Getting a ping pong conversion top is a quick and affordable way to transform your existing pool, dining, or gaming table into a full-size ping pong table.
In this post, we take you through everything you need to know to pick the right conversion table for your home. We’ll give you the raw numbers you need to make a decision: table dimensions (for both storage and play), weights, and what those extra features (like aprons and foam backing) actually mean.
Let’s get straight into it.
Quick answer: Best Ping Pong Conversion Tops
Here’s a summary table showing you the stats of all the tables we review in this guide, plus today’s prices pulled from Amazon (in case you’re wondering, they all come with nets included but you’ll need to buy your balls and paddles separately):
|Top||JOOLA Tetra 4-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||12mm (0.5")||85lbs||Particle board||Foam pads, hinged halves||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||JOOLA Regulation 2-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||15mm (0.6")||115lbs||MDF||Full foam backing||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||JOOLA Conversion 2-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||15mm (0.6")||109lbs||MDF||Foam pads, metal apron||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||STIGA Premium 4-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||13mm (0.5")||90lbs||Wood||Foam pads||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||STIGA Premium 2-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||15mm (0.6")||110lbs||Wood||Full foam backing||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Dunlop 4-piece||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||12mm (0.5")||90lbs||Particle board||Foam pads||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Butterfly Pool Table Conversion Top||9 x 5ft (108"x60")||19mm (0.75")||150lbs||Wood||Full foam backing, metal apron||Buy on Amazon|
What is a ping pong conversion top?
A ping pong conversion top is the top part of a table tennis table (without legs) that is designed to fit over an existing table in your home (like a pool, billiard, or air hockey table) and fold away after use.
Ping pong toppers can be cheaper to buy than stand-alone table tennis tables, and save you plenty of space. And almost all come with a net included so they’re ready to use straight away.
Conversion top features you need to know about
You might think that ramming a piece of MDF on top of your existing table would be a simple endeavor, but there’s actually a little bit more to it than that. Here are the main terms you need to understand when you’re out shopping for the best ping pong table top:
- Foam – foam backing or padding is as simple as it sounds: foam applied to the underside of the topper to protect your table from damage or scratches. A must-have feature. Most table tops will either have full foam backing (more expensive but better for keeping the table in place) or foam pads.
- Apron – not for the kitchen, a table tennis top apron is a metal edging strip that goes around the table, holding it firmly in place. They are designed to keep the table top level and protect it from becoming warped over time, but will cost you a bit more.
- Table size – most conversion tables are full-size: 9 by 5 feet.
- Minimum table size – this is the size of the pool, billiard, dining or other regular table you want to place the conversion top onto. Usually, the minimum table size is 7 by 3 feet.
- Table thickness – the thicker the table top, the more durable, stable, and hard-wearing it will be. Thicker tables will also weigh more (and cost more!).
- 2-piece or 4-piece – a 2-piece top will come in two solid halves (4.5 by 2.5 feet each), whereas a 4-piece table will have additional hinges and each half will fold in half again, measuring 4.5 by 1.25 feet for storage. 2-piece tables are more durable and sturdy to play on, but 4-piece ones are easier to carry and store away.
- Material – the construction material of your conversion top will affect its durability. There are 2 common types: particle board, which is cheaper and lighter, and MDF, which is heavier and more durable.
- Indoor only – almost all ping pong toppers are for indoor use only. You could probably get away with using one outside for a short period of time on a dry day, but generally they are not built to handle outdoor conditions, even if you used a cover, so keep them inside!
The Best Ping Pong Conversion Tops in 2022
JOOLA is a very well-established name in the ping pong space; they’ve been making professional and recreational table tennis equipment since 1952.
The JOOLA regulation conversion top is JOOLA’s premium offering (aka it’s going to cost you more!). It’s a full-size table (9 by 5 feet, aka 108 by 60 inches, aka 2.7 by 1.5 meters) and available in 2 versions: one with a full foam backing, and one with foam pads and a metal apron. You’ll pay more for the apron version, but you’ll also get a sturdier tabletop that will last longer.
Here’s how the prices of JOOLA’s different table tops compare today:
|JOOLA Regulation Table Tennis Conversion Top with Foam Backing||Buy on Amazon|
|JOOLA Conversion Table Tennis Top with Metal Apron + Foam Backing||Buy on Amazon|
|JOOLA Tetra Ping Pong Table Top with Foam Backing||Buy on Amazon|
Both versions of the table comes in 2 pieces that are easy to lift onto a table (ideally by 2 people). Each half weighs around 60 pounds (25kg). Each table half measures 54 x 30 inches (4.5 by 2.5 feet).
While designed for pool tables, the conversion top has a flat bottom edge that means it can also be used on any other solid table surface, like a dining table. The table is also 15mm thick, and constructed from MDF, which makes it more durable and sturdy than cheaper options.
If you’re using the JOOLA regulation conversion top on a pool table, you’ll want to use the two stabilizing blocks that come with it, to ensure there’s no sagging.
Finally, JOOLA’s premium conversion top is a stylish black color (although they call it “charcoal”), and comes with a net and clamp. It’s a solid (pun intended) choice, and will last you a long time. The trade-off is that it’s bulky and heavy – you’ll need to make space for it in a closet or garage when not in use.
Here’s how it differs and why it’s priced lower than the JOOLA Regulation tabletop:
The JOOLA Tetra, while still a full-size topper is only 12mm thick and made from particle board (aka chipboard), which makes it cheaper and lighter but also weaker than a thicker MDF topper like the JOOLA Regulation one.
The JOOLA Tetra top weighs 85 lbs (38.5kg) in total. Each folded half weighs just over 40 pounds (19kg). This has the added benefit of being easier to carry and assemble.
Setting up the JOOLA Tetra topper is simple:
First, you unfold each table half, then align them on top of your pool or billiard table (protective pads stop it from scratching your precious table!). Then, the net is clamped into place and you’re ready to play.
The folding element makes the JOOLA Tetra tabletop a little weaker, but allow for easy storage. Each half folds down to only 4.5 by 1.25 feet (54 x 15 inches) so you can store it it more places (even behind a couch!).
The JOOLA regulation conversion top has almost the exact same spec as the Dunlop ping pong conversion top (keep reading for a review of that one) so if you decide it’s the right table for you, have a look at which one is cheaper once you’re ready to buy. Here are the latest prices from Amazon:
|JOOLA Tetra 4-Piece Table Tennis Conversion Top||Buy on Amazon|
|Dunlop 4-Piece Table Tennis Conversion Top||Buy on Amazon|
STIGA is another great name in table tennis. The European company (originally Swedish) has been making table tennis equipment since 1938.
STIGA’s premium conversion table comes in two versions: a 4-piece version, and a 2-piece version. There are a couple more differences between the two (not to mention the price), so here’s a quick overview:
|Top||STIGA 4-Piece Premium Table Tennis Conversion Table||13mm||90 lbs||9 by 5 feet||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||STIGA 2-Piece Premium Table Tennis Conversion Table||15mm||110 lbs||9 by 5 feet||Buy on Amazon|
Firstly. let’s see what’s the same: both tables are full-size (9 by 5 feet), come with a net and post set, and are constructed from wood (likely MDF).
The cheaper STIGA 4-piece table top is thinner and lighter: the top is 13mm thick, and each half weighs 45 pounds (20kg).
Each half folds in half again and is held together by 2 hinges. Foam pads are fixed to the bottom of the playing surface to protect your dining or pool table underneath.
The more expensive 2-piece STIGA premium conversion table is 15mm and each half weighs 55 lbs (25kg).
Each half is a solid piece and needs to be lifted onto the base table. There’s no metal apron, but it comes with full foam backing.
4. Dunlop Table Tennis Conversion Top
While Dunlop is widely known as a famous tire brand, their sports manufacturing arm, Dunlop Sports, has been in operation since 1910 and is best known for making top-quality racquet sports equipment for squash, tennis, badminton, and ping pong.
The Dunlop ping pong conversion top is a 4-piece cheap and cheerful product that gets the job done. It has a 12mm thick playing surface, made from particle board. While it might not be the sturdiest, at least it stays lightweight and easy to lift and store.
As full-size table top, each half folds down to 54 by 30 inches (4.5 by 2.5 feet), so it’s as compact as you can get for storage and portability.
Each half weighs 45 lbs and is joined by sturdy hinges. Foam pads (extras supplied in the box) help stop it from scratching your table below. The table top comes with a standard net and post set that clamps onto the playing surface.
If you want to read more about how to set up the Dunlop conversion top, here is a link to the manual.
The Dunlop ping pong conversion top is pretty much identical in spec to the JOOLA regulation conversion top so if it has everything you need, we recommend opting for whichever one you can get cheapest. Or let your blue vs green color preference decide!
Another well-known name in ping pong, Butterfly, has been making table tennis equipment since 1950 and was founded in Japan by table tennis pro Hikosuke Tamasu.
Butterfly make one of the most premium ping pong conversion table tops on the market. The Butterfly pool table conversion top (which, by the way, can still be used on other types of table), is a full-size 2-piece table available in two colors: blue and green.
Constructed from wood (likely MDF), the Butterfly conversion top weighs a whopping 150 pounds in total (75 lbs each half), and comes with a removable metal apron for added durability. The underside has full foam backing, allowing it to fit snuggly on any table and not move around during play.
The Butterfly table top is a generous 19mm thick, making it one of the few conversion tops we’ve seen that meets ITTF table regulations (which is 18mm minimum). And, as usual, it comes with a clip-on net.
If you want a professional-spec table tennis table that’s going to last for a long time, then the premium Butterfly conversion top will serve you well.
Ping Pong Conversion Top FAQs
Does the color of my ping pong table top matter?
If you’re playing ping pong recreationally, the color of your table doesn’t matter at all. If you want to follow official ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) regulations, your table tennis table top must be “uniformly dark coloured and matt”, which means it can be dark green or dark blue or any dark color, even black – it’s up to you!
How long does it take to set up a ping pong table top?
You can install most ping pong table tops in under 5 minutes. They can be heavy so it’s recommended to have 2 people lift them. The part that takes longest is actually the net and post setup, but it’s still quick to do:
How big does my table need to be to use a ping pong conversion top?
Your pool, billiard, dining, air hockey or other table should be a minimum of 7 by 3 feet to accept a full-size 9 by 5 feet table tennis playing surface. This means you’ll have a maximum overhang of 2 feet on each side – any more and the table will wobble during play. You can also fit a top onto larger tables – anything between 7×3 ft and 9x5ft works great.
Where can I buy a ping pong conversion top?
While we’ve pulled the prices in our guide from Amazon, there are plenty of retailers that stock the same table tennis conversion tops so shop around for the best deal. Walmart often has well-priced toppers (especially if you’re able to collect in-store to save on shipping).