The NHL Hover 80-inch is our best air hockey table which has a sleek design with a glazier surface area that is scratch resistant. The cabinet has a shiny coating to make it last for a long time. The double surface makes it easy to convert to two sports in just one table for space saving.
Our step-up pick is the NHL 84″ StingRay and the electronic scoring of this table makes it easy to use for beginners and for competitive purposes. It has 4 pucks, 4 pusher paddles / mallets, has electronic sounds and its size can also make it ideal for up to 4 players (tag team play) at the same time.
The budget pick is the Sport Squad HX40 and being easy to assemble, this electric powered air hockey table is a least expensive option which comes with manual scorers instead. Intended for beginners and for the kids to enjoy, this air hockey table keeps a good level of game play without being too difficult due to its design.
A Little Background
Air hockey is a sport that is found in almost any indoor area because it is very easy to access and to set up with a very simple concept of game play that almost anyone can play it. Air hockey involves two players at both sides to try to slide the puck to the opponent’s goal to score a point. The player with the most points will win the game.
Most air hockey tables are electronic ones and are found in arcades or even in your local office for leisure time. An air hockey table works by blowing soft air all over the table’s top so that the puck, which is usually made out of plastic for most air hockey tables, can float easily, making it “air hockey” in the name’s sense. The puck then moves easier across the table for the players to try to move to the opponent.
One of the advantages of playing air hockey is that it helps enhance the reflex skills of a person, and it can be used by or played by anybody in any age – kids, teens, adults, seniors and the like. Air hockey is very simple to play and only requires some reflex skill and reaction time so that you can have a sharper mind and memory to keep you active. It also helps as an arm exercise for all ages.
An air hockey table can be simply a table top that you can attach to a single table or you can order one that is already a table that you can set up at home or anywhere you want. An air hockey table is a good addition to a home arcade or commercial arcade but can also be situated in an office or leisure room, a man cave or any space you want.
Air hockey pucks can usually be colored red for better visibility over a table that is lightly colored with a bright finish of usually white, yellow or natural table, and is meant to be smooth for easy hovering of the pucks when you play air hockey. However, air hockey pucks can also come in various colors and so could the table, which is usually made out of wood material with some being made of quality plastic for the cheaper ones.
How We Picked
In choosing the best air hockey table, you should take note of the following facts first:
Total length of the table: usually from 5 feet to 8 feet long, air hockey tables can be of any size depending on who will use it. The air hockey table should be of sufficient length for your home or space or else it will be difficult to fit or to assemble. The length of the table should be just fine for kids and for adults, who may need a longer air hockey table.
Intended use: most air hockey tables are for leisurely use but some can be for professional or competitive sport use. A table that is meant for arcades or leisure rooms, man caves and hobby rooms and the like will usually be cheaper, made of plastic and are easy to assemble and can be folded and stored easily. The professional type air hockey tables are more expensive, usually made out of wood and are more durable and bigger.
Material of the table: most air hockey tables can be either made out of wood or plastic depending on what you need and your budget. An air hockey table that is made out of plastic material is the easiest to transport and to assemble but are also cheaper and can be slightly less durable than those made out of wood casings, but are more expensive and are ideal for professional games and indoor games only due to the upkeep costs.
Price: the price of the air hockey table depends on its motor blower and its material. An air hockey table that is plastic made and is usually for kids or teens or for arcades will usually be cheaper but higher end air hockey tables are more expensive and can be made out of wood or some other strong material, and usually have longer dimensions than cheaper ones. Powerful motor blowers also equate to a higher price rate for any table.
Included pushers (paddles) and pucks: most air hockey tables already include the playing equipment for air hockey, such as the two pushers and a pack of pucks for you to use. The pushers or paddles will usually come in a pair but some air hockey tables also have two sets for each. The pucks of the air hockey table will usually from 2 to 8 pieces in one pack.
Ease of assembly: do consider an air hockey table that is easy to put together so that you can get yourself playing air hockey right out of the box. The air hockey table should have easy instructions for you to follow to put the air hockey table together.
The NHL Hover 80-inch is our best air hockey table that requires a quick setup and can be added to any game room, recreational room and the like. It can also be used on arcade centers and can be a game for the whole family. You also get two games in one: table tennis and air hockey.
The table comes with two paddles (table tennis) two pushers (air hockey), two pucks, two balls, a post system and a net. It has a limited 90-day warranty.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
While not a deal breaker, the NHL Hover 80-inch air hockey table does require a 120-volt outlet so it is not intended for Europe and other countries with 220-volt systems without converting.
The NHL 84″ StingRay is our step-up pick and also resists wear and tear due to the glazier coating on the surface. You can put it in any game or recreational room and it can be setup within minutes of time. You can use it for a family game room as well as for outdoor use.
If you want a bigger air hockey table then this 84-inch table would be great due to its automatic scoring and larger playing area.
The Sport Squad HX40 is our budget pick which comes with 2 pushers as well a 2 pucks. The design of the surface is sleek and convenient so that you can just place it over a table. Its surface is smooth and the fan blows nicely.
If you want a cheaper air hockey table that keeps scores manually then this is the one to get. In addition, the padded feet makes it easy to setup without damaging your floor.
Best Air Hockey Table with Dual Blowers
The Harvil Air Hockey measures 7 feet long and comes with L-style legs for stability. It has an electronic scorer that uses batteries and comes with all of the accessories needed. It comes with four paddles, four pucks and has a contemporary design. It has a 90-day warranty.
Best Air Hockey Table with Electronic Scoring
The Goplus 42″ AirHockey is ideal for portability and uses 2 AAA batteries for its electronic scorer. It comes with two pucks and two pushers as well and runs with a powerful DC motor for the fan blowing. The tabletop design makes it easy to put together.
Best Air Hockey Table for Kids
The Playcraft Sport 40-Inch is great for kids with a powerful motor at 100 cfm of blowing power. It has a hardwood frame, comes with 2 pucks and 2 mallets and has a good length for the younger kids. With a tabletop design, it has a UL-approved motor as well for safety plus a puck catcher.
Best Air Hockey Table that is Compact
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The Mainstreet Classics 35-Inch comes with 2 mallets, 2 pucks and a manual scoring system. It is easy to store and assemble due to the compact design and has a powerful motor for a good air flow when it comes down to any game.
Best Air Hockey Table with Manual Scoring
The HiMark Air Hockey has manual scoring and comes with 2 pucks and 2 handles. It has cool graphics and is quite simple to put together. It is great for kids as well as adults and uses MDF wood for its playing area. It is a free standing table that has a 120-volt powered air motor.
Best Air Hockey Table with a Docking Station
The Hathaway Stratosphere 7.5ft has electronic scoring as well as rail lights for added attraction. It has a playing surface made with glossy wood that makes movements as smooth as possible. The blower motor runs at 110 volts 60 Hz output. The docking station makes it easy to store with included 4 pucks and 4 mallets. It has a limited warranty of 180 days.
Best Air Hockey Table for Professional Use
The ValleyDynamo 8ft Pro is made with aluminum rails and has a powerful blower system for professional air hockey game play. It has leg levelers for any kind of surface and polystyrene legs for durability. The overhead scoring unit makes scorekeeping easy. It comes with 2 pucks and 2 mallets.
Other air hockey tables were not included in this list because they lacked in durability of the materials and also didn’t have the right instructions on how to assemble them better. It is important for any air hockey table to be easy to assemble so you can start playing right away.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is air hockey how is it played?
A: Air hockey is a kind of sport or game that uses a tabletop much like a table tennis table to play a game of indoor or table hockey using two paddles and one puck or disc. The goal of air hockey is simple – you just score by shooting the puck onto the opponent’s goal.
The term “air hockey” comes from the fact that an air hockey table is a special type of table that blows air to keep the puck floating from the surface of the table, making it easier to glide over. Air hockey has been played for years not just in arcades but also in leisure rooms of companies and offices as well as in homes and man caves.
Q: What are the different parts of an air hockey table?
A: The air hockey table has different parts that you should remember when you want to buy one:
The face or platform of the table is the most important part, since this will be your playing area. The size of the main table is usually 7 feet long but there are versions that are shorter, such as 5 to 6 feet or even longer ones up to 8 feet.
The side rails or rink walls are also important because these will be where the air hockey puck will bounce off when you play the game. A good material to choose is thick nylon or at least solid aluminum because laminated aluminum will not be very durable and does not offer the same rebound as nylon or solid ones.
The legs of the table are also important because your air hockey table will not stand without sturdy legs. Solid leg materials would be wood or steel so that it can be properly supported. While the side rails are okay to be nylon, steel and wood are best suited for the legs for support.
The motor of the air hockey table is what blows the wind or air towards the surface of the playing area to keep the puck floating. A smoother game will be experienced if the motor can run for a long period of time without failing. The motor should be UL listed for safety and it’s a good idea to get an air hockey table with two motors if you’re using it for commercial purposes.
Leg levelers, while not really a major part in all air hockey tables, can be useful if you play on uneven ground such as a slope or inclined area like your backyard. The leg leveler may not be in all air hockey tables but you should get one with leg levelers because you never know where you might end up using the air hockey table on.
The electronic scoring system is mostly found on all electronic models of air hockey tables today and are easier to use than mechanical ones. Infrared sensor scoring systems are the best way to go when you want an automatically scoring air hockey table, usually for arcade or home use, or even for professional use. Plug powered scoring machines are better than battery operated ones because they are easier to maintain.
The goal is the part of the air hockey table which allows you to score against an opponent. Most modern goals of an air hockey table are designed to be goal-in-rail, meaning the goal is integrated with the rail so it is more minimalistic and makes the playing area easier to reach for smaller players like children.
Q: What are the most common fouls when playing professional air hockey?
A: The official rules of the air hockey game, as dictated by USAA, defines the following as fouls:
Topping is a foul by which the mallet or paddle is on top of the puck. This is a foul and will automatically give the puck to the opponent player. Most people find topping as an accident but some can be intentional.
Another form of foul is when the puck is at the opponent’s side of the field and you still hit it. This is unfair because you are closer to the opponent and taking over his or her side. When this happens, the opponent gets the puck.
Goal tending is another form of foul, which occurs when you block the puck from going into your goal with your hand or any other object other than your mallet or paddle. This results to the opponent getting the puck instead.
The out of play foul is a kind of foul in which the puck accidentally or unintentionally leaves the playing area due to the forcible charge or hit by one player. It also gives the puck to the opponent player in that case.
Delay of hitting the puck can cause a foul as well. The limited time for a person or player to hit the puck to the opponent’s side is 7 seconds in official games. The puck should be hit within the time limit to go across the center line to the opponent’s side of the table.
Touching or striking the puck with any object aside from the mallet or paddle will also cause a foul, and will give the puck possession to the other player. This is pretty much the same with regular hockey when it comes down to general puck rules.
Q: What are the different kinds of air hockey tables and how do I differentiate them?
A: The to major air hockey table types are the small puck tables and the large puck tables. Here is a comparative chart to differentiate each of these air hockey tables:
|Criteria||Small Puck Table||Large Puck Table|
|Size of puck (diameter)||2 1/2 inches||3 1/4 inches|
|Price range||Cheaper, from $500 to $1,100||More expensive, from $2,000 above|
|Typical usage||Ideal for home use, man caves, recreational use, small arcades, home arcades, offices, children||Official USAA sanctioned tournaments, professional use, commercial use, large arcades|
|Size range||Usually from 5 to 7 feet||Usually from 7 to 8 feet|
|Ideal age bracket||Kids 8 years old and above||Kids 10 years and above, teens and adults as well as seniors|
|Manufacturer||Usually Chinese companies||Mostly U.S. companies|
|Scoring||Some are manual and some are electronic||Most often electronic|
|Commercial use and durability||Some are okay for commercial use||All are okay for commercial use|
Q: Is it possible to use a home sized air hockey table for a gaming center or arcade?
A: The air hockey table , if it is home sized such as those with 7 feet or below, can be used on arcades provided that they have just the right maintenance attention from the staff. However, it is still greatly recommended to use a commercial air hockey table, especially in a very crowded gaming center.
However, for budget reasons, a home sized air hockey table is okay, but you should pick one with the right specs. For instance, the durability is tested with the rail material and the sturdiness of the legs of the table, as well as the paddles and pucks.
Q: What are the benefits of using an air hockey table for an office space?
A: An air hockey table can be one of the things that you may find in an office when it comes down to its leisure room or recreational room (rec room). Here are the different benefits for employees, staff and employers when it comes down to adding an air hockey table to their office:
Air hockey tables can help enhance the creativity and thus the productivity of each employee or worker. A person should not always work all the time and should have time to take out stress. This is why many offices have recreation rooms and one of the games you can find there is an air hockey table. If you want your employees to be more creative in your business then you should invest in a recreational room with air hockey.
Because air hockey tables are usually convertible to various games, you can save more space in the long run when you purchase one. If you take out the air hockey part, you can convert it to a table tennis platform and many other games such as snooker. You can even use it as a pool table with the right equipment. Table games are the easiest to set up in an office environment and are space saving.
Team building is one of the key benefits of air hockey in your workplace. It helps employers and employees get to know each other more and have more fun and bonding time. You don’t have to go outside to do some team building activity when you have a recreational room in your office, which can save up on expenses. Team building is important for any office/firm for the employees to work more productively and be in harmony in the workplace.
Q: What do I need to know when I want to replace the fan for my air hockey table?
A: If the fan for your air hockey table seems to stop functioning, here are the things you need to know first before buying a replacement one:
• Make sure you have the same or similar brand name with the original fan from the air hockey table. This ensures that it will fit and that the specifications will work out just fine.
• The size of the table should also be proportion to the replacement fan for the air hockey table. Again, this makes it easier to install for the professional who will fix your air hockey table’s broken fan by replacing it. Most air hockey tables at home are around 5 to 7 feet while professional ones are usually from 7 to 8 feet in length.
Q: Which specifications should I look for in an air hockey table depending on my playing skill level?
A: Playing air hockey depends on your skill level and while most are beginners, some can be professionals or intermediate players so they may need different air hockey specifications for them to use, such as the following:
|Size of table||From 5 to 6 feet||At least 7 feet||Up to 8 feet|
|Price range||Can be a table under $100 if possible||From $200 to $800||$1,000 and above|
|Typical usage||Mostly for practice, for children and for recreation purposes||For regular play, for arcades, for recreational use, for older kids, teens, adults, seniors and the like||For arcades, official tournaments and professional games and/or practice|
Q: Which size of air hockey table is best for me?
A: It depends on many factors but here is a size chart guide to help you decide on what’s the best air hockey table size or length for you:
|Size of Table||Intended Player(s)||Price range||Typical usage|
|4 feet||Children and toddlers||Under $100||For practice and home use|
|5 feet||Children, toddlers, pre-teens||Under $100||For practice and home use|
|6 feet||Children, teenagers, adults||$200 to $500||For practice, home use, recreational rooms|
|7 feet||Children, teenagers, adults, seniors||$500 to $1,000||For home, practice, recreational rooms, arcades|
|8 feet||Teenagers, adults, seniors, professional air hockey players||$1,000 and above||For tournaments, arcades and commercial use, for large homes|
Q: What is the difference between manual scoring and electronic scoring in air hockey?
A: The air hockey has a scoring system that can either be manual or electronic. Here are the two types defined and differentiated:
Manual scoring: for basic games and for cheaper models, you will need a basic air hockey table that can usually have a manual, abacus style scoring system. It consumes no electricity and helps you to keep in track of the game manually. The downside is that it is not as accurate as the electronic scoring system. Manual scoring is ideal for children’s air hockey tables and the like.
Electronic scoring: most air hockey tables nowadays use an electronic scoring system, which is much more accurate, but can cost you more than manual scoring boards or systems because of the electronic parts and the fact that they consume electricity (some are battery operated, though).
Q: How does air hockey compare with foosball?
A: Air hockey , when compared with foosball, is quite similar but there are different aspects, such as the following:
|Rules of the game||Air hockey is played with two players but with the use of an air hockey table, which has a clearer field than that of foosball. Air hockey makes use of a puck instead of a ball and relies only on a paddle or mallet instead of the players on a foosball field.||Unlike air hockey, foosball relies on the players or lines on a field instead of using a paddle or mallet to move the ball around, instead of a puck or disc. Foosball and air hockey are only similar with being a table sport and involving score goals.|
|Movement||The movement of an air hockey game is considerably fast paced and requires stronger movements rather than tactical movements. It also requires reflex actions to score a goal.||To score a goal with foosball, you also need reflex actions but foosball also requires you to switch between lines or players, making movement a bit slower than that of air hockey.|
|Usual players||Air hockey can be played by anyone, regardless of age, as long as they can reach the air hockey table.||Most foosball games can be played by anyone, but is more popular among teens and adults due to its difficulty.|
|Usual location||The usual location of an air hockey table is either at home or in an arcade and sometimes in the office recreational room.||The foosball table can be found on some arcades but are mostly found in an office recreational room or at home.|
|Ease of setup||The air hockey table is pretty easy to setup because of its simple parts.||The foosball table takes more time to assemble because each line of players needed to be screwed together, if it is not assembled when it arrives.|
|Popularity||Air hockey is very popular all over the world, especially in arcades and amusement parks that have them.||Foosball is mostly found on countries that have football as one of the key sports or national sports, such as Europe, South America and the like.|
|Difficulty||Air hockey is relatively easy for players because of its simple movement that only requires simple reflex actions, meaning kids and toddlers can also learn how to play it.||Foosball is much more complicated than air hockey but is challenging for the adults and the teens because it requires switching between lines or rows of football / soccer players.|
Q: How does air hockey compare with ping pong / table tennis and pool / billiards?
A: Air hockey is yet another table sport that can be interchanged with table tennis / ping pong and billiards / pool. Here are the key differences between the three sports / games:
|Criteria||Air hockey||Table Tennis / Ping Pong||Pool / Billiards|
|Rules of the game||Air hockey is played with two players and uses a puck in a fast paced game of trying to shoot the puck onto the opponent’s goal.||Table tennis or ping pong also has similar rules to air hockey but relies on a bouncing ping pong ball to get to the opponent’s side of the field to score.||Pool or billiards can be played solo or with an opponent. The goal is to shoot all of the balls into the holes with the cue ball or white ball.|
|Movement||Air hockey is fast paced and allows you to move freely. It is ideal for beginners and for kids who enjoy free movement and fast reflexes.||Table tennis or ping pong also uses fast reflexes but instead of horizontal rebounds from the puck, the ball gets a vertical rebound to pass to the other player.||Pool is a slow and concise moving sport that requires more of accuracy rather than speed.|
|Usual players||Air hockey can be played by almost any age, gender or skill level.||Table tennis can be played by anyone, but it is more popular with teens and adults but some kids also play the sport.||Pool is popular among adults and teens but even children can play mini pool.|
|Usual location||The air hockey table can be found on any arcade or even at home or office recreational / leisure rooms.||A table tennis or ping pong table can be found on recreational rooms as well but can also be found on sports centers and gymnasiums.||Pool tables can be found on bars, game recreational centers and the like. Some folks can even have one at home or in the office.|
|Ease of setup||Air hockey tables are fairly easy to put together due to the parts being quite simple.||Table tennis or ping pong is also easy to setup when it comes down to the table, and is easier than air hockey or pool.||Pool tables also require minimal effort when it comes down to setup, but maintenance can be slightly hard due to the felt and the balls.|
|Popularity||Air hockey is quite popular among the world’s arcade and game centers and some even have one at home or in the office rec room.||Table tennis is more popular as a sport compared to air hockey so more sports centers have them. Air hockey is usually associated with arcades and games more than sporting.||Pool tables can either be recreational or for professional tournaments. Pool is the most popular of the three because it can be setup anywhere there is a bar.|
|Difficulty||Air hockey is fairly simple and requires a good set of reflex skills and can be played by kids and teens and almost of all ages.||Table tennis is slightly more difficult than air hockey because vertical rebounds are harder without boundaries to keep it in the playing field. Table tennis is also faster in pace than air hockey.||Pool or billiards is the hardest because it requires more precision than speed to hit the balls with the cue ball and the stick.|
Q: Which is more popular with kids: air hockey, ping pong or foosball?
A: It depends on your child’s interests but here are some definitions of each and which children are most likely to love them:
Air hockey: majority of the kids will love air hockey because of its ease of use, fast and reflexive game play and also because of its simple game mechanics that allow even younger players to be able to play it without much problem. If you have kids who just want to have fun then air hockey is a good way to go.
Ping pong or table tennis: this kind of table sport is ideal for medium to advanced kids, especially for pre-teens or those with faster reflexes, because ping pong requires a lot of reflex and precision compared to air hockey, making it more challenging. It is meant for the older kids from about 8 years old and above.
Foosball: the foosball table can be played by some kids but its major demographic is adults, so it is mostly meant for the big kids, much like ping pong or table tennis because it requires a big deal of reflex and motor skills.
Q: Aside from air hockey, what else other indoor games can I put in a recreational room for home or office use?
A: If you want to put together a recreational room or leisure room, particularly for either home or office use, here are some other games you can put in there aside from air hockey:
• Darts – can be played by yourself or with another one. The goal is to shoot the dart or arrow into the corresponding panel to score higher than the opponent or depending on the type of dart game you are playing. Most dart boards come in electronic scoring nowadays.
• Foosball – it is a table version of football by which two players control each side of the field with lines or rows of football players (foosball players) to try and score a goal to the opponent’s side of the field, much like with regular football / soccer.
• Billiards / pool – the game of billiards or pool can be played solo or competitively and requires shooting all of the balls into the 8 holes of the pool table using the cue stick and the white cue ball to win the game.
• Bubble hockey – it is a type of table hockey that is a little different from air hockey and more like foosball. It also requires gripping much like foosball due to the rows of players. It is a newer type of table action game.
• Chess – one of the oldest table games out there, chess requires a lot of skill and planning to capture all of the opponent’s pawns and perform a checkmate.
• Board games – there are many board games to choose from that are popular, such as Scrabble, Monopoly and the like. You can also add them to the recreational room for the kids and the entire family to play if they’re tired of physical games.
• Arcade games – you can turn your recreational room into a mini-arcade room by adding arcade games such as basketball games and the like, especially if you have kids at home. This adds flavor and excitement to the room and maybe even more fun for the adults as well.
• Casino games – if the recreational room is mainly for the adults then adding casino games such as poker tables would be great. Adding this table next to a mini bar or pool table makes your recreational room into a man cave of sorts.
• Shuffleboard – you can also add shuffleboard to your recreational game room, but it should have sufficient space since shuffleboard tables can be pretty lengthy in space requirements.
• Ping pong / table tennis – a ping pong table can be situated in your recreational room as well. Table tennis is a good sport and pastime as well to take out that extra stress from work or other problems and practices your reflex skills.
Q: Where do I find air hockey tournaments?
A: You can check your local sports organization or sports center to ask if there are official air hockey tournaments in your country or state. Regions like North America and Europe do hold sanctioned tournaments and have official game rules and officially sized tables.
Q: Can air hockey be played between family members?
A: Yes, air hockey is a completely family friendly and family oriented game, so you can have fun with the kids and the grandparents with air hockey.
Any age, gender or skill level is allowed to play air hockey due to its simple game mechanics. Since air hockey is available not just in the arcade or office game recreational room but also at home, it is a very simple sport or game to have fun with and can be setup anywhere you want and anywhere possible.
Q: Who made the air hockey table?
A: The air hockey table was invented by the ultimate pool expert, Brunswick Billiards, who made a prototype of the first air powered hockey table in the 1960s and completed in 1972 with the help from Bob Lemieux, his engineer. Incorporating ice hockey and pool, air hockey was born and is now a popular sport and game around the world today.
Q: What size of puck should I get depending on my table?
A: The correct puck size for an air hockey table is as follows:
|Puck Size||Table Size|
|63, 75 or 80 mm||7 feet|
|63 mm||6 feet|
|55 mm||5 feet|
Q: Why should I carefully choose the right puck and mallet / paddle for my table?
A: The correct size of paddle / mallet and puck for your air hockey table is important because:
• Going for a bigger puck size can make the puck harder to lift with the blower fan.
• Going for a smaller puck size can make the puck easier to fly away from the table.
• Pucks and mallets that are too big or too small for your table can make playing uncomfortable.
Q: How do I preserve my air hockey table for years?
A: To keep your air hockey table durable for a long time, you should do the following:
• Keep food and drinks away as much as possible.
• Always inspect the table for cracks and dents.
• Use glass cleaner instead of wax polish for the surface to avoid clogging the fan.
• Clean the air holes of the fan once a year to avoid fan failure.
• Inspect all of the bolts and make sure they aren’t too loose or too tight.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, the NHL Hover 80-inch is our best air hockey table due to its intuitive features, just-right size and included pucks and mallets.