When choosing a grooming table, the many options can be a little overwhelming. It can be helpful to narrow down your choices by looking at the basics. There are three main types of grooming tables.
- Stationary- Sturdy, portable and durable, a good quality stationary table should last for years. For any type of table, look for a model with a solid wood top rather than one made of particle board. Grooming shops tend to have high humidity, which is not kind to compressed tops. Solid wood will stand up better to the clamp on the grooming arm as well. There are a variety of heights to choose from, and some offer slightly adjustable legs.
- Hydraulic- These tables are adjusted by hydraulics operated by a foot pump. Some models have a center shaft, limiting how far the table can be lowered, and may be wobbly, especially when larger pets are on the table. Models with a “z” base are sturdier, and some models can be lowered very close to the floor. The downside is that the motion from pumping hydraulic tables up and down can be alarming to some dogs. The upside is that your thigh muscles will get a good workout!
- Electric- More infinitely and easily adjustable are electric tables. The height raises or lowers smoothly at the touch of a button. Most pets find the movement of an electric table less startling than the motion of hydraulics. The entry price for electric tables is higher than for stationary or hydraulic models. Still, they are a good investment because they reduce back and other muscle strain and make grooming much more effortless.
No matter which type of table you choose, consider the size and surface of the top (or platform) you select. If you groom mainly small to medium-sized pets, a smaller top will give them less room to move around while you work. If you groom larger breeds, choose a platform large enough to support them comfortably.
Pay attention to what the surface coating on the table is. Ideally, you will find one that will offer an excellent grip for the pet and be easy to clean and sanitize.
Take a serious look at the type of grooming arm that comes with the table you are interested in. A sturdy arm made from steel that is bolted, not merely screwed, into the table will be the most stable. Arms with a well-made clamp can be a good option, too, if the platform is made from solid wood.
A large percentage of our work is performed on our grooming table and investing money in one that makes our work safer and easier makes good sense.
By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG
Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years. You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism. She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.