The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Review

Rigorous daily use isn't this table's gig, but it can hold its own in basic situations and compares well against similar lightweight models
Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum
Photo: Amazon
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $43 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, relatively strong, metal
Cons:  A little wobbly, can't place knees underneath
Manufacturer:   Portal Outdoor
By Jason Wanlass ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 14, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Stability and Strength - 30% 6
  • Portability - 30% 7
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Setup - 20% 6

Our Verdict

What it lacks in innovative design, it makes up for with functionality, earning the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table our Best Buy Award. The market is flooded with aluminum tables with the Portal's same basic design; however, a few basic features — like a heavier base and a hinged tabletop — allow the Portal to be stronger and sturdier than similarly designed tables that share the same price tag. In short, you'll get what you pay for: A decent, light-duty table that will last you a few years or more if you treat it well.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $39.99 at Amazon$39.99 at Amazon$99.00 at Amazon$132.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$119.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
63
78
68
66
64
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, relatively strong, metalSolid plastic table top, quick set up, durable, large but portable, steel legs and baseCompact storage, durable, solid-surface table top, easy to clean, base and table top store together nicelyAmazing storage options, self-contained, ready-to-use designLightweight, two cup holders, sturdy yet flexible
Cons A little wobbly, can't place knees underneathA little heavy, more difficult to carry than collapsible aluminum tables, difficult for one person to adjust leg heightCan be wobbly, setup requires top of table to face down, hands get dirty during set upSits low, does not compress or collapse, small cooking spaceSmall table with a high price, fabric can melt, confusing to set up on first try
Bottom Line Sometimes a simple, generic, inexpensive table is exactly what you needFor camping and so much more, this utility table does it allLarge enough to prep, cook, and dine on, with a frame design that allows you easily fit your knees under the tabletopIf keeping all your camp kitchen needs organized and quickly available, this is your best betPerfectly compact, lightweight, strong and portable, you can take this table nearly anywhere
Rating Categories Lightweight Aluminum 4428 Height Adjustable Foldi... Camp Time Roll-A-Table Camp Chef Sherpa Table Helinox Table One
Stability And Strength (30%)
6
9
7
8
5
Portability (30%)
7
5
7
4
9
Durability (20%)
6
9
7
7
4
Ease Of Setup (20%)
6
9
6
8
7
Specs Lightweight Aluminum 4428 Height... Camp Time... Camp Chef Sherpa... Helinox Table One
Measured Weight (lbs) 8.9 lbs 18.1 lbs 10.1 lbs 10.2 lbs 1.5 lbs
Unfolded Dimensions (inches) 27. 5 x 27. 5 x 26 in 48 x 24 x 24/29/36 in 32.3 x 32.3 x 28 in 27 x 17 x 28 in 24 x 16 x 14 in
Folded Dimensions (inches) 28 x 7. 5 x 2. 2 in 24 x 23.5 x 3 in 32.3 x 6.5 x 4.5 in 15.75 x 27 x 18.25 in 16 x 3.5 x 3 in
Table Height (inches) 26 in 24 in, 29 in, 36 in 28 in 28 in 16 in
Table Top Material Aluminum Injection molded plastic Wood and poly-vinyl Aluminium Polyester
Claimed Max Support Weight 60 lbs Not mentioned 100 lbs 66 lbs 110 lbs
Features Lightweight, roll-top Adjustable height options, solid surface top, steel legs and base Completely self-contained system. Removable aluminum folding table top, 4 zippered organization bins, telescoping legs. Very lightweight, cup holders, several carry loops on stuff sack
Set-up Time (Avg) 52 secs 12 secs 1 min 52 sec 15 secs 52 secs
Break Down Time (Avg) 40 secs 22 secs 1 min 41 secs 14 secs 49 secs

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're headed to the beach, park, tailgate party, or campground, the aluminum Portal table is a great addition to your adventure, as long as you don't need it for anything heavy-duty. This table is great for a game of poker, lunch, holding accessories or condiments, or serving as a water station.

Performance Comparison


The Portal is great for light-duty work. We enjoyed using its metal...
The Portal is great for light-duty work. We enjoyed using its metal table surface as a base for our camp stove.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Stability and Strength


The Portal's powder-coated metal legs are relatively heavy, making for a solid base. Combine this with its frame braces and chain-style, hinged tabletop, the result is a table that is surprisingly more stable than its dainty, thin appearance leads you to believe. Overall, it performed a little above-average in our stability and strength tests. It's strong and it's square designed allows the table to remain relatively steady when it's load weight is not evenly distributed.


The Portal's key weakness comes from its X-braces. They are thin and...
The Portal's key weakness comes from its X-braces. They are thin and very pliable, which gives the overall table a certain degree of wobble or sway. This is more noticeable when the table is loaded to its weight capacity.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

We were disappointed in the thinness of table's X-supports. They are somewhat flimsy and tend to bow when we applied pressure to the table in any direction. This results the potential for quite a bit of sway, especially when the Portal is holding heavier loads. Additionally, the table's top has four plastic dowels on each corner. Dowels on one side slide into circular receivers on the table's base, while the remaining two dowels only clip into C-shaped receivers. This is designed to make the table easier to set up.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Portability


A generous storage bag and full-length shoulder strap make the Portal easy to transport. Weighing in a just under nine pounds, this table is very lightweight for its finished size, making it easy to grab and go. However, once set up, this table is a bit trickier to move around.


While quite sturdy for its thin design, the Portal's X-braces tend to bow under pressure, which causes its legs move out of place when the table is slid across the ground, loaded. Additionally, only two sides of the tabletop attach to the base frame, which causes the top to bow out of place if the table is accidentally lifted from the non-attached sides. This can be quite unfortunate if the table is loaded with your long-awaited picnic lunch.

The tabletop only attaches to two sides of the table. We found this...
The tabletop only attaches to two sides of the table. We found this mildly problematic when the table was loaded and we accidentally picked it up by the wrong ends. If moving after it's already set up, be sure to lift from the correct ends of the table.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Durability


We were disappointed in our efforts to find specific warranty information on the Portal. Overall, when we weighed the table's price tag against its overall quality, we still gave it respectable durability scores, and we feel it held up nicely against our less-than-kind treatment.


This table's chained, side-hinged system is superior at holding...
This table's chained, side-hinged system is superior at holding connecting table slats together than the cheaper bungee cord systems. This results in a slightly sturdier table, and an easier to manage table top.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Despite being very basic and thin, this table is relatively well-made. It's not built to last a lifetime, but if treated as a lightweight table, we feel it could last several years. The Portal's major durability drawbacks are found in its moving pieces — all of the table's key joints or connections are made from plastic.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Setup


There's a difference between easy and fast. The Portal is relatively simple to set up, but when compared to other tables we've tested, it doesn't pop into place quickly. This table requires a few extra steps to deploy. These steps are easy enough, though.


As with all tables with the same design as the Portal, the...
As with all tables with the same design as the Portal, the X-supports prevent nearly any adult from placing their knees under the table. This prevents a true "belly up to the bar" feeling and forces users to sit sideways or to face the table but do more leaning forward than they would prefer.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Value


When compared to similarly designed tables, the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table certainly measures up in durability, quality, and function. However, this table is not made for heavy, rigorous use. Provided it's used for basic camping or outdoor adventures, we feel this table offers a lot of value for its modest price tag.

If used for basic, light-duty activities, the Portal is durable...
If used for basic, light-duty activities, the Portal is durable enough to last more than just a few years. We don't feel it will last a lifetime, but considering its price tag, it's still a great value.
Photo: Jason Wanlass

Conclusion


Cheap, aluminum-top camp tables are a dime a dozen. Most employ similar designs, features, and materials. When compared to this subcategory of camping tables, we feel the Portal Outdoor Lightweight Aluminum Table stands a little above its peers. It has a heavier, sturdier base, and it uses a solid, side-hinge system to attach the aluminum table slats together. This system is superior to the standard bungee cord system that most tables use. If you need n inexpensive, basic table to perform simple outdoor functions for a few years, this is a great option.

Jason Wanlass