Which air hockey table is best?
Air hockey has been a popular game since its invention in the late 1960s. Once you have a pusher in your hand and give the puck a whack, it’s easy to see why. It’s one of the most exciting, fast-paced games at any arcade. Why not bring the fun into the comfort of your own home with your very own air hockey table?
Air hockey tables come in a range of sizes, from small tabletop models to large, tournament-sized units. There are also streamlined options and ones packed with tons of bells and whistles, meaning there’s a table to fit every budget and home. The Atomic 7.5 ft LED Light Up Arcade Air Powered Hockey Table has everything — flashing lights, fast-tempo music and electronic scoring — and is a worthy addition to even the most die-hard air hockey enthusiast’s home.
Types of air hockey tables
Arcade air hockey tables
Arcade air hockey tables are the largest and most elaborate. They have the sturdiest build, the most powerful motors and the most features. Most measure between 7 and 8 feet long, have electronic scoring, sound effects and eye-catching lighting effects. This also means that arcade tables are the heaviest and most expensive of air hockey tables.
Standard air hockey tables
Standard air hockey tables can be thought of as arcade air hockey tables built for home use, meaning they’re more affordable but slightly less durable. They are also freestanding machines, but are slightly smaller, lightweight and have fewer features like lights, sound effects or electronic scoring.
Convertible air hockey tables
Convertible air hockey tables have a similar build quality and feature set as standard air hockey tables but allow you to play more than one game. Depending on the particular model, you may replace or flip the table over to reveal a different game. Common games included in convertible air hockey tables are pool, table tennis and foosball.
Tabletop air hockey tables
Tabletop air hockey tables are the smallest of the air hockey types and the best for kids, budget-conscious consumers or those with limited space. Many can be stored in a closet or under a bed, and only pulled out when needed. As expected, most lack high-end features, like lights, a powerful blower and electronic scoring.
What to look for in a quality air hockey table
The blower creates a pocket of air the puck slides across. The more powerful your blower and the more consistent the output, the better the puck will move and the faster the action of the table. On mid- and high-end air hockey tables, the blower is usually replaceable. However, it rarely is on budget models, meaning that if a budget model’s blower fails, you’ll have to replace the whole table rather than just a single part.
Most air hockey tables must be connected to an outlet at all times to function. However, some kids and tabletop models use batteries. While convenient, these will have the least powerful blowers and the slowest table action.
Air hockey tables may either have electronic or manual scoring systems. Most people prefer an electronic scoring system simply because it automates the process, making them the most convenient. Manual scoring systems are often in the abacus style or may be a slider that you move from number to number.
Flashing lights add to the excitement of an air hockey match. Depending on the model, the lights may be incorporated into the rails, in an overhead arch, in the pushers and the puck or some combination of these. The lights may also be multi-colored and react to where the puck hits.
As with flashing lights, sound effects make for a cooler gameplay experience. The most common sound effects are cheering when someone scores, but some units also play music or announce the score or the beginning of rounds. High-end models may allow you to upload your own music.
For the fairest gameplay, it is important that an air hockey table’s playing surface is perfectly level. To aid with this, some tables are equipped with leg levelers that allow you to adjust the height of each leg individually to compensate for uneven floors.
Puck and pusher storage
It is not uncommon for people to lose components of a table game. To reduce the chances of this happening, some manufacturers build puck and pusher storage into their tables.
How much you can expect to spend on an air hockey table
Small tabletop air hockey tables run between $50-$100. Standard tables start around $100, and convertible models start around $250. As you get into premium options, convertible and arcade air hockey tables can all cost well into the thousands of dollars.
Air hockey table FAQ
Do air hockey tables require a lot of maintenance?
A. No. Air hockey tables are relatively easy to maintain. They simply require cleaning the blower and intake vent once in a while, as well as wiping down the playing surface with glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol. To increase the speed of the puck, you may also want to polish the playing surface periodically.
Why is my air hockey table getting weaker?
A. The main reason an air hockey table gets weaker is because the fan or the intake vent is dirty. If cleaning the vent and the fan doesn’t fix the issue, the blower may need to be replaced.
What is the best air hockey table to buy?
Top air hockey table
What you need to know: If you’re looking for a flashy, arcade-quality model with fast-paced puck action, this is your go-to choice.
What you’ll love: It features multi-colored LEDs and high-tempo music for exciting gameplay. Even the puck and pushers light up!
What you should consider: It is expensive and weighs several hundred pounds.
Top air hockey table for the money
What you need to know: Featuring table tennis, air hockey and pool, this model is a great way to add several games to your home without taking up a lot of space.
What you’ll love: It features holders for all game accessories, comes in a choice of four felt colors and has a sturdy build that should see it through years of regular use.
What you should consider: Assembly can be complicated and time-consuming.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The Hover Hockey won’t completely dominate a room but still offers a premium playing experience as a streamlined, arcade-style model.
What you’ll love: It is equipped with power corners and a proprietary GlazeTek playing surface that do a great job of keeping the puck moving.
What you should consider: It doesn’t feature any kind of illumination, and the electronic scoreboard can be difficult for shorter players to see.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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