Three best air hockey tables
Air hockey isn't just great fun. It also helps improve hand-eye coordination and sharpen reflexes, and a vigorous game is surprisingly good for your overall fitness. Air hockey tables come in a range of sizes, with different power and accessory options, which can make it difficult to choose the right model for your home. That's why we've created this concise shopping guide. It covers all the important features to consider when buying an air hockey table. And we've also included our product picks for the best air hockey tables on the market.
Considerations when choosing air hockey tables
Air hockey tables come in two types: tabletop or freestanding.
Tabletop models range from as small as 21 inches to about 40 inches. A few are battery-powered (make sure you have plenty of spares), but most plug into a convenient outlet. However, cords can be a little short, so an extension is often required.
The smallest tabletop air hockey tables are best for kids. While adults might join in on larger versions, the strikers are usually too small to make playing comfortable for long. Most tabletop air hockey tables range in price from $40 to $60.
Freestanding air hockey tables run from about 54 inches to eight feet in size, and their quality varies enormously. A solid structure is vital, not just for game stability but also because players can get over-enthusiastic at times, and the table will need to stand up to vigorous play. Take a close look at how the table is made before making your decision.
In this category, you'll also find multi-sport tables. These tables might include table tennis, foosball, billiards, and pool. They may not offer the same standard of play as dedicated air hockey tables, but they are a good alternative for those who aren't committed to a single game.
An entry-level four-foot air hockey table can cost as little as $100, though cheaper models may not be very durable. Mid-range five-, six-, and seven-foot tables cost $300 to $600. High-quality, arcade-style tables cost between $800 and $1,000. The very best full-size tournament tables, sanctioned by the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA), can cost over $7,000.
The top two features to concentrate on when shopping for air hockey tables are the quality of the construction and the playing surface. However, there are some important extras to consider as well.
Most air hockey tables have a single fan. However, high-end tables have two fans for a more balanced airflow across the whole playing surface.
A variety of automatic scoring devices are available. Some air hockey tables provide game clocks, too.
An air hockey table with leg levelers allows you to compensate for any unevenness in your floor.
Freestanding air hockey tables often need some assembly. On large models, assembly can take 30 minutes or more, and the components can be large and heavy, so having someone lend a hand is a good idea.
Q. How much space do I need for a freestanding air hockey table?
A. For full freedom of movement, the USAA recommends three feet of clear space on either end and both sides of the air hockey table. A tournament table is 8x4'. Ideally, you'd need 14x10' to fully accommodate the table. However, six- and seven-foot tables are very popular and will save you a couple of feet.
Q. How do I clean the playing surface of an air hockey table?
A. The manufacturer may have their own recommendations, which you should always follow, but a good-quality spray-on glass cleaner is what's usually suggested. It cleans without leaving residue. Household furniture polish should not be used. It contains waxes that can block the table's airways.
Air hockey tables we recommend
Best of the best: Harvil Beachcomber 7-Foot Indoor Air Hockey Table
Our take: This superbly made arcade-style air hockey table is for those who take their game seriously.
What we like: This robust table has a chrome trim to prevent knocks and wear. It's feature-packed with an excellent surface with two blowers for fast-flowing play, a heads-up game clock, and a scoreboard. It comes with leg levelers and four pucks.
What we dislike: Not much. But the pucks are light and can fly off.
Our take: This tabletop air hockey table is compact and well-made, ideal for young children.
What we like: It features durable MDF construction, and the motor gives enough airflow for decent gameplay. A great table for keeping kids entertained when it's raining outside.
What we dislike: The strikers are too small for teenage or adult hands.
Our take: A good-sized, solidly built air hockey table that offers a choice of indoor entertainment.
What we like: This table has a sturdy structure with adjustable feet for leveling. The slick surface and good motor make for a high standard of air hockey play. It has auto scoring with lights and sound.
What we dislike: The table tennis surface falls short.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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