Top Rated Playcraft Sport

Best Air Hockey Tables (Updated March 2020)

Top Rated Playcraft SportPicture this: all the members of the family are home but none of them are talking to each other.

Instead, they are in their own corner, with heads bowed down and fingers busy tinkering with their gadget of choice.

Seems familiar, doesn’t it?

If you are looking for a way to bring everyone together for some fun, quality time, here is a suggestion: play air hockey!

With its simple rules and fast paced action, it is no wonder that people of all ages are easily drawn to it.

Besides being entertaining, you may be surprised to know that air hockey actually delivers a lot of benefits.

It helps burn calories and lose fat, and it also helps hand-eye coordination as well as strategic thinking.

Although its history only dates back to the late 60’s, the table has evolved into different styles and sizes.

Whether you prefer a basic table or one with all the flashy features, there is a table that perfectly suits you.

It may be intimidating but there is no reason it should be, because we will arm you with all the information you need – from the types of hockey tables to the specific elements to look for. Most importantly, we will give you a tip as to which tables are the best.

Ready? Let’s get into it!


Top Air Hockey Tables: Comparison


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Playcraft SportTable Top40 inches$10 / 10

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Sport Squad HX40Table Top40 inches$9.8 / 10

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Playcraft Center IceStand Alone84 inches$$$$9.8 / 10

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Redline AcclaimStand Alone54 inches$$9.7 / 10

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Viper VancouverStand Alone90 inches$$$$$9.6 / 10


Features To Look For

In purchasing a table, or just about anything for that matter, you would want to make sure that you choose it as carefully as possible. Nobody wants to watch precious dollars going down the drain! There is no better way of choosing wisely than by knowing exactly what to look for. Having some sort of a checklist gets you a good step ahead.

To get you started on your table hunting journey, we have prepared this buying guide. These are specific characteristics that you need to consider in getting the perfect product for you.



An air hockey table’s materials depend largely on what type of table it is. Generally, you will find plastic and wood panels as the main materials of smaller and cheaper tables. Tables that measure 4 to 6 feet long may have wood or metal legs to support the MDF and metal table top. If you want solid wood and strong metal all over, look for professional quality tables.



Again, the type and size of the table are interrelated. Table top hockey games are mostly designed for children so they are naturally smaller. On the other hand, stand alone and convertible tables can vary widely in length and height.

The more popular size of home tables is between 4 to 6 feet while tables for arcade or tournament play are from 7 to 8 feet. Whatever size you may prefer, make sure that it will fit in the space that you allocate for it.

As for table thickness, 3/4 inches is preferred to have that smooth surface for excellent playability.


Solid Structure

If your budget permits, go for a table constructed of solid wood to allow it to withstand intense play. In addition, look for a table that has sturdy legs. Make sure that solid screws clamp the joints together.

You don’t want an uneven table because that is simply annoying, not to mention unfair, so look for a table that has leg levelers.

Don’t forget the rink walls! For occasional use, get a table with rink walls that are made of thin laminate aluminum. However, expect that they will give very little rebound. If you want great bounciness and deflection, look for a table with rink walls made of strong nylon or solid aluminum.


Consistent Air Power

Air hockey is not called such for nothing. Air is the life of the game! It blows from the fans and goes through the surface, allowing the puck to simulate its movement on ice.

Smaller tables are usually battery-operated while others are plugged in. The best ones are the hybrid type because you are not limited by the life of your batteries or having to play near a socket.


Exciting Add Ons

To make the game even more enjoyable, air hockey tables can also come with other interesting features. If you like to keep track of the score, some tables allow you to tally manually while others have electronic scoreboards. How do you feel about lights and sounds that flash at the signal of a goal? If that does not add excitement, we don’t know what does!


Best Air Hockey Tables

Now that you know exactly what to examine, you are ready to buy your own table.

However, there are a lot of them available on the market. Choosing one can be so confusing that it can make you feel like a puck going back and forth!

You’re welcome, because we know that you will thank us for getting the complicated part over and done with. We know that you want nothing but the best, and that is exactly what’s coming up!


1. Playcraft Sport

Playcraft Sport

Seizing the top spot is a table top air hockey model, the Playcraft Sport.

If you don’t have the luxury of space, this type of table suits you perfectly. You do not have to allot an area for it because its sturdy MDF hardwood frame can rest on any table or surface.

Its 40-inch size is ideal for children as young as 5 years old. It can also be good for teenagers but even people who are in their 60’s reportedly enjoy it!

With its uncomplicated design and 19 pound weight, the Playcraft Sport is very easy to assemble. Storage is also effortless because it takes up very minimal space. It can even fit under your kid’s bed.

Despite its size, you should not undermine its capacity. The pucks are propelled by air that goes as powerful as 100-cubic-foot-per-minute. You also don’t need to worry about replacing or charging batteries because it comes with an AC adapter and a wall plug.

The table includes 2 strikers and 2 pucks so you are ready to get it on as soon as assembly is done!

If you want a portable but efficient table with minimal space and investment required, go for the Playcraft Sport.


2. Sport Squad HX40

Sport Squad HX40

If you are a fan of portability and convenient storage, you will also love the Sport Squad HX40.

Measuring 40 inches, it is perfect for children or those in their early teens but it can definitely be enjoyed by adults as well. Height is not a problem because you place it on top of any table so just choose one that best suits the players.

Its size also makes storage effortless. If you are a parent who is tired of your kids pointing fingers when it’s time to put the table away, the Sport Squad HX40 is heaven-sent.

It is made of MDF which is a type of high quality wood so you can be assured of its durability. When the game gets intense, even the surface that it lays on is safely protected from scratches because of the table’s rubber pads.

With every goal made, the manual scorers help you keep track of the game’s progress. It is also easy to get back to action because the goal boxes return the puck immediately.

The Sport Squad HX40 has to be plugged in to work. However, you may find the power cord a bit short so in setting up the table, it is best to find a spot near a socket.

It comes with two round pucks and two plastic strikers. After its no-sweat assembly, you are ready for fast-paced air hockey action!

Overall, owning the Sport Squad HX40 is an affordable and convenient way to enjoy this game with your family and friends.


3. Playcraft Center Ice

Playcraft Center Ice

If you prefer a bigger, stand alone table, make way for our final medalist, the Playcraft Center Ice.

This 7 foot table may be a bit heavy but setting it up is really simple. And once completely assembled, you will immediately appreciate its solid construction.

Due to its size and build, the table can be a hit for teenagers. Wondering about all the table bumping and shoving that naturally comes with this exciting game? The Playcraft Center Ice can take all that. In addition to its weight, the 6 inch pedestal style legs add stability to the table.The legs feature 5 inch diameter levelers that are useful not only for balancing the table but also for adjusting its height.

The play field is ¾ inch thick PVC laminate. It has a smooth, glossy finish that allows fast puck movement. The 2.5” diameter pucks may be a bit small but its size is just perfect for the table’s blower. However, you might need to get used to picking them up because of their tendency to fly off the table.

If you are not a fan of old fashioned pen and paper scoring, an electronic scorer will do that for you. It is built into the side rail and is powered by four AA batteries.

If you have enough space and budget to spare, we highly recommend that you get a Playcraft Center Ice.


4. Redline Acclaim

Redline Acclaim

Coming in at fourth place is a 4.5 foot stand alone table, the Redline Acclaim. Although it may be small by most standards, it definitely deserves a second look.

Its PVC laminated playfield is smooth and appealing while the table’s blower is enough to propel the 2 ⅛” pucks. The ½” rails also provide a consistent bounce. What can you expect when these factors come together? Smooth and fast action, just how you want it to be!

At 39 lbs., the table is a bit lighter than others in this category. Its stability rests on 3 ¼” L-style legs and is reinforced by end and side aprons. While it can take on reasonable budging, it’s still best to not push the table to its limit.

To keep track of who’s winning, you can use its slide scoring system. The external puck catchers are also helpful in immediately getting back to action after a goal is scored. Less time wasted means more air hockey action!

Due to its assured value for money, the Redline Acclaim gets our vote.


5. Viper Vancouver

Viper Vancouver

If you want something more than just the typical table, this one is for you. Presenting the exciting table that completes our top 5 list, the Viper Vancouver.

This full size 7.5 foot table is as close as you can get to an arcade style air hockey table. It has all the basics in place, plus some add-ons that really make the game more interesting.

Its playing surface features ice hockey rink graphics over a smooth, white surface. The deep set rink gives a nice bounce while the powerful air flows consistently to keep the puck in play. Underneath each goal are puck return boxes that players can easily reach to return to the game quickly.

What sets the Viper Vancouver apart from competition is its professional style electronic scorer and timer. It shows the score as well as the time which you can set at your minute time preference. Located at the right side of the center rink, this LED display is visible to both players from where they are. It even has sound effects!

Can you almost feel the excitement? Before you do, you have to know that putting it together requires a bit of help. It weighs 265 lbs. and setting it up requires flipping it over so extra hands will surely be practical.

Simple assembly challenges aside, the Viper Vancouver is surely capable of bringing in lots of fun!


Types Of Air Hockey Tables

In choosing an air hockey table, much of your decision lies on the type of table that you prefer. Is the table for skilled and serious gamers, or younger ones who want to release energy and simply have fun? How much space do you have? Do you want one with all the bells and whistles?

To take you one step closer to the perfect table for you, consider the following types.


Arcade Type

If you want a regulation size table that can handle long hours of playing and comes with nice features such as electronic scoring, sound effects, and music, then an arcade type suits you best.

It boasts of solid construction to withstand long and intense play. It also features a powerful motor to keep the puck in play.

Consequently, the arcade type is usually the most expensive.



These are full, stand alone tables that are more basic and, therefore, more affordable than the arcade-style ones.

You may be surprised that there are plenty of choices available on the market. In terms of level of quality and price, there is one that will surely match your preference. While you should not expect special features, you can still be guaranteed that a lot of standard tables are reliable and entertaining.


Table Top

Are you wondering if there is a way for you to enjoy air hockey even if you do not have the space to accommodate a standard table? The answer is a resounding “yes”!

What you need is a table top type which is the smallest version that you can get. As the name suggests, you place it on top of a table or any flat surface and you instantly have a table to play on! They usually have rubber feet so you do not need to worry about damaging the surface that it rests on.

A lot of people prefer this type of table not only because of its portability but also because of its cost efficiency.


Convertible Or Multi-Game

There is no arguing that air hockey is a fun and exciting game. But do you know that you can play more than one game using the same table?

A multi-game table can be converted so you can also use it for pingpong, pool, or foosball. It is also a good spot to play board games like chess, checkers, or backgammon.

However, convertible tables have a reputation of being inferior. You may call it a case of prioritizing quantity over quality. If this is you table of preference, you should be ready to deal with some flaws.


Top Air Hockey Brands

Considering the vast amount of choices on the market, one foolproof way to spot a good table is to look at its brand. A company earns a sterling reputation due to its high standards of quality so you can expect their products to be topnotch.

As expected our top tables come from two of the most highly regarded producers of game room equipment and accessories today, Playcraft Sport and Sport Squad.


Playcraft Sport

From its humble beginnings in 1975, Playcraft Sport is now a recognized name in the game room industry. It has stayed true to its mission of producing high quality products through its dedication to excellent workmanship and continuous innovation.Playcraft Sport Logo

Today, its pool tables, games tables and accessories are preferred not only for home but for commercial and institutional use as well. You can find their products being enjoyed in schools, private offices, hospitals, government agencies, and even military institutions.

They have a variety of products on the market. You can choose among table top, stand alone and multi-game versions. You can surely find one that suits your style – and budget!


Sport Squad

Another strong player in the industry is Sport Squad, manufacturer and distributor of well-loved air hockey, foosball, and arcade basketball products. It is also the exclusive North American partner of JOOLA, one of the most prominent brands of professional table tennis equipment.

Sport Squad LogoIts noble vision is to bring family and friends together, all the more relevant in our highly digital but very impersonal times. So far, it has been successful as it delivers beyond expectation by adhering to principles of quality, innovation, and excellent customer service.

Although its table tennis line is considered the most celebrated, the rest of its products, including the hockey tables, are definitely following suit!


Other Things To Consider

Whether you end up buying the simplest or the most high-end table, it is your responsibility to care for it so it remains in good condition for as long as possible.

So how do you maintain your brand new purchase? Here are some tips.


Do not eat or drink near the table.

There may be bits of food or liquid that may fall on the surface and clog the air holes. This can affect the performance of the fans considerably, and the last thing that you want is a puck that does not hover.


Clean the surface.

In cleaning the table’s surface, less is actually more. There is no need for special concoctions or expensive waxes because they could also clog the air holes. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe off any marks on the surface. If needed, you can use a liquid cleaner but remember to spray some on the cloth and not directly on the table.


Don’t forget the pucks!

Clean them the same way that you would clean the surface. As long as they are free from impurities, they will stay smooth, retain their glide, and continue to give you a great air hockey experience.


Protect the table.

When not in use, remember to keep your table protected. You can improvise with a cloth cover or plastic sheeting. You can also purchase one especially made for these tables, like the Hathaway Universal Table Cover.


Check the table’s construction.

Aside from cleaning and protecting your table, you also have to check the other parts. Tighten the bolts regularly. Check if the table is level and if needed, adjust using the built-in levelers.


Top Air Hockey Tables: Conclusion

There is no doubt that air hockey is a fun and exciting game that both kids and adults can enjoy. More so, these tables these days are so impressive that they make the game even more interesting.

If you do not have the luxury of space, there are good table top models to choose from. Of course, there are also the reliable stand alone tables and the fancy arcade-style tables.

A lot of them are easy to assemble so that should not bother you anymore. They also have useful features such as manual or electronic scorers, puck returns, leg levelers, and even light and sound effects.

For sure game winners, look for tables from Playcraft Sport and Sport Squad. We have confirmed that they have the best models on the market today so they will surely not disappoint.

Are you ready? Get your Playcraft Sport table and push that puck now!

Triumph Sports USA Rotating Combo Table Review

Multi-tasking is a great skill, although there is always the risk of being jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.

The same is true with the Triumph Sports 3-in-1 Combo Table.

You can play billiards, table tennis, or air hockey on this 7′ table and have fun with family and friends.

However, you have to manage your expectations as each game set-up has its own drawback.

Triumph Sports Rotating Combo Table Review


Triumph Sports 3-in-1 Combo Table Review


  • Affordable
  • Multi-game function
  • Quick and easy game change
  • Complete accessories


  • Heavy
  • Poor quality cues and rackets
  • Frame is plastic and not very sturdy
  • A bit difficult to assemble
  • Nylon billiards top is slightly warped
  • Hockey goals are too small
  • Table tennis top is too small
  • Parts of the table tennis top do not fit smoothly
  • Some reports of damaged or missing pieces upon delivery



Multi-Game Function

With a single table, the family can enjoy three engaging games.

You don’t have to buy a separate table for ping pong, air hockey, or pool which is great if you don’t want to spend a ton of money or simply don’t have the space to fit all of that in one house.

The various game options guarantee fun for the whole family as they can be appreciated by both the young and the old.



Patented Swivel Technology

If it is difficult to change playing fields, a table’s multi-game function is worthless. One of the advantages of the Triumph Sports 3-in-1 is its patented swivel technology.

It only takes a few seconds to convert the table. It is easy enough that my kids can do it by themselves without injuring themselves or damaging the table.


Design and Specifications

triumph-sports-3-in-1-rotating-combo-table-accessoriesThe Triumph Sports 3-in-1 is smaller than standard size pool, table tennis, or air hockey tables but weighs 300 lbs.

The table can be easily flipped to switch from playing billiards to air hockey.

The table tennis top comes in three separate parts that are sometimes difficult to put together. But once in place, they work fine.

It comes with complete accessories for each of the three games.

Billiards accessories include one set of billiard balls, two 57-inch, two-piece cues, one triangle, two chalks and one table brush.

It contains two red pucks and two pushers for air hockey.

Aside from the three-part table tennis surface, there are also two table tennis balls, two table tennis paddles, a net, and post set.



Is it easy to assemble?

It’s a little difficult to assemble because it is very heavy and some of the instructions are unclear.

It is also worth mentioning that some people reported damaged or missing items upon delivery, although customer service efficiently handled their complaints.

I didn’t have this issue, but if you do, they’ll figure it out for you.


How heavy is it?

The table weighs right around 300 lb.


How does the size compare to standard pool, table tennis and air hockey tables?

At 7 feet, it is smaller than regulation size pool tables. As for table tennis and air hockey, the playing fields for this table are considerably narrower than the standard size. I find the size just right, except for the table tennis top which is too small.


Does the table lock securely after rotating it?

Yes. There are two pins on each side of the table. You unlock them to rotate the table, and then lock it in place.


Can you fold it?



Is there auto return for the pool balls?

None. It only has pockets.


What is the quality of the pool playing surface?triumph-sports-3-in-1-pool-surface

The pool table top does not have the usual wool and polyester finish. It is made of nylon and is slightly warped.


Is there a storage space for the table tennis top?

No. However, it can easily be set aside because it comes in three separate pieces.

The parts do not fit together smoothly so you can just lean the whole thing against a wall when not in use.


Is the air hockey playing field comparable to arcade tables?

No. The table is smaller, although it is smooth and also has nice blue marks. The goals are also small which can be frustrating for kids, and the motor produces adequate air flow for air hockey.


Alternative Combo Table

The Fat Cat Original Pockey is another 3-in-1 table you can consider. It costs $200 more, but it is generally more solid and made of better-quality materials.

Or check out our comparison of the best portable pool tables.


Triumph Sports 3-in-1 Combo Table: Conclusion

If you are looking for quantity over quality, this table is just right for you. Your kids and their friends can extend their fun time with more game options than ever before.

However, each of the three playing fields has significant flaw, so if you want high quality materials and superior performance, you should not go for the Triumph Sports 3-in-1 Combo Table.

Hathaway Park Avenue Billiard Pool Table Review

Hathaway Park Avenue Billiard Pool Table Combo Set Review

Hathaway Park Avenue Billiard Pool Table ReviewMany of us would love to have a full game room, complete with pool table, ping pong table and many more games.

But we just don’t have the space. Or the budget.

That is where combination tables come in.

The Hathaway Park Avenue is one such table. Specifically, it is a 3-in-1 combo table.

It easily converts into a table tennis court or a dining table. It also comes with a complete set of accessories that can be conveniently stored in the two included benches.

It is smaller than a regular sized pool table, so it fits even in smaller spaces. Despite the smaller size, you can enjoy the same competitive games as on a full-size table.

And it’s not just the size that’s small. The price tag is as well, considering everything you get.

This is a great value purchase and the rest of this review will detail why.


Hathaway Park Avenue Review


  • Affordable
  • Multi-functional
  • Excellent packaging
  • Classic design
  • Comfortable benches


  • Heavy




The Hathaway Park Avenue biggest strength is its ability to easily transform from a pool table to a table tennis court or a dining table.

I just love how we instantly have three tables occupying the same space with a single purchase!


hathaway-park-avenue-bench-storageBuilt-in Levelers

Its leg panels have individual levelers, making it adaptable to imperfect floor surfaces.



  • The classic black table with a chrome accents exudes sophistication. It perfectly suits our room’s light earth tones.
  • It has two comfortable benches that also double as storage space for the game accessories.


Design And Specifications

The Hathaway Park Avenue is smaller than regulation size pool tables.

It comes in two neatly packed boxes and weighs more than 300 lbs. You should be ready with back-up to help you bring it to its assembly location.

The playing surface is a three-quarter inch thick MDF covered in red felt.

It also comes with a double-sided laminate top. On one side is a table tennis court while the other side is a plain black surface which instantly converts it to a dinner or multi-purpose table.

Its multi-functionality is complemented with a complete set of accessories: pool cues, pool balls, a racking triangle, chalk, net, posts, and two paddles.


Frequently Asked Questions

hathaway-park-avenueWhat’s the quality of the felt? How long will it last for?

I have not noticed any imperfections with its smooth red felt. It looks finely done and should last a long time.


How long does it take to assemble?

There is not much assembly that has to be done. However, its weight makes it a bit difficult to maneuver.

I would also like to give credit to the manufacturer for its excellent packaging. The table arrived in perfect condition.


Does the table have wheels?

No, it doesn’t. It should not be a problem because it is not advisable to move it around frequently considering how heavy it is.


Can you fold it?



Does it have ball return?

No, it does not have a ball return mechanism.


Are the benches padded?

No. The benches are not padded but they are still very comfortable to sit on.


Where do you store the dining top and table tennis top?

They come in two halves that do not fit in the benches. You can just lean them against a wall.


Other Options

Another versatile game table is the Atlantic 7′ Hampton Combo Table. It costs nearly twice as much as the Hathaway Park Avenue, but I really don’t see any big reason why it costs so much more. Sure, it’s higher quality, but not that much higher.

Given the great value, it should not come as a surprise that the Hathaway Park Avenue made it on our top 5 portable pool tables list.


Hathaway Park Avenue 7 Foot Pool Table Combo Set: Conclusion

The Park Avenue is an affordable choice for a high-quality, multi-functional pool table.

The only downside is its weight, but you don’t need to keep transferring it from one place to another so that shouldn’t be a problem.

As you invest in quality time with your family, you will not regret investing in this wonderful pool table.

Fat Cat Game Change Table

Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 Game Table Review

Affordability and flexibility are the biggest advantages of the Fat Cat Original 3 in 1.

It is smaller than regulation size tables, but it’s good enough to provide endless hours of entertainment.

It is good enough for practicing and simply having fun, which makes it a great addition to any family’s game room.

 Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 Game Table Review


Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 Review


  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Easy assembly
  • Easy game change
  • Adjustable leg levelers
  • Storage space for accessories


  • Poor quality accessories
  • The seams of the foldable table tennis surface disrupt play
  • Weak latch locks



Multi-Game Table

Children, especially when they are in their early teens like mine, can be easily bored. This versatile table came to my rescue.

They play air hockey most of the time, but they also enjoy pool and table tennis every now and then.


Fat Cat Game Change TableQuick and Easy Game Change

My teens can transform the table by themselves when they want to switch from one game to another.

They simply spin it and the latch locking system keeps it secure. Some people mentioned that the locking device breaks easily so I remind my boys to take it easy on the flipping.



I also like the built-in storage. All accessories and game supplies are easily accessible. Once they’re done with the games, they can easily put everything back in place.

The table also has adjustable leg levelers to maintain a flat surface. However, the pool surface is not very even despite having a perfectly leveled table.


Design And Specifications

The Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 is 7 feet long and weighs almost 300 lbs.

The billiards playing surface is covered by a green Tetolon cloth that pales in comparison with felt.

There are decent-quality rubber bumpers and drop pockets. There are also circle sight accents for better shot accuracy.

The table tennis surface is my least favorite among the three. It is made of a trifold board that you place on top of the billiard table. However, the seams are very visible and they affect the game terribly.

It measures 84″ x 42″ and can be too small for adults.

The air hockey playing field is a glossy white surface where the puck glides smoothly. It also has a high output blower that boosts the game’s excitement.

However, the pucks are not proportional to the size of the table and the mallets. They are too small and light and they fly off the table when the game gets intense.

The table comes with complete accessories: four pushers (mallets), four pucks, a set of 2-1/4″ billiard balls, a resin triangle, two 57″ two-piece cues, a billiard brush, two pieces of chalk, two table tennis paddles and balls, and a net and post set.



Is it easy to assemble?

Yes. It is easy to assemble but you will need help in lifting the table and fitting all of the parts where they need to go.


fat cat game table accessories

Does it come with accessories needed for all three games?

Yes. However, do not expect them to be top-quality. I had to buy heavier cues but my kids were able to make do with the rest.


Can the height be adjusted?

No. There are adjustable legs for leveling but the table has a fixed 32″ height.


How much room is required to play around the pool table?

If you are using regular pool cues, you need a playing space of 16′ L x 13′ W. If the pool cue is 48”, 11.5″ x 14.5″ should be enough for you to aim and shoot comfortably.


Is there a dedicated storage space for the table tennis top?

None. It comes in three foldable parts so it is still easy to keep when not in use.


Does it have electric scoring?

No. It has electricity to produce air flow needed for air hockey, but you set the score manually.


Other Options

There are also affordable alternatives such as the Fat Cat Phoenix 3-in-1. It is also a combination game table but it costs $150 less. You don’t flip the table itself, but you can also change games quickly.

If you’re not sure what portable pool table is best for you, you can check out our comparison of the best.


Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 Game Table: Conclusion

The Fat Cat Original 3-in-1 is a versatile game table that the young and old alike can enjoy. The table and accessories are not tournament-quality, but it is still a lot of fun for its price.

Rules of air hockey

Air Hockey Rules (Yes, You’ve Been Playing It Wrong!)

Rules of air hockeyMost people have played air hockey at some point in their lives. It’s a staple in arcades all over the world and a favorite for home game rooms.

However, very few people actually know the official rules to the game. There is more to it than simply smashing a little disk as hard as humanly possible across a table that blows air.

Air hockey actually has its own governing bodies and World Championship events. It’s a serious sport.

The game of air hockey has been around since the 1970s.

Invented by a trio of Brunswick Billiards engineers, the game was an almost instant success and only took a few years to have its own official World Championships. The biggest air hockey federation is the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA) and it ran its first annual World championship in 1978.

The USAA is largely responsible for all of the main air hockey rules and regulations. Most of which will be covered in this article. So, carry on reading and learn how to play air hockey like the pros.


Air Hockey Equipment Regulations

Before worrying about how to play legally and win air hockey matches, which will all be covered later, you need to have the correct equipment to play with.

Due to the relatively simple nature of the game, there are just three different pieces of equipment that you need to play the game of air hockey. The table, puck and mallet (sometimes referred to as a striker).

The USAA has an official set of rules and regulations for each piece of equipment to ensure play is fair and standardized across the board.



The table consists of 5 main elements: the playing surface, side rails, end rails, goals and the center line.

An official air hockey table should be built with a number of small holes in the playing surface to allow air to flow on to the table. The air provides a minimal friction surface and makes play very fast.

Surface of an air hockey table

Some cheaper tables may omit the holes and the air blower machine. Instead, these tables will employ the use of a very slick playing surface in an effort to emulate the play speed of air tables.

However, these kinds of tables are not actually air hockey and very rarely produce the same kind of fast-paced gameplay. In addition, airless tables are not sanctioned for competitive play.

Competitive play must take place on 8-foot tables and on a USAA sanctioned table.

For beginners and casual players, a home air hockey table is more than enough. They have all the fundamental features that will allow you to have a fun and competitive game.

If you’re thinking of getting one, they are surprisingly affordable. We compared the best air hockey tables on the market and several of them cost far less than you would expect.



An air hockey puck is made of very tough Lexan polycarbonate resin. Pucks are round for competition and on most commercial tables, but there are triangular, hexagonal, square and octagon-shaped pucks available.

The size and weight of the puck may vary based on the size of the table it is being used on. Smaller tables will use smaller and lighter pucks. A 2 ½ inch diameter puck is best used on tables that are 6 feet and under in length.

For bigger tables, it is recommended that a 3 ¼ inch puck should be used. However, some 7-foot tables may still use the smaller puck. Tables with stronger air blowers need to use larger pucks to prevent it from flying off of the table during play.

For competitive play on full-size, 8-foot tables, the puck should be 3 and ¼ inches in diameter. There are only 3 pucks that are sanctioned for use by the USAA.

The sanctioned pucks are the Lexan-yellow, Lexan-red and Dynamo-green. Although, the Lexan-yellow should always be used in a USAA sanctioned match unless both players agree to use one of the other pucks.


The Mallet

Mallets, sometimes referred to as strikers, goalies, paddles or pushers, are the tools used to control the puck and strike it into your opponent’s goal.

Mallets and puck for air hockey

An official mallet should be made of the same material as the puck, Lexan polycarbonate.

Here are the official USAA rules regarding mallets:

  • Weight must be 6 oz. or less.
  • Diameter must be less than 4-1/16″
  • It may come in any color, except that the outside rim must be of a different color than the table’s game surface
  • The mallet must consist of the same material and be uniform and symmetrical throughout its circumference
  • No mallet may be altered by sloping the playing surface in order to create an angled striking or defending surface

Your mallet can be changed at any point during gameplay.


Starting The Game

The winner of an air hockey match is the first person to win 4 games, it is best out of 7 games. A game is won when you score 7 points or “goals”.

By now, you should know the rules on equipment and everything you are using will be legal for gameplay. So, it’s time to discuss some actual air hockey gameplay rules by beginning with the “face off”.

Every match of air hockey begins with a face-off.

Before the face-off itself, a coin toss is made to decide which end the players will start at. The winner of the coin toss chooses their preferred starting end then it’s on to the face-off.

For the face-off round, the puck begins on the center-line. Players are allowed to move their mallets anywhere on the table but must be at least an inch away from the puck.

The referee will wait for a few seconds and then release the puck. Players are now allowed to go for the puck and try to score in the opponent’s goal.

After the face-off, each game begins with one player in possession of the puck and serving from their end of the table. The face-off winner serves for games 3, 5 and 7 with the loser serving for games 2,4 and 6.


Gameplay Rules

Know the Rules sign

After the face-off has been won and lost, the match can continue on with regular game play.

Air hockey game play has a standard set of rules that are issued by the USAA. Here is an easy-to-follow version of the official air hockey rules:

  1. You are permitted to stand anywhere around the air hockey table on your own side of the center-line. You may not pass the center-line at any point.
  2. Only one puck should be on the table at all times during the match.
  3. The first player to score seven goals in a game is the winner of that particular game. A match is played best out of 7 games. So, the winner is the first player to reach 4 game wins.
  4. You must not hit the puck with the underside of your mallet when the puck is on the table. Any other part of the mallet is fair game. However, you can bring down an airborne puck with any part of your mallet.
  5. If you touch the puck with any body part during play, a foul is conceded. This is called “palming”.
  6. To score, the puck must break the horizontal plane of the goal. A puck that tilts towards the goal mouth has broken the horizontal plane and counts as a score.
  7. If the puck goes into the goal but does not tilt, the horizontal plane hasn’t been broken. The defending player can either pick the puck out manually and hand it to their opponent or they can try and work the puck out using legal methods with their mallet.
  8. Holding the mallet on top of the puck is a violation and results in a foul. This is called “topping”.
  9. As soon as the puck enters your side of the table, you have 7 seconds to hit it back over the center line. Taking longer results in a foul.
  10. When the puck is in contact with any part of the center-line, either player may strike the puck.
  11. The player who is scored upon always receives possession of the puck for the next serve.
  12. You may take one timeout per game. A timeout lasts a maximum of 10 seconds and you must make a clear indication of a time-out so that your opponent understands your intention to stop play. You may only take a timeout if you have possession or the when the puck is not in play.
  13. When you concede a goal, you have 10 seconds to take the puck out of your goal and return it to play. The 10 seconds start as soon as the puck has fallen completely through the goal and is available for the player to place into play. During a timeout, this rule is not in effect.
  14. You may place the puck in front of your mallet with your hand after conceding a goal. This is the only time you may use your hands in play.
  15. After each game, players swap sides.


Rules Of Air Hockey: Summary

Most of the above rules, regulation and guidelines pertain to official competitive play, as sanctioned by the USAA. While you should adhere to these rules as closely as you can during all types of play, remember to enjoy yourself during the game.

Outside of competitive play, the rules can be relaxed slightly. In most cases, they will need to be relaxed a bit due to the absence of a referee.

As long as all players agree to the rules beforehand, you are sure to have a great time playing air hockey.