8 Expert Tips To Choose A Hockey Table

A hockey table can be a great long term investment that provides many hours of enjoyment for both adults and children - provided you do your homework before buying one. There are many different types of hockey tables on the market and it's easy to make a mistake. Our tips below will go a long way to help you make the right choice.

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Should I buy a home or professional hockey table?

Professional hockey tables are normally designed to be used in commercial environments like bars and arcades. They are made to withstand above average use, and as such they are bigger and cost more than their home counterparts. If your home has a dedicated game room, it might be well worth the effort to take a look at a couple of professional hockey tables, since they offer more advanced features than most home models, for example electronic scoreboards and better sound effects.

Home hockey tables can, however, offer a surprising number of features, although they tend to be somewhat smaller (and cheaper) than professional ones. The good models are built to easily deal with heavy usage from families plus their neighbors and friends. If you are not lucky enough to have a dedicated game room, a home hockey table is a great choice.

Plastic Manufactured Wood Air Powered Hockey Table
Purple LED Lights Air Hockey Table
Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard And Lights
Two Player Air Hockey Table With Electronic Scoring
Tabletop Air Hockey Table With Dual Scoring System
Black Manufactured Wood Air Hockey Table

Which is better, a dome hockey table or an air hockey table?

When you start shopping for your dream hockey table, you will soon find out there are mainly two styles on the market: air hockey and table-dome hockey.

A dome hockey table uses 3-dimensional players controlled via rods, not unlike a foosball table. Here the game mimics real ice hockey.

With an air hockey table, however, one plays with a puck. This is levitated by a stream of air which is continuously being pumped through the playing surface, providing the puck with a nearly frictionless surface to slide on. Players try to knock the puck into another player's goal.

Both dome hockey and air hockey are exciting games to play in their own right, but the skills required and the playing experience differ completely. A good idea is to head for your local arcade to see how both games are played before deciding which type of hockey table you prefer.

LED Light Up Air Hockey Table
Four Player Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
Two Player Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
Blue Air Hockey Multi Game Table
Manufactured Wood Dome Hockey With Digital Scoreboard
Blue Dome Hockey With Digital Scoreboard

What size hockey table should I buy?

Hockey tables come in different sizes to suit different target markets. If the players will 99 percent of the time be kids, you have to take their size into account when buying the table. Make sure it's small enough so that they will be able to easily reach all parts of the table.

The standard size used for hockey tables used in professional tournaments is 50 inches wide and 90 inches long. If you want to attract the neighborhood's top players to your games room, you might want to give this size serious consideration. Make sure that you have a room size of at least 10 feet by 7 feet to work with though.

Also, consider the size of the room before you buy the biggest hockey table out there. Remember that it's not good enough for the table to merely fit into the room, you should also allow a few extra feet of open space on each side, so players can move around easily.

If space is very limited, everything is not lost. There are nowadays a variety of tabletop air hockey games on the market that require only a flat surface of about 40 inches long.

What type of material and finish should I choose for a hockey table?

Material. How long your hockey table will last depends mainly on the quality of the material it is made of. If you want (and can afford) something that will last a very long time, choose a table whose playing area is made of a laminate material that is water-resistant. If the rink walls are made of aluminum and high-density nylon, you can expect it to last nearly forever.

Finish. It's always a good idea to opt for a table that blends in with the decor of your game room or game area. If you plan to set up the table in an arcade, one with a flashy design and shiny colors will work just fine. On the other hand, if you are buying the hockey table for your home gaming room, something with a classic finish might be a better option. If you value harmony in your home, give all family members a chance to give their input on this matter.

Black Plastic Air Hockey Table
Wood Table Top Air Hockey
Grey Plastic Air Hockey Table
Manufactured Wood Air Hockey Table
Walnut Laminate Air Hockey Table
Gray Laminate Air Hockey Table

Should I choose a hockey table with manual or digital scoring?

Many modern hockey tables have digital scoreboards. Some even boast touch screens. The benefit is that the blower knows exactly when the game has been won. This is a nice feature if the table will be used in an arcade, because it also forces players to move on so people who have been waiting can get an opportunity to play.

On the other hand, if you will simply be playing at home and you want to have the option to continue playing, a manual scoreboard would actually be nice, in an old-world sort of way. And of course, with a manual scoring system, you can always just ignore those accidental goals.

Blue Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
Cherry Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
LED Illuminated Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
Metal Air Hockey Table With Digital Scoreboard
Four Player Air Hockey Table With Manual Scoreboard
Air Hockey Table With Manual Scoreboard

What size of mallet should I choose for my hockey table?

Mallets used in air hockey (sometimes referred to as paddles, goalie mallets, strikers or pushers) also deserve serious consideration. They come with diameters varying from a few inches to four inches. The bigger the table, the wider the diameter of the mallet should typically be.

Is a felt bottom a good idea for a hockey table mallet?

Mallets come with or without felt bottoms. Despite what some people may tell you, felt bottoms don't offer any speed benefits, but they do help to protect the table from being damaged. Some players are, probably also mistakenly, convinced that felt bottoms slow down their reaction time.

Is there a right size and a wrong size for a hockey table puck?

As a general rule, the smaller the hockey table, the smaller the pucks will be. Pucks of around 2 ¾" are common for smaller tables, while bigger ones of 3 ¼" diameter are a good choice for tables with a length of between 7 and 8 feet.

If you've read all of the above you should have a good idea of what to look for when buying a hockey table. Enjoy the search and the many games that will follow!

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.