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A Guide to Air Hockey


Air hockey is a great game that is fun to play and easy to learn. You can start playing it without much equipment. All you need is a couple of paddles and a good table. However, there are some basic rules to the air hockey game. You should learn them and adhere to them for fair play and maximum enjoyment.

Guide to Air Hockey

The rules we will list below are not carved in stone but rather more of a guideline. In case that you want to check the complete official rules then you can find them on the US Air Hockey Association's website.

Simple Air Hockey Rules

Here are several rules your Air Hockey game should follow:

  • The players may stand on their side of the air hockey table’s center line and they cannot stand past the line.
  • At any given moment, only one puck can be used in the game.
  • The game is won by the first player who is able to score seven goals.
  • Except the bottom surface, the players can struck the puck with any mallet's part.
  • When any part of a player's clothes, body, arm, or hand touches the puck, a “palming” foul occurs.
  • For the goal to count, the puck must remain in the goal.
  • You cannot use the mallet or pusher to slow the puck down or stop it while on the table.
  • At any time, a player can play on the playing surface with only one air hockey mallet.
  • A shot that crosses the center line can be returned within only seven seconds.
  • Either player may strike the puck when this is in contact with any center line's part.
  • For the next serve, the player receives possession of the puck after being scored upon.
  • If a player wants to stop play, it should make his opponent understand his intention by giving a clear indication of a time-out.
  • A player has 10 seconds to remove the puck from the goal when he is scored upon.
  • Players may hand-serve the puck only after they have been scored upon.
  • Players are allowed each to take one time-out less than 10 seconds per game. They may exercise their time-out only when the puck is not in play and in their possession.
  • Players should swap sides of the air hockey table after each game.

Selecting a Good Air Hockey Table

In many clubs, bars, arcades and homes, one of the popular choices of game room equipment is the air hockey table. The fast-paced air hockey game needs a good table in order to maximize your play. On the market, there are available several types of air hockey tables. Among them are included simpler tables, traditional arcade-style tables with electronic effects, multi-game tables, and tabletop variations.

You should know what type of air hockey table is best suitable for your needs before purchasing a table of any kind.

Air hockey tables types:

Arcade-style - they are usually the most expensive type. Arcade-style air hockey tables measure the full regulation size of 8 feet in length, are solid built, have electronic extras that include sound effects, music and electronic scoring, and feature powerful blower motors. They are the hardest wearing type of air hockey tables, well constructed and very popular. For those who want to maximize their air hockey playing experience, arcade-style tables are a great choice.

Basic design tables - they are coming without the features of the arcade-style tables but have the advantage of being less expensive. They can vary in size, quality and price.

Tabletop tables - they are easily stored away and a great option for those who need a portable table. They are designed with rubber feet that can be place on a kitchen table, tabletop, floor surface or game room table, being suited for rooms that do not have enough space to house a permanent full-size table.

Multi-game tables - provide a varied selection of games, including air hockey.

Tables Suitable for Various Air Hockey Skill Levels

It is important to know your skill level before selecting a new air hockey table. Air hockey tables of varying price ranges are suitable for different players:

Beginner players - they do not need the most expensive air hockey table available. For those just learning the game it is suitable a table for under $100.

Intermediate players - they need a table larger and sturdier than those for beginners. A good compromise could be choosing a 7 foot table, if space is not an issue. In order to stay on budget, you can purchase a smaller table with more features or a larger table with fewer features. Air hockey tables for intermediate players should have a more durable playing surface that is less likely to dent or scratch.

Advanced players - they should use a top-quality full-size professional table or an arcade-style air hockey table. Both these options are durable and strong tables with thick rink walls, as well as smooth and flat playing surfaces. These tables may cost more, but you can benefit of this investment for long.

What to Look For

When shopping for an air hockey table, you have to take into consideration the quality of the components such as the motor, walls, and exterior. Air hockey tables come with a wide range of prices, so you need to understand the differences and how to get the best quality for your money. Some aspects you should consider when choosing your air hockey table are the following:

  • Size
  • Table construction
  • Rink walls
  • Table motor

Where to Buy

There are a number of places where you can buy a new air hockey table. Large department stores or brick-and-mortar sporting goods stores often feature a limited range of options, usually for beginners or intermediate players. You should visit a specialized air hockey table manufacturer for top-quality air hockey tables with good durability and construction. Alternatively, you can also choose to buy an air hockey table online. This option provides you an easy way to research the offer.


Air hockey is great game that is it not only fun to play but can also be a highly competitive sport. This game is enjoyed by players of all ages and all skill levels. For any game room, an air hockey table makes a great asset.

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