Foosball has been around since 1921 when the first patent was issued to Harold Searles Thornton from the United Kingdom.1 Since that time, the game has spread to other countries where it has developed almost somewhat simultaneously.
While most people enjoy foosball for a family game night or friendly competition, there are professional foosball players. These players participate in regional, national, and international tournaments around the world. The International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) is the official governing agency that administers and regulates games through affiliated foosball associations and federations.2
Aside from professional competitions, more than 1.9 million people of all ages enjoy playing foosball at least once a week. So when you want to add to your game room, outdoor patio, man cave, or she-shed to enjoy playing foosball at home, finding the best foosball table to suit your needs is essential.
To help you learn more about foosball tables and choose the best one, we have put together this foosball table buyer’s guide.
How to Select the Right Foosball Table
When you start browsing for foosball tables, you will quickly find a wide range of options, sizes, and designs. So, the first thing you need to think about is what size foosball table you want, based on the available space in the location where you will use it.
For example, if you want an ITSF regulation-size foosball table, you will need to have plenty of space to accommodate a table that is 36 inches tall, 30 inches wide, and 56 inches long. You also have to account for the playing area around the table. Additionally, you will want at least three to four feet of playing space on the long sides of the table with sufficient room for up to two people on each side to move easily.
Another important consideration is your budget. Foosball tables range in prices from around $850 to $10,000. If you are new to the game, you may want to start with a budget table to see how much you like playing foosball and how often you use the table. Then, if you decide you love the game, you can upgrade to a semi-custom or custom-built table.
Foosball Table Types
There are several different types of foosball tables that range from standard-sized basic tables to regulation-sized custom-built tables. The thing to keep in mind when looking at the different types of tables is that many of them will require some assembly after they arrive at your house.
However, for all types of tables, you can choose to have a professional deliver and assemble your table for an additional fee if you so desire.
Standard tables often have dimensions that are slightly smaller than regulation tables. This is because these tables are meant to fit areas with limited space. In addition, these tables are constructed using quality materials like solid wood and solid plastic foosball players. High-quality standard tables can last quite a while with proper care and maintenance.
Suppose you want a regulation-size table because you intend to compete in competitions or just want to ensure your foosball table is the same size professional players use. In that case, you want a tournament table. These tables are constructed with the best-quality materials like standard tables and will last a long time with proper care and maintenance.
Combination tables are specialty tables used for more than just playing foosball. For example, you could have a foosball dining room table. The tabletop where you eat is removable so you can play foosball after dinner.
You can also customize a combination table. For instance, the tabletop could be designed to be used as a board game table or poker table. You could even opt for a glass-top table so you can eat and drink and play foosball simultaneously.
When you want to make a statement and impress your friends, you need a custom-built table. You can choose between semi-custom tables, where certain elements are customizable, or a fully customizable table where you work with a table designer to create every aspect of your foosball table.
Economy tables are pre-designed tables that are more budget-friendly. They are still made from high-quality materials and will last a long time if you take care of them. They come in a variety of sizes and designs, so it is easy to find the perfect table that fits your budget.
What Size Foosball Table Should I Get?
The size of your foosball table should take into account the available space in the room where you will set the table up. The best thing to do is take a tape measure and some masking tape to get a better idea of the amount of space the table will occupy.
Start by opening the tape measure to 60 inches (5 feet). Next, use masking tape and tape a line that is 56 inches long. Now, open the tape measure to 36 inches (3 feet) from the top of the tape you just put down. Then, run another piece of masking tape to 30 inches. Repeat this process for the other two sides. Now you will have an outline on the floor showing how much room the table will occupy.
Last, ensure you have plenty of space to move on the long sides of the table. It is perfectly acceptable to have one of the short sides close to a wall with only about a foot of clearance between the wall and the table.
Where Should I Put the Table?
To decide where you want to set up your foosball table, you need to consider the following:
- Do you want a dedicated room for the table?
- How often do you intend on playing?
- Will the table be placed in a multi-purpose room?
- Do you want a table for your patio, deck, or pool area?
To help give you a better idea of where to put your table, here are some popular choices:
- A Room Rarely Used – When you have a room you rarely use, it makes the perfect location for your new foosball table.
- Your Garage – Some people have extra space in their garage and decide to convert part of the space into a gaming area to enjoy foosball.
- Your Patio/Deck/Pool Area – An outdoor area will give you an incentive to enjoy spending more time outdoors. Plus, if you have a pool, you can enjoy playing when you take a break from swimming.
- A Game Room – A foosball table is the perfect addition to your game room and gives you another game to enjoy with family and friends.
- The Basement – When you have limited space in the other rooms in your home, you could consider setting your new table up in your basement.
- The Pool Table Room – If you already have a pool table set up in a dedicated room and still have plenty of space, this is a great location for a foosball table.
- Man Cave/She-Shed – A foosball table will only further enhance these spaces.
Other Considerations When Buying a Foosball Table
New vs. Used Tables
The primary advantage of buying a new table is you will be the first to use it. However, if you want a semi-custom or custom table that is outside your price range, then a used table might be a better option.
With a used table, you can often find a table still in great condition that someone no longer wanted. Therefore, you could find the table you want at a price you can afford. As inventories constantly change, you should inquire about used tables from new table manufacturers.
Some tables have a single goal, and others use a three-man goalie configuration. The benefit of a three-man goal setup is you can enjoy extremely fast-paced games that can become very competitive. On the other hand, a single goalie setup is a bit more challenging and perfect when you want to improve your foosball playing skills.
The little foosball men on the rods need to be designed correctly. High-quality and tournament tables use counterweighted men. The counterweights help provide better control and more enjoyment for players.
There are weights in the head and feet of the men to improve accuracy and make shots more forceful. When you let go of the playing rod, the weights also ensure the men return to a horizontal position.
When the men are not counterweighted, they will be much lighter and more difficult to control. As a result, the shots will not be as forceful, and accuracy is harder to maintain.
Foosball Men’s Foot Construction
The foot is another important consideration when selecting a table. At the bottom of the foot, they should feature cross-hatched feet. The cross-hatching helps ensure better accuracy when you hit the ball. You can also make more advanced shots as you improve your skills.
A foosball table must be level to ensure fair play and prevent the ball from favoring one side of the table over the other. High-quality tables will have built-in leg levelers that are easily adjusted and set to level the table quickly. Just remember, if you move the table, it will need to be re-leveled.
There are three different types of playing rods that are used with foosball tables. They each have specific purposes, so you need to understand how they affect gameplay.
- Telescoping Rods – These rods expand outwards when you want to play and collapse back in so they do not stick out the sides of the table when it is not being used. However, they can be harder to use because the rods are divided into telescoping sections.
- Solid Rods – Solid rods are heavy and can make gameplay more challenging. It will require more force when hitting the ball. Solid rods require a higher level of skill and control. Tournament tables are more likely to have solid rods to keep gameplay more interesting for experiencing players.
- Hollow Rods – Hollow steel rods are usually found in mid-range and high-quality Since they are hollow, they are lighter and result in faster-paced gameplay that requires you to think quickly and respond quickly. So, hollow rods are a good choice if you want to keep the game moving quickly.
The best table construction is when it is made from solid wood since it will last the longest. However, there are also composite and particle board tables. Both of these materials are lighter but are more prone to warping and breaking. So, ideally, you should look at tables built from solid wood.
The playing surface is another important consideration. You want to avoid table tops that use stickers since these will wear off and hinder gameplay. The best-quality tables use solid wood that is laminated with different playing surface designs and markers. Laminated table tops ensure the designs will not wear off no matter how much you play.
The skill level of the players should be considered when buying a foosball table. If you are just looking for a foosball table to enjoy on family game nights or when having friends over, then an economy table may be a great choice.
However, if you are more serious about foosball and intend to improve your skills to become a decent intermediate player, then you will want to consider a semi-custom table. These tables allow you to enjoy family game nights and more intense challenges against more skilled players.
On the other hand, if you want the best foosball table to become an advanced or professional player or simply want a statement piece, you cannot go wrong with a custom table designed to your specifications. Of course, your custom table should also be regulation size to keep matches fair and challenging.
FAQs About Foosball Tables
What is the best foosball table?
While some people will want the very best, handcrafted custom-built table, other people will have other needs. Ideally, you should base your decision on how often you intend to play, your skill level objectives, how much you want to invest in a table, and the overall durability of the table. Ideally, whether you decide on an economy, semi-custom, or custom table, ensure it is built using hardwood and quality materials.
Is there a difference between table soccer, baby foot, and foosball?
Foosball is known by other names, including table soccer and baby foot. So, it is the exact same game, and there is no difference between them.
How much should I budget for a good quality foosball table?
The amount you’ll need is largely determined by what type of table you want to buy. Economy tables start around $850 and go up to about $2,700. Semi-custom tables start around $2,000 and go up to $10,000. Custom tables can range from around $3,500 and go up from there. The most expensive foosball table you can buy is an $87,000 table made by Louis Vuitton.3
Is there a difference between American and European foosball tables?
There really is not much difference between American and European foosball tables, except when it comes to the foosball men. Most American tables feature plastic men, whereas European tables tend to have some type of hollow or solid metal men. However, there are American tables that also have metal men.
What is the objective of foosball?
Foosball is played like soccer with the objective to get the ball into the other player’s goal. Usually, the game is played with nine balls, and the first player to score five goals wins. However, players can play for a set amount of time or choose a specific number of goals instead.
How many people can play foosball?
Foosball can be played with two players or with partners consisting of two players per team.
Why is leveling a foosball table important?
Leveling ensures the playing surface is level, so the balls will not favor one side of the table over another. Therefore, the table should be leveled from side-to-side and front-to-back.
The Blatt Billiards Guarantee on All Foosball Tables
When you purchase a foosball table from Blatt Billiards, we guarantee your satisfaction for life. We do this because we use the highest quality materials and craftsmanship to construct each of our tables, whether they are our economy, semi-custom, or custom tables.
Some of our handcrafted tables can take over 400 hours to make. We have found building tables by hand is the best method to ensure the highest quality and generations of happy clients. We want you to be proud to say your foosball table is from Blatt Billiards.
If you are ever in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, we would love to have you visit our workshop and see our handcrafted, quality construction in person. To schedule your visit, send us an email at email@example.com.
We hope our foosball table buyer’s guide has been educational and informative to help you choose your new foosball table. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions, need more information, or want advice or assistance selecting your foosball table. You can call us at 212-674-8855 today.