Air hockey is a fun game that many take seriously where two players play against each other on a low-friction table. For some its entertainment and for others it's just a casual way to have competitive fun. However, it takes up space, and the requirements for picking one up isn’t usually cheap.
There is a myriad of things needed to be understood before even buying a table. Consumers feel discouraged because of this and forget to make decisions when it comes to buying.
To make a better decision, understand the specifics of the table you plan to purchase. For instance, you should know what features your hockey table has before even buying it. Most users make the mistake of buying without researching exactly what they need. We’ll help you by providing certain features to look for in a quality air hockey table.
Fortunately, we created this article to help you understand air hockey. The game is simple to play but hard to master. We give detailed information on how to play air hockey effectively and utilize the most out of your table. You’ll have a greater understanding of this competitive sport by the end of the article.
What Is An Air Hockey Table?
Air Hockey started back in the 1970s. The tables were designed to have a similar appearance to hockey rinks. Air hockey games are played in the same manner. The reason why air hockey was made was so that people could recreate the experience playing on a hockey field.
The tables come in different types to suit every level of gameplay:
You’ll want to have a lightweight table for beginners. Children and adults new to the game qualify as beginners of air hockey. A table under $100 is more than enough to help you learn the mechanics of the game. While the table is unstable, it’s good for practice and casual gameplay.
For intermediate players, look for a table that has a sturdier design and larger playing field. Most intermediate air hockey tables at this level are more durable and less likely to create dents which causes frustrating gameplay. Consider getting one if space is an issue.
Most advanced players find enjoyment in playing on a full-size air hockey table or an arcade air hockey table. These tables are durable and have thick rink walls, and consist of smooth playing surfaces. Although these tables are expensive, they offer the highest quality of gameplay.
How Do You Play Air Hockey?
Air hockey rules are simple. Each player has a chance to score by landing the puck through the opponent’s goal. Air hockey is a game of strategy, skill, and reflexes. Once you get the hang of the mechanics and the rules of the game, you’ll be a tough opponent to beat.
You’ll find air hockey to be an interesting game once you get the hang of it. When playing the game, remember not to add a lot of pressure when hitting the puck. Hitting the puck too hard can cause potential damage to the table and make the game harder for you to win.
What you want to do is play air hockey in a calm and collected way. Calculate the opponent by reading their next moves. To know your opponent, get a grasp on their playing style. After this, it will be easy for you to figure out a way to win against them.
Also, try to have fun when playing air hockey. While it is a competitive sport, understand that it is also an excellent way to socially connect with your friends. Use air hockey as a piece of entertainment and have fun while playing it.
For those wanting to play air hockey professionally, we suggest practicing every day. For instance, purchase a professional air hockey table so that you can get used to the flat surface. If you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, you’ll have a chance to win some tournaments.
Making An Air Hockey Table
Air hockey tables take only a weekend to make. First, make a wooden box with materials such as plywood. Create the top out of 6-9mm of wood and drill a hole every 2.5cm (1 inch). Make borders on the top of the table and apply the lighting.
Next, it’s time to set up the wiring of the time. Cut the blue wire and add it onto the switch in the table. We suggest using cardboard to reduce the volume. The less volume inside the box, the better the hockey table. Make sure that you connect the lighting and then you’re finished.
If you want to know how to make an air hockey table slide better, you’ll have to keep it maintained. Use sand paper on the pucks to keep them sliding correctly. Also, use lubricant sprays to make the table easier to maneuver the puck around.
Types of Air Hockey Tables
Here are some basic types of air hockey tables:
1. Arcade Air Hockey Tables
Arcade hockey tables are the most expensive table. They come with a myriad of features and modes to enhance one’s gaming experience. These tables consist of full motors, electronic scoring, and other sound effects.
Extended lifespan is the main advantage of arcade tables. The table consists of electronic motors that ensure smooth gameplay. Also, arcade hockey tables come with rink walls and a flat surface to enhance one’s gaming experience.
We recommend using an arcade air hockey table if you are a casual gamer or a business that wants something entertaining to play in public. Remember, arcade hockey tables are not used for professional play. For professional air hockey players, arcade hockey tables might not be a good choice for you.
2. Wood Air Hockey Tables
Wooden hockey tables provide a traditional experience when in use. But, they lower durability than a professional air hockey table. Wood air hockey tables are ideal for those wanting a simple table to play a quick game.
But, wood air hockey tables come with a few disadvantages. While these tables are sturdy, they are expensive. A quality wooden table is about $2000-$5000. Because of this, we suggest that you create a budget. Using a budget helps you get a wood air hockey table that is worth your investment.
3. Foldable Air Hockey Table
Sometimes, you’ll want a hockey table that can go anywhere. Foldable tables offer portability making it easier for you to take on a camping trip. But, these tables lack the stability to work properly. They become flimsy and causes awkward gameplay which infuriates the players.
Despite the small issue, it's best to use foldable air hockey tables for casual gameplay. You’ll find it useful when you need a hockey table in areas that have no electricity. While this table lacks in stability, it gives the direct advantage of being used almost anywhere.
4. Kids Air Hockey Table
Air hockey is a fun activity to get your children involved. It teaches them how to handle competition and increases their social skills. Most children's air hockey tables are about 4 feet tall. The pucks and handles are lightweight; making it easier for them to engage in simple gameplay.
Before getting a table for your child, try to find out certain features that they desire. For instance, look for an arcade air hockey table if your child likes to play it for fun. Most of these arcade tables feature LED lights which make the game more entertaining to play.
Finding an air hockey table for kids is not a difficult task. But, you want to find one that fits the needs of your child. Make sure that you ask your child what they want in a table before making a purchase. This makes it easier to find a table that is worth their time.
5. Professional Air Hockey Table
Want to learn how to play like a pro? Professional air hockey tables come with features that help one improve their gameplay efficiently. For instance, most tables come with a flat surface for faster gameplay. This allows for the puck to move faster across the table and makes the game more intense.
The only con with this type of table is its expense. While these tables have a higher durability, it’s not uncommon to see a professional air hockey table priced at over $1000. Make sure to budget effectively when buying these tables. Having a proper budget helps obtain this high-quality table.
Triumph Fire ‘n Ice LED Light-Up 54” Air Hockey Table
4.2 out of 5
Things to Consider When Buying a Hockey Table
Here are a few features when looking for a hockey table. Each table comes with a set of features that differentiates itself from others. Keep these features in mind when looking for the best air hockey pucks that relates to your needs. Then, plan on purchasing a table whose features you desire the most.
1. Player Skill Level
Think about the skill level of the players and how much you want out of a table. For instance, arcade air hockey tables are great for advanced air hockey players. These tables come in flat surfaces that are dent resistant.
Also, arcade tables come with electric motor fans. The fans make it easier for the puck to move smoothly around the table. But, players of all skill levels can enjoy the value a high-quality table brings.
We recommend getting a table of medium durability if you are a beginner player. The tables are cheaper than arcade tables and still work efficiently. You gain the benefit of having a fun air hockey table while increasing your skills with constant practice.
Size is an important factor when buying an air hockey table. On average, a tournament air hockey table size is around 8 feet. We suggest getting air hockey table dimensions of 10 feet long by 7 feet wide if you want to fit a full-size table.
A small air hockey table ranges from 4 feet to 7 feet long. Getting a small table is beneficial because it’s portable and can be used anywhere. In fact, 4 foot hockey tables are good for younger children. For people who little space in their room, this might be ideal for you.
3. Electric Or Battery Tables?
There are two types of air hockey tables.
Battery operated tables are useful in areas with no electricity. One advantage battery tables bring is mobility. For instance, foldable air hockey tables require batteries. Meaning that you can transport the tables anywhere as long as you have batteries.
Other than that, you’ll want to use an electrically operated table.
Electric tables provide the benefit of using strong fans to promote an arcade air hockey table experience that you would want in a rec room. It is recommended to use electric tables when you have a stable place to live.
On average, air hockey tables range from $200-$5000. While price demonstrates the value of the air hockey table, it should not be the deciding factor. Find out what features you want in an air hockey table and plan on purchasing one within your price range that fits those needs the best.
5. Table Or Table Top
One thing you’ll want to look for in an air hockey table is stability. Air hockey is a game where force is applied and people over the table. You don’t want a table to collapse in the middle of the game. Also, find a table with adjustable levelers so that the table doesn’t slant.
If your family plays air hockey regularly, then we suggest getting a table air hockey board. While having a professional air hockey table is good, they are expensive. But, you can buy medium sized boards that offer a stable playing ground.
If you don’t have space, then a table top air hockey board is recommended. Table top tables provide mobility, meaning that you can take it on camping trips.
6. Puck Size
Size is important when considering air hockey puck. You’ll want your hockey puck to match the style of gameplay. Lightweight pucks are good for children because they usually don’t hit the puck too hard. But, for advanced gameplay, we suggest using heavier pucks for more stability.
Here are some simple tips to help your puck play on the table smoothly. Place a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface. Start to lightly sand all sides of the puck. Also, spray some silicone lubricant on a rag and wipe the hockey table and the bottom of the buck. You can continue to play effectively through proper maintenance.
Whether you call it air hockey paddles or pucks, they still need to be maintained. Clean the pucks often to ensure that they continue to play smoothly. You’ll expand the lifespan of your puck and the air hockey table and continue to enjoy this fun hobby.
Qtimal Home Standard Air Hockey Paddles and 2 Size Pucks
4.5 out of 5
Benefits of Owning an Air Hockey Table
A great game of hockey creates a fun and social environment. It is a game that you can’t play alone, leading you to socialize every game that you play. This is important if you are someone that needs to liven up and remove their social shell.
2. Non-physical Activity
By non-physical activity, we mean that air hockey isn’t as physically intensive as sports, running, and weightlifting. Think of air hockey as a fun cardio game that increases the heart while shedding a few pounds. This social game is great for those wanting an easy exercise.
Buying an air hockey table is a great source of amusement. It enhances the playing experience and creates a fun environment. Studies show that over 40% of families who have an air hockey table have a higher happiness rating.
Any person can benefit from owning a hockey table. For children, owning an air hockey table adds excitement to their lives. Even adults find enjoyment with a hockey table as it is a good game to play before during a day off work.
People need to be consistently exposed to competition. Children who play air hockey are introduced to a competitive environment where their skills are put to the test. Even if they try, sometimes they’ll have to lose. Air hockey is a great quick game that gives children the competitive edge to take on life.
5. Improved Reflexes
People who play air hockey have increased reaction time and reflexes. Air hockey is a fast game that it is a measure of skill and speed. It’s scientifically proven that those who play air hockey consistently have higher hand-eye coordination than the average person.
How do you improve your reflexes by playing air hockey? It’s simple. First, bring a friend to play competitively against you. Even if you don’t win the game, your body gains muscle memory to hit the puck at a fast speed.
We suggest playing air hockey for at least 30 minutes a day to reap the benefits. It’s a game where your skills and reflexes are put to the test. Air hockey trains your eyes to respond to fast-paced situations. Repeated practice will improve your reaction time, reflexes and hand-eye coordination.
Do's and Don't of Air Hockey
Here are a few things to remember when playing a game of air hockey.
1. Do Buy an Extra Set of Replacement Pucks
While air hockey isn’t a physically taxing sport, pucks get lost within a few games. On average, you’ll lose at least one puck in every ten games. Having an extra set of pucks in your rec room makes it easier for you to continue playing.
2. Don't Play Too Roughly
Air Hockey is a social game first. Even when professional players compete, they are still calm throughout the game. You don’t want to lean over the table while playing continuously.
Correct posture is the main way to reduce rough play during air hockey games. For instance, keep a balance between a soft and firm grip when holding the handle. This helps you by keeping you alert to deflect your opponent’s shots while also keeping you calm enough to score a goal effectively.
Practice hitting the puck lightly without leaning to reduce playing roughly. You’ll notice an increase in your posture and skills once you play at a more relaxed playing style.
3. Do Practice Frequently
While air hockey is a social game, there are rewards for taking the competitive aspect seriously. Proper practice is the only way you’ll win this game more frequently. Here are a few tips to use to train yourself to play better.
The only way you are going to get better at air hockey is through practice. For starters, play at least three games with a friend. You’ll start to understand the mechanics of the game through playing against a friendly opponent.
Try to practice at least 3-4 times a week to experience results. Constant exposure to competitive games such as air hockey makes it easier to grow as a player.
4. Don't Forget To Clean The Table
Don’t forget to clean your table often to extend your table’s lifespan. Your table can become hard to play on if left unattended. Once every two weeks, use cloth and sandpaper to keep the table playing smooth.
After that, use the sandpaper on the puck. The sandpaper sharpens both sides of the puck making it easier for it to move throughout the board. To keep the puck in good condition, make sure to hit it with less force. The extra force damages the puck and the table in the long run.
Cleaning the table is the number one way to optimize your gameplay experience. It keeps the table working properly; making your game a more fulfilling activity. Thus, we suggest keeping your air hockey table maintained properly to get more utility out of it.
Air hockey is a fun game that mixes competition and social engagement. The tables come in various sizes to accommodate multiple levels of skill and gameplay. When finding an air hockey table, make sure that the table is durable enough for you to play for extended periods of time.
Understand that you need to practice frequently to become a better player. For instance, practice at least 3-4 times a day to receive proper results. You’ll notice a change in your gameplay once you get the hang of air hockey.
What’s your greatest experience while playing air hockey?
Leave a comment below to tell us what you think.