Lift tables may be operated by foot pump hydraulics or by electricity. While hydraulic tables are often a lower initial investment, the smooth, push-button operation of electrically powered tables is extremely user-friendly.
When choosing grooming tables, people should pay extra attention to top platform construction. Materials range from stainless steel to particle board, with variations in between. High-end tables will have tops constructed from sturdy, durable material. Stainless steel tabletops are hard-wearing and easy to sanitize.
“Tables made by Forever Stainless Steel are all stainless steel and feature a recessed-edge tabletop with a removable comfort mat that dogs love to stand on,” said Jeanne Caples, director of operations at Forever Stainless Steel. “The cushy, nonabsorbent mat lifts out easily for cleaning and can even be put in your tub for washing.”
Tops constructed from wood can also be long lasting “if they are made from good wood,” said Robert Lutz, the company’s vice president of sales. Look for tops made from construction- or marine-grade plywood. Many lower-priced tabletops are made from fiber or particle board. These products are also known as reconstituted wood products. They are manufactured by mixing wood parts with resin or glue and then processing them at high heat and pressure. These types of boards may not hold up well when exposed to moisture. Since many grooming shops are humid environments, and since many a wet dog is placed on a grooming table for drying, the potential for damage to tops made of this type of wood is considerable.
Another drawback is that grooming arms clamped onto tops made from reconstituted wood products invariably dig into the wood and cause the integrity of the board to deteriorate. Large dogs putting pressure on the arm can cause the tabletop to crack or break off.
Groomers choosing these lower-end tables would do well to make sure that the tabletop can be replaced if it is damaged.
“Buy a table that has a removable and exchangeable top and tops are assembled with bolts. Wood screws can be ripped off,” said Lutz.
“The standard for grooming tables in the U.S. is 24 x 36 or 24 x 42, with a three-quarter or inch [thick] tabletop,” says Chuck Simons, owner of Groomers Helper. “There should be a 4-inch clearance on each end, centered for the grooming table clamp. There should also be three inches on the sides for any standard grooming table clamps. This will allow you to put any standard grooming clamp on your table, along with the no-sit option of the Groomers Helper. Our grooming arms are the strongest available, guaranteed never to bend.”
Beyond the basic construction type of the tabletop, the matting that covers it is something to take into consideration. Many tables come standard with dark, ribbed matting affixed. While the ribbing does offer a no-slip surface for pets to stand on, it can be challenging to clean all those ridges. It can also be argued that the surface is not comfortable for pets—especially larger, heavier animals—to stand on for prolonged periods of time.
Pebble-finish surfaces are another typical grooming table topper. While they do not offer as much traction as the ribbed surface, they are far easier to clean and sanitize and seem to be more comfortable for the pets to stand on.
Some tables offer the option of rotating tops. Spinning the pet 360 degrees with the touch of a finger is a luxury that most groomers could learn to appreciate. This time-saving option allows the stylist to stay in one place and eliminates the need to physically turn the pet during the grooming process.
Investing some thought into the construction and options of this key piece of gear will help groomers enjoy their purchase for many years of happy, safe grooming.