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A folding picnic table is extraordinarily versatile. You can use it as permanent fixtures on your patio or deck, add one as needed during parties or backyard get-togethers, bring it along with you on camping trips, or use it for outdoor businesses such as delicatessens or ice cream shops. There are even kid-sized ones that you can use outdoors or indoors as perfect crafting tables: they’re typically easy to clean, so it’s not a big deal if they get crayons or Elmer’s glue or—gasp!—glitter stuck on them. 

With many options to choose from, though, you’ll want to decide on a few things: material, size, design, and whether or not it has a hole for an umbrella. You’ll also want to look into manufacturers’ warranties and how easy it is (or isn’t!) to assemble, break down, and store when it’s not in use. The best folding picnic table for you will be one that fits your budget, your style, and your desire for portability—and of course, one that can fit all your delicious picnic recipes.

Being foldable doesn’t always mean an easily portable table. Some so-called portable picnic tables and picnic benches are very heavy! If you need something that you can move frequently, make sure it’s light enough for you to carry (with or without help, depending on whether or not you have someone who will reliably help you) and not too cumbersome. Some foldable picnic tables fold lengthwise as well as at the legs, and some have handles or other features to make them easier to carry. 

The best folding picnic table for portability

Picnic tables have some advantages over traditional patio dining sets. In general, they need less maintenance: fabric seats and cushions from traditional sets wear out over time and can be magnets for mold and mildew, glass tops can shatter and show dirt easily, and metal frames can lose their paint, rust, and degrade to the point of being dangerous to use. In windy conditions, chairs may fall over or become projectiles, and it can be impossible to store a traditional patio dining set in a shed or garage for the winter or when not in use. 

With picnic tables, there are generally fewer parts to maintain. And when you’re looking for the best folding picnic table, that likely means you’re looking for something you can store when not in use, or take along with you in a car. The ability to store your picnic set will protect it from weathering and degradation for a longer period of time.

The one main downside of picnic tables, be they portable picnic tables or not, is the lack of back support or cushioning. They may not be the best option for those with back or neck problems, or those who are unsteady. But for most people, picnic seating works fine for sitting down for outdoor meals and socializing. A portable table can be a great investment for your spring, summer, and fall adventures, and if you’re a brick-and-mortar business owner who has the ability to provide outdoor seating, it can be a good addition to your business.

Related: The best supplies and gear for a picnic, outside of a table.

Choosing a portable picnic table with (or without) an umbrella hole

While none of our portable picnic table picks support an umbrella, it’s worth noting that a table with a hole in the middle can be an option, so read the product descriptions closely. Keep in mind that if you buy an umbrella, you’ll also need a base for it, and those should be fairly heavy—so they’re not the easiest things to carry around. Umbrella bases are often made of cast iron or concrete, or they may be plastic with an opening to fill with sand or water. If you’re looking for a camping option, a water-filled base is likely the best pick for portability: just empty it out when you’re ready to pack up, and the base won’t be hard to lift in or out of a vehicle.

Patio umbrellas are helpful for several reasons: They protect people from the sun and from light rain, and they can also help to protect your food from spoiling or melting too quickly in direct sunlight. They can also shield your table from bird droppings. And if you use a tablecloth, there are many made with a hole built-in for just this purpose. But an umbrella may be more trouble than it’s worth on a picnic table if you’re doing short stints and breaking down the table regularly. It may also be unnecessary if you have a covered patio or another type of awning or separate cantilever umbrella. So, without further ado, let’s unfold the best options for folding picnic tables.

Best wooden picnic table: HAPPYGRILL 3PCS Outdoor Folding Picnic Table Bench Set

Narrow and Sturdy

If you don’t mind a narrow table, this set is a great pick.
HAPPYGRILL

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You don’t have to worry about assembly with this one; this portable table comes fully assembled. It has fir wood tops on the table and benches, and the legs are made of steel. The benches are separate from the picnic table, and the dimensions of the table are 70 inches in length by 18 inches in width by 29.5 inches in height. 

Need some extra space? Look for a 6-foot folding picnic table

One of the great benefits of a foldable design is that you can afford to get something big, something that doesn’t seem like it would be portable—and simply fold it in half. A 6-foot folding table is an ideal size, giving you enough space to comfortably seat three people on each bench.

Best picnic table for a crowd: Office Star Resin 3-Piece Folding Bench and Table Set

Six Feet Long

The benches and table are separate here and each of them is foldable.
Office Star

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With a heavy-duty blow mold top, this 6-foot folding table doesn’t just fold down at the legs; it also folds in half on top so you won’t have to figure out how to store a 6-foot folding table. The folding picnic table benches, too, fold in half, and have legs at the center to stabilize weight, and locking rings to keep the legs steady. This is a very sturdy pick that can fit six average-sized adults comfortably. 

Should I go with aluminum or plastic?

Plastic and aluminum both have their pros and cons when you’re talking about folding picnic tables. Plastic is sturdy, easily cleaned, and won’t rust. Aluminum is exceedingly light, making it ideal for carrying around. 

Best metal picnic table: ALPHA CAMP 3-Piece Folding Camping Table with Bench Set

Made for Trunks

This set is made to fit into the trunk of your car easily.
ALPHA CAMP

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Aluminum is so lightweight that this whole metal picnic table set weighs just 20 pounds, and can fold up simply like a briefcase with double handles for on-the-go use. There’s a waterproof high-density fiberboard top to both the table and benches for ease of cleaning and to prevent it from being too hot to sit on or use in the heat. The table height is adjustable from 20 inches to 28 inches, and the manufacturer recommends the set for two adults and two children at maximum. 

What if I don’t need seating, just a table?

Already have chairs, benches, or some other seating? No problem—there’s no need to buy a full set that’s just going to clutter up your house. You can also save a few bucks by opting out of the seating element of a folding picnic table setup.

Best picnic table without benches: Best Choice Products 8-Foot Heavy-Duty Folding Plastic Dining Table

Durable and Folds Flat

This heavy-duty table folds in half lengthwise and the legs fold inward.
Best Choice Products

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Already have the benches or chairs covered? If all you need is the table, then this 8-foot folding dining table may be just what you need. It’s simple to clean, and it assembles and breaks down easily, with a carrying handle built-in for ease of transport. The 8-foot version is just over 44 pounds (there are smaller sizes available, too) and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.

Are there options for under $50?

If you’re on a budget, one way to keep costs down is to go for a DIY option. That enables you to create something sturdier and more solid than a cheapie premade kit and can be a fun activity for families.

Best picnic table on a budget: 2x4basics Flip Top BenchTable

Some Assembly Required

You’ll need to supply the wood, but this simple do-it-yourself kit is a great deal.
2x4basics

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If you’re even slightly handy, you might want to go for this versatile wood folding picnic table: It’s a kit that includes heavy-gauge resin brackets and you’ll need to add two-by-four pieces of lumber (not included) to assemble the kit. One of the coolest parts is that you can choose the size—you can cut lumber up to 9 feet, depending on how wide you want the bench and table to be. It converts from a bench to a small foldable table using a slide lock, and you can put two together for a larger table that seats up to eight people. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best material for a picnic table?

There are three main types of materials used for picnic tables: wood, resin, and metal. None of the three are inherently the “best,” as they each have different strengths and weaknesses. Wood is the traditional look for picnic tables and can be stained to match other outdoor furnishings, but it also tends to get weathered more easily and need maintenance. Resin is simple to clean and should stay in good shape for many years. Metal picnic tables are generally made of aluminum, which is lightweight but maybe less comfortable to sit on and cause a glare in the sun.

Q: How much can a folding table hold?

There’s a wide variation of answers to the question of how much a folding table can hold. It depends on the material of the table and legs, the dimensions of the table, how many supports there are, the thickness of the table, and other factors. The weight capacity should always be available in the product description and packaging.

Q: How long do picnic tables last?

uncovered in harsh weather conditions. You can check each manufacturer’s warranty to find out their guaranteed lifespan. In general, wood will weather quicker than aluminum or resin. If you store your picnic table indoors when it’s not in use, you’ll maximize its longevity. If you can’t do that, consider investing in a waterproof cover or shrink-wrapping your picnic table over the winter. 

Related: Don’t forget a cooler to keep your beverages and food cold.

The final word on the best folding picnic tables

The best folding picnic table can help you to enjoy warm weather days even more, as it allows you to stay outside and eat comfortably, and then pack it up and store the set after you’re done. Whether you choose wood, resin, or metal picnic tables, you have some great portable table options for summertime fun.

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