Tables are an essential part of outdoor living and come in many forms. Most outdoor tables are designed to be put in a specific area and stay put. Big outdoor dining tables can be very difficult to move around if you need to make a quick change for a party or other backyard event. To serve your guests well, a small folding table or two may be just what you need. Small folding tables are lightweight enough to carry around, and fold up into a compact size for storage. You can store these tables behind a door or in a storage shed between uses, ready to be used on a whim for even the most unexpected occasions. Small tables such as these are designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor use while still remaining functional. They use a system of joints which allow the legs to fold under the table top. When in use, the legs lock into a rigid position to remain strong at all times.
You may be wondering how a folding table can be strong enough to support more than a couple of items. The secret is in the durable metal frame. While the table top can be made from several different materials such as wood or molded plastic, the legs of a small folding table are made of metal. This provides the rigidity needed to support heavy objects such as beverage coolers and snacks. With tables that are shaped in perfect squares, each of the four legs has its own joint. Users pull the legs out into the final position in which they then lock in place. To collapse the table, users press on a small metal tab which releases the lock. The whole process takes but a few seconds. Round or rectangular tables have a slightly different joint mechanism. In these varieties, the tables have legs that are connected in pairs. Users pull the pairs out and lock them in place with a retainer ring. To collapse the table, simply slide the ring upward and push the joint in. On all small folding tables, these joints allow the legs to fold up right against the tabletop, making the table only a few inches thick once collapsed.
Table Top Material
Choosing the right table top material is essential when purchasing a small folding table. If you intend to use the table for food and drinks, a plastic molded top may be best. Plastic tops are easy to clean and do not stain easily. Wood tops are safe to use around liquids because they have protective sealer, but can require yearly re-application for maintain waterproofing. Besides the occasional maintenance involved with wooden folding tables, these varieties are quite beautiful in design. Metal mesh tops are not as easy to clean because of the small grooves in the surface. However, liquids can easily pass through the grooves and onto the ground. Folding tables with padded tops provide a pleasing feel to the hands but can be less stable, allowing drinks to topple more easily. In addition, padded tops should not be left outdoors for extended periods for risk of sun and water damage.
Portable Folding Tables
One quite intuitive table design is completely portable and can be set up just about anywhere. Portable folding tables take longer to set up and take down, but fit into a much smaller space. These tables consist of a series of metal slats that sit on a folding metal frame. The entire structure can fit into a small carry case and brought where its needed. If super compact portability is your goal, a portable table is the way to go.
Check out our portable hammock guide to learn how you can lounge outdoors in comfort.