The Stiga Advantage is a popular indoor table tennis table aimed at the entry-level market. Despite the low price, Stiga claims it's a "Competition Ready" table with excellent playability. We wanted to take a closer look at the Advantage to see whether it lives up to these claims.
If you strip away the "marketing speak," the Stiga Advantage (also known as the T8580W) is an indoor table with a 5/8" (~16mm) thick MDF playing surface, 1.2" thick steel apron and a two-part construction.
It's a popular model that's aimed at beginners and recreational players. Stiga has fitted it with a stylish blue top and black/red undercarriage, along with 3" lockable casters and a 72" net set. It's also designed with the company's "Quick Play" system for easy setup.
Unlike Stiga's Master Series range, the Advantage is not a Dick's Sporting Goods exclusive. It's also available for a very reasonable price.
Does it really provide competition-level play though? And how does it compare to other tables in this price range? Keep reading our Stiga Advantage review to find out.
In-Depth Review of Features and Build Quality
The Advantage's price alone makes it an attractive option for beginners who want a full-size table without spending a fortune. Being cheap isn't enough for me to feel comfortable recommending it though!
Instead, I'm looking for a consistent bounce, excellent playability and a durable design. After all, if you're spending hundreds of dollars, you want a table that's going to be fun to play and is built to last.
Assembly and Initial Setup
The Stiga Advantage comes with the company's "Quick Play" system. This effectively means the table is almost preassembled when it arrives, so you can get started in around 10-minutes. The manual is also clear and easy to follow, with both written and graphic instructions.
In fact, the setup process only requires three steps. The fiddly bit is installing the casters, but other than that there's little assembly required.
To put this in perspective, the Stiga ST3100 has over 20 steps to assembly and takes 2-3 hours to setup. It's true that assembly is something you only need to do once, but the "Quick Play" system is a real bonus - especially if you hate complex manuals.
Once you've assembled the table, the 2-part design makes it easy to fold up and store. You just need to remove the net, lift each side up via the built-in hinges, and then secure using the safety clip.
Putting it back into a playing position is just a matter of placing the two halves together and linking with the net clamp. Some people would prefer a physical connection point, but the combination of net clamp and wheel locks should be enough to keep the table halves in contact.
As the two halves are separate, they can nest inside one another for compact storage. There are also rubber levelers on each leg to ensure the playing surface is flat.
Playing Surface Thickness and Quality
Surface thickness is the #1 factor affecting how a table tennis table plays. The cheapest tables have a 12mm thick playing surface, but this is too thin for a consistent bounce. For recreational or beginner play, the minimum I recommend is 15mm - and for serious players a 19mm is usually required.
The Stiga Advantage has a 5/8" playing surface, which is roughly 16mm. It's a good choice for beginners or fun games, but it's not thick enough for competition-standard players. This is at odds with Stiga's claim that it's a "Competition Ready" table.
I'm not saying it doesn't feel great to play on though. The surface is durable and coated for a smooth finish. It also provides surprisingly consistent bounce for a 16mm table. Just expect it to play a little slower than a thicker table.
An advantage of the two-part design is that it can be placed in "playback" position. This is useful for practicing, although a partner or robot is always going to be the better option for real improvement.
Note: Stiga also produces an Advantage Pro version. This has a thicker 3/4" table top (19mm), so is better suited to serious play.
Legs and Undercarriage
The playing surface is the most important feature of a table tennis table - but it's not the only consideration. Both the undercarriage and legs need to be strong and stable, otherwise the table may wobble.
The Advantage is built with 1.2" steel legs and 1.2" steel tube aprons. It also has eight 3" caster wheels, which each have a lock for extra stability. The legs and aprons aren't as thick as the ST3100, but still feel durable and should last a long time.
As the Advantage is an entry-level table, you don't get many extra features. There's no ball apron, for example, which is a useful feature if you don't want to spend time chasing balls. There's also no storage for paddles.
It does come with a 72" net and post set though. This is made with "premium cotton-blend" and has a tension adjustment system, so it's good enough for beginners.
Note: The table doesn't come with paddles or balls. You'll need to purchase these separately.
Considering the Stiga Advantage can often be bought for around $400, I think it provides excellent value for money. It's not a professional standard table, but provides a surprisingly consistent bounce, is easy to setup and built to last.
Yes, it's not what most people would call cheap. But it offers a great balance between price and quality - and you won't find many tables in this price range that can match it.
There's also the option of buying second-hand, on sites such as Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon Marketplace. You can find genuine bargains on these sites - especially as there are so many Stiga Advantage tables in circulation - but make sure you check the condition before you buy.
So, we now know the Stiga Advantage indoor table tennis table is a durable and affordable option for beginners or recreational players. It's also easy to assemble. Who should buy it though?
What Are the Table's Dimensions?
The Stiga Advantage is a full-size regulation indoor table. Here are the dimensions in the various positions:
- Play position - 60" (W) x 108" (D) x 30" (H)
- Playback position - 60" (W) x 66" (D) x 64" (H)
- Storage Position - 60" (W) x 28" (D) x 64" (H)
Stiga Advantage Vs Joola Inside - Which is Better?
The Joola Inside is the closest competitor to the Stiga Advantage. Both are excellent entry-level tables with similar features, but I prefer the Stiga Advantage because of the slightly easier assembly.
In truth, there is little to choose between these tables, as they are both 16mm models with a 2-part folding design. If you're looking for a budget ping pong table, you won't be disappointed with either.
Stiga ST3100 Vs Stiga Advantage - Which is Better?
The Master Series ST3100 is more expensive than the Advantage, but comes with a 19mm playing surface, 12 ball apron and a highly durable design. We found it to be unnecessarily difficult to assemble and less portable than the Advantage though.
If you want a portable and easy-to-assemble table for recreational use, go for the cheaper Advantage. If you need a 19mm surface for more serious practice, the ST3100 is probably the better option.
Can I Use it Outdoors?
No. The Stiga Advantage has an MDF top that's for indoor use only. If you're looking for outdoor tables, check out our page here. You should also be wary of storing it in rooms with lots of moisture or extreme temperatures.
Summary & Rating
The Stiga Advantage is an excellent low-budget table tennis table for families, offices, student houses or anyone who wants a beginner table.
While the 16mm top isn't thick enough for competitive practice, it provides a relatively consistent bounce. Beginners and recreational players will love playing on it - and the 2-part design folds up into a compact space when not in use. It also comes with a decent net, which is rarely the case with entry-level tables.
Don't expect many extra features though. There's no ball apron or paddle holders, for example. The limitations and bounce inconsistencies of the 16mm top will be obvious to high-level players too.
To summarize, if you're looking for a durable table that provides consistent bounce on a budget, the Stiga Advantage is my top pick.