Buying a used air hockey table can be a daunting task, especially for beginners since there are so many different types of tables and it takes a good eye to thoroughly test the condition of the table.
Here are some tips to look out for when buying a used air hockey table to ensure maximum life and effective use.
Choosing a table size
Table size depends on how experienced you are at the game. Beginner players can invest in a basic table design which is small and inexpensive, owing to the fact that they only include necessary features. The size of a basic table is approximately 84x48x32 inches. However, bear in mind that used basic tables have a very short lifespan because they are not too durable, so only buy them for children or beginner players who wish to practice and reach the next level.
Intermediate players need at least a 7 foot table. When buying a used table, make sure to check the sturdiness of the table legs as well as the overall quality because these tables can last years with proper care. They are good for home use and for practice to eventually play in professional air hockey leagues.
Advanced players who play on a professional level need arcade style tables. These offer maximum features on a 9x5 ft. surface which is plenty of room to practice on. Since these are the most expensive types of air hockey tables, those who are on a budget can opt for a used table. Used air hockey tables provide greater value for money as long as they are in good condition.
The Biggest Tells when Examining a Used Air Hockey Table
Check the built of the table
The first and foremost feature that can tell you about the quality of a used table is the cabinet. A good air hockey table will have a hefty cabinet made of solid material. Secondly, the overall aesthetic appeal says a lot about how long it has been used. Keep an eye out for scratch marks on the table, faded colors etc.
There’s a small trick that experts use to determine the strength of a used air hockey table. They nudge it to see whether it moves. If it doesn’t, it clearly indicates that the table is in good condition. However, on the off-chance that it isn’t stable, here are the two conclusions that can be drawn from it: First, the nuts and bolts in it are loose, and second, the table is falling apart.
Both cases can only be identified after a thorough examination. The first is completely harmless as all it requires is a handy fix. The second, however, means that buying the table should be avoided at all costs.
Test it out
If the seller agrees to let you test a used air hockey table, it significantly reduces the suspicion of any hidden problems with the table that might be discovered later on. Plus, it helps to assess the ‘feel’ of the table. Does the puck glide smoothly across the surface or is it rough and chipped due to prolonged use? Ask the seller about the material of the side walls; your best bet is one with solid aluminum sides but nylon is also a good alternative. Check the goal posts for dust, dirt, damage etc. Often, air hockey tables are prone to water damage so make sure you check for that as well.
Check the motor
The motor of a used air hockey table is also one of the most crucial components in determining the price, condition and quality of the table. A motor that makes less noise means it runs well. Plus, when you play on the table, check to see if the motor overheats because if it does, there’s a good chance you will have to replace it soon. Only buy a table that has a high output UL approved motor because it will provide the smoothest gameplay.
Look out for features that you want
Normally, the size of the table determines the number of features you’ll get in an air hockey table. However, every table varies in features. For example, electronic infrared sensors that sense when a goal is made are much more accurate and reliable than mechanical sensors.
Another great feature is the ‘goal-in-rail’ style which is more durable because it does not use plastic goals, so look out for that. Lastly, if you’re buying a table for team play, make sure it comes with the necessary accessories, that is two pucks and two pushers (replacement pucks are a bonus if the seller includes them in the package).
At the end of the day, it’s best to buy a used air hockey table from a reputed seller. However, if that costs too much or is not an option, use the above-mentioned tips to examine the table yourself and come home with a good buy.