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Leisure Sports & Games

Best Air Hockey Table

Can we all agree air hockey is one of the best competitive table top games around? This game is elegant in its simplicity; all you have to do is put the puck in the opposing slot. The pace of the game is fast, and anyone can get in the action since you don't need much of a pre-requisite skill set beyond good hand-eye coordination. That doesn't mean you won't put in a serious calisthenics workout during the game as you lunge and stretch for both sides of the table to attack and defend against your opponent. There’s nothing quite like a good session of air hockey to get the blood and sweat flowing.

There are a lot of tables on the market to choose from. The best way to narrow your options is to decide on where you want to keep the table and who is going to be playing on it. A basic table is best suited for younger and casual players. They're usually intended for home use, and built sturdy enough for the family to enjoy the table for occasional recreational use. Mid-level tables are built to withstand a little more abuse in order to keep the game play consistent. These are usually found in high-traffic areas where many different players will use the table for routine gameplay. For those who want a top-notch table in their home or bar, an arcade-style table offers long-lasting durability, reliable gameplay with high-impact surfaces, and congruous air output for a smoother ride on the puck. Of course, these tables will cost much more, and they're larger in size.

It's really up to you to decide what you want and what you need in an air hockey table. These five Best Picks below should help get you started, each of them making the list judged by a variety of criteria. First and foremost, the unit has to be powerful enough. The blower is one of the most important parts of the game and these are some of the best on the market right now. Without air, the puck doesn't move so you want a table that's going to keep the game moving fast.

These units are also sturdy enough to accommodate even the roughest players, smacking that puck back and forth can start to take a toll on the unit. Of course, air hockey is meant to give you that feel of real-live hockey action so many of these selections offer special enhancements like digital scoreboards, sound effects, and lighting. Puck returns make the game more convenient and exciting as they enable you to put it back in play quicker when someone scores.

For some consumers, the size of an air hockey table is too large for some homes, that means you want to go with a table-top unit and there are some of those on this list as well. Above all, these tables can cost a lot of money, so you want to make sure your investment lasts a long time. You will get plenty of value and consistent game play in every one of the picks on our list.

Valley-Dynamo 8 Ft. Pro Style Air Hockey Table

One of the biggest professional manufacturers in air hockey today, the folks at Dynamo built this thing with all the features they'd want in their ideal table. This unit offers top-shelf options like aluminum rails for accurate puck deflections, heavy commercial-grade wood materials, and polystyrene legs for a durable cabinet perfect for constant use, easy to read LED scoring, and a DynaBlast dual blower air system.

The table measures a regulation-size eight feet, so it's suitable for tournament play. Of course, all this cool stuff is going to cost you, but arcade-level air hockey tables are among the most expensive tables out there. You're looking at somewhere around an easy twenty-five hundred bucks to get this baby out the door. Before you spend all that money, just make sure you're not getting more table than you really need.

Dynamo Fire Storm Air Hockey Table

The Fire Storm has been built for commercial use in arcades and gaming centers which means it's going to be able to withstand constant use and abuse while providing a flashy and fully functional game play experience. This is the pick for those who want an arcade-quality machine in their home, because this one sure delivers.

Aesthetically it's a dazzler; with a glowing UV coated playing surface, blacklight accents, and LED detailed lighting, the Fire Storm is unlike any other table on our list. But all that visual style doesn't mean a thing if it doesn't play well; fortunately, this table offers some of the best functionality around. Using the company's "Dyna-Blast" blower, the table has consistent, fast-paced puck movement without dead spots, while the impact-resistant laminate of the playing area ensures the table will hold up for years.

The table also provides side shields to keep the puck from flying off the table and rounded top rails which prevent player injury at the corners. Audio speakers are located directly in front of each player at either end for an immersive air hockey experience, the table also flashes wildly whenever a goal is scored, and puck returns are positioned for easy retrieval to keep the game going. The Fire Storm doesn’t come cheap, but it's sure to be the centerpiece of any game room.

Viper Vancouver Air-Powered Hockey Table

The Viper Vancouver is designed and built for constant action with an air-flow motor that outputs at nearly 110 cubic feet per minute, the table surface is smooth and comes with a glossy finish to look like a real ice rink. Rounded edge rails keep the puck in play longer and faster so you can score quicker than your opponent. They're also deeper than previous models, so you won't worry about too many bounce-outs either.

The Vancouver also comes with a new and improved triangular LED scoreboard to remind the competition who's in charge at either side, along with an adjustable game timer, volume control, and game resets. There are puck returns at both ends of the table and 5 inch levelers on the legs to keep the surface even.

You'll get four pucks and four paddles with your table so everyone can enjoy the game, whether you want to play two on two or lose part of your gear. You're probably going to need it, as this table will last for a good long while. Assembling the table might prove to be a challenge for some though, as the directions don't specify all of the particulars very clearly.

Sport Squad HX40 Electric Powered Air Hockey Table

You might be thinking to yourself that the smaller table-top models don't provide that same high octane powerful game play as the full size versions which have taken up the top spots on our list thus far. Not to worry, the blower on this game offers strong, consistent output so you won't have to compromise on smooth playability just because the unit is portable.

You get manual scoring and easy to assemble goals at either end and the size is definitely right for all ages to enjoy, measuring 40 x 20 x 3.9 inches when it's all set up and ready for action. The unit isn't all that heavy either so it can be placed on just about any table or countertop for hours of game play; simply plug it in and it's game on. When you're not smacking the puck around, simply unplug the unit and store it easily in any closet or under the bed. The set comes with a pair of pucks and a pair of pushers for two players to go head to head anywhere, any time.

Playcraft Sport 40" Table Top Air Hockey by Playcraft

This model offers the same portability to allow for the game to be played in any room of the house, brings some extra additional features and does it at a competitive price. The unit itself is made with a resilient medium-density fiberboard frame and is equipped with 100 cubic feet per minute air powered motor for smooth game play across the entire surface. The ABS puck catching to make sure the puck is deposited into the goal with confidence. That also makes it easy to retrieve to keep the game going. Measuring 40 x 20 x 8 inches, the unit can fit on almost any tabletop or, if you prefer, get the extra leg set which attaches to the unit for a table that stands 26 inches high upright. Either way, you'll find you can play on this table just about anywhere you wish.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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