Picnic table buying guide
We hear a lot of questions from customers looking to buy a picnic table, and feel like our many years of experience allow us to offer unique insights into strategically choosing the right picnic table for your space. Because each buyer’s needs will be a little bit different then the rest, we’ve put together a basic buying guide to help move you in the right direction when looking to purchase a long-term outdoor picnic table.
Of course, we’re a bit biased because we believe we make some of the finest picnic tables available on the market today. You may be visiting our website because you, too, believe that we make an excellent product and stand behind it. If you’re ready to browse options in our online store, we invite you to do so now by clicking here.
If you’d like to explore some of the different options, and how we stack up to competitive products in the picnic table market, what follows is a basic, but fairly in-depth buyer’s guide that shows options across the industry, and highlights some of the standouts in the picnic table arena.
While we believe most of what you’ll need to get started in determining which picnic table makes sense for you is included in this basic guide, we also have an excellent group of sales representatives available to answer any questions you might have about Premier Polysteel outdoor furniture, including our very popular picnic tables. You can reach out to our Representatives by clicking here.
How to decide on the best picnic table for your space
Different organizations, including parks, restaurants, public spaces, hospitality providers, and others have a unique need when it comes to outdoor furniture. This is mostly due to the fact that when corporate entities, governmental entities, or other organizations have a need for meeting a public-facing demand when it comes to their space, the high volume and durability needs take on a specific standard.
While residential consumers can also benefit from buying commercial quality outdoor furniture like our picnic tables, this unique standard placed upon public-facing outdoor furniture like picnic tables means a buyer must concentrate on some very rigid requirements to ensure this outdoor public space maintains its comfort level, safety, and is protected against vandalism and theft, outdoor weather and extreme shifts in temperature.
In addition to meeting long-term durability and safety standards, there may be other concerns or standards that a public facing piece of furniture may be required to meet. These might include things like ADA regulations, resistance to UV or other environmental concerns, or even the return on investment or long-term cost of maintenance and ownership.
With so many variables affecting the purchasing decision, it’s important to understand the options available on the market and see how they stack up against each other. Not only does brand name and brand history factor into the purchase decision, but it can be an important part in the overall selection process. Below we will highlight the reasons why we believe Premier Polysteel may be one of your best options. Part of this includes our long-standing history of delivering on promises to consumers, many of which are in the same public-facing sectors as you are as a buyer.
Below, we have broken down the different variables so that you can evaluate each style of picnic table from across the industry’s manufacturers to determine on an apples-to-apples basis which picnic table makes the most sense for you and your organization. It’s important to understand that when making a decision about outdoor furniture, one should not discount the importance of overall cost of ownership and long-term durability and the ability to easily maintain this furniture.
Size and style of the picnic table you desire
Obvious factors when choosing an outdoor picnic table are the size and style that makes the most sense for your space.
Starting with a list of important questions may be the best way to evaluate this metric.
Which shapes and styles can best accommodate and utilize the space available to your picnic table area?
What type of user do you plan will be using the outdoor picnic space? Will it be large groups? Will food service, or groups using food, be a factor? Is this a workplace where team activities may need to be held?
Do you need to have special needs covered by these picnic tables?
Premier Polysteel offers many popular sizes and styles of outdoor picnic tables. Which style you choose is dependent on how you answer some of the questions above and how you want to utilize your space. Some ideas on maximizing efficiency, or creating an inviting public space are listed below based on popular sizes and styles within our product catalog. Note many of these sizes and styles fit well with other market offerings.
Sizes and styles in the Premier Polysteel Picnic table portfolio
Because we believe that the style is such a subjective attribute and the sizing can often be dictated by plan specifications, we think it is best to view our portfolio of products in the Outdoor Picnic Table Catalog to see if we provide a style that meets your needs.
Some basic notes about styling may help you as you peruse those options:
- Rectangular picnic tables may be best where you have a high volume of users or a need for large group inclusion
- Where are you have a desire to foster interactive or more intimate social interactions, a round or square picnic table might make the most sense
- Depending on the overall shape and size of your space, some combination of square, round, or rectangular picnic tables may make sense
- If given enough overall space, round picnic tables may offer better help in mitigating traffic congestion, or making accessibility easier, or help in directing traffic (Note: we offer square and rectangular picnic tables that cater specifically to universal accessibility, to take advantage of the extra access afforded by using round tables in other areas of the space)
With picnic tables, to see is to understand. We offer a significant amount of pictures on our online shop, which can help you visualize how you might stage or combine different shapes or sizes to meet your product implementation needs. Our extremely experienced team can also help answer questions that may not be answered by viewing pictures of picnic tables, and may not be answered within this guide. We have team members standing by to take your call or answer your email.
Do you need universal access or do you have ADA requirements to meet
When it comes to special access needs, are you required to meet ADA regulations?
Public spaces should be built with inclusivity in mind. Being able to access public services such as eating spaces and gathering spaces, is important to fostering and inviting outdoor space. Premier Polysteel makes picnic tables that not only exceed ADA regulations, but also fit into a space cohesively, and don’t make users feel out of place.
In order to meet ADA regulations and even exceed them, an accessible picnic table should provide adequate ground space, clear width and depth and have proper knee and toe clearance. The location you choose to mount or stage an ADA-compliant universal access picnic table should allow enough space to maneuver a wheelchair in and out and surrounding the picnic table. Additionally, you should utilize a mounting pad of sufficient stability, for example a smooth concrete pad with ramp access if needed. This area should be staged within close access to other service areas including parking lots, restrooms or basic recreational areas.
It’s not just about meeting regulations however, the overall experience for families, gatherings of friends or people meeting for the first time is heavily dependent on the way that a public space caters to their specific needs. When making universally accessible areas for recreation or personal interaction, it’s important to understand how inviting a place will be to a given group of visitors.
Restaurants and hospitality organizations will always want to ensure that traffic flow and minimizing congestion is at the forefront of their planning measures. And that isn’t just for food service, as picnic tables can be a great place for socializing, too. From a planning perspective, minimizing frustration and confusion about where to sit is incredibly important in maximizing the customer experience. This is true for not-for-profit organizations and for-profit organizations as well as public spaces and government-funded areas.
From the planning phases to the implementation and the long-term considerations, making universally accessible social spaces and recreational areas is incredibly important. Not just to those who will use them with a disability, but for all users, because great planning makes for a great user experience across the board.
How important is a warranty to you when buying outdoor furniture?
Premier Polysteel offers a 20 year limited warranty. We also have customers who have been using original production poly coated steel products that our parent company has been producing for well more than 20 years. We are confident in the materials selected, the engineering, and the quality of manufacture with our made-in-the-USA outdoor furniture and poly coated steel products.
An important note for anyone shopping for outdoor picnic tables or planning for an outdoor space is that warranties will vary within the industry. When comparing materials, manufacturers and other variables, it’s important to understand how confident the company producing the items feels about the products they’re producing. While we won’t place a specific warranty statement on any products we don’t produce, if you want to understand the approximate longevity of a potential purchase please look in detail at the manufacturer’s warranty.
Comparing the materials when buying a picnic table or any outdoor furniture
Materials can be one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing an outdoor picnic table. The aesthetic of the piece, and the space you’re trying to plan for are important. Each material will have a finite aesthetic, and that can factor heavily when choosing a specific product.
Aesthetics aren’t the only thing to consider however. Other important factors are listed below
- How stable, balanced, and safe the engineering design (combined with the materials) will be
- How resistant to vandalism or theft the picnic table or other outdoor furniture will be
- How comfortable will the surface finishes be for the patron?
- What is the expected impact by weather and outdoor environmental variables on the particular structure?
- How long can you expect the product to last in an environment like yours?
- Is the product easily maintained and does it minimize maintenance costs over the long-term?
Because we are a manufacturer of poly coated steel outdoor furniture products, we’ll try to address those concerns specifically about the product we produce in the most detail. We will also give a basic primer for other competitive products, so you have something to compare our product to.
Metal picnic tables
Metal picnic tables tend to have pretty good durability and stability. Over the long-term however, there may be concerns with rust or weathering without proper maintenance. Additionally, large swings in temperature and other environmental factors can make uncoated metal picnic tables uncomfortable for patrons at the time when they choose to use them.
Because of their strength and general durability for some environments metal picnic tables are a popular commercial and residential choice. Of course the durability and strength will depend on the engineering and specific material robustness as chosen by the manufacturer. Generally, we see warranties in the 5+ year area for uncoated metal picnic tables. These types of picnic tables in an outdoor environment will require ongoing maintenance to ensure that rust and weather conditions do not deteriorate their usefulness or comfort levels.
Metal picnic tables tend to be relatively resistant to vandalism and theft thanks to their build quality and relative weight.
Aluminum picnic tables
Aluminum picnic tables tend to be a great lightweight alternative to uncoated metal picnic tables, and are popular in school settings and sometimes in parks. While they do have some specific perks, like ease of mobility compared to heavier tables, and generally decent structural rigidity, they can have some caveats attached to their overall durability and use, or comfort factors.
Aluminum, because it is such a good conductor of thermal variables, may become uncomfortable during extremes in outdoor environments. This includes in hot sunny areas where it may be too uncomfortably hot for patrons to utilize. Also during the winter months, they may be unreasonably cold when sitting on an aluminum picnic table.
Additionally even though some market options are coated with anodizing or other surface finishes, aluminum picnic tables may not be the most corrosion resistant option on the market. They do offer better corrosion resistance than uncoated steel tables generally, however they are not immune to oxidation, especially in areas where salty sea air comes in contact with the picnic table.
Maintenance is usually quite minimal with aluminum picnic tables. However their long-term durability may not be sufficient for your individual needs. Aluminum tends to deform and dent much more easily than some other market options. Additionally, aluminum picnic tables may have a price premium attached because of the cost of materials and the manufacturing processes.
The metal is softer than steel, and about one-third the weight of steel, and therefore is not as resistant to vandalism or theft as steel picnic tables are.
Finally, when looking around at the market, many manufacturers attach minimal warranties such as a 1-year limited warranty, which may indicate that the overall longevity of aluminum picnic tables when used in a public space may be limited compared to other market options.
Poly coated steel outdoor picnic tables
Poly coated steel outdoor picnic tables, in our opinion, represent the pinnacle of long-term, highly durable, comfortable and inviting outdoor furniture for the public arena suitable for high-volume areas. This is especially true for all types of installations where a continuous stream of traffic may be in a position to use the furniture.
The following highlights and characteristics of polyvinyl coated steel outdoor picnic tables should suffice to explain the benefits of the product:
- The inner steel architecture is extremely stable and has adequate heft to ensure safety measures are met – we have even tested the strength and balance by putting a car on top of our picnic tables
- Different styles of surfaces on our poly coated Steel picnic tables can improve drainage and overall use cases for our table making them perfect for outdoor weather and for a diverse user profile
- Polyvinyl is comfortable to sit on and use even in extreme temperatures
- The coating on our furniture does not perpetuate flames
- Our outdoor furniture is vandalism resistant and theft resistant thanks to the build quality and general structure and weight
- UV inhibitors in the polyvinyl coating, as well as mildew and mold inhibitors make these year-round furniture options viable in all different environments
- Generally, no inclement weather will be able to deteriorate the structural strength or oxidize (rust) the outdoor furniture we manufacture
- Our picnic tables combined with the proper mounts are considered capable of withstanding high wind areas
- We have a strong portfolio of universally accessible, ADA-compliant outdoor furniture
- Our entire catalog of outdoor furniture compliments your space and works well with each other piece we offer
- Humidity and moisture have no impact on properly constructed poly vinyl coated steel furniture
- We offer a dozen colors to help compliment your space
- The wide variety of options, sizes, and styles give you an infinite array of planning capabilities for any public-facing space
- We have thousands of customers in a wide variety of industries, including governmental organizations, parks and recreational facilities, hotels and hospitality, restaurants, schools and universities, and commercial properties, as well as many others
- We stand behind our products in a way that we believe sets the industry standard
While at first glance, poly coated steel outdoor picnic tables may not be your first choice for a public installation, due to specific aesthetic needs or a specific previous recommendation for another type of outdoor picnic table. But we believe when all things are considered, including the overall long-term maintenance, durability and comfort of our products, we offer an extremely competitive product that deserves a thorough look.
As a manufacturer of poly coated steel outdoor picnic tables, we add a 20 year limited warranty to all the products we produce in house. This shows our confidence in the engineering, the materials and in our track record as a manufacturer. We believe we have a best in class and best in the industry warranty.
Thermoplastic coated steel picnic tables
Thermoplastic coated steel picnic tables are a viable option for outdoor spaces as they tend to be quite weather resistant and have decently robust build quality, relying on an internal architecture of steel. However these types of steel picnic tables are generally meant to be more lightweight than alternative steel picnic tables, and tend to have less structural rigidity which can lead to issues with theft and vandalism, as well as balance or safety concerns in certain settings.
Thermoplastic coatings will also not regulate temperature particularly well for the user. This means user comfort may not be a high priority where thermoplastic coated steel picnic tables might be in use. While the underlying steel structure is generally quite stable and durable, the outer coating does have some qualities that make it less desirable in fire-prone areas, or where an organization may want to avoid concerns with users that may have open flames nearby.
Generally, the industry manufacturers of thermoplastic-clad steel picnic tables attach warranties of about 5 to 7 years to their products.
Galvanized steel picnic tables
Galvanized steel picnic tables are generally a popular option in many commercial spaces. Steel in general, is a stable, heavy, and long-lasting material option. Unfortunately the galvanized coating is quite thin and can easily be rubbed off or impacted by inclement weather overtime. This zinc coating is quite resistant to rust at first, but over time will need quite a bit of maintenance to keep it a rust free piece of furniture. Additionally, galvanized outdoor steel furniture is not an appropriate choice for coastal areas, generally, or sea salt air exposure.
Galvanized steel picnic tables are quite resistant to theft, but can be vulnerable to vandalism because of the thinness of the coating.
Across the industry, galvanized steel outdoor furniture does not enjoy robust warranty options, on average we see warranty lengths of 1+ years.
Concrete picnic tables
Concrete picnic tables have been a mainstay of parks and recreational areas for many years because of the robust nature of concrete. They are heavy, and therefore difficult to move in high winds, and are extremely resistant to theft. They are also somewhat resistant to vandalism, though some manufacturers that do not reinforce the concrete may produce products that are vulnerable to blunt forces in certain settings.
There are some maintenance requirements over time with concrete picnic tables, however, they have excellent durability and longevity in many settings. Maintenance crews will need to ensure that proper sealing of concrete items is administered.
Concrete picnic tables tend to be somewhat less inviting as they can store temperature extremes for long periods of time and the general hardness of the structure makes long-term sitting uncomfortable.
Concrete is also vulnerable to staining by common liquids like wine or sodas or fruit punch, etc. Concrete can easily crack if not reinforced properly. These types of furniture are acceptable in most weather conditions, and many manufacturers attach an average warranty of between 2 and 10 years to concrete outdoor picnic tables.
Wood picnic tables
Wood picnic tables have a unique aesthetic that may fit well with your outdoor space.
Unfortunately, wood picnic tables require a large amount of ongoing maintenance to ensure they continue to look good and perform as intended. Graffiti and other vandalism can be a common concern with wooden picnic tables, especially in a public setting.
There are other environmental concerns as well when choosing a wood picnic table. Swelling, splitting, or warping can occur where humidity or rain is ever-present. Wood is also not necessarily very resistant to rot or mildew, however certain hardwoods may be. These hardwoods will command a price premium. Across-the-board wood picnic tables tend to attach a price premium and do not represent long-term solutions for public spaces like parks, recreational areas or commercial endeavors. Flame resistance is non-existent and open flames are not suggested in areas utilizing wooden picnic tables.
While wood may look quite good at first, ongoing maintenance is required to keep it looking its best. Generally, manufacturers of wood outdoor picnic tables attach a 1+ year commercial warranty depending on the manufacturer.
Recycled plastic picnic tables
Because the market-available options for recycled plastic picnic tables have become more abundant in recent years, it’s hard to peg the market segment into a few examples. That said, recycled plastic picnic tables from the most reputable manufacturers who use the right material compositions and extremely good engineering may be an excellent choice for your outdoor space.
Generally, they work favorably in most weather conditions, and are robust enough for most commercial operations. They don’t crack or splinter, and they are not usually susceptible to mold or mildew. They are not as robust, stable, balanced, or heavy as steel outdoor picnic tables, so they may not be applicable to high-theft areas or where absolute user safety is prioritized.
Recycled plastic picnic tables of high quality material composition may be quite comfortable and regulate user temperature control quite well, meaning they may be inviting and offer comfortable sitting platforms for users.
Depending on the manufacturer and style, recycled plastic picnic tables may not have enough heft or wait to be placed in high-wind areas. Over time recycled plastic picnic tables may have some degradation from UV light or outdoor exposure, but this will depend, again, on the material composition chosen by the specific manufacturer.
The average warranty attached to recycled plastic picnic tables is 5 to 10 years, with some manufacturers offering more than 10 year warranties.
Other considerations when buying outdoor furniture and specifically picnic tables
There are some other considerations when buying outdoor furniture; specifically when choosing picnic tables, as these tend to invite groups of visitors to commingle, or invites a social interaction, including where food may be served. Below we list a couple of highlighted considerations.
Choosing a color for your picnic table or complementing your outdoor space
When planning for the overall harmony and continuity between spaces in your outdoor installation, color can be an important factor in helping to keep your space inviting over the long-term.
Many manufacturers offer color options. Some offer an anemic selection of color options or color options that are only dictated by the material of choice. For instance galvanized steel will be silver, aluminum will be silver, generally, and wood will be the tone and color of the wood chosen for the construction.
Premier Polysteel offers a dozen colors to help compliment your outdoor space. Choosing a corresponding or a complementary, contrasting color option may help you to create a cohesive environment that will keep visitors coming back year-round.
How will the outdoor temperatures affect your picnic table?
In sticking with the theme of keeping customers returning to your outdoor space throughout the year, the amount of comfort that comes with sitting at an outdoor picnic table is going to be incredibly important.
Premier Polysteel produces outdoor furniture that is coated with polyvinyl and made with an internal architecture of high quality steel. The robust interior frame of our outdoor furniture creates an inviting space for users of all sizes and shapes. The comfortable temperature-regulating outdoor coating that is showcased on the exterior of our outdoor furniture products helps to regulate temperature so that a user doesn’t feel too hot or too cold when they initially interact with our products.
The coating helps avoid reflective concerns, and makes an inviting, comfortable interaction with our products in many public spaces. We’re quite confident in this, not only because we’re the manufacturer, but because we sell-through to thousands of organizations every year who have come to rely on our products, with hundreds and even thousands more being introduced to our products each year.
Installation options for your picnic table
When you install furniture in a public space, the mounting requirements are important as well.
Being sure to accommodate for risk of tipping and overall balance and harmony in the space, can help to ensure safety regulations are met and liability concerns are minimized.
The style of frame and the build quality of the furniture will help to determine the general anti-theft properties of a picnic table, as well as ensure user safety over the long-term. Having a solid structure and being able to use multiple mounting options to meet specific regional or area needs, building structures, and or different foundations, will be important.
Premier Polysteel offers picnic tables that can be mounted in a variety of ways including in ground mounting, above ground mounting in a free-standing configuration, and which can be mounted such that movement is easier, or long-term placement is possible.
One consideration you might want to look at, is how grounds will be maintained around picnic tables. We recommend picnic tables mounted on concrete surfaces to ensure maintenance crews can easily maintain the grounds surrounding the picnic table areas. This will also ensure universal accessibility, and gives you the widest variety of mounts available to ensure anti theft and anti vandalism concerns are well taken care of. Our tables are capable of being placed in high-wind areas and the variety of mounts will allow you sufficient opportunity to plan for your future needs.
From an overall foundational perspective, Premier Polysteel polyvinyl coated steel outdoor furniture is built to be tip resistant, theft-resistant and vandalism resistant. Compared to most other Market options, we feel confident in stating we are among the leaders on all three of these variables. We have a variety of mounts listed in our online shop.
Wrapping up the considerations to focus on while looking for the best outdoor picnic table
Planning your outdoor space is one of the most important parts to ensuring a viable area for year-round high-volume public spaces. The planning is only part of the equation, though. Sourcing quality, durable, inviting outdoor furniture is another big consideration.
In an endeavor to be as transparent as possible, we constructed the above basic buyer’s guide to include all facets of the industry and cater to a majority of the potential buyers looking for outdoor furniture, and specifically outdoor picnic tables.
We must be clear however, that we believe we produce one of the finest options on the market.
We believe that if you look at the benefits of poly vinyl coated steel outdoor furniture you will find it to be robust, durable, exceptionally usable in an outdoor environment and quite inviting to public patrons. We also believe as a company that we harbor the type of customer service environment and ongoing support of our product that helps make the case to potential buyers for our products.
We invite you to look at our large catalog of outdoor picnic tables and other outdoor furniture made from strong steel frames and weather resistant comfortable polyvinyl exterior coating.
If we were unable to answer any of your questions regarding pre-purchase concerns or you need more understanding of our products we invite you to call a representative that can help answer any other questions you may have. We look forward to working with you and your organization and helping you decide if our outdoor furniture is right for your installation.