The Martin Kilpatrick table tennis conversion top is my favorite top to recommend. It has a long history as opposed to a lot of the other tops that are currently on the market, and tends to get good reviews.
Martin Kilpatrick – a quality brand
Martin Kilpatrick is a German company that is renowned for its quality craftsmanship. Indeed, this ¾” conversion top is thicker than average which is good for ping pong play. The ball will bounce better on a sturdier table. The wood table top is made out of a composite material that has proven to be good for table tennis.
Size of pool table
This Martin Kilpatrick pool conversion table top measures 9’ x 5’ like most standard ping pong tops. Indeed, this is ITTF-approved regulation size for table tennis tables.
Now, what’s unique about the Martin Kilpatrick top is that its net posts are structured in a way that they don’t clamp underneath the top, like other conversion tops do. This means you can use the Kilpatrick top on a 5’ wide pool table and the table tennis top won’t be awkwardly pushed up because the post clamp is pushing against your pool table. Kilpatrick does not use clamps. The entire post architecture takes place “above sea level” so to speak.
While manufacturers do not recommend using 9’ x 5’ table tennis conversion tops on 9’ long pool tables, many customers have tried anyway and have reported positive results. I think most residential pool tables are 7’ or 8’ in length, so it’s not a key issue for most people, but if you do have a 9’ pool table the Kilpatrick top may still be satisfactory. You just need to understand that the edge of the ping pong top and the edge of the pool table will be roughly even, and that could impact play. It could also create situations where you swing the paddle and hit your pool table by accident.
The ideal length of pool table for use with the Martin Kilpatrick conversion top is 7’ or 8’, though. If you have a 7’ air hockey table, that could work, too.
The Martin Kilpatrick conversion top – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
One of the main reasons that I recommend the Martin Kilpatrick ping pong top is that it has a lot of reviews online. Only the Joola top can compete, really, in terms of having a record of satisfied customers in a conversion top’s wake.
A lot of the other table tennis companies are constantly putting out new models and then recalling them. I think they switch distributors a lot, and probably aren’t that committed to their conversion tops versus their other bigger-selling products like full tables, rackets, balls, etc.
But Martin Kilpatrick seems devoted to maintaining their dominant position in table tennis conversion tops.
Net and posts
I have already touched on the unique feature of the net and post set-up (that it does not reach underneath the conversion top, and therefore can be used on a 5’ wide pool table). The net that comes with the Martin Kilpatrick top has received muted reviews. One person remarked that it was like a “dollar store” table tennis net. Another said that he ended up ordering a Stiga net to use in its place, and that this had worked out well.
The problem with the net (which comes with the Kilpatrick top) is apparently that it is cheap and will sometimes allow a ball that gets hit into its top-half to fall down on the other side. The net should in almost all cases result in the ball falling on the same side from which it was hit, so that’s not a good thing, but maybe not such a big deal.
Taking care of the Kilpatrick conversion top
In order to clean this ping pong top, it is recommended that you just use a rag dowsed in soapy water. You can also use baby wipes. It may even be as simple as just running a duster over it every couple of weeks.
This table top is not meant to spend much time outdoors. If you leave it out in the elements, the table will likely warp and play fidelity will be lost. As far as I know, there are no table tennis conversion tops that are specifically made for outdoor storage. This is probably because people do not have their pool tables outsides, so there would be a very minimal market for outdoor conversion tops.
The Martin Kilpatrick conversion top is about as good as it gets
While there may be other good options – the Harvil ping pong conversion top comes to mind – I think that the Martin Kilpatrick top we’re talking about here is likely to be as good or better than any other table. And of course, when I say table I mean one without legs!
Martin Kilpatrick has proven they are devoted to selling table tennis conversion tops over a long period of time. Hopefully they take into account any negative feedback they get over time, and use that to further improve the top. In the end, they are at least one of the very best choices.