Note 1: This guide is from guys who sell tables, so beware of hidden subliminal messages (BuY bUy Buy)!
Note 2: If foosball is just a spinning toy to you, then you may not want to buy from us and/or pay more than $300 for a table. BUT, please read on, there are some important things to consider when shopping for any foosball table.
With the popularity of foosball tables on the rise, and lots of manufacturers trying to get a piece of the market, it's increasingly difficult to make a buying decision. "Full Size" tables in the US range in price from $200 to $1500 for non coin operated tables. With the demand for foos tables at a high, and supply being somewhat limited... you will see the SAME high end brand/model of table vary in price by several hundred dollars. Do a little research and make an informed buying decision. To that end, we hope this guide will help...
Did you know that spinning of the rods is "illegal" in a tournament? Answer this question first ... this will determine if you should shop at the low end of the price range, or the high end. You are buying a toy/game for the kids. Save some money and shop around the $2-400 range. Of course, if money is not the driving factor, especially if you appreciate quality and/or want a really sharp looking table... buy a premium table from us!
If you want to develop the "skills" essential to the sport then you will want to look for a table that has a consistent roll or surface, a table that has a "round" ball that rolls true, a man/ball/surface combination that lets you stop, pin and maneuver the ball. You need to shop the $600 and up range.
Even if you don't need a premium table now, for example if the table will just be used as a toy for very young children, you still should seriously consider it ... if you can afford the additional investment. First, the several hundred dollars you'll spend on a "toy" table is not insignificant ... yet all you really have is a big toy, it can never be anything more. Second, children do grow up and can become amazingly skillful if they're challenged - which a premium skill-based table will do. Third, you may be surprised at the kind of draw a true skill-game table is for the adults in the household (that would be you) ... as well as your neighbors, friends, and relatives. And last, a premium table will stand up to endless use (and abuse) ... and, if some part does fail, it's replaceable.
AGE OF FOOSERS
For the kids only. See spinning above, but note that there are 17 years of age and under events on the pro tour, and there are kids in their early teens and younger that compete in the open events - and WIN!
For kids, a table with adjustable height can be a big plus... the pro tables are set at 36" in height. A bit high for very short foosers. Several models (Shelti Pro Foos, for example) can be adjusted a few inches.
Adults or Big Kids, College "kids", or lots of kids. You will definitely need to look for a high quality cabinet. There are tables that will stand up very well to high volume/abusive play (Yes, even in your college fraternity or sorority).
Physical dimensions of a full size foosball table. Length 56", Width 30".
Don't forget that the rods stick out on the sides, and players need room. Minimum suggested playing area - 7 foot by 8 foot. That'll give you a little over a foot at each end of the table and almost 3' on the sides for players in position. For big kids, a little more room would be recommended.
Appearance of table - There are high end furniture grade tables that look sharp. You can even order custom finishes of the table to match your decor.
QUALITY OF CABINET
Especially on the low end of the price scale, you will see a wide variety of construction quality in the materials used and in the craftsmanship. Watch out for some of the low end imported tables. Check the sturdiness of the table.
Look at the surface, is it flat? Can it be leveled? Check one-piece surfaces with ramps in the corners. Some make for rather large "dead spots" in the table where no playing figure can reach the ball. Others have weird rolls.
Look at how the side walls of the table are held together. Rough play will cause a lot of banging of the side walls and if they are not held together in the middle of the cabinet you could have them separate. Most low end tables have "tie rods" that hold the sides of the tables together. Usually just one in the center, and 2 on the ends. Higher end tables will have brackets or hardware that run the length of the side wall to secure the side wall to the often times much thicker surface.
Thickness of the sidewall. Thicker is typically better, but you will find exceptions. Quality of construction and materials is perhaps equally important to the thickness. Look for a true/straight sidewall. Bounce the rods off of the sidewall, and press the rods against the sidewall to test for sturdiness.
Thickness of the playfield. Thicker is typically better. (Note: on thickness - the old style "TS" tables had a somewhat flexible playfield that was key to it's man/ball/ surface feel. This is no longer desirable since the "TS" clones typically come with very poor quality balls. With newly designed tables, the man design and ball compounds allow for an excellent man/ball/surface feel, a consistent roll AND a more durable, thicker surface.)
Keep in mind that quality foosball tables retail for much higher prices in most traditional stores. Buy from us on the Internet and chances are good that you might get a pleasant surprise when you try to sell it locally.
If you appreciate foosball as a skill game and/or want a table that will last indefinitely and be appreciated by players of any skill level, then you'll want to shop the professional or competition rated models. They start in the $600 price range but are well worth it since you'll have a table with ball control capabilities that allow for development of passing and shooting skills. Lesser tables will have limited play capabilities.
Don't pay too much for a middle of the road table that will not let you learn the skilled style of play. If you want to sell a midrange table, your resale market is smaller.
If you do get a recreation/entry level table and you get hooked, then be sure to contact us when you are ready to move up to a more challenging model. Happy Foosing "Now BuY bUy Buy" , thank you, Debbie & Jim.