One of the most popular choices in games & rec rooms across the country is the classic air
hockey table. The incredibly fast-paced game and multiplayer fun make arcade air hockey tables an excellent
addition to nearly any entertainment room.
Looking for the best air hockey table? Searching for a sports air powered hockey table? With
thousands of different tables available on the market, the list can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, the experts at Watson's are here to help you narrow your selection down with tips and
tricks that make the buying process much more straightforward. Read on to discover this expert guide to
purchasing the best tabletop air hockey game for your budget and your home.
What to Look for?
Watson’s air hockey tables are made from a different supply of manufactured wood such as oak veneer. Something you will need to consider when purchasing is where your table is going to be located in your home. We have different size tables to fit into small spaces or larger spaces depending on your needs.
Watson’s has some tables that come bundled with a conversion top to turn your air hockey table into a table tennis game. One table can provide you with two games for ultimate entertainment. Having one table that can be air hockey and table tennis, can save room in your home but also allow you to have two games that you want.
Some accessories you will need are one or two pushers (also known as mallets or paddles), extra pucks, and ping pong balls if you have an air hockey table that can turn into table tennis. There are additional accessories that you can explore at Watsons.
The type of air hockey table is not only dependent on the environment you will be playing in but also who will be playing. If you are getting a table that only kids will be playing with you can get a smaller size or one of our tabletop versions, you may also want to consider purchasing more accessories if you think they might face more wear and tear. On the other hand, if you are buying a table to play tournaments with competitive adults you may want to purchase a larger size that is sturdy for intense playing.
What Size Do You Need?
Air hockey tables can be large, some being as big as a full-length pool or table tennis setup. Make
sure you have plenty of space in your game room. Bumping into walls or other people can take away from the
Consider both how you plan to get the air hockey game table into your entertainment space and where
it will be placed once it's in there. Always measure the critical points of entry or any tight spaces along
the way, including doorways and the height and width of any staircases.
Your next step will be figuring out how much space you have in the general area of the game room.
Air hockey tables can range in size from just a few feet in length to nearly 7.5 feet long and 4 feet wide.
At Watson's, we recommend our customers leave a minimum of 3 feet of extra space on both playing ends of the
table for simple access and plenty of free play space. Having extra space allows for even the tallest air
hockey enthusiasts to have plenty of room to move around the table and make their best shot.
Small vs. Full-size Air Hockey Tables
When browsing for air hockey tables, you’ll see some are made to use small pucks while
other tables allow for large pucks. There is a reason, of course, for the difference in these tables.
The air hockey tables that utilize smaller pucks are made in foreign countries and are produced and purchased for a lower price. They're usually marketed for young children and those who need a smaller, smooth playing surface.
Since these tables come at a more affordable price, they are not often recommended for adults or older kids who want regulation games or a more sports-like environment. Smaller air hockey tables likely lead to the blower engine being much less powerful and uneven airflow. Additionally, small pucks tend to fly off the table during a game more often.
Large puck tables are great for those who want to create a more traditional arcade style game experience in their game room. They’re constructed of a higher quality material. Air hockey tables that use larger pucks also tend to have powerful blower motors that allow the puck to travel with much smoother, even airflow across the table's surface. The pucks used for these types of tables are also sanctioned by the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA). The pucks used in large air hockey tables are also used for tournaments and are designed for professional and commercial use.
So, if you are a sports enthusiast, plan to use your air hockey table often, and/or want to compete
at a tournament, opt for a large puck air hockey table.
What Skill Levels are Your Players At?
The next step in buying an air hockey table is to evaluate the skill level that the most frequent
air hockey players are at. Consider who you think will be playing the air hockey table the most. Will it
mostly be for your adult family and friends who play air hockey tournaments late in the evening? Or will you
need a table for kids who will likely put more strain and abuse on the table? Who will assemble the air
hockey table? For some owners, assembly considerations can be just as important as air hockey table
Depending on who is using the table, you'll likely want to pick up a more extensive, sturdier
constructed table that takes much abuse before showing any different signs of wear and tear. The frequency
at which the table is being used may also affect how long your table lasts. Again, if you expect much heavy
abuse, you might want to pick a more robust and built-tough table.
Included Air Hockey Table Features
Many people on the hunt for an air hockey table overlook how critical the quality of the side walls is on the playing field. The sidewalls and rounded corners are what the puck will bounce off of during a regular round of air hockey. The more solid the side walls are, the better rebound and deflection you will get from them. The best, high-quality sidewalls will make the gameplay faster and effortless on both ends of the table. Be sure to test the quality of the rails next time you play at a friend's air hockey table to find what type of side walls will make the best game plan.
Air Hockey Table Construction
Make sure to take a look at the construction and material of each different table option. Are the tables made from solid manufactured wood, medium density fiberboard, or are they constructed of particle board instead of wood? Do the independent leg levelers look sturdy or weak? Are the joints put together well, and is there any laminate placed on the playing field to protect the entire surface? Laminate on the playing field can provide the table with a frictionless surface which is what you want.
Like many other game tables available at Watson's, the quality of the table construction is
essential. Many of the less expensive tables tend to cut corners when it comes to the production quality to
keep the price low. When you spend a little bit more on a nice table, the construction and individual
components will be sturdy and long-lasting. That way, your air hockey table will have no trouble lasting
years of heavy use.
Inspecting a New Air Hockey Tables vs. Used
Is it better for you to shop for a new or used air hockey table? Although the preference is
entirely up to you, our selection of brand-new air hockey tables will make the setup and gameplay process
the best possible. Our new air hockey tables also come with a warranty.
The following tips can be helpful if you’re shopping for a new air hockey table (likely
stored in a warehouse) or a used air hockey table (from someone’s basement):
First, inspect every individual air hole to ensure zero signs of dirt and debris. It can be
challenging to clean out air holes clogged with debris. Ensure the table was stored safely in a warehouse to
ensure zero signs of any other damage from water, humidity, and other forms of moisture. Any signs of
moisture in the system may mean that there is some severe damage to the components on the inside. Overhead
electronic scoring units and blower motors may be faulty and damaged, but you'd never know from looking
outside the system.
Check to see if the large motor fan and table airflow are what you need. If the air blower motor is weak, it may be pretty expensive to put in a better motor for increased airflow. The same can be applied to weak playfields as well. New air hockey tables should always be inspected but likely have the advantage of having pieces that are not affected. Plus, new air hockey tables from Watson's often come with a warranty when purchased, so you have some peace of mind knowing that your new air hockey table is covered.
Finally, it is important to inspect any additional features like flashing lights, sound effects, or push button controls that make your purchase worth the gaming experience. Are they all functioning properly? Top air hockey tables come with all the bells and whistles needed for excellent gameplay.
What Kind of Air Hockey Pucks Do I Need?
There are a few different air hockey pucks available and the right one will vary by table. The
compact size pucks are used for tables roughly six and seven feet in length, while the large pucks are used
for tables that are approximately 8 feet in length.
Additionally, pucks can come in many styles and shapes. For instance, some pucks are made to glow
in the dark, and others come in standard air hockey table mallet colors like white and black. Some pucks are
designed to be less noisy when children play at sleepovers or during late-night gaming sessions.
Some pucks are made in different shapes like triangles and octagons. These change how the game is
played entirely, making it much more difficult to predict where the puck will rebound from the side walls.
Adding special air hockey pucks is a simple way to add a new twist on the game or to add another layer of
You will need to also consider how many air hockey pucks you will need. Only one puck is typically used while playing air hockey but you may want to purchase two pucks, three pucks, or maybe four pucks to interchange in games so that one puck doesn’t get too worn out and become unusable.
Scoring Systems: Manual vs. Electric Scorer
Another consideration to make is if you wish to keep track of the score using a digital scoreboard or keep track on your own. Many air hockey tables available at Watson’s utilize a digital scoreboard that automatically tracks the scores each round. This way, you can place all of your focus back on the game, not the score. Digital scoreboards also stop the game once a player wins the match. Sound effects may also come in the scoreboards to amplify playing experience.
Many systems are built with manual scoring systems, so you can keep track of your score without a
digital interface. This isn’t as convenient, but offers more control, because accidental scores
are not accounted for in the game. Everybody has different preferences for their scoring system, so choosing
the one that best suits your needs is a personal preference.
Paddle, Pushers, and Mallets
Finally, there’s one more part of a game of air hockey: the air hockey mallet used to hit the puck. These mallets are also known as pushers and paddles. Two paddles are used in a game but you may want to purchase more in case of wear and tear. Mallets vary from small sizes that are 4 inches in diameter to larger sizes, depending on the size of the puck and the table.
Many mallets for air hockey tables come with felt pads on the bottom. However, this is not the case for every mallet, it is a personal preference. The upside is that the felt pads help protect your playing surface. The downside is that many players feel as though the felt pads create unnecessary friction that causes them to slow their hits down during a heated match. If you choose to purchase mallets with felt pads, be sure to replace them frequently. It is common for debris and dirt to collect on the bottom of felt mallets over the years, which can scratch or otherwise damage the playing surface that felt pads are made to protect.
Why Shop at Watsons?
Our selection of air hockey tables can give you an arcade like experience in your home -- and all at the guaranteed lowest price in the USA.
Still need help finding the best air hockey table for your budget, your game style and your home?
Contact a Watson's expert
or customer service representative who will be happy to help you with the air hockey table buying process.
- What is the cost of a good air hockey table?
- Our air hockey table’s prices range from $855 to $2,160 with our current Great American summer sale. The prices are based on your needs, wants, and style.
- Is it worth buying an Air Hockey table?
- Purchasing an air hockey table is a great investment for hours of entertainment for your family. It is a great addition to share experiences with guests in your home.
- What is the standard size of an air hockey table?
- Air hockey tables range from a few feet in length to nearly 7.5 feet long and 4 feet wide. The standard size is typically about 7 feet long and 4 feet wide.
- How to identify a good air hockey table?
- Watson’s has air hockey tables that will fit the needs of your home and your family’s usage. We are here to help you find the best air hockey table for you.
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