How Air Hockey Table Works: Table Basics And Game Play Covered

Table games are very common sports and intensive indeed. From the pool to ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball or air hockey – you name it. Today we will be talking about Air Hockey Tables. Invented in the 20th century, a group of engineers sought to create a game similar to shuffleboards. Since then, the game has been an overnight sensation.

Unlike other board or table games, air hockey is quite complicated. You need to understand how the table works and how to play before you can actually play. Lucky for you, that’s what you will read about in this article.

How Do Air Hockey Tables Work?

Air Hockey TableThe engineers who invented this game did a lot of research and experiments to ensure the game was played in a smooth, friction-free surface. Much effort, dedication, and commitment went into this project. No wonder it’s great popularity and market share.

Over the years, the game has become more common to a point of tournaments and annual championships. Spreading across the globe, it has been deemed as one of the most interesting table sports.

Looking to understand more about this game, below is a step by step guide on everything about air hockey, from the table basics to how the game is played. Let’s dive right in.

Table Basics

Much like other table games, its just a smaller version of the bigger game but with 2 maximum players. The table is quite small in size but it has the ability to emulate the real hockey game in terms of speed and activity.

These air hockey tables are created using slick shiny and smooth surfaces made from a plastic material. You also have the option of a board or plywood table which is much more expensive but long-lasting.
The area of play has raised corners and edges to prevent the puck uses while playing the game doesn’t go off flying off the table.

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The playing field is then evened out by drilling symmetrical small holes on the surface. This will also help the surface area to be friction-free. Under the table surface, there are two holes that will constantly blow the air through the holes. Hence the name Air Hockey.
The fans will exert a percentage of pressure to the table which will allow the pucks to stay floating. If you look at the game in close attention, you will notice that these playing picks look elevated from the surface. The technology emulates a hovercraft.

The master key to how exactly the table works is the even flow of air from the fans underneath the table and the smooth frictionless surface. You might also notice the puck will always be in constant movement from the air which is a good thing seeing that it will not get stuck as opposing players are in the midst of the game.

The railings that protect the table’s equipment also have openings. These play the part of goal spaces where one can score points for themselves.

In terms of maintenance, these tables offer great maintenance and manageability. The table can be dismantled and cleaned. Especially the fans that could accumulate dust. One can easily have this game at home as it doesn’t require any more tools for upkeep.

How Airflow Affects Air Hockey?

The most important factor with the game is airflow. While the table can be made ordinarily like for a pool table, the air escaping from below is what makes this game as unique as it is. The holes play a huge role in allowing air to pass through hence allowing the puck to play effectively in the middle of the board.
The airflow has to remain steady for the game to be played. If the flow is weak, the puck will be unsteady and the game will not be enjoyable anymore.

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If you own such a stable, you can adjust the airflow by raising the surface to expose the fans. The airflow is measured in CFM to mean cubic feet per minute.

Under normal circumstances, the rate of flow will be between 350 to 400. At least according to professional tabling system. The size can matter in that for a smaller table the flow is less and vice versa. Adjusting the blower to a standard rate will ensure the puck can actually be used to play over the table.

How to Play Air hockey

The game doesn’t need much equipment. Before any game, one should have the air hockey table, a puck, mallets, and a partner to play with. Once all is available, one player will be required to hit the pluck to commence the game.

With only seven seconds of play per player, the initiator will hit the puck with the air hockey mallet and the game shall continue. Scores will be awarded and a winner will be announced. If a player misses hitting the puck within his or her seven seconds, there will be a penalty.

In order for you to win, you have to score points. Just like any other game, the score is when you hit on target against the opponent. The game concludes once a player scores over seven points as the first one. A penalty may also be administered if a player hits the puck hard causing it to fall over the rail and off the table.

Damages or Effects to the Air Hockey Table

The table is the most crucial part of the game, the right balance, and airflow matters. Any damages can cause adverse effects to the game deeming it unfit to play a game. There are certain things that could make a table not to work effectively.
They include:

  • A broken fan
  • A broken blower unit
  • Accumulated dust or dirt causes less air to pass through and the table creates friction.
  • Broken railings causing playing equipment to fall off often.
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Such small details cause the playing conditions to subside. Ensure to clean the table and the fan with rags and polishes regularly. Any broken fans or air suppliers should be fixed immediately.


Air hockey has taken the sports world by storm. Attracting many to it, this game offers excitement and fulfillment in gaming. Supported by technology, it goes to show that technology can, in fact, be a useful tool in the sports industry.
With this above article, you will be able to understand the game and play it with ease.

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