Gold Standard Games Air Hockey Table Review: Which is Right for You?

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Gold Standard Games, also known as Shelti, makes some of the top air hockey tables in the industry. They're one of the three brands which has a selection of their tables sanctioned by the USAA (United States Air Hockey Association) for professional tournament play.

gold standard games shelti air hockey buying guide

The company's founder, Mark Robbins, is no stranger to the game. He's a passionate player himself and has won two world championships. We've actually learned a ton from Mark's tutorials and have put many of his air hockey strategies and tactics to use. It's Mark's passion that drives the company to create tables that go far beyond the "toys" that you find in the big box stores. All of the air hockey tables created by Shelti / Gold Standard Games are investments that you'll have for a long time to come.

See also: The Rules of Air Hockey to learn more about tournament play.

What Makes Their Tables So Great?

There are three main attributes that go into making a top of the line air hockey table. Gold Standard Games does not skimp when it comes to these functions on any of their tables.

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    High-quality commercial-grade air blowers.
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    Heavy duty cabinet and leg construction.
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    Tops designed to not wear and handle tournament-grade pucks.
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    Rails designed to deliver accurate bank shots.
tournament pro plus air hockey table

The Tournament Pro Plus Table - Picture from BarStoreUSA.com

Air Blowers: Air blowers are important because the best pucks are heavy. If there is too little airflow, sanctioned pro pucks such as the Lexan-yellow aren't going to slide across the table. On the other hand, if you try to place a low-quality puck on a a table with a high quality blower, the puck is likely to simply blow away and not stick to the table!

Heavy Duty Cabinet and Legs: If you've ever watched a professional air hockey game, you'll notice that players often lean into the table to hit the pucks. If you have a table that's too light and not stable, it's going to move around. When you look at many of the casual air hockey tables, they simply aren't built to handle two grown men playing at their top level.

Wear Resistant Tops: If you're going to be investing in an air hockey table, you want the thing to last. Many of the lower-end brands use cheap materials that are going to degrade in appearance and performance as time goes on. However, Gold Standard Games made their table-tops to last.

Rails Designed for Banking: Some of the most effective trick shots in air hockey rely on sending the puck off of the rails. In order to handle this properly, the rails need to be constructed the right way. Gold Standard Games's rails are made from high-density aluminum so that players can not only shoot bank shots hard and fast, but accurately as well.

Bonus Features

Beyond the basics that these tables come with, there are some bonus features that you can get if you're willing to play a bit extra. These features definitely add to the game and make it more immersive, but aren't required to get a high-paced game going.

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    Electronic scoring (overhead or side-mounted).
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    Overhead lighting (including or excluding a black light option).
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    Rounded goals for player comfort.
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    Side LED lighting for an extra design flare.

Electronic Scoring: As we discussed in our guide to air hockey tables in 2018, electronic scoring is a nice feature to have. If you're playing an intense game, it's nice not having to worry about moving a marker over to count any points that have just been scored. It helps keep players in the moment and ready for the next shot. Shots such as the "casting cut shot" are taken after a goal is scored and are critically important to the game, so it's best that both players are engaged.

Overhead Lighting: Several of the tables that Shelti offers have the option of overhead lighting. From there, you can also choose if you want exclusively white lighting, or a light fixture that can do white and black lighting.

black light on the gold pro elite

Black lighting function on a Shelti air hockey table

While the black lighting isn't typically allowed in professional play, it's certainly fun to play with!

Rounded Goals: When you're playing air hockey for an extended period of time, then having a rounded and comfortable goal-end is almost essential.

goal end on the gold pro elite


Example of a rounded goal from the Gold Flare

The normal ends of the rail tend to be a lot more harsh to line on because again, they're made of dense aluminium. Having a rounded goal gives players something round and a bit softer to rest on making it much easier to play for hours at a time.

Side LED Lights: As you can see by the photo below, this bonus feature isn't really designed to do much except look cool.

LED side lighting on air hockey table


Side LED lights on a Gold Flare Table

They're not really an essential fixture to good air hockey, but awesome if you want to impress your friends and create a super cool arcade or home game room.

Product Overview

At first glance, their product line is rather big and complicated. To make things easy to understand, let's break down all of their home and commercial tables:

Home Tables

As you can see by the table below, Gold Standard Games offers a whopping 11+ table configurations for the home. The majority of the tables are full sized and, according to their website, most have been sanctioned for tournament play. 

You'll notice in the table that the feature list includes different combinations of the bonus features that we mentioned earlier.

Table Name

Sizing

Weight

Feature List

USAA Sanctioned

Tournament Ice

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

412 lbs

Manual Scoring. Rounded Goals.

Yes

Tournament Pro Plus

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 72”H

432 lbs

Electronic Overhead Scoring. White lighting. Rounded Goals

Yes

Tournament Pro 

99 ½” L x 51 ¼” W x 31”H

412 lbs

Side Mounted Electronic Scoring. Rounded Goals

Yes

Tournament Pro Elite

99 ½” L x 51 ¼” W x 31”H

458 lbs

Electronic overhead scoring. Black and White Lighting. Rounded Goals.

Yes

Home Pro

85 ½” x 45 ½” x 31”H

220 lbs

Side Mounted Electronic Scoring. 

No

Gold Flare Home

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

413 lbs

Side Mounted Electronic Scoring. Side LED Lighting.

Yes

Gold Flare Home Elite

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

459 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting. Side LED Lighting.

Yes

Gold Flare Home Plus

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

433 lbs

Electronic Scoring. Overhead White Lighting. Side LED Lighting.

Yes

Gold Pro

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

412 lbs

Side Mounted Electronic Scoring. 

Yes

Gold Pro Elite

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

458 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting.

Yes

Gold Pro Plus

99 ½” L x 51 ¼”W x 31”H

432 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Overhead White Lighting

Yes

Height and width does not include the overhead lighting and scoring fixtures.

Commercial Tables

Mark Robbin's claim to fame is selling the "best selling coin-op table in history". While we can't possibly confirm these numbers as a third party, it's probably the truth - their tables rock. We've already talked about the features that make these tables great. All that's left to do to make them commercial is to make them coin-operated.

coin operated function close up

Example of the Coin Operated Function

As a bit of icing on the cake, Gold Standard Games has added their Premium model which features a display monitor that can display any relevant tournament information.

gold standard games premium coin op montior


Example of Display Monitor Featured on the Premium

Gold Flare Commercial Tables

If you hadn't noticed, the Gold Flare tables are the ones that have the red and yellow designs with the flames and LED lights all along the side. For commercial purposes, there are three different types of Gold Flare commercial tables to choose from: Premium, Elite, and Plus.

Table Name

Sizing

Weight

Feature List

USAA Sanctioned

Gold Flare Elite (Coin-Operated)

99 ½”L x 55 ½”W x 72”H

459 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting. Side LED Lighting.

Yes

Gold Flare Plus (Coin-Operated)

99 ½”L x 55 ½”W x 72”H

432 lbs

Electronic Scoring. Overhead White Lighting. Side LED Lighting.

Yes

Gold Flare Premium (Coin-Operated)

99 ½”L x 55 ½”W x 80 ¼”

465 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting. Side LED Lighting. Display Monitor.

Yes

Height and width includes size of the overhead lighting and/or monitors.

Classic Commercial Tables

The Classic line of commercial tables have the blue and black design. Just like the Gold Flare line, their classic tables have a premium option which includes all of the awesome bonus features with the overhead display monitor.

Table Name

Sizing

Weight

Feature List

USAA Sanctioned

Classic Plus Model

(Coin-Operated)

99 ½” L x 51 ¼” W x 31”H

432 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. White Lighting.

Yes

Classic Elite Model

(Coin-Operated)

99 ½”L x 55 ½”W x 72”H ​

(includes overhead measurements)

459 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting.

Yes

Classic Pro Model

(Coin-Operated)

99 ½” L x 51 ¼” W x 31”H

412 lbs

Rounded Goals. Side Mounted Electronic Scoring.

Yes

Classic Premium Model

(Coin-Operated)

99 ½”L x 55 ½”W x 80 ¼”

(includes overhead measurements)

465 lbs

Rounded Goals. Overhead Electronic Scoring. Black and White Lighting. Display Monitor.

Yes

Sources:

All photos and sizing information sourced from Shelti Gold Standard Games website or our retail partners at BarStoreUSA.com.

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