In 2021, with everyone spending more time indoors and air hockey becoming more and more popular it makes sense to bring an air hockey table to your home. It may not be the same as running a marathon or playing catch but it will still count as exercise and is healthier for kids to be engaged and have fun. Air hockey tables for kids are not much different from ones for adults. The main difference is the size: the kids tables are shorter in length as well as height. The rest should be the same. Some of the best air hockey tables for kids come loaded with the same features that you’ll find on full-sized models such as leg levelers, scorers, blower systems, and a smooth playing surface. These tables must also be durable and able to withstand rough use. If you do a quick search online you will find that there is a wide range of air hockey tables available for kids. The bright side is that there is something to fulfil everyone’s needs. The downside is it can take time to research and figure out which one you should invest in and what qualities you should consider before purchasing. So to make it easier we have put together the latest guide.
1. Air Hockey Table Style
- Standalone table
There are two main kinds of air hockey tables. The first is a standalone table which is the kind you find in arcades. When it comes to this type in terms of features, the most important one to look out for is stability. When we are playing air hockey we have to lean forward and put a large amount of our weight on the table at a single point i.e. where we are holding the paddle. Cheaper models might wobble and eventually may even give out under the weight. When it comes to buying products especially for our kids we want them to be safe.
Nowadays on the market there are tables which offer many games that you can play with just one table. One of these that we recommend is Hathway Rapid Fire. This offers us the choice to pick between three different fun games: air hockey, traditional hockey and soccer. It comes with all the necessary equipment like a soft soccer ball for an indoor game, hockey sticks, pucks, and strikers. This one checks all our boxes: it’s reasonably priced, lightweight, highly portable, and versatile. This table will definitely excite your kids and keep them engaged in a beneficial activity for hours.
- Tabletop tables
The other kind of air hockey table is the tabletop one. These are meant to be either placed on the floor or on something like a kitchen table. Think of these as the miniature versions of arcade style air hockey tables. They usually measure just two to four feet in length and are designed to be lightweight. These tables also come with a much lower price tag so they should work for most budgets. However, these tables are not as stable as arcade style standalone tables so it will be important that you and the kids avoid applying too much force during a game. These kinds of tables are most suitable for younger children.
We would recommend the Rally and Roar air hockey table which is a tabletop model that works on a 12 volt motor and is very portable. It has dimensions that are 40 x 20 x 9 inches (LxWxH). It is constructed mostly of wood and has a very durable design. It has a dense fiberboard construction with optimal dual air flow using a CUL certified blower. It also has foam attached underneath so that it does not scratch your table surface. All of this makes this table the perfect solution for places that have minimal space. It can be stored in a closet once done.
2. Leg levelers
The most annoying thing that some pieces of furniture usually plague us with is being wobbly due to one or more legs not touching the ground, whether it is a fault in the furniture or the floor itself is not even. That is why the good air hockey table models come with leg levelers that will allow the table to stand straight, improving stability, even when it’s placed on an uneven surface. While some models of air hockey tables come with leg levelers their adjustability can vary from model to model.
Harvil has a five-foot air hockey table that we really like. It comes complete with many great features designed to enhance your child’s gaming experience. But it is not just for kids. Because it is so stable and sturdy even adults can play a fast paced game without any worries. It comes equipped with a powerful blower system to ensure that the puck glides easily across the table’s playing surface. It comes with built-in leg levelers that will allow you to adjust the height of the table to make it work for players of different heights. So if that is one of your main requirements then we suggest looking into Harvil’s table.
3. Power Needs
An air hockey table may not outwardly seem to require any electricity or batteries apart from the scoreboard but the reason why the puck glides really fast is because either a single or dual-fan system blows air through the holes resulting in a frictionless playing surface. The air is what elevates the puck causing it to float smoothly across the surface. If portability is a priority and you want a model you can use when you’re camping out or another place where a power source isn’t readily available, then a battery-powered model is the way to go. Air hockey tables at arcades are powered by electricity and so have fans that are much more powerful than those in a battery-powered table.
Another model that we love is the 4 foot one by Harvil. Since it is smaller it saves on space and is portable. However, its powerful blower fan works not on batteries and will need to be plugged in but it can be stored away at the end of the day. It weighs just twenty-eight pounds making it a good choice if you’re looking for a model you can take with you for weekends at grandma’s house. This miniature air hockey table features a solid construction, leg levelers, a simple assembly process, and it’s available at a reasonable price. Alternatively, the Goplus air powered hockey table is even lighter and weighs just around seventeen pounds. It also needs to be plugged in for the 12 volt DC motor to provide a steady flow of air during the game.
4. Puck Sizes
Standard sized pucks are usually around 3 inches in diameter. Tables that are top of the line usually use standard sized pucks even for kids. While others may provide smaller pucks that are half an inch smaller coming in at a diameter of 2.5 inches. Usually the tables that come with smaller pucks have blowers that are not as powerful. If you pair a larger puck with these fans it would not move as fast. If you value convenience it might be better to get a table that can handle standard sized pucks since smaller pucks are harder to replace and to order spares you might need to talk directly to the manufacturer. Another benefit of a larger puck is that since it works better on the table the gameplay will be more challenging and fun.
When it comes to pucks it is important no matter what the size that children are taught to play properly and how to hit the puck with the paddle to ensure that it does not go flying off the table and either breaking some precious item or even worse hitting the other player in the face.
As we mentioned earlier if you are on a tight budget then tabletop models will be the way to go. If instead you have little space but cost is not an issue then a standalone air hockey table designed for kids will be a great choice.
You can easily find a decent tabletop model for under a hundred dollars, while top of the line standalone models for kids can cost anywhere from one hundred dollars up to around four hundred dollars. Obviously, you get what you pay for. Considering these tables tend to take a lot of abuse during a game, we recommend going with a model that is built sturdy and made to handle rough playing. Also look out for ones covered by a warranty.
The earlier mentioned compact model by Goplus will work well for both younger and older children. They can try their hand at popular air hockey tricks and enjoy displaying what they can do. The durable construction of this table prevents it from rocking or wobbling during use. And even with a powerful 12 volt motor it is available at a reasonable price.
How Air Hockey Can Keep Your Kids Active And Sharp
While a game of air hockey will not require you to intensively train your body, build strength, stamina and warm up before playing there are still benefits to introducing this game to your children. The speed at which the puck moves requires players to hone their reflexes to be able to stand a chance. It also promotes hand-eye coordination. Even though there will not be any need for running like in football or basketball there is still movement involved that will get the blood flowing and can even be a form of low-impact cardio during a challenging game or if you play games successively.
The competitiveness that comes about when kids play a scored game is a great way for them to be motivated and learn to deal with victory and failure. And what better place to learn that than at home with family there to cheer you on or to soften the blow of losing a game. In this way it becomes a great bonding experience for the whole family and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon at home on the weekends or during lockdowns. It sure beats spending many hours on the couch binging Netflix. The best part is if you know you are heading somewhere your kids will likely be bored and restless, just pack a portable air hockey table.
- Many kids' air hockey tables are portable which means even if your home does not have enough permanent space for a full fledged table you can put it away after use.
- The benefit of a lightweight and portable model is you can take it with you during your next family vacation or camping trip.
- Many of the major air hockey table manufacturers also produce a model or two that’s designed for kids and these tend to be more durable and sturdy.
- Models designed for kids are more affordable and if you invest in one that is constructed using good quality materials there is no reason why parents or older siblings can’t join in on the fun.
- For your average air hockey table, you typically need to set aside a space that measures around seven feet wide by ten feet in length. Kids’ tables are available in a more compact design and will measure in at four to seven feet in length. Kid-friendly tables can be a better choice if you don’t have the space or the budget for a full-sized model.
While all the bells and whistles of an arcade level air hockey table will attract kids in the start it is much more important to ensure that the table is made of safe materials and is sturdy enough to handle even the roughest tantrums. In short, to know which table is best for you and your kids you should keep in mind how much space is available to you, your budget, and what age groups will be using the table. The best way to go about narrowing down models and types of tables is to consider the size of the table and the amount of room you have to work with. Remember that players will also need plenty of room to move around. After that comes the time to decide based on portability. If you want to be able to take your table with you in the car you will want to know if it operates on batteries or with an adapter, and how much it weighs. We’ve tried to cover all important aspects in this guide and are excited for you to purchase the right table for you and get playing.