School Cafeteria Tables Buying Guide
Use this guide to help you choose the best table options for your cafeteria.
There are many choices to make when selecting cafeteria tables that are suitable for all of your needs. Please consider the following choices before making any purchases:
- Frame Style and Finish
- Tabletop Material
- Edge Style
- Seating Options
- Table Height
- Cafeteria Layout
- Table Configurations
Frame Style and Finish
For maximum support, a majority of cafeteria table manufacturers feature a steel, tubular frame. The standard frame is 14-gauge steel but can also range up to 20-gauge steel. The lower the gauge number, the more heavy-duty the frame will be. With most of our manufacturer’s you will be able to choose from a chrome or powder-coated frame finish. The most common choice is chrome since it resists scratches and chips; this option is also typically more expensive than powder-coat. Although a powder-coat frame is less expensive, it can also hold up to the everyday use in your lunch room.
CHROME FINISH vs. POWDER COAT FINISH
Cafeteria Tabletop Material
The standard cafeteria tabletop material is particleboard because it is lightweight but also heavy-duty; great for tables used in a multipurpose lunch room. If your concern is durability, you may want a table with a plywood core. Although it is more expensive than particleboard, it is more durable and will last for years of heavy use. This type of material also resists water, which particleboard will not after too much exposure. If the tabletop material really doesn’t matter to you, know that almost all of our cafeteria tables are surfaced with high-pressure laminate which makes cleaning easy, no matter what the core material is made of.
Standard cafeteria tables have a vinyl edge molding. Most of our tables also feature the option of epoxy edging which is more expensive than the vinyl but has a lot of benefits. Epoxy edge molding will not chip and has a tighter seal which is great for younger kids who sometimes pick at the edging on these tables. This is a great option to protect your edging as well as your particleboard or plywood.
Depending on your specific needs, you may want a cafeteria table with attached seating or unattached seating. In most cases, you will want attached seating for organized, clutter-free cafeterias. However, if you have spare chairs available, are just upgrading your previous cafeteria tables or are wanting to accommodate wheelchairs, you may want unattached seating. There are two types of attached seating cafeteria tables: bench-style and stool-style.
Bench-Style Cafeteria Tables
Bench-Style cafeteria tables allow you to sometimes fit more on a bench seat than on other types. This is a good option for younger children because it allows them to sit close or far from each other and most times, depending on the size of the children, you can fit more on a bench seat than you can on stools. To prevent any accidents, look for a bench table that offers more entry points.
Check out our complete line of Bench Style Cafeteria Tables
Stool-Style Cafeteria Tables
Stool-Style cafeteria tables are easier for children to get in and out of because every stool has its own entry point. If you know the exact number of children or adults you will need to seat, stool style cafeteria tables are a good option and will also allow more personal space for each person. Most stool seats are made of heavy-duty plastic with a backless design and are very simple to replace if need be.
See our complete line of Stool Style Cafeteria Tables
Most of our cafeteria tables come in two heights, either 27”H or 29”H. A 29” height is standard when your stool or bench is 17” high. If you are seating younger children, you may want to consider purchasing a 27"H table and a 15”H bench or stool. Those are the most common heights. However, we can offer a 25"H table with a 13"H seat for a younger age range of students.
Depending on the layout or size of your lunch room, the number or size of cafeteria tables may vary. To prevent any fire hazards, tables should have a minimum of 48 inches between each other. You will also want to be sure that no doors or any other exits will be blocked by the tables you choose.
- Rectangular Tables with Seating: place 36-inches apart
- Round Tables with or without Seating: place 54-inches apart
- Any Shape Table without Seating: place 60-inches apart
Cafeteria Table Configurations
Convertible Cafeteria Tables
For those times you want to use your cafeteria for multiple purposes, convertible cafeteria tables make a great option. For example, if you will be using your cafeteria as a lunch room and for school assemblies, you can convert your cafeteria table into a bench with a back rest.
We offer a complete line of Convertible Bench Cafeteria Tables
Mobile Folding Cafeteria Tables
When you need to move your cafeteria tables for different configurations, or to be stored in between sessions, mobile, folding cafeteria tables may be your best choice. These mobile cafeteria tables are on casters and fold in the center for easy storage. Not only does it help make cleaning easy, it also makes setting up and tearing down simple. Mobile folding tables feature a safety lock to prevent any unwanted folding accidents.
See more of our Mobile Folding Cafeteria Tables
Octagonal Cafeteria Tables
Depending on the size of your cafeteria and the space you have to work with, the best
option for your next cafeteria table purchase may be an octagonal cafeteria table
or other shape table. Today's Classroom offers multiple choices in table shapes including
rectangular, octagonal, elliptical, and round. These octagonal tables are also mobile, so
if you are using your cafeteria for other activities such as dances or as an auditorium,
they are easy to move.
View all of our Shape Cafeteria Tables
Wall Mounted Cafeteria Tables
At Today's Classroom, we recognize that your cafeteria is probably used as a multi-purpose room and that your cafeteria tables are not always in use and it can be cumbersome to move tables out of the way. That's why we offer many options for mobile cafeteria tables that are much more easily moved. We also know that it is important to make it easier for custodians to clean around cafeteria tables that are always set up. So we also offer options in wall mounted cafeteria tables that fold and can be stored against the walls.
See our complete line of Wall Mounted Cafeteria Tables
ADA Cafeteria Tables
Today's Classroom also offers Wheelchair accessible cafeteria tables that are ADA compliant and have the same comfort, durability and quality as any other cafeteria table that we offer. Again, these cafeteria tables are mobile and can easily be moved to wherever they are needed or out of the cafeteria altogether while offering a seating solution for wheelchairs. The tables allow instant access at the ends with the tabletop extending slightly for access without having to reach, lean or struggle.
If you need help determining the right cafeteria table for your individual situation, please give us a call today.