Going "in-store" is the best way to determine how to buy a portable massage table.
Search online for stores in your area that carry massage tables or go to a manufacturer's website and search for retailers in your area.
Even if a store does not carry the style you want, you can check out similar products by the same manufacturer to get an idea of their quality before you order online.
If you are unable to purchase in-store, purchase directly from the manufacturer or from a reputable online vendor.
Select a working weight that matches your massage style.
The working weight is the combined weight of the person on the table and the person giving the massage.
Working weights vary and each table will be labeled underneath with the static and working weights.
If you or the people you work on weigh more than 200 lbs. (91 kg), or if you use massage techniques, such as a shiatsu, where you stand on the table, select a table with a working weight of 800 lbs. (363 kg) or more.
The higher the working weight, the heavier the table will be.
Check the softness and thickness of the padding, or pad density.
Padding thickness can range from 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) or more.
Firmer padding is more durable, but soft padding is more comfortable.
Thicker, softer padding works well for "soft" techniques such as Swedish massage.
Thicker, denser padding works well for "hard" techniques such as sports massage.
For your client's comfort, use padding that is at least 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters).
Tables with more padding are more expensive.
Test the weight of the table.
The weight of the table is how heavy the table is, not how much weight it can support.
While important, the weight of the table should be your last consideration after padding and working weight.
A lightweight table could weigh as little as 20 lbs. (9 kg.) whereas a heavy-duty table could weigh 50 lbs. (23 kg) or more.
If you are planning to transport the table to multiple locations, select the lightest table that meets your needs.
Feel the upholstery.
Manufacturers upholster tables in leather, vinyl or other synthetic materials.
If you use the table indoors with sheets, the upholstery is not a big issue, save for your personal preference.
If you use the table outdoors or without sheets, select an upholstery that is durable and easy to clean, such as vinyl.
Go with a package.
A massage table package often includes accessories such as a padded head rest and a carrying case for less than you would spend on those items individually.
A head rest extends the length of the table and allows the person you are working on to lie face-down without having to press their face into the table.
A carrying case is a large canvas bag that you can use to store and transport your table along with supplies, such as oils and sheets.