Indoor games are awesome.
Seriously, is there any better way to spend a couple of pleasant hours with your friends and family than settling the old scores in a friendly yet engaging competition? Yeah, tons of fun.
But, if we're going to be plain honest with each other, we could agree that not all these games are equally as addictive and engaging and fun.
For instance, the pool may be one of the most popular and classy games you can find out there, but some people simply find it too slow-paced or challenging to master.
If your "inner circle" suffers from this problem, I have some good news for you – here, I'll quickly cover some of the most popular products on the market and try to find the best air hockey table on the market?
Why air hockey?
Well, indoor games don't get more exciting and engaging than this. Also, the learning curve is more than generous. If you know to move your hand, you are perfectly fit to start your first match.
So, get ready – we are going to take some serious shots here.
But, if you don't have that much time on disposal, here are the top 3 picks I find the worthiest of your attention.
Best Air Hockey Tables Currently on the Market - Our Top 10 Choices
And now, let's take a look at some of the top air hockey tables the money can buy.
Here we have the premium air hockey table for home if there ever was one. What makes this unit so exceptional?
Well, for a start, there is the sturdy and streamlined black wooden frame that looks as classy as it gets. Seriously, the table wouldn’t look out of place even in the most exclusive parlor in the world.
Then, there are the professional black rails and smooth surface that are both easy to maintain and capable of providing the continuous pluck movement.
But that's only the beginning.
This Pro Elite air hockey table also features strong legs supplied with leg levelers, electronic scoring, and reliable fan system supported by a very powerful (plug-in) 120V motor.
The LED display may not be the best in the world but does its job more than fine. And, the unit is very easy to assemble, which means that the table provides a strong gaming foundation.
The only problem is that, once we move past this foundation, there are very few things to be found. As a matter of fact, this package is almost entirely devoid of any accessories.
Also, I got the impression that sound effects are a bit exaggerated. But, this is a matter of taste.
Even with these things in mind, Pro Elite air hockey is one of the top air hockey tables currently on the market.
Here we have a hockey table from ESPN - one of the biggest brands in sports. Still, they haven’t earned fame as the manufacturer of air hockey tables.
Second, multipurpose units (this unit also stands in as a table tennis unit) always entail some compromises. So, the table is definitely not perfect.
For instance, its electronic scoring sensors don't always work. Next, the MDF hardwood is solid but far from indestructible. Finally, some of the corners are very sharp.
Still, taking into consideration the price tag, I must admit this ESPN Sports Air Hockey Game Table model still the top air hockey table under $500, I got the opportunity to use this year.
The white surface looks very trendy, sound effects are perfect, the puck return system is intuitive, and the LED scoring system allows you to check who is leading quickly.
Think of the ability to turn this table air hockey into a game of ping pong as an added killer feature.
Add smooth performance and reasonably strong motor into the equation, and you get an excellent table worth advertising.
The only thing this table is missing is bright LED lighting.
You may find it interesting that this game is suitable for children.
However, most of the regular, full-scale tables are too big for small children. The cure for this problem can be found in tabletop air hockey units that are suitable even for the smallest of kids.
So, try to remember this while reading this review – this air hockey tabletop experience was never meant for you.
Your kids, however, will get a blast because this is probably the top air hockey table for kids out there. Why wouldn't it be?
The MDF hardwood body is very solid, the playing surface is smooth and easy to maintain, the puck return system is intuitive, and the pucks fly around fairly easy.
Add the reliable battery powering the airflow fan system to the pile, and you get one pretty cool kids air hockey table.
Of course, not everything feels peachy.
For instance, the table is missing the electronic scoring system, so keeping track of the scored goals will be a mess. If you want to check the current score, visibility is not that great.
The affordable tabletop air hockey table market leaves very little room for miracles, so don't expect a popular brand like Sport Squad to pull one out of the hat.
Still, as far as small tables go, their HX40 offers satisfying build quality, compact dimensions, pretty capable and reliable airflow, and surprisingly strong fan system.
So, the problems with this unit don't exist in the features department.
First, with this price tag, you can’t expect an electronic scoreboard, leg levelers, and LED lights.
For example, the table doesn't feature any kind of on/off switch. As soon as you plug in the unit, the fan system will start working.
Also, the white playing surface doesn't seem all that sturdy. If your kids learn more heavily onto it, they might break it.
Finally, the pushers are pretty poor, and the felt comes off them fairly easily. The same can be said about pucks.
But, all these things are to be expected in this price range.
The most important thing is that, as advertised, Sport Squad allows your kids to learn to play air hockey and doesn't cost too much.
For me, that's quite enough.
We are back into the realm of the full-scale air hockey tables, and I am happy to report that this MD Sports unit features all the air powered amenities you can expect from a full-scale table.
But, it doesn’t bring features like overhead LED lightning or large electronic scoreboard.
Yeah, this one might not be the perfect table you may have hoped for, but the things you get in the package are definitely worth the check.
For instance, the UV-coated, scratch-resistant playing field is good-looking (the sideline LED lights are very cool) and features a potent fan system that keeps the game smooth and fast-paced.
The hardwood frame is sturdy and features various ergonomic upgrades (e.g., molded corner caps), and the adjustable legs (yes, the table includes easy-to-use leg levelers) feel pretty firm and reliable.
So, the building blocks of a capable air hockey game table are definitely present.
Unfortunately, the table features a couple of noticeable problems as well.
First, the manufacturer hasn't been generous on the fan system, which means the playing surface has a couple of dead spots that slow down the game.
Also, the scoring system is very unreliable – sometimes it even needs several pucks to wake up and continue working.
But, you know how they say – what you pay is what you get.
Now this table obviously tries to marry the best of both worlds – it features the lightweight and simplicity of tabletop air hockey tables as well as dimensions and comfort of full-scale, professional units.
Unfortunately, attempts like this usually summon the problems of both these product groups as well.
Let’s cover the positive.
First, for a unit with such a handsome price tag, this table has a surprisingly good-looking frame (the combination of composite wood and PVC), solid legs (no levelers included), and excellent airflow (courtesy of powerful 12 DC motors).
Also, the electronic scoring works like a charm; it is bright, and the electronic scoreboard is big and visible.
With under 50 pounds, the portability shouldn't be that big of an issue. So, you will be more than capable of squeezing a lot of pleasant hours out of this table.
However, in spite of the suitable materials that are built into the table, the unit feels fragile when you put too much pressure onto it.
If you don't keep the laying surface covered in the idle time, this bad boy will break down far sooner than you expect.
Of course, scratching the surface will affect the puck movement and slow down the game.
In a sense, Brunswick 7ft Air Hockey Table is very similar to the first air hockey table I have reviewed on this list.
The manufacturer has opted to ditch the advanced features like overhead lights and others and produce the air hockey table that will focus purely on the gaming experience.
The problem is that this kind of advertising works only if you manage to produce a flawless, top-notch unit and don’t strip your customers from even the most basic features like an electric scoreboard. This table fails in both these regards.
First of all, for the table at this price, some parts simply felt too flimsy, and the legs could benefit from stronger support.
Next, going too streamlined won’t make your table hardcore but rather unusable – there are very few professional players in the world who prefer abacus scorers to far more functional electric scoreboards.
But, when all these issues are put aside, the fact this table looks very good, provides excellent air flow, and tackle some minor functionalities like sound effects are handled more than competently.
Also, the table legs do include levelers so you will always be able to put the unit into the right position.
You’ll pay a steep price with the GYMAX hockey table, but if you’re a serious table hockey enthusiast, it more than worth the few extra bucks.
First, it basically resembles the hockey rink - its smooth white surface and precise lines perfectly mirror the real rink.
You can switch between the electronic and manual scorer, though I advise you to use the former, as it precisely tracks the score and is much more convenient.
Let’s break down the details.
The air flow is powered by a 12V DC motor, which ensures that gliding will be trouble-free and maximally reduces the friction between the pucks.
The panel legs feel solid, and high-quality MFC and PVC materials add to the durability and safety of the table.
It is also incredibly easy to assemble.
You’ll get very straightforward guidelines on how to set it up, and later, all you need to do later is wipe it with a cloth every now and then.
You’ll get two pushers and pucks, two felt pads, and two-goal boxes in the package, along with a screw set for assembling.
It is fixed and cannot be folded once you assemble it, but it weighs in at around 30 lbs, which means it is easy to transport.
The next table, Triumph Fire ‘n Ice, is proof that you don’t have to pay top dollar to obtain a great-looking and feature-rich hockey table.
The theme of this table - fire (red team) vs. ice (blue team) really spices and sparks up the game, and the colorful effects are everywhere.
For instance, corners flash in the color of the team that has scored a goal, and if you turn off the lights, you are sure to go on a magical playing ride.
Also, if you like those attractive light effects, you’ll be pleased to learn that, with this purchase, you’ll get two LED hockey pushers (red and blue) and a LED puck.
These accessories, in combination with LED lights and attractive fire and ice decorations, made me pass the crown for the most beautiful hockey table to this one.
The legs feature cross braces for ultimate safety and sturdiness of the table (they are also nicely decorated), and the legs are adjustable so that you can adapt the table to an uneven surface without being bothered during the game.
My next choice is perfectly tailored for those of you who appreciate versatility and diversity.
Why do I say so?
Because Fat Cat offers not only a pleasurable hockey but also billiards and table tennis-playing experience. In that sense, you get three purposes for the price of one.
What is more, it is very straightforward to switch between the modes - you just unfasten the latches and convert the table.
As for its size, it is 6-foot long (183 cm), which makes it convenient for storage, as it will fit any room size.
Not only that - with this purchase, you will also get accessories for all three games (pool, ping pong, hockey), including cues, balls, the net, and most importantly for you, hockey pucks and pushers.
All of these do not belong to a professional category but are, nevertheless, a nice add-on to the purchase.
Let’s focus on the part that all of you are interested in - hockey.
This air-powered hockey table, placed at the opposite side of the pool table, and it has a powerful 220-V electric motor.
The attractive design of the glossy playing surface further enriches playing, and the manual scorer on each side of the table is an efficient way of keeping the score.
Overall, this is a good choice for people who like casual hockey playing, while bargain-hunters will surely appreciate it for its excellent price for a 3-feature table.
The Things You Should Consider When Buying an Air Hockey Table?
And now that I covered some of the best products Amazon has to offer let us quickly go together through some essential considerations you will need to make before you add some of these tables into your collection.
1. Room Size/Table Size
As obvious as this one may come off, the size issue is so crucial it definitely warrants further consideration.
For instance, even if actually manage to add the unit to the room, you have to take into account that players will need a couple of feet around the table for a comfortable match.
And if you want to take turns, you will need a couple of furniture pieces as well.
So, draw a flow plan of the room before doing anything else, and try working out the table’s dimensions into the available space.
Rules-wise, the air hockey tables can be divided into four main groups according to their length:
2. Table Construction
Speaking in terms of game-play style, we can all agree that air hockey doesn't require so much complicated maneuvers & sturdiness as, for example, pool.
However, air hockey tables do contain a lot of sensitive mechanical parts, and the games tend to become very frantic.
In the bustle of the battle, the strikers will lean heavily on the air hockey table, trying to perform some difficult shots.
Thus, the rule here is - the stronger the frame, the better the protection.
3. Fan System/Motor
The air hockey owes its name to the airflow mechanism that allows the pucks to traverse the playing surface and players to score goals smoothly.
This air flow is provided by the complex mechanism of motor and fans, and as you can probably guess, the quality of this system has a very strong impact on the quality of the game.
Let me first cover the issue of motors.
If they don't pack enough voltage, the puck will end up stuck in the middle of the field. If it's too strong, the game will become too frantic and unpredictable. The perfect balance is in the form of 120V motors.
As for the fan system, the regular 12V units will do the job perfectly fine. But, keep in mind that cheaper models tend to break down rather quickly, and replacing them tends to be quite troublesome.
Also, you have to pay attention to the fan density.
If your air hockey table features too few of these units, the playing field will be covered with dead spots that will slow down the plucks and effectively kill the game.
So, if you want to open up the wallet for some critical feature, this is the one you are looking for.
Here, things are rather simple.
The fan system that blows the air to the playing surface is powered by electricity.
Well, that electricity is transferred to the air hockey table either by a plug-in or battery power supply.
Let me quickly break them down.
5. Rink Walls
Rink walls bounce the pucks off and keep the air hockey gaming experience fast-paced and frantic - just like the real-life ice counterpart.
Since they experience a lot of abuse throughout a game, rink walls also need to feature reasonable endurance.
The two materials that probably find the best balance between these two requirements are aluminum and hard-pressed nylon.
There are other options which may be sturdier, but these usually bring too much weight to the table and aren't recommended.
Due to the complex mechanics, they contain inside, the air hockey tables pack quite a few pounds (sometimes even up to 340 pounds). Legs need to provide two crucial features – durability and leveling.
Furthermore, when they perform some difficult shots, players tend to lean quite heavily on the table, which increases the overall number of load pounds even more.
Therefore, your goal should be strong, durable legs made from hardwood or plastic that will be able to carry such an enormous weight without bending or cracking.
7. Score Tracking
The game of air hockey is too frantic to keep the score in your head.
So, you need something to help you to keep track of the scored goals.
Well, score tracking is mostly performed in two ways: manual score tracking vs. automated electronic scoreboard.
8. Additional Features
So, we have covered all the essential features now.
They make the fun possible but not necessarily the most engaging.
If you want the full experience of your table, you should look for the following.
Keep in mind, though, that I have purposefully put this consideration on the last place. The strength of a good air hockey table doesn't lie in gimmicks and expensive accessories.
If you can get them - excellent, if not, always prioritize the things that matter the most.
What size air hockey table should I buy?
The answer depends on the available space and your gaming preferences.
If you want to read more about these considerations, you can scroll to the Room Size/Table Size section of this article.
However, I should point out that most of the tables out there fall into the mid-range 4-6-feet-length category.
The tables out of this range are either portable table-top units, of full-scale, professional arcade-style products.
What should I look for when buying an air hockey table?
Air hockey tables feature a lot of different properties, that may raise or diminish their value in the eyes of different customers.
So, you should strongly avoid making rash decisions and closely inspect all of the following features to determine which one of the offered products suits your needs the best.
I should point out that, although different customers may put the priority on various properties, I did my best to sort these features according to their general importance.
How do air hockey tables work?
Every air hockey table features a large number of fans underneath its playing surface.
When this system is powered up, the fans produce the strong airflow that reduces the table's traction and allows the pucks to traverse the surface with little to no resistance.
When some of these fans are broken or not working for any other reason, the area the fan was supposed to cover becomes the "dead area" that slows down the game.
And now, when all is said and done, it is time for me to proclaim the winner of this contest.
And as you can probably guess, my vote goes to Gold Standard Games Home Pro Elite Air Hockey Table.
This air hockey table looks and feels very premium, features sturdy legs, and the pucks seem to fly off its surface like crazy.
Also, I think that while putting the focus on the game-play, the manufacturer hasn't forgotten what makes a functional air hockey table in the 21st century, so some advanced features like electric scorers are included in the package as well.
Sure, I could live with more pucks and additional lighting, but even as it is, this table easily towers the competition.
As for the other options you should keep on the radar, ESPN Sports Air Hockey Game Table not only makes one incredibly solid air hockey table but stands in as a table tennis unit as well, so you effectively get two popular indoor games for the price of one.
Also, don't forget Playcraft Sport 40-Inch Table Top Air Hockey. This small table may not be much, but it still makes a perfect way to introduce the game of air hockey to your kids.
Check it out. The holiday season is upon us.