In past I have bought several for myself, and also helped to several of my friends buy used foosball table. And based on that experience, I want to give you information you should have when making this kind of purchase.
What To Look For In A Used Foosball Table
Just finding a used foosball table for sale and seller that will let you have a close inspection of it and play for a bit, is just a half of work. You still need to make sure that you are getting a table in a sufficiently good condition and that it is a goos deal for you. Some people suggest that the first thing to do is to check the weight of the table, by picking one side of it. But that will tell you only how heavy is the material it is madeSo, here are some things you should do or look for before you agree to transaction.
Check the prices
If you have found some make and model for sale that you think is an interesting deal, you should check for how much it goes new, and if available the certified pre-owned. This way you will set a baseline from which to determine how much is a used foosball table worth.
Inspect the playing surface
Playing surface is the critical part of a foosball table. If there are issues with it you might completely give up on such table, as it can be a very costly repair. Here are few things you should look for when inspecting it.
You should check whether the surface is smooth, simply by feeling it. You should be wary of any “bubbly” or “orange peel” feeling. This suggests some serious damage to it, which will require complete replacement. The feeling should be smooth. Some scratch, here and there, can be OK, depending on the material it is made of and how easy for you it is to repair.
If the playing surface is flat, it will be fair for all players. But if it is not, it betrays some structural issues with it. Most common is water damage. Very common material for foosball are various types of engineered wood. MDF, and similar kinds. These usually are water repellent, but once they get damaged by water, they are impossible to repair. You should look at the edges, are they straight. Unevenness will suggest twisting and warping. Also you should place ball on several places and look whether it rolls. If it rolls but in different directions it means there is some kind of swelling going on, which would require replacement. If it rolls always in one direction and roughly parallel it could indicate problems with legs or cabinet, which I will describe as we go on further.
Inspect the cabinet
If you have noticed that ball rolls, but in parallel directions, there are two possible causes of it. First that the whole table is not level, which suggests issues with legs I will describe later. Second is the issue with braces of playing field or supports of the cabinet. You check the underside and see whether there is any damage or moving pieces along the sides of cabinet. It could be just some lose screw. If so, carefully examine the hole whether the screw fits snugly in it or there is excessive play suggesting serious damage.
You should also check all the edges and lines of the cabinet, whether they are straight. If some piece of veneer has come unglued, it could mean water damage if the edge is not straight. But also just some cosmetic damage caused by some accident, if it is straight
Inspect the legs
If you have noticed the roll of the ball it could indicate problems with legs. If they have leg levellers, it could be that they were not adjusted properly. But, it could also mean that one or more have seized and can’t be adjusted. Or even worse, that the slot in which it screws is damaged and requires repair, which is not very expensive.
Another cause of unlevellness caused by legs is if the leg brackets are not properly tightened, or are damaged. This you should inspect closely, as it can be a minor issue requiring just few twists of wrench. But could also require a replacement of whole side of the cabinet, depending what is damaged.
Lastly, you should check the hardware, which amounts to everything else.
Visually you could be able to see whether a player was replaced at some point in past. But you should check each that they are tightly mounted on rods. If they wiggle, they maybe will need to be replaced. Not expensive repair, but can be time consuming. You should check their feet too. Over time checkered pattern on them will be smoothed from use, requiring replacement.
If you get a chance to play, rods should move back and forth and roll smoothly. You should also spin them several times and look whether they are straight. If they are not, they will need replacing.
Around each rod there should be bearings, and they all should be matching. If there is a missing one, you must closelly inspect the hole if there was any damage to it from playing without them. This is a type of damage that is not easy to fix.
- Corner ramps
If the table has one-man goalie rod, there should be corner ramps. If they are missing, but screw holes are visible where it used to be, they can be easily replaced.