Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table

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Full View

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Full View
Full View - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

I first came across Stag table tennis tables in 2011, when the International 1000 DX models were used for the New Zealand Veterans Championships that year. I ran into them again in 2012 at the next New Zealand Veterans Championships, which were also using the same model table - I'm not exactly sure if they were the exact same tables from the year before, but I think it would be a likely bet. However, I found that there were significant differences between my experiences in 2011 and 2012, which I'll attempt to explain in this review.

The Stag International 1000 DX table tennis tables have a blue playing surface, and are ​ITTF approved. The thickness of the table top is 25mm, which is the standard thickness for tables that are approved for international competitions. As I've mentioned in other table tennis table reviews, a thicker playing surface is generally considered better than a thinner playing surface, since it resists warping better, and because some players believe that the bounce is better on thicker table tops.

The side support apron is also visible in this photograph, running underneath the playing surface, along the edges of the table. Stag uses a pretty robust support apron, so there should be no problems there.

The undercarriage is also shown here, and the frame is a 25mm x 50mm tubular metal construction, with solid roller wheels. This makes for a sturdy table, but also contributes to a weight of 128kg for the whole table, or 64kg for each table half. This is more or less the typical weight for a solid 25mm table and would be pretty heavy to lift, but fortunately the table is mounted on rollers, which makes moving it about a breeze.

This picture also has the best view of the table height adjusters, which are located at the bottom of the four outside table legs, and which allow the tables to be leveled even when the floor is not perfectly flat.

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Front View

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Front View
Front View - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is the front view of the Stag International 1000 DX table tennis table. From this perspective, the thickness of the playing surface and size of the support apron are obvious, and it is also clear that the playing surface has a nice matt finish that isn't too glossy.

I didn't notice any problems with the overlap between the white striping on the middle line and side edges, which can sometimes have a noticeable ridge due to the extra layers of white paint on the table surface, so that is a definite plus.

Playing Characteristics

When I first played on these Stag tables in 2011, I came away with quite a favorable impression. The bounce was true and consistent, and the tables weren't too fast or slow - perhaps just a little towards the slow side, which I would put down to them being newly purchased tables. I had little trouble adjusting to them, and after an hour or two I felt completely acclimatized.

However, in 2012 the story was completely different, and I'm not sure why, so I'm going to speculate a bit. In 2012, I found the tables to be much more responsive to spin, with the ball holding up significantly when backspin was applied, and kicking up a noticeable amount when topspin was used. Sidespin was also much more effective, with the balls breaking more than usual. The amount of effect was much more than on any other table I've ever played on in the past, and was quite disturbing.

This caused myself and quite a few players some real problems as the tournament progressed. It was very difficult to predict just where the ball would be when a significant amount of spin was applied - it often seemed to be in a position slightly different to what I would expect. This resulted in lots of top edges against topspin balls and blocks, and lots of clean misses and bottom edges against backspin balls.

Normally I would expect to adapt to this within a day or two, but by day 4 of the tournament I was still struggling to time the ball with any consistency. I was watching the ball as closely as I could, but this wasn't enough to allow me to gain any confidence regarding where the ball would bounce when spin was being used.

Now this could possible be just a problem in my own head, so I chatted with a few of the other top players at the tournament's end, and the general consensus was that quite a few of them were having similar problems, so I think I can say with some confidence that there was definitely something going on.

But before I write this off as a problem with the table, I should add that we were using a Stag table tennis ball as well, which is a brand of ball that I'm not really familiar with. Unfortunately, I can't remember whether it was the brand used at the 2011 New Zealand Veteran's Championships or not, because that would provide some useful information to help me figure out what was going on.

Assuming that the problem was real and not just in my head, I think we can narrow it down to a few possibilities:

  • The ball;
  • The table;
  • Some combination of the ball and table together.

I can't say with any certainty which is correct, but I'd be leaning towards the ball being primarily responsible, perhaps with a lesser component due to the table itself. After having no problems with the tables in 2011, I find it easier to believe that the balls were too reactive to spin, rather that thinking that the tables actually got more reactive as they got older and more worn in, which is generally the opposite of what happens as tables age (assuming they were the same tables that were used in 2011). But it's a guess either way.

Conclusion

So would I recommend these tables or not? It's a tough call - I'd have no hesitation in recommending the 2011 tables, while the 2012 tables were a nightmare for me to play on. But I'm not sure whether this is due to the table itself, or the ball being used.

These tables aren't all that much cheaper than comparable tables from other well known manufacturers such as Stiga, DHS, Butterfly and JOOLA, which I have never had a problem similar to those I encountered this year. So I guess my bottom line would be that with comparable models available, I'd find it hard to recommend this table model based on my own personal experiences, although I would still acknowledge that it could be due to a $3 ball rather than the $1000 table. This is one case where interested buyers will have to decide for themselves.

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Side View

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Side View
Side View - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is the side view of the Stag International 1000 DX table tennis table. One quibble that I will note here is that the table legs at each end are positioned fairly near the endlines of the table. While this is unlikely to cause a problem for most table tennis players, it is worth noting that it might prove a problem for wheelchair players, who could find it a little difficult to get their chairs positioned comfortably due to the closeness of the frame's crossbar, although the crossbar is positioned reasonably high.

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Folded for Storage

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Folded for Storage
Folded for Storage - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Here's the side view of the table, folded up and ready to put away. When folded up its dimensions are 160cm wide by 67cm deep by 165cm high. As you can see from the photograph, multiple table halves can be stored together, by nesting the frames inside each other, giving very compact storage when you have a lot of tables to put away.

I must admit that I'm not a big fan of the way that the folded up tables lean slightly to one side, this being the playing surface side. This tends to put the endlines of the table into harsh contact with each other, which can encourage chipping of the endlines. It would be better to have the tables stored completely vertically, which most tables do, or perhaps have the lean slight towards the frame, which would then allow the much more robust frames to touch when in storage, keeping the playing surfaces apart.

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Folded for Storage - Front View

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Folded for Storage Front View
Folded for Storage Front View - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is the front view of the Stag International 1000 DX table tennis table when it is folded up for storage.

From this perspective, it is easy to see how the table frames nest within each other for compact storage, as shown by the wheels at the bottom of the picture.

The safety instructions and locking mechanism are also visible, as well as a good view of the thickness of the basic frame and support apron running around the edges of the table.

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Undercarriage Close Up

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Undercarriage Close Up
Undercarriage Close Up - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
This photograph shows the undercarriage of the Stag International 1000 DX table tennis table clearly. The undercarriage is pretty strong, with welded joins, bolts and crossbraces.
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Locking Mechanism

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Locking Mechanism
Locking Mechanism. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is a close up of the locking mechanism which is used to hold the folded up table half in place. As you can see, it's a pretty simple flip switch.
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Wheels and Brake

Photo of Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table - Wheels and Brake
Wheels and Brake - Stag International 1000 DX Table Tennis Table. © 2012 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is a close up view of the two types of wheels used on the Stag table - one with a brake and one without. I personally prefer roller tables that have brakes on all of their wheels, although I admit that it is probably a little excessive.

The braking mechanism is a simple flick system which can be easily flipped up and down with the toe of your shoe, removing the need to bend down to adjust the brakes.

The overall construction of the wheel system seems pretty solid to me, and not noticeably different from any of the other roller tables I've come across.