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.
A Brief Overview:
- Locking Joints
- Table Top Material
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 a protective sealer but can require yearly re-application for maintaining 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 it’s needed. If super compact portability is your goal, a portable table is my recommended way to go.
Adjustable Height Folding Table Guide
When you are hosting an outdoor event at the home or on the go, having enough tables can make or break the experience.
Large groups of people always need a place to put their beverages and snacks.
Without the right tables, people won’t have any place to dine or converse.
Most likely, you don’t keep this amount of tables sitting out on your back porch. For events, a portable, folding table is the best choice because you can bring it out only when needed.
The most flexible type of folding tables are the ones which have adjustable heights.
These models have legs which can be adjusted on the fly to change the overall height of the table. While not as elegant as a bistro table set, these tables provide unparalleled reliability and function.
The ability to adjust a table’s height has many beneficial implications.
Different heights are desired in different scenarios.
For example, a table intended for eating a meal should be lower than a table designed to hold snacks at a party. The dinner table needs to be lower because people will be sitting in chairs next to it.
With a snack table, people usually walk up to it, take what they need and walk away.
An adjustable height folding table can be shortened to become more user-friendly for children. These tables have four different contact points on the legs which must be pressed to adjust the elevation of the table.
These small spring-loaded buttons are designed to allow the table legs to slide up or down when presses.
When you reach the height you want, the buttons will click into pre-drilled holes, locking the legs into position. Once locked they will stay in position until you change them.
To collapse the table into the folded position, the legs must be returned to their shortest length.
Style of Legs
The smaller adjustable height folding tables are most commonly seen with an “X” style folding mechanism. The adjustable legs cross each other, forming an X shape.
The height of the table is changed not by extending the legs but by changing the shape of the X.
This is the simplest style of small folding table to operate but can become less stable the higher the table stands.
This is due to the width of the legs becoming shorter as the height increases. These table styles are recommended only for light loads.
The more heavy duty style of adjustable legs are the ones with cross braces.
These tables have a pair of legs, each of which has a cross beam to support it and lock it into place. A small retainer ring locks the beam in place, making it extremely rigid.
These tables are capable of supporting several hundred pounds of evenly distributed weight.
They are also larger than the X style frames, making them more suited for large events.
Table Top Material
If you intend on using your table outdoors or in the presence of staining liquids, I recommend choosing an adjustable height folding table with a plastic molded top.
The plastic tops are easy to clean, requiring only a quick spray with the hose or in worst cases, a soapy rag.
Plastic molded tops are durable and are not prone to cracking or chipping even in cold weather. For indoor use, a particle board table with a decorative laminate can be an appealing choice.
While susceptible to long-term exposure to moisture, these tables stay pristine is cleanup is done right after a spill.
When working with clothing or other delicate materials, a folding table with a padded top can help prevent damage. Padded tops are best used for items that are not breakable, as the padded surface is not as stable as a hard one.
What is a Portable Picnic table?
The typical picnic excursion is portrayed with a checkered sheet sprawled across the ground with tasty treats placed on top.
The problem with this setup is that picnic-goers are required to sit on the ground, which can be uncomfortable.
Also, critters like ants can make quick work of your meal if you’re not careful. The good news is that there is an easy way to create the perfect picnic easting environment no matter where you go.
A portable picnic table is a special piece of furniture that can be taken just about anywhere.
These folding tables are durable enough to be used outdoors and are small enough to fit into the trunk of a car.
Portable Picnic Table Design
Portable picnic tables are a great way to enjoy a picnic or any other outdoor event in comfort.
They frequently come with matching chairs so you can sit down during your meal.
When food is kept up off the ground, the risk for spills and pest infestation is greatly reduced. These tables are so portable because they feature a folding frame that can be set up in minutes.
With a durable plastic or metal frame, users do not have to worry about weather damage or staining from drinks.
Rigid tables such as ones used on a back patio are simply too bulky and heavy to transport on a whim.
Even if you happen to have a folding table on hand, you can’t be sure that it can stand up to outdoor conditions or spills. Some tables are not designed to handle the weight of an entire meal.
Choosing a portable picnic table for all of your outdoor dining needs is the safest way to go.
Folding Briefcase Design
There are two major types of portable picnic tables.
The first type folds up into a compact shape that is comfortable to carry. These “briefcase” style picnic tables have a handle that can be used to easily carry them from the car to the picnic site.
At only a few inches thin when folded, these tables can fit into even the smallest of cars. One of the best parts about these tables is that they come with attached benches on both sides.
The benches fold up with the table into a single compact briefcase.
The frames are made of metal, while the table and seat tops are made from colored plastic which is resistant to staining.
Everything is held together by a series of joints. This all-in-one solution is perfect for families of up to four people.
Since everything is included in a single compact package, users don’t have to worry about bringing along multiple pieces of furniture.
Roll-Up Picnic Tables
Another handy type of portable picnic table has roll-up functionality.
These tables do not come with chairs attaches but fold up into a smaller profile than the briefcase versions.
The table top consists of a series of slats which roll up along with the legs for storage. To set up, users first expand the leg section, then unroll the table slats onto the top.
While more involved in assembly than the before-mentioned table, these models are more compact and lightweight.
Users will need to either sit on the ground around the table or provide their own seating. The table fits into a small tubular carry bag that has a shoulder strap.
Looking for a designer table set for use on the patio? Consider using a bistro table set.
Need a children’s picnic table for the little ones?