Three Things to Look for in a Folding Table

It should be strong enough to bend, but that’s just the beginning.

Folding table outside with punch and strawberries.
Use it when you need it, store it when you don’t.Amazon

When it comes to at-home activities, a good folding table goes with almost everything: a competitive board game, a sit-down meal, a buffet spread, a backyard barbecue, happy hour, a friendly seance and more. They’re pretty versatile, but before you get one that you can easily store and bring out for multiple occasions, you should take at least three things into consideration. First, what size and shape best suit your needs? Second, is it easily transportable? Finally, what kind of locking mechanism does it have? The last thing you want is for the table to come crashing down under the weight of comfort food. Now, pull up a seat and let’s discuss further.

Lifetime Height Adjustable Craft Camping and Utility Folding Table, 4 ft, 4'/48 x 24, White Granite
Weighing in at 19 pounds, it won’t cause you to break your back lugging it from room to room, plus attached carrying handles will help you get a good grip.Amazon

While the fold-up design will make it easier to store, that won’t necessarily make it portable. Most plastic folding tables weigh between 20 and 70 pounds. At the higher end, carrying handles and a table top that folds in the center—rather than merely at the legs—will help you to more easily manage relocation from room to room or from the house to the backyard. If a set of wheels are attached, even better. Maybe you can just fold it in half and roll it to its next destination.

Cosco Deluxe 6 foot x 30 inch Fold-in-Half Blow Molded Folding Table, Black
The leg tips are non-marring so it won’t scratch or scrape the floor, and it looks formal enough to fit in at a work meeting.Amazon

In general, you shouldn’t have less than 42″ of space from the table to the furniture or wall adjacent to it in order to allow people to get in and out of their seat with ease. Keep this in mind when you are figuring out if a table will fit the space you’ve allotted for it. Also, rectangular tables can be combined with square ones for more seating, but they might be tricky to fit into smaller spaces. Round tables are easier to squeeze into tight spots, and they’re better for group discussions when you want everyone to feel like a part of the same conversation.

Lifetime 80160 Commercial Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table, 4 Feet, White Granite
It can comfortably hold up to 350 pounds, and its steel frame is designed so that it can stand at three different heights: 36”, 29” and 24”.Amazon

Gravity lock or snap lock? The former is a ring that slides down the leg frame and locks it in place. Snap locks are more manual—a table with one isn’t locked until you hear it snap into place. Although there’s some debate over which is better, in the end, it depends on your preference. Gravity locks, though, might make the table a bit more complicated to set up and disassemble. Whichever you opt for, be sure the legs are bolted to the underside of the table and not attached by wooden screws, which might not hold up to frequent folding and unfolding.