Bubble hockey can be a great way to pass the time on a rainy afternoon, it can make a great addition to any rec room, family room, or man cave. Unlike a traditional air hockey table, bubble tables have a unique, retro look that will instantly make them the focal point of any room. They offer many of the same features that a traditional hockey table does, such as manual and electronic scorers, two to four player action, and awesome graphics!
The main difference here is that, instead of simply controlling a puck, you’re actually controlling each miniature player on your team. This type of design is a real switch from traditional air hockey, so you can definitely expect a learning curve, however, if you’re a die-hard hockey fan, then this is a must-have table and one that the whole family can use.
Choosing between the various model son the market could be a challenge, though. That’s why I’ve made this guide in which we will go over some of the top models for 2022 and see which one is the best bubble hockey table!
Bubble Hockey Tables Comparison Chart
Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table
The Carrom Hockeytisch Super Stick comes with one set of colored players, two pucks, and a large shatterproof plastic dome. It weighs 140 pounds and measures in at 58 inches wide, 47 inches tall, and a little over forty-five inches deep. The large, heavy cabinet features a four-leg design and is made out of durable material, so you won’t have to worry about the table moving or shaking during use. Additionally, legs themselves are covered by a glossy, thick vinyl material that’s tear-resistant. Lastly, the high-polished, glossy white fiberglass rods are built tough and will not bend even with intense gameplay.
Each pole is equipped with rubber handles that are designed to improve user comfort. The fast-action puck will easily glide across the surface of your table. The playing surface is covered with vivid graphics that make the table really stand out. Its dome can easily be removed for some basic hockey table maintenance, allowing you to clean both the inside of the dome, the playing surface, and each of the players.
The table’s electronic scoring system comes complete with flashing lights and sound effects, which are activated each time a player scores. In addition to that, you can easily reset the scoreboard at any time. It will also automatically shut off after three minutes of non-use. This model arrives mostly assembled, so all you’ll have to do is attach the legs, so you can expect a total assembly time of twenty minutes.
- Electronic scoring system
- Removable, shatterproof dome
- Legs are covered in tear-resistant vinyl
- Comes with two pucks
- Lightweight design
- The price
- Only comes with one set of players
- A bit hard to set up
This table is lighter than the other models I’ve reviewed, and while it’s not highly portable, it’s light enough to be moved out of the way at the end of the day. The bright, colorful graphics on the playing surface, combined with the red and blue players and large shatterproof dome will instantly make this table the focal point of any room. The durable four-leg design, complete with the vinyl coating on the legs, ensures that this table can handle heavy-duty use and will last year after year.
Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table
The Shelti Breakout Bubble hockey table is one of the best-selling models for this year. It comes equipped with top-of-the-line precision-ground tubular-shaped rods and nylon bushings, for smooth pull action. The table’s dome is made out of shatterproof material that’s also chip and scratch-resistant. It sits closer to the surface of the table, compared to competing models. In terms of design, the manufacturer included a fast-action rod design. That allows the user to make a three hundred and sixty-degree turn with one of their players. Still, it only requires a one hundred and eighty-degree handle turn which makes it superbly easy to control versus other models.
This model also comes with an electronic scoring system, which is mounted on the side of the table. The scorer comes complete with sound effects, which are activated when a goal is made. The scoring system is mounted on the side of the table to improve the player’s line of sight.
Instead of a pedestal base, this table is equipped with four thick legs, which may be a drawback for some potential buyers since the pedestal design offers a more stable playing experience.
The table weighs in at a whopping 280 pounds and measures at 53-inches wide, 38-inches tall, and 17 inches deep. What that means is that it will take up some serious floor space, so it’s not recommended for homes that are short on space or for those looking for a more portable model that can be stored when not in use.
- Electronic scoring system
- Durable design
- Decent price
- Shatterproof dome
- Scoring system is side-mounted for improved visibility
- Not recommended for homes short on space
- Four leg design instead of pedestal base
- A bit on the heavy side
This dome-style hockey table features the traditional four leg design, which can be a drawback since the base pedestal style tables offer better stability during use. However, everything is solidly built, and will not wobble, rock, or shake during an intense match. Overall, it comes loaded with some great features including the shatterproof dome, side-mounted electronic scoring system, and smooth playing surface. If you’re looking for a good all-rounder, I’d say go for it!
Carrom Signature Stick Hockey
This Carrom Signature dome hockey table features a large stable base for improved durability and stability during gameplay. Its large playing surface features a custom coat of styrene, for improved shooting action and a smoother playing surface.
The table’s dome is made out of shatterproof plastic. It also comes equipped with an electronic battery-operated scoring system, complete with sound effects, flashing lights, and goal alerts. The table itself measures 45 inches wide, 51 inches tall, and just under 34 inches deep. It weighs in at 185 pounds, which means it will need a dedicated space in the home.
It comes with a couple of pucks and two sets of players. The fact that it arrives fully assembled with be a huge selling point for any potential buyer dreading a lengthy assembly process.
This model also comes with some nice extras, including 2-inch leg supports that are chrome plated. The table’s injection-molded gears come equipped with internal slip clutches which can prevent shearing and binding. There is edge banding which is extra-thick and runs along the perimeter of the cabinet. The protective corners are perfect for homes with small children, while the slide-on cupholders will allow you and your friends to safely and securely keep your drinks close by and accessible.
- Four cupholders
- Electronic scoring system
- Sound effects
- Shatterproof dome
- Pedestal base
- Easy assembly
- Will take up a lot of space in the home
- The price
While the price may be steep, if you’re looking for a top of the line model, a table that’s designed to last, and one that comes loaded with all the right bells and whistles including an electronic scoring system, a shatterproof dome, and a pedestal base, then this latest table by Carrom is right up your alley! Keep in mind, the table itself will take up quite a bit of space in the home, so you’ll need to carefully measure the available amount of space before ordering. However, while the table can take up some serious floor space, it’s hands down the top dome tables on the market.
Shelti Blue Line Hockey Slapshot Dome Hockey Table
The Blue Line hockey table by Shelti comes with a side-mounted electronic scoring system that utilizes infrared scoring, for improved accuracy and reliability. The scoreboard features sound effects, which will go off when you make a goal. For improved torque and pressure on the clutch, the feet of the men are equipped with steel rod supports, instead of competing models that fit the rods between the gearbox and the man. The rods are chrome-plated for smoother playing action. The rod design also delivers fast player response using the two to one turning ratio that allows you to turn a player a full three hundred and sixty degrees, yet you’ll only need to turn the handle one hundred and eighty degrees.
The table may have a retro design but it comes equipped with many modern features that are designed to enhance the playing experience. The gearbox is one of a kind and features a clutch system that’s designed to protect the players, and prevent damage that can occur when one player is battling the opposition. The large pedestal base provides ultimate stability, so you won’t have to worry about the table rocking or moving during use. The base also comes equipped with levelers, which you can use if the table is placed on an uneven surface.
- Leg levelers
- Pedestal base
- Decent built quality
- Not that hard to set up initially
- Infrared scoring system
- Scoreboard is mounted on the side for improved visibility
- Rods can stick at times and will require regular lubrication
- It is a bit expensive compared to similar models
This table features the classic retro dome-style design, but it comes equipped with plenty of modern tweaks that are designed to enhance gameplay. The large shatterproof dome, large pedestal base, and chrome-plated precision rods ensure that you’re buying a table that’s designed to last.
ESPN 1614205 Original Electronic Dome Hockey Table
The latest table by ESPN weighs in at just one hundred and fifty-two pounds and is forty-one inches long, thirty-six inches wide, and fifty-two inches tall. The table arrives preassembled, so you won’t have to deal with a long assembly time. The table comes complete with twelve players that are hand-painted. The electronic scoring system is equipped with LED lights and arcade sound effects. The heavy-duty pedestal base will ensure the table remains firmly in place while you play. The dome is shatterproof and made out of thick polycarbonate material. It’s also scratch and chip-resistant, so the dome will remain to look new year after year.
The chrome-plated rods are made out of steel, so they won’t bend or break easily. They also offer smooth pulling action, for faster gameplay. The scoreboard features built-in speakers and is Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect to any type of Bluetooth-capable device and stream your favorite music through the scoreboard’s speakers. This is a great extra and one that every music lover can appreciate.
- Hand painted players
- Chrome-plated rods
- Pedestal base
- Built-in speakers
- Bluetooth compatible
- Shatterproof dome
- Puck gets stuck easily, requiring the user to remove the dome in order to retrieve the puck
- A bit expensive
This premium ESPN hockey table features the retro arcade style that most buyers are looking for. Since it comes preassembled, you can get started playing right away. The large shatterproof dome, Bluetooth-compatible built-in speakers, sound effects, and smooth action rods all work together to enhance your gaming experience.
Bubble Hockey Tables Buyer’s Guide
When you’re choosing a new dome hockey table, you’ll need to find one that’s well-built, equipped with the type of features that will enhance your gaming experience, and a design that will work for the space you have available in the home, and your budget. However, if you’re not familiar with this type of hockey table, then here, you’ll learn about the different features to look for, how these tables work, and the real history behind this type of hockey table.
What is Bubble Air Hockey?
If you know how to win at air hockey or foosball, then you’ll enjoy playing dome hockey. This game combines the look of hockey with the back and forth fast-paced action of foosball. These tables come equipped with a large protective dome that prevents the puck from flying off the table. It comes with some of the same features that you would expect on a traditional air hockey table and foosball table, such as an electric scoring system, which gives the game that type of arcade feel that most people love.
This type of table can provide hours of entertainment, whether you’re looking for a table for home use or your small business. This game isn’t as common as an air hockey table, so it will definitely draw a crowd or can quickly become the main form of entertainment at home, especially when the kids are stuck inside for the day. Just like with foosball, these tables only require leaving both ends of the table accessible to the players, which means one side can rest flush against a wall. This is a huge plus if your home or business is short on space.
So, if you’re looking for a unique game table for the family room or your small business, then the dome hockey table will be the perfect addition. It offers arcade-style fun and fast-paced action. The large protective dome will prevent the kids from losing the puck and keeps all of the components on the table looking new. Fortunately, these tables are often more affordable than a standard air hockey table, so you can invest more in a high-end model, one that’s designed to last and comes equipped with a wide variety of features that are designed to enhance your gaming experience.
Below, I’ll go over some of the main features to look for when you’re shopping around for a new table. We will also take a look at what really matters and how to choose a table that’s durable and will remain stable and solid, even during a fast-paced game. Here’s what we will go through now:
- Scoring systems
- Playing Surface
- Timer and Sound effects
- Design and Durability
Like a traditional air hockey table, you’ll have a couple of options for the scoring system: electronic and manual.
Electronic scoring machines can take your playing experience to the next level, and it generally makes it easier for players to keep track of the score. Of course, models with this type of scoring system are often more expensive compared to the alternative.
Manual scoring systems allow the players to closely keep track of the game. Tables with this type of scoring system are more affordable, but if you’re caught up in a game, you may find it difficult to stay on top of changing the score.
One of the most important aspects of any table is the quality of the playing surface. A smooth surface will allow the puck to glide across the table. Tables that are made out of high-quality materials may cost more, but are designed for smooth playing action. Unlike a traditional air hockey table, the dome-style tables don’t have a perforated playing surface or a powerful blower system, which will push air through the holes in the playing surface. With this lack of a blower system, you’ll notice that these tables are much more affordable and very low-maintenance in comparison.
Timer and Sound Effects
Tables that have an electronic scoring system may also come with a timing feature, which counts down and tells each player how long they have to take a shot. These tables may also have special sound effects that are activated once you make a goal.
Paying close attention to the hockey table’s dimensions will also be important, since you’ll need plenty of space in the home to accommodate both the size of the table and the extra room you’ll need, in order to move around freely as you play. Before you start shopping around, make sure you carefully measure the available space in your home. You’ll need to add an extra two to three feet of space on each end, which should be more than enough space for every player. Fortunately, these tables are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from models designed for kids to the type of full-sized models that you’ll find at a local arcade.
Design and Durability
Whenever you buy any type of gaming table, durability will be one of the most important factors. These tables tend to take a beating during use, so you want one that’s built tough and made out of durable materials that are designed to handle heavy-duty use. Models made out of low-quality particle board material are definitely more affordable, but they’re not exactly designed to last. However, these MDF tables are lighter and easier to assemble and move around.
My advice is that, if you’re getting the table for your kids, you can opt for a cheaper model since it will be able to handle children playing on it. If you’re getting it for your game room, though, I’d suggest choosing one made from solid wood and steel/aluminum for its frame.
In terms of the design, most tables look the same and the only substantial difference is their bases. What you can often choose is the color of the table, so make sure you match that to the rest of the theme of your game room!
When it comes to the table’s base, you’ll have a choice between a pedestal style base or a table with legs. The pedestal base models are often more durable and will remain securely in place, while lower-priced tables with legs can rock and sway during intense gameplay. The prices vary from model to model, regardless of the base type, however, if you’re looking for ultimate stability I recommend the pedestal-style base.
The domes themselves are just one of the features that makes this game table unique. However, if you purchase a low-quality table, you can expect a dome that’s prone to marks and scratches. Look for a table that comes equipped with a dome that’s made out of material that’s chip and scratch-resistant. Top of the line models will come equipped with a shatterproof dome.
Top of the line tables will come with some nice extras, such as built-in cupholders, handles for easier transport and storage, MP3 player compatibility, built-in speakers, Bluetooth compatibility, and storage space. These extras are a nice addition to any table and will definitely enhance your playing experience. However, most tables that come equipped with these extra features often come with a higher price tag.
One of the biggest downsides of most bubble hockey tables is that they are just too expensive. However, most of them are built like tanks and would be able to withstand heavy use over a long period of time. That being said, make sure you set aside some money, because most models from brands like Carrom can easily set you back a thousand dollars.
The History of Bubble Hockey
This game has been around for decades, but it’s not as widely known as air hockey. Fortunately, many game table manufacturers are bringing it back, so now, you can purchase a vintage style table that comes equipped with some modern features that are designed to enhance your playing and shooting experience.
While there were dome hockey prototypes as early as 1932, the game we know today was not invented until 1982. This game was originally created by a company called Innovative Concepts in Entertainment. This company created Chexx, which began designing and producing these tables in the early 1980s. The first game was modeled after the Russian Olympic hockey team versus the 1980 American Olympic hockey team. Of course, considering how popular that win was, these tables sold quickly the first year and became a staple in arcades all over America.
Innovative Concepts in Entertainment was the creator of this type of game table. However, many manufacturers started to produce their own type of bubble hockey table. That happened once they realized how popular these tables were. Fortunately, these tables are still produced today, although they’re not quite as popular as traditional hockey tables, they still remain in high-demand among air hockey lovers of all ages.
How to Play
The rules of the game are very basic. The point of the game is to prevent the opponents from scoring on your goal and get the puck into the opponent’s goal. In dome hockey, a goal doesn’t count unless the puck falls all the way down the chute. If a puck happens to bounce out of the goal, it’s still considered live. Players will begin a match by flipping a coin in order to determine which side of the table to play on. The puck is then dropped into the center of the table. Each game features ninety-second periods.
Most tables that are equipped with an electronic scoring system. It will countdown from ninety, so you can keep a close eye on the clock and know how much time you have left to take your shot.
Players are not allowed to shift, lift, or tilt the table to encourage the puck to go into a goal. Each player controls three men, including the goalie. Each player is also only allowed to spin their men for a period of one second per time. As you can see, playing this game is somewhat different from the type of traditional air hockey tricks and techniques you’d normally use. And that’s even though both games involve puck use and scoring goals. For most new players, learning how to control their players using the steel rods will be the trickiest part of the transition, however, if you’ve ever played foosball, then you’ll be familiar with this type of fast-paced shooting action.
Now that you know how these tables work, what features to look for, and which models are dominating the market, you should have no problem finding a table that will work with your budget, playing needs, and the available space in the home. While some players prefer pedestal base style tables for their improved stability, the four-leg design tables that I’ve included here rated high in terms of durability and stability during a match.
The best bubble hockey table offers a whole new way to enjoy one of your favorite sports. Even die-hard air hockey fans will love playing on a table that’s a cross between foosball and air hockey. While it can definitely take some practice learning how to play on this type of table, once you try, you’ll definitely be hooked.