Ping Pong Table vs. Foosball Table: Which is Better?

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Seinfeld vs. Friends. Brittany vs. Christina. Pepsi vs. Coke. Some debates will never die. For one reason or another we, as a society, decided long ago that there can only be room in our lives for one of these things and it was up to us to decide what type of person we are in relationship to these debates.

One more debate that has raged on internally and between peers for ages is, ping pong table vs. foosball table, which is better? Just like the great debates above, both are great, but you have to choose between the two. Unlike Pepsi vs. Coke where you could just conceivably buy a can of each and drink them both, most of the time, ping pong and foosball tables do not work like that. Due to space restrictions and/or budget concerns most people have to make a very difficult choice between the two.

Here we will examine the pros and cons of both ping pong tables and foosball tables to help you determine what type of table suits you and your needs best.

Ping Pong Table Pros 

The game of table tennis was first played in the late 1800s in England. After dinner parties, guests would clear off the table, line up a row of books in the center and use other books to knock a golf ball back and forth as a game. Table Tennis would grow in popularity over time and eventually, certain manufacturers would begin calling the game “ping pong”. In the last 100 plus years, the game has come a very long way and has developed into an Olympic sport and something that is played recreationally all over the world.

Part of the reason for this is that there are many great things about ping pong tables and the sport in general. And yes, the first pro for having a ping pong table is that it is just as much a “sport” as it is a “game”. When you play ping pong, you really have to move around, it is not a stationary game at all. And, the fact that you can compete in the Olympics and win a medal makes it a sport in our book.

Additionally, hitting a tiny ball flying at you with a relatively small paddle is a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and reflexes. The overall physicality of the game is also known to boost mood, energy, and focus. Finally, a ping pong table is multifunctional. You can do a lot of things with a ping pong table when not in use, even play that “other” pong game with adult beverages. Try doing that on a foosball table! To see the best ping pong tables on the market today, check the ping pong table ranking and review article on CoolThingsChicago.

Foosball Table Pros 

The game of foosball, a table-top football (or soccer) game was also invented in the UK about two decades or so after the sport of table tennis. The game would spread throughout Europe throughout the 1930s, making its way to Spain where, in 1937, the table we are familiar with today was patented. The game came to the U.S. in the 1950s and grew in popularity, peaking in the 1970s. Today, it can still be found in rec rooms and pubs around the world.

There is a lot to like about the game of foosball and foosball tables. First, it is actually a game, not a sport. This means that, while it is still competitive and fun, it does not take the physical exertion to play that ping pong does (unless you are playing human foosball). If you are looking for a casual game while drinking a beer, this game is for you.

Foosball can also be played by anywhere from 2 to 8 people depending on the size of the table. It is a very social and inclusive game. Lastly, the foosball table is usually much smaller than a ping pong table so if space is a major factor, you may be better off with the table football game.

Ping Pong Table Cons

There are a few downsides to a ping pong table as well. The tables themselves, especially the good, regulation-sized ones can be quite large. You also have to account for a good range of movement on both sides of the table. If you are pressed for space, a ping pong table might not be for you.

Also, ping pong can only be played by, at most, 4 people at a time. If you are looking for a game to involve lots of friends and family at once, ping pong is not it. And speaking of family, ping pong is a skill that develops over time and with practice. It also takes a certain level of hand-eye coordination, to begin with. If you have young children, they may not be able to play right away.

Foosball Table Cons 

As for foosball tables, there are a few issues that they present as well. As we mentioned before, foosball is not very active and with a small playing surface and a limited range of motion with the “players” on sticks, the game can get repetitive and ultimately boring if you play for a long time. It will never be as engaging long-term as a lively game of ping pong.

One more thing about foosball is that, at the highest levels, the rules change a bit, unlike ping pong where the general rules are the same in your basement as they are at the Olympics. In a serious foosball tournament, there are complicated 5 bar passing rules where you much pass the ball between your 3 bar rod and your 5 bar rod a certain number of times in a defined amount of time. It can all get a little too complicated.


There it is. The pros and cons of a ping pong table vs. a foosball table. The truth is, they are both great games and deciding on either for your rec room of Man Cave will be a great idea. Which is better comes down to personal preference, space, and budget. Whichever you decide, you really can’t go wrong.

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