For most novice players, table tennis means exactly how it sounds, just the table and the ball, and only them should be treated as important. The net is just there to complete the setup, and you can choose it however you see fit. So they struck with surprise when finding out that the nets act as a player guide to adjust and direct the power of each stroke, and make every one viable to ITTF’s regulations.
Now that you have recognized the critical role of ping pong table nets, you have one more challenge to remain, how to find the most suitable net for your playing style.
There are a lot of technical specs and official regulations to look into before you can buy the perfect net to your likings, from the sizes, the playing intent, the types to additional features.
You can do big-scale market research to pick a fave, or how about saving some time and effort by going through our latest edition of table tennis net handbook right now?
Types of Table Tennis Nets
Typically, there are three types of table tennis nets largely recognized by experts and recreational players, which are retractable nets, professional clamp nets, and clip-on nets.
Retractable table tennis nets
Retractable nets are not qualified for formal tournaments. That being said, if mere leisure is what you aim for, and you have already got a ping pong conversion atop your pool table (or dining table) right at home, these retractable nets will totally cut it.
Among two cylindrical table tennis net posts that hold up the net, one is retracted for compact storage, which is serviceable since most retractable nets can expand up to 6 feet, far beyond ITTF’s standards.
This unstructured construction sets retractable nets up to tangle easily. Thus, they are not the pros’ alley.
Table tennis clip-on nets
Clip-on nets are the most widely used type of table tennis nets and post sets for both domestic use and club use, with the premium lines, range between 60-72 inches in length and 6 inches in height.
To assemble, you clip the net posts to the table and it’s ready in action. If you find the tautness unsatisfactory, there’s a quick fix: tension adjusters, as clip-on net manufacturers tend to include this feature in the design.
The only thing that makes the clips inferior to some of its counterparts in the table tennis field is the grip of the clips when attaching the posts to the table. It was not designed for a gentle touch, so it might scratch your furniture if secured to their edge.
Clamp and screw nets and posts
Among the three, clamp nets rank the highest in terms of quality with ITTF approved specs including a 6-foot length and 6-inch height. This is the perfect table tennis net set for experts and aspiring trainees during official competitions or tournaments.
If retractable tennis nets require post rolling and clip-on nets involve post clips for securement, clamp nets set the bar up higher via a double lock system including post clamps and screws.
In official contests and tournaments, the official ping pong net height and tension adjustment features of clamp nets are mandatory. In this way, you won’t encounter the issue of moving and flabby ping pong nets during a game.
Table Tennis Nets Rules: ITTF regulations
To be featured as an official tournament sport, table tennis net and post sets must abide by the International Table Tennis Federation’s regulations. Hence, when you’re planning to train seriously or looking for commercial-used nets, it’s recommended to look up the internationally recognized specs:
|Table Tennis Net||Dimensions|
|Net length||6 feet (1.83 meters)|
|Net height||6 inches (15.25 centimeters)|
|Post length||6 inches exteriorly|
|Table width||6 feet|
An excerpt of Law 2.2 in the ITTF’s 2020 handbook that regulates the official specs for tournament compliant net assembly stipulates:
- The net assembly shall consist of the net, its suspension, and the supporting posts, including the clamps attaching them to the table.
- The net shall be suspended by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25cm high, the outside limits of the post being 15.25cm outside the sideline.
- The top of the net, along its whole length, shall be 15.25cm above the playing surface.
- The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be attached to the supporting posts from top to bottom.
Main Features to Consider When Buying Ping Pong Nets
Ease of assembly
Depending on whether you want to buy a table tennis net set for professional or home entertainment, there are three major ways to assemble ping pong nets.
While pre-affixed and clipped setups are sufficiently serviceable for recreational purposes, the intricate yet sturdy screw and clamp construction is the only compatible build for tournament tables.
Permanently affixed assembly
This type of net assembly is typically featured on 5-foot long outdoor or rollable indoor tables, instead of tables in ITTF regulation sizes.
The net comes along with the table as a whole package, which requires zero manual setups.
Spring-loaded clip assembly
After a few seconds of attaching spring-loaded clips to the table, your net will be secured without much elbow grease.
While tight clips can add tension to your net to some extent, the stretching level still remains inferior to ITTF’s standards. Hence, if you’re looking for a quick solution to fix table tennis nets with improved tension compared to permanently affixed ones for domestic use, clips will make a decent choice.
Hand tightened screw clamp assembly
Screw and clamps is the actual standard net assembly employed for 6-foot long official competition tables. The double securement system involving manually fixed screwed clamps serves the best adjustment and stability qualities.
The assembly process will take longer than the former two, which may be a small downside. In return, you get to play with posts and nets with industry grade tension and sturdiness.
As mentioned priorly, during a set of ping pong, the net can get saggy or the posts may wobble unnoticeably. It’s hard to see by eyes, but the ball will respond unenthusiastically when caught in a saggy net and roll over without making it to your opponent.
Therefore, unless there’s a good quality tension adjuster at either end of the posts to handle the chord whenever the net gets loosened, you may want to second your investment.
We’ve accentuated the importance of tension adjustment, but the table tennis height is also impossible to overlook. That’s a part of the reason why clamp nets are in a more favorable position compared to the other two since you should at least be able to level the net height in the accompaniment of uneven surfaces.
Weather repellent materials
Ping pong is a healthy sport that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors.
If you’re planning to bring home a net and post set for a ping pong table situated outside your patio, it should be able to fare against any harsh weather condition. This includes wind, frost, rain or UV rays.
A weatherproof net set will not only be cost-effective and functional, but also retain its color over a long course of time.
A Guideline For What To Look Up When Buying Table Tennis Nets
If we break down law 2.02 in the ITTF’s handbook into more detailed categories for simple assessment, there are four major qualities to cover: net assembly styles, net and post measurements, playing intents, space measurements, and height leveling.
An individual can buy a ping pong table net to serve distinct purposes: for domestic recreation, for commercial use, for professional training, or official national leagues.
Based on the style of play you’re aiming for, you can opt for different kinds of table tennis nets.
If you’re a pro, clamp nets are the way to go.
If you’re a club player, clip-on nets are normally in use.
And if you’re someone looking for fun, retractable nets are enough to entertain you without breaking your budget.
Before making a purchase for nets and posts, you may want to draw an estimation of the budget based on playing intent and desired features.
If you want something simple for domestic use, the nets needn’t comply with ITTF’s regulated specs, hence they may yield a lower budget compared to their industry-grade counterparts.
You may want to go for higher prices for more superior features. Still, never forget that too many bells and whistles do not always equal better quality.
The level of stability for nets and posts involve two things: style of assembly and built-in features.
If you want the net to stay put in one place during the play, the chords should be attached to the posts via screw and clamps, or at least spring-loaded clips while packing tension adjusters simultaneously.
To possess a top-grade table tennis net successfully, there are multiple rounds of assessment you have to make: net types, net features, ITTF-approved specs and so much more.
However, the process of choosing a serviceable ping pong net isn’t excessively challenging in nature, and you only need to follow a minimal learning curve to master the art of making technical and rational buying judgments.
In a nutshell, whether you want a table tennis net for the tournament or domestic use, for pros or recreational players, there’ll always be something in your local sports store resonating to your needs, once you’ve reached the end of this article.