Playing Spoiler Logo

How Do Air Hockey Tables Work?

We’re an affiliate

We are a reader-supported website and strive to recommend only the best products. Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate you!

Air hockey is a game comprising of two parties playing against each other. There has to be an air hockey table, two strikers, and lastly, a puck. Unlike a pool table, the air hockey table is quite slippery for the active movement of the plucks. The texture of the table is essential since it reduces friction to enable a smoother flow for the pucks. There is also a guarding rail surround to prevent the puck from getting out of the table.

Whether you are an expert or not, you are guaranteed to have a good time, especially when you win. Although it might look easy from a distance, there is more to it than meets the eye. This is especially true if you are currently looking for games to put in your game room. Read below to get a better idea of how an air hockey table works to make the game as exciting as possible.

If you’re currently searching for an air hockey table for personal use, check out our comparison of the best air hockey tables for adults to see which ones we think are the best.

Women playing air hockeyParts Of The Air Hockey Table

The first part is the mallet, which facilitates the movement of the pucks back and forth across the table. In other instances, it gets referred to as a striker or a paddle. It comes in different variations, but the best type has a groove in between the handle and the wall at the back.

The second feature is the air blower or fan. It has to provide just the right amount of air. Excessive airflow will blow the pucks around while too little will result in friction. Please note that smaller models (see Air Hockey Table Sizes and Dimensions) commonly do not rely on air to reduce friction.

Another part is the surface where it all happens. It can be fragile; hence you have to exercise caution when playing. There is also a scoreboard that can either be manual, electronic, or digital, depending on your preference. Manual scoring often consists of an abacus-like tool that the players can move to keep score.

Table Structure And Performance

Unlike other table games like ping pong and pool, an air hockey table is normally slightly smaller. Typical tables are constructed using a shiny surface with a smooth finish, typically made of plastic. Some models use a board or plywood since these types are quite durable, but they are often more expensive. The playing area has raised corners to reduce the chance of the pucks from flying outside the field of play. While making the surface, the manufacturers symmetrically drill some holes underneath. Their function is to prevent any chances of friction. Two of these holes act as a passage for air, thus the name air hockey.

The source of the air is commonly a fan positioned under the playing surface. Depending on the size of the fan, it can either be one or two. A more significant percentage of the blown air exerts pressure on the table, which in turn creates an environment where the pucks stay afloat. If you take a closer look, you will realize the pucks do not touch the surface but rather are slightly elevated. For this to happen well, there should be an even distribution of air from the fans. Otherwise, the pucks will get stuck hindering movement while the game is ongoing.

Ventilation sign symbol.Airflow

Airflow is one of the most crucial aspects and greatly influences how long an air hockey table lasts. Without provision for this fundamental aspect, the air hockey table isn’t really “air hockey”. Some tables use slick plastic to reduce costs and simulate a standard table. While they may not be quite as smooth or glide as well, these are good options to save money.

The conventional rate of airflow should be around 300 to 400 CFM. It is a requirement, especially for a table serving professional players. Before settling for any fan, it is essential to evaluate the table in terms of size. The flow has to be consistent; otherwise, you will start experiencing problems. A simple trick is to raise the surface to expose the fan.

How To Play And Score

One of the best aspects of air hockey is that the game does not involve a lot of equipment, besides the table. Before the game begins, there should be two players, a puck, and 2 strikers. One of the players then has to hit the puck then the game commences. At this stage, each payer has only seven seconds to hit the puck. Scores get recorded, and if a player misses it within the allocated time, they suffer a penalty. For a player to win, they have to score by getting the puck into the opposing player’s goal. In a situation where a player hits the puck too hard, causing it to leave the playing area, a penalty is normally assessed.

Air hockey tables need regular maintenance to ensure they will always work as expected. Regular changing of the blowers will guarantee proper movement. Cleaning of the table has to be frequent for removal of dirt and to unclog the air holes. Whenever you are not playing, you should cover up the table for it to last for a long time and provide many years of enjoyment.