Foosball Buying Guide

Foosball is a game that is played on a special table, and it is similar in style to a game of mini soccer. Two or four players try to score goals by manoeuvring miniature "men" that are attached to eight different poles that span the length of the table. Each player controls four of the eight poles using handles, which are flicked with a quick wrist action, and the ball is kicked into the goal. Foosball is not only a fun recreational activity that is enjoyed by children and adults alike, it is also a competitive sport.
Foosball tables make a great addition to any home game room, youth club, sports bar, or arcade. When looking to buy a foosball table, shoppers should understand the different types of tables that are available, the specific factors to consider when buying a foosball table.

Different Types of Foosball Tables:

There are basically two different types of foosball tables a buyer can purchase. A stand-alone foosball table is larger and often more expensive than the alternative tabletop foosball table version. The type of foosball table a buyer chooses will depend on budget, skill level of the players using the table, as well as space available for the table. There are also foosball tables that double as multi-game tables, offering more functionality. Buyers can even purchase coin-operated foosball tables.

Stand-Alone Foosball Table:

A stand-alone (or standard) foosball table is an all-in-one piece where the tabletop is attached to a set of sturdy legs. They are usually made from solid wood, and they can be quite heavy in weight. A good quality stand-alone foosball table should last for a long time, offering players many years of enjoyment and fun. A stand-alone foosball table is usually more expensive than the tabletop versions simply because they are bigger and generally use higher-quality materials. These tables are designed to stay in the one place, unlike the tabletop version.

Tabletop Foosball Table:

For those who are short on space or want to transport the foosball table in different locations, such as taking it to the family vacation home, then a tabletop foosball table may be most suitable. Tabletop models are designed to sit on any sturdy table, such as a kitchen table or other game room table. The benefit of a tabletop foosball table is that they are smaller, meaning they are lighter to move around, easier to store, and they are often a less expensive alternative to standard tables. Some tabletop foosball tables are made of inexpensive materials, such as plastic. A tabletop model is a great idea for young children who are just learning the sport. The tabletop can be placed on a low table, such as a coffee table, where kids can easily reach to hold the rods. These types of foosball tables can even sit on carpeted or hard floor surfaces easily. If considering a tabletop foosball table, buyers should ensure that the base of the table features non-scratch, non-slip pads that will protect furniture surfaces wherever it is placed.

Multi-Game Foosball Table:

A multi-game foosball table is a great idea for a kid’s game room, especially when buying the table for more than one child. Multi-game tables feature different playing surfaces that easily slip onto the top of the table. When the foosball rods are removed, the table can convert into a playing surface for any number of different games, such as table tennis, air hockey, shuffleboard, bowling, checkers, chess, backgammon, and draughts. These multi-game tables are available in stand-alone and tabletop versions. They can often be more expensive than the single foosball table; however, they do offer a wide variety of gaming options to suit the entire family, no matter the age differences.

Coin-Operated Foosball Table:

Coin-operated foosball tables are designed for use in arcades, pubs, youth clubs, dormitories, and sports bars. They are expensive to buy, as they are most often well-built and able to withstand many hours of play and much wear and tear. If a buyer is looking to purchase a foosball table as an addition to their business premises, or if the buyer wants to charge players for use of the table, then a coin-operated foosball table may be a good option.

What to Look for in a Foosball Table:

Foosball tables can range dramatically in price, from under $100 to well over $1,000. Once a buyer has identified how much he or she wishes to spend on a new or used foosball table, it is time to consider the other options available in order to find the most suitable foosball table within budget. Buyers should consider the table size, the skill of the players who will use the table most often, as well as how well made the table’s components are.

Table Size:

A standard full-sized foosball table is 30 inches in width and 56 inches in length. Factoring in the space for the playing rods that protrude from each side of the table, as well as the space each person requires when playing at the table, it is suggested that a foosball table requires approximately 7 feet by 8 feet of playing space. For those looking to purchase a relatively inexpensive foosball table for young children to play with, consider buying a smaller tabletop version that requires less space. For those players who are keen to improve their skill and perhaps play competitively, a full-sized foosball table is the best option.

Player Skill:

The type of foosball table one should buy needs to reflect the skill level and goals of those who will use the table most frequently. As foosball tables vary greatly in price and quality, it is best to identify what type of table will best suit the skill level of those using it.

a) Beginner:

Beginners, usually children or young adults, do not necessarily need a top-quality, expensive foosball table. Tabletop versions are a great idea for small children because most standard foosball tables are 36 inches in height, which is too tall for most kids. These tables are only slightly adjustable in height. Many buyers prefer to buy a less expensive foosball table for beginners who are still determining whether or not they will enjoy playing, and these tables feature an acceptable playing surface, decent rods, and enough stability to cope with moderate play.

b) Intermediate:

Intermediate level players want to ensure their table has smooth-moving rods, a flat playing surface, and a structure durable enough to withstand lots of playing time. Intermediate tables usually feature more sturdy legs and are made from stronger materials. These tables are mid-range in price and are ideal for those looking to improve their foosball skills and move into the advanced levels of play.

c) Advanced:
A table that suits advanced foosball players needs to be the full regulation size and very sturdy, with solid legs and strong cabinet and table surface. Advanced players require a table that will withstand heavy use and be able to handle forceful types of play. The rods need to be solid and able to move smoothly, and the playing surface needs to be completely flat, with no dips or sloping sections.

Table Materials:

The less expensive foosball tables use particle board in their construction. With time and use, particle board often weakens. The wood can warp, causing the playing surface to become uneven, and the joins can loosen with the constant banging and twisting movements of the rods. A good guide to tell whether or not the table is of good workmanship is to check if the materials are less than a half-inch in thickness and if the table weighs less than 70 pounds. Although these tables offer a more affordable price, when compared to top-quality foosball tables they offer very little durability or quality play.
The more expensive top-quality foosball tables are made from solid wood or composite construction. Low-quality wood can warp over time, just as with particle board, so it important to choose either a very strong wood, such as oak, or purchase a table that is constructed with composite material. The composite or solid wood needs to be a minimum of one inch in thickness for it to offer the durability needed for a quality table that sees intermediate use.

Steel Rods:

Buyers who want to purchase a top-quality table suitable for serious foosball players, steel rods that are hollow are the best option. Hollow rods are lighter than solid rods, and they allow for more speed of movement when playing. Because hollow rods are lighter, they do not cause hands, wrists, and forearms to tire out as quickly as solid, heavy rods do.

Adjustable Table Legs:

The normal height of any foosball table is 36 inches. This height is suitable for older teens or adults. If younger players wish to play and learn the skills of the game, they will require the table to be set at a lower height. If buying a table that will be used by more than one person, it is advisable to purchase a table that has height adjustable legs. These table legs can be adjusted by a few inches, making the table moreflexible for different family members to play comfortably. As well as adjustable table legs, high-quality tables feature levellers on the base of the table legs. This means that the table can be levelled even when being used on an uneven floor.