by April Sanders
Air hockey, with its easy-to-learn rules and fast-paced play, is attractive to people of all ages. For this reason, air hockey tables are the perfect addition to any game room or family room. Air hockey tables come in several different styles and sizes, from simple, sleek game tables to large arcade-style air hockey game tables that are full of options.
Choose the type. Air hockey game tables come in three basic types: table top air hockey, which means the air hockey game is placed on top of an already existing table; convertible tables, which means it can be converted into a ping-pong, pool or other type of game table; and standard, which is a stand-alone air hockey table. Some tables are designed for outdoor use or offer multiplayer options. Think about your budget and where you are going to be playing the game, and then determine which type of table will best suit your situation.
Choose the size. Air hockey tables can vary widely in size within each type. Stand-alone tables, for example, are sometimes made for children and have much shorter legs and length. Table top air hockey games are also often designed for children's play. Even convertible tables can range widely in size. Just as some are designed for smaller children, others are designed for taller adults, some of whom may find it painful to bend far over to play air hockey. If the air hockey table is going to be for a family of tall teenagers, for example, you will want to choose one that has long legs and will accommodate the height of the players. Finally, make sure the table will fit in the space you have allotted for it. Measure the space, and then look at the measurements of the table to make sure it will be a perfect fit.
Choose the features. All types of air hockey tables come with options and features to make the game more enjoyable. Some have electronic scoreboards, while others are manual. Some have flashing lights and sounds that activate when a goal is scored. Many air hockey tables come with extra equipment, such as spare pucks, but some do not.
Consider durability and skill. Think about the skill level of the players and how much use the table is going to get. High-quality (or "arcade" quality) air hockey tables are made for highly skilled players. These tables are very durable, with a harder surface to resist denting, and can withstand more abuse than budget tables. They also have a more powerful air motor, which allows the puck to travel faster and more smoothly. But of course, players of every skill level will enjoy the benefits of a high-quality air hockey table.