An air hockey table is a great addition to any game center, as it can instantly raise the fun. Action-packed, thrilling and exciting, 2 up to 4 people can join the fun at the same time. The kids can train and develop their skills as they grow up, while the adults can compete in an interactive, fast-paced game, depending on their playing style.
However, not all tables can be used by both sides, as kids might not reach the tables for adults, while adults won’t be able to play if a kid’s table is used. But with so many models already on the market, it might be a bit tricky to pick the right type of air hockey table. We’ve created this guide to help you keep track of the most important aspects when choosing the unit that will be the perfect fit for your house and needs. So, without further ado, let’s take a look!
Types, Sizes, and Space
Depending on where you want to place it, and on how much space you have, there are plenty of styles to select from. There are 4 major categories from which you can pick: small, medium, arcade and mixed. For more insight, let’s discuss them in detail:
- Small – 2 up to 3 or 4 feet in length, they are compact and highly portable. Also known as tabletop tables, they can be placed on any type of table, so they don’t have a designated location. While this style is great for kids, they are often too small for adults, and their quality tends to raise questions.
- Medium – 4 up to 6 feet in length, they represent the average size of air hockey tables currently available for purchase. While they share a similarity in design to the arcade type, their price range is lower and they don’t offer fancy lights or sound effects. However, they are an excellent pick for teenagers and beginners, as they will offer the perfect training.
- Arcade – the largest and most expensive types, they usually measure anywhere from 7 feet up to 8 feet in length. These types will offer you a full arcade-like gaming experience, as they come with lights, sounds, excellent quality, and performance. They provide a solid and durable construction as well as unparalleled longevity and time-resistance. Moreover, thanks to the subtle air jets, the puck will glide smoothly on the surface, allowing more aggressive playing styles.
- Mixed – while they offer a versatile play-style, making them a great addition for campfires, picnics or family reunions, they are not solely dedicated to air hockey. These types incorporate multiple other games into their design, offering you one table with up to 4 different games. With it, you can usually play table tennis, air hockey, foosball, and other board games, according to your preferences. However, they don’t share the same quality as the arcade types.
It is important to keep in mind how much space you can dedicate to the table, as it will require not only storage space, but also space for players to move around. Regardless of which type of table you decide to acquire, you’ll have to keep in mind that all of them require around 2 up to 3 or even 4 feet around, for players to move freely.
Design and Construction
In order to have the right balance between price and quality, you’ll have to check the table’s design and construction before you decide on one model over the other. The sturdier the design, the longer will the table last, and the more hours of gameplay can it sustain.
- Thickness – it ensures smooth gameplay and performance, so, ideally, it shouldn’t be less than ¾”.
- Holes – while you might think there shouldn’t be any holes in the table, the models which do have them create the perfect environment for the puck to glide smoothly, as there’s enough air for a flawless performance. However, they are usually seen together with blowers, and only in arcade-like types of tables.
- Rink – the side rails are often subjected to heavy treatment. Therefore, it is recommended to look for those that feature a sturdy aluminum construction, or those that are made from sturdy nylon. They will diminish the force with which the puck hits and will redirect it to the table instead of stopping it. On the other hand, a cheaper version is the laminated aluminum side rails. However, they are prone to quick denting, resulting in imprecise puck deflection.
- Legs – an important feature that should never miss are the levelers. They have a huge impact on the gameplay, as they will help you even the table, regardless of how slanted the floor might be.
- Weight and Assembly – with plenty of choices to pick from, you have to be aware of how heavy the tables are, as their weight can range anywhere from 20 -30 pounds up to 350 pounds. The heavier the table is, the more features it comes with, but that means that it will also pose a challenge when assembling it. However, if you want to be able to move it around freely at any given time, pick a lightweight one. They are made of plastic, so you won’t have any trouble carrying it with you.
All in all, there are plenty of choices to choose from according to what your preferences are and what you’re looking to get. However, you’ll have to keep in mind how much room you have, or if you’re planning on setting it up in a permanent location. Moreover, the price will vary according to what style you choose, so if you consider your budget and your options beforehand, you’ll surely be able to find the perfect fit.