What kind of table is best?
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
The kind of table you use obviously depends on your needs but is there maybe a table that’s objectively the best? To find the best table available today, I must first set some criteria for what makes a table good.
First is cost. My perfect table cannot cost too much or else I won’t be able to afford it. Size: a good table must be big, the bigger the surface area of the table the better. There’s no such thing as a table that’s too big – you can always use the space. Sturdiness is also an important factor. What’s the point of a big and cheap table if it will fall apart in a day?
Cost will be measured in US Dollars, as listed on the product page. Size is simply the area of the table surface in centimeters squared. Sturdiness will use the Janka hardness test, which measures the hardness of woods (there aren’t real values for particle board or glass tables, so I’ll eliminate those).
With these criteria in mind, I head for the last bastion of cheap quality furniture — Ikea. Or rather its website, since I don’t have a car. There, I choose the option to browse Ikea in the United States, then type “tables” in the search bar at the top. I am presented with a comprehensive list of over 1200 tables, so I will only review the 25 most ‘relevant’ tables (as Ikea considers them for my search) on the first page. Still that’s a lot of decision making, so I opt to use a wonder of modern computing: spreadsheets.
I set up this Google Sheet to compare these tables (though I did get tired after 8 tables) and developed my own unit – the Table Goodness Unit.
1 Table Good (Tg) = 1 (cm2 x Janka Hardness) ÷ (US Dollar)
The Table Good relates the hardness of the surface area of a table to its price. The winner from the 8 I’ve rated (I gave up after 8 because it was too much work) is the LÄTT Children’s table and 2 chairs, white, pine at 145 kilotablegoods. I must now buy this table.