Folding Tables

Folding tables offer the convenience of compact storage and transport, in a design that sets up easily with sturdy support.

Styles

Card Tables: Card tables usually fold for easy storage when not in use and usually have a square tabletop for evenly spacing four players.

Folding Cafeteria Tables: Cafeteria tables traditionally fold in half to save space and simplify cafeteria cleanup. The middle of the table has a split seam that rises vertically, allowing the two ends of the tabletop to fold down and cover the collapsing frame. Sections of the frame will usually contain casters for mobile support and these casters maintain floor contact when open or folded.

Octagon Folding Tables: Octagon folding tables frame collapses with two sets of end-legs meeting in the middle, and the two sides of the split tabletop fold down and conceal most of the table legs.

Octagon Folding Table
Octagon Folding Table

Rectangle Folding Tables: Most rectangle tables are designed with two connected legs on each end and a folding mechanism that collapses the end legs toward the center of the tabletop. The legs may overlap when closed, depending on the table style.

Round Folding Tables: Round folding tables will have four legs with individual hinges to fold each leg into the tabletop or two legs composed of two connected table legs, with a shared hinge mechanism.

Square Folding TablesSquare folding tables can have four individual legs that fold into the top or the connected end-legs similar to the circle and rectangle folding tables.

Table Base Styles

Comfort-Style Legs: Comfort-style legs refer to an open frame style that enables easy sitting and standing when the table is setup for use.

Four Folding Legs: Although not common, some folding tables have four-leg frames with a hinge on each leg. Each leg folds into the tabletop separately on this style.

H-Style Legs: H-style legs on folding tables often feature a connecting rung or bar between two legs forming a single end-leg unit. The connecting bar is usually in the middle or upper portion of the table leg height.

Ladder Frame: Tables with a ladder frame have two connected legs forming the two end-legs, with at least two rungs or bars running between the two legs on each end creating the appearance of a ladder.

Pedestal Legs: Single-post or double-post pedestal legs usually support the ends of a table and have wide feet for balance and stability. These legs fold inward, toward the center of the underside of the tabletop and often the legs overlap when closed.

Roman Legs: Roman legs have a soldier-like rigid appearance with two straight posts, assembled parallel and usually centered on the ends of the table. A wide base connects the two parallel posts and serves as a stabilizing foot at both sides of the table.

Steel Frame: For structural support, most folding tables are constructed with a steel frame, using steel tubing for strength without excessive weight.

Wishbone Legs: Wishbone legs are similar to H-style legs, often with a single connect rung or bar between two legs forming an end-leg unit with one unit on each end of the table. The lower portion of the end-leg unit curves outward, enhancing stability and support while creating a wishbone-like appearance.

Tabletop Materials

Aluminum Tabletop: Select folding tables are designed with an aluminum tabletop that resists denting, cracks, rust, and warping from use. The overall table is an average of 50-percent lighter than comparable traditional-style tables.

Blow-Molded Plastic: Blow-molding uses air to work molten plastic into a mold forming a strong tabletop with customized look and feel.

High-Pressure Laminate Finish: High-pressure laminate is similar to melamine, with an adhered bond to tabletop core. Laminate contains added layers that melamine is designed to not need, making laminate a little more expensive, in many cases.

Melamine Finish: Melamine finish is adhered to the surface of the tabletop core, often with heat and pressure, and provides a damage-resistant long-lasting finish.

Textured Surface: Textured surface, when describing paint finish, indicates that the finish contains particles or other texturing material instead of a smooth finish.

Edging Materials

Bullnose Edge: Bullnose edging features a rounded bumper edge, usually composed of vinyl, applied to the folding table around the perimeter edge for impact-resistance and comfort.

Lacquered Edge: A clear lacquer finish is applied to the exposed edges of select plywood-core tables to seal the wood from moisture and other potential damage.

Vinyl Edging: Often combined with laminate or melamine finish, vinyl edging makes the table more comfortable for leaning and regular use, covering rough edges and keeping the overall design smooth.

Construction Materials

Backer Sheet: A backer sheet is applied by laminate to the underside of tabletops, sealing the core to protect from exposure to moisture, weather, and the elements. The backer sheet also adds reinforced stability to the tabletop, reducing warping or bowing from use over time.

Baked-On Enamel Finish: Paint enamel that is baked-on has a shiny finish, in contrast to the powder-coat finish of other paints. The enamel finish seals the steel frame and protects from exposure to the elements while maintaining a beautiful color.

Environmentally Friendly Powder-Coat Paint Finish: Powder-coat finish offers a non-glossy surface with attractive colors and most tables with powder-coat finish are using this type of environmentally-friendly paint for a “green” design. The paint finish is generally scratch-resistant and stands up to frequent use with lasting color.

Particleboard: Particleboard core provides a lightweight but structurally durable core and thickness to many folding tables, with wood chips and/or saw dust, depending on the particleboard type, bound with adhesive compound and shaped into firm panels under heat and pressure.

Plywood: Plywood core tabletops have sheets of wood glued or bonded together forming the thickness of the tabletop. These multi-layer tabletop core structures are then finished with melamine, laminate, or veneers and often include a sealed or bumper edge. The plywood is also often sealed on the underside to prevent damage from moisture or use.

Table Components

Automatic Lock Mechanism: An automatic lock mechanism instantly engages when the table legs are opened. The automatic lock mechanism will usually have to be manually disengaged to close the table.

Built-In Hand Grip: For easier lifting, moving, and carrying, many folding tables have built-in handles or handgrips, often on the edges or ends.

Casters: Casters are wheels that increase the tabletop height slightly and add mobility for convenience. Most casters are hooded, which prevents clothing items and similar items from accidentally getting caught.

Cross Bars: Cross bars add structural strength and support to tabletops on heavy duty folding table frames. The cross bars enhance the maximum safe weight capacity of the folding table and prevent shape damage to the tabletop from added weight and use.

Modesty Panel: A modesty panel extends from the tabletop downward concealing part of the underside of the table for privacy. Modesty panels can also enhance the structural support of the table frame by reinforcing the table legs for stability, adding strength to the tabletop.

Non-Marring Foot Caps: Non-marring foot caps cover the ends of the table legs and prevent damage to flooring as tables are bumped, moved, and used.

Rounded Corners: Many rectangle and square folding tables have rounded corners that enhance safety and comfortable use.

Safety Stop: The safety stop helps prevent fingers and hands from getting caught in mechanical components such as the folding legs or hinge mechanism.

Stacking Bumpers: Stacking bumpers are usually found on the frames of folding tables. The bumpers are designed to cushion and support the frames and tables as they are stacked or otherwise stored when not in use. The bumpers reduce contact to prevent enamel or paint finish damage and they prevent the frames from potentially damaging the tabletops.

Steel Apron:A steel apron reinforces strength and stability of the frame structure while added support to the tabletop for greater performance and lasting appearance and shape.

Features

Damage Resistant: Damage-resistant features generally imply scratch-resistant and stain-resistant finish such as blow-molded plastic tabletops and laminate or melamine.

Fixed and Adjustable Height: Most folding tables are fixed-height in a standard size around 30-inches tall. Adjustable-height tables will have pre-set intervals evenly spaced on the frame to aid adjusting and these intervals are almost always set at 1-inch apart.

Folds Flat: Folding tables specify that they “fold flat” indicating that the table legs likely fold inward toward the backside or underside of the tabletop and rest within the edges of the apron for a flatter closed table.

Green Features: Folding tables listed as having “Green Features” usually indicate the use of environmentally friendly paint or enamel finish over the frame. Other green features are detailed in the description section for each product and may include the use of some or all recycled materials, depending on the table model.

Impact Resistant: Impact-resistant tables usually have a bumper edge, often made of vinyl that absorbs shock from everyday use, bumps, and other impact.

Locking Legs: Most folding tables have integrated safety features including locking legs that usually lock to secure the open table for safe use. These tables also may have a lock mechanism that secures the closed-leg position.

Sealed Underside: Folding tables with a sealed underside typically refers to the use of a laminate backer sheet or other sealant, such as clear lacquer, that covers and protects the core of the tabletop to prevent damage. A sealed underside protects from weather and moisture or humidity exposure, as well as supporting the structural shape and strength of the tabletop for lasting use.

Standard and Youth Height: Select folding tables come in youth-height or standard-height, with roughly a 2-inch difference between the two fixed-height frame sizes.

Weather Resistant: Specifically referring to tables designed for safe outdoor-use, weather-resistant tables offer protected design and finish that includes sealed or solid components to reduce water and moisture damage, protective finish to reduce the risk of fading from UV and sun exposure.

Weight Capacity: A weight capacity is listed on many folding tables and indicates the maximum safe allowable weight that can be added to that particular table design.

Uses

Heavy Duty Use: Heavy duty folding tables can support at least 1000 pounds of added, evenly dispersed weight. Most heavy-duty tables specify at least five support bars or cross bars which run with the tabletop to enhance support strength and prevent damage to the table as weight is applied.

Indoor/Outdoor Tables: Indoor/outdoor folding tables offer a durable composition with tabletops and frame finish that resists fading and damage from exposure to the elements. Many outdoor-use folding tables have plastic tabletops for an all-weather style that retains shape and finish for lasting use.

Light Use: Light use folding tables are designed for parties or cookouts, craft fairs, and other events where the items placed on the tables are generally lighter than textbooks. The tables are sturdy but not designed to support significant weight.

Medium Use: Medium use folding tables can often support significant weight, but are not as structurally rugged as a heavy-duty table. The medium use tables should not be used for heavy-use or heavy-duty support, as this can cause damage to the table, frame, and items placed on the table, and increase risk of injury to people.