The Viper portable table tennis top is not a typical table tennis conversion top. The Viper is geared toward a less serious ping pong experience, so let’s take a lot at what distinguishes this unique product.
Smaller than normal conversion tops
Most table tennis conversion tops are 9’ x 5’. The Viper portable top is 7’ x 3.5’.
In terms of playing surface area, the regular conversion top will have 45 square feet of area, versus the Viper’s 24.5 square feet. This means the Viper has barely over 50% of the room to play on that a typical table will have.
Also of note is differences in thickness. The Viper top is only ¼” thick while most conversion tops are 5/8” or even ¾”.
All of this is to say: this is not a “serious” table top, but is instead geared more toward kids or very casual players. And as it turns out, there must be a decent amount of people who fit this niche, because the Viper portable conversion top has many, many reviews and many of them are pretty positive, actually.
Get your ping pong at a low price
I recently wrote an article about the cost of a table tennis conversion top. In it, I found that the average price was currently $314. Of course, prices are always subject to change, but the Viper portable top sells at a whopping ~60% discount to its larger, more serious peers. I’m sure that is another aspect of its appeal.
A tri-fold table tennis top
Another fairly unique aspect of the Viper is that it folds into three sections.
In the picture, you should be able to see two hinges that are 1/3 and 2/3 of the way along the length of the table tennis top’s side. Since the table is not built with the utmost integrity, one should be careful when folding and unfolding it, as it is possible the seams could crack.
The Viper comes with a carrying bag that it fits into nicely when in the tri-fold, retracted position. There is also a pocket on the side, sort of like laptop carrying cases have. I guess that is why they call it the Viper portable top.
In line with its portability, the Viper portable table tennis top only weighs 39 pounds. Most standard table tennis conversion tops weigh around 100 pounds, come in two separate halves, and are really not portable. Again, we can see that Viper is aiming for a different sub-segment of the market: the fun-loving, casual, breezy, un-serious ping pong player, young kids, people who just break it out for a party or bring it to an occasional friend’s house to play, etc.
Chess, checkers, and backgammon on the other side
On the underside of the Viper portable top there is both a chess & checkers board and a backgammon board. Personally, I don’t even know how to play backgammon, but I do enjoy chess and checkers — as long as my opponent is not a genius.
This is another feature of the Viper model that you will not find in many, or any, other conversion table tennis tops.
What to put the Viper portable on top of
The manufacturer suggests placing your Viper table tennis top on any of these surfaces:
- Dining room table
- Kitchen island
- Pool table
- Or even a table saw platform!?
If you’re placing it on top of a pool table, make sure it is not more than 7’ long or else the Viper portable top will not extend as far as the pool table and it will make for poor playing at best. You may also want to place a block in the middle between the pool table and the Viper top in order to prevent dipping and sagging.
Some people have reported buying a cheap but appropriately sized table just to lay the Viper on top of it. This is an ingenious method to keep costs down but enable a mini-version of ping pong.
Comes with net, posts, paddles, and balls
The Viper portable conversion top comes with not only a net and posts, but also two table tennis rackets and balls. They are not of the best quality, but they will probably get the job done. If ordering, I would not purchase additional items until I could try out the Viper add-ons. If they aren’t sufficient, better paddles and ping pong balls are only a click away.
The lowdown on the Viper portable ping pong top
In the end, I would not recommend this model for most readers. There are some reports of sub-par construction quality, which only makes sense at this low price point. Anyone who is hoping to create a realistic table tennis experience will be disappointed by the Viper conversion top.
For those who have enough space, or a regular pool table, but who want to keep their costs down, my favorite pick right now would be the Harvil table tennis conversion top.
But there is a segment of the population who are looking exactly for what the Viper portable top delivers: a casually sufficient playing surface that lo and behold is probably not going to train the next Olympic champion, but will be good for a few laughs and some fun. I think that is the purpose of the Viper in the first place.