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The 10 Best Air Hockey Tables  Apr 2019

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Your Guide To Buying an Air Hockey Table

By Nicole Blanckenberg

    Whether you are looking for a large edition for your game room or a small unit to keep the kids active on the next vacation, air hockey tables are great fun for the whole family. With their growing popularity, the number of available types and brands of air hockey tables has grown as well. Air hockey is a two-player game, where each contestant defends their goal and tries to propel the puck, by means of a hand-held mallet, into the opponent's goal. The original air hockey table was developed in the late 1960s by Brunswick, the indoor sports giants. They devised a table top perforated with uniformly-spaced small holes, through which a fan blows air from underneath the table. The puck used in the game thus travels on a cushion of air, which reduces friction considerably and makes the game much more fast-paced and dynamic. (There are also air hockey tables that just employ a slick plastic surface for the tabletop--even though there is technically no “air” in the air hockey game, it also tries to achieve a low-friction playing surface.) The four main types of air hockey tables are 1) standing, 2) tabletop, 3) combination hockey tables, and 4) arcade-style tables.

    To help you easily compare your air hockey table options, we have put together this extensive air hockey guide with everything you need to make a quick, smart buying decision. It'll help you:

    • Choose the right type of air hockey table,

    • See useful tips about that type of air hockey table,    

    • Read reviews of different brands of air hockey table, and what customers are saying,

    • Select the right brand of air hockey table, and

    • Compare prices and find the best deals.


    Air hockey tables differ in size and features. Choosing between them will have a lot to do with how much space you have at home and for whom you are buying it. Here is a short explanation of air hockey table types for you to compare:

    • Standing Air Hockey Tables: These tables offer the same size and build of arcade-style air hockey tables without the expensive bells and whistles. Perfect for home use, these tables vary in size and quality and offer a solution for all ages and needs.

    • Tabletop Air Hockey Tables: Legless, tabletop air hockey tables are designed to be placed on a table, making them a perfect edition for smaller homes or dorm rooms. Their smaller builds make them more portable to make moving from room to room easy, as well as making them easier to play for younger children. One of the best children’s air hockey games is the Playcraft Sport 40-Inch Tabletop Air Hockey game. It has a strong fan that delivers 100 CFM of air. It is also an inexpensive model, available for as little as $70. It’s also small enough that children can play air hockey even sitting down. The Carrom Power Play Hockey Game is only 42” in length with removable legs, so you can move it from one room to another with ease.

    • Combination Game Hockey Tables: Designed to be used for a variety of games such as foosball, hockey, pool, and even ping pong, these tables offer the most versatility, giving you lots of entertainment options. Offering many games for the price of one, these are popular for large rec rooms and families. For example, the Playcraft Double Play 2-in-1 7' Billiards and Air Hockey Table allows you to flip the playing surface, where one side is for air hockey, while the other is cloth-covered, for billiards. There are storage compartments on the side of the table, so you can put away the billiard balls and cues when they're not in use. The Atomic Blazer 7' Air Hockey Table can be converted into a table tennis game.

    • Arcade-Style Air Hockey Tables: Offering electronic extras and blower motors, these air hockey tables are able to keep score and play music. Normally found in communal game rooms and arcades, they are a professional air hockey table option for businesses and air hockey leagues. For example, the American Heritage Monarch Series Air-Hockey Table (Cat. No. 390074) has an electronic scorer that works independently from the blower fan. So you have a choice of scoring manually. But, the electronic scorer will add a whole array of sounds, to make it like a real arcade game. It buzzes when time has expired, makes sounds when a goal is scored, and will even play the National Anthem when you commence play!


    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Construction: The larger tables will require that you perform the assembly yourself. (It goes without saying that you should perform the assembly only in the room where you want the table to be--the finished table may be too heavy and bulky to move.) GLM’s tables will require hex wrenches and Philips-head screwdrivers. It is not recommended to use power tools, such as an electric screwdriver or drill. These may strip the screws, or scratch the wood of the table. If you do decide to use an electric screwdriver, set it on a low torque setting, to avoid damaging the screws. You should work with someone else, especially when inverting the table, to avoid damaging the parts.

    • Note the motor direction: Some reviewers noticed that they had to reverse the direction of the fan in order to achieve the proper air cushion effect. The fan would blow air downward, instead of upward through the holes in the board. This is a defect in some of the cheaper versions but it is easily corrected.

    • Regulation-size pucks: When adults play, you’ll probably want a professional-size puck and mallet. The puck should be 3” in diameter. Some air hockey games for children will have a puck that is only 2” in diameter.

    • Clear instructions: Air hockey tables that are easy to assemble are reviewed much better than tables that are not. Choosing a well reviewed, quality product with clear assembly instructions will ensure less frustration.

    • Build: Air hockey table owners are satisfied with tables that are sturdy and good quality. Good puck gliding and airflow are contributing factors to build quality. Reviewers view their air hockey tables as an investment and tables that stand the test of time and offer comfortable play are clear winners among online reviewers. The quality of the motor is very important: if the motor stops working, you’ll find that the puck will get stuck in the middle of the table. The game won’t be very entertaining that way.

    • Players: Tables that can accommodate more than two players get a lot more high ratings, with commenters noting that it is very convenient when four children are able to play at the same time. Opting for a larger standing or table top model will ensure your kids get the most enjoyment out of their air hockey games.

    • The number of holes in the table’s surface: Some air hockey tables suffer from “dead spots”: places on the playing surface where there is no noticeable air flow. That means that there’s more friction, and the puck is likely to get stuck there. (This will be especially frustrating for children. Younger players who can’t reach the puck will have to stop play in order to fetch it from the center of the board.) You may have to vacuum the holes, in order to clear any clogs. An extreme case would require trying to widen the holes, to increase the airflow.

    • Mallets: There are two types of mallets that you’ll see: high-tops (that resemble a sombrero, with a high middle section where you hold the mallet), and low tops (with a lower handle in the middle). The best mallets will come with a felt bottom--this ensures that the playing surface doesn’t get scratched. Scratches could lead to increasing friction over time. Also, make sure that the playing surface is made of a wood laminate, for durability against getting scratched.

    • Legs with skid-resistant pads: It’s important that the legs of a table-top air hockey game come with skid-resistant pads. This will keep even the more aggressive players from shifting the table during play. The Hathaway Power Play Air Hockey Table has this feature.

    • The quality of the rails: The material of the rails is also important in determining the durability of the air hockey game. Even though rubber rails may seem more elastic, the greatest durability is noticed with models with aluminum rails, such as the American Heritage 390074 Monarch Series Air-Hockey Table. Aluminum rails will be more durable against the impacts from the puck and mallets.

    • Length of the table: Air hockey tables vary in length, from compact models that are less than 24 inches, to large tables as big as 8 feet long. Consider where you will place the air hockey table and then choose a size that fits both the available space and the players’ needs.

    • Fan strength: The strength of the fan in the air hockey unit will determine what type of air cushion will be provided by the table. GLM’s “Fat Cat” brand of air hockey table is a 7’-long table, with a fan that can generate 80 cubic feet of air per minute (= CFM), which gives you a thick cushion of air for frictionless play. GLM’s “Viper” brand outdoes that, and puts out 110 CFM.

    • Materials: Air hockey tables can either be plastic with wood paneling, wood with metal casting, or metal with wooden supports. Which table you choose will determine the size and quality of the materials it is made of. Smaller good value tables are often plastic, while larger game-room models tend to be made from metal with wooden trim.

    • Battery-powered models: Air hockey tables come as either plug-in or battery-powered models. Battery power is better suited for smaller air hockey tables and is a much better option when looking for a table you can take with you on your next family vacation. Electric-powered air hockey tables will mean that your table is powered up to play at home whenever you need it.

    • Scoreboard: The more expensive models have a scoreboard that rings up the score as soon as a puck goes in the goal. The cheaper models will have a scorer that you move manually when a goal is scored.

    • Leg levelers: If your air hockey table has legs, it’s important that they have leg levelers. That way, you can correct for a non-level surface or floor, by raising the legs on one side and making sure that the playing surface is not at a slant. The Viper Vancouver 7.5-Foot Air Hockey Game Table has such leg levelers.

    • Automatic puck return: There are air hockey games which have an automatic puck return, that goes in tandem with the electronic scoring. For example, the Hathaway Face-Off Air Hockey Table has a built-in automatic puck return system after a goal is scored.

    • Extra accessories: To play a game of air hockey you will need at least two mallets (what you use to push the puck--also known as a goalie, striker or paddle) and at least one puck, and your table should include these accessories. Quality pucks should have a rimmed edge protecting your fingers from the puck in motion. Pucks come available in many shapes and styles and it is always advisable to buy a few extras in case the included one gets misplaced.


    • Playcraft Sport: Started in 1975, Playcraft Sport make gaming room products, including air hockey tables, that are known for their workmanship and value for money.

    • Viper: Under the GLD Products company, which has been producing gaming products for over 30 years, Viper air hockey tables are one of the leading air hockey brands. (GLD’s other brand of hockey table, Fat Cat, is a slightly less expensive version, running at around $850.) GLD's headquarters is located in Muskego, Wisconsin.They also make table tennis and foosball tables, dart boards, billiard cues, backgammon, dominoes, and cribbage. They also sell individual parts for their games.

    • American Heritage: Specializing in quality gaming tables, American Heritage has been manufacturing billiard and air hockey tables for over 20 years.

    • Hathaway Games and Sports is a brand of Blue Wave Products. Hathaway is their brand of air hockey and pool tables, although Blue Wave also makes portable 32” tabletop air hockey tables, as well as professional size Stratosphere 7.5' Air Hockey Tables.

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