by Mike Jones
I'm a competitive air hockey player and nothing gets my adrenaline pumping like the "clink" that you hear when you sink that little air hockey puck into the slot on the opponent's side of the table. That got me to thinking that I definitely need to make a space at home for one of these so that I get can my air hockey game on whenever I want. If you are having the same thoughts, then let me share some of the best air hockey tables that I have managed to find while doing my own comparison shopping.
A rec room or basement with a high-quality air powered hockey table becomes a center of attention and a magnet for friends and family. Well built and sturdy, the MD Sports Titan Air Powered Hockey Table has the stability to handle even the most intense competition by enthusiastic players. Steel legs with an arch design provide strong construction, and the 6-inch leg levelers that ensure accurate puck performance help avoid player frustration. The durability of this high-end table that provides a source of entertainment for years to come makes the investment worthwhile.
Easy to build in an hour or less (not including coffee breaks), the table comes with accessories that include a parts tray and numbered parts that make assembly more efficient and less time-consuming. An installation guide provides hints that ease the stress of constructing a large and heavy table. The manufacturer provides quality workmanship that makes the predrilled holes match up for all components, and the precision ensures the functionality of the overhead electronic scoring bridge. As the bridge spans the table above the playfield, it provides a digital display of game time while making authentic arcade sounds that create a competitive atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
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Each table comes with four pucks and four pushers that make gameplay realistic and fun. A 110V motor provides cool air that makes play consistent and creates fast puck speeds, and the scratch resistant finish encourages use by players of all ages. The upscale MD Sports Air Powered Hockey Table has the bells and whistles that make it look sleek and more expensive than the price tag shows. Its LED lights flash brightly with each score, and the scoreboard keeps track of activity perfectly. The fast playfield and strong airflow make the puck return clean and simple. All of these features lead us to call the MD Sports Air Powered Hockey Table the best air hockey table on the market!
Coming in second on our list of best air hockey tables is the Brunswick 7ft Air Hockey Table. If you really want to recreate that arcade feel, then getting one of the larger 7-foot tables is the way to go. I think that the best value table at this size is the Brunswick 7ft Air Hockey Table - Windchill , we found this model when looking for the best 7-foot air hockey table for the money.
With this air hockey table, you get high quality materials and a great looking table all at an affordable low price. If you have a hard time finding this one in any local stores, then I suggest trying to find a place offering it with free shipping to keep your costs down.
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There are a few other brands with similar models but at lower and higher prices, but the high quality is why I prefer this one. It also has some great features.
It comes with an abacus style score keeping system. And the rails have an overhang that helps prevent the puck from bouncing. If you're an aggressive player, then you know what I'm talking about. The electric blower is heavy duty, which is perfect for a fast-paced game.
This table actually comes with four pucks and two mallets (or paddles), which is more than normal. And I love how sleek the design looks! It's laminate over MDF.
My only real complaint is that it's made of MDF instead of solid wood. Despite this, it is still a very heavy table at around 150 pounds. So, you'll probably need at least one other person to help you move it around you home.
A classy addition to any game room, the Sting Ray brings an air of authenticity that players can relate to and enjoy. The excitement and anticipation of getting to play immediately come true with this 84-inch table that takes only minutes to set up. The manufacturers put their technology to work on protecting the table's surface and shine with a scratch resistant GlazeTek Compound Coat. A built-in leg leveling system takes all the work out of creating a perfectly balanced game. The table comes with everything except the competitors, including four air-powered pucks and four pushers.
The sturdy table provides a durable playing surface for casual or competitive play, and its presence in a game room invites participation. It ships with an internal box that provides protection in addition to the external box, and the packaging lets the table arrive in perfect condition. A heavy and solid piece of equipment, it may require two people to lift and maneuver the top and bottom into position. The manufacturer includes an Allen wrench to facilitate assembly, but owners of power tools may choose to use them instead.
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Players can enjoy rink-side excitement with the Sting Ray's Flip-Up Electronic Scoring and Sound System that uses AA batteries to keep up with every play and enhances the game experience. Real stadium sounds encourage spectators to cheer the competitors when one scores a goal and another player matches it. A pre-installed fan keeps cool air flowing to increase puck speed and make play consistent. Game time offers fun for everyone who enjoys air powered hockey and the excitement of competition that goes with it.
If you take your air hockey, and your home rec room, seriously, then nothing but a professional quality air hockey table will do for your home. Unfortunately, a lot of these models are well over $2000! I can't honestly recommend spending that much though when there is a more affordable option out there - the Gold Standard Games Home Pro Elite Air Hockey Table .
Most people associate the gold standard with something of true value, and the Home Pro Elite Hockey by Gold Standard Games proves the point. This product shows its worth in the exceptional quality that it provides in durability, appearance and design. The table carries the endorsement of 10-time USAA World Champions Danny Hynes and Tim Weissman as well as 2-time Champion and designer of Gold Standard's table games Mark Robbins.
The solid composite plastic legs with adjustable feet provide sturdy support and an even playing surface for the full size 3-3/16" diameter pucks. Some favorite features of the table include a special laminate that keeps the playfield in excellent condition and a face-off circle for competitive games. The manufacturers take shipping concerns into consideration to make sure the 350-pound table arrives in excellent condition. While more expensive than some other models, this high-end table represents the company's reputation for excellence. A blower has more than enough power to provide cool air for the large table and the two big pucks that come with it. The design by champion players prevents the pucks from leaving the table and provides the sturdy construction that avoids shifting or movement during play.
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The playing surface has a powder blue tint that makes it easier on the eyes than the solid white that less expensive tables use. The pucks move very rapidly across it, and the lack of flashy lights and music give a more appropriate appearance for serious players. The sound of sinking a puck can quicken the pulse, and the speed that the pucks achieve as the players slap them back and forth adds to the authenticity of the game. The electronic scoring presents a factual accounting of the game and makes it fair for everyone.
The Carrom 325.30 Signature Professional 7-Feet Air Powered Hockey Table is high quality air hockey table looks great and plays even better. Sure, it doesn't have all the luxury styling of the more expensive models. But I think that this is a great deal on a professional air hockey table the under $2000 price range.
Who this table is good for:
Who this table is not good for:
One of the best things about this table is the brand - Carrom has a great reputation for making high quality game tables at affordable prices. Plus, it just looks sleek and not cheap at all. It will make a great center piece in a home game room.
The electric motor is high powered, which results in some seriously fast game play - perfect for even the most aggressive players.
Getting it all setup and put together is incredibly easy. And you will love that this table includes drink holders on the side. Sure, the drink holders don't make it the classiest table around, but this way you don't have to worry about one of your boys putting a cup on the side of the table and then spilling it on the table top.
This furniture grade construction air hockey table comes with two pucks and two strikers. It's not really intended for kids under age 13 since it is a high quality game table.
One thing to know about this table is that it is VERY heavy at over 250 pounds. So, be sure that you have a few people around to help you move it on the day that it arrives.
As you might imagine, there are a lot of other models of air hockey tables out there that you can purchase. Plenty of them cost more than these tables and there's also quite a few that are cheaper. That being said, I think that these models offer you the best bang for your buck and I strongly urge you to consider them when shopping for a new air hockey table. You can click on any of the links above to get more information about the tables that I have reviewed, as well as learn about other air hockey tables that might be of interest to you.
Before you head over to Amazon or another online or local store to check out the selection of air hockey tables, first familiarize yourself with this game room equipment so you know what you're looking for.
This way, you will know that you are buying a good air hockey table for the money and not just a cheap piece of crap table that won't even make it to see next month without breaking. Cause let's face it - some of us get a little aggressive when hitting the puck with our striker, so we need a quality table to prevent any damage.
When you start your shopping, you will notice that there are a few different types of tables to choose from. Of course, no single type is the best - instead you just have to pick the best type for your needs. Take a look at the types below and you will know what I mean. Those types are:
If you have ever played air hockey in a rec room or at an arcade (like Dave & Buster's), then you have played on one of the regular stand alone tables. In my opinion, this is really the best type of air hockey table that money can buy. However, it does require a lot of space in your home, which isn't always possible for people.
Stand alone full size air hockey tables range from 7 to 8 feet. These are the types of tables that you will see in arcades and other people's basements/game rooms. Kids air hockey tables range from 4 to 6 feet. They are usually shorter as well so kids can reach all the way to the center line. Table top air hockey tables are almost all 40 inches long with only a few tables longer than that.
So, if you live in a small apartment, condo or have other space challenges in your home, then a table top air hockey table might be a better choice for you. With one of these, you can sit it on a dining room table or another game table, like a ping pong table, and then store it in a closet or under a bed when it's not in use. Often, a table top air hockey game is the best air hockey table for kids since it not only has a cheaper price than a stand alone table, but because it is easily be stowed away.
How much space do you need for an air hockey table? Well, the general rule of thumb is to allow for a few feet of extra space at each end for the players to move around. So, if you have a full-size air hockey table, then you'll need a room with at least a 10-foot by 7-foot area of open space.
Multi-game tables often convert to foosball, ping pong and/or billiards - all in this one little table. The benefit of getting a multi-game table that includes air hockey is that you only need space for one full-size gaming table and you get several games in one. The bad thing about these, in my opinion, is that they are never the highest quality, which is really unfortunate.
As you compare the various models on the market, you'll notice that there are two different types of scoring methods - electronic and manual slider. The cheap air hockey tables tend to have the sliding scorers, which looks a lot like an abacus. With these, you just slide the scoring bead to keep track of your points. The more high end air hockey tables come with electronic score boards that keep track of your score. This is what you see in arcades and places like Dave & Buster's.
If you've played air hockey in an arcade, then you're probably used to the hum of a motor that sort of suspends the pucks on the table and actually moves them a little bit without you touching them. Unfortunately, not all tables include this feature! The cheaper models do not have a fan or blower, which means that you have to actually move the puck yourself. Of course, then benefit here is that you get a quiet air hockey table since there is no motor whirring all the time. But for the best game play, we definitely recommend spending a bit more to get a model that has a blower or fan.
So, if you have a table that has an electronic scoreboard or a blower/fan, that means that it needs a power source. For some models, this will mean batteries and for others it means that you need an electrical outlet nearby. We prefer the models that require an electrical outlet because air hockey tables use up a lot of batteries fast, which can get expensive. Plus, you'd hate to run out of batteries in the middle of a game and have no spare ones on hand! This wouldn't be a problem with a model that plugs into an electrical outlet.
The nicer models all have leg levelers built-into the design and you should definitely choose a model that has this feature. Why? Because it works to ensure that your table is completely level, even if it is sitting on an uneven surface. Sure, you might think that your floor at home is level, but what if it is not? That's why you need leg levelers to ensure that a fair game is always being played on a level playing surface.
If you're interested in the professional quality USAA-sanctioned home model tables that the pros use, then you need a large puck air hockey table. These are generally more expensive, have good air flow, and are designed for heavy duty playing and regular use.
The small puck air hockey tables tend to be cheaper and have weaker air flow. This is actually the most common type of home air hockey table for kids and occasional players, but do know that the smaller pucks are more lightweight, which means it is easy to accidentally fly them right off the table. For this reason, we only recommend small puck air hockey tables for kids age 10 and under.
Cost is another factor to consider when comparing the top air hockey table brands and models. Maybe you need the best cheap air hockey table under $200 or maybe you just want the best value air hockey table for the money. You can easily spend less than $100 on a good table top air hockey game. And the really nice, high end luxury air hockey tables can cost over $1000. How much you spend really just depends on your budget and what you're looking for. When I am shopping for something like this, I definitely want to get a good value for the money without sacrificing quality.
However, you don't need to break the bank for a good air hockey table. High quality tables can be found in the $500 - $800 range. This might sound like a lot, but it is only a one time purchase that will last for many years and can be a staple of your game room.
Once you get your air hockey table at home, you may be wondering how to clean it (especially if you have kids) and how to keep it maintained. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to care for your air hockey table and ensure that it lasts for several years of game play for your family. Here are a few tips to keep it working as intended:
By following these tips, you should be able to get plenty of years out of your new air hockey table.
About Mike Jones
As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family."