If you’ve ever been in a game room or pub chances are that you’ve seen or played a foosball table. You’ll know because it’ll be the game surrounded by people shouting and the sound of loud ‘cracks’ from the lightning-fast gameplay. The simple, yet competitive game, is fun for all ages with minimal maintenance required, making it a great addition to any game room!
What type of foosball table do you need?
Ask yourself ‘Where will this table be going?’ Your home game room? A bar or restaurant? College dorm or apartment complex? These questions are going to impact what type of foosball you are going to want to get. Foosball tables come as stand-alone units, multi-game tables, table-top (no legs) and coin- operated.
Table-top unitsare typically the least expensive and are made more as toys for children. Any serious play on these will usually result in damage or the complete destruction of the game itself- which although fun, isn’t very cost-effective.
Multi-game tables usually have removable parts and can be converted into several different gaming tables, as the name suggests. These tables can be fairly pricey and are great if you aren’t focused solely on the game of foosball and want some other options. Again, these tables are not intended for serious foosball play but for more of a way to maximize space and game selection available. Multi-game tables are fun but not great if you are looking for a serious foosball table.
Stand-alone foosball tables are where some serious play starts to take shape! These are specifically made to withstand the use and abuse that foosball tables take with every game. The play surface is going to be better and the overall quality of the table will be noticeable from the lower models.
Coin-operated tables are usually going to be higher in price based on their high quality construction (for arcade use etc.) and ability to make money for the location they are in.
While on this topic, also ask yourself where the table will physically be going in the location? A full-size table is 56L x 30 W x 36H- make sure to give enough room for rods and players all around the table.
Who will be playing?
Because foosball is a game that can be played by just about anyone, it is important to think about exactly who will be playing this foosball table. Kids? Teens? Adults? Each group comes with its own set of issues to ponder and analyze.
Was the answer to the previous question ‘kids’? Well, if it was, you have a little more to think about. Do you want to get a table just to see if they like it and upgrade down the road? Or would you rather get a quality table from the start for them to grow and play with over the years? Some tables have adjustable legs to let the table height change with your child’s, while others have special telescoping rods for safety.
If anyone other than kids or children are going to be playing, it is advised that you look at intermediate tables and up, for stability and quality of play. This is based on the construction of mid-level tables and amount of force that is exerted onto the table when adults are involved.
Cost of a foosball table.
As with most items that you are going to buy with your hard-earned money, the first question is “How much dough does one of these cost?” and like most everything else- it depends greatly on what you’re looking for.
The quality of your foosball table will be directly correlated to how much you pay for it. By the very nature of foosball, the table will take a beating with every single game. If the table isn’t properly assembled or uses inferior materials it most likely will start falling apart relatively quickly.
Starting out at a mid-level table (around $400-$600) is probably the best option if you are just getting into foosball. This will give you the quality that you need to develop your ball control and shooting skills, that the lesser quality table’s materials just can’t provide. With the better game play will also come better quality of construction, meaning the unit will be able to withstand the wear and tear of play. This equates to more years of use and fun!
If you want the ultimate in game play and construction, look no further than pro-level tables ($1000 and up). These tables will be all but perfect to play on, made of top-level materials and constructed to the finest detail. Some pro-level tables are even weighted down to increase stability for high intensity matches. Pro- level tables are built to last and have many replaceable parts if anything is damaged or broken during game play.
Inexpensive foosball tables will usually be constructed from particle board. Particle board is engineered wood that is taken from wood shavings, chips and sawdust then mixed with a resin and pressed into shape. Particle board isn’t very sturdy and the joints/screws will loosen (quickly) with play. Usually particle board tables will be lighter (70lbs or less) and have thinner sidewalls.
(Tip: The thickness of the sidewalls can tell you a lot about the construction of a table. The thicker the sidewalls the better the table will play and the stronger it will be. 1”+ is preferable.)
Pressed wood is also used in the construction of foosball tables. Pressed wood can vary in quality but for the purposes of foosball works extremely well. Pressed wood is similar to particle board but usually has a veneer and is bonded together using heat and pressure- making it stronger.
Composite materials can be used as well and often are better because of their resistance to moisture and humidity. Wood composites are made of wood fiber and thermoplastics, like PVC. They are less likely to warp over time and also provide great durability for a game like foosball. When buying a composite table make sure that the walls and playfield are at least one inch thick, otherwise the material will be susceptible to bending and warping.
Solid wood foosball tables are just as nice as they sound, although the game play can be slowed down by the softness of the playfield. The big drawback to solid wood is that it is vulnerable to expansion and contraction due to humidity. A climate controlled room is best for a solid wood foosball table to lessen any movement the wood might make.
The hardness of the playfield will determine how fast the game play will be. Solid wood or particle board playfields are going to be the slowest because of their softness. Tables that have laminates will be faster and some tables even have tempered glass which makes them some of the fastest on the market right now. The more skilled and experienced a player- the faster they will want their playfield to be.
Your foosball table will have rods coming out of either side for the players to use to control the men on the playfield. Rods come in 3 styles: hollowed out, solid and telescoping.
Hollowed out player rods allow for slightly faster play due to their lighter weight where conversely, solid rods are heavier and slower to react, but stronger.
Telescoping rods are designed for safety. Telescoping rods don’t extend out from the table, making it ideal for younger players who may stand too close. Telescoping rods tend to be less durable and more expensive.
Foosball Leg Levelers can be an easily overlooked feature on a foosball table, but can be very handy to have. Not only do they allow for height adjustment for children and smaller players but also for table leveling. Not all game room floors are perfectly level and built-in levelers can fix this problem in seconds!
Decals and graphics will be found on every foosball table on the market right now. The name of the company and usually the table model will be represented on it in various locations. Inspect these graphics and make sure they are printed onto or dyed into the material and not merely stickers or decals. Stickers will eventually start to peel off leading to issues with game play as well as affecting the aesthetics of the table.
Three man vs. single goalie
Three man goalie games are more of the American style of play, where the single goalie is considered to be European. Three goalie speeds up the action of the table but is also viewed to be easier than with one goalie, which is why more advanced players prefer to use single goalie set-up.
Used vs. New Foosball table
As with most purchases there’s always the option to buy a used foosball table instead of a new foosball table. Sometimes people will buy a table for their children and they never get into the sport or other times families change, grow and the foosball table is left behind. Either way, this is a good opportunity to save some money and get that foosball table you want!
When buying a used foosball table make sure to first inspect the playfield. Inspect it for cracks, chips, dents etc. and ask to play the table if you can. If you can make the ball come to a complete stop in the middle of the table, then you know it’s leveled. If it isn’t leveled, check for leg levelers and adjust to correct.
Also make sure to check the straightness of the rods. Rods get bent and need to be replaced if impacting gameplay.
Check the individual men on the rods as well, to ensure that each is firmly affixed to their respective rod.
Lastly, inspect the laminates and corners of the exterior for chips and cracks as well.
With most name brand tables there are plenty of foosball table parts and accessories, so if anything breaks it can be repaired or replaced. This is a great option for fixing up an old table to make it play like new again!
Of course the best way to find the foosball table for you and your family is to come to our showroom and play one! We have several models on our floor with a knowledgeable sales staff to answer any questions you may have! We also sell a wide variety of foosball accessories and parts, if you ever need to make improvements or repairs on your table in the future.
If you’re too far away to visit us in person, check out our wide selection of high-quality foosball tables on our website www.gameroomguys.com or give us a call today for more information!