When viewed from a distance, the air hockey table has an appearance that’s similar to a pool table, however, the playing surface is very different, and these tables consists of many working parts. Air hockey parts are very high maintenance and require ongoing care in order to keep your table in excellent working order.
Searching for Quality
The type of components a table comes with, such as the motor and blower, often determine how well or poorly a table will perform. But the quality of the surface is also important.
These tables are designed with extremely smooth surfaces that are perforated with hundreds of thousands of tiny air holes.
Located directly under the playing surface is a fan that’s designed to blow upward, reaching toward the table’s surface and basically forcing jets of air through those tiny holes.
Creating Air Cushions
The blowers on the table work to create a type of air cushion under the puck, which will allow it to float across the surface of the table. This type of reduction in friction allows the puck to reach very high speeds. Basically, the blower is the heart and soul of any air hockey table. It’s also an important air hockey part that can make or break a table and often, you get what you pay for. Tables that cost thousands of dollars will use blowers worth three to five hundred dollars to power that particular table. Any table that’s under five hundred dollars will have to cut some serious corners when it comes to choosing parts. Since most manufacturers often try to cut costs, you’ll typically notice that lower priced tables with use cheap blowers and smaller pucks because a weak blower can’t lift a large standard sized puck. While this is fine if it’s a table designed for children, this is something you’ll want to watch out for if you’re buying an air hockey table for your man cave.
Rebound Walls and Playing Space
Air hockey isn’t just about directly slapping the puck into the other player’s goal, but it also involves using the rebound rails, or rink walls of the table to attack the goal from a wide variety of angles.
In air hockey, size matters. The table you play on should be at least six feet long. You definitely need a table that will separate the players on each end, so it opens the game up for bank shots.
Are Electronic Scoreboards Worth the Higher Price Tag?
This is a question that’s always up for debate and it mainly depends on the seriousness of the game and of course, your budget. Inaccurate scoring is probably the number one complaint we hear about regarding issues with even the most popular air hockey tables.
Scoreboards can range from top of the line arcade style boards complete with sound effects and flashing lights to simple scorekeepers. Most of the higher priced models are mounted right above the playing surface using an overhead unit, while others are mounted on the side of the table in order to save some space.
These scoreboards can be inaccurate at times. Some are very sensitive and can cause the scores to change just by bumping the table. On the other hand, you have scoreboards that won’t budge when you make a goal, which can be very frustrating in the middle of a heated game.
Most top of the line air hockey tables feature better quality scoreboards, while lower-priced models come equipped with basic scorekeepers or scoreboards that aren’t very accurate.
Scoreboards can give a table a very pro, even futuristic look, but they’re not exactly a necessity. Whether or not you should get an air hockey table with a scoreboard is totally up to you, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’d be better off manually keeping track of the score.
Why Leg Levelers are a Must
Of course, a level air hockey table is vital to the game, and it allows for consistent performance. Tables that don’t come equipped with adjustable leg levelers are usually prone to having the puck move in odd directions, which can totally throw the game off. So, save yourself the hassle and look for a model that comes with leg levelers that are adjustable or automatic. This way, you can always be sure you’re playing on an even surface and you’ll always be able to adjust the levelers when needed.
Proper Care and Maintenance
Keeping your table looking good and running well will take a little elbow grease, but it can also significantly improve the lifespan of your table and your game. Here are a few things you can try that will work to protect your table and keep it in great shape for many years to come.
- Cleaning and waxing the table’s surface is a must. To do, switch the fan on, wiping down the table’s surface using a microfiber cloth. Use warm water and a gentle all-purpose cleaner to remove any scuffs, debris, and dirt from the surface. Be sure to wipe the table a final time using a dry towel to get rid of any moisture.
- Blower maintenance is also important. At least every few months, check out the blower and spray it thoroughly using compressed air. The fan tends to trap dirt, which can have a major impact on its performance by dragging the motor and slowing down the fan blades. Top of the line tables feature fans that cost hundreds of dollars, so it’s important that you take proper care of the blower in order to keep the table in top condition.
- Covering your table when not in use should be a no-brainer, but most people don’t know that doing so is another important part of air hockey table care. You can purchase a cover that’s specifically designed for air hockey tables, or you can simply use a tarp. Obviously, the cover is designed to keep dirt, dust, and debris off the surface of the table, and it can also prevent the surface from getting nicked or scratched.
Owning a top of the line air hockey table requires ongoing care and maintenance, especially now that you know more about the cost of air hockey parts and what can happen if one component malfunctions. Certain repairs can be very costly, but with the right care and maintenance you can keep your table running well for several years to come.