Butterfly TR26B Playback Review
Ping Pong table Review: 4 stars out of 5
The Butterfly TR26B Playback, also called the Butterfly Playback Rollaway table, is a competitively priced regulation sized table tennis table featuring a 3/4-inch playing surface, 1-inch steel square legs, 1 1/2-inch steel railing rim and 5-inch ball bearing caster wheels. It also conveniently has holders on both sides to hold paddles and several ping pong balls. The Butterfly TR26B is a sturdy table priced at the top of the entry-level or "economy" price point - usually right around $500.
- Folds into the playback and storage positions without removing the net and post
- Durable steel frame and wood finish
- Two safety levers on each table side provide an effective child safety feature
- Net and post set included; 3-year warranty against manufacturer defects
The Butterfly TR26B has a solidly built frame that is engineered in Germany and for a table that weighs in at 190 pounds, it offers very good stability and playing experience. At an entry-level price, you won't find many tables heavier than this one. For the most part, this is a good thing. It speaks to the quality and density of the materials used in its construction.
The sturdy 1-inch steel legs are very dense and seem much more durable than those on other similarly priced tables. Underneath the legs are four large 5-inch double wheels. These over-sized wheels allow for greater mobility of the table and make it much easier to set up. It's nice to see these large, high-quality wheels rather than the tiny "office chair" wheels common on entry-level ping pong tables.
There are also eight cross beams that span the width of the table connecting the legs together at each point. These beams, combined with the large central safety beam, help to add rigidity to the frame and keep the table much more stable. These leg joints are indented from the edge of the table to allow you easily maneuver around the table without bumping your foot or knee. Overall, the undercarriage is solid and provides great stability for a table in this price range.
The TR26B is a pretty bare bones table, but it does come with some extra safety and convenience features. There are safety levers on each side of the table that allow the table to be locked into position to prevent an unintended opening of the table. The table also is able to fold up into storage position without removing the net, which makes for easier and faster storage. The table can fold into playback mode, for solo play and warm up, without removing the net as well. The table also comes with an accessory holder on each side of the table that is great for storing paddles and ping pong balls.
You can see from the parts list that there is no shortage of parts for this table. All in all, the box comes with over 200 separate pieces that need to be assembled - this is counting the individual nuts and bolts. This is a lot of parts and due to the fact that very few components of this table are pre-assembled, the assembly process is long and difficult. The instructions aren't great as they combine steps and use almost entirely diagrams without any actual written directions. Customers reported that it can take anywhere from 4 hours to 8 hours or even longer to fully assemble the table. The process also is much easier if you have the right tools. Adjustable wrenches will work, but you'll have a much easier time with two 10mm wrenches - these are less common in the US, but you can easily find them at any hardware store. The long assembly process is something you need to be prepared to deal with if you decide to purchase the TR26B.
The most obvious downside of this table is assembly process. Not only is the table difficult to assemble, but the weight of the table can make it hard to move into place before and after assembly. After it's assembled, it does offer nice playability and certainly doesn't feel cheap even though it's offered at such a competitive price.
The Butterfly TR26B is a solidly built entry-level table at a good price. It may be lacking in extra features and bells and whistles, but it delivers on the basics. It may be very difficult to assemble, but once assembled it's a good indoor table that should offer years of enjoyment.