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What Is Bubble Hockey?
Most people are familiar with bubble hockey as the table arcade game with a plastic or glass bubble over the top of it. However, if you have never played bubble hockey, you can think of it kind of like foosball, but with hockey instead of soccer. Also, unlike foosball, bubble hockey has a large plastic or glass dome covering the entire table.
It features a lot of the same characteristics of traditional table hockey (often referred to as air hockey), except instead of controlling one puck, you are in control of every player on your team.
Bubble hockey (particularly the well-known Super Chexx brand) is an extremely popular and fun table game with two or four players that the entire family can enjoy. It is a fun and fast game that you can enjoy with your friends and family during parties when you are just hanging out or on dull rainy days to spice up the day.
Other Names for Bubble Hockey
There are many different names for bubble hockey. If you are not familiar with the name “bubble hockey,” but the game itself sounds very familiar, chances are you simply know it by another name. Some common alternative names for bubble hockey are:
- dome hockey
- stick hockey
- table hockey
- foosball hockey
- a rod hockey game
- board hockey
- Super Chexx hockey
These are, of course, only some of the more popular alternative names for bubble hockey, and you may even know it by another name that is more regional or specific to where you grew up.
How Big Is a Bubble Hockey Table?
Bubble hockey tables can vary in size, but the typical size for a bubble hockey table is around 60 in x 30 in x 54 in. They generally also weigh around 140 lbs. In metric measurements, this is 152.4 cm x 76.2 cm x 137.2 cm and 62 kg.
These measurements are based on the popular bubble hockey table, ICE Super Chexx Pro.
Who Invented Bubble Hockey
The bubble hockey table that many of us are familiar with today was invented in 1982 by Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE). This company was the one to originally design today’s bubble hockey table, and they were also the ones to found Super Chexx — the go-to bubble hockey table brand for most game enthusiasts.
But, the first conception of the game actually dates back to 1932. Today’s version is still very similar to the original 1932 conception, but it is much more advanced in terms of design. The 1982 Chexx bubble hockey table was designed after the 1980 USA-Russian Olympic Hockey game and quickly gained popularity throughout the United States.
Then, in 1993, the Super Chexx bubble hockey table came out with the recognizable large dome that many of us find so iconic about a bubble hockey table. Around this time, other companies, like Shelti and Carrom Company, began making their own bubble hockey tables.
Why Would You Want a Bubble Hockey Table?
Maybe you grew up with a Super Chexx bubble hockey table in your uncle’s house. Perhaps you always loved playing it at the arcade down the street when you were young. Maybe you’ve just learned about the table and think it would tie your game room together. Perhaps you love foosball, but you’re really more of a hockey person than a soccer person, and you’d much rather have bubble hockey than foosball in your home.
There are so many reasons why you may want a bubble hockey table. Whether you want to relive your childhood memories, pass them on to your own children, or simply enjoy a bubble hockey table with your friends, you’ll be happy to know that there are many options for you to choose from today.
What Features Should You Look for When Buying a Bubble Hockey Table?
Bubble hockey tables are not cheap — well, not if you are looking for a high-quality, durable table. Because of this, it is completely natural to feel a little hesitant about which table you end up going with. While plenty of manufacturers out there pride themselves on crafting beautiful and quality products, some simply want your money and don’t deliver at the quality level you expect.
You must know what to look for in a bubble hockey table so that you can avoid falling prey to that second type of seller. Doing your research before making a purchase and not relying exclusively on the seller’s word is essential when looking for a bubble hockey table for your home.
So, without further ado, here are some features you should keep in mind when selecting which bubble hockey table you are going to buy.
You want to look for quality craftsmanship in your bubble hockey table. Nothing is worse than spending the money for a premium table purchase and having it break down on you shortly after getting it. This can be hard to see online, but looking at customer reviews and images can help you better understand what people are looking at with their purchases.
Fast Rod Movement
Again, this is something that you will likely need to rely on reviews or in-person play to understand, but you do not want a sticky or sluggish bubble hockey table. This will simply annoy and frustrate you and anyone else who you play with — and where’s the fun in that?
As mentioned above, bubble hockey tables can come in different sizes. But, in general, a bubble hockey table will be around 5 ft x 1.5 ft x 4.5 ft. Knowing the size of the table you want to purchase is essential to ensuring that it will fit into your space (and through any doors).
An unstable bubble hockey table is not going to be able to stand up to any overzealous playing. This can be a deal breaker for a lot of people. After all, the point of a bubble hockey table for most of us is not to have it sitting pretty in a corner but to have fun playing on it with your friends and family.
Other things to keep an eye out for are adjustable legs or pedestal levers. This can help you to ensure that your table is level even if your floor is not. Trying to play bubble hockey with an unlevel table can lead to unfair advantages, frustration, and probably a few DIY leveling strategies that may not be the most secure.
Before purchasing a bubble hockey table, you will likely want to assess the dome. Is it high-quality? Is it cloudy, or would it otherwise obscure your or anyone else’s vision of the table? These are important questions to answer before you spend money on a bubble hockey table. After all, if you cannot clearly see what is happening inside the bubble, it is going to be very hard to play the game.
A good bubble hockey table has a good balance between stability and not weighing a ton. The simple truth is better quality parts weigh more when it comes to bubble hockey tables. But this doesn’t mean that you want to get a table that weighs so much that you can never move it without the help of four grown men. A good general rule is you want something that weighs around 150 lbs. Anything too much lighter than this will not be able to stand up to aggressive play, and the parts may be more likely to break over time.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Bubble hockey tables are not inexpensive when compared to other games. But, just because they tend to be in a higher price range than some other games does not mean that you have to pay a fortune or that you should be paying a lot just because it is a bubble hockey table. Instead, you are looking for a quality bubble hockey game with a higher price tag but should have the parts and construction to match that price tag.
Do not settle for a table simply because it seems like it should be good for the price. Do your research and really look into a table before purchasing it. This can help ensure you get something you are actually happy with. Pro tip here is to avoid sites like Amazon, Wal-Mart or other mass retailers and contact your local game room dealer or distributor.
When it comes to bubble hockey tables, there are two types of scoring systems. These are manual and electronic. Most modern bubble hockey tables offer electronic scoring, but not all of them may have this feature. So before committing to purchase a table, take note of the type of scoring it offers (and which you prefer).
Make sure you examine the handles and table’s playing surface to ensure it is playable. As mentioned earlier, if you are looking for a bubble hockey table, you probably want to play on it. Playing on a table with defects, damages, or otherwise not in top condition can be extremely frustrating and lead to more anger than joy in the long run.
If you are taking the time to bring a bubble hockey table into your game room, family room, or home in general, you will want to ensure that it is a design you enjoy. While bubble hockey tables are not as large or space-consuming as air hockey or pool tables, they still do take up a good deal of space and, as such, can become a bit of an eyesore if you aren’t a fan of the design.
Some bubble hockey tables come with additional extras — such as coin slots, electronic features, unique designs, etc. These are all things to remember when purchasing a bubble hockey table, especially if you are purchasing a second-hand one. Keep in mind that if you want extras on your bubble hockey table, this will likely affect the price of the table as well.
Where to Buy Bubble Hockey Tables
If you are looking to buy a bubble hockey table for your home, you may be wondering where you should look. Realistically, there are numerous places you can find bubble hockey tables. This is because they are quite popular, and many manufacturers have taken a liking to the concept and created their own bubble hockey tables.
With a basic Google search, you can find tons of options for bubble hockey tables. But, instead of sorting through all of those (probably mass-produced and low-quality) options, let’s explore where you can get good, high-quality bubble hockey tables for your home game room.
New Bubble Hockey Tables
One way to ensure that you are getting the best of the best is to restrict your search to only new bubble hockey tables. This way, you can be sure that you are avoiding any damage or unwanted features.
Even when purchasing a new table, you will have to do your research. If you can, inspect a table in-store at your local game room dealer/distributor. This way, you can really get an idea of what it is like before making any choices. Now, we understand that this is not an option for all of you, and you may have to rely on shopping online. If this is the case, it is best to stick to reliable and well-known brands of arcade-quality bubble hockey tables, like ICE Chexx, Shelti, or Carrom.
These three brands are usually considered the best quality, which is good news for you if you are looking for your own arcade quality bubble hockey table.
Used Bubble Hockey Tables
If you don’t mind a little bit of damage (or prefer to think of it as character), used bubble hockey tables can be an excellent option. However, keep in mind that oftentimes these tables are sold by individuals who are simply getting rid of their bubble hockey table and, therefore, can be harder to judge for quality.
But there are plenty of ways to ensure that you get a quality bubble hockey table when looking at second-hand options. For example, rather than simply searching "bubble hockey for sale" on Craigslist, you can restrict your search (whether on Craigslist or not) to a specific brand and model of bubble hockey table. By opting for a high-quality brand with your table, you can be confident in the construction, durability, and longevity of the table.
If you are looking for a used table, we recommend searching for a Super Chexx bubble hockey table. ICE started the modern bubble hockey table and is still an industry leader today. With over 35 years of experience, Super Chexx bubble hockey tables are an arcade stable for a reason!
Whether you have been looking for a bubble hockey table for years or you are just beginning your search, these tips can help you find a good, high-quality table for your home. Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to take your search to the next step!
We hope this guide helps you find the perfect bubble hockey table for your home game room! For more tips on souping up your home game room, arcade games, and more, check out our blog!