Though many people incorrectly refer to the sport as ping-pong (a name trademarked by Parker Brothers), table tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. It places a premium on endurance and reflexes rather than size and strength, allowing people of all ages and genders to play on an equal field. Equipment is relatively inexpensive, however, choosing the correct equipment to fit your skill level and playing style is very important.
* '''Sizing''' -- Tables and nets for table tennis should comply with the regulation dimensions if you plan to play competitively.
** Tables must be nine-feet long, five-feet across and two-and-one-half feet high (floor to playing surface).
** The net must be six-inches high and stretch across the middle of the table, and six inches beyond both sides.
* '''Surface''' -- The surface of the table must have a smooth, low-friction coating.
** It must also be a dull, non-reflective color that contrasts with the white and orange balls.
** Black, navy blue and green are popular colors.
* '''Top Thickness '''-- The most important thing is the width of the top since it affects bounce and table durability.
** Table tennis tabletops range from 1/2" to 1" thick. You should find a tabletop at least 3/4" thick to resist warpage. Tops less than 3/4" thick also won't bounce consistently over the entire surface of the table.
** A thicker table top has a better and more consistent bounce.
* '''Top Materials '''-- Choose from either a wood or aluminum encapsulated top. Warping of table tennis table tops is a common problem, so be aware of your table's environment and usage (i.e. don't leave your indoor table on the deck in the rain).
** '''Wood''' -- Most table tennis tabletops are made of wood. These tables can't be exposed to excessive humidity, moisture or temperature extremes.
*** Particleboardspellerr is used for almost all table tennis tables, but some tables also use special composites.
*** Some tables use a resin material that resists warpage better than particle board tables.
** '''Aluminum''' -- Aluminum encapsulated means that wood tables are enclosed in aluminum on the top, bottom and sides. Tables with aluminum encapsulation have a great resistance to moisture and warpage and that makes these tables suitable for outdoor patio usage. Keep in mind that the aluminum lining can still delaminate if poorly constructed.
* '''Frame''' -- Less expensive tables lack the proper frame design and support to keep the table from loosening and collapsing. Always examine the construction of the frame to ensure stability and durability.
** Larger size legs are generally thought to improve durability.
** A table with many connecting points within the chassis may have greater durability even though the legs and bracing may be thinner. Make sure a table has connections in all the right places to ensure a stable and durable construction will withstand years of playing.
** Look for a table that has multiple points where the legs and frame are connected and check the evenness of the frame's support underneath the table. Even support under the table will affect the surface's bounce quality.
* '''Cost''' -- Expect an official, tournament-style table to cost around $600-$1000. Club tables will cost about $400-$600 (be sure to check the durability and storage flexibility of these tables). A good home table for recreational use should cost about $200-$500.
* Roll-away tables can be folded in half and rolled for easy storage and transport.
* This is a great feature to have if the table will need to be stored often.
* Make sure the wheels have adequate connections for stability.
* Pay attention to the caster/wheel quality when purchasing a roll-away table. The larger the casters, the easier the table will be to move around. Dual-wheel casters can also make a table easier to roll.
* Some tables incorporate a playback feature that allows half the table to fold into the storage position while the other side remains up.
* This gives a hitting surface for solo play or practice.
* This is a good feature to have when there isn't a partner to play with.
* These are similar to tennis ball machines, except they're specially suited for table tennis tables.
* They come in three levels, with two upgrades available to increase difficulty as you progress.
** Higher-end models feature oscillation and a specially designed net that collects and recycles your balls for continuous play.