. The main difference is that they tend to be heavy and uncomfortable to move, and they can take up a lot of your indoor space.
But there are solutions for this, too. Many outdoor tables are portable and easy to assemble and disassemble.
An excellent example is the Vermont Foldaway Ping Pong Table. It is made of metal and polyvinyl chloride, and the surface is covered with nylon, so it is adequately protected from the elements. But the table is also easy to fold up and carry around, so moving it between your indoor and outdoor playing areas will be simple.
Some of these foldable tables even come with wheels attached, so you can move them around even more quickly. This is truly the perfect solution if you want to use your table tennis table both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor table tennis tables are not made to use outdoors for extended periods since they cannot resist the elements as well as outdoor tables can. You can take it outside for a few hours if the weather permits, but you must take it back inside to protect it. However, buying a portable outdoor table tennis table is the perfect solution to give you the best of both worlds.