The Best Ping Pong Conversion Tops (Reviews & Buyer's Guide 2019)

The Best Ping Pong Conversion Tops (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2019)

Best Ping Pong Conversion Tops

Author: Kevin James, Last updated: 09/05/2019

Ping Pong is fun, right? Be kids or adults, the sport is a hit among all age-groups. But what do you do, when you want to bring a ping pong table home but don't have sufficient space to fit one? Maybe the pool table is taking up your entire rec room. Or perhaps you would like to convert your dining table into a ping pong table. What? Is that even possible?

Yes, very much. A ping pong or table tennis conversion top is what you are looking for then. It's the perfect solution for your situation. 

The topper can breathe a new life in your rec room, and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. So what's there not to like? And you know, what the best part is? That, some of the conversion tops are as good as any competitive ping pong table.

To help you choose the best ping pong table top for your needs, we sifted through most (if not all) of the toppers available in the market. You can find our top recommendations and in-depth reviews in the next section. We've also included a buyer's guide which highlights the factors you need to consider before swiping your card.

Before we go ahead, here are the some of the most commonly asked question about the ping pong tops:

What is a Ping Pong Conversion Top?

​Is there a ping pong top for pool table? 

Will it scratch my pool table?

Can I install it on my dining table?

How do these tops play in comparison to regular ping pong tables?

Any major disadvantage of conversion tops?

Now that you have a brief idea about the conversion tops and let's move on to the actual selection. In the next section, I've reviewed the best ping pong conversion tops currently available in the market.

Let's start:

Ping Pong Table Conversion Top - Comparison


Pro Level


Martin Kilpatrick Table Tennis Conversion Top

{Oldest conversion top manufacturer, excellent build quality, Great price point}

Fits: Upto 9' pool table, any table of 7'x5' dimension


Martin Kilpatrick Table Tennis Conversion Top

Product Specification:

  • Size: Regulation (9ft x 5ft)
  • Table top thickness: 19mm
  • Joint mechanism: Dovetail
  • Foam padding: partial
  • Net & Post: Custom
  • Color: blue, green, grey
  • Weight: 150lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros
+ Full size 19mm thick topper. Great for competitive as well as recreational gameplay
+ Solid build quality
+ Dovetail joints firmly hold the two independent halves together
+ 1.5'' steel aprons run along the edges for increased stability
+ Net and post are easy to install. The net maintains proper tension throughout and does not loosen up after repeated play.

Cons
- Quite heavy (but that's due to superior build quality)

Martin Kilpatrick Table Tennis Conversion Top Review

Well, you may not have heard about this company before. But mind you, Martin Kilpatrick is one of the earliest manufacturers of table tennis conversion top and they have been in business for well over ten years. While other manufacturers sell a wide variety of products, this company sells just one product and they do it quite well. Also, the factory which manufactures these tops is also the OEM manufacturer of Butterfly products. So you can be rest assured, the product quality is top notch.

Plays just like any regular ping pong table

The table top is 19mm thick, constructed with high-quality MDF (Medium density fiberboard). The ball bounce, speed and spin characteristics are quite similar to competitive tables. You literally won't find any difference in playability between regular ping pong tables and this top.

German engineering, built to last

The topper comes with two independent halves which physically lock together using a dovetail joint. The joint prevents the table from accidentally moving around during play. The 1.5'' steel aprons run around all the edges which impart extra stability to the frame. The net set mounts above the playing surface and maintains sufficient tension throughout. However, the net tension adjustment mechanism is missing. 

The topper comes with thirty 1'' protective pads to prevent scratchesStick these pads wherever the topper comes in contact with the table.

Fits 98% of the pool tables

The topper can directly fit up to 8' pool tables. For 9' pool tables, you would need to unscrew the protection rails. You can also place the topper on any dining table, kitchen island or a conference table.

Superior build quality

The overall quality of the table is superior to any conversion top currently available in the market. However, there is a downside to this. The individual halves are extremely heavy and require two adults for the setup.

To summarize: If you're looking for a quality ping pong conversion top which offers good playing experience and is built to last, look no further than Martin Kilpatrick. Backed by three years limited warranty, this product is definitely a great buy.

Butterfly Conversion Table Tennis Top

{Comes with full underneath foam padding, relatively light, easy to setup}

Fits: Regular pool table upto 9'


Butterfly Conversion Top

Product Specification:

  • Size: Regulation (9ft x 5ft)
  • Table top thickness: 19mm
  • Joint mechanism: L clamp
  • Foam padding: Full
  • Net & Post: Standard Clip-on
  • Color: Blue, green
  • Weight: 150lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros
++ Full underneath foam padding provides complete protection to the underneath surface from scratches
+ 19mm thick tabletop
+ Comes with professional quality clip-type net and post with tension adjustment mechanism. 

Cons
- Few users reported paint quality issue

Butterfly Conversion Table Tennis Top Review

Well, you may have heard about the brand Butterfly before. If not, don't worry. Butterfly is one of the top table tennis equipment manufacturer, sponsoring most of the international tournaments. This conversion top is manufactured in the same factory where our top pick Martin Kilpatrick is made.

This product is similar to Martin Kilpatrick in almost all aspects. The top is 19mm thick, comes with 1.5'' protection rails and uses the same quality MDF material for the table top. Even the weight of the two products is almost similar. The bounce and response of the top is good and quite similar to our top pick.

It fits any 8' pool table. For 9' pool tables, the protection rails have to be unscrewed.

However, the major difference between them is the locking mechanism. In the Butterfly conversion top, two independent halves physically join together using two L camps which is not as sturdy as compared to the dovetail joint of Martin Kilpatrick. The butterfly top can get dislodged from external pressure more easily as compared to Martin Kilpatrick. 

But this top outscores in quite a few areas:

  • It comes with a professional net set with tension adjustment mechanism
  • The underneath is fully padded with 1'' thick foam

To summarize: Martin Kilpatrick has superior build quality while Butterfly top has superior underneath protection and a decent build. So which one do you choose?

Butterfly conversion top is slightly costlier(~$30) than our top pick. So is it justified to spend the extra money? Well, it depends. If you're too concerned about the table top scratching your pool table, then you should definitely go for this.

Recreational


Joola Table Tennis Conversion Top

{Regulation size, light weight, above average ball bounce }

Fits upto 9' pool table


JOOLA Conversion Table Tennis Top Review

Product Specification:

  • Size: Regulation (9ft x 5ft)
  • Table top thickness: 15mm
  • Joint mechanism: Screw posts
  • Foam padding: Optional
  • Net & Post: Custom
  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Warranty: 6 months

Pros
+ Grey charcoal color table top looks classy and distinct
+ Sturdy build quality
+ Lightweight and easy to ​set up
+ Decent ball bounce

Cons
- None

Joola Table Tennis Conversion Top Review

If you're looking for a sturdy yet light-weight conversion top, then look no further! Joola Conversion Top is perfect for enjoying a fun game of ping pong with family and friends.

This standard size topper (9'x5') comes with a high-quality charcoal grey color table top. The top surface is 15mm thick which is made up of warp-resistant MDF material. The ball bounce is decent enough for recreational play but if you're looking for a topper for serious practice than you should avoid this.

This product is specifically designed for recreational players who are looking for easy to set up conversion top. The topper comes 95% pre-assembled and the only thing you need to do is install the net and post.

To summarize: If you're looking for a light-weight and easy to setup conversion top, then you should choose Joola Table Tennis conversion top.

Lancaster 2 Piece Foldable Indoor Table Tennis Top

{Bang for the buck}

Suitable for: upto 9' pool table


Lancaster 2 Piece Foldable Indoor Table Top Review

Product Specification:

  • Size: Regulation (9 ft x 5 ft)
  • Table top thickness: 12mm
  • Joint mechanism: Clip 
  • Foam padding: partial
  • Net & Post: Clip type
  • Weight: 131 lbs
  • Warranty: 90 days

Pros

+ Value for money, almost 30% cheap than our top pick in this category
+ Light-weight, easy to move around
+ Good overall build quality

Cons
- 90 days warranty

Lancaster 2 Piece Conversion Top Review

This topper makes into our list, only because of the sheer value for money it offers. This product is priced about 30% cheaper than our top recommendation in this category.

Although the table top is 12mm thick but the ball bounce is good enough for recreational play. The charcoal grey tabletop is sturdy and offers consistent bounce across the surface while carrying the ball spin well. The product is light-weight and is very easy to set up and transport.

The two-separate halves are held together by the custom net posts. The net in itself is of excellent quality. Additionally, the topper comes with protective pads underneath which prevents the topper from scratching the underneath surface.

To summarize: Go for this product, if you're looking for a conversion topper for recreational usage and do not want to break your bank.

Foldable


JOOLA 4-Piece Tetra

{Low storage footprint, value buy}


JOOLA 4-Piece Tetra Table Tennis Conversion Top Review

Product Specification:

  • Size: Regulation (9 ft x 5 ft)
  • Table top thickness: 12mm
  • Joint mechanism: N/A 
  • Foam padding: partial
  • Net & Post: Custom
  • Weight: 85 lbs
  • Warranty: 6 months

Pros
+ Low storage footprint, 4-fold design
+ Easy to transport and move around
+ Regulation size

Cons
- Average ball bounce

JOOLA 4-Piece Tetra Top Review

Can you fit table tennis table in your closet? Well with Joola 4-piece Tetra conversion top you can! Featuring a four-piece folding design, this board opens into a full-fledged table tennis top. And when you're done with your game, simply fold it across and slide it in the storage. When folded up, it measures 2.5'x 5' x .8'.

This conversion top fits any pool/dining/work table above 7' in length and at least 4' width. It is light-weight yet the construction quality is top notch. Setting up and transporting the top is quite easy as well. I've seen some of the people even carrying this topper in back of their cars for a picnic. Isn't it awesome?

Now coming to the most important factor - how does it play? It plays decent, good enough for fun yet competitive family Ping Pong matches. The top is 12mm thick. Due to the thinner surface, the ball bounce is relatively low. However, if you're starting out with the game or play for fun, you would not even notice the difference. The top surface is made of scratch resistant material which is definitely a plus.

It comes with sufficient padding underneath to prevent any scratches.

To summarize: Ideal for those who're looking for a portable and easy to set up conversion top.

Table Tennis Conversion Top - Buyer's Guide

In this section, we'll be discussing in-depth about the various factors you need to consider while buying a ping pong conversion top. Finding a conversion top with the right features and build quality can make all the difference between years of gameplay or instant buyer's regret. 

During our research, we came across 34 conversion tops currently being sold in the market. So how do you go about the selection? Well, let us help. 

Let's start:

Design & Construction


The conversion tops are made up of MDF (Medium density fiberboard) material. The quality of a topper is determined by the density of the MDF used. Higher the density, the better it is. A simple way to check this by checking the weight of the top - higher weight means the quality of the board is good. The other benefit of higher density MDF is that it is warp-resistant.

Weight matters

Next, you need to check the quality of the paint. A quality tabletop is painted with multiple layers of matt finish non-glossy paint with silk screen striping for the markings. 

Check paint quality

An inherent problem with the conversion tops is that as they are not physically connected to the underlying surface. So even with a slight external force, the top may move from its location.

To solve this problem, manufacturers generally provide a locking mechanism which holds the two halves together. The also helps in leveling the playing surface.

A good quality top should be heavy and the two halves should be physically connected by a strong mechanism.

Next, lets move on to the net posts. Most of the conversion tops come with a custom designed net post which is mounted on the top of the surface. Some of the high quality tops come with a regular clip-type net post with net tension adjustment string.

Net posts with tension adjustment string is always better

"Will the conversion top scratch my pool table?" The answer is NO. The padding underneath prevents the top from scratching the surface below. Some products have full padding while others have padding only around the edges and the corners.

Look for fully padded conversion tops

Tabletop Thickness


This is the most important parameter to look while choosing a conversion top. The bounce of the ball and the amount of spin the ball can carry is dependent on the tabletop thickness. The general rule of thumb is - Thicker the topper, the better it is.

However, a thicker top also means that it would be bulky and would require at least two adults to set up.

Recommended thickness:

  • 16mm to 19mm - High-quality conversion tops, very durable and good for competitive practice.
  • 12mm to 15mm - Good bounce, great for recreational game play. Lightweight and relatively easier to set up.
  • 6mm to 9mm - Lightweight and easy to transport. Average bounce and overall decent playing experience.

Regulation Size (or Not)


The size of a standard size ping pong table is 9' x 5'. Plus you would need at least 5' on each side and 2' sideways to be able to freely move and play. So if you've sufficient space, then you should definitely get a regulation size conversion top. The playing experience will be completely different compared to non-standard ones. 

The height of a standard ping pong table is 76cm. So do check the table height on which the topper is going to be mounted. 

Surface Type


A conversion top can be placed on any plain table which provides support to at least 3/4th or 75% of the surface. If the underlying table is smaller than this, then the top may topple with a slight jerk. 

A regulation size conversion top is 9' x 5'. So the underlying table should be at least 7' x 4'. Even a 6' x 4' table can work. However, if the table is bigger than 9' x 5', then it may pose some hindrance while playing.

The conversion tops can fit up to 9-foot pool tables and any standard 6-seat dining table. 

Goals


Conversion tops are primarily geared towards recreational players. But some of the higher end models are as good as any competitive ping pong table. You can even practice and improve your game on these toppers.

So based on your requirement, here are our recommendations:

1) Recreational only - Go for entry-level tops, 12mm+ thickness

2) Recreation and easy to transport - Go for foldable conversion top, 6mm+ thickness

3) Recreational but may turn serious - Go for professional conversion tops, at least 19mm thick

4) For serious Practice - Go for professional tops

Portability


Broadly there are two types of conversion tops:

  • Regular with two independent halves (better build quality, excellent performance)
  • Portable with four-fold design (occupies lower space)

The first design consists of two independent halves, each measuring 4.5ft x 5ft. In the four-fold design, the two halves further fold along the center. Each section generally measures 4.5ft x 2.5ft. 

The foldable design tops are portable and can even be put in a car or storage closet.

Budget


Everything starts with money! So what's your budget. You can get a decent conversion top for as low as $150 and as high as $450. So how much should you spend?

Refer to the table below:

  • Recreational with folding design: up to $150
  • Recreation (Non Folding) and good quality: Up to $300
  • Professional topper: Up to $400

Advantages / Disadvantages of Conversion Tops


Pros

  • Let's you convert any solid table into a functional ping pong table
  • Offers great gameplay experience
  • Easy to set up and store

Cons

  • Playing surface height can not be adjusted
  • May get dislocated from its position
  • May sag at the center
To Wrap it Up

When buying a conversion top, you need to account various factors like your goals, space availability, features and finally the budget. You need to asses your requirements and based on that take a call. A right conversion top can ensure you and your family hours of uninterrupted play. Best of Luck!!!!

Help Us Improve

While writing the review, we analyzed the top ping pong conversion tops in the market. But we may have missed some. If you would like to suggest a topper which you've personally tried and tested, we're all ears.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Kevin James
 

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