The ST3100 is a popular table tennis table that's part of Stiga's Master Series range. It's a relatively cheap table, but Stiga claims it's suitable for "tough competitors" and has "superior bounce." These are bold claims for a budget table, so we wanted to take a closer look in this review.
Let's start with the basics. The Stiga Master Series ST3100 (also known as the T8732) is a regulation size indoor table tennis table with a 2" apron, 0.75" playing surface and 2" legs.
It features a stylish black and red color scheme, along with various extra features such as ball storage and net.
All the tables in the Master Series are only available from Dick's Sporting Goods (at least in the USA at the time of writing). I'm usually not a fan of exclusive tables, as they are often overpriced. In this case, however, the ST3100 is for sale at a very reasonable price.
With so many table tennis tables on the market, being cheap isn't enough to get a top score in our reviews. The question is whether the ST3100 can stand out from the crowd by providing high-quality bounce, easy assembly and a durable design. So let's take a deeper look at its features.
Unlike some indoor ping pong tables, which come largely pre-assembled and only require you to attach the legs, the Stiga ST3100 is time consuming to assemble (you can view the full instruction manual here). There are over 20 steps, so I class the ST3100 as an advanced table to put together. On the plus side, the manual is clearer than many others I've seen.
How long should you expect assembly to take, though?
It's difficult to say, but this isn't a model you'll be playing on an hour after delivery. If you have two people with reasonable experience, I would expect it to take approximately 2-3 hours to set up. While it's possible to assemble the table on your own, it's much easier with two people.
Once assembled, the table is easy to fold for storage. It measures 60" x 30" x 62" when in storage mode, compared to 108" x 60" x 30" in its play position. It's not a two-piece model though, so you can't move the halves separately.
A downside is that putting it into play position is more fiddly than I would like. The angled brackets can be somewhat difficult to lock, which is a shame as otherwise the folding mechanism is great. On the plus side, it's still relatively easy for a single person to unfold the table.
The most important feature of any ping pong table is the playing surface thickness. The minimum thickness I recommend is 15mm, as anything thinner is likely to have awful bounce. Serious players should be looking for a 19mm+ surface, as these provide a more consistent bounce that's closer to competition tables.
Fortunately, the Stiga 3100 has a 19mm top, so it's great to play on. The bounce feels responsive and fast, unlike lower quality models which are often slower. It's also regulation size.
A bonus is that the folding design allows you to set it to playback position. This is useful for practicing on your own, although it can't replace a partner or even a ping pong robot.
An issue with the playing surface is that the two sides don't completely match up, so there's a small gap between them. This means the net must be attached to one side. While this isn't a major issue for recreational players, having the net an inch closer to one player isn't ideal for more serious matches. In a game where inches count, this flaw is one of the main reasons I can't recommend the Stiga ST3100 for advanced players.
Aside from the playing surface, the Stiga Master Series ST3100 is a rollaway model with a 2" apron, 2" legs and attractive red brackets for extra durability. It also has four 3" casters to make it easy to move around the home.
The chassis feels sturdy and durable, so I don't have concerns about the table's longevity - assuming it's cared for correctly. While the assembly is a pain, the components are built to a high standard.
It's a heavy model though. The shipping weight is over 200lbs and the box probably won't fit in an average car. It's also an indoor-only table - you shouldn't use it in outdoor conditions or a damp garage as the surface might warp.
A useful feature of the T8732 is the ball apron. This holds 12 balls on each side of the table, so you'll spend less time chasing stray balls when playing a match. It would have been even better if Stiga had included storage for paddles too, but this isn't a major drawback.
The ST3100 also comes with a net and post system. This isn't the highest quality net I've seen, but it's not bad either. Serious players may want to spend a bit extra on a competition-standard net set.
One of the best things about the ST3100 is the price. Considering it's a 19mm table with decent bounce and a ball storage apron, the RRP of $499.99 is reasonable. It's often on sale for much cheaper than this though (I've seen at sold at up to 34% off at Dick's). At this price it's a bargain.
If you're lucky, you may also be able to find the ST3100 second-hand on sites such as Craigslist or Ebay. Make sure you check the condition of the table before you buy though.
We've established that the ST 3100 has excellent playability and high-quality construction, but is difficult to assemble and has an annoying gap between the two halves. Who should buy it though?
Both the ST3100 and ST4100 are part of Stiga's Master Series, but there are some major differences. Perhaps the biggest is that the ST4100 comes with Stiga's Quickplay Chassis. This greatly speeds up assembly. It also has a 25mm top and can hold more balls. The downside is that it's significantly more expensive.
On a side note, the Eurotek is another table that's often compared to the ST3100. Both have the same top thickness, although the Eurotek has thinner legs.
The Stiga ST3100 Master Series isn't perfect. It's difficult to put together, heavy and there is a gap between the two sides, which makes it unsuitable for serious players. The net is also low-quality and it can be a hassle to unfold it.
With that said, it's unrealistic to expect a table in this price range to be flawless.
The most important part of a table is the playing surface, and the St3100's 19mm board provides a fast and consistent bounce. If you can make it through the tedious assembly process, I think you'll enjoy playing on it.
Extra features, such as the ball apron and playback function, are useful additions. The legs are also strong and durable, so it should last a long time.
To summarize, the Stiga ST3100 is great for recreational players, families or even more advanced players on a tight budget. I don't recommend it for serious practice, but for fun family games or light training it provides excellent value for money. Be patient during the assembly process though - and make sure you have your power tools charged and ready to go.