The biggest difference in tournament and commercial air hockey tables is often air hockey puck sizes. The size of the puck can tell you plenty about how powerful the air blower system is. A lower-priced air hockey table often can’t accommodate a larger puck, so these are the tables that come equipped with an undersized puck. But, if you’re considering buying the best air hockey table, then you’ll find that these are the models that often come equipped with regulation-sized pucks. Learning more about the different puck sizes available and which types will be compatible with your table will ensure you use the right gear to get the most out of your playing experience and buy a puck size that will work for the type of blower system your table has.
Does Size Really Matter?
Most manufacturers that produce low-priced tables will not use the best air hockey pucks and paddles because this means they would need to equip the table with a larger, more expensive blower system. In order to keep the price of the table down, they use smaller than average blower systems that are not designed to handle full-sized pucks. These tables typically sell well since consumers don’t know any better and think they’re getting a great deal. If consumers knew that these low priced tables were designed with a weak blower system, then they might think twice before they buy. However, these low-priced tables can often be a great buy if parents are looking for an affordable model for the kids.
Larger Puck Size
A puck that’s regulation size will measure in at 3 ¼ inches. Tables such as the Hathaway Face Off air hockey table come equipped with a full-size puck because it has the blower system to back it up. The biggest benefit of using a full-sized puck is the type of fast-paced action it offers. Pucks of this size are also less likely to fly off the table because they’re heavier than smaller pucks.
The Small Puck
Obviously, these smaller pucks are not regulation size. Most will measure in at two to two and a half inches. Because these pucks don’t meet the official regulations you need to keep an eye out for this type of setup if you want to buy a table that’s regulation-sized and similar to the type of table you’ll play on in a tournament. A small puck means a weak blower system. If you’re looking for a table that can offer a performance that’s tournament worthy, then check out the size of the puck that comes with it. As I mentioned earlier, this is the best indication that the table you’re buying is pro-quality or one that’s a better choice for the kids.
The biggest drawback to pucks of this size, aside from the fact that they indicate the table’s blower system isn’t up to par, is that the pucks are so small and light it can be easy to misplace them and they often end up flying off the table during a fast-paced match. It can also make it challenging to do any air hockey tricks, since the weaker blower system and smaller size can slow down the puck’s speed and have a negative impact on your shooting style.
Before you buy a table, make sure you do your homework and check out the puck size, air hockey table dimensions and what type of blower system the table comes equipped with. The small puck is a very clear indication that the table you’re interested in doesn’t have the type of blower system you need or want if you’re looking for a professional table.
Standard Puck Weight
Pucks can weigh up to forty-two grams, which may not sound like much, but often, it’s the heavier models that are easier to play with. A small table will come with a puck that’s much lighter and smaller weighing half of what a standard sized puck will, while full-sized tables will come with heavier, bigger pucks.
Most pucks are made out of one hundred percent lexan plastic and will come in a variety of colors, depending on the color of the table.
Size Differences in Action
As I already touched on earlier, the reason there are different sizes of pucks is based on the type of table the puck is designed for and the table’s blower system. If a table that has a weak blower system comes with a full-sized puck, you’ll find it very difficult to get the puck shooting across the table at a higher speed. Additionally, you can’t use a smaller puck on a full-sized table since it will most likely fly right off the table, especially when used on tables that have heavy-duty blower systems.
Often, mallets and pucks are sold as sets so you’ll often find that if the table’s puck is small, so are the mallets. Mallets come in a variety of sizes, with a max size of four inches. If you’re purchasing mallets only, then you’ll want to make sure you check out the dimensions and ensure they’re a good match for the pucks you have at home. You can’t use smaller mallets with a full-sized puck or a full-sized mallet with a small puck. A mallet can weigh anywhere from three to six ounces.
Air hockey puck sizes vary, based on the type of blower system a table has, whether it’s a heavy-duty model or a weaker blower system designed for smaller recreational tables. Remember, if you’re shopping around for a new table, check out the puck size to determine how powerful the blower system is. If you’re shopping solely for new pucks for your table, make sure you purchase the same size puck that came with your table, otherwise, the puck may end up easily flying off the playing surface, or you’ll have trouble getting the puck to glide smoothly. With this new information, you can buy a table that offers the same type of fast-playing action that you enjoy on the tables at your local arcade.