Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: February 16, 2021
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Virtual reality experiences and cutting edge modern video games can be a lot of fun, but there’s nothing quite like the classic arcade and rec center games of the past. Many people buy old arcade cabinets and foosball tables for their homes to enjoy with friends and family, and bubble hockey tables are another great example. Similar to foosball in style, but for hockey, the best bubble hockey table can really light up your rec room or game room.
Bubble hockey is a really fun game to enjoy with friends, but it’s vital to find the best table to meet your needs and budget. Not all bubble hockey tables are created equal, and some of the best tables, like the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey table, come with a lot of unique features and functionality to elevate them above the competition. We’ve looked around a lot of different models, considering the price, size, weight, scoring system, and features of each one.
By analyzing a lot of different bubble hockey tables, we’ve been able to put together a list of the very best models. Below, you’ll find a comparison table highlighting the best tables we found, complete with our overall ratings for each one. Further down the page, you’ll find detailed reviews of every model, complete with pros and cons list, as well as some details and specifications to help you learn more about them. Finally, you’ll find a bubble hockey table buying guide and FAQ section with more information.
At the top of our list of the best bubble hockey tables is the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey table. Sitting atop a chunky and wide pedestal base, this is a very large table and quite heavy too, which can make it a little tricky to install. However, if you have the space, there’s so much to love about this particular model.
One of the best electronic bubble hockey tables around, the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey table comes to us from one of the top brands in the business. It comes with a shatter-resistant dome, offering total durability and ensuring that this table will last a lifetime, with the owners not needing to worry about any knocks or scratches from impacts of the puck.
The Carrom Signature Stick Hockey also comes with an exceptionally smooth and glossy surface. Covered with a special coating and designed with enjoyment and competitive games in mind, the surface of this dome hockey table allows the puck to move around quickly and smoothly, just like a real game of hockey. It’s a lot of fun to play and perfect for those who want to have exciting competitions with their buddies.
The Carrom Signature Stick Hockey also comes with several cup holders around the corners and a super smart electronic scoring system. The scoring unit is battery operated, so you don’t have to worry about plugging this table in, and it lights up the table and plays sounds when a goal is scored, adding to the excitement of the game.
Next up, we have the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table. At first glance, this table doesn’t seem so special. It doesn’t have a pedestal base like many of the other best models, and the overall look and design of the table doesn’t really stand out too much. However, a lot of the effort that went into making this table was focused on how it played and how much fun it was, rather than the aesthetics.
The Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table might not be much of a looker, but it’s a beautiful table to play.
It features super smooth chrome plated tubular rods with 0.12″ wall thickness, made with high lubricity materials in order to reduce friction and give you super smooth gameplay. In simple terms, the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table lets you move the players around very quickly and easily, with the 2:1 turning ratio providing total accuracy in terms of player movement.
The Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table is a big and bulky table, but it’s the perfect option for people who love to have the highest amount of control over their players, rather than feeling like the table is working against them with too much friction or uncomfortable controls.
It’s an easy to use table, with a nice low profile dome that lets spectators view the action more easily and a reliable electronic scoring system too. It comes with some nice lighting and sound effects as well, helping to liven up the action as players score goals and attempt to outwit each other.
Moving on, we come to one of the best-looking bubble hockey tables you could hope to find: the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table. This table is a real head-turner, with attractive and detailed imagery decorating the pedestal and helping to make the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table add a lot of class and style to any rec room.
In short, if you’re the sort of person who values aesthetics as well as performance, the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table might be the best option for you. It’s really a great table to look at, fitting flawlessly into any rec room or home arcade. It’s just a shame that the table’s sound effects are a little basic and it lacks any kind of cool lighting to add to its visual appeal.
The Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table is one of the more expensive entries on our list as well, but it’s also one of the most compact and lightweight designs. It only weighs in at 145 pounds, which is quite low for a bubble hockey table and makes it relatively easy to move around and put into position.
As well as looking gorgeous, the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table feels great too. The handles are really ergonomic, fitting snugly in the hands, and the dome features an easy open system, so it’s very easy to keep this bubble hockey table clean and change out the players if you want to. It comes with a 180-day warranty as well and a very smooth, strong playing surface.
If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck when buying a bubble hockey table, the Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot 52 in. Dome Hockey Table might be the right one for you. This model has compared favorably to many of the leading names, but is available at a much more affordable price, effectively offering the same standards of quality as the very best tables.
Fitted with a side-mounted electronic scoring system, a wide pedestal base, and ultra smooth chrome plated rods, the Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot 52 in. Dome Hockey Table offers a lot of style and functionality. Some users have reported that the rods can get a little sticky, but the 2:1 turning ratio lets the players rotate around very quickly and smoothly most of the time. A full 360-degree turn can be completed with just a half-turn of the handles.
This makes games on the Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot 52 in. Dome Hockey Table feel very fast paced and fun, and the sound effects, while a little lacking in power and liveliness, do help to enhance the action and give the table a nice retro feel.
The Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot 52 in. Dome Hockey Table is a very heavy table, so it’ll take a couple of strong individuals to install it safely in a rec room. This is a minor downside, but there are plenty of plus points to balance it out like the precise, infrared scoring system and super strong dome that can take a hit without suffering any chips or scratches.
Last but not least, we come to our Budget Pick for this list: the Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table. Carrom is a popular and trusted brand among bubble hockey table players and owners: it’s a name you can trust and Carrom always puts a lot of effort into the features and functionality of its models, which are all made in the USA to the highest of standards.
So even though the Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table is quite a low priced model and a little basic compared to some of the others on our list, it’s still a lot of fun to use and offers all the functionality you would hope to find, including an electronic scoring system and even a spare puck in case you happen to lose the first one.
This is also the lightest table on our list, so if you plan on moving your bubble hockey table around or plan to install it in an upstairs space and want to make installation as easy as possible, the Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table could be a great choice for you.
The Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table is popular for its durability. It features a shatter-resistant dome and the whole table is covered in a protective coating, helping it to stay clean and strong for longer, so it’s a table you can use for years and years without having to worry about any damage or degradation. On the downside, the rods can be a little unresponsive and the surface is a little sticky at times as well.
What we liked:
Impressive quality, made in the USA
Fun to use
Highly durable and easy to keep clean
Very lightweight and easy to move around
What could be better:
Quite basic and lacking in features
Rods are sometimes unresponsive
Surface not quite as smooth as others
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve seen some of the best bubble hockey tables around, let’s take a look at why you might want one and how to choose the perfect model for your home.
What makes a bubble hockey table a great choice for your rec room
These days, more and more people are enjoying building up their rec rooms at home. Having a big TV, some board games, and maybe a couple of video game consoles is a good foundation for any rec room, but adding a bubble hockey table can really enhance the overall experience. Here are just a few reasons why:
Unique – Foosball tables and video game consoles are relatively common and tend to feature in many rec rooms, but a bubble hockey table is much more unique and rare, so it can help to make your home game room stand out from the rest.
Retro – For those who want to give their rec room a bit of a retro arcade feel, a bubble hockey table really adds a lot of class. It’s a vintage item that was huge back in the 1980s, so anyone who enjoyed gaming back in that period can find a lot to love in having one of these tables around the home.
Fun with Friends – A lot of arcade cabinets and other games are made just for one player or best enjoyed solo, but a bubble hockey table is super fun to play and enjoy with friends or family. You can organize tournaments with your buddies and really enjoy hours of entertainment on this gaming table.
Stylish – A dome hockey table is a real statement piece. Just like a retro arcade machine, it’s a big item that can add a lot of class to a rec room and really give the whole space a special edge, catching the eye of your visitors and acting as a fun icebreaker too. The Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table is one of the best-looking models around.
Features to consider when choosing a dome hockey table
A dome hockey table represents a pretty large investment, so you need to make sure you buy the right one and have no regrets. Consider all of the following features when shopping for your next bubble hockey table to ensure you make the best choice.
Bubble hockey tables are divided into two main categories: electronic and manual. The golden rule is simple: electronic machines are almost always better. There can be a bit of charm to having a manual machine, but these variants also come with a lot of frustration and a lack of features. With a manual machine, you have to keep track of the score yourself, and you miss out on a lot of fun these tables can provide. Electronic machines, like the Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot 52 in. Dome Hockey Table, feature electronic scoring systems that are able to keep track of the score. The best tables come with additional features like timers too, and some of them also come with fun sound effects that help to make the game more immersive and exciting, making it feel like a real hockey game.
The playing surface is one of the most important aspects of any dome hockey table. Why? Because it directly affects gameplay. If you’re investing in a bubble hockey table and plan to play with it often, you want your games to be as fair and enjoyable as possible. Poor quality hockey tables will feature rough surfaces that don’t allow the puck to move around freely, thereby reducing the overall fun factor of the game. The best bubble hockey tables, however, will feature glossy and smooth playing surfaces, just like real ice hockey rinks, that allow the puck to slide along freely. An example is the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table. This makes the games more dynamic and exciting to play and follow, allowing the players to have a better time overall.
One of the first things to think about when thinking about buying a bubble hockey table is where you’re going to put it and whether or not you have enough space to fit it in your rec room and play with it. The dimensions of your table are therefore very important. It’s vital to measure out the space where you intend to install the table and then check the official dimensions of the model to check that it will fit. Plus, you also need to take into account that the table will need some space around it in order to let the players and any spectators stand around it and enjoy the game. Bubble hockey tables come in a range of sizes. The biggest tables usually offer a more fun experience for the player, but they are bulkier and require more space to be installed. More compact tables, like the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table, are more versatile for smaller spaces.
Construction: durability, stability and base
The overall construction of your bubble hockey table is essential too. While in use, these tables get knocked around quite a bit as the players move from left to right and control the different players. They need to be strong and sturdy to handle the pressure, and heavier tables are often sturdier and more stable overall, but are also more difficult to move around.
You can also get bubble hockey tables with different base types. Some of them have legs, like the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table, while others are set on pedestal-type bases. Pedestal hockey tables tend to be more stylish and less bulky in general, but the tables on legs are often easier to move around, like the Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table. You also need to think about the durability of the different components, especially the dome. Domes can get scratched and chipped, but the strongest and best domes, as seen on the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey, are resistant and durable.
Extra features: cup holders, handles and grip
Some of the best bubble hockey tables will come with some bonus features to enhance the overall experience of owning them and playing with them. These features can help you decide between two similar models. Possible extras include cup holders, as seen on the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey, letting you store drinks on the table itself while you play and offering a little extra fun and functionality to the overall experience, as well as handles for easy transportation and comfortable grips to make the table more ergonomic and enjoyable to play with too, giving you more precision over player movements. If you’re hesitating between two different bubble hockey tables and aren’t sure which one to pick, a simple extra feature could make all the difference.
Not necessarily. It depends on the model you buy. Some electronic scoring system bubble hockey tables will actually run on batteries, which can be changed out and replaced accordingly. Other tables will need to be plugged in. Some highly versatile dome hockey tables can work both on batteries and plugged in, giving you more flexibility in terms of where you set them up and how you play with them.
If you invest in a dome hockey table, looking after it is important. The dome does keep a lot of dust and dirt away from the players and the playing surface, but these tables can still get a little dirty over time with repeated use. To clean the inside, you’ll need to remove the dome and then carefully wipe over the players and surface. Simple furniture spray can be good enough to clean up the inside area, and you can use scratch remover to clean the bubble or dome itself. For the outside of the table, furniture spray is usually all you need.
Again, the answer to this question will depend on the model you buy. There are some models of bubble hockey table that will allow you to swap in different players, but this is something you’ll need to research ahead of time if you plan on changing the players. Some players won’t be compatible with certain models of table, and vice versa, so be sure to read up and even get in touch with the manufacturers if needed to check on any compatibility potential before placing any orders.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, our favorite bubble hockey table was the Carrom Signature Stick Hockey table. This model really excels in terms of gameplay, with its super slick surface and fun light and sound effects ensuring that every single match-up is a lot of fun for both players and spectators.
The second best bubble hockey table we found was the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table. It’s one of the biggest and heaviest tables around, but the level of precision it offers is second to none, ensuring that all games played on this table are super competitive and always exciting.
Finally, our third best rated bubble hockey table was the Hathaway Breakaway Dome Hockey Table. This one stands out for its looks, being really nice to look at and highly enjoyable to play too. It’s easy to clean and is quite lightweight compared to the other models.