Joola’s table tennis conversion top is one of the best on the market. Along with the Martin Kilpatrick top, it is the one I recommend the most.
The Joola quality standard
This is no fly-by-night company, like some others we occasionally see pop up to produce a conversion top for a minute and then disappear. Joola sponsors the US national team and is well-known at the highest levels of ping pong.
One of the reasons I am so keen on recommending this conversion top is that it has a long history. It has one of the highest numbers of reviews which means:
- It’s been around a long time
- The reviews are good enough to keep people buying
Joola size and weight – professional level
The Joola ping pong conversion top is a cool, charcoal black color. It straight up looks good, as one customer noted: “This table top would be at home in a very fancy, elegant game room.”
As always with standard competition size tops, this top is heavy. In total, it weighs 115 pounds, but luckily it comes in two halves. Still, everyone should be advised that it’s likely to take two adults to position the table halves on top of a pool table.
As mentioned, when laid out it is a standard 9’ x 5’ table tennis table. That is the same size that the big boys and girls (the professionals and Olympians) play on. I’ve reviewed a miniature table tennis conversion top elsewhere, but I always recommend 9’ x 5’ if you have the space. It makes for much more satisfying play.
While Joola only recommends using this top on pool tables up to 8’ in length, I have read many reviews where people state they are using it on 9’ long tables. The problem there is that when the edges of both are even, it can impact your swinging paddle. (Or your paddle can impact your billiards table!)
It should also be noted that the Joola top is 15mm wide, which is 0.6 inches. This is fine and is sufficient for high fidelity play, but is a little thinner than the Martin Kilpatrick claims to be.
The Joola conversion top’s material
Joola uses medium density fiberboard (MDF) to fashion their conversion top. This is an engineered wood that is broken down into fibers and combined with wax and resin. Under high temperatures, the MDF comes to life and is fashioned into the end-product. Most table tennis conversion tops are made out of MDF.
I have not seen any negative reports about the Joola warping over time. I think MDF is a really good material for table tennis tops.
Protecting your pool table
The number one thing that people do to protect their pool table from being damaged by the Joola conversion top is to leave a cover on their pool table. This insulates it from scratches.
Joola includes EVA foam padding pieces with this conversion top. This further serves the need of protecting your pool table. EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate which is a common material used in many different sports products:
- Bike saddles
- Ski boots
- Boxing accessories
So, the pool table cover plus the EVA foam should be sufficient to protect the underlying table, if you are worried about that. The foam can actually serve two purposes simultaneously.
J.G. said, “We’ve had it since Christmas and play on it all the time and it never moves due to the padding underneath. It’s a really good table, I have absolutely no complaints.”
Joola accessories – comes with net and posts
Joola includes a net and posts with their ping pong conversion top. Some people have complained that the net is of an inferior quality. It is easy to find a better quality net if that is the case. I hope Joola decides to start packaging a better net with their great conversion top soon.
When you attach the posts to the fiberboard halves, they serve to lock the two pieces of wood together. However, that is not really necessary because the halves are so heavy that they typically will not shift during a game of ping pong. Their own weight would hold them in place, even if the brackets weren’t there.
It should also be noted that, as with every other conversion top I have ever seen, you cannot do self-play or single-play on the Joola top. Some full ping pong tables allow you to tilt one side up at a 90 degree angle so you can practice when alone. That just won’t work with the Joola.
Using the Joola on other tables
For those of you who may not have a pool table, and are interested in using the Joola top on a different surface, let me run through some popular other options.
Air hockey table
If you want to put your Joola conversion top on an air hockey table, it’s really going to depend on the dimensions and the sturdiness of the underlying table. And of course, you will need it to be able to lay flat.
Remember that the Joola comes in two halves, so each half’s center of gravity must be safely over the air hockey table. As soon as you start to lay it on any table that is less than 7’ in length, things could get tricky.
I think foosball tables might be even shorter than air hockey tables. If that is the case, I think that the Joola top is unlikely to be able to balance firmly on top of it. This is unlikely to work out unless the foosball table is longer than normal.
One last note: someone asked if they could use their Joola table tennis conversion top as a dining table. If you are having a large party and your normal tables just aren’t going to have enough room to fit all the food, then I don’t see why you couldn’t use the Joola as a dining table. The only problem would be if someone spilled hot liquid on it, which could damage the table for play.