Looking to find the best air hockey mallets for your table? You're in the right place.
In this short guide, you'll learn about the different mallet specifications, types and sizes along with our recommendations for each sizing tier.
Air Hockey Mallets
Air hockey tables usually come with a set of mallets and pucks so you can start playing right away. The problem is that some of these mallets (also known as goalies, strikers, paddles or pushers) may not be of the highest quality. They offer a decent gaming experience, but they can hold you back from enjoying your new table if they are the wrong type, weight, or not as smooth as you wished. Worst, they can be cheaply made and deteriorate or break, leaving you with no other option than to buy a new set.
To get your game up to level, you really need to invest in a good set of mallets to help you deliver stronger and more accurate punches.
Check out our review of the top three mallets and air hockey pushers you can get for your next game.
Best Air Hockey Mallets Comparison
If you don't have time to read the whole guide, use our comparison table below to find the best mallet for your table.
Name of Mallet
Where to Buy
1. Dynamo Goalie Mallet
Heavy duty and dense for professional-grade play. Best for commercial-style tables. Works best with heavy pucks.
2. Home Standard Light Mallet
For people who have a decent sized table, but not quite a commercial-sized. Has felt on the bottom to prevent scratches and comes with pucks.
3. Brybelli Mini Air Hockey Paddle
Strictly for kids and mini air hockey tables tables.
Why You Need the Right Mallet
Whether you call them mallets, strikers, pushers, paddles, or goalies, you can't play air hockey without them. If you're defending or setting up a shot, having the right mallet for your air hockey table is absolutely critical. People often lose their mallets and wind up buying replacements that don't exactly suit their needs. The result is usually one or more of the following:
Where can you find the right mallet?
The absolute best place to start when looking for a mallet replacement is by looking for the manufacturer of your table. There is a chance that your manufacturer sells replacement mallets and pucks that are specific to your table. If you can manage to find these, then you're golden!
If you can't find the ones that you originally had, then you have a few options. The safest option is to email the manufacturer, find out the dimensions of the mallet that came with your table, and go from there. For most people though, the Home Standard Mallet is going to be a low-risk option because it isn't as big as the commercial one.
It's also the same size as these GLD Pushers, which is the same brand that makes the Fat Cat Air Hockey tables, a very common home brand. Because it comes with felt padding, as do most non-commercial mallets, you aren't risking scuffing up your table by taking the leap over to the commercial variety.
We want to be clear that the best mallets available are commercial grade mallets made by manufacturers such as Valley Dynamo or Gold Standard Games. These mallets are built for playing on professional-grade tables and thus are way more sturdy than cheap ones that are included with many of the home-style tables.
The problem is that these mallets may be too heavy duty for the average home table, especially if you're using a light puck. If you have a smaller table, they also may be far too big to play with and can take up too much of the table's real estate.
Now, you can get a heavy commercial puck, but many home tables won't have the airflow to support it. This means that even with a high quality mallet, the puck won't glide quick enough for an enjoyable game.
Commercial mallets are typically around 4.5 ounces and 4 inches in diameter. They're likely going to last a lot longer than the other types because their mass leaves them less prone to cracking.
Tip: If you have a table that's 70ft-80ft long or larger, then you can give one of these commercial mallets a try. We can't say for sure if it's going to be a success, but there are two factors to consider: whether or not they will scratch the table and how they will interact with your current pucks.
You can also try these 2 Air Hockey Goalie Mallets w/ 2 Large Blue Air Pucks.
As long as your table can support the size of the pucks (3.25"), they will work well. The felt pads are optional if you're worried about scratching.
Even though we mentioned that you should watch out for scuffing and scratching, it's important to note that professional mallets are designed to not scuff and scratch. In fact, having felt pads can actually be disruptive to smooth game-play. Any air hockey player worth their salt would deem felt pads as burdensome and unnecessary.
The only reason we bring it up is to make you aware of the risk and give you some more options.
Kids and Beginner Mallets
If you have a mini air hockey table, then neither of these options are going to work well. Not only will the mallets be too big and heavy for the small and light pucks, they will take up way too much room on the table and make it really hard to score!
For that reason, we've included these mini air hockey paddles as an option. They measure around 3-inches in diameter which means that they are approximately half the size of the other strikers we've talked about. They're also more suited for a child's hands.
Don't expect to use these mallets anywhere else, though. We highly recommend getting light pucks suited for a small table since a light mallet will have trouble getting momentum behind a heavily weighted puck.
Diameter and Weight Requirements in Pro Play
The two most important attributes of an air hockey mallet is the diameter and weight. For commercial / competitive air hockey tables both of these attributes are very specific. The professionally sanctioned rules of air hockey specify that a mallet cannot exceed 4 1/16" in diameter and not weigh more than 6 oz.
If you're looking to play competitively, then this Gold Standard Games mallet is an option that's already used by USAA competitors. The Dynamo one should also work, but we couldn't find the exact weight anywhere, even on their website, although we're relatively sure that it meets the requirements.
Tip: We recommend weighing and measuring your mallets when you get them (if you're going to be competing) just to make sure there were no manufacturer defects or some other mishap. Although rare, it would be a shame to be eliminated off of such a silly technicality.
Air hockey mallets are a common point of confusion for table owners. Although there's a few things you should be considering, we hope we didn't make it seem too complicated!
If you feel that there's something we left out, or if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section and we'll be happy to answer. You'll also be helping out fellow players who may have the same concerns!