Air hockey is a sport enjoyed by many people around the world, be it on a professional level or for recreational purposes. For some, it is merely a way to blow off steam while others use it to demonstrate their competitive streak.
All those who have past experience with the sport know how crucial pucks and paddles can be to the overall experience; but if you’re just starting out in this unfamiliar world, you may need a bit of help. That is why we’ve created this guide on air hockey pucks and paddles for all buyers so that they know exactly what kind of puck and paddle would help them achieve the most fulfilling air hockey experience.
In the air hockey world, there are a host of pucks and paddles to choose from. In fact, there are so many options that beginners may get overwhelmed and become uncertain of what they should go for. This is precisely where we come in — this guide aims to make you as informed as possible before you make your final choice. There are many factors that you need to be aware of when making the choice to buy an air hockey puck and paddle. These include, but are not limited to, the size, weight, color, quality and shape of the puck and paddle. It may seem like a lot to take note of but don’t worry because we will discuss all these factors and more in this guide. This would help you understand what to look out for in the market and also what would suit you the best.
The first,and arguably the most important factor that you need to be aware of is the size of the air hockey puck. Most air hockey enthusiasts don’t know this, but the size of the air hockey puck is most often determined by the size of the table and the power of the air blower system.
Every air hockey table has small holes on its surface that allow the air blower system under the surface to push up air so that the puck can glide across the table. The larger the size of the puck, the more powerful the air blower system needs to be and the bigger the table. Manufacturers who produce low-priced tables often equip the table with smaller, lower-quality pucks. This means that if you buy a cheap table, you will not be able to buy the best-quality puck out there because it simply would not be compatible with your table. Therefore, you need to first consider the size of your table to determine whether the air blower system can support a puck that is large in size.
A regulation-sized puck comes in at 3.25 inches and makes for very smooth gameplay as it is sturdy enough to not fly off the table while you are playing. Smaller pucks are usually around 2 to 2.5 inches and can be really bothersome to use as they can easily fly off the table while you’re playing. They’re also exceptionally easy to lose since they are very small. Also, most players find it difficult to perform any tricks with them since the weaker air blower system means that they are much slower than a regulation-sized puck.
Qtimal Home Standard Air Hockey Paddles and 2 Size Pucks
The puck weight is very closely related to the size of the puck. As explained earlier, the size of the puck is closely dependent on the power of the air blower system (and thus, the size of the table), this also holds true for the weight of the puck. The bigger the table and the more powerful the air blower system, the easier it will be for a heavy puck to float across the table as you play. If, however, the table is too small and the air blower system is weak, it will be far more difficult to experience a smooth gaming experience with a heavy puck. Hence, you need to be very careful about the weight of the puck you choose to make sure it is compatible with the size of the table.
A regulation-sized puck generally weighs up to 42 grams, which might not sound like much, but is considered to be on the heavier side. Often, it is the heavier pucks that contribute to the smoothest gaming experience as they are not prone to flying off the table if hit too hard. Small-sized pucks can be half the weight of a regulation-sized puck which makes them far more difficult to play with. They can weigh as little as 6 grams! Therefore, when considering how heavy your air hockey puck should be, keep in mind that the size of your table and the power of its air blower system will make a significant impact on your gaming experience.
Just like with all other things in life, quality is of utmost importance when it comes to air hockey pucks and paddles. This is because it makes a significant difference to your gaming experience. The quality of an air hockey puck and paddle is determined by their smoothness, weight and gliding action, among other things. Since air hockey pucks and paddles come in a vast variety and each one has a different quality, you have many options to choose from. One easy way to determine their quality is to check the price — the more expensive the puck and paddle, the better the quality.
You might be tempted to go for a puck and paddle that is lighter on the pocket, but we would suggest that you reconsider as this might end up costing you more in the long run. Cheaper air hockey pucks and paddles are generally of low quality and will not only provide you with a mediocre gaming experience but are also likely to wear out sooner than a higher-quality puck and puddle. This means that you’ll have to go back and buy more. Hence, you should choose to buy a higher-quality puck and puddle, which may come at a higher price point but will certainly give you a more fulfilling experience and also last longer. Therefore, make the wiser choice and do not compromise on quality.
Dynamo Air Hockey Pucks
One thing that even most air hockey enthusiasts aren’t aware of is that air hockey pucks come in a variety of shapes! Yes, that’s right — air hockey pucks aren’t just circular. They can also come in the shape of a triangle, hexagon, octagon or square. You might be wondering, why even bother trying to play air hockey with a differently shaped puck? The reason is simple: while every shape has the same movement style, each has its own sense of direction. This means that buying a differently shaped puck will allow you to explore new dimensions in air hockey. If you really want to learn all there is to know about the world of air hockey, then perhaps you should start with trying out all the different puck shapes that are available in the market.
While it is true that the circular puck is the most commonly used air hockey puck, you never know how you feel about something until you try it! That is why we recommend that you try out some differently shaped pucks just to see how you like it! Some experts even prefer pucks that aren’t circular as they allow them to perform different tricks. The bottom line is that each puck shape has its own advantages and will provide the player with a different experience. Do you want to broaden your horizons and try out something new? If so, we definitely recommend you to buy a differently shaped puck. Who knows — you might end up liking it so much that it’ll become your go-to puck!
The striker, also known as the paddle, is the object that players use to ‘strike’ the puck. When buying a striker, the most important thing you need to make sure of is whether or not it is comfortable in your hands. While you are playing air hockey, the striker is the main object that connects you to the game — it provides the contact between your hand and the puck. If the striker does not feel comfortable while you hold it, this can severely impact your gameplay and make for a mediocre gaming experience. Many expert players take great care to consider the variety of strikers available because they understand very well that this one instrument can be crucial to the outcome of their game.
The comfort level provided by the striker is most often determined by its design. Some paddles have only a knob for players to hold on to, while others are more ergonomically designed to provide players with greater control and a more comfortable experience. If you think that you cannot play the game without having that sense of comfort and control, we definitely urge you to go for a striker that has an ergonomic design. While these will likely come at a higher price point, they will be best suited for your needs and will provide you with the best gaming experience. If, however, you think you can survive without the added layer of comfort, you can simply go for a standard paddle which will also be lighter on your pocket.
Bank Shot Billiard Striker
Sliding refers to how smoothly the puck ‘slides’ across the table after being struck with the paddle. It is actually quite essential to the overall experience because if the puck does not slide smoothly and easily after being struck, it could contribute to a bad gaming experience. For example, the puck could slow down to a stop in the middle of the table or it could simply not move after being struck, which means that your game will almost inevitably have to be stopped. The sliding is almost always determined by the smoothness of the puck itself. Therefore, when you are making the choice to buy a puck, you need to very carefully gauge how smooth it is to ensure that it is right for you.
To check the smoothness of the puck, you should pick it up and inspect its bottom surface. This is the side of the puck that will be in contact with the table. When you touch this surface, it should not feel grainy and should be perfectly polished. You can also check the smoothness of the puck by placing it on an air hockey table and gently pushing it with a finger to see how well it slides across the table. But in case you are purchasing a puck online, it will be somewhat more challenging to determine the smoothness of the puck. For this, we recommend that you read reviews posted by past buyers of the product and see what they have to say on the topic.
Color & Material
The color of your air hockey puck and puddle obviously do not impact the way you play the game, but they are still an important consideration. The color of any object can change the way we feel about it and the same goes for your air hockey pucks and paddles. These tools come in a variety of different colors so you need not worry about whether your favorite color will be available or not. Most standard pucks and paddles come in the color red, but some pucks are far more exciting and would even glow in the dark! Whether or not you want to buy an extravagant puck is obviously up to you, but there’s no denying that it will definitely make your game a bit more exciting!
On the other hand, the material of your air hockey puck would have a slight impact on your overall gaming experience. Most pucks are made using a version of plastic known as polycarbonate resin. These pucks will generally be about 1 inch thick and have a layer of plastic in the middle to separate the top surface of the puck from the bottom. Another material used to make air hockey pucks is capron, which is largely similar to polycarbonate resin but has less tensile strength, meaning that it will move more easily. You can also opt for pucks made with nylon, which tend to be on the lighter and more flexible side. Every material has its own properties so if the flexibility and tensile strength of the puck is important to you, you should certainly choose the material with great attention.
At the end of the day, the puck and paddle you choose should depend entirely on your needs and preferences. Although many have attempted to answer the question of which is the best air hockey puck and paddle in the market, there is no definitive answer because this is a highly subjective question. Each factor we have discussed above will contribute to your overall gaming experience in a different way. Before you even start considering your options, you need to sit down and write exactly what it is that you want from your air hockey pucks and paddles. If your pucks and paddles do not fulfill your needs or fall short of your expectations, then you will not be able to have the most fulfilling air hockey experience, which would be a shame because this is a wonderful game.
Therefore, to make the best of this game, you need to first ask yourself what it is that you require. This doesn’t just depend on your comfort and preferences, but also on the air hockey table you already have, as we have discussed above. Start by writing down a short answer to each factor we have listed above — for example, you could write small next to the size, purple next to the color, ergonomic next to the design, and so on. Once you have completed your list, it would be much easier for you to go out in the market and find the perfect puck and paddle to suit your needs.
Air hockey pucks are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The best air hockey pucks are generally about 3.25 inches in diameter. These are the pucks that are used for air hockey tournaments and by professionals as they work best on big air hockey tables that have strong air blower systems. They tend to be on the heavier side of the spectrum, coming in at around 42 grams, which is why they require a stronger air blower system to glide smoothly across the table. This is also the reason that they perform better as bigger and heavier air hockey pucks are more stable and provide for a better gaming experience.
On the other hand, small air hockey pucks are the ones that are usually around 1.8 inches in diameter and generally only half the weight of a large puck. This makes them more difficult to play with, as they can easily fly off the table due to their light weight. They are most often used with small tables as these tables have weak air blower systems and so cannot support large pucks. Many air hockey pucks would also fall in between this range and are considered medium-sized.
As we established earlier, the smoothness of the air hockey puck can impact the sliding of the puck which has a significant impact on the quality of the game. Even if you buy a brand new puck that is smooth to the touch, it is inevitable that as you play the puck will eventually wear down and lose its smoothness over time. This is only part of the natural process of wear and tear and there is nothing you can do to stop it. However, you can try to maintain your air hockey puck and keep it in the best condition possible to delay the damage for as long as possible.
Firstly, be careful of the intensity with which you strike the puck. Often, playing overzealously can lead to unnecessary wear and tear. Secondly, check your puck often for dirt, debris, cracks and dents; try to clean it frequently to prevent build-up. Thirdly, you can try to re-smooth your puck if you don't want the added expense of buying a new one. If, however, your puck is beyond the point of repair, you will have to purchase a new one so that you do not lose out on the quality of the game.
There is no set speed for how fast an air hockey puck travels as this depends on a number of factors such as the intensity with which it is struck by the player, the power of the air blower system as well as the smoothness and sliding of the puck itself. Additionally, air hockey tournaments and professional leagues have never kept track of the average speed of the puck, so it is difficult to give an estimate for the average speed of an air hockey puck. However, it has previously been estimated that an air hockey puck can travel at a speed of up to 80 mph.
If you are interested in measuring the speed of your air hockey puck, you can do this very easily by applying the distance formula. Simply grab a stopwatch and a ruler. Measure the length of the table and write it down. Then, hit the puck with the amount of force you usually use and record the amount of time it takes for it to reach the other end of the table. By applying the distance formula (distance = speed x time), you can easily figure out what the speed of the puck was.
Air hockey pucks can be made from a variety of different materials such as a plastic known as lexan polycarbonate resin, capron and nylon to name a few. Each material has its own properties that impact gameplay in some way — for example, lexan polycarbonate resin has more tensile strength while capron has less, nylon tends to be more flexible, etc.
However, the most commonly used material in the market is undoubtedly lexan polycarbonate resin for several reasons. For one, it is a tough material and tends to be more resistant to scratches and dents than other materials, meaning that the puck will last longer for players. Secondly, it is much easier to produce many different colors of pucks in lexan polycarbonate resin. Therefore, it will be much easier for you to find your favorite color if you buy a puck made of lexan polycarbonate resin. It would also be cheaper in the long run as it will last you longer than pucks made of other materials. But if you don’t care so much about the color of the puck and are more concerned about its flexibility, you would be better off getting a nylon puck. The bottom line is that you need to carefully consider your needs before buying a puck.
The world of air hockey is expanding rapidly as more and more people are realizing what an enjoyable sport it is. More companies are being set up to cater to the increasing demands. It means that the air hockey market is also growing as more products are becoming available every day. This is great for buyers who enjoy having more choices though it can also make it more difficult for them to decide what they should buy. There is now a puck and paddle of every kind and for every player which can be extremely confusing for some. When choosing which puck and paddle to buy, there are many things to take into consideration. This is why we urge you not to take this decision lightly and think long and hard before making your final choice.
This air hockey pucks and paddles buyer’s guide aims to make the lives of air hockey players easier by giving all readers a sense of what they need to be aware of when making the decision to buy pucks and paddles for their air hockey tables. Through all the factors we’ve listed above, you can carefully judge their preferences and needs and shortlist the pucks and paddles that would be most suitable for you. After this, all you need to do is start searching for the pucks and paddles that are most closely aligned with your requirements and that is all! You can enjoy the best game of air hockey you’ve ever played now that you know everything is catered exactly to your needs.