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Foosball Players: Counterbalanced vs. Non-Counterbalanced

Whether you are just entering the world of playing Foosball or you are a pro, nothing is as important as choosing the right Foosball players for your table.

The decision of what kind of Foosball player is right for you starts with the table being considered. Each table comes with 22 to 26 players (11 or 13 per team) and perhaps their quality is not something that may have crossed your mind. The players being counterbalanced or non-counterbalanced is far more significant than one would think.

Ask one of the most important questions pertaining to your purchase; “Why am I buying a Foosball table?” It could be because you are a novice player looking for something fun to have in your home or business. It could be because you are looking to pick it up as a hobby and really learn to become a pro player. Whatever the reason, choosing between counterbalanced or non-counterbalanced players makes a true difference. Why does it matter? Here is the ultimate guide to finding the perfect for you.

Why does it matter if the Foosball Players are Counterbalanced or Non-Counterbalanced?

It is all in the gameplay. The entire way the game pans out is heavily dependent on the men lining up on your team’s side. While we won’t get into how to play Foosball, the skill level is important because you have to know how to use the Foosball players to your advantage. A counterbalanced player is going to land more shots due to the weights associated with how it is made. A non-counterbalanced player is going to miss much more and play more sloppily for its user.

Counterbalanced Foosball Players

A counterbalanced Foosball player is constructed so it is an advantage to the user playing the game. This is achieved by a 50/50 ratio of weight balance located within the top and bottom of the player (i.e., The head and feet). The reason this is so important to gameplay is that it not only offers better control of the players while using them but offers some substance behind each shot. The weight in the head is where the control of the player happens. The weight in the foot creates the forceful shots to mover quicker down the table, thus ensuring more goals. Nothing can compare to the added accuracy.

Something else to consider is the construction of the foot. Generally, counterbalanced players come with cross-hatched toes. In addition to the weights providing more accurate, fun playtime, the grooves that are as the name implies: cross-hatched in the pattern, add being able to perform advanced shots. They have sharper toes for bank shots, and the cross-hatch design grips the ball. Gripping is very important in making key shots. An expert user is going to choose this type of player for their table because they are in it to win it and enjoy making exciting shots. Overall, the user will choose a type that already comes with counterbalanced players.
When looking at this type of Foosball player, it is important to know precisely what it will deliver and contribute to gameplay. Here are a few examples and a better break down of what a counterbalanced player can do and/or have:

– Increased speed

Delivering increased speeds during gameplay is critical. Not only are the shots faster, but more streamlined from the weighted players. Streamlined shots are practically guaranteed shots.

– User control

Serious play is not for the faint of heart. These users are giving the game their 100% and then some. The key to winning any sport is having as close to perfect control of the situation as possible. With the advantages these Foosball players provide, user control comes a bit easier.

– Landing strong goals

The overall balance of the counterbalanced player distributes the shock of hitting the ball evenly, resulting in a powerful strike against it. To get increased speed, the force behind the kick is equally as important. Strong goals mean the ball lands in the goal with little to no interruption that might slow its direction. It scores with meaning and is super direct.

– Gripping

As you may or may not have noticed, everything intertwines together to make the perfect gameplay possible. In order to land strong goals, that have increased speed behind them, while being perfectly controlled by the user, there must also be gripping. A strong grip is a key to any situation really, but more specifically, these are designed with their cross-hatching to give the ball more friction. Really get into the game and have the players give their best with this feature.

Non-Counterbalanced Foosball Players

A non-counterbalanced Foosball player is designed without skilled shots in mind. When examining this type of player, it can be noticed that there is no weight in the head. This provides the user with a more flimsier type of player and game overall.

These types of Foosball men are much harder to control and there will be countless missed shots. Basically, they are going to spin around on the rod non-sensibly regardless of the user’s ability.
Their plastic, the smooth footed design is also a hinder to the gameplay. Smooth equates to chaotic shots, slipping balls around the table, and no grip action.

The grip is key and the smoothness is unnecessarily adding slippage. These categories of players would come with below standard tables, perhaps the ones that use the likeness of traditional soccer balls, that come off as more of a toy.

For a first time user, maybe this is something to buy, but overall, as is the matter with most things, you get what you pay for in the end. Unless the needs of the purchase are more for show rather than serious gameplay, there is not a particularly good reason to buy these tables and player combos.


If we look at the same concepts as stated above for counterbalanced players (i.e., speed, user control, landing goals, gripping) it will be hard to find that they even compare. Non-balanced players simply cannot provide the precise, deliberate shots that a counterbalance player brings to the table.

Its speed can be faster yes, but only if there’s a cheap plastic ball being used. But what good is speed if there is no control? In the case of non-balanced players, these concepts just do not fit together as needed for a successful game.


Pros/Cons: Counterbalanced vs. Non-Counterbalanced Players

-Pros:

The pros of counterbalanced players are very apparent as listed before. The weight ratio truly makes for a better game and a more enjoyable experience. Foot design contributes to advanced gameplay and helps users learn, perform, and perfect talented shots.


The pros of non-counterbalanced players are few and far between but a distinct pro to having them is non-serious gameplay. Get in there, whip the ball around without any serious concentration and try to land some points. This makes them ideal for parents playing against children or friends just looking for an entertaining time.

-Cons:

The con of counterbalanced players is not a long list, in fact, it is hard to even call it a list. Put plainly, they are just about perfect in every way. They are built to be long-lasting and durable even through competitive play, but as with anything, they can be subject to breaking and cracking. This brings up the con of the counterbalanced player: price. We have not dived into the pricing ranges yet, but quality always means a higher price tag.

The cons of non-counterbalanced Foosball men have a longer list, much of which we have covered, but most importantly consider this: their cheaper design means poorer quality and more chipping and cracking. These will need to be replaced far more than their counterparts.

Pricing Consideration

We have boiled it all down to the final aspect in choosing a perfect fit for you and possibly your new hobby; price. User preference highly influences what someone is willing to pay for their Foosball men or their tables to replace old tables or tables to start out with. When deciding, weigh the choices for how you want the gameplay to pan out. Is this for a younger player? Is it for an advanced level player? Let’s compare the two types of players prices.

-Counterbalanced Foosball players:

On www.gameroomguys.com, they list a high-quality, name-brand (Tornado brand) set of 26 players for a whopping $107.00. For most, a little over $4.00 a player is a bit steep. But once again, quality reigns the throne in the Foosball world.

However, their listing is not even the highest price tag. Shelti, a well-respected tabletop gaming company, makes counterbalanced men and they run for $181 on amazon.com. Serious players only, please!

Those are two high-priced listings, but there are sets to be found for the budget-watching user. Amazon.com arguably is the best place to compare prices due to sellers being from all walks of retail and while they offer expensive sets, they also have affordable ones too.

One, in particular, stands out, from Billiard Evolution. This brand offers Dynamo red and blue men for an attractive price on Amazon. This would be a great choice for someone who has never played with counterbalanced players.

-Non-Counterbalanced Foosball players:

There’s a set of these listed on www.gameroomguys.com alongside their counterbalanced set. They are setting their selling net wide and offering both variations to the consumer. This set only costs $32.99 for 22 men.
Generally, this is the roundabout price for the non-counterbalanced sets, give or take a few dollars. So once again, the decision is totally up to you!

Buying a High-Quality Table

Something we briefly touched on at the beginning of the article was starting out on the right foot to start. It can be an advantage to just buy a good quality table that will already come with the counterbalanced men. But, over time there will be a need to replace the men. There are places that sell a few men for replacing some players instead of the whole lot. These tend to range from $8 to $12 for high-end players and $2 to $6 for lower-end players. Obviously, this choice is not hard. Consistency is key and you would choose the player that corresponds with the type of player your table already has.

Let’s look at tables that offer the right Foosball player for you! First up is non-counterbalanced tables. These are going to be pretty low priced and catering to people looking for a quick gift for someone, particularly young and inexperienced players. Walmart.com sells them for about $80 to $90. They also sell some for $180 that have more stylish appeals and quite frankly, that is probably what is being paid for, not a guarantee that the players are high quality.

Next up is counterbalanced tables and these are the most bang for your buck. You get what you put in and having a quality set that will be a long-lasting set is of utmost importance. Not only do these tables structurally sound construction, but there is a zero percent chance of them having non-counterbalanced players inside. If they did, the rest of the table would be a complete waste. If you search on amazon.com, you are going to find all sorts of them. There are tables costing $5,000. Yes, you read that correctly. So, if someone is paying that price, those players better are top-notch! But realistically, let’s look at the more affordable ones that offer the quality that is deserved.

KICK Foosball brand is currently being sold for $400, quite the fraction of the cost. While looking stylish, this table will deliver the Foosball men needed to perfect user playability or pick up a new hobby as desired.
The market is saturated with tables, Foosball player choices, and more. Be sure to check customer reviews, check out the websites of brands you are specifically interested in and find the one suited for you.