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: June 02, 2021
Rec Room Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Table hockey can be a really fun activity for both kids and adults alike. The game is great for parties and for playing with friends and anyone can play with no need to learn complex rules or controls. There are two types, both tabletop hockey games and bubble type hockey tables, as we will explore in our list of the best table hockey games below. Both different styles are featured.
When you’re looking for a table hockey game, there are certain aspects to consider when making your choice. Of course, which type the game is (either bubble or tabletop) as well as things like the dimensions and weight. These will impact where the game can be stored and played. The accessories which come with it and any other bonus features have also been taken into account as we’ve made our list of the very top options. Taking all of this on board, we’ve decided to recommend the Stiga 37 in. NHL Stanley Cup Rod Hockey Table Top Game as our ‘Editor’s Choice’ product.
Our team has spent weeks carrying out this research (and had a lot of fun in the process!). We’ve put our findings together into a simple overview table for you to see some options, and then followed up with more in-depth reviews. On top of these reviews, we’ve provided a full buying guide to help you to make your own decision on which features are most important to you and what to take into account when making your purchase.
This is the very best rod hockey table game out of all the options we’ve come across. It’s a tabletop game which is lots of fun for kids and adults alike. The Stiga 37 in. NHL Stanley Cup Rod Hockey Table Top Game will fit on most large or medium-sized tables and has some very cool features and functions.
As expected, you use the rods to control your players around the hockey ‘court’. It features 2 right-handed and 3 left handed players to control with the game.
Assembly takes about five minutes as you do have to put the parts together when you want to put it up on the table. It has a manual scoring system. Inside the goals is a puck ejection system so you don’t have to spend time awkwardly trying to fish out the pucks! The protective glass around the back of the goals means that pucks are less likely to go flying off the table.
One of the best things, especially for younger hockey fans, is the fact that this game has NHL approval to use the official kits and teams. It uses Maple Leaf and Red Wing uniforms. You can also buy versions which use different team colors.
What makes it stand out?
Officially endorsed team colors and detailed player designs
This is the same model, in many ways, to the editor’s choice product. It has many of the same features and functionality but is simply a “Peter Forsberg” limited edition.
A few differences are in place for the STIGA Peter Forsberg Edition, including the fact that there are five left handed players in this edition compared to three left handed players in the Editor’s choice STIGA model. Some people find lefties easier to control, but this is a matter of personal preference.
This is one of the better looking rod hockey table games as it has some very cool decals, and the fact it is officially endorsed means that you can use official teams when playing. Also, you can buy additional teams and swap them out, perfect if you support a certain hockey team and want to decorate your players in their kit.
All the positive functions of the editor’s choice product are still in place. This is simple to control, sets up in around five minutes on your table, and has a puck ejection system. It also has a plexiglass style section which can stop the puck from flying off behind the goal.
Why is it special?
Officially endorsed teams, you can even replace these teams with other models
Puck ejection system included
Feet keep the game sturdy on top of the table
What are the flaws?
The rods used to control could be a little bit more durable
All left-handed players, which some people prefer, and some do not!
The Carrom Signature Stick Hockey is a fantastically designed bubble hockey table. The bubble design is in place to stop the puck from going missing, but it also helps to make a very cool design.
This is available in two different colors for your personal preference. The exceptional pedestal design is another big plus point and keeps the game sturdy and in place while playing.
The manufacturers have thought of a lot of cool extras to include in the game. One of these is an electronic scoring system which means you don’t need to manually keep track throughout. Also, a coated surface makes the puck zip around more quickly and is great for passing and shooting.
A one-year warranty is included, and this is made in the USA with a lot of quality to offer. The dome is durable and shatter-resistant.
The players on the table aren’t the most detailed, but this isn’t a problem for most, they work perfectly. On top of this, some have talked about the scoreboard not being the best quality in terms of wiring, so this may break over time.
This is quite a pricey model, but the features definitely justify this, and you can have hours of fun.
Why is it special?
Special coated system allows the puck to zip across the surface
Dome keeps the puck within and is also shatter-resistant
What are the flaws?
A little bit more expensive than a lot of the other options due to the pedestal and bubble design
This rod hockey table has a bubble design, too. It makes our list due to the fact it has an exceptionally fast response, meaning it responds brilliantly when you start to turn the rods. This makes for a very quick, lively and fun experience when playing the game. The 2:1 ratio means when you turn it 180 degrees, the player will turn a full 360.
The legs are sturdy and durable, but be warned that this is a really hefty piece of equipment. At 240lb it weighs the same as a heavy human! It is similar in size to a small pool table, to give you an idea of what you’re taking on when you buy this.
The dome is well-made and is quite low profile meaning you can still see the action perfectly. There are lots of features included as the manufacturers have clearly thought about your playing experience.
A side-mounted scoring system is included, which uses infrared to stay accurate. It triggers a sound when a goal is scored and is mounted on the side to allow you to see what’s going on upon the surface.
What makes it special?
This is a very large and sturdy table
Excellent automatic scoring system
Fast and responsive gameplay is helped by the fast gear ratio
What cons did we find?
Takes up a lot of space and can be a bit bulkier than some of the other options
Not all of us have a games room or rec room where we can fit a large table hockey game. This means that a small rod hockey game is the perfect solution. The Franklin Sports Rod Hockey game is small enough to fit even on a coffee table. It is a 22-inch hockey table and means you don’t have to give up lots of space to store it. It can even stay within your kids’ bedroom.
The table comes with 12 hockey players with a quick response, possibly due to the small size. The hockey rods are pretty durable within the constraints of being such a tiny table.
It weighs just 3lb, so even though it isn’t described as portable, it is ideal for taking out and about with you. Perfect for taking to a friend’s house for some entertainment.
Whereas the other tables on this list are great for all ages, one downside is that this is only really suitable for children. The Franklin Sports Rod Hockey is great for youngsters to play, but adults can find it frustrating. It is also quite easy to lose the pucks.
Why is it special?
Doesn’t take up much space, can easily be stored in the bedroom or be set up on a coffee table
Great for children
Comes with an onboard system for keeping score
What are the flaws?
Pucks are very small and there is nothing to prevent you from losing them
Not suitable for adults or some teenagers to play as it is a small model
The MD Sports Rod Hockey Table Game is the cheapest model on the list, and though it is very important to have realistic expectations when you are shopping on a budget, there are some decent features on offer on a budget, and if you are just looking for a little bit of fun, this could be the table hockey game for you.
The ultra-fast setup is one of the biggest benefits of this product, you can be ready for a game in a matter of a few minutes after unpacking. Also, it snaps together rather than requiring any tools for the assembly.
The table itself is made quite well in spite of the affordability. There are, however, no special features such as automatic scoring. The PVC, metal and MDF build is built to last. Unfortunately, the rods are not the best quality, and the metal is quite thin and prone to bending. There’s no pretending that this is the most durable and rugged rod hockey game but this doesn’t mean it can’t be a good choice for your needs.
The support legs could do with a bit of reinforcement too, as they aren’t the sturdiest.
The price point is definitely the biggest plus point if you are looking to buy this table hockey game. It will do a decent job and can last a while.
What are our favorite features?
Available at a fantastic price
Lightweight and portable
What could be better?
Legs are not very sturdy, neither are the rods
Could do with being a bit more durable
Pucks can get lost and there is no protection for this
Things to Consider
As you can see from looking over the models on our list, there are many different choices with lots of different features and functionality. What is right for you depends on a huge amount of specifications as well as your own budget and preferences. Things like how much space you have will play a part, or the type of table hockey game (there are multiple types). The buying guide we’ve put together has been designed in order to help you to understand the features which are most important for you, and make the correct choice for your home. Though the top models we’ve listed in this article are the best overall, it’s important to make your own choices and establish what will make a table most convenient for you, including how it fits in your home, and what age group it is most suitable for.
What table hockey games can I choose from?
Table hockey games are not to be confused with air hockey. They only share the ‘hockey’ part of their name, and they are very different games.
The choices you have to make when it comes to table hockey games are usually whether you buy a tabletop or bubble/dome style of table.
A tabletop model will (as you may have guessed) sit on top of an existing table. This means they are smaller, more lightweight and portable, and can be put away somewhere when you’ve finished playing. They come in a variety of different sizes.
A dome-style has a covering which gives it the name! It looks like a dome. They are specifically built to play table hockey, similarly to a pool table which is made just to play pool. They tend to have advanced features like automatic electronic scoring. They may also be more sturdy, but tend to weigh a lot more and, of course, will take up floor space.
Table hockey games tend to share the same rod design no matter what style they are, so the way you actually engage with the game and play the game are the same, but the sizes, dimensions and additional features will vary greatly by type.
Features to consider when choosing a table hockey game
The following features are those we’ve picked out as the most vital considerations when you are choosing a table hockey game. These are the features we’ve looked at when creating our table hockey game reviews. In order to get the best hockey game for your own needs you should consider the features carefully.
How much space do you have available?
Think of it like buying a pool table, you wouldn’t buy a table that you don’t have space for. It is essential that you measure things up and make sure you have plenty of room for your table hockey game. This is especially true if you buy a bubble hockey table. These have their own stand, and you need to consider the floor space as well.
There are other space considerations! You need to have room to actually play the game. It is important that you can maneuver around the table, as well as just have room for the table itself. It’s pointless if you can’t actually move around and control the rods, and you won’t enjoy the game at all. It is ideal if you have a rec room and plenty of room to use your bubble hockey table.
If you buy a tabletop model, the same applies to ensuring you have room to move around the table and reach all of the rods. However, there is the additional consideration of ensuring that the game itself will fit nicely on the table. If the table is significantly bigger, you might struggle to reach the rods to control it.
Who will be playing?
Most tables can be played by a lot of different ages. A table such as the Stiga option is great for children or adults alike. The controls are easy to reach, and nothing is too big or too small.
Some of the bubble table options are much larger, and these might be unsuitable for very small kids, in the same way that a pool table can’t be reached by toddlers.
A small table like the Franklin Sports Rod Hockey table is ideal for children – the mini design really lends itself to small hands, but for adults to play at a party it probably isn’t going to be ideal as it is much too small. It might be fine for a bit of fun, but if you are going to play regularly, you should match up the size of the table and the rods controlling it to your hand size.
Materials and build quality
Obviously, you will be buying a table you want to last for a decent period of time. While no table hockey is indestructible, there are some which are brilliantly made and able to withstand a lot of use.
For instance, the Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table has four sturdy legs and stays very stable while you are playing. The MDF used in the construction is truly built to last and this is one of the reasons it weighs in at a hefty 240 lbs.
If you are buying a bubble design of table hockey, play close attention to the dome, whether it is plexiglass or another material. Many of these are designed to be shatterproof, but if they aren’t, this can be not just an inconvenience, but a hazard.
Some of the best table hockey games can cost in excess of $1,000. You shouldn’t be willing to make any compromise at this price point, and the build-quality for the elite, more expensive models should always be up to standard. Check the reviews before parting with any cash.
Hockey players and accessories
Some of the accessories are functional to actually playing the game. For instance, does it come with the pucks included? All of the options on the list have at least a couple of different pucks which can allow you to get started.
Other accessories can include scoreboards which can be either automatic or manual, and may be mounted on the side of your table.
The hockey players are key to the game, and there are some subtle variations in these players depending on which game you purchase. For instance, some of the hockey players are designed to be left-handed as opposed to right-handed, which changes the way you control them with the rods.
Perhaps the coolest players on the list are the Stiga 37 in. NHL Stanley Cup Rod Hockey Table Top Game’s players, as these have been based on real teams. If you support a team, you may even be able to get players in their colors. You can also replace the teams and add more teams that you can play with in the future.
Dimensions and weight
As we’ve already discussed, it’s vital to check out the dimensions to make sure you have room for your hockey game, but it is also important in terms of how easy it is to set up and get installed in the location you wish. It will also show you if your game is portable or not. Some are suitable for taking out and about on camping trips, for instance, but a 240lb bubble hockey game will not be.
Weight does usually mean that the product is a bit sturdier. The size and bulk can help the hockey game to be more sturdy and stay in place even while you are locked in battle!
Many of the larger, bubble-style hockey games come completely ready assembled. However, getting them into position may be a challenge: some of the heavier, more-expensive options can weigh over 150-200lb and need to be carried into position.
Portable, mini options such as the Franklin Sports Rod Hockey can be set up in just a matter of a couple of minutes. Insert the puck and you’re ready to play!
This depends. If you have a huge amount of space and want a sturdy, standalone hockey game then a dome or bubble design might be best for you. If you need something smaller and more portable, a model which can just be placed on top of an existing table is ideal.
Yes, table hockey games are absolutely safe for kids, the only thing to really look out for is the fact that there are some small and potentially hazardous parts. For instance, the pucks can be very small and a choking hazard for smaller kids.
The STIGA Peter Forsberg Edition 71-1145-05 is a close second, and it is rated 9.8/10. The players may all be left-handed, but this has replaceable teams and all the features as the editor’s choice.
The Carrom Signature Stick Hockey is our third-choice product. It has a rating of 9.7/10 and we absolutely love the slick playing surface that can make your games even faster and more fun. It has a durable design and is the best table hockey game with a dome design.