Foosball is one of those things that you always see from place to place, but don’t get to explore the deeper intricacies of unless you’re a committed enthusiast.
For those that don’t know, Foosball, alternatively known as table football, a tabletop game designed to mimic soccer. There are figurines that resemble soccer players (footballers), affixed to rods, that participants manipulate to flick the ball downfield and score goals on their opponents.
There are eight rods in total (four for each player) with varying numbers of footballers attached to each. Though games are typically played to five points, seven and nine point variations of the game exist, and rounds usually go best of three or best of five.
Believe it or not, there are even pro tournaments for this humble game in which participants compete for the chance at hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
No matter your level of play, though, the common thread is that you need a good foosball table to get started, so read on to learn which is the best foosball table overall.
What Makes a Good Foosball Table?
As far as tables are concerned, you’ve got several factors that will determine their quality, along with a few that will affect your style of play. For instance, the number of men on the rods can vary from table to table.
Some have a single goalie setup, while others incorporate a three-man system with a goalie and two defenders. Obviously, the one-man setup will encourage more defensive play, but you could also find a table that allows you to swap between the one and three man varieties.
Most foosball tables are of a comparable size, though, you’ll want to check to ensure it fits in your space. Standard size is fifty-six inches by thirty inches, but this does not account for the rods, which can vary.
More important is ensuring that you have a level surface when playing. This means having strong legs and possibly leg levelers to help even things out in rooms that are weird. Telescoping legs can sometimes get the job done but aren’t as strong as solid legs that have threaded levelers.
The sturdiness of the table can also be affected by the materials from which it is made. Plastic tables are cheaper, and becoming an increasingly popular option, but they aren’t to the level of heavier wooden tables. In general, the breakdown goes something like this:
- Solid Wood/Metal: Heaviest, most sturdy, most expensive, best quality.
- Wood Laminate: Mid-weight, reasonably sturdy, decent pricing, adequate quality.
- Plastic: Light-weight, lacks sturdiness, inexpensive, lowest quality.
Metal tables also hold the distinction of being more durable in different weather conditions, though, why you’d have your foosball table outside is a mystery. You should keep assembly time and complexity firmly in mind when you are looking at tables. Some are easy to setup (these are often the cheaper models) others take a greater investment of time, but you’ll get a better-finished product.
Additional features you should look out for include things like counterweighted men. These keep the “players” out of the way when the rods aren’t in use. You might want to go for a table with laminated markings as opposed to stickers. The stickers can peel off, roll-up, and impede gameplay. Furthermore, try to look for tables with hollow rods as these are lighter and less straining on the wrist (they also let you play quicker and pull off some fancier moves).
Of course, price is an undeniable factor in your purchase. Just remember that you’ll get what you pay for. You can surely find options in the sub-five-hundred-dollar range, but better tables might inch their way ever closer to the thousand-dollar mark. If you’re looking for pro-level play, however, that just might be worth it.
Best Foosball Table Picks
We’ll look at a few options that run the gamut as far as price, additional features, and overall quality are concerned. Bear in mind that bigger and pricier doesn’t necessarily equate to “better,” though, as your individual needs and situation could vary.
The Hathaway name is associated with sleek tables that have a high level of visual appeal. The “Playoff” model, in particular, looks great but has a few tradeoffs that come with the good looks.
What’s Great About the Hathaway Playoff?
- The Look & Features. This table has the aesthetic aspects down. It’s compact, all-black, and has accompanying graphics that are well designed. The Foosball men are uniformed, which is a nice extra, and the rods are sleek with sturdy rubber grips. There’s even a built-in ball return to help keep matches flowing swiftly. It’s a three-man goalie setup, and overall play on this table is smooth and level. It’s not pro-grade, but for the price, it does quite well.
- The Price Point. This is a sub-two-hundred-dollar table. It doesn’t look like it, but it is. As mentioned, play suffers somewhat, but it’s nothing that will hamper a casual game.
- The Assembly Process. It shouldn’t take any longer than thirty minutes to put this table together. You’ll just need an Allen wrench (included) and a Philips screwdriver to get the job done. Since it’s lightweight, you can assemble it then move it to the perfect location without much difficulty.
What’s Not So Great About the Hathaway Playoff?
- The Size. This isn’t a standard size table. The playing surface is forty inches by twenty-three inches. Good for children and casual adult players, but not to the level of more serious Foosball enthusiasts.
- The Quality. This is an aspect in which the table suffers slightly. It’s not terrible, but the fact that it is so lightweight may cause it to shift during use. Again, if you’re not delicate with it, the strength and enthusiasm of a serious adult player may damage the Playoff beyond the point of repair. You’ll need to stick with low-energy, low-stakes games on this one.
EastPoint Sports Newcastle
EastPoint is well-known for balancing quality with fair pricing. You might not get the best table or the cheapest table from them, but it will be a solid middle of the road option that is reasonable inexpensive and still meets several standards of more serious play.
What’s Great About the EastPoint Newcastle?
- Just Under Full-Sized. It’s a fifty-four-inch table, two inches shy of the standard competition size. Most adult players will barely notice the difference, though, making this nearly suitable for raucous and highly-charged competitive bouts.
- Good Looking. For a sub-four-hundred-dollar table, that is. While not a complete hardwood table, this table’s veneer is attractive and fits many game room and bar settings. The robot-style foosball men are a good look as well.
- Good Features. The rods are light, yet sturdy. The grips are easy to hold and allow for quick wrist action. The table also has leg levelers, which help even out the playing surface on uneven ground. Unfortunately, the players aren’t counterbalanced, but the table does have a built-in score counter to help keep track of who’s up and who’s down.
What’s Not So Great About the EastPoint Newcastle?
- On the Light Side. This is still considered a budget table, and, as a result, is lighter than a pricier table might be. It’s only about eighty pounds, which, while somewhat sturdy under casual and lightly competitive conditions, will start to jump around when things start getting serious. It probably won’t bend or break on you mid-match, thankfully.
- Assembly Is a Bear. It could take a while to put the Newcastle together. There are a good number of small and easy-to-lose parts, and if you’re too forceful with the screws, you might damage the laminated fake-wood. Also, if you must take it apart for any reason, you’ll be in for an even greater challenge than when you put it together the first time.
KICK was founded by a 25-year Foosball veteran, and their tables are designed with the professional standard in mind. The Triumph represents an effort to bring pro-level play to the masses with a model that isn’t too far out of their normal price range, but still includes many of the trappings a high-quality table would have.
What’s Great About the KICK Triumph?
- Great Looking. It’s an all-black table with finely crafted oak handles. The playing surface is a smooth green laminate that doesn’t hamper play. Every part of this table screams quality design and superior finish. Regarding size, this is a proper full-sized table at fifty-five inches by thirty inches.
- Sturdy & High Quality. This table is heavy and well-constructed. It would be difficult to get the Triumph to wobble or shift during play, so going full bore during matches is a distinct possibility here. What’s more, KICK offers a lifetime warranty, further cementing their confidence in the Triumph’s build quality.
- Superb Pro-Level Features. The Triumph has counterbalanced men and a uniformed men set that you can swap out. It also includes a slide scoring system at each end of the table, leg levelers, and a ball return system to keep things moving.
What’s Not So Great About the KICK Triumph?
- Difficult Assembly. The instructions for putting the Triumph together are abominable. Chances are you’ll be heading to YouTube to look up a video on how to assemble this beast.
- Pricier Option. You’ll be paying several hundred dollars more for the Triumph than either of the other two options we viewed, though not as much as a top-tier table.
As you can see, there’s a great deal of variance among foosball tables, not only in size and build materials but individual features as well. Out of this bunch, the KICK Triumph holds a clear edge. It might be more expensive, but the extra dollars here translate to increased quality. It’s a truly full-sized table, has many features that professional grade tables also include, and is heavy enough for rowdy adult matches.