Ping Pong Table Top Thickness Explained: Which Top is Best?

Deciding how thick you want your ping pong table playing surface to be is an important choice as the thickness impacts the playing experience, durability and price of the table.

In this article, I’ll take you through the average thicknesses of different priced ping pong tables and the pros and cons of thick and thin tables so you know which to buy.

Table Tennis Top Thickness Explained

The “thickness” of a ping pong table generally does not refer to the overall structure, but just the playing surface (also known as the table top) which makes up the top layer.

You can get very “thick” tables which have a thin playing surface if most of it consists of the frame, so make sure you are looking at the playing surface measurements and not the overall dimensions when choosing a ping pong tale.

The “top” or playing surface of a ping pong table is usually made from MDF, plywood, metal, concrete or solid wood. More affordable tables typically use MDF, whereas premium indoor tables will use plywood or solid wood tops. Heavy-duty outdoor tables may have a concrete or metal top, usually made of aluminium.

How Thick is a Ping Pong Table Top?

For indoor table tennis, the ideal table top thickness is between 18 and 25 mm. For outdoor ping pong tables, the ideal thickness is at least 6 mm, however tournament-grade tables will have a thickness of around 9 mm.

Indoor ping pong tables can have a playing surface thickness of between 12 mm-25 mm, whereas outdoor tables have a thinner top which usually measures between 3.5 mm-9 mm.

The thicker the top, the better quality the ping pong table will be.

Top Thickness Playing Experience

Thicker table tops are better for ping pong tables because they offer a better playing experience. The thicker the top is, the more consistent the bounce will be. On thinner tables, the ball will bounce inconsistently across the surface. For example, the ball will usually have a lower bounce on the edge of the table compared to the center of the table on a thinner playing surface.

You don’t need to get the thickest table to get a good playing experience though. Generally, anything above 18mm for an indoor table will offer a very good consistent bounce and be perfect for players who are looking to get a good playing experience but without paying for something very thick.

Here is a table with a rough guide of the desired table thicknesses for different purposes. Anything less than 16 mm for an indoor table is likely going to feel a bit cheap and have an inconsistent bounce on the edges compared to the middle of the table, and these are designed for buyers who are looking for the most affordable tables.

Type of TableIndoor Ping Pong TableOutdoor Ping Pong Table
Entry-level tables12-13 mm (0.47-0.51”)2.5 mm (0.10”)
Low-quality14-15 mm (0.55-0.59”)3-4 mm (0.12-0.16”)
Medium-quality (for casual playing)16-17 mm (0.63-0.67”)5 mm (0.20”)
Medium-high quality (for intermediate level)18-20 mm (0.71-0.79”)6-7 mm (0.24-0.28”)
High-quality (for serious players)21-24 mm (0.83-0.94”)8 mm (0.31”)
Best quality (professional)25 mm (0.98”)9 mm (0.35”)
Ideal table top thickness for ping pong tables (outdoor and indoor)

Top Thickness and Durability

The thickness of the ping pong playing surface also affects how durable the table is. The thicker the table, the less likely it is to warp. Thinner tables are more prone to warping at the edges over time which will mean the table is no longer completely flat which causes the playing experience to really suffer.

Outdoor table tennis surfaces are less likely to warp compared to indoor surfaces because they are made of more durable material. However, the rule still applies with outdoor tables as well.

A table tennis playing surface that is less than 16 mm thick for an indoor table, or less than 5 mm thick for an outdoor table is likely to warp after a few years of use. Anything above these thicknesses should last for many years before you notice any issues.

How well you look after your table will also impact the durability. Warping generally occurs when the table is exposed to moisture or excessive temperature changes. The best thing to do, is keep your table covered (especially if it’s an outdoor table), and store it in a cool, dry area. This way your ping pong table will last much longer, regardless of the playing surface thickness.

How Does Top Thickness Affect Cost?

The only downside of thicker ping pong table tops is that they cost a lot more. In fact, one of the biggest factors that affects the overall price of a ping pong table is actually the thickness of the top.

Remember that you don’t need the thickest table top available to get a good game. If you’re playing at home, even if you’re a reasonably serious player, a table with a thickness of 18-20 mm is likely to be just fine and give you good value for money.

Here are some tables showing the average price for different table top thickness for indoor and outdoor ping pong tables.

Indoor Tables

Top ThicknessUSA Approx. Starting PriceUK Approx. Starting Price
12-13 mm$250-$300£200-£250
14-15 mm$400-$500£250-£300
16-17 mm$500-$600£300-£400
18-19 mm$800-$1000£450-£550
20-22 mm$1000-$1200£600-£800
25 mm$1500-$1750£1000-£1200

Outdoor Tables

Top ThicknessUSA Approx. Starting PriceUK Approx. Starting Price
2.5 mm$200-$300£200-£250
3-4 mm$300-$500£300-£400
5 mm$500-$750£400-£550
6-7 mm$750-$1000£550-£800
8 mm$1000-$1500£800-£1200
9 mm$1500+£1200+

Check out my article on the average cost of different ping pong tables to learn more about the different factors you need to consider when choosing a table.

Game and Entertain

Hey, I'm Heather, the owner and creator of gameandentertain.com. I made this website to help you learn more about setting up a home entertainment and games room. My favourite games are ping pong, darts and pool, but I also have experience in other games which I aim to share using this website.

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