Reasons to get a top-quality air hockey table under $1000
The main reason to get an air hockey table is that they’re a lot of fun. If you have a large family or host a lot of get-togethers and are looking for an engaging activity that everyone can do together, an air hockey table is a perfect choice.
There are a of high-end models available that are prohibitively expensive; luckily, a lot of the more affordable tables under $1000 (and even air hockey tables under $500) are built using with high-quality ingredients and can stand up to some serious gameplay.
Features to consider when choosing an air hockey table
There are some key things to keep in mind to make sure the air hockey table you choose is worth the investment. Let’s take a detailed look at what you should be looking for and why.
When it comes to dimensions, you have to know how much space you have available for the table. Don’t forget to account for the amount of room you need around the table as well. While you won’t need as much clearance as you would with, say, a foosball table or pool table, you do need some extra space for the player at each end and some room to move around the sides.
Another thing to consider is who’s going to be using the table.
If you’re trying to accommodate kids, a smaller table is better because they can maneuver around it more easily and reach more of the playing surface.
For kids, you might want to also consider getting a mini air hockey table.
As you can see from our top picks, these tables come in a lot of different styles. While the way an air hockey table looks doesn’t necessarily affect how well it performs, it’s still an important thing to consider because it’s going to be sitting right in the middle of your game room. It doesn’t necessarily have to match your home’s decor but you should choose something that you like enough to look at all the time.
Something that we really like about the products we chose is they all look pretty good. None of them are clunky or tacky looking yet they come in a few different styles. There are some that look a little more classic, like the Brunswick Windchill Air Hockey Table, as well as a few that are really sleek and modern, like the Atomic Avenger 8’ Hockey Table.
One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is when it comes to scoring because there are a few options out there. The simplest is a manual scorekeeper that works kind of like an abacus. Just slide to numbers from one side to the other as you score. Although it’s a simple system, it’s entirely possible that you might forget to change the score when you’re caught up in the game.
There are also several different types of electronic scorekeeping systems. Some use a touch screen for setup and display the score right in the side rail so it’s close by and easy to see even in the middle of play.
Another option is an overhead electronic scoring system like the one used on the MD Sports Air Powered Hockey Table. They come in different styles. Some are pretty low and allow just enough space for the puck to slide freely underneath while others sit higher above the playing surface where they’re easier to see and add another dimension to the design. Keep in mind that some electronic scorekeeping systems are powered by the table itself while others, like the Harvil Beachcomber Indoor Air Hockey Table, require batteries.
The most high-tech method of scorekeeping can be found on the Atomic 7.5’ Contour Air Powered Hockey Table. It uses Bluetooth to sync to a smartphone app called ScoreLinx that not only keeps score but also adds graphics, animation, and sound effects. You don’t need something this advanced to enjoy playing air hockey but adding your own team photos and recordings really is a lot of fun.
Accessories: pucks and pushers
The main things you need to play air hockey are enough pushers for all players and a puck. It’s good to have a spare puck or two as well. These tables all come with pushers and pucks but in different combinations, from two to four of each. Make sure that the pushers are the appropriate size for who is playing. Children do better with smaller ones but if you have big hands, you may want to invest in something a little larger. As for the puck, the biggest factor affecting its size it actually the blower and air flow.
Blowers and air flow
Air blowers and air flow are essential for gameplay because the whole game relies on the puck smoothly floating over the surface.
For the most part, larger tables have more air power both because they cost a bit more and because there’s more surface area which requires more air.
Smaller tables are still effective but they’re scaled down in every way. In addition to the tabletop itself being smaller, the air flow isn’t enough to propel a full-sized puck, so they’re also scaled down. These tables are just as much fun to play on, but it’s important to know what to expect.
Construction and stability
These tables get knocked around quite a bit so it’s really important that they’re stable and made with durable materials. There’s no way to play air hockey without bumping into the table occasionally so one of the most important things to look for is how stable the legs are.
Another thing to consider is where you’re setting up the table. If the floor isn’t perfectly straight, it can cause some problems. Not only will the playing surface tilt and give one player an advantage, but the table also won’t be as strong if it’s sitting at an angle simply because that’s not how it was designed to be used.
One of the easiest ways around this is to get a table with adjustable levelers. These are pretty brilliant in their simplicity, all you have to do is extend the leveler from the foot of the table where more height is needed and adjust until you have a flat playing surface.
Some of these tables are heavy. In fact, the heaviest has a shipping weight of 362 pounds. Once you have it set up and in place, weight isn’t so much of a problem but getting a large, heavy table into your home and possible up or down stairs can be daunting. Make sure you have a lot of help to do the heavy lifting.
Warranties are always important but especially with products like this. Not only are there electric components to consider but these tables have to resist a lot of wear and tear, too. If the table you choose comes with a warranty, make sure you know what’s covered and what isn’t so there aren’t any surprised if you have to file a claim.