Buying an air hockey table is a great investment for any game room. It can provide hours of fun for players of all ages—from kids to seasoned pros. Not every type of player wants the same kind of air hockey table, though. This air hockey table buyer’s guide will help you decide which type is right for you. Here are the seven factors you should consider when buying an air hockey table.
1) Table Size
When buying an air hockey table, you’ll want to consider size. Regulation size tables are 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. This is the ideal size for serious players, but it is also a great pick for commercial use. Having a regulation size table means you can host tournaments and attract pro players to your establishment.
Not everyone has space for the full-size table, however, which is why air hockey tables also come in smaller sizes ranging from 4–7.5 feet long. This makes it easier for you to find a game table that fits your space. Whichever size you choose, make sure you have at least 36 inches of clearance on both ends—this is how much space you’ll want to have full range of movement when you play.
2) Large Puck vs. Small Puck
Length of the table aside, there is another size factor you need to consider when purchasing an air hockey table: small puck or large puck. Air hockey tables designed for smaller 2 ¾ inch pucks have a fan that only creates enough pressure to lift small pucks while tables designed for large 3 inch pucks have a more powerful fan. Small puck air hockey tables are ideal for children or young teens. If the small pucks are hit too hard, however, they will fly off the table, so older players will likely prefer the large puck tables. Small puck tables are for more casual use, so they tend to be the most affordable option.
Tables designed for large pucks have a more powerful motor, which allows for slightly larger, heavier pucks (3 ¼ inches wide). Large puck air hockey tables are ideal for teenage and adult players, as they tend to hit the pucks with more force. Large puck air hockey tables tend to be more expensive, but this is because they are built to last for years of play, even in a commercial establishment.
3) High-Quality Materials
An air hockey table constructed from high-quality materials will provide you with years of game play. Here are a few things to pay attention to when shopping for a new air hockey table.
Because the rink walls face repeated impact when you play, look for ones made from high-density aluminum or nylon. Similarly, the playfield should be coated with a wear-resistant laminate to increase durability. A reliable air hockey motor should have the UL seal of approval to ensure it runs safely, and if it has a Plenum chamber, you can rest assured that it will distribute an even flow of air across the table.
Lastly, check that the legs are constructed from solid wood or steel; this is what your air hockey table will need to have adequate support for long-term use. Choosing a model with leg levelers also helps ensure you can maintain a level playfield no matter where you place the game table.
4) Digital vs. Manual Scoring
Next, you’ll want to decide how you’d like to keep score. Some tables are equipped with digital scoring that tracks every goal made from start to finish. Others come with a manual scoring tool, like an abacus or a whiteboard. Some people prefer keeping score manually, as it allows them to develop their own house rules or disregard accidental goals. If ease of play is your highest priority, though, digital scoring might be the way to go.
When browsing air hockey tables, you’ll notice how widely varied they all are in appearance. Some feature bright colors and flashy designs, making them seem like the perfect fit for an arcade. Others are made from sleek, polished wood and would look right at home in a sophisticated game room. With such a wide range of styles, it’s easy to find a game table that will blend well with the existing décor of your home or game room.
A common feature for air hockey tables is an overhead lighting and scoring unit. This allows you to play in dimly lit rooms and gives the whole table an elevated appearance. Often this includes special features like black lighting as well, which can make your paddles and pucks glow in the dark! Other tables light up from underneath, and some even come with pucks and paddles that light up individually for even more epic play.
7) Boomerang Air Hockey Table vs. Regular
Not everyone knows this, but there are two shapes of air hockey tables: regular and boomerang. The boomerang variety is an eye-catching, unique design for the game that reflects its name. Both players stand on the same end of the table and hit pucks against the opposite wall, aiming for their opponent’s goal. A boomerang air hockey table can be a major space-saver, as it allows you to push the unit up against a wall. If you’re looking to try a unique take on this classic game, a boomerang table is worth considering.
The Best Place to Buy an Air Hockey Table
Now you know what to consider when buying an air hockey table. Armed with this air hockey table buyer’s guide, you’re ready to check out our full range of air hockey tables. Be sure to also look through our air hockey pucks and paddles and other air hockey accessories!
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