How To Move A Pinball Machine Upstairs Or Downstairs

Do you have a big arcade style pinball machine that you need to move upstairs in your house? It’s probably very heavy, and a bigger job than you can handle by yourself. You could enlist the help of a bunch of friends but if you have a narrow stairway this still might not work very well.

Just how should you move your pinball machine upstairs or downstairs?

The easiest way to move a pinball machine upstairs or down is to use a winch. You can also use straps, a dolly, or take the machine apart and carry it up or down piece by piece.

Each of these possible methods will be discussed more at length in the rest of this article.

Don’t let the logistical challenge of getting your pinball machine up or down the stairs stop you from doing it. As long as you follow safety procedures, have the right tools for the job, and have a helper or two nearby, you can safely and easily get your pinball machine moved.

To see some of the coolest pinball or retro arcade machines currently available just click here.

Read on to learn the easiest and safest way to move your pinball machine up or down your stairs. You can also watch the video below if you orefer instead.

Instructions on Moving your Pinball Machine Up or Down Stairs

If you’re desperate and don’t have any friends or family nearby who can help you move your machine, you do have the option of taking apart the machine, carrying it piece by piece, and then reassembling it. Since that’s pretty cumbersome and tedious, let’s look at some of the other ways to move your pinball machine. 

Use straps

You can use a strap and have that do the bulk of the heavy-lifting. To do this, attach a strap into the leg holes at the left front of the machine, and then another strap into the same holes on the right side. You’ll need to have one strong person on each side of the machine, and then another person on the bottom of the machine as a spotter.

Using this method, the two people at the top of the machine would slide the machine up or down the stairs on its legs. A pinball machine is extremely top heavy so be careful to not tip it over and damage it. 

Use a Stair Dolly

This might be the easiest way. While I would still hesitate to recommend anyone attempt moving a pinball machine with a dolly without assistance, if you have a stair dolly, it is possible. You could use a stair dolly, like this one available on Amazon (found here). You might not want to buy a dolly just to move one pinball machine, so ask around and see if you can borrow one, or even rent one for cheaper than buying one.

If you use a stair dolly, it’s pretty easy (well, as easy as moving something that weighs 300lbs could be).  Get the dolly under the machine, strap it on, and you should be able to pull it up or down the stairs fairly easily. The pinball machine can be difficult to move with only a couple of people so it’s a good idea to have two people at the top and one at the bottom if at all possible.

A pinball machine weighs about as much as a refrigerator and it is far more delicate so be careful not to drop it or jostle it too much while going up or down the stairs.

Take the legs off

Instead of taking apart the whole machine, you might be able to get away with just taking the legs off. The legs are what are most likely to stick out and possibly poke into your walls as you maneuver up the stairs. Taking the legs off would make it a little easier for you and a friend to carry rather than requiring 3 or more people.

Use a Winch or a Hoist

This might be the easiest option to bring your pinball machine upstairs or to bring it down. Have a mechanical winch do most of the lifting for you. There can’t be an easier way than having a machine do the work! You’ll need a winch, and then just put the pinball machine on a dolly, secure it with straps, and let the winch pull it up or let it down the stairs.

Since it is being pulled up or let down by a machine instead of humans you have to be incredibly careful so you don’t damage the pinball machine when you are lifting or lowering it down the stairs. If the pinball machine gets stuck on a stair or the wall it could easily get damaged if you are not paying attention.

Whichever of these options you choose, take your time, and have a helper or two nearby. While you might be able to do this yourself, it’s always a good idea to have another person present whenever you’re moving anything that is heavy. 

Biggest Hurdles with Moving Your Pinball Machine Up or Down Stairs

What are the biggest obstacles in your way with moving your machine up or down the stairs? There are a few things to be careful of:

  • Don’t damage your house – You’re going to have some tight hallways, door frames, and obviously steps to go up or down. Watch out for the legs sticking out and damaging your walls. Make sure the pinball machine will fit through any tight opening you need to get through before you ever get there. It is always better to measure everything before you ever start moving the machine.
  • Take care of yourself – Carrying a large, heavy object up or down a flight of stairs is an easy way to hurt yourself! Watch out for stubbed toes, back strains, and hernias. Follow proper safety procedures and make sure you don’t lift too much weight by yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

Make sure you don’t try to lift this machine all by yourself. Seek assistance, and have the right tools on hand, and you should be just fine!

Tips for Lifting Heavy Furniture like a Pinball Machine Upstairs

No matter what the heavy equipment is that you’re trying to move upstairs or down, there are a few universal truths, whether you are moving a couch, a mattress, a refrigerator, or a pinball machine.

  • Get help – do not move anything heavy by yourself. Even if you end up being the one to do most of the work, there are too many things that could go wrong, and you want someone nearby in case you need help.
  • Have the right tools – whether you decide on a dolly, straps, or a hoist, make sure you find the right tool for the job. Do not just try to grin and bear it and carry the machine up the stairs without any tools to help you.
  • Slide when you can – If you’ve got some smooth carpet and the machine will easily slide, go for it. Rest it on its back and slide it, let the ground take the brunt of the work instead of your back. Be sure to be incredibly careful not to damage the cabinet if you do choose to go this route.

Be smart. When doing any heavy lifting, this is not the time to be macho and try to show off your strength! Get the right help and the right tools that you need to do the job safely.

Videos on How to Move your Pinball Machine Upstairs

YouTube is great at providing How-To videos, and moving your pinball machine upstairs is no exception. Here’s a couple of videos that show people doing exactly what you’re trying to do, move that pinball machine upstairs.

  • The video below shows how to hoist a pinball machine upstairs using a winch. This is probably the easiest way to move your machine!
  • This video shows the dolly method. He’s got the pinball machine loaded onto a dolly, and actually lifts it himself up the stairs.

You can find videos on YouTube for just about anything. If the two above aren’t enough for you, go spend some time online and watch some videos until you feel comfortable moving your pinball machine upstairs.


While your pinball machine might be heavy, you will be able to find a way to move it up or down stairs in your house or apartment without hiring anyone. No matter how you move your pinball machine upstairs, there are a few things to remember.

If you follow good safety procedures, you should be able to take your pinball machine upstairs by using a dolly, using straps, using a winch (the easiest way), or taking the machine apart and carrying it up in pieces (the most difficult method).

Don’t make the mistake of not having the right tools for the job, and you should always have a spotter! Don’t move the machine by yourself, as it is heavy and cumbersome, and you’ll want to have someone nearby in case you have trouble.

Take each of the stairs one at a time, and don’t be afraid to stop for a rest if you need to. Take the right precautions, and your pinball machine will be upstairs or downstairs in its new home in no time at all!

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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