Introduction and history
If you’re looking for something to keep you entertained at home, look no further than table-based games. Nothing beats air hockey when it comes to enjoying table-based games with your friends.
Air hockey involves quick gameplay with simple rules and tons of hours of entertainment. It has grown to become a popular arcade-style game in many homes and recreational centres.
The game was invented by designers from a USA-based billiards table manufacturer, the Brunswick brothers. The design was patented late in the 1960s. The invention was inspired by the need to have a faster and frictionless table-based game that would be more thrilling than pool.
The design, which resembles ice hockey, has a level playing field with similar markings. In the early days, the air hockey table only had the sliding pucks but re-invented later with numerous tiny holes. An electric pump was used to blow through these holes a strong air current. This created an air cushion on the table to float the pucks.
Air hockey tables have maintained the original basic design, but the appearance and technology have been greatly advanced.
Things to consider:
Size is an important consideration when purchasing an air hockey table because it also determines the price and the quality of gameplay. These tables come in various sizes. The mini 2-foot tables, which are basically air hockey tabletops that are light and fit small spaces. They are ideal for your children.
We also have 4-foot and 6-foot air hockey tables that come as standard convertible style tables. These sizes are perfect for home entertainment.
If you’re looking for a table for commercial purposes, it's recommended to go for the 7-foot or 8-foot sizes. They’re mostly arcade-style air hockey tables. They are built to last long and withstand long playing hours.
Air hockey tables can be quite massive if you’re looking for something flashy. Nevertheless, even for the small-sized air hockey tables, you’ll need to have enough space in your room to guarantee a smooth playing experience. Each player must have sufficient space between the walls and the edge of the table.
Provide at least 1 metre (3feet) of spacing at the edges of the longer side to give the players free movement to return shots with ease.
Fortunately, air hockey tables, unlike pool tables can be placed lengthwise against a wall so they can be squeezed in a room. However, if you’re going for a foldable air hockey table, this should not pause any challenge.
Non-professional air hockey tables have different sizes and heights. The short ones can even be less than 6 inches off the surface. These are ideal for children who are starting to play air hockey at a tender age. The optimal height recommended for the full-size tables is 32 inches. For taller players, there are air hockey tables with heights of up to 36-inches that can accommodate you quite well.
You can also go for the adjustable-height air hockey tables, especially if you want to save money. You can then adjust the height of the table for different players instead of buying a table for each age group in the family.
In any table-based game, the quality of the table plays a significant role in ensuring a great sporting experience. The quality of your air hockey table will depend on the design and quality of materials used.
The quality of air hockey tables goes beyond the type of materials used and demands a smooth playing surface. To reduce friction, the wood surface tables are covered with laminate material.
The rink walls of air hockey tables also affect its quality by influencing the speed and ricocheting off the puck. Opt for walls made with nylon or thick aluminum to prevent denting and scratching during playtime. These rink walls will also ensure that the puck ricochets with energy.
If you don’t have much room, especially for storage, consider purchasing a folding air hockey table. There are plenty of full-sized folding table options that guarantee the same quality of gaming experience as any other arcade-style air hockey table.
Folding air hockey tables are convenient for easy storage. The smaller version can make for lovely gifts for your kids.
They are ideal for most home entertainment and are easily portable for outdoor enjoyment of a game of air hockey. You can find them in the form of tabletops or up-the-wall folds.
Most tables for playing air hockey will come with accessories to upgrade the gaming experience. Some accessories will be used for setting up the table.
These accessories include table levelers for adjusting the height and ensuring the table is level. Some manufacturers also include lighting, media inputs, electronic scoreboards and specialised pucks among the accessories.
Always check that the table has the necessary accessories to enhance the quality of the gaming experience.
If you’re looking to enjoy the benefits of a warranty, you’ll have to go for a new air hockey table. A warranty will protect your investment by ensuring that the seller takes responsibility if the product doesn’t match up to its specifications.
Different brands vary in warranty periods. You’ll find brands that offer short warranty periods of up to 90 days, while others offer warranties for longer periods of up to 5 years or more.
Your budget will determine the quality of air hockey table you’re going to get. Hockey tables can be quite expensive, but that is not to say there are no cheaper ones.
The problem with going for the cheap tables is that they often compromise on the quality.
On average, a full-size air hockey table will range between £100 and £500, but only if you’re going for the inexpensive ones.
With a good saving plan, you can get a good quality table ranging between £600 and £1000. However, if price is not an issue, you’re all about quality, size, accessories, and everything that makes a high-end air hockey table; you can expect to spend as high as £8000 for the most luxurious tables.
Air hockey table maintenance
To safeguard your air hockey table against damage, you need to maintain it. The basic maintenance includes keeping the table free from dust, polishing the surface, and using an off-the-shelf surface cleaner.
You can ensure you don’t block the air holes during cleaning by using a vacuum cleaner and running the fan.
It is also important to check the blower/fun of your air hockey table at least once every week. This will ensure dust does not accumulate to affect its efficiency.