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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.
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 prefer instead.
Do you want to get a pinball machine for your game room but can’t afford the many thousands of dollars that the ones from Stern will cost? Then you have to check out these Arcade 1Up Pinball machines that are available for far cheaper. You can see the available options by clicking here.
If you have a game room (or want one) you have to check out this classic arcade game console that attaches directly to your TV.
This machine has classic arcade controls but hooks directly up to your big-screen TV so you can easily move it (even if you don’t have a dedicated game room).
Oh, and did I mention that it has 5,000 games built in that you can play anytime you like?!?!
How To Move A Pinball Machine (5 Tips)
If you’re desperate and don’t have any friends or family nearby who can help you move your pinball 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 (whether you are going up or down the stairs or just need to move it in general).
1. Use straps
You can use a strap or straps around your pinball machine and have them do the bulk of the heavy lifting. To do this, attach a strap to the leg holes at the left front of the machine, and then another strap to 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.
If just moving the pinball machine from one room to another it is still best to have three people to ensure you don’t accidentally tip over your machine.
2. 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 (also called a hand truck) 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.
If you are moving your pinball machine without going up or down the stairs using an appliance dolly on one end or getting a smaller dolly for both ends will make it far easier. You will need to make sure that your dolly is wide enough that the front legs can sit on it and then get another one for the back legs of your pinball machine.
Once your pinball machine is on the dollys it is as simple as wheeling it to its new destination and then taking it back off the dollys.
3. Take the legs off
Instead of taking apart the whole pinball machine, you might be able to just remove the legs from the machine. The legs are what is most likely to stick out and possibly poke into your walls as you maneuver up or down the stairs.
Removing the pinball machine’s legs just requires removing a few bolts and will make it far easier to get your machine into your basement man cave or your upstairs loft. If the pinball machine is still too awkward you can lay down the backbox as well to make it less top heavy.
Taking the legs off would make it a little easier for you and a friend to carry rather than requiring 3 or more people to go up or down the staircase.
Once you reach the top of the stairs you can reattach the legs, push the backbox back up (it is on hinges) and you are ready to play your arcade games again.
If you are moving your pinball machines through narrow hallways or narrow doorways removing the legs on the machine is also a good idea. It will make it far easier to maneuver. You can also lay down the back section of the pinball machine (in most instances) which will make moving it easier no matter if you are going on the stairs or not.
4. 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.
If moving normally you really won’t need a winch but anything that allows your pinball machine to slide or be moved easier is worth looking at. Things like furniture sliders work great if you are moving the pinball machine in the same house while larger wheels or even machinery might be helpful if you need to load it onto a trailer or in the back of a truck.
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.
5. Handle With Care
So this is true when moving anything but especially when moving something as delicate as a pinball machine. I always recommend putting a moving blanket on top of your playfield glass before laying down the backbox. With older games or older machines you need to be especially careful.
Things inside of the pinball machine may have broken with age and these loose items could break something once your machine is no longer in an upright position.
Even if you are moving newer machines it is a good idea to use pads or blankets to project the glass, art, backglass, etc.
Ultimately just handle your pinball games with as much care as possible and you should be fine whether going up or down the stairs with a good friend or if you have hired movers to do it for you.
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 are 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!