The 10 Best Folding Card Tables
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in October of 2016. These folding card tables provide a convenient surface on which to play any type of game, from bridge and hearts to Settlers of Catan, and they can be tucked away easily when not in use. They're also perfect for ongoing projects, like crafts or jigsaw puzzles, as well as displaying merchandise at a garage sale or adding place settings for holiday dinners. Some even come with chairs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
November 23, 2020:
We still think it's tough to top the Flash Furniture Black, a complete set of table and four chairs that is easy to clean, a good value, and a cinch to store. You'll still find the popular Meco Stakmore here, as well, although we've opted for the straight-edged version at this time, which is currently offered in more color choices than its scallop-edged counterpart. Of course, this matters little if you plan to throw a tablecloth over it, but if you prefer to use it without a covering, you might appreciate having more choices.
As for models from Lifetime, we removed the Lifetime 22315, as it just doesn't offer enough to set it apart from similar, perhaps sturdier, models. We kept the Lifetime 80425 Kids and the Lifetime Round Table, however. This round model is particularly great for those who want to break away from the typical square shape. One thing to note, though, is that it folds in the middle, which creates a seam that you can feel while you're using it. Depending on the type of activity you need it for, this could be a dealbreaker.
One new addition to this list is the XL Series Steel. It was created specifically to be larger than most of the competition so that it's comfortable for users in wheelchairs. This makes it not only a good choice for home use, but also for use in churches, VFW locations, or senior centers.
December 18, 2019:
The newly added Meco Stakmore is a step above most others when it comes to style, as its elegant design features soft scalloped edges. (It’s also available in a straight-edged design.) It folds up compactly to 3-1/3 inches deep for storage and conveniently requires no assembly. It’s great for when you need more place settings for a holiday party or other family gathering. You can choose from a cherry finish or a fruitwood one, and matching chairs are also available from the manufacturer.
Retaining its top spot in this update is the Flash Furniture Black, which comes as a set that includes four matching chairs that have comfortable vinyl seats and backs. Likewise, the table itself features a vinyl padded top that’s great for card games and also easy to wipe clean. It can become your weekly staple when you host bridge or Mahjong games.
If you’ve got young children, consider the Lifetime 80425 Kids, which is the perfect size for youngsters who like for their feet to touch the floor when they’re sitting. Some may prefer to keep it set up permanently in their own little corner of a room, where they can color, practice their printing, or work on puzzles or arts and crafts.
If you’re a frequent camper, look to the Coleman Compact, which can be folded up (via rolling the slats) into a compact size and placed in the included bag for storage or transport. Thanks to this convenient design, it won’t compete for much space with the rest of your camping gear in the trunk of your vehicle.
Scully & Scully Queen Anne A round option, the Scully & Scully Queen Anne is handmade in England and designed to be painless to use — although it might not be so easy on your wallet. It takes its name from its gracefully curved Queen Anne legs, and is complete with a green felt surface for comfortable play. scullyandscully.com
Kestell Furniture Folding Card Table What sets this selection apart from many is its 35-inch soft billiard cloth top, which is available in your choice of black, dark green, bottle green, red, or burgundy. Or, you can choose a top that’s made of black, green, or red vinyl. The top is bordered by an attractive apron of exposed wood in your choice of finish that includes fruitwood/walnut, natural, pecan, mahogany, ranch oak, or Spanish oak. Made in America, it features a height of 29-1/2 inches and a shipping weight of 25 pounds. Its durable steel folding leg mechanism is good for years of trouble-free use. kestell-furniture.com
A Brief History Of Playing Cards
A third theory states that modern western playing cards evolved from ancient Indian playing cards, though they bear little resemblance to one another.
There are numerous theories surrounding the invention of playing cards. Many believe the first written mention of them comes from China in 868 C.E. In the text Collection of Miscellanea at Duyang, a prominent writer of the time by the name of Su E describes Princess Tongchang playing yezi ge, which roughly translates as "game of leaves". It has been theorized the term leaves refers to paper cards. Contrarians to this theory believe the term leaves actually refers to the pages of a book that the rules of the game were written on, and that yezi ge was actually a dice game. It is known that from the 15th century C.E. onward, yezi, or leaves, became synonymous with playing cards, though there is no hard evidence to support it having the same meaning from before that time period.
It is definitive that playing card games appeared in China some time before the 14th century. The first playing cards were unsuited and unnumbered, and instead either individually decorated, much like tarot cards, or printed with specific instructions. There is also some vague evidence that suggests paper currency was actually the first form of playing cards, and that it acted as both the tools of the games and the stakes. Hard evidence of suited and numbered cards dates to the late 13th century C.E., when officials caught Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Pig-Dog gambling and impounded their Zi Pai cards.
Whether or not early Chinese playing cards are related to modern western playing cards is also a matter of debate. One theory states Chinese playing cards first spread to the Middle East, and were then brought to Europe by returning crusaders. Another theory states that Eastern European gypsies introduced tarot cards to Western Europe, which then eventually evolved into suited and numbered playing cards. A third theory states that modern western playing cards evolved from ancient Indian playing cards, though they bear little resemblance to one another.
Wherever their origins lie, it is definitive that by 1367, Europeans were using some form of playing cards. We know this because at this time, an official ordinance banned their use in Bern, Switzerland. Another official ordinance regarding playing cards appeared in France in 1377. At some point in the late 14th century C.E., the Mamelukes of Egypt introduced their playing cards to Europe. These had four suits, with 13 cards in each, just like modern day cards.
The Most Popular Types Of Card Games
The most popular types of card games can be broadly classified into one of seven categories: trick-taking, matching, shedding, accumulating, fishing, comparing, and Solitaire.
These usually only involve a single player whose goal will be to construct an elaborate layout, clear the table, or work through a stockpile.
In trick-taking games, the object is to take the trick. A trick is usually comprised of one card from each player's hand, with the winner being the one that played the most valuable card. A card's value is dependent on the number, suit, order of play, or other factors. Examples of trick-taking games include Spades and Bridge. Matching games require players to create matching sets. Depending on the game, a match may be multiple cards of the same suit or number. They may also be a run of three or more cards in the correct sequence. Rummy and Canasta are examples of matching games. Mahjong is also an example of a matching game, but is played with tiles instead of cards.
The object of shedding games is to be the first player to discard all of the cards from their hand. Often, the remaining cards in the losing players' hands have a numeric value, with the person having the least or most points at the end being the winner. Uno and Rummikub are examples of shedding games. Accumulating games are the opposite of shedding games. Rather than trying to end up with the least cards, the goal is to accumulate the most cards. The popular game War is one such example.
In fishing games, players play their cards against another player's cards or those laid out on the table in some manner. The goal is usually to capture cards by creating a match or by correctly guessing a card in an opposing player's hand. Go Fish and Go-Stop are examples of fishing games.
Comparing games are those in which the players compare the value of two or more hands to determine a winner. A large number of casino games are comparing games, such as Poker and Blackjack. The final category is Solitaire games. These usually only involve a single player whose goal will be to construct an elaborate layout, clear the table, or work through a stockpile.
Classifying card games is not cut-and-dried, as many will involve elements from multiple categories. For example, games like Rummy or Go Fish involve both shedding and matching. War involves both accumulating and comparing.
Choosing A Folding Card Table
There are a few considerations to take into account when picking your next folding card table. Obviously, portability is a major deciding factor. It's important to choose a model that is lightweight enough that you can easily pick it up and pack it away when the games are finished. However, one must balance portability and weight with stability. It won't do anybody any good to purchase the lightest model one can find, only to have it collapse or tip over mid-game.
Models that have a cushioned top are more comfortable, especially if players like to lean their elbows on the table during the game.
While not often the first thing most people worry about when choosing a folding card table, one should also consider the style. The majority of models are very basic, made from simple aluminum legs and a plastic or cushioned vinyl-coated top, but there are also attractive wooden options available. If you are going for a more high-end look, these will be your best bet.
Comfort and budget should be the final determining factors. Models that have a cushioned top are more comfortable, especially if players like to lean their elbows on the table during the game. If you are buying a table with matching chairs, you also want the chairs to have a good amount of high-quality padding. After all, most game nights may last several hours. Choosing a model that falls firmly within your budget ensures that you'll have enough left over cash for snacks, drinks, and a high quality set of playing cards or poker chips.