Good equipment adds a great deal to the attractiveness of your club. Look for the USATT "Seal of Approval" on any piece of equipment you buy. It is your assurance that the item meets the standards required for high caliber play.
A good table will have no less than a 3/4" top made of high resin particle board painted in a dark, non-reflecting color, usually green. Plywood tops are usually too grainy.
Whether you purchase a fold-away or a two-piece card table type is primarily dependent upon your available storage area. Three two-piece tables can be stored in about the same space required for one fold-away. The fold-away is easier to set up and take down but is generally not as sturdy as the two-piece table.
A table with a steel apron around the perimeter on the underside of the top is less likely to warp, and some players claim that this design plays more "solidly" than one without.
Don't try to get by with a cheap net. Many of them are not high enough (must be 6"), do not extend beyond the table sides (6" out from each side), and have a space between the bracket and the end of the net. The better nets have a tension adjustment cord running lengthwise across the top. Make sure the brackets fit your tables.
A good net may seem expensive but is a worthwhile investment. Take a look at several before making a purchase.
Table tennis balls vary greatly in quality. Any of the USATT- or ITTF-approved three-star balls are good. Players are expected to provide their own balls though the club should have some available for sale.
Club members provide their own rackets. Sandpaper-covered rackets and rackets with no covering (plain wood) are illegal. Most top players use rackets with pips-in smooth rubber. The club should have a few rackets available for guests.
Barriers are of great benefit at tournaments. When properly used, they help prevent balls from entering other courts, keep the spectators at a proper distance, speed up play by reducing interference, and make the tournament more enjoyable for the players.
A suitable barrier is a large roll of single-faced corrugated paper that can be snaked around the courts. Barriers should be between 30" and 36" high and a dark or deep pastel color.
Where to Buy
Several department and catalog stores carry tables suitable for club use. With table tennis growing in popularity more and more, sporting goods stores are stocking the better quality rackets and balls.
USATT's official magazine, Table Tennis Today, regularly publishes an approved equipment list and has many dealer ads from which equipment can be ordered by mail.