If you’re getting an air hockey table, it’s important to choose pucks and mallets that match it. In this article, I’ll take you through the pros and cons of different puck and mallet sizes so you know exactly which to get.
An air hockey puck is also known as the disc and it’s pushed around the table by players using the mallets with the aim of trying to get the puck through the goal at the opponent’s side of the table.
Regulation air hockey pucks are 3 1/4 inches in diameter (82.6 mm). However, you can also get pucks in smaller sizes to suit smaller tables. Other common puck sizes include: 2″ (50 mm), 2 16/32″ (63 mm), 2 3/4″ (70 mm) and 2 15/16″ (75 mm).
The puck size you should use depends on the size of the table and the quality of the fan.
Table Size and Puck Size Compatibility
For a 7 foot regulation size air hockey table, the ideal puck diameter is the regulation 3 1/4″ (82.6 mm) diameter.
|Air Hockey Table Compatibility||Ideal Puck Diameter|
|8 Foot||80 mm or more|
|7 Foot (Regulation)||75-85 mm|
|6 Foot||65-70 mm|
|5 Foot||50-55 mm|
|4 Foot||50 mm or less|
Cheaper air hockey tables will have weaker fans underneath them, meaning a smaller and hence lighter puck may be more suitable.
Air hockey tables have a fan underneath the surface which blows air through the small holes. The puck essentially floats on this cushion of air which allows it to move very quickly because there is no friction from the surface of the table acting on it. This is why the puck moves very slowly when the table is turned off because there is no air being pushed through the holes on the table’s surface by the fan.
The weaker the fan is, the lighter the puck needs to be in order to ensure it floats adequately on the surface of the table.
In general, the more affordable air hockey tables also tend to be the smallest so you can follow the same guidelines as above and choose the puck size based on the table size.
However, there are some full-size 7 foot air hockey tables which have a weaker fan if the model is particularly inexpensive. In this case, you may find that choosing a smaller (and lighter) puck keeps the game fast.
Full-size air hockey pucks weight approximately 40 g but different sizes can range from between 22-42 g on average.
|Puck Size||Average Weight|
|3 1/4″ (83 mm)||40 g|
|2 15/16″ (75 mm)||36 g|
|2 3/4″ (70 mm)||34 g|
|2 15/32″ (63 mm)||30 g|
|2″ (50 mm)||22 g|
Small vs Large Pucks
It’s important to use the correct puck size for your table. Using a puck which is too large will cause the puck to move very slowly since the fan will not be capable of supporting it and it will be too easy to score a point because the puck will be too large for slot. Using a puck which is too small will make it hard to control and may fly off the table if the fan is too strong.
You can go slightly smaller or larger with the puck size for your table as long as it’s not by more than 10 mm. Choosing a smaller puck will make the game faster but harder to control and score with. Choosing a larger puck will mean you need more force to get the puck to travel at higher speeds but it will be easier to control and score.
Considering getting an air hockey table? Check out my guide to how much space you need for air hockey to make sure you get the right size table.
Mallet (Striker) Size
Each player in air hockey will have a mallet which is made from plastic and is used to push the puck with the aim of scoring in the opponents goal. Air hockey mallets are sometimes called strikers, pushers, paddles or goalies. Air hockey mallets are circular and have a handle in the centre. The size refers to the diameter of the entire mallet.
It’s best to choose the size of the puck you need first (based on your table) and then choose the mallet size based on the puck you will be using. If you do not yet have either piece of equipment, then your best option is to buy the mallets and puck in a set as this ensures you’ll get the best size ratio.
Air hockey mallets usually have a 3 3/4″ (95 mm) diameter but you can also find smaller sizes, the most common being 2 15/16″ (75 mm). Ideally the diameter of the mallet should be around 1.1-1.2x the size of the puck.
Here is a table showing the common puck sizes and the ideal mallet size.
|Puck Size||Best Mallet Size|
|3 1/4″ (83 mm)||3 3/4″ (95 mm)|
|2 15/16″ (75 mm)||3 3/4″ (95 mm)|
|2 3/4″ (70 mm)||2 15/16″ (75 mm)|
|2 15/32″ (63 mm)||2 15/16″ (75 mm)|
|2″ (50 mm)||2 9/16″ (65 mm)|
Small vs Large Mallets
It’s best to match your mallet and puck sizes, but you can go slightly larger or smaller with your mallet which will have an impact on how the game feels to play. Using a larger mallet will allow you to generate more power and offer you more control making it easier to hit the puck. Choosing a smaller mallet will require more skill as you will need to be more precise to hit the puck.
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