Selecting the Right Exam Table for Your Physician Office or Therapy Clinic


Exam Table Buying Guide

Hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices need exam tables to support patients during medical examinations. These pieces of medical practice furniture are also required for certain tests and treatments. Besides supporting patients, the right examination table for a clinic must also make them comfortable during exams, tests and therapies. It should be functional and convenient for caregivers to use.

When choosing a doctor's examination table for your practice, first consider the different types available and pick the most appropriate design. Secondly, make sure the model you choose has features to support the type of care provided at the clinic or practice.


Types of Medical Exam Tables

While they serve the same basic functions, there are different exam table designs with varying sets of capabilities. The major types are treatment, box, procedure, specialty, pediatric and mobile exam tables.

A treatment table is the simplest type of medical exam tables. Its basic design features a non-reclining padded surface covered in healthcare-grade vinyl. It may also have a storage shelf underneath its seat. Most treatment tables are made of wood. Their minimalist design also makes them suitable for massage sessions.

A box exam table is the most popular type found in healthcare facilities. It also has a padded vinyl seat, but this is higher than the seat on a treatment table. It can transform into an exam chair and has a powered or pneumatic backrest that moves up and down. Most box medical exam tables have built-in storage compartments. These are usually pullout drawers for storing essential supplies like hospital gowns and gloves.

Procedure tables are used by doctors for performing minor procedures. These also transform into chairs and even have headrests as well as storage compartments for keeping essential medical practice supplies handy. Specialty medical exam tables are special-purpose units with accessories and features that make them ideal for certain exams, tests and procedures. Examples include models with stirrups used in gynecological practices and radiology/imaging tables with drop windows.

A pediatric examination table is also a specialty unit. It's smaller and lower than a regular unit since it's used for children. Unlike adult-sized exam tables, this usually has fun graphics and bright colors to help put children at ease when visiting the doctor. This is a must-have piece of furniture for a pediatric care facility. A mobile examination table for clinic is one with casters. This wheeled unit is easy to move from room to room. Choose a movable table if you plan on rearranging the practice's exam room later or to make cleaning easier. When shopping for such medical exam tables, look for a model with locking casters. These wheels have integrated brakes that prevent the tables from rolling away when unattended or shifting around while using them.


6 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Examination Table for a Clinic

Whether you're getting simple wooden tables with minimal padding for your practice or high-end units with motorized parts, it's important to know what to look for in an examination table. Refrain from splurging on the most expensive model available if a more affordable unit will serve the needs of the practice. Look for specific features that'll help care delivery and improve patients' comfort. The most important factors to consider are discussed below.

Padding and Support

Consider build quality and materials used when comparing medical exam tables. Wood and metal are the two materials used for these pieces of medical and physical therapy furniture. Both wooden and metal tables are sturdy. Metal units are more rugged and suitable for practices that see plenty of patients. Furthermore, movable metal parts are usually more durable than wooden ones. Wooden tables offer a classic look that blends well with any decor and they may be more budget-friendly.

When shopping for a metal examination table, consider a unit with an aluminum or rust-resistant steel frame. Aluminum is just as strong as steel and also rust-resistant. It's lighter too, a difference that's important when looking for a mobile doctor's examination table. Besides its frame, consider the padded surfaces of this furniture. Choose a table with amply padded support for the whole body. A standard 2-in. foam can provide firm support for most users.

Make sure the selected unit has durable upholstery. The most common material used for examination table upholstery is vinyl. This leatherette material has a non-porous, spill-proof surface and is easy to wipe clean. If available, choose a table covered with healthcare or medical-grade vinyl upholstery. This material has an antimicrobial coating that helps prevent the spread of common bacteria and germs in healthcare facilities.


Physicians need to adjust exam table positions during medical exams, tests and treatments. These adjustments allow them to have a closer look and/or make patients more comfortable during procedures. Physical therapy clinics also need adjustable medical exam tables for similar reasons.

An adjustable backrest is a must-have feature to these pieces of furniture as it lets caregivers raise and lower patients between reclining and sitting positions. Look for an examination table that allows adjustments in as many positions as possible. An adjustable footrest is also important for certain medical procedures and physical therapy treatments. Some models also have adjustable armrests. These keep patients comfortable during long procedures.


While medical exam tables are relatively heavy furniture items, some are easier to move than others. A portable build may come in handy when changing offices or rearranging the clinic. Most portable exam tables have aluminum and titanium frames. A mobile unit is also easier to relocate than one without wheels. Some lightweight units also partly fold to make them easier to store. This is a desirable feature when looking for a spare examination table for a clinic that only comes out on busy days.


Specialty medical exam tables are good choices for clinics that provide specialty care. For example, those used in gynecology offices must have stirrups. Practices that see different kinds of patients and treat different conditions need adaptable examination tables. Rather than buying multiple tables, consider getting one that's easier to customize for different specialties. Choose one that supports accessories like built-in scales and medical examination lamps for general practice.



Save time during medical procedures by keeping needed supplies in the storage compartment of an examination table. Depending on the size of the storage compartment, caregivers can keep small test and exam tools, gloves, bandages, exam gowns, charts and folders in this location. Physiotherapy clinics also need medical exam tables with such compartments to store commonly used physical therapy supplies like massage tools, kinesiology tapes, towels, ointments and creams.

There are different types of storage units built into medical exam tables. These vary from open shelves to pull-out drawers and cabinets. Find a model with lockable storage compartments if you intend to store medications or fragile or expensive medical tools there.

Weight Capacity

Like other pieces of medical furniture, exam tables also have weight capacities. Choose medical exam tables strong enough to accommodate the kinds of patients the practice sees. A regular exam table supports up to 450 lbs. Pediatric models have lower weight capacities since they're for children. Practices that regularly see overweight patients should consider bariatric medical exam tables. These have weight capacities of 850 lbs. and above.

Find practical and supportive medical exam tables for your practice to keep patients and clients comfortable during tests, examinations and treatments. Pick a design that's right for the type of care provided at the clinic and consider factors like adjustability, storage options and weight capacity. Find the right examination table for clinic when shopping medical, physical therapy and general supplies and equipment at CeilBlue™.