Learn all about air hockey mallet care and replacement right here. Whether you call them air hockey pushers, paddles, strikers, mallets or goalie mallets, here is what you need to know.
Air hockey goalie mallets are an important component of an air hockey table. They must match in size and weight for your size air hockey table and your playing style. You can buy air hockey goalie mallets in sizes as small as 2 3/4 inches in diameter. This size is for 4 and 5-foot tabletop and small free-standing air hockey games for children. These are lightweight mallets that children can easily hold. They contain the correct weight for the size and weight air hockey puck they are designed to strike. Most medium-sized 6 and 7-foot air hockey tables for the home game rooms use lighter weight 4-inch diameter mallets. Most of these have felt pad bottoms. Coin-operated and commercial-quality air hockey tables use heavyweight 4-inch diameter mallets without felt pad bottoms.
Should we use felt pads on the bottom of our air hockey goalie mallets? This is a common question we get. You usually use felt bottom mallets on low to medium-priced air hockey tables. As a result, the felt pads can help cut down on tabletop wear and reduce noise. However, this reduces reaction time, accuracy and control. For this reason, competitive air hockey players and most commercial quality air hockey tables use goalie mallets without felt pads.
Air hockey goalie mallets do wear out. In the same vein, they can get chipped on the edges from dropping on a hard floor. In addition, you can scratch them or dirty them on the bottom with long use. It is possible to extend the useful life of mallets by regular cleaning and lightly sanding the bottoms. However, the best practice is to replace air hockey goalie mallets when damaged.
Using mallets with felt pads can help with reducing wear on your air hockey table. However, it can do just the opposite if your felt pads become dirty. As a result, trapped dirt in the pads can act like sandpaper, scratching and wearing your air hockey tabletop. Consequently, regular inspection of the mallet for chips and replacement of your mallet felt pads can keep this wear at a minimum.