The 10 Best Beer Pong Tables
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Whether you're looking to outfit your frat house for a Beirut tournament or take your tailgating experience to the next level, the beer pong tables on our list are sure to provide you with hours of competitive drinking fun. We've ranked the best the market has to offer by their stability, ease of transport, and special features. But always drink responsibly, and never drive intoxicated. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best beer pong table on Amazon.
March 14, 2019:
Given the added convenience of its ball catching nets, the PongCaddie model that had previously been at number two climbed up to our top spot. There's just too much to like about what those nets can do for the game, most notably their ability to keep the balls off the ground and remove untold quantities of filth from the cups. Of course, some players might claim that they interfere with their accuracy, but they're removable, so we didn't count that against them. Two new additions include a Sharper Image model that's tiny and incredibly portable, and a long, reliable entry from Pong Squad whose design is as eye-catching as it is functional. There have been lots of reports about seam weaknesses along the sides of the GoPong Barge, which dropped it to last place, but it stuck around on the merits of its usefulness in a pool setting.
The Different Rules Of Beer Pong
The object of any game is to toss a ping pong ball into an opponent’s cup, forcing them to drink its contents and remove it from the playing surface.
Depending on where you were living when someone first introduced you to the game, you may know a set of rules to the game of beer pong that differs tremendously from the next person’s. Wherever you end up playing, you’ll likely be subject to what are commonly called “house rules.” These are usually a pretty standard set of rules that create a game with which you’ll undoubtedly be familiar, but that will feature some nuances designed to give a distinct advantage to the people that live in the house with a given table.
More often than not, a game of beer pong consists of 10 cups at the far ends of a table arranged the way you would arrange bowling pins. Some houses will adjust this number depending on the size of the table, with large tables accommodating two players per side, each with his or her own set of cups in front of them. Each cup will contain anywhere between two to four ounces of beer.
The object of any game is to toss a ping pong ball into an opponent’s cup, forcing them to drink its contents and remove it from the playing surface. The first side to eliminate all their opponent’s cups is the victor.
Nuances enter the game when you start to examine the different types of shots available to a player. Most shoot in a simple arc, trying to accurately sink a ball into a cup. In the majority of houses, such a shot must be allowed to complete its arc without interference from the defending side. In other words, they can’t block it.
Another popular type of shot is the bounce shot, and this becomes a real point of contention among different sets of house rules. In some houses, bounce shots are the only shots allowed. In others, they’re allowed alongside traditional arcs. In still others, they’re completely forbidden. Perhaps the most egalitarian approach is the one that allows for bounce shots, but also allows defenders to block such a shot when it’s attempted, as it’s generally a little easier to sink than a long arc.
You’ll find even more rules and nuances to the game the more people you play with, like extra points for trick shots, ball returns for successful hits, or penalties for things like getting shut out by your opponent. And this free flow of new and old ideas makes beer pong a kind of cultural bonding experience — well lubricated by alcohol, of course — like few others in existence.
Choosing The Perfect Beer Pong Table
When it comes time for you to choose the beer pong table for your house, you may find that certain tables are designed with certain sets of rules in mind. For example, many tables come with pre-drawn triangles or even pre-cut holes designed to hold your cups in a ten-pin formation. If you know that this is the kind of game you want to play, then these make for good options. If you want to play with different cup formations, or allow teams to customize the shape of a re-rack part-way through a game, you may find pre-cut holes too restrictive.
When it comes time for you to choose the beer pong table for your house, you may find that certain tables are designed with certain sets of rules in mind.
Another major concern is the portability of a given table. Some beer pong tables are designed to live wherever you set them up, but the majority of them fold up like any other folding table, and take up pretty small amounts of storage space. A few even have carrying handles to make transportation that much easier. And if you’re really pressed for space there are even models that remove the table aspect altogether, and provide just enough surface area to house the cups above what is essentially a small tripod stand. These are clearly not ideal for houses that allow bounce shots, however, as there’s nothing to bounce the ball off.
After that, you can choose based on table length and aesthetics. If you and your buddies are on the tall side, a table that’s too short won’t provide enough of a challenge, so look for something that’s long enough to test your skill, but that will still fit comfortably in your space. Houses with shorter players (sororities, for example) might get away with a slightly smaller table setup.
If you want to go for something a little different, there are novelty sets out there, as well as sets designed to set up on the beach or float along with you in a pool. Just make sure that the beach you’re playing on allows alcohol consumption, and that you don’t go spilling too much beer into the pool water.
The Water Cup: A Germaphobe’s Worst Nightmare?
There’s one dirty little aspect of beer pong that worries a lot of people: the water cup. This is an additional cup, one of which sits at each end of the beer pong table. When a player misses a shot, that ball often goes bouncing off somewhere else in the room. The defending player retrieves it and drops it immediately in the water cup. The idea is that a quick rinse will get any dirt or debris that the ball encountered off its surface before the next shot.
The defending player retrieves it and drops it immediately in the water cup.
Some researchers hypothesized that this water cup, and the ball itself, would be teeming with bacteria by the end of a few rounds of the game. Interestingly, they noticed a kind of plateau in their results here. After a certain point, the water in the water cup and the surface of the ball failed to attract much additional bacteria. By contrast, the cups the players actually drank out of were swarming with new strains of bacteria after the same number of games.
The theory is that the beer cups receive bacteria from more sources. They share in the strains picked up by the ball and transferred from the water cup, but they also encounter bacteria from the mouths of everyone who drinks out of them over the course of an evening, and the human mouth is a pretty dirty place. So, next time someone ignorantly shivers at the filth of the water cup, you can punish them by sinking a series of shots, and getting them in touch with a lot more bacteria.
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