We’ve all been to the arcade and played air hockey. It’s one of the highlights of doing so. Everyone wants to be able to reign supreme over the family. And what better way to do so than by taking it from the arcade and straight into your living room (or basement!)? Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the most popular versions of the air hockey table of 2019. We’ll be breaking down all you need to know in our buying guide before we get to reviewing the top tables out there. We’ll also seek to answer any FAQ’s that you and others have pondered. Let’s get to it!
Top Air Hockey Tables Comparison Chart
|Name||Size||Fan or Blower?||Price||Where to Buy?|
|MD Sports Air Powered Hockey Table||84 in||Fan||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Brunswick 7 Foot Windchill Air Hockey Table||7 ft||Blower||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|ESPN 84 Inch Air Hockey Table||84 in||Blower||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Playcraft Sport 40 Inch Tabletop Air Hockey Table||40 in||Fan||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Valley-Dynamo 8 Foot Pro Style Arcade Air Hockey Table||8 ft||Blower||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Triumph Fire n’ Ice 54 Inch Air Hockey Table||54 in||Fan||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Harvil 4 Foot Kids Air Hockey Table||4 ft||Blower||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|NHL Power Play Air Powered Hockey Table||80 in||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Air Hockey Tables Buying Guide
We’ve all encountered those tables before. The kind that your cousins pawned off on you that aren’t all that good. The multipurpose ones that have basketball and other games on it. Those, those are a waste of time and money. We need a real table, a table with actual air, that will allow us to play like we do at the arcade. That’s what today’s list is all about, ensuring that you don’t get stuck with someone’s hand me downs anymore so that you are the envy of all your friends and family! This is not to say that we will automatically rule out any that turn into other games. It’s just meant to makes sure that there aren’t any terrible tables brought in.
Why Get One?
The reasons to get one are somewhat limitless, but there are a few that make perfect sense. First of all, if you just happen to know someone that has everything, then this is about as good as it gets. They’re not likely to have one of these yet, so if you can swing it, go for it! Another reason is if the person just happens to have a large play area already. They might already have a pool table, pinball, and some arcade games, so why not complete the set with an air hockey table? It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper to get one to play on at home if you are busing your kids to the arcade or mall every few days to play. It might look like quite a cost up front, and that shouldn’t be totally discounted, but it will end up saving you money to just knuckle up and buy one. It’s a great way to entertain people and make sure they’ve always got something to do, and as such, it might just keep that annoying family member (you know which one) from snooping around.
What Is An Air Hockey Table?
We all know what an air hockey table is, sure, but do we really know what it is and how it works. To some, this might seem inconsequential, but we are going to take a quick look at how it works in order for you to better understand all of the aspects of it. The table is made with tiny holes in it that can barely be seen. There can be as many as 1500 of them, with some even containing more, and they are situated across a table that blows air on to it. This air creates an unpredictable nature of the puck, making the game more fun and forcing more concentration. We’ve probably all played on tables that didn’t have proper air to them, and it wasn’t much fun since it was then all about just slapping the puck as hard as you could with your pusher, making the puck fly through the air and off the table. It’s not fun at all this way! Nonetheless, this all adds up to make a fun experience that could leave you eating up hour after hour of time while playing.
What Type of Player Are You?
The type of player you are should be very important to both you finding what you want (and what your budget requires). If you have kids, for example, and you know they are most likely going to tear up the table anyway or won’t play on it much, or if you are just having a one-time gathering, then it would be smart to just go with a no frills table. These are fairly cheap, and if they break you won’t be out of too much money.
If you are someone that wants to take a step up but don’t want to break the bank because of an air hockey table, then you can look somewhere in between. These types of table are much more durable than those for beginners and kids and they are made with better materials all the way around.
Then there is the premium equipment that is made for advanced level players. This type is similar to what you see at the arcade. They are strong, sturdy, and incredibly durable. You can slam things, though not suggest, sit on them, and do all sorts of stuff to them that would destroy lesser ones. This type is obviously much more expensive, but if you don’t see money as an object, then this is the way to go for the absolute best, most realistic air hockey experience.
Types of Air Hockey Tables
There are three main types of air hockey tables, and in this section we’ll be taking a look at each of them. They include the tabletop version, a ‘regular’ table, and then the arcade style. Each have their own pros and cons that have to be weighed, but all could be perfect and suit your needs.
This is the kind of thing you will want to pick if you are lacking space. If that’s the case and you still want to experience the game, and if you also want to be able to be mobile with your table, then a tabletop is the way to go. This type has rubber footing on the bottom that makes it possible to be set on any table that is large enough. This way is also the cheapest type that you can find, so you shouldn’t expect it to have the utmost in terms of durability.
It should go without saying that this is the most popular subset of air hockey tables. Most people don’t want an imitation form that they see as a kids’ toy and they can’t afford a full fledged table like you see down at the Chuck E Cheese. This type can range in all kinds of sizes, but they are usually a lot heavier and less mobile than the tabletop ones. They are also more durable, driving the cost up but not to an impossibly affordable degree. They usually have things like music, or lights, and should come with some sort of a panel for keeping score of the game.
Arcade tables are the Major Leagues when it pertains to air hockey. Everybody wants one but few people have the space and money to make it work. These almost always have sound effects that can be piped in, they have a very clear board that keeps score electronically, and the surface is extremely smooth when compared to other models. On top of that, they are super durable because they are sturdy enough for people to stand on, sit on, throw things at, etc. While they are very expensive, they definitely are well worth the money if you use it often enough since it will hold up so long.
Multi Game Tables
We’ll also quickly mention multi game tables. These kinds of tables include air hockey and a number of other games all in one set. These other games can include things like basketball, darts, pool, and other stuff as well. This type is usually found at a big box store for a fairly cheap price and will be bought by people looking for a great deal. They are not that great for air hockey and they aren’t really durable if you use them in a rough manner, but they are an option nonetheless.
Features of an Air Hockey Table
Perhaps the biggest and most important thing to consider when it comes to air hockey tables in the power method that it uses. Without the right power, an air hockey table is worthless. We all know those, like we’ve talked about earlier, where you have to ram the puck as hard as possible to score. That’s no fun, and it can lead to people getting hurt, feelings being hurt, and usually means the bigger person wins automatically. With air hockey, there are two general choices for power, aside from those that don’t have any: battery and plug in. The tables that are most commonly found with battery power are smaller, more portable ones. These can be lugged around anywhere virtually, so if you are frequently on the move, this could be the way for you to go. A lot of batteries are found in tabletop units, too, since they are also fairly easy to move and are light. Then you have the bigger tables that come with the electric plug in. In all honesty, if you have to have one of the two, this is the one that is what you want. It’s going to have consistent power and you won’t have to worry about changing out your batteries and spending a fortune on them. Furthermore, these units are just better all around. You’ve probably never been to an arcade and saw one with batteries, have you? In an ideal world, I suppose you’d want a table with both, but that’s just about a pipe dream really.
Fan, Blower, or None of the Above?
This is another massive aspect for you to take a look at. If the power source is good but the blower is weak, then you are going to be left with the same problem we’ve discussed earlier. When you went to the arcade as a kid, or last week if you’re like me and can’t get over yourself, you’d have noticed that humming motorized noise. That’s what pushes the puck around and makes the game unpredictable. If you don’t have a fan or blower, or if you read that it doesn’t quite do the job it’s supposed to be doing, then you should probably decide against buying a certain table. The good news is that if you have a fan or blower in it, then it’s just about always a step up from the variety that has no power source. If you don’t want any noise, then you can go without one, but then again the actual game will suffer as a result of it.
The size of a table is going to determine a lot about your experience. If the table is too small, or too big, for you and the people you will be playing with, it won’t be a whole lot of fun for you. There are options for everyone, from the smallest to the tallest. Usually the sizes run anywhere from two to eight feet in length. The smaller, the table, usually between two and four feet, will be those that are most likely tabletop sets. These are good for kids mostly or for someone with very limited space. Then there are tables that are between four and six feet long. Most of the tables found will be in this range, since they are the most bang for your buck in consumers’ eyes. They will fit in most reasonable sized spaces. Then there are the bigger ones, which are more like the arcade style we discussed earlier. This type is found in arcades and will be used in competitive tournaments as well. They are expensive and take up more room, but they deliver that authentic type of feeling that you try to capture.
One of the things that you will need in conjunction with your air hockey table is a way to keep score. Thankfully, most, if not all, of the tables out there today have some sort of system for tackling this. The way that most would prefer, but not everyone can afford, is electronically. This method of score keeping registers a goal every time the puck crosses the line. Even if there is some kind of error and you don’t want to count the goal, it will still show up on there. So that is the main draw back that this type presents. The other method is that of the manual control. This will be like a little ticker or abacus type of deal usually where you slide the ‘beads’ across as you score. This type is only an issue with those that tend to cheat a little bit. The main upside of this is you can keep your own score, allowing perhaps a smaller child to do so, or for you to not count goals that were deemed to be in violation of the stated rules. Without these, pen and paper or just keeping track in your mind are also options, but this isn’t nearly as fun and can also result in arguments. You should definitely look for either electronic or manual scoring systems to help you out.
Most people would overlook the surface, but it, too, plays a key role in how well, or how poorly, your game is going to go. Generally speaking, the thicker the surface is, the more smooth and thus conducive to air hockey it will be. If the table is ¾ inches thick, then it should be an excellent table. If you go less than that, then you can still get a good experience, but that is about as premium as it gets as far as that goes. As far as the width, that is also just up to you. It’s all about what you can fit into the space you have.
This one is a big one, especially if you are looking for something that will last. None of us like to buy stuff that doesn’t hold up as well as possible. A big factor in this is always going to be how much you paid for it and how well you treat it. Cheaper items just aren’t going to do as well, and even the best of products will have difficulties if you are incredibly harsh on them. With that said, we all know that wood or metal is going to be better than plastic, regardless of the way you treat it. If you treat plastic tables harshly, you end up with a heap of junk in no time flat. If you do that to metal and wood, you will start to chip away at it, but they will hold up better. The same goes for someone who is wearing kid gloves and making sure to take pristine care of their table. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that cheaper tables are almost always going to be made out of plastics. This is what drives the price down. They might have some shreds of wood paneling, but there will not be much there. For more expensive tables, you typically will see metal legs along with a wooden top. Sometimes aluminum is used to reinforce on top and on the edges, but it just depends on the specific item. Once again, price is important. While you can find some great deals, you should know that you will get much more mileage and better play off of a more expensive product, in very general terms.
This isn’t an essential issue, but it’s still one that deserves to be mentioned. A leg leveler is great for someone that isn’t sure if their room or space is going to be level for the table. A table that has this built in will allow you to level it out and keep it balanced no matter what the terrain around you looks like. This is not often thought of but can be a bummer for some. It sure beats getting out your own wood or book to try and get it as close as possible!
Reviewing the Top 8 Air Hockey Tables of 2019!
MD Sports Air Powered Hockey Table
Kicking off the list is MD Sports, who actually offer three different tables here. All of them are bigger tables and have a premium look and feel without the ultra high cost of an arcade machine. Featuring high voltage fans and coming with a great surface as well as LED lights and sound effects, this one comes about as close as most people would dream of in their own home. The legs are both thick and strong and they have levelers, allowing you to put it on any surface and still be safe, balanced, and fair! This would be a great gift to give, though it must be said that you can find cheaper ones out there. It also has a couple of small issues, like the puck falling out after a goal and some assembly is needed. But other than that, it’s a good choice for you if you want a decent amount of quality for a good price.
- Looks and sounds like an arcade model
- Strong and sturdy
- Mid range price
- Puck will fall out after scores
- Takes some work to put together
Brunswick 7 Foot Windchill Air Hockey Table
Much like the MD Sports offering, this is another middle ranged price point, even though it should be said that it is toward the higher end of that scale. With this item you get a concentration on the table itself with a very sturdy base to it. The workmanship is the calling card of this table, so durability is very much what you will get out of it. There are no dead spots where the air does not blow with this table, something you would expect given the price. The biggest gripe to be had here, other than price, is going to be on the smaller things. There is an abacus system for keeping score rather than an electronic scoreboard. So, it’s a very traditional kind of table, so some people might not prefer that kind of thing. They do offer a 90 day warranty, too, so that will help you out a bit in the event of a problem arising.
- Very durable product
- Top of the line craftsmanship
- No dead spots
- Hefty price to pay
- No scoreboard
ESPN 84 Inch Air Hockey Table
ESPN gets in on the act here with a much more reasonable priced choice that has all kinds of sizes, ranging from five feet to eight foot available. They even offer assembly free of charge for it, too, making it an ideal choice for a poor DIY’er. Despite the fairly low price, you get a LED screen that makes scoring much easier, and one that also keeps time and has lighting, too. On top of that, you get a ¾ inch surface that is very smooth, allowing the puck to hover effortlessly over the top. The corners are reinforced to ensure that they hold up well to the beating it is sure to get over the years and it also has levelers for the legs. Should you not get it assembled, it will be a pain, as it has taken a lot of people a lot of time to put it together. The corners are also very sharp, causing people to cut themselves. This might not be the all-time best for kids then…
- Awesome screen
- Very smooth, thick surface
- Free assembly available
- A little expensive to some
- Sharp edges
- If assembly is needed it will take a while
Playcraft Sport 40 Inch Tabletop Air Hockey Table
If you are very tight on space or want to have something easily moved, then this offer from Playcraft is the one for you. This 40 inch table can be taken just about anywhere and is also incredibly affordable, coming in in the middle of the double digit figures. Despite the low cost, it is built fairly well, far better than those terrible ones you’ve seen in the stores when you were a kid. With that said, though, you can’t depend on it too much. This is still for kids and weaker players because it’s just not going to hold up well to an adult drilling the puck over and over again. It’s an occasional table, really, not something that you pull out and use every day. If used properly, you will get the very most out of it.
- Very low cost
- Very mobile and can be took anywhere
- Great for small spaces and kids
- Not super durable
- Intended for kids not adults
Valley-Dynamo 8 Foot Pro Style Arcade Air Hockey Table
If you want to go in the complete opposite direction, then this is the way to go. This is an arcade style air hockey table to a ‘T.’ This has all the bells and whistles, with the scoreboard hanging over the top of it like you’d see at one. It’s super heavy, at over 400 lbs, well above the others by multiple 100s so far. Because of that, it’s going to be very sturdy and durable. It also makes it very tough to move, too, so if you aren’t set on staying in one place, this is not the right pick for you to make. The sides are tried and tested with tournament style aluminum. The surface is also excellent, while the legs are very thick and also include levelers in the event that you have to call upon them to support the base. The obvious draw back here is the extremely high price. It’s also a negative that it’s so, so heavy and hard to deal with.
- Real arcade experience
- Really, really durable
- Envy of all your friends
- Highest price by far on the list
- Very heavy and hard to move around
Triumph Fire n’ Ice 54 Inch Air Hockey Table
If you want something that’s not super big and also not super expensive, then this is a good choice for you. It’s bigger than a tabletop and has its own legs, but at the same time you can maneuver it around easily since it’s light. It’s also going to take up less space, making it ideal for medium sized rooms. The puck and pushers will both light up, a nice touch, while the scoring is done by using either the abacus or electronics. Each of the legs are supported by cross braces that keep it standing up. You never will miss a goal, either, since the corners light up when you score. It also must be said that customer service is a bit of letdown with them. On top of that, this is a fairly cheap one, so it’s not going to withstand a ton of abuse from older players.
- Great, affordable price
- Easy to move, light, and small-ish
- LED is a nice touch
- Not super durable
- Customer service issues
Harvil 4 Foot Kids Air Hockey Table
This is another one of the smaller tables that will serve your kids well, above all else. At four feet, this table is going to take up very little space and will be easy to move around. Despite its small size, it is grounded to the floor, so you won’t be able to place it just anywhere. With that said, it’s obviously going to be light and easier to carry than most if not all tables. It comes in at a low price and features a battery powered LED scoring system. Despite the lack of size, the surface is as wide as it can be thanks to them maximizing the room they have been given. Like some of the others, the biggest problem is going to be that it’s just not super durable due to its construction. It’s also not really good for older players, unless they are gentle.
- Light and easy to store
- LED system keeps score
- Low price makes you happy
- Not very durable
- Best for younger players
NHL Power Play Air Powered Hockey Table
Rounding out the list here is Eastpoint’s NHL branded table. This table is in the medium priced range and is nearly eight foot long. Unlike the rest on our list, this table is going to include a table tennis tabletop as well. The top is well worth mentioning since it is scratch resistant. It also has LED scoring and sound, with the rails lighting up to brighten up your experience that much more. It’s also very easy to setup, which is certainly not always the case with other items that have made our list. Its built in leg levelers make the game more fair and fun without worrying about having to do all the work yourself. The biggest complaint most have had is that it’s not great at any one thing since it tries to do two things. There have also been issues with the table tennis portion being too sharp, so that is something to be aware of.
- Two games in one
- LED scoring and sound
- Very large table
- Not the greatest at any specific thing
- Not as durable as you’d like
Conclusion And Final Air Hockey Tables Recommendations
Finding an air hockey table that is perfect for you and your desires can be quite a tough endeavor given the current age of the internet. A couple of decades ago, you’d have been stuck going to stores, hoping to find one that was reasonably price. Nowadays, there are so many of them available online that it can cloud your mind and confuse you. By pinpointing what you need most and knowing what features are essential and which aren’t, though, you can make the best, most informed decision for you. That’s what we have strived to do today, and we hope you’ve learned a ton about the world of air hockey tables! Read on below for other questions that you might have on the subject of air hockey and air hockey tables!
FAQ’s About Air Hockey Tables
Can Any Set of Pucks Be Used on Any Table?
The answer to this is both a yes and a no. You technically could use any size puck or pusher, but it wouldn’t necessarily be for the best. If you are playing on a larger table, you will need a larger puck. And likewise for a smaller table. This way the puck doesn’t essentially overpower the table and make it impossible to stop for the ‘goaltender.’ You also don’t want a smaller, flimsier puck when you are playing on a big table. A smaller puck could end up flying off the table far too often, leaving you unimpressed and making you call it quits earlier than you’d planned. Pushers are a little bit more lax and dependent upon the individual. If you have large hands, it might not be the best choice to use a small set, but if that’s all you have, then it will have to suffice! Just make sure that kids know that they have to keep their hands on the upper side of the pusher, lest they end up getting their fingers smashed in between the hammered puck and their pusher.
How Do You Clean Air Hockey Tables?
If you want your table to last as long as it possibly can, then cleaning it and maintaining it are essential. A lot of people just think that you can buy a really nice item and then let it sit, but even the best of the best require some upkeep. First and foremost, you need to keep the table covered when you are not using it. By doing this, you can cut down on the amount of work needed to clean it tremendously. With air hockey tables, you should be cleaning the surface with either cloth or sandpaper periodically. This should be done about twice a month. You also can do the same with the puck, too, in order to make sure the movement of it is as smooth as intended. The pushers need to be inspected every so often, too. If you notice the fabric coming off, then you have to be careful and not hit things too hard. If it’s too far gone, you can find a replacement pad or even use certain types of glue to put it back together. Maintaining your table is also up to how you use it. While it is fun to absolutely smash the puck like you are an NHL winger on a power play, this should be be limited. You can’t constantly do this and expect your things to stay intact. So just treat your things well, and it will go a long way toward keeping you happy. As far the electronics go, always make sure to check them, too. If you notice anything strange, such a smells or sparks, then you should refrain from use and seek out answers online.
Are There Official Rules for Air Hockey?
As with just about any sport or game, there is a governing body for air hockey that helps promote the game and also promotes tournaments and the such. This, however, is not necessarily vital for you to know unless you plan on playing at a very competitive level. If you are looking to just play for fun, then you can still search online to make sure you are obeying the proper air hockey rules. You can also just make up your own. But basically, it’s a game that is going to see which player can get to a set number the fastest. A couple of other interesting rules to know is that the pusher is not allowed to be raised and set on top of the puck. You also are allowed to stand anywhere you like on your side of the table and can hit the puck whenever it is either touching the center line or is on your side. Just a couple of tidbits to whet your appetite and get you excited about it!