Invented in the late 1960s, air hockey has become a staple in arcades around the country. Whether in a dedicated arcade or a small area in the local pizza joint, you're likely to find an air hockey table. The continued popularity of the game has led to people wanting tables of their own for their homes. However, while readily available, there are cheap tables out there you will regret buying. So how much does a quality air hockey table cost?
The general cost of an air hockey table can vary quite a bit. We will only be looking at prices for high-quality tables in this article, but the price range can still be wide. For small tables, $200-$300 is reasonable. A great table will run between $400-$600. For those aspiring pros out there, a full-size professional quality table can easily be close to $1,000. The actual cost for you mostly depends on a few factors, including:
- Features and mechanics of the table
- What the table is going to be used for
- How serious of a buyer you are
Remember that the price of a quality air hockey table is dependent on a lot. If you're interested in what factors affect the cost and want some suggestions for what table is right for you, keep reading!
Cost Factors Of An Air Hockey Table
The following factors contribute greatly to the price of an air hockey table. Let's take a closer look at each one.
Aesthetic Features And Mechanics
Air hockey tables have a variety of features that can be added on or left out. These can be broken down further to either aesthetics or mechanical parts of the machine. The aesthetics improve the look of the table or add feedback to the gameplay while the mechanics improve the quality of the table and decrease the likelihood of it needing repairs. Remember that the more complex or higher quality of a feature, the more it adds to the overall cost of the table.
One of the most noticeable features of a table is the scoring system. A cheap version of this would be to have some beads on a slider like an abacus. The players will need to slide one every goal to keep track of the score. More complex scoring systems will include an electronic board that displays each player's score. This can be either above the table or by the goals. Going even further, some tables have systems that provide feedback when a player scores such as flashing lights or patterns on the table itself!
Tables will usually have a trim. This hides the edges where components of the table come together and will remove rough edges. On the low end, this could just be a colored plastic trim. As you go up in price, the trim can be more complex and visually pleasing. Stained and glossy wood is a popular option for trim. Sometimes it can even be made of glass encasing a light bar that can be programmed to flash in patterns.
The mechanical parts of the table are more important to the quality of the table than the aesthetics. This includes better or more blower motors, table materials, and electronics.
Blower motors are what provide the air cushion that the puck slides on. Higher quality blowers give a more consistent air cushion, and having multiple is even better. Having more blowers decreases the workload of each individual blower and improves air cushion quality. The better the motor, the less likely it will break down, and the smoother your puck will slide. These motors are what usually make the difference between the good table at the arcade and the bad one.
Quality air hockey tables are made of a wood composite material called MDF. This is finished with a clear coat to keep it smooth. Look for tables that have a laminate finish because this is a much smoother surface than other types. The best tables will have support beams in their weakest sections. This allows players to lean on the table and play aggressively without worrying about the table collapsing.
The electronics in a table allow the scoring system to function and tells the blower motors to blow air. When looking at tables, remember to keep the power source in mind. Try to get a table that is completely powered by an AC adapter. In simple terms, this means plugging the table into the wall powers it. Do not buy a table that runs on batteries, but remember that it is okay for the scoring system to use them.
What The Table Is Going To Be Used For
A table for kids is usually much smaller than a full-size adult table. These will fall into the lower range from around $200-$300. Of course, where it lands in that range is dependent on the features the table has like its scoring system or lights. Paddles that come with this kind of table are usually expendable. When looking at kids' tables, always avoid the cheap ones made mostly out of plastic. They simply don't work and will break easily. Small tables for kids that are still high quality will fall in this price range.
Casual tables for adults are more expensive. They will have most of the best features including solid air motors and scoring systems. Look to spend at least $400 on them. This will net you a great table for impressing friends at dinner parties or just having a good time with the family.
Professional tables are the ones that will cost the most, sometimes nearing $1,000. These are the super nice tables you see in the arcade and notice their quality. If you want to get serious about air hockey, this is the table for you. Tables of this quality are made specifically for competitive use.
How Serious Of A Buyer You Are
The cost of a table is completely related to its features, but the cost for you is determined by what you want. Someone looking to get into the competitive side of air hockey should be looking at different tables than someone buying something for their kids. How much you are willing to spend is important. Tables can easily cost over a grand with all the bells and whistles. While quality tables can be found for much less than this, it is important to set a budget and then see what features are available at that price instead of deciding on the features first.
What Is A Full-Size Air Hockey Table?
According to air hockey regulations, a full-size table's dimensions are:
- Length: 96 inches (8 feet)
- Width: 48 inches (4 feet)
- Height: 32 Inches (2.5 feet)
Remember, when you look at the height, there will likely be a stand and legs that make the table higher. This is especially likely when not looking at professional regulation tables.
What Size Air Hockey Table Should You Buy?
The size of the table for you is more dependent on who it is for and the space it will be placed in. If adults or teens will be the most common users, a full-size table will give them the best experience. Three- to four-foot tables are the ideal size for younger children and take up less space. Take the dimensions of the room you intend to put the table into account.
How Long Do Air Hockey Tables Last?
A high-quality air hockey table will last anywhere from 5-8 years. You can extend this lifetime in a few ways. Avoid damaging the table with super aggressive play or letting kids climb on it. Make sure to clean the table at least once a week, including the filters and blower motors to reduce the likelihood of damage.
What Is The Best Air Hockey Table To Buy?
In this section, we'll list a high-quality table for each of the price ranges described earlier.
Low Price Range
For the lower price range, you'll mostly be looking for a kid's table.
This table has extra support built-in for durability. The legs are extra stable and will be difficult to twist around. Its five-foot length is kid-friendly, and it even has an electronic display for its scoreboard.
Mid Price Range
In the range of $400 to $600, you can find a stylish adult table to have fun with.
This table is built for adults, comes with great blower motors, and is mostly built of sturdy wood. The table will look great in a game room, basement, or family room and won't break the bank while providing you with a quality and long-lasting table.
High-End Price Range
Looking at the higher end of the price ranges we have discussed, this table will fall into the range between $700 and $1,000, or even higher. This is where the tables that are most like the ones you find in arcades begin. For the current price range though, you can get a high-quality professional level table for your home.
This table is built with the highest quality materials of any so far on this list. It comes in two different options, the pictured indigo version, and a multi-color option. It has an electronic scoreboard and flashy LED lights with cushioned sides. This table is a statement maker.
The cost of an air hockey table mostly boils down to who you're buying it for and what features you're looking for on it. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what you're looking at as well as a few suggestions to check out based on your personal budget.
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