How Much Is an Air Hockey Table?

The air hockey game is increasingly becoming one of the favorite arcade games of both young and adult since its invention in the year 1969. This increase in the popularity of air hockey game is best shown in the skyrocketing sales of air hockey tables worldwide. Air hockey tables, however, come in different sizes and made. Some standard-size tables are 8 feet long or even longer, while some are small enough for kids to enjoy the game.

Types of Air Hockey Tables

There are also myriads of brands and models of air hockey tables on the market today. This makes it a bit difficult for prospective buyers to choose which model and brand would fit their playing needs and budget. Here is a guide on how to choose the appropriate table for your needs:

How Much Is an Air Hockey Table

If you are just a beginner, for example, you should choose a table that is just under 7 feet in length like those of the tabletop air hockey tables. This type of air hockey tables is perfect for kids and teenagers. It is also perfect for those with cramped spaces at home. It is removable and portable. Moreover, it is equipped with rubber feet. This air hockey table is surely a less expensive way of enjoying an air hockey game at home.

There are also regular-size air hockey tables. These tables are aplenty and are easily available on the market today. Their sizes vary from a mini table to a full-size table. They are more affordable than the arcade-style tables. However, they often do not have the electronic scoring panel, music, LED lights, and other accessories. Yet, these tables are best for those who want to improve their air hockey games.

Another type of air hockey table is the arcade-style air hockey table. Tables under this type are the real thing. They are sturdy, being made of stronger materials. They are built to last longer and are pricier than the abovementioned types of air hockey tables. They are also equipped with a scoring board and sound effects. Hence, if you are a competitive player who usually joins national and international air hockey competitions, then you should opt for this type of air hockey tables.

Consider Your Budget When Buying an Air Hockey Table

There are basically two factors that you should consider when buying an air hockey table. First, you need to consider your playing needs; second, you need to consider your budget. Your level of play and intention in playing air hockey are critical to your choice of an air hockey table. Of course, your budget is also important, but once you have figured out your playing needs, then you can always work hard to earn the necessary money in order to buy the table according to your needs.

Price Range of Air Hockey Tables

The prices of air hockey tables on the market today range from as low as $70 to as high as $8,000. Take, for example, the miniature Mainstreet Classics 35-inch Table Top Air Hockey table. It is only $70.52. It is good for your little kids who want to play air hockey. On the other hand, the price of an 8-foot long Fire Storm Home Air Hockey Table by Dynamo is around $6,599. This price discrepancy between these two hockey tables shows that the prices of air hockey tables exhibit a wide range. Moreover, you got a lot of options of air hockey tables to choose from, depending on your budget and playing needs. 

If you are a beginner, then you should go for an air hockey table that is not expensive and whose price may range between 100 to $500. However, if your skill is intermediate, you should go for a 7-feet long table. The price range of these tables for intermediate players is between $500 up to $1,200.

If you have an advanced skill, then you should opt for any of the arcade-style air hockey tables. These tables are meant for heavy banging and long hours of fast-paced play. They also feature a smooth playing surface, accurate deflection, and thick rink walls. Some brands in this category are sanctioned by the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA) and are 8 feet or more in length. Lastly, the price range of the tables under this category range between 1,200 to $8,000.  

How Does an Air Hockey Table Work?

The question as to “how the air hockey table works” requires an understanding of how the game of air hockey originated. Air hockey is a relatively new comer when it comes to indoor games. It was conceived in 1969 by a certain group of engineers who were working at Brunswick Billiards. This group of engineers was passionate about the game called “ice hockey.” So they devised a miniaturized ice hockey game, save for the fact that it can only be played by two players or by four players depending on the size of the table.

How Does an Air Hockey Table Work

The air hockey table is like the pool table. The big difference, however, lies in its playing surface. Its surface is made of a very smooth surface, with many tiny perforations. These miniature perforations or holes vent out air from a motor fan underneath the table. Jets of air rush out of these holes into the playing surface. These outflow of air makes the movement of the puck smooth and almost frictionless. Moreover, players stand at each end of the table with pushers or mallets in their hands. Each of the players strikes the puck (a flat disc) towards the opponent’s goal.

What is Air Hockey Table Made of?

An air hockey table usually consists of a flat and smooth playing surface. This slippery surface is surrounded by rails to prevent the paddles and puck from flying off the table. There is a slot on each end of the table that serves as the goal. A puck return is usually located behind the goals.

Most air hockey tables have a motor fan underneath that vents air out of the miniature holes along the flat surface. This is the main reason this table is called “air hockey table.” However, some air hockey manufacturers forgo of the motor fan in favor of a super slick table surface. They do this to minimize the cost of manufacturing. Yet, technically, these tables—without air vents—are not real air hockey tables. But they are classified as air hockey tables because of the similarities in functions and forms with the air hockey tables.

The Importance of Air Cushion

The jets of air on the table create an almost frictionless surface. These jets of air cushion the puck underneath making it appear to float while it moves along the flat surface. This air cushion makes the puck reach tremendous speeds. High-speed movement is necessary to allow a player to quickly move the puck around in order to elude the defense of the opponent and get a goal. It also allows a player to skillfully utilize the different sides of the table to set an attack from different directions and angles.

Common Problems with Air Hockey Table

The primary problem that besets frequently-used air hockey tables is that of a broken fan. Since the fan motor is a mechanical unit, it is vulnerable to wear and tear after an extended period of usage. Hence, more often it bogs down. You can, however, extend the lifespan of the fan by regularly cleaning it. Dirt and dust may accumulate on the blades of the fan. This may hinder the fan from working well and may even lessen the amount of air it vents out. Reduced air flow translates to an increased friction and poor playing condition. Thus, you should clean the fan blades regularly and ensure that the movement of the fan is unobstructed.

Dust and dirt may also accumulate and clog the minute holes on the playing surface. Unclogging these minute holes is surely a tiring task. This is because there are myriads of them, and if you use a needle to remove clogs from the holes, you may end up increasing the sizes of those holes. If you increase the sizes of the holes, you would inadvertently cause uneven airflow along the surface. It is better, therefore, to use a pressurized air can to free these holes of clogs.

The Size and Construction of the Tables

There are different models and brands of air hockey tables on the market today. Some have a length of 7 feet, while others are shorter or even longer than 7 feet. Of course, you usually get what you pay for when buying an air hockey table. Yet, before buying a specific brand or model, consider its size, design, price, ease of assembly, warranty, and the materials out of which it is made.

Moreover, if you are a competitive player, you should go for those tables sanctioned by the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA). These tables are 8-feet long or more. Examples of these tables include the Gold Standard Games 8′ tables, the 8-foot commercial-grade Brunswick tables, and some 8-foot long tables manufactured by Dynamo.