The 10 Best Folding Tables
This wiki has been edited 20 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Whether you're out camping, tailgating, or enjoying a picnic, one of these folding tables will provide a sturdy surface for your gear, food, and drinks. They’re highly portable by nature and come in a variety of sizes and designs. They’re also especially handy for setting up a booth at an exhibition or a reception area at an event. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best folding table on Amazon.
So, You're Sold On The Fold?
During the 1990s, personal computers with their bulky towers and box-shaped monitors took up your entire desk.
They’re not as rugged as the heavy-duty models, but they work well for anything from raucous poker nights to outdoor parties and receptions.
Is it just me, or do we live in an age where everyday items seem to be getting smaller and smaller? In some cases, I do mean small in the literal sense; in others, I mean more compact and easy to handle, in terms of versatility and portability.
Take the computer, for example. The first computer weighed nearly 30 tons and occupied roughly 1,500 square feet. During the 1990s, personal computers with their bulky towers and box-shaped monitors took up your entire desk. Today, everyone carries a tiny computer in their pocket everywhere they go.
All of which brings me to folding tables. The table, in the past, was often built with stone or heavy wood, serving as a solid fixture in whatever space it occupied. Nowadays, you can simply fold up a card table, an end table, or even a dining room table, throw it in a travel case, and easily carry it with you to a new location.
Contrary to popular thought, folding tables are capable of handling more than light use at a backyard barbeque or a school fair. For example, if you need a table for staging weighty materials on a job site or in a workshop, you can find heavy-duty models that are able to support up to 1,000 pounds of evenly dispersed weight. Usually, these feature at least five strong steel support bars and additional structural elements to enhance their sturdiness, which means these often lack some of the versatility of their lightweight counterparts.
Many medium to light folding tables are designed for use both indoors and outdoors. They’re not as rugged as the heavy-duty models, but they work well for anything from raucous poker nights to outdoor parties and receptions. In addition, when you need a temporary surface for endeavors like school projects, jigsaw puzzles, or displaying holiday decorations, these can be a real asset.
Weighing All Options
You know you need a folding table, and you know what you’ll be using it for — now you need to evaluate your potential options. It’s a simple device, but the decision is a little more complicated than what initially meets the eye.
First, you’ll need to select a style. The card table — far and away the most common type, with which nearly everyone is familiar — is suitable for most standard uses, and it’s easy to collapse and store when you’re done with it. Nonetheless, some folks will undoubtedly have a taste for something a bit more sophisticated.
Designed for the kitchen, dining room, playroom, conference room, or workshop, folding tables come in an extensive array of shapes and sizes.
Whatever function you’re looking for, you’ll probably be able to find a style to handle it. Designed for the kitchen, dining room, playroom, conference room, or workshop, folding tables come in an extensive array of shapes and sizes. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from octagonal, rectangular, square, and round shapes. If you’re tasked with setting up a lunchroom or dining hall, the folding cafeteria table is built for that use specifically, with a vertically rising split seam and a collapsible frame.
The legs form the foundation of the folding table and help determine whether its main purpose will be comfort, stability, or portability. Legs that form an open frame, thereby simplifying the process of sitting and standing, are known as comfort-style legs. On the other hand, H-style legs feature a connecting rung joining both supports on each end — which is nice for stability, but not so much for comfort. Pedestal legs, which have wide feet for balance and sturdiness, fold inward across the underside of the table for easy setup and dismantling.
Strength and resilience are key, as well, particularly for tables you plan to use outdoors or within a garage or workshop. Aluminum tabletops are lightweight and tough, able to withstand denting and rusting effectively. Plywood tabletops with a melamine or laminate finish will be a tad pricier, but they’ll look more professional and last longer than many of the alternatives.
Speaking of the finish, this is a factor that influences durability, as well. A baked-on enamel finish will produce a nice shine and help protect the surface from moisture and weather. If you prefer a non-glossy look, a power-coated paint finish is an attractive, environmentally-friendly option.
For some applications, a standard fixed-height table that stands at about 30 inches gets the job done. Otherwise, go with a table that has an adjustable height, which typically consists of evenly spaced one-inch intervals along the frame. If the table will be used by small children, this is a helpful feature.
You’ll also want to consider what the table’s components add to its functionality. If you plan to move it around somewhat frequently, a built-in hand grip and casters will assist on that front. An automatic lock mechanism is also convenient, especially when combined with a safety stop that prevents stray fingers from getting caught in the folding legs or the hinge mechanism.
The Art Of Folding
Earlier, I stated that common items seem to be getting smaller each and every day. When did so many of them become foldable as well?
Maybe boating’s more your thing, in which case a folding anchor will make a nice addition to your arsenal of nautical tools.
Naturally, there’s no point in developing a folding table without access to folding chairs to complete the set. But why stop there? You can surround your table with folding stools, which are even more lightweight and portable than a regular chair. And when you’re not using it for your kid’s soccer game, you can place a folding sideline bench on either end to provide seating, as well.
This folding phenomenon is by no means limited to household furniture. Traveling cyclists now enjoy folding bikes. If you prefer running over cycling, you can go out and buy a folding treadmill, which will easily collapse for storage and transport. Maybe boating’s more your thing, in which case a folding anchor will make a nice addition to your arsenal of nautical tools.
Gardeners are brandishing folding shovels, shoppers are using folding carts, and parents are dragging their children around in folding wagons. People are sleeping in folding beds. I could go on, but you get the point: if it’s not foldable now, it probably will be in the near future.
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