How Do Air Hockey Tables Work

Air hockey is a very exciting game that is played for fun and does not require outdoor presence, but there is still a very common question of how air hockey tables work. Beyond the fun and excitement, players need to understand how this table works to play better or manipulate their way around the table.

Air hockey tables usually possess an extremely slippery and smooth surface which effectively tones down on friction due to the puck being suspended on an air cushion. This makes a motion on the table to be relatively unaffected by friction and ensures that there is a continuous motion across the table with a velocity that is relatively constant.

To understand the working of an air hockey table, the first step is to determine the components of the table. You would require the air hockey table and a puck to play the game. The air hockey table usually comes with a very smooth and large playing surface with a rail that goes around the entire length and breadth of the table to prevent the gaming equipment in use from falling off from the sides of the table. On each end of the rails, opening slots serve as goal openings during the game. A puck return can be found just below or behind the goals.

How Do Air Hockey Tables Work

Also, the air hockey table is designed in such a pattern that it can easily decrease the amount of friction while boosting the speed of play. This is taken care of by a machine built into the entire setup, which uses the tiny holes on the surface of play to provide air support for the table’s surface.

However, maintaining this could be quite cost-intensive. Most manufacturing companies have devised a way to help table owners cut costs by including eschewed on the air hockey table they produce. Similarly, the surface of these tables is usually plastic.

The major reason that air hockey is very exciting is that the speed with which the game is played could be insane sometimes, and it bears an uncanny resemblance to the actual game of hockey. Therefore, air hockey table makers have designed the tables to help players get the same excitement as is gotten from playing hockey by providing a cushion of air for the puck on which it sits.

The many small holes that mark and cover the entire table surface also have a very important function. They serve as the output source for the bursts of air which is constantly blown by the air compressor within the table. This airlifts the puck up slightly and helps to minimize friction since the puck does not exactly make contact with the table surface, thus increasing the speed or slide better.

Factors that provide answers to how do air hockey tables work

How Do Air Hockey Tables Work

Basically, there are many important components to the working of the air hockey table, but here are the very major ones:

Air Flow

This is, in actual fact, the most essential part of working an air hockey table. The holes present on the table are the ones that air flows from. However, if the airflow from the holes does not come out with enough intensity, this can cause the puck to stop dead in the table’s middle. The airflow measurement on an air hockey table is done in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Top-notch tables usually have a CFM rating of 350 to 400, and they are mainly used in tournaments and arcades. For tables with lesser CFM rates, they can be gotten for cheaper, but airflow that is not strong enough may cause players not to enjoy the game.


When considering the airflow issue, the major determinant of air flow rate is the motor used to produce the airflow. Basically, the best pick for any air hockey table is a commercial-grade blower, which can produce up to 350 to 400 CFM.

Some manufacturers claim to have added turbo or dual fans to their air hockey table, but these do not, in actual fact, possess enough power to generate up to 350 to 400 CFM. This implies that the motor that accompanies the air hockey table effectively determines its efficiency.


Similarly, the factors mentioned above go a long way in answering the question of how do air hockey tables work. Apart from purchasing a table that works pretty effectively, you also need to get one that would last and retain its quality for a very long time. In considering the question of how do air hockey tables work, you would need to look beyond the way it functions to the components that make them function – this is, in fact at the core of the table’s functioning.

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