Invented by engineers at Brunswick Billiards in the 1970s, the air hockey table is an icon of American arcade culture. A simple game to learn, but a difficult game to master, air hockey is a lifelong game for all of the family. It really has no entry barriers. As long as you can reach above the table and hold a mallet, you can play air hockey. Gender, age, physical ability – nothing matters. Everyone can have fun on the air hockey table. It’s hard to find games that are as inclusive as this one.
So, if you’re looking for some bonding with family and friends. Or, if you want your kids to spend time on non-digital entertainment, then an air hockey table is what you need. But, you must be wondering, “What is the best air hockey table for me? I’ve seen so many options on the net. I don’t know how to choose one.”
|MODEL||PRODUCT DIMENSIONS||ITEM WEIGHT||USER RATING||PRICE|
|Gold Standard Games Home Pro Elite Air Hockey Table||87 x 48 x 19 inches||350 pounds||4.2/5||$$$$$
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|Playcraft Sport 40-Inch Table Top Air Hockey||40 x 21 x 8 inches||20.4 pounds||4.1/5||$
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|NG1009H Carmelli Face-Off ||34 x 64 x 7 inches||40.4 pounds||3.8/5||$$
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|Playcraft Center Ice 7′ Air Hockey Table||84 x 48 x 32 inches||160 pounds||3.8/5||$$$
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|American Heritage 390074 Monarch Series||10 x 86 x 50 inches||278 pounds||3.6/5||$$$$
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Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. In this article, you will find air hockey table reviews across different categories. At the end of the review section, you’ll find a buying guide that aims to educate on all the finer points of buying the perfect table for your needs. Using the two, making a wise decision becomes a cinch. So, let’s dive right in.
The price of air hockey tables varies widely, and so does their quality. The American Heritage 390074 Monarch Series is the best air hockey table on the market because it is the ideal blend of price and quality.
If you want to experience arcade-level playability at a reasonable price, this is the table for you. At 84 inches, the table is a few inches short of tournament tables, which are 96 inches long. Unlike cheaper models, which reduce the puck’s size for the sake of installing low-powered and economical blowers, this table allows you to play with full-sized pucks.
However, the table does have some dead zones towards the corners because the blower isn’t as powerful as a tournament-grade table’s blower. But, considering the price, this isn’t a deal breaker.
Design-wise, this table boasts a durable build and polished finish. The electronic scoring system, mounted on an overhead arc, makes tracking scores a breeze. Plus, the sound effects enhance the gaming experience.
Before you buy the table, have a good plan about where you’re going to put it. The table is large and heavy. It will take two or more people to assemble the unit. If you’re planning to keep the table in the basement or upstairs, account for the help needed to move it around. Also, once you set up the table, changing the location is a hassle. Getting everything right the first time is super important.
Let’s say you want to add an air hockey table to your rec room; but, at the same time, you’re not looking for a full-sized table, then the Carmelli Face-Off air hockey table merits your consideration.
Costing only a fraction of a full-sized table, this is the best air hockey table for the money. 5 feet long, the Carmelli Face-Off provides a large enough play area for recreational gaming. However, if you’re looking to develop your skills to play at a competitive level, this product isn’t the best choice.
If you have children, who have recently taken a liking to air hockey, and you’re afraid they might lose interest, you’d want to keep your investment as low as possible. More importantly, even if the interest isn’t a passing phase, your children will still take a couple of years before they outgrow the table. Given these factors, this is the best table you can buy for children.
The pucks that come with the table are 2.5 inches in diameter. This is smaller than the pucks used on a full-sized table. Not only that, you’re limited to this size because larger pucks won’t get enough lift from the blower. Also, the goal face is relatively small. So, if you play with a large puck, you can block the goal just by placing the mallet in front of the goal face.
The table features an electronic scoring system and an automatic puck retrieval system. Although both features are not essential to gameplay, they are handy additions. Unlike other tables, which weigh a lot, this table weighs only 40 pounds. So, you can assemble, disassemble, and move the unit as you please.
Overall, this is a great product for those who want to introduce children to air hockey. Later, if your children love the sport, you can replace the table with a full-sized one. Therefore, this is the best entry level air hockey table on the market.
“I want to go all in. What table should I get?” If this is you, then make room for the Home Pro Elite Air Hockey Table from Gold Standard Games. Designed and endorsed by air hockey world champions, Gold Standard Games holds the top spot for tournament-sized air hockey table manufacturers.
Although not tournament-sized, the Home Pro Elite comes close. The table provides a 7-foot long play area and a blower powerful enough to lift regulation-sized pucks. You can enjoy the full experience of playing with a 3-1/6 inch puck without any dead zones. The table also has a centerline and a face-off line for competitive gameplay.
However, two factors put this table out of many people’s range. First, the price. At its price point, you shouldn’t buy this product to satisfy what could be a passing interest. This table is for dedicated air hockey enthusiasts, only.
Secondly, the size is an issue. Weighing 350 pounds, the Home Pro Elite isn’t built for portability or compactness. Before buying the table, you must consider where you’ll put the table and how you will get it there.
But, think about what you’re paying for? You’re paying for performance. The table allows for full-scale air hockey, not downsized amateur gameplay. You’re paying for durability. The table is designed by world-class players who know what goes into making great air hockey tables. You’re paying for brand value. Gold Standard Games is the best-known maker of air hockey tables on the market.
So, if full functionality, durability, and brand value is important to you, and you don’t mind paying a premium price for it, then the Home Pro Elite is the best air hockey table you can buy.
Don’t have the room for a full-sized air hockey table? No problem, the Playcraft Sport has you covered. A mere 40 inches long and 20 pounds heavy, this table is compact and portable. You can set it up for gaming, or shift it out of sight when guests stay over, without a hitch.
However, don’t let the compact size deceive you. This model is as robust as it is compact. It comes with two pucks and two mallets, which are obviously smaller than regulation. Due to its small dimensions, this model scales poorly for adults. However, it’s the perfect size for kids.
If you want your children to develop reflexes, coordination, sportsmanship, or other positive qualities, introducing them to air hockey is a great idea. And, the Playcraft Sport is the best way you can do it.
Also, this model is incredibly affordable. Overall, the unit will cost you around the same as two or three PS4 titles. Then, there’s the added advantage of not dealing with a complicated and laborious assembly process. After your kids outgrow the table, you can give the table away, or dispose of it as you see fit. Since the investment is so modest, you’ll have no guilty conscious when passing it on to someone else or selling it later.
For children, the Playcraft Sport is the best air hockey table you can buy for the price. However, adults won’t enjoy the product as much as the kids will.
The Playcraft Center Ice is an awesome transition product. This product stands at the cusp of compact air hockey tables and full-size ones. Measuring 7-feet long, this table provides a play area comparable to arcade machines. However, the product is more affordable than other tables of similar dimensions.
Although the table is long, the blower isn’t powerful enough to float a full-sized puck smoothly. Consequently, you’ll have to make do with a small-sized puck. I admit, playing with a small-sized puck on a large table takes some getting used to. However, it will come.
As long as you’re looking for an air hockey table for recreational gaming with friends and family, the Playcraft Center Ice will do. However, if you want to get into competitive gaming, you’ll find this model lacking.
Like other full-sized tables on our list, this table is also large and heavy. So, you should carefully consider the dimensions of the product relative to the room where you’ll keep it. Again, plan the route for getting the table to where you want it to go.
I asked myself, “What would it take to propel this product from an honorable mention to a top pick?” The answer is more power. If this table had a motor powerful enough to float a full-sized puck, this would have been my top pick. But, a better motor would make the machine costlier, thereby reducing the product’s appeal to budget buyers. So, you can see why I say this product is an appropriate transition table.
A good buy is the outcome of a sequence of correct decisions. Naturally, you must know what decisions to make, as well as how to make them in your favor. Depending on your needs, the proper answer to each question along the way differs. So, where do we begin this process, and what is the first question you must answer correctly? Let’s find out.
What kind of air hockey table is right for me?
I divide air hockey tables into three categories, namely tournament tables, arcade tables, and recreational tables. Although the names are to an extent self-explanatory, it helps to get clear on the scope of each category.
So, if your dream is to play air hockey at a competitive level, you should opt for at least an arcade table. If you’re already an established air hockey player, you can select one from among the dozen USAA sanctioned tables. But, if competitive air hockey has no appeal, go for a recreational table, or perhaps an arcade table if budget and space allow it.
In addition to the table’s length, what other factors should I consider?
The length of the table is important. But, it isn’t the only factor that decides an air hockey table’s worth. Other factors that go into deciding whether the table is worth the money are:
Great, I have a good feeling about buying an air hockey table. What are my options?
The easiest way to go about buying an air hockey table is to use the information in the buying guide to identify the right product from the choices in the review section. However, if you want to apply the information in the buying guide to carry out your own research, then I encourage you to consider products from Dynamo, Harvil, and Atomic. And, remember to check out other products from American Heritage, Gold Standard Games, Carmelli, and Playcraft.
Before we wind this up, let’s briefly review the information covered here. Let’s start with the American Heritage Monarch Series. It’s our top pick because it balances price and performance beautifully. However, if you’re looking for a budget buy that still gives you acceptable performance, the Carmelli Face-Off will suit your needs perfectly.
If you’re buying an air hockey table for children, you can buy the Playcraft Sport to introduce them to the game. If they are a little older, consider buying the Playcraft Center Ice. Now, if you’re into competitive air hockey, and you want to practice at home, then the Gold Standard Games Home Pro Elite is the way to go.
Since its conception in the 1970s, air hockey has cemented its place in American culture. Today, the game is spreading across the world. Thanks to the rise in popularity, manufacturers of air hockey tables are pushing the envelope every day.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the product has reached such a high level of refinement. No matter what price range you look at, the market offers good products. The challenge, therefore, is to get the right information and guidance needed to make an informed purchase. Hopefully, I’ve made this process more simple for you and have fun on the tables!