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What Are Ping Pong Tables and Their Accessories Made Of?

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How many hours have you spent playing ping pong? A hundred? A thousand? The game is so fun that there’s probably no way to really estimate just how much time you’ve poured into this game. Still, have you ever stopped for a moment in all that playing and wondered what ping pong tables are made of? It’s important to have some idea of what’s in your home or to improve your table tennis game (see table tennis techniques for beginners). Keep reading to find out what ping pong tables are made of. For that matter, you can also learn about the materials and construction of the paddles, nets, and balls too while you’re at it!

some ping pong tables in a public parkDifferent Tables and Different Materials

In terms of what ping pong tables are made of, it’s helpful to classify them into two different categories. Indoor tables are one kind, whereas outdoor tables are another.

Tables designed for play in interior environments don’t have to be as durable. They’re commonly made using plywood, although this isn’t the only material used in their construction. Maintaining an indoor ping pong table is important in ensuring it lasts for as long as possible. Start a cleaning schedule and stick with it. Cleaning your ping pong table properly is important to keep all the components working and improve your games.

Outdoor tennis tables have to be ready to withstand the elements and adverse weather conditions (this is commonly applicable for ping pong tables in garages as well). They can be built not just with plywood or particleboard, but also plastic, metal, and fiberglass. Some are even made using cement.

What Are Ping Pong Paddles Made Of?

Table tennis paddles are also known as rackets, clubs, or bats. The official term per the ITTF is ‘racket’, although these do not have strings that are strung across a broader open frame, like actual tennis rackets. ‘Bat’ is used more often in Europe and Asia, but ‘paddle’ is the predominant American term.

While the names change around the world, paddles for ping pong and table tennis are typically made using laminated wood. Rubber might cover one or even both sides of the paddle, based on player preference and grip. It’s also possible that each side of the paddle will have different rubber textures so that players can hit different kinds of shots based on the particular spin that they want to hit with.

White ball for table tennis or ping pong on wooden table.What Are Ping Pong Balls Made Of?

Early ping pong balls were made from cork wrapped inside the webbing, which didn’t bounce enough, or rubber covered with some cloth, which bounced too much (learn more about the history of ping pong). The result was a celluloid plastic ball. This synthetic plastic material is made using camphor and nitrocellulose.

This was the dominant ball for over a hundred years, but it’s on the decline. Celluloid production is starting to wane. Also, these balls are very flammable, to the point of frequently having restrictions for storage and shipping.

A new kind of ITTF-approved ball is non-celluloid made using poly-plastics. The surface is a bit rougher and harder, and it bounces a little higher.

Celluloid balls are still available, however. They can be found in many recreational settings and local tournaments.

What Are Ping Pong Nets Made Of?

A ping pong table net is actually something that consists of four different physical elements. The first is the netting itself, of course. However, the second is the suspension that keeps the net upright and taut. The third part is the set of posts, and the fourth is the clamps that attach posts to the table. The netting itself can be made from various materials, although common options for regulation play include premium cotton blends or fabric weaves.

In Summary

What are ping pong tables made from? For indoor tables, it’s often plywood or particleboard. Outdoor tables are made using far more sturdy substances. Ping pong balls have been traditionally made using celluloid, but fire hazards and manufacturing slowdowns have turned this market more towards poly-plastics. The paddles you play with are almost always laminated wood with rubber coatings on most of the surface, and ping pong nets themselves are usually made using cotton blends or fabrics.

Use this knowledge to impress your fellow ping pong players, and maybe even distract your opponent long enough to sneak in a kill shot. Whether this knowledge actually makes you a better or player or not doesn’t matter so long as your opponent believes you know more about this game than they do.