Technology has taken over our lives and the avenues to have fun and physical activity while being indoors have shrunk. But this doesn’t mean that there are no options at all. Air hockey is an ideal indoor activity, played by two players. Air hockey is becoming increasingly popular these days. That is why you will find these air hockey tables in houses, bars, and clubs and even in some malls. You can enjoy this sport inside your house and create a classic environment for all your friends. Air hockey enables you to have an arcade like experience in your home. The sport comprises of a table with a smooth shiny surface, two paddles that will be held by the players, in addition to a puck.
There are many things to consider when buying an air hockey table. Such as buying a table that is economical, durable and ensures long lasting leisure for you and your friends. There are a variety of tables available in the market based on different sizes and qualities. You can choose the appropriate size based on your place where you will set the table up. Choosing the right type of table, in this case, is very vital. You would never want to get embarrassed in front of your friends. And should always get the best out of your leisure time. Well, it all depends on the type and quality of product you choose.
Air hockey tables come in different sizes you can adorn a large room with a mighty table whereas you can also buy a compact air hockey table to fit into a small apartment. Different brands manufacture air hockey tables which are available in the market. It isn’t necessary that an expensive table can offer quality to a customer. All this is about a user’s requirements. Some of the famous brands available in the market for air hockey tables are Monarch, Sports Squad, and Atomic. This game is one of its own kind being an indoor sport and still can help in physical exercise.
Top Air Hockey Table Comparison Chart
In this section, I will shed light on different aspects of the game of air hockey. It is a fun arcade game played on a hockey table. The table top is smooth and uses a puck surface. In this indoor game, paddles are used instead of stick to push the ball towards the opponent. The tiny holes on the sides of the table blow cool air to make the play go on smoothly and to give a feel of ice hockey. The objective of the game is to push the ball into the opponent’s goal and to protect one’s own goal post.
Now we will develop a detailed understanding of the tables used in the game of air hockey. As mentioned earlier, there are many types of tables available in the market. Some are different in terms of the features they offer. They came in different, and in fact, a broad, range of sizes. You will come across numerous options when you go shopping for an air hockey table. The purpose here is to help you make the best choice.
Below are the different types of hockey tables:
Tabletop air hockey table
This table is a perfect pick for someone who has a shortage of space but wants to enjoy an arcade-like game experience in their home or office. This tabletop can easily be placed on your dining table, coffee table or study table. It gets fixed easily and holds on tightly. So, you can enjoy a hassle-free game. Upon the conclusion of the game, you can pack the table and store it in any closet or drawer. To be precise, it is a kind of a portable air hockey table.
Miniature air hockey table
These are also small sized tables just like the table tops but they are independent standing tables which mean they would occupy some space but due to their compact size they would occupy a much lesser space but you cannot store them in a closet or drawer afterward. They are best suited for small children and can be easily set up in their rooms
Full-size arcade tables
These are really huge tables specially designed for dedicated areas. They are just like those found in arcades or gaming hubs. They can be chosen if you have a separate gaming place and the whole arcade setup. These are more suitable for adults and people who are habitual gamers and are well aware of this game. A normal air hockey table of this size is about 50 inches wide and 90 inches long and requires a spacious room.
These are also full-size tables and need a dedicated space but they have an additional feature. They have multiple interchangeable tops that mean you can use them for more than one game. Such tables offer you different gaming options you can either use them to play a game of ping pong or air hockey. Not just these you can play a number of other fun games on these multi-game tables. Just change the table top for what you want to play and you are good to go!
Features of air hockey tables:
Air hockey has been a popular game in the recent past. Whether it is your home, gaming area or any leisure bay, it is an ultimate source of enjoyment. The game is not easy as it seems. And to understand the features of an air hockey table, you need to be aware of them fully. Purchasing an air hockey table can be complex. You have to make a right decision as it may be a one-time investment.
Let us look at some of the features of an air hockey table.
The length of an air hockey table matters a lot. If you are not a kid, you would need some real time play to enhance your skills and master them later on. Six feet or more would do the trick. Greater length would give the player more room to play a shot and enhance it. Though tables having bigger length can be heavy and can occupy more space so if you have a spacious area to place your table, you should always opt for a bigger length table. These kinds of tables would allow you to play a variety of shots while having an intense game with your friends.
Powerful air motor:
Air motor is an integral part of an air hockey table. A motor blows out fresh air on the surface of the table which gives you an uninterrupted and smooth gameplay. It also enables the puck to move freely on the surface even for a long game. Usually, a low capacity motor would overheat easily thus interrupting your game. Plus maybe it will die after a short period of time. A low capacity motor would not be able to handle heavier pucks. So if you are an adult player and fall into the intermediate or advanced level skill category, then you should go for a table having a high capacity air motor.
Electronic score and time panel:
Most of the medium and large sized air hockey tables come with electric scoring and time display. It is mounted on such an angle on the table that scores is visible to both the players. It ensures a fair play game. A timer records the duration of the game and tells you how long has the game been started. Tables come with simple electronic displays to those having detailed scoring and having funky designs.
You should also keep in view the ratings of the tables which are easily available. The tables with a higher rating would obviously be expensive but you should decide that based on your mode of use. And the make sure the table you purchase can easily be repaired in future and spare parts for that table are readily available in the market.
Now when we are well aware of the different type of air hockey tables, let’s discuss some of the key aspects you might want to consider before purchasing an air hockey table that would bring a long-lasting leisure activity for you.
Design always matters if you are planning to buy an indoor game accessory. If you are to buy a table for your playroom or lounge area then design doesn’t matters much and basic design can also take a shoot. But if you are aiming to set up a gaming room on a bigger scale or to put your tables into business, then you can go for tables having wooden or metallic finished or which have electric displays for scores.
If you tend to buy a table for children or just for your personal use, then you should go for tables lesser than hundred dollars. But if you plan on something bigger, then you should buy arcade style tables that cost of thousands of dollars.
Again if you want to purchase a table for your own little space, then you can go for the basic table but if you want to setup your own arcade, then you should purchase multi-gaming table having a variety of gaming options.
Size is an important feature to look upon when you for purchasing an air hockey table. Firstly you should see how much space you have to place the table. If you are short of space then you should go for table tops or miniature tables but if the whole den is available, then go for a full-sized table. Secondly, if you are to buy the table for children, then opt for the table tops. If the table is to be used by adults then arcade styled tables are the best pick.
The construction of an air hockey table is an important fact to consider while purchasing it. If you prefer to buy a wooden table, make sure the wood used is of good quality and legs of the table are firm enough to bear the weight as the players would have to lean on the table while playing. The joins on the table should be strong and fully screwed for the durability of the table.
Air hockey tables are equipped with a motor to blow out the air on the surface of the table to ensure a smooth play. A good table should have a quiet motor which doesn’t get overheated and has a good useful life.
The rink walls of the table should be made from nylon. It gives a glassy, dent and scratch free look to the table. Plus it will give a better rebound for the puck. It also adds to the durability of the table.
As there are different tables available in the market which are suitable for different skill levels. Now it is up to the player to identify their skill level and choose the table according to the level. A player should also keep in mind the future improvement goals in making this decision.
If you are at a beginner’s level for air hockey then you should buy a basic and inexpensive table for the play. The table would not be durable and material used would not be of good quality. These tables would not be long lasting so they should be purchased keeping in mind the short term use. Tables for beginners should only be purchased if you wish to enhance your skills in air hockey and are in the learning phase of the game.
Tables designed for intermediate players would be large and bigger than those for beginners. It would be also taller in size and tables in this category would also be a bit expensive. They can be perfectly used in the home. These tables would be durable and dent proof which means if you have long-term plans for air hockey and a player wants to advance the skills in the games, this table would be the ideal choice.
Advanced players would usually need arcade or full styled tables due to their know-how of the game. Tables in this category have a smoother surface and better rink walls for accurate deflection. The cost for these tables would initially be high but they would fulfill the cost in future. These tables should be bought if you are playing at a pro level.
Since we have covered most other aspects of the sport of air hockey. Let’s also look at how the game is played. This game is not free to play and there are some standard rules which both players have to follow in order to have an exciting and fair gameplay.
You can always set up your own rules of the game which suits you and the type of table you are using but make sure that rules are clearly understood by both players. Otherwise, you shall follow the rules outlined by Air hockey association. There is a standard list of rules developed to help and guide the players throughout the game.
- A centerline should be drawn around the table. And the player shall stand anywhere around the table on their respective sides. The player should not stand or move past the centerline during the gameplay.
- Either of the player’s hand, arm or any other body part should not touch the puck during the gameplay. If hand, arm or any other body part of either player touches the puck, a foul should be called on. This is a very important rule of the air hockey.
- The puck should only be touched or stroked with only the bottom surface of the mallet or striker.
- The puck should not be stopped directly by the mallet by placing on top of it. This is a violation of the rules of the game and a foul should be called on in this event. But the mallet can be properly used to stop the puck in the air or to direct the puck into the opponent’s goal post whether in any direction or edge.
- Players may choose how to hold the air hockey mallet during the game but only one mallet should be used at a time by each of the players. And only one puck should be used during one gameplay. Violation of both the rules should result in a foul being given.
- The puck must fully enter and remain in the goal post for a goal to be counted on for the opponent. If a player breaks a rule before or while making the shot, a foul should be given and no point should be given for that shot even if it enters the goal post.
- A player has seven seconds to play a shot when the puck crosses their centerline side of the table. This countdown begins as soon as the puck land on to the player’s side of the centerline. A violation of this rule also results in a foul being called on.
- When the puck lands on any part of the centerline, any player has the right to strike the puck and make a shot. The player who succeeds in making the goal keeps the possession of the puck and makes the next serve.
- According to the rules, a player has ten seconds to remove the puck from the goal and place it on the table once it enters and remains in the goal post. Tables which have an auto returner feature have the time automatically set as per rules.
- A player can only serve the puck using their mallet after the respective player has made a goal and scored a point.
- A player can only take one timeout during each game. This time out must not be longer than 10 seconds as per the rules.
- The player should only call for the timeout if the puck is in their possession or is not being played.
- When a player decides to take a timeout, they must clearly communicate it to the other player so that he or she also understands the next move of the game.
- The player who scores seven goals first is considered as the winner of the game as per the rules. But this rule can be altered if you wish to set up your own rules.
- Players must swap their sides after the conclusion of a game to start the next game.
There was the quick run-down on how to play, now let’s talk about which tables are the best of the best and worth your money.
Best Air Hockey Table Reviews
Gold Standard Games Home Pro Elite Air Hockey Table
It is the finest quality air hockey table at a bit high price due to its design. If you fall into the advanced skill level category, you should go for this table. It is endorsed by many renowned air hockey champions. The surface of the table is laminated with aluminum to give a good puck bounce during your game and also adds to the durability of the table. The surface is made of a special wear-off material which will ensure the long-lasting durability of the table. It also has an electronic score display mounted onto the side of the table which also has a sound option making your gameplay more exciting and competitive. It is also equipped with a powerful 110 V air motor to blow out fresh air onto the laminated surface of the table which will ensure uninterrupted gameplay and will ensure the puck slides on the surface freely and smoothly. There are adjustable legs with levelers on them which will ensure the steady balance of table and won’t let the table move or slip during a game.
- Endorsed by many air hockey champions
- Laminated with wear-off material
- Aluminum rails for durability
- Electric score display with sound option
- 110 V air motor
- High price
American Heritage 390074 Monarch Series Air-Hockey Table with Two-Player Electronic Scorer and Unique Overhead
This is a great advanced level air hockey table. It has an overhead electric scoring panel which will free you from the hassle of noting down scores manually. The surface of the table is screen printed giving it a clean and smoother finish. It also is dent and scratch free and has a long-lasting durability. The cherry finish of the table gives it a classic look and it would add to the beauty of your home or any place you wish to place it. The silver trims alongside the cherry finish of the table also give it a super look. The powerful air motor equipped in the table allows the puck to float smoothly on the surface of the table and ensures an interrupted game.
- Overhead electric scoring panel
- Cherry finish with silver trims
- Screen printed surface
- Powerful air motor
- High price
- Bulky build
Barrington Billiards EA Sports Air Powered Hockey Table, 84″
This is a great air hockey table suitable for intermediate and professional level players. It is equipped with a strong 120 V motor which blows out fresh air to the surface of the table for uninterrupted play. The surface of the table top is made of PVC which makes it dent and scratch free. The table has integrated LED lights alongside and high tempo music making the game more exciting. It comes with two pucks and two strikers which also are LED enabled. The lights change colors when each player scores a goal making the game more interesting. The legs are steady and durable to hold the weight of the table and make it firm in one place while playing. If you want an air hockey table with a bit of a funky look, this table is a great pick!
- LED lights on the table.
- High temp music enabled.
- PVC surface.
- Durable and sturdy legs.
- Heavy 120 V motor
- High price
- Super bulky in size and weight
Play craft Sports 40-Inch Table Top Air Hockey
This is small sized 40-inch air hockey table for kids and young people. It is a perfect table if you are short of space. It can easily be adjusted anywhere in the home and is a perfect choice for the beginner level players. The table top for this table is made of good quality wood. It comes with two pucks and two strikers. It is also equipped with a 100 cubic foot per minute air-powered motor. One of the main disadvantages it has that the legs don’t have rubber feet. And the advantage it has is that the table top is steady which makes it safe for the children.
- Steady build
- Two pucks and strikers included
- Electric motor equipped
- Low price
- Fan without a converter
- No rubber feet.
Sports Squad HX40 Electric Powered Air Hockey Table
The sports squad HX40 Electric powered air hockey table is suitable for players of all ages. It is equipped with an electric motor which blows out fresh air to the table top for a smooth play. It also has rubber feet which mean it won’t damage your floor or tiles. The build is solid wood which makes it durable yet low weighted so it can be carried anywhere easily. It comes with two pucks, two strikers, and an AC adapter.
- Wooden build
- Rubber feet
- Low price
- Uses AC adapter
- Motor overheats easily
- Imbalances easily
Viper Vancouver 7.5-Foot Air Hockey Game Table
This is 7.5-foot air hockey table by a famous brand named Viper Vancouver. It is a perfect pick up for your gaming room. This table is equipped with a triangular electric timer and scorer. The table top is made of a good quality material which gives a smooth surface for the play. It is equipped with an electric motor blowing out the air at 110 cubic feet per minute. It comes with four pucks and four strikers. The table surface has cool graphics which gives the feel of an ice hockey arena. It also has a dual end puck returned placed beneath a player’s side to return the puck to the opponent conveniently.
- Electric score and time display.
- Equipped with an electric motor.
- White smooth table top surface.
- Ice hockey styled graphic look.
- Dual end puck return
- Thermal switch which cuts the fan after 15mins of play.
- Huge size.
- Scratchy surface.
Beachcomber 84 Inches Air Hockey Table by Harvil
This is a perfect air hockey table manufactured by harvil which is a renowned brand for air hockey tables. It is overloaded with many additional exciting features. This table is made of sturdy fiber wood which adds to its durability. It also has leg panels and the corners of the tables are coated with chrome for safety during gameplay. The shiny corners add to its beauty. It also has an electric scoring unit placed overhead on the table for both players. It is pre-packed with four pucks and four strikers. It is also equipped with a 100 V air flow motor. The high capacity of the motor allows it to throw fresh air onto the surface of the table for a smoother game allowing the puck to move freely during the tournaments.
- Overhead electric score panel
- Chrome plated corners
- Heavy built gives durability
- 100 V air flow motor
- Money back guarantee by the brand
- High price
- Super heavy weight
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Now when you are well aware of the different types of air hockey tables available, it times for a decision. You should make a decision based on the above-explained considerations so that your money is not wasted. The most important thing to consider would be the skill level of your game. As explained earlier if you are a beginner or wish to purchase a table for your children, you can buy Play craft Sport 40-Inch Table Top Air Hockey or Sport Squad HX40 Electric Powered Air Hockey Table. They are cheap in price and yet would fulfill all your requirements.
But if you are an intermediate or advanced player, you can buy Viper Vancouver 7.5-Foot Air Hockey Game Table or Viper Vancouver 7.5-Foot Air Hockey Game Table. But still, there are more options available in the market. There are renowned brands which manufacture air hockey tables with more enhanced and advanced features but obviously, they are way more expensive. If you are looking for a table(s) to set up a gaming business, only then you might opt for that table. To be precise, you should carefully choose a table based on your skill level and other requirements. If you wish to buy a table for long-term use, you can purchase a table with a high initial cost which will benefit in the long run. The table at number # 7 is a perfect choice and investment if you wish to play and purchase a table for the long term. It has a high cost but it would pay the price in future.