Table tennis is a very easy sport to pick up and you don’t need much gear to get started. The only downside is that it can take up quite a lot of space as tables can be pretty big. Before you buy a ping pong table it’s worth doing a bit of planning so that you can be confident it’ll be the right one for your home. In this post, we’ll cover the different ping pong table dimensions so help you make the correct choice.
Regulation Table Requirements
Most sports have an official regulatory body that sets the rules of everything about the game. From how the points are scored, to the standards of the gear used, all the way to the dimensions and materials of the courts and tables. In the case of table tennis, the governing body is the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Below we’ll cover all the dimensions and specs that they require for an official game of table tennis.
The official size of the ping pong table (length x width x height) should be:
- 2.74m x 1.525m x 0.76m
- 9 ft x 5 ft x 2.5 ft
- 108″ x 60″ x 30″
- 274cm x 152.5cm x 76cm
For a table to be used in official events like the olympics or national and international events then it has to meet these requirements. This is the size you’d see in most sports clubs, schools and bars etc.
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Space Required Around The Table
If you’ve seen the pro players going at it then you’ve seen how many long shots they hit. They often take more than a few steps backward and to the sides. This prompted the ITTF to recommend a minimum clearance space all around the table.
The playfield in an international event or world tournament should be 14 m x 7 m, which is approximately 46 ft x 23 ft. National and local tournaments have less demanding space requirements, and a recreational playfield often needs about 8.5 m x 4m or 28 ft x 13 ft around the table.
Plenty of houses opt for the backyard to be their playfield for this reason as not many people have larger enough rooms in the house to give them a good game.
The standard height of a ping pong table should be 0.76 m. This is level allows players of various statures to play comfortably. It’s also intended to let disabled players in a wheelchair enjoy the game and participate in the game.
The standard ping pong table must have:
- A white sideline that is 2 cm wide across the length of the table.
- A white end line of 2 cm width across the width of the table.
- A 3mm wide white line parallel to the sideline
The last line is associated with double games. Its job is to divide the table into equal halves. The other lines are drawn symmetrically along the length and width of the table.
The net is used to separate the playing area into two equal parts and is parallel to the end lines. The ITTF has rules for the ping pong net where it has to be 1.83m long and 0.1525m tall.
The color of the net can be dark green, dark black or dark blue with a white stripe at the top edge. The stripe shouldn’t be wider than 15 mm thick. It’s not mandatory for the net’s color to match the table’s color.
The net is supported by two posts with the same height as the net. In addition to that, the posts shouldn’t be more than 15.25 cm away from the table’s edges. Finally, the bottom of the net should be as close as it can be to the playing surface.
To learn more check out our guide to ping pong nets and posts here.
The official regulation table could actually have any color. As long as the surface is dark and allows for full visibility of the ball. It should also have a toned-down finish that doesn’t allow glare or distracting reflections.
That being said, ping pong tables are often dark green or blue. The older generations are more used to the green, but blue has gained popularity and currently, both colors are the norm. Purple and black tables are also seen from time to time.
Ping pong tables playing surfaces can come in lots of different thickness. The thinnest ones can be ½” all the way up to 1″ thick. To be regulation approved for official events then they must have a thickness of 25mm made from a continuous sheet with no joints.
The reason why they must be this thick is to do with the bounce of the ball. The thicker the table top then the more the ball will bounce. Having this thickness ensures that the ball bounces a distance of 26 cm if it’s dropped from a height of 30 cm.
Thick tables like this can get quite expensive however and if buying a table for the home we’d recommend going for as thick as you can but at least ¾” (18mm) thick is best.
The table’s weight is a direct indicator of its stability. This, in turn, ensures the player’s accuracy in shooting and returning balls. It’s also a good safety measure. Heavier tables are thus picked more often in championships and serious games.
The typical weight for a full-size high-quality table is around 300lbs. These tables are often more pricey and a lot less portable. Tables made for the home and recreational use are a lot lighter and they tend to weigh anywhere from 50 to 150lbs making them a lot easier to move around the home.
¾ Size Tables
Having a room with limited space shouldn’t stop you from owning a ping pong table. There are lots of smaller tables that aren’t the full size. You can get ¾ size tables are that are just smaller versions of the official size tables. They are often around 7 ft x 4 ft, with a height of 2.5 ft.
Playing on these tables isn’t drastically different from playing on a fully grown table and are good options for kids to start out on.
Mini Ping Pong Tables
Like the ¾ ping pong tables; mini ping pong tables are even a little smaller. They come in a lot of different sizes but range around 6ft x 3ft, and they have the standard height of 2.5ft.
Playing on these miniature tables is mostly for fun, and it’s a good way to teach young players how to play the game. The downside is that you get used to the smaller play area and it can take a bit of time to adjust when you then go to playing on the full size tables.
We hope that helps make sense of the different sizes of tables you can get. Obviously if you have the space go for full size but if you are restricted don’t let that deter you from getting one. If you’re looking for a smaller option for fun, then you can either choose the ¾ size table or a mini ping pong table. Both are excellent choices for limited spaces.