No family game room is complete without a nice high quality foosball table.  A highly fast paced game, foosball (or table football) has been popular for many years, and is a great way to have some fun with the family.  However, for anyone just starting out in the hobby, finding the right type of foosball can be a daunting task.   With so many different styles and types available, it can be tough to figure out which table would suit your family the best.  This guide is jam packed full of excellent tips that should make your buying process go much smoother.

First off - what style of foosball table would look best in your game room?  Are you looking for that high tech home arcade look, or would you prefer a furniture style foosball table to blend in with the rest of your home furnishings?   In addition to the unique looks they provide - the different materials used also determines how rigid the table is during game play, and also how long it will last against the rigors of fast paced gaming.  Regardless of what type of foosball table you buy, you should always get one from a reputable foosball table dealer, like Thompson Sporting Goods or Amazon.

One of the most common materials used for foosball tables, is wood laminate.  This is the most cost effective way to get that natural wood look that works so well in some homes.  They are typically very stable and sturdy, even through the most rigorous gaming.   All in all, they look great, last a long time, and don't weight as much or cost as much as a solid wood foosball table, making them an excellent option for the value conscious consumer.

Plastic foosball tables have become more popular due to their low cost of entry.  The biggest issue, is the lack of stability in some plastic tables.  While this may not seem like a huge problem, it's very difficult to play fairly on a table that wobbles.  The best reason for getting a plastic foosball table, is if you plan to use it in an outdoor space.  A decent quality plastic weatherproof foosball table can stand up to years of abuse from the elements.

For a more modern look, there are many metal foosball tables on the market.  These are very strong and stable, and look very sharp.  However, due to the all metal construction, they are typically much heavier than their wooden or plastic counterparts.

In addition to the different material options, there are also a couple of quality levels in the foosball market:  home / hobby and professional.  A home / hobby model generally carries the basic features and focuses on either looks or keeping the cost down.  On the other hand, professional models typically have more advanced features that more advanced players love, like table levelers, electronic scoring, counterbalanced foosball men and more.  The pro models are also often built to a higher level of craftsmanship, ensuring maximum durability and stability during intense foosball sessions.

Another big difference among foosball tables, is the type of goalie system:

  • 1 Man Goalie System Foosball Table
    A one man goalie system has just one goalie in the center of the last rod.  This is the most common in Europe, and used to be more popular in the US.
  • 3 Man Goalie System Foosball Table
    With a 3 man goalie system, there is a defender mounted on either side of the goalie making defense a little easier.  This is the most common form in America.

Fortunately, many foosball tables have the ability to switch back and forth between the one and three man goalie system, giving you more options down the road.

Table levelers are an extremely important feature - an uneven foosball table creates uneven game play, and that's not fun or fair for anyone.  There are several different table leveling systems that are popular today: threaded screw legs, telescoping legs and wooden shims / blocks.  Personally, I find the threaded leg type to be the most useful and easiest to use.  The legs have a section that is threaded like a screw, and you can easily twist the leg up or down to raise or lower that corner of the table.   The next best option, is a telescoping leg system.  These typically have a release button that must be pressed, then the leg can slide in or out.   My least favorite option, is using wood shims or blocks to prop up the legs until they are even.  Not only is this difficult to get right, a solid bump to the table could knock the leg off the shims meaning you have to re-level the table.   If the table is shimmed fairly high, it could even cause damage to the table when it slams down onto the ground.

Another important feature typically found on professional grade models, is counterweighted (or counterbalanced) foosball men.  These foosball men are perfectly balanced, so when you release the rod, they do not return to a vertical position.  This is important, because when they do return to their original position, they are now blocking the path to the goal.  This can lead to you blocking your own shots.  Counterbalanced men keep their position, opening the field for long distance power shots.

This may all seem like a lot to take in, but if you follow these tips you should be able to find a foosball table that is perfect for your new game room.

If all else fails, you can try to build one out of legos!