There’s nothing better than a summer BBQ, but if you’re catering for a number of guests, things do have the potential to get chaotic pretty quickly!
Having a spacious side table to store and display cutlery, crockery, plates, condiments and sides can make serving up a delicious meal outside a whole lot easier. Your friends won’t keep asking you to locate different sauces, and you can focus on the all-important cooking!
Naturally, you’re going to want the best BBQ side table for the job, and you’ll find they come in a range of styles, designs and finishes: while some are collapsible, others are substantial units with integrated storage cupboards.
If you’re considering making a purchase but aren’t sure where to start, these tips will help you make an informed decision.
Choosing the Right Design
There are a lot of different styles on the market when it comes to table design; so, which will be the most best BBQ side table for your outdoor grill set up?
Simple, collapsible tables are handy for sides and salads. They can be erected at a moment’s notice, and are very easy to store.
Larger collapsible tables can be much more substantial. As a result, you can use it to set up a whole buffet as well as a condiment area and drinks station – if you’re having a large gathering this type of table is sure to make everything go very smoothly.
More expensive side tables, which often resemble kitchen countertops, tend to come with built-in storage, underneath storage and hooks for utensils. These are very practical, and some even come with utensils included!
You’ll be able to find a side table to suit the ‘look’ that you’re going for in your garden. Rustic, wooden tables tend to look most at home in traditional-style gardens, while minimalist tables in darker colours with clean edges are very modern.
An addition word of advice: don’t immediately discount a simple, cheap and cheerful folding table. While not the most aesthetic on the market, they are immensely practical and, once filled with food (and possibly covered with a tablecloth), your guests will hardly notice the design!
Some BBQ side tables come with built-in storage as well as hooks for hanging utensils.
A storage shelf underneath the table is great for storing clean plates, while the top can be used to display condiments and sides. Tables with built-in storage are more expensive, but offer a lot of possibilities if you’re hosting lots of guests.
It’s really up to you, and depends if you’re happy to have everything out on a large table top or if you like the idea of having a smaller side table unit which has an integrated cupboard more like a kitchen counter top.
Practicality, Ease of Assembly and Manoeuvrability
For the most part, folding tables are generally the easiest to set up and take down. They can be easily moved into position, put together, and then disassembled at the end of the day.
The majority of folding tables aren’t going to have built-in storage as they tend to just be table-top surfaces. However, it is possible to find exceptions to this rule! Some are collapsible but a bit more intricate with their folding design, and therefore accommodate storage like mid-level shelves.
In terms of non-collapsible units, plastic side tables are going to be lighter than wooden ones. They are therefore extremely easy to move around (when they haven’t been filled with crockery yet!) and won’t get damaged easily in storage. Generally little-to-no initial assembly is required, which also means they can’t be disassembled – you’ll need enough space to store them in their entirety.
Plus, plastic side tables don’t require any maintenance to remain weatherproof. If you’re buying a plastic model, make sure that it is UV resistant because you don’t want it to fade or degrade in the sunlight.
When it comes to wooden side tables, they tend to arrive flat packed and require initial assembly to put them together. However, much of the time, ‘once they are up they are up’ and you won’t be able to easily take them apart for storage. Whilst heavier than plastic units, you should still be able to move a wooden side table around fairly easily, perhaps with another pair of hands to help.
If the wood is pressure treated, it should be well protected against the elements. However, if not, you should make sure to treat the wood so that it is protected against rain and damp.
Choosing the Best Quality Materials
Side tables are made from a range of materials. Wooden tables are a very popular option. These are stylish and durable, but they can be heavy.
Wooden side tables that have been waterproofed can be left out in the garden but, if you want them to last as long as possible, it’s always a better idea to put them into storage when not in use.
Plastic tables are the most affordable option. These can be collapsible or permanently-built units.
Plastic tables also offer great weather resistance and are very lightweight. The downside to plastic tables is that they might be slightly less durable than wooden ones. If you value style, look for a plastic table with faux wood finish – this gives you all the aesthetic benefits of wood, with the practicality of plastic.
Finally, there are metal tables. These are generally very durable provided they are powder coated and rust resistant. Metal tables are more expensive than plastic, but still generally have a lightweight design.
If you’re purchasing a foldable table, look for a strong, corrosion-resistant frame. In most cases, the frame will be made from powder-coated metal. When in use, keep an eye on it for signs of rust – as the last thing you want is the table collapsing under the weight of your salads!
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