The fast paced action and thrill of arcade style table hockey is a staple of American gaming. Why not bring the fun into your home game room, where you’ll have access to the excitement 24/7? An investment in a table hockey game will add to your enjoyment and could be the centerpiece of recreation in your home. But, since it can be a sizeable investment you’ll want to choose the best hockey table for your situation. There are quite a few models and brands to choose from, all with different features and at different price points. If you’re going to take the plunge, here are some things to consider while researching your purchase.
Dome Hockey or Air Hockey
When you start looking for a hockey table, you’ll notice there are two main styles of table--dome hockey and air hockey. A dome hockey table mimics actual ice hockey and uses 3D players controlled by rods, similar in fashion to a foosball table. An air hockey table, on the other hand, is played with a puck that is levitated by air that is pumped through the playing surface, giving the puck a virtually frictionless surface to slide on. Players try to knock the puck into each other’s goal using paddles.
Both are great games and exciting to play, but the skills used and the playing experience are totally different. To choose the best hockey table for you, it would be a good idea to head to your local arcade and play a few games of each to see which one you prefer.
Choosing A Professional or Home Hockey Table
Once you’ve chosen the best hockey table for your situation, be it dome hockey or air hockey, you’ll want to decide if you need a professional level table or a home version. Professional tables are typically designed for commercial environments such as arcades and bars. They are built to withstand a lot of use, and are larger and more expensive than home versions. However, if you have a dedicated game room at home, it’s worth taking a look at the professional models, such as the ones offered by Dynamo or Gold Standard, as they offer arcade-style features in their score keeping and sound effects. It’s a lot of fun to have arcade quality game machines in your gameroom--you’ll be the most popular kid on the block.
Home versions have a lot to offer as well. They tend to be a little smaller, and not quite as beefy. They are also less expensive. Still, they are built to handle heavy usage from families, friends and neighbors. If you don’t have room for, or don’t need a professional level tournament table, home hockey tables work great. Carrom offers a great line of home tables, as do Atomic, Berner and Playcraft.
If you’re a little short on space, and think you don’t have room for a hockey table, you might want to take a look at models that are designed to be placed on a tabletop. Playcraft makes a portable air hockey table that you can set up in minutes when you want to play, but stores away when you are done. While these tables are considerably smaller and gameplay will be different than a large table, you’ll still get all the action and high speed play that makes air hockey so fun.
Multi Game Tables
Another option to consider for your home gameroom is a multi game table. At their core they are usually an air hockey table, but they come with other surfaces that can be placed on top of the table to convert it to other games, such as table tennis. Other popular games included in multi game tables could be pool, shuffleboard, foosball, poker, checkers, chess and backgammon. Consider a multi game table if you really want a lot of gaming value for your dollar, or if you don’t have enough space to accommodate multiple game tables.
Choose The Best Hockey Table
The good news is that you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the best hockey table for your needs and situation. Besides all the types and features listed above, hockey tables come in different styles and materials to suit your tastes and home. Some even offer badging with your favorite team on them.
Be sure to read online reviews of the table hockey games you are considering. Read both positive and negative reviews so you can get a balanced idea of what the pros and cons are for each model you’re considering. By reading reviews you’ll get a lot of valuable information about the table that won’t necessarily appear in the product descriptions from the manufacturer.
With some research and a balancing act between price and the features you want, it should be easy to pick the best hockey table for your home. A hockey table is a great recreational investment that will give your family years of gaming enjoyment.