Table tennis is the perfect indoor game (yes, I’m biased!) It’s fun, can be played by everyone, and keeps you active without being too physically demanding.
There’s a problem though: ping pong tables are pretty big. And it’s not just the size of the table that’s the problem – you’ll need space at the sides and ends to play.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to deciding whether you have enough space for an indoor ping pong table.
How Big is a Table Tennis Table?
A regulation table tennis table is 9″ long and 5″ wide. Most nets extend up to 6″ either side of the table, which is something to keep in mind if your room is a tight fit (you can remove the net when you’re not playing though).
Do you need a regulation size table though?
Not necessarily. If you’re only ever going to play for fun, a mini or small table is easier to store and can fit into smaller rooms. These tables tend to develop bad habits, however, as you’ll learn to hit the ball softer to avoid missing the table. If you have any ambitions of improving your game, a full-size table is necessary.
Tip: Not sure which table to buy? Check out our complete guide to choosing the best ping pong table.
How Big Should the Room Be?
If you’ve ever watched a professional game, you’ll notice pro players spend little time near the table. That’s why international tournaments have a huge playing area of 46’x23‘.
Don’t panic. You won’t need anywhere near that for your indoor table. Most beginners or recreational players spend a lot of time at the baseline, so need less space to move back or to the side. There’s nothing wrong with this, as playing close to the table is great for developing control, and it means you don’t need a mansion to play a fun game of table tennis.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the space needed at various levels of skill:
- Beginners and recreational players – The absolute minimum for casual games is 17’x11′. You may be able to compromise on the length, as long as you don’t mind bouncing off the wall occasionally, but 11″ width is the bare minimum for a proper game. In reality, most players need a room length of 19″ to avoid feeling too cramped.
- Keen players or those improving their game – As you start to get better at table tennis, you’ll need more space to execute your shots. A room size of 22’x15′ is a good place to start.
- For coaching or serious practice – When you start taking the game more seriously, a room size of 28’x13′ is probably required. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve with a smaller room, but you’ll be more limited in practice.
- Tournament play – Most local tournaments have a playing around of 30’x16′. National tournaments are even larger, at around 40’x20′. You won’t need this much for practice, but it shows how much space is required by top players.
If you don’t have enough space for your skill level, consider an outdoor table. It’s often easier to find a large space outside – although the tables tend to have a different feel.
A Tip for SizingBefore buying a table, use tape to mark the size on the floor. Take a close look at the space remaining in the room. Is there furniture that’s likely to get in the way? Does it look cramped? Or could you imagine having an enjoyable game – even if there’s not as much room as you would like? This method makes it much easier to imagine how much space you’ll really have.
What About Room Height?
The width and length of a room are the main considerations when buying a table tennis table – but don’t overlook room height. The standard table is 2.5′ high, so if you have a low ceiling the ball might hit it more than you’d like.
In reality, most rooms are fine for casual games and even practice for more experienced players. But indoor rooms may not allow for lobs to get back into position.
You should also consider the light fittings in the room. Are they likely to get in the way? Dangling lights and lamp shades can be a frustrating problem when playing indoors.
Indoor table tennis can be a great way to stay active on a rainy afternoon. It’s important to make sure your room is big enough before you buy though, as many people underestimate the space needed for an unobstructed game.
As a general rule, a room size of 19’x11′ is enough for casual games. Having 5′ either end of the table is enough to avoid feeling cramped, although you’ll need to make sure there’s no furniture in the way. For serious practice, a bigger room is required.
Do you have any questions about getting a table tennis table? Please let us know in the comments section below!