Like a majority of sports, the invention of air hockey is rooted in rich history. Back in 1969, Brad Baldwin, Bob Kendrick and Phil Crossman, who were employees of Brunswick Billiards, came up with the concept of a frictionless gaming platform. At the time, they could not figure out the specific purpose for such a gaming surface. As a result, the idea did not take off until a couple of years later when they teamed up with Bob Lemieux.
With Lemieux input, he was able to steer the project towards creating an advanced version of ice hockey. In so doing, Lemieux assumed that the trio’s initial idea was to imitate how a puck glided on ice at high velocity. It is this group’s efforts that led to the invention of air hockey. In the present day, air hockey is a popular sport played by the young and old. But to get started, you will have to buy the best air hockey table. With your own air hockey board, you can play any time you are free.
The Best Air Hockey Table
What is the Best Air Hockey Table?
You should ask yourself several questions before determining the air hockey table to purchase. Start by establishing the individuals who will be using the table. If it will be used by adults, then it should be stable and durable. Next, assess the skill level of the potential players. Are they beginners or professional players? Ultimately, the best air hockey table is one that meets a specific user’s needs.
1. Gold Standard Games Pro Elite Air Hockey Table
Are you planning to buy a quality air hockey table similar to those you’d find in arcades? If you are, the Gold Standard Pro Elite is just what you need. At seven feet long, this table will give you a remarkable gaming experience.
One feature that makes this air hockey table unique is the wear-resistant laminate top that it’s fitted with. This construction ensures that the table withstands harsh external elements and constant abuse. What’s more, Gold Standards Pro Elite is equipped with 110V motor that performs its function seamlessly. Perhaps the only setback is the fact that this motor is pretty loud. Ideally, you cannot set it up in an area meant for sleeping, studying or other activity that requires focus.
2. Atomic Contour Air Hockey Table
The Atomic Contour table takes air hockey to a whole new level. This table is designed to work with ScoreLinx, a recently developed app that transforms your smartphone into a digital scoring gadget. Once you key in the players’ names, the phone displays their scores alongside animation graphics, all while playing some very entertaining tunes. You can even configure the app with voice commands that are activated every time you score a point.
Overall, this air hockey table is a reliable model that is built to stand the test of time. To back this claim, the manufacturer provides a limited warranty of three months. This is a welcome feature given that most manufacturers don’t provide any warranties.
3. Brunswick Shutout Air Hockey Table
Providing a high-quality construction with innovative technologies, Brunswick is driven by one objective- to manufacture the most functional and attractive air hockey tables. A good example of the company’s craftsmanship is the Shutout air hockey table.
Constructed using dense fiber wood, this table not only has an elegant finish but is also very durable. Moreover, the table features a constant flow UL blower motor, which guarantees sufficient air across the table. Brunswick air hockey table is 7 feet long and 3.75 feet wide, so you should spare sufficient space for setting it up.
Another plus of this air hockey table is that it comes with accessories. You will find 2 pushers and 4 packs and dual style abacus scoring units that make it easy to track players’ scores.
4. Harvil Air Hockey Game Table
The Harvil air hockey table is designed for those who live in small-sized apartments. It’s only about four feet long, so it won’t take up too much space. Still, it provides a spacious playfield to avoid compromising on the fun part of the game.
Another plus of this table is that it uses 2 AAA batteries to run. Although the manufacturer does not provide these batteries, it means that you can take the table to your camping trips or use it in other outdoor settings. Plus, this table has ultra-wide goals to make retrieving the pucks easy.
5. ZAAP Electric Ice Air Hockey Table
The ZAAP electric air hockey table is designed for the style-conscious individual. This table boasts a unique beech-wood finish that looks very classy. In fact, this design makes the table perfect for any room; be it a gaming room, a kid’s room, office break room or club.
But this table has a lot more to offer than its pleasing looks. For instance, it has full height legs with independent levers. It makes it easy to position the playing field in a perfectly horizontal position. It also has a powerful motor, which provides sufficient air flow. Plus, the table comes with 2 pucks and 2 pushers for an easy gaming experience.
What Is An Air Hockey Table?
As mentioned earlier, air hockey is a sport that dates back to the 1970s. The first version of the air hockey tables looked very similar to hockey rinks. In fact, air hockey is played using almost the same gameplay. The main concept behind the invention of this game was to mimic the act of playing on a hockey field.
In the present day, air hockey has become a very popular indoor sport. Often played by two players, it is considered one of the best non-exercise activities. Given this rise in fame, it’s not surprising that air hockey tables are also being manufactured in plenty. These tables are designed differently so as to suit every player’s skill level. We have air hockey tables for entry-level, intermediate and skilled players.
How Do You Play Air Hockey?
Air hockey is one of the easiest games to master. It can be played by two or more players. The gameplay is pretty straightforward- every player has a chance of attempting to land the puck through his opponent’s goal. Anytime this player lands a puck, he scores a point. But despite these simple rules, playing air hockey can be challenging. This is a game that calls for strategic planning, skill and very quick reflexes. But once you’ve mastered the art of it, you’ll be a tough player to beat.
Additionally, once you get past the learning curve, you’ll find air hockey to be a fun and addictive game to play. One piece of advice that can help beginners is to avoid exerting too much pressure when hitting the puck. Doing so can cause some damage to the air hockey table, which will only make it harder for you to win.
Air hockey is meant to be played when one is calm and relaxed. This way, you’ll be able to think critically and plan your moves wisely. Be observant and learn your opponent’s playing style. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by making moves that increase your chance of winning.
The Benefits of Owning an Air Hockey Table
The modern lifestyle demands have turned a majority of people into machines that work round-the-clock, leaving little room for rest and play. How often do you get to take a walk or just lie on your hammock and read your favorite book? In all likelihood- very rarely. But no matter how busy your schedule is, you should always spare some time to relax, find a new hobby or just bond with family. One activity that can help you relax and also provide an opportunity to interact with friends is air hockey. Air hockey is a short and exciting game that will get everyone participating and enjoying themselves.
But before you can get started on this game, you’ll need to find an air hockey table. These tables come in different designs and styles, so it’s easy to find one that matches your home décor. If you have a preference for pricey artwork pieces, an air hockey table with a wooden finish will complement your décor perfectly.
Another perk of owning an air hockey table is that it’s versatile. Are you planning a family game night? Why not incorporate air hockey to your list of games? This sport can be played by up to 4 players, making it ideal for parents and kids.
Besides, air hockey tables are very easy to set up. You don’t need to hire an expert for a professional installation. All you need is an extra pair of hands to hold some of the sections steady while you connect the rest of it. Setting your air hockey table can be another fun DIY project that you can do during your free time. With an air hockey table in your home, it will be easy to turn those monotonous evenings into something more exciting.
Types of Air Hockey Tables
If this is your first time to shop for an air hockey table, you might be surprised to find so many different variations on the market. And although they all provide very similar playing surfaces, there are subtle differences between them. The main types of air hockey tables are:
Arcade-Style Air Hockey Tables
If you don’t mind paying top dollar in this affair, the arcade-style air hockey table is the best in the market. In fact, most professional players invest in this kind of table. So, what makes them stand out from the crowd?
Firstly, arcade-style air hockey tables are sturdy. Once you buy this table, you’re guaranteed that it won’t break any time soon. These tables also feature the standard or recommended size for air hockey tables. What this means is that you’ll be playing on the kind of tables used in air hockey tournaments.
Arcade-style air hockey tables also come with a myriad of features. One handy feature is the e-score that displays scores for both players. It eliminates the hassle of keeping track of your opponent’s scores. Other unique attributes that these tables have are smooth playing surfaces, music-playing accessories and superb motors.
Basic Air Hockey Tables
As the name suggests, these tables will only have basic features. Now, although you won’t find a digital scoreboard or sound effects on this basic air hockey table, you wills save a huge chunk of money. These basic tables are recommended for entry-level players and individuals who are not too keen on playing the game. If you plan to use the air hockey table a few times every month or only when your friends visit, then you should consider purchasing this model.
Tabletop Air Hockey Tables
Their title is also self-explanatory- they are usually attached to a tabletop. These are unique air hockey tables that serve specific purposes. For instance, if you don’t have enough space in your game room, tabletop air hockey tables take very little room. Their design also makes them easily portable.
Multi-Game Air Hockey Tables
The multi-game tables are suitable for playing air hockey and a ton of other games. You can play table tennis, foosball just to mention a few.
However, since these tables are not specifically designed for air hockey, they lack in some features. For instance, some of them are made of really cheap materials.
Who is the table for?
Before purchasing an air hockey table, you should first determine the skills of the players for whom you’re buying this for. This way, you can decide which features to pay attention to and which ones to ignore. Depending on your air hockey playing skills, you can choose from three different tables.
If you’re buying an air hockey table for a novice player, we recommend going for one that is lightweight. Beginners are those who are just getting started on this game and are yet to gain enough experience. For such individuals, you shouldn’t spend more than $100 on your first air hockey table. Although you might not get a high-end model for this price range, the air hockey table you get is adequate to help you learn the basics.
Intermediate players are those who have a little experience playing air hockey. Although they’re not skilled enough, this group of individuals is well-versed with the rules and basics of the game. If you’re an intermediate player, you should go for a much sturdier air hockey table. You should also be ready to spend a little more than it cost you to buy your first air hockey table. At this level, you’ll come across tables that are durable, stable and less vulnerable to denting. If you have ample space in your home game room, a 7-foot air hockey table is the best option for your intermediate skills.
Professional air hockey players are better off choosing full-size or arcade air hockey tables. These tables are the most durable of the three. And, they’re made with thick rink walls. Another plus of these tables is their ultra-smooth playing surfaces. Although they might cost you a fortune, these tables will offer you the best gameplay.
What features to consider in buying air hockey table?
The average size of a full size air hockey table is 8 feet. This is the kind of air hockey board that’s used in championships. However, such a table is on the higher side of the price spectrum. Plus, it takes up a lot of space. You’ll need to set aside a space of about 10 feet by 7 feet. But if you don’t have the budget or space, there are smaller options. An air hockey board that is 7 feet may be the best fit for your needs. We also have a few models that are only about four feet long.
Table or Table Top
For families made up of die-hard air hockey fans, getting an actual table is mandatory. When it comes to tables, the rule of the thumb is that a heavy model always works better than a lighter one. Although this is true, heavy tables are often too costly. If you can’t afford a heavy duty table, go for one made of medium-density fiberboards. These tables are equally durable and they won’t break your bank.
Another factor you should look into is the stability of the table. You and your opponents will probably be leaning on this table from time to time. Getting a stable table prevents it from collapsing because of too much force or weight.
A table top air hockey board is another option you can consider. However, this one is best suited for homes with space restrictions. Table top boards are also pretty lightweight, which makes them convenient to carry when you go camping. So if you want a versatile air hockey table, the tabletop is an excellent choice.
Air hockey tables can be powered in either one of two ways- electricity or batteries. If you plan to use your table in an outdoor setting or an area that has no access to electricity, you should opt for the battery-powered model. However, if you don’t intend to the board out at any one time, then an electricity-driven table is the best.
Large Puck or Small Puck
Most air hockey tables designed for home game rooms are usually tailored to casual players. However, some models are too basic even for the casual player. A good example is a table that utilizes a small puck. Such a table is best suited for a player with average skills. The fact that the puck is small and light makes it easy to lift. Unfortunately, this also means that if you push them too hard, they might end up flying across the room. That said, small pucks are designed for kids and youngsters who’ve developed a passion for the game. Although such kids like playing air hockey, they don’t have the hitting power or intensity of an adult.
If most or all of your family members are air hockey fanatics who have very competitive spirits, then the better option would be the standard large puck system. Large puck systems are designed to withstand constant beating and to challenge you to give your best.
One thing you should keep in mind when shopping for air hockey tables is that you’ll get exactly what you pay for. Put simply; some air hockey boards have cutting-edge technology that includes a goal sensor or digital scoreboard. Others, however, only have the most essential features. So even if you’re looking for a simple table, you should compare different options to find the best one among them.
Air Hockey Table Maintenance
- Some players have a tendency of transforming their air hockey tables into dining tables. This shouldn’t be the case; you should use this table only for playing air hockey and nothing more. If you continue dining from your air hockey table, you’ll end up with clogged up holes because of the tiny food particles that find their way into these gaps. Placing foods and drinks on your air hockey table can also damage its structure. One way to know that your air hockey table is damaged is if the puck can’t float as nicely as it used to.
- You should also use your vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the table’s playing surface. Even if you don’t use your air hockey regularly, make a point of vacuuming it from time to time. This way, you’ll pick up dust particles and prevent the holes from getting blocked.
- You can also clean this table using a damp cloth. However, if you go this route, ensure that no one touches the table with sticky hands. If there are a couple of stubborn stains, apply a liquid glass cleaner on the damp cloth then use it to wipe the table. Spraying the cleaner directly on the air hockey table is not recommended because the liquid can end up clogging the holes.
- In addition to the table, you also need to clean the pucks. Clean them in the same way you did with the table; that is, by applying a glass cleaner on a lint free cloth then using it to wipe the pucks. Keeping these pucks clean is crucial to maintaining their smooth texture.
- When the air hockey table is not being used, ensure you cover it with a clean cloth. This is the best way to prevent dust from accumulating on the table’s surface. And although most people cover their tables using a cloth, the most recommended options are plexi glass or plastic sheeting. Also, avoid placing items on your air hockey table. Just because it’s not in use doesn’t mean that you can load clutter on it.
The Bottom Line
Air hockey is a contemporary board game suitable for both youngsters and adults. If you’re thinking of playing this game, start by getting your own air hockey table. The good thing is that these tables are designed with players’ skills in mind. So, while some are customized for professional players, others are designed for beginners.
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