When it comes to buying a folding table, there's a lot more to look for than just a basic structure with a flat surface, four legs, and the ability to fold flat. With so many table styles and options on the market, sometimes confusion unfolds faster than the tables! So, we've narrowed down some of the top features to consider to help you pick the perfect folding table for your needs.
Look for All-Weather Resistance - The first thing to consider is how often you plan to use your table? Are you planning to use it inside, outside, or both? Folding tables are most often used for occasions when extra seating or a temporary work surface is necessary. Using one is not usually "planned", so it's important to look at a table's protection against weathering and water damage. Galvanized or powder-coated metal (like what is used on Lifetime Tables) will prevent rusting when left outdoors. And look for protection on any wood surfaces, water (or humidity) can often get between adhered protective layers and cause warping. This is why Lifetime's tables are made with a solid plastic table top.
Look for Portability Features - How to get everything set up for an event can often be one of the last things considered. Not everyone can lift 50-60 lbs, and not everyone has a truck to transport 6-foot or 8-foot tables. Consider the weight of the table, and some design features like a carrying handle or the ability to fold in half. A fold-in-half design makes it easy to fit several into the trunk of a car. The weight of a table will largely depend on its material of construction. Pick up the table before you purchase it, and think about carrying that in and out of your home or office. Does it take some muscle?
Look for Durability - Think about what you primarily want to use the table for, and see the weight rating on the table. Paper crafts may not require as much durability as a table at a construction site. Two things to look for in blow-molded plastic tables are the type of plastic, and tack-offs. The type of plastic should be a heavy-duty, high-impact plastic that won't crack, chip, or peel. Lifetime uses High-Density-Polyethylene (HDPE), and we recommend it. You should also feel the table's surface. If it's chalky and creates a white residue on your finger, the manufacturer might use too many additives (like calcium) in the plastic to lower the cost. While calcium and other minerals make the table more rigid, when a manufacturer adds too much, it can make the table surface brittle and prone to cracking. Tack-offs are a waffle-like pattern below the table's surface. This helps blow-molded tables stay rigid and resist dents. Each tack-off supports the table surface, so when it is hit with force, they absorb the impact. The more tack-offs and the tighter the tack-off pattern, the better. Also look for dent-resistant corners since folding tables tend to easily get dropped when being carried and set-up.
Look for Safety Features - Probably the most overlooked features are safety features. The last thing you need is for your table to collapse while you are using it! Look for a secure locking mechanism for the table legs. We recommend a "gravity" locking ring-- a ring that slides down the table leg frame (with natural gravity-- so you don't have to slide it) and locks the legs in place. This will prevent the table legs from folding when bumped. If the table folds in half, look for a mechanism that locks the table top when it is assembled. This will keep the table flat while you are working on it, so it won't begin to fold in the center when bumped.
Finally, keep in mind, a quality durable table with safety and convenience is a better value and investment in the long run.