Many of us love pool tables for many reasons: it gives us something to do to pass the time, it gives us a competitive place to challenge friends or ourselves, it's a great way to spend quality time with our kids. For these reasons we love to have pool tables in our own homes so that we can play when we want, how we want and with whom we want. But what happens when the kids get sick of playing billiards? This is where table tennis conversion tops come in. A table tennis or ping pong conversion top is a padded wooden table that can be secured to the top of your pool table and used to play ping pong. They are the same size as regular ping pong tables but they use the billiard table for support. There are many different, brands, sizes and features available so how do you find the right one for your kids?
The main feature in a table tennis conversion top is the thickness of the wooden table. The most common sizes are 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch. The thickness of the table contributes to three things: the speed of the play, the uniformity of the bounce of the ball and probably most importantly the tendency of the table to warp. The ping pong playing speed is not something that most amateurs (and certainly not kids) worry about. Really only serious players and semi-pros will be concerned with how the tennis table contributes to the speed of the ball and its ability to grip the spin. The second function, the uniformity of the bounce can be important to a more skilled child because it can be frustrating once you get good to have the ball bounce well in one area but not in another. So if your child is already pretty good at the sport you may want to think about getting a thicker table as that will provide a more uniform bounce. The last point is probably the most important to you and your kids is that a thicker table will be less likely to warp. As most pool tables are stored in basements and garages, these environments tend to get cold and damp during the cooler months. The moisture could end up warping the boards if you're not careful. By purchasing a thicker tennis table conversion top, you avoid this problem as the thicker table can deal with more environmental stress.
There is a strong case for getting a thicker table, but you have to consider the overall picture and how the kids will use the table. The thicker tables obviously cost more money. You may be better off buying a cheap table tennis conversion top for several reasons. One, your kids might not be that into ping pong. There's no use buying a nice ping pong table conversion top that will last for years if your children lose interest in a couple of months. Another reason to start off with a cheaper conversion top is that kids tend to be a little more physical and less respectful during playing. It's real easy for kids to get caught up in the play and end up banging around on the table giving it lots of abuse. Most kids won't care too much about the condition of the table and just want to a surface to bounce the ball back and forth on. And if your children do get into table tennis at more serious level, you can always upgrade to a better table top or even a whole table tennis table altogether.
Whichever table tennis conversion top you decide to buy make sure to look around online to try and find the best deal. When I was looking for mine I found that purchasing an all-inclusive package (conversion top, net, paddle, balls) provided a better deal. Some tennis table conversion tops won't come with a net so you'll need to keep that in mind when shopping.