Air Hockey… a game created by two billiard table manufacturing engineers and a former ice hockey player, in its most basic sense, is an amusing combination of billiards and ice hockey. It’s a way to bring the excitement of the hockey rink from the arena into the comfort of your favorite hangout spots.
Unlike the usually methodical game of pool or billiards, the unforgiving pace of air hockey does not permit players to even think and strategize. The frictionless surface makes the puck to go so fast that the human eyes would find it difficult to keep track even for the most skilled players. This is where its beauty lies, it’s an exciting fast-paced game where a single stroke of good luck can earn even the weakest player a victory.
Air hockey tables used to solely belong on the floors of bars and pubs where a lot of stressed-out people tend to congregate. These large colorful tables with flashy lights naturally attract quite the crowd for casual games back in the day. However, the advent of video games triggered a mass exodus of players.
Luckily, manufacturers have a found a way to make these formerly bar-exclusive fixtures more accessible to casual users who, in turn, took the game that they’ve fallen in love with, to their homes. It’s now making a comeback of sorts in game rooms and man caves everywhere and people are starting to realize just why it became so popular, to begin with.
Air hockey tables come with a variety of different features depending on the model you choose. Some models tend to have no bells and whistles, but many will include features such as score-keeping, rotating time allotments, buzzers, and more. So if you like to keep things simple, you can always go for the straightforward model, but if you want the high tech table, there are also plenty to choose from.
Many people only have space for either a pool table or an air hockey table, not for both. If you’re a fan of foosball and pool, but also love to play air hockey, you’ll want to take a look at multi-game tables. Designed to transition smoothly from one recreational activity to the next, you can enjoy all 3 games in a hassle-free manner, without having to find exclusive space for all 3 tables. This helps if you’re available space is severely limited, or you prefer to sample various games rather than predominantly playing one. Some of these tables don’t have the full scope of the original games, however. So if you’re a hardcore player of one or more of the activities included in your table, make sure you’re getting one with all the essential table facets, and not a limited version.
Air hockey tables, just like board games and pool tables, are particularly prone to lost parts. This isn’t the case of losing a couple of ‘chance’ cards in Monopoly, however. Without the proper pieces, it can be impossible to play air hockey at all. So be sure to stock up on strikers so that you always have effective ways to hit those pucks around the table, and don’t forget the pucks as well, as it is quite hard to score without them. If you’re looking to customize your table without actually changing the table, getting pucks and strikers in different colors can help to create a unique look other than the traditional white table/red accessories appearance found commonly.
We review the Top 5 Air Hockey tables that will suit just about every man cave.
- Fully Sanctioned for Tournament Play by the U.S. Air-Hockey Association/ Designed by Air Hockey Champion Mark Robbins
- Features Commercial Quality Cabinet and Leg Construction Designed for Years of Heavy Use/ Special Wear Resistant Laminate Top for Years of Longevity/
- Comes with Professional-Style Low Profile, High-Density Aluminum Rails for Maximum Bounce and Bank-ability/ Commercial Blower for Championship-Level Air Flow
The Gold Standard Games Tournament Pro Elite Air Hockey Table is specifically designed with those stressed out patrons in mind. It’s built to withstand countless hard smacks from overzealous players and direct aggression from occasional rage quitters who vent out their frustrations on the table itself.
- Designed by air hockey champions specifically to fall within the standards of the United States Air Hockey Association for competitive tournament play
- The build quality of the cabinet and legs are definitely top-notch and should endure years of hard smacks and abuse
- Equipped with high-density aluminum rails for precision bounce action and bank-ability.
- Industrial grade blower helps keep the frictionless surface completely even across the entire table
- bit expensive for most home setups
- 650lbs total weight makes it too heavy to move around even with multiple people
EA Sports is more popularly known as a video game brand that produces huge games like the FIFA series. Their foray into the air hockey table business shows how serious the company is in taking over game rooms and man caves.
Like with their video games, the company pulled out all of the stops to make the game as enjoyable as possible. It’s constructed with sturdy materials that can stand the test of both time and abuse. The playing surface isn’t standard competition size, but it’s a great size for both adult and child use.
- Made by a brand that kids and most adults can relate to
- Competitively priced
- Sturdy construction
- Electronic Scorer
- Size is a good middle ground for children and adults
- The electronic scorer can easily get accidentally triggered by your hands
- The colorful finish makes it difficult to match some man caves but should be perfect for a game room
- May take a long time to assemble
For avid hockey fans, ESPN should ring a bell. The brand is one of the biggest sports networks to cover NHL and the name recall just makes it feel like you’re in a professional hockey match.
Kids who keep up with the game should also be able to get in on the action as the table is a perfect compromise for children and adult. The well-built construction is also a plus as no matter how hard adults smack on the puck or how often children jump on the table when trying to reach in for a smash, the construction and materials should hold. The leg-levelers make it difficult to complain about unfair advantages to your opponents.
- The brand is a sports legend that hockey enthusiasts can easily relate to
- Integrated ice hockey sound effects that heighten the action
- Leg-levelers for a perfectly even surface
- Dimensions hit a perfect middle ground for adults and children to be able to play comfortably
- Weighs just 40.79 lbs. for easy moving
- The felt finish feels cheap
- Not competition-grade dimensions
Nothing can beat the original. So since Brunswick was the first company to produce air hockey, their latest design should be on this list. The look is updated with modern stylings but all the basics are still there. The blower still does an awesome job at friction reduction while still being quiet, the abacus style scoring display works perfectly and reliably, and the puck and mallets still slide across the surface without a hitch.
This basic set up is perfect for a minimalist man cave as it’s got a classy vibe to it. The predominantly black and white finishes should go perfectly with a contemporary vibe.
- The brand that started the air hockey industry
- Contemporary styling that goes perfectly well with modern man cave designs
- MDF surface with a strong blower gives excellent friction reduction
- Sturdy adjustable leg-levelers for an even surface
- Comes with 4 pucks
- Perfect price for style and durability
- Manual abacus style scoring
- Weight is 149 lbs. can make it difficult to move around with just one person
Rounding out our top 5 is the Lancaster 48″ combo table. For space constrained man caves, this 3 in 1 table is perfect. It’s got all the three perennial man cave game tables like foosball, billiards, and air hockey on the same compact table so you don’t have to have a lot of space. They stack one on top of each other so the level can be adjusted. The size is just the perfect compromise to fit all of these games on just one table.
- 3 in 1 table covers all the basics of a man cave table game
- Inexpensive considering all of the fun games that it includes
- Dimensions fit perfectly for casual players
- Size is perfect for a small man cave
- Leg-levelers for an even surface for all the games
- Manual scorers
- Non-powered air hockey table
- Assembly might be difficult
- Not competition quality materials and dimension
Whether you enjoy a casual game of Air Hockey or not, having a table in your man cave will never look out of place, it’s just a space. There are many tables on the market and they vary greatly in price so it’s important to do you homework before purchasing. Sometimes it makes sense to buy a Multi Game Table if you are short on space and want multiple games on the one table. Once you’ve purchased a table then it’s time to hone your skills.