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Investing in a ping pong table for your home is a great option for year-round, family-friendly entertainment. Better yet, ping pong itself is a rare opportunity to bring an Olympic sport into your own home so that your family and friends can compete against one another on demand.
That being said, a ping pong table comes with its own installation requirements. This includes spacing requirements, which some overzealous homeowners overlook.
However, you can avoid that mistake by accounting for room space before ordering your table.
This guide will teach you how to make that important calculation, as well as how to plan for three of the most common ping pong table sizes. From there, you’ll be able to decide if your home has enough vertical and horizontal space to make safe, effective, and enjoyable ping pong play possible.
How to Calculate Space Required for a Ping Pong Table
Calculating the space required for a ping pong table is fairly easy.
To start off, determine the length and width of your chosen table (several common options are described below). From there, you’ll want to add about 5 feet of space onto each end. Then, you’ll need to add about .3 feet of space onto each side’s width.
With those amounts added in, you should have some basic spacing to allow for recreational ping pong play. However, more space on each end and side is always ideal, to allow for spectators and more strenuous play.
Keep in mind that vertical spacing is key to successful ping pong play as well. Be sure to check the section below to learn more.
Room Size Requirements Based on Ping Pong Table Size
With the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at some commonly sold ping pong table sizes and the space required for each of them.
Common Size #1: 9 x 5 Feet
A 9 x 5 table is considered the most common type of ping pong table, even among at-home recreational users. That is because this style of ping pong table is used in most amateur competitive settings, such as in local and regional tournaments.
Still, its size is modest enough to fit in many in-home entertainment rooms
In accordance with the formula outlined above, a table of this size would require a 19 x 11 feet room for proper horizontal play. This will allow a set of singles players to achieve a full range of motion while competing against one another.
However, in order to maximize playability with a table of this size, you’ll also need to make sure that you have plenty of vertical clearance. In most cases, that means that your ceiling should be at least 10 feet high from floor to ceiling. Any lower and you risk taller players hitting the ceiling when performing shots above their head.
Common Size #2: 8.5 x 4 Feet
While 8.5 x 4 tables are less common in general, they still see a majority of their use in recreational settings. That’s because these tables have been specifically designed with compact space installation in mind.
To that end, its diminished dimensions still allow for successful singles play without requiring a homeowner to take up too much of a room’s space.
These tables abide by the same formula described above too. As such, they should ideally be placed in an 18.5 x 11 feet room for proper play. However, rooms of larger dimensions are always preferred to this minimum.
As for vertical spacing, always be sure that your playing area is free of vertical obstructions and provides around 10 feet of clearance to the ceiling.
Common Size #3: 14 x 7 Feet
While it’s hard to call this size “common” among homeowners, it is technically the most prevalent style of ping pong table out there today. That’s because this measurement set is used by international competitions for major tournaments.
As is obvious, this table’s dimensions are much larger and require a far larger room in turn. Indeed, a room with dimensions of at least 21 x 13 feet would be warranted.
That being said, professional-grade table tennis competitions usually occur in even larger spaces that lack any overhead ceiling (akin to professional tennis). As such, it is also common for amateur users of these tables to place them outside.
Otherwise, it can be challenging to place such a table in one’s home.
What Is the Minimum Ceiling Height for a Room with a Ping Pong Table?
When it comes to measuring ceiling height for a room with a ping pong table, you need to start at floor level. From there, measure up to the ceiling and determine if your ceiling height is around 10 feet high. If so, you should be okay for most ping pong play.
However, ceilings of 12 feet in height or higher are best suited for play with kids and adults alike.
What Can I Do If My Room Is Too Small for a Ping Pong Table?
If your chosen entertainment room is too small for a ping pong table, don’t fret. You have other options for bringing ping pong into your life.
For example, you can seek out a custom-sized table that abides by the formula set forth above. You could even make your own if you have some DIY skills. This will allow you to still enjoy different ping pong games without risking impacts to your walls and ceiling during play.
Alternatively, you could also commit to placing your ping pong table outdoors.
This will eliminate worries about spacing almost entirely in most yards. However, you will need to consider storage of your ping pong table if you choose this option. Otherwise, it might degrade quickly if it is exposed to the elements.
All in all, determining the proper spacing for a ping pong table does not need to be a laborious affair.
Instead, you’ll just need to make a few preemptive measurements to ensure that your table will have enough vertical and horizontal space for proper play. If so, you’ll be well on your way to picking out the ping pong table that entertains your friends and family for years to come.