The holidays are right around the corner and many parents are thinking about what they should get their kids. With a seemingly endless amount of digital devices out there, it’s becoming more popular for parents to bring analog play back into the household. Game tables such as air hockey are a family-friendly way for kids to start engaging on a physical level.
But with so many air hockey types of tables out there, it can be difficult to find the right one.
Here are all of the options you should consider…
If you want to take the game of air hockey to the most competitive place possible, then you’re going to want to get a bigger table. Many of the 40-inch tables out there are fun for kids, but at the end of the day, they are nothing more than glorified toys. They can be fun for a little while but aren’t built to last long or be super competitive.
If you want a table that both kids and adults can play and have fun on, then you’re going to want something then look for something that’s at least 7 feet long. This is the only way that the table is big enough to handle fast and hard shots.
While 7 feet long is fine for the average user, just know that it’s still not big enough for truly competitive play. The USAA (the United States Air Hockey Association) has rules stating that tournament games must be played on a table that’s at least 85 inches long. Sometimes, tournament tables can get up to 90 feet long!
If you’re planning on playing competitively, it’s important that you go with a dedicated air hockey table that was developed for tournament play. And yes, in case you’re wondering it is indeed a professional sport.
Some brands of air hockey tables have the option to turn into other games. This includes things like ping pong, billiards, foosball and more.
But be wary, most of these tables are small and not that high quality. Again, a lot of it depends on the size. If you’re getting a 40-inch conversion table, then don’t expect many of the games to be high quality or competitive. They might be fun for little kids, but it will probably be something that you end up throwing away or putting into long-term storage as time goes on.
The best option for a table that converts into many different things is probably the Fat Cat Pockey 3-in-1. It’s big enough to where all of the games on the table can end up being competitive. In addition to hockey, the table easily converts to play fast-paced billiards and table tennis.
You can learn more about this air hockey table on this guide by Amazing Game Room.
The sad truth is that the top tournament-grade air hockey tables can sometimes cost up to $6,000. These aren’t even the coin-operated kind, but just the regular ones that true enthusiasts get for their homes.
The key is to strike a balance between what you can spend and knowing what the best brands are.
Here a list of brands that sell high-end tables along with approximately what they cost. It’s true that you get what you pay for, but any of these will be more than enough for some great games in the comfort of your own home.
Brands by Budget to Consider
- MD Sports: MD sports sells a wide range of air hockey tables, but their high-end ones (around $600-1000) are pretty good. If you want something that’s going to last consider getting their Titan, but stay away for the small “toy” tables that we’ve warned about.
- Valley Dynamo: This brand makes professional game tables of all kinds for arcades and for homes. You can’t really go wrong with any of their stuff – even the lower-priced products. Just make sure you don’t buy a coin-operated one for the mistake! You can expect their tables to cost around $3000-$6000.
- Gold Standard Games / Shelti: Just like Valley, this is a game table company for enthusiasts. Expect their prices to be about the same, but they do have home units that are competitive and affordable such as the Home Elite.