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Are you in the market for a new pinball machine? How exciting! Maybe you are remembering simple times of youth when not every game was played on a handheld device.
Or, maybe you’re setting up an arcade.
Either way, we’ll give you some great options for pinball machines in a variety of price ranges.
What are the best pinball machines under $200, $500, and $1,000?
There are a lot of great options in each of those price ranges. Here’s the top pinball machines that you can buy at any price range:
|This is a tabletop pinball machine. It’s an electronic arcade game that will run on just 2 AA batteries. It’s approximately 15 inches long and 10 inches wide.||Marvel Avengers Tabletop Pinball Machine||Under $200|
|This machine is free standing, not a tabletop, but still small enough that it’s ideal for home use. There are 12 different available pinball games to play on this model.||Haunted House Pinball Machine||Under $500|
|A modern pinball game, it’ll remind you of yesteryear, but also has upgraded features like electronics and an LCD scoreboard. It will track scores for up to 5 players.||Rogue One Free Standing Pinball Machine||Under $1,000|
|The Granddaddy of them all! While expensive, this has everything you could ever want in a pinball game. It features real footage from the Batman TV series, as well as new animations and lights on an LED screen.||Batman Pinball ’66 Arcade Game||Over $1,000|
There are other options available in those price ranges, and we’ll go through each price range in more detail below. Like you might expect, the more money you are able to spend, the higher quality your pinball machine will be.
One of the biggest things you’ll need to decide is whether or not you’re willing to buy a used pinball machine. You’ll have a lot more options available to you if you’re willing to buy vintage than if you want to get a brand new one.
Read on for more information on how to select the best pinball machine in the price range you are looking for!
If you prefer to watch instead of read you can watch the video below.
What is the Best Pinball Machine to Buy for Under $200?
While you certainly are not going to find a collectible, and you will not find something super high-tech in this price range under $200, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for a pinball machine in this price range.
You will find that you do have options!
- Tabletop Pinball Machines – When you think of a pinball machine, you might think of the traditional kind you probably once played in an arcade. The type that are taller than you are. The truth is, the bottom three feet or so of those machines are what make them the most expensive. That’s where a lot of the fancy and expensive equipment is that it keeps the machine running. In some of the newer models that have improved efficiency, that lower cabinet isn’t necessary.
You can find a lot of options that are built to sit on a tabletop, and most of those reside in this price range under $200. Here are a couple more options that sit on your tabletop and cost less than $200:
- Tabletop Pinball Machine for Kids 3+ – This is a great option if you’re looking to get your kids into pinball. It lets kids play pinball in the traditional sense, but it’s also built with education in mind and helps foster quick thinking skills.
- Arcade Style Tabletop Pinball Machine for ages 6+ – This one has a wooden base and a plastic top, and is about 21×13 inches in size, which is also perfect for a tabletop. It’s not electronic, no batteries are needed, and it might give you more of an old-fashioned feel for you while you’re getting your kids hooked on your old favorite pastime!
- Miniature Pinball Machines – Another economical option when it comes to pinball machines is the miniature pinball machine. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find some fun pinball machines that are small and might even fit in the palm of your hand. Maybe that’s what you’re looking for, something small that you can pass around the table and share with your family.
Here are a couple of options:
- Arcade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Electronic Pinball – This is basically just a miniature version of the traditional arcade pinball machine. When I say miniature, I mean miniature. Picture your favorite arcade pinball machine, but 1.75 inches long and 4.25 inches high. It can be a fun little toy, but certainly, it’s not a traditional arcade machine. You can play it with just the tips of your fingers while you are sitting down instead of standing up and using most of your body to get the table to lean in the right direction.
- MLB Wooden Pinball Baseball Game – Relive two of your childhood pastimes at once – pinball and baseball! This is another small version of a pinball machine. It’s made from wood and can be personalized with your favorite MLB team. If you’d like to encourage your children to learn both pinball and baseball, this is the game for you and your family!
- Pinball Pint Glass – This under $200 category is also home to one of the most fun toys I’ve seen in a long while! No, this is not a true pinball machine, but is this the most fun toy that you want to run out and immediately buy? You can play pinball on your glass while you’re drinking a beer (or other beverage of your choice).
In this price range under $200, you’re probably best to consider a small pinball machine. Something that will either work on the tabletop or is even handheld will be best for your budget.
What is the Best Pinball Machine to Buy for Under $1000?
The options in this price range are a little bit limited. Most machines are either built for your tabletop, and run under $200, or they are built for an arcade and would cost you thousands of dollars.
The price range between $200 and $1000 is a bit scarce, but there are some options.
The good news is, if you’re able to find one in this price range, it will probably be about the right size for your home.
It will be bigger than the 4 inch miniature versions built for your fingertips, but not so big it requires its own arcade room to store it in.
The best new version we’ve found under $500 is the Haunted House Pinball Machine mentioned at the beginning of this article, and is available at Walmart. It’s almost like a traditional arcade pinball machine, just not quite as fancy!
Would you be interested in buying anything used? If so, there’s a market!
Buying a Used Pinball Machine to Save Money
If a used pinball machine is something you’d be interested in buying in order to save some money, you have a few good options.
In reviewing the gold standard of used goods sales online, Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, I see a lot of good options for you to purchase if you’re looking for a vintage pinball machine at a lower price.
Once you know how much the full sized pinball machine you want is worth (which you will see in the next section), then you can know what they’d be worth on the secondary market.
Take a look at some of the used options, so you can see what’s out there that might be able to save you a few bucks! Here are a couple of options on I spotted eBay for less than $1000:
- Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest Pinball Machine – This is selling for under $500. It is used, but everything works as it’s supposed to. Something like this could be a great deal if you’re looking to buy used.
- Williams “Daffie” Pinball Machine – This one also comes in just under $500. It’s a fully functioning arcade style pinball machine.
Keep in mind, if you’re buying used from somewhere like eBay or Craigslist, you’re likely to either need to restrict your search to a region of the country that you can drive and pick up the item, or pay potentially a hefty shipping fee.
If you live anywhere near a larger city you will often be able to find some good deals on Facebook and Craigslist and since they are closer you won’t have to spend a fortune to pick them up. Local is always the best way to buy these larger items.
What is the Best Pinball Machine to Buy for Over $1,000?
Most pinball machines seem to be over this price, so if you can go higher, do it. If you’ve got some extra cash lying around, here are the absolute highest rated pinball machines on the market (and thus, the absolute highest priced pinball machines on the market!):
- Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast Arcade Pinball Machine – This pinball machine will cost you nearly $10,000. It comes with a soundtrack featuring 12 Iron Maiden tracks, so if they’re your favorite band, then go for it! It’s as high-tech as a pinball machine comes, has four flippers, and some sort of mystery orb target! Your games will have a purpose beyond just one pinball game. You’ll go on a mission to Defeat The Beast!
- Stern Black Knight Pinball Machine – Coming in at almost half the price of the above machine, at a little over $5,000, this is another remarkable machine. It uses stainless steel ramps and animated LED effects! It’s got great video art to illustrate the Black Knight in all his glory.
There really are some cool pinball machines available if you’re willing to spend more than a few thousand dollars. If you’d like to buy a top tier pinball machine, but maybe spend less money doing so, there might be another option for you.
Why are Pinball Machines so Expensive?
You’ll notice that you definitely get what you pay for. It’s challenging to find a great pinball machine at a low cost unless it is small or used.
- The reason for this is largely because pinball machines are a dying breed. They were popular a couple decades ago. Now, they’ve been replaced in popularity largely by video games.
- It’s expensive to make a good pinball machine and involves a lot more employees than you might think. To make one pinball machine, you need some engineers, people to design the layout, graphic artists for the images, and someone to put together all the electrical components. Since pinball machines aren’t as popular anymore, there aren’t a lot of places hiring these people to make them.
So, let’s buy a used one, which would be cheaper, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Their price might be high if they classify as a collectible or an antique. Plus, they’re getting harder and harder to maintain as the experts who can fix pinball machines are closing up shop.
How to Select the Right Pinball Machine if Cost is Irrelevant
If you’re not worrying about cost, what is the best way to select a pinball machine? What makes a pinball machine better than another?
What should I look for in a Pinball Machine?
You’ll want to compare a few different things from how much they cost to how well they are made to how big they are.
- Price: Even if price isn’t your top concern, it still doesn’t make sense to pay significantly more for a machine that is almost the same in quality and functionality as its competitor that offers a lower price.
- Quality: How durable is the machine? Does it break easily? Will you be able to replace the parts if it does break, or did they stop making the parts 30 years ago when pinball machines were the most popular?
- Size: Do you want something huge with a large screen display? Or, are you working with a smaller space and need something to fit cozily in a corner? Is a tabletop or miniature version something you would consider?
- Analog or Digital: Do you want old school analog like were popular in the 1980s, or are you looking for something more cutting edge and fully digitalized for the 21st century? Would a wooden option be ok, or are you looking for sleek to LED lights and electronics?
Take a look at all the different reasons you want a pinball machine, and decide what’s most important to you. When you weigh all the different factors, you will no doubt be able to find the perfect pinball machine for your needs.
How to Buy your First Pinball Machine
It can be a little overwhelming, as there are a lot of options. How do you know what to prioritize first? Are you looking at something for your man cave for you and your friends to use while you drink beer?
Or, are you looking for something a little more kid-friendly so you can show your children all about your cool hobby from 20 years ago?
One thing to consider – how handy are you, and how capable are you at fixing something when it breaks?
Any pinball machine you buy, whether used or new, will only last for so long. The nature of a pinball machine, with heavy use of buttons, is it is likely to wear out certain parts.
Can you fix them? Or, should you rule out the used market, focus on buying new, and hope it lasts as long as possible?
The best way to decide on what to buy is to take some test runs.
Go play on as many different pinball machines at different arcades as you can! You’ll learn what you like in a machine and what you don’t like. Then, from there, it’s just a matter of going shopping. Look for the best deals, and decide if you want to buy a used or new machine.
Some Video Resources
Here are a couple of great videos to get you started in your research!
- What Pinball Machine Should I Buy? – Here’s a look at some recommendations for pinball machines, and it could help you narrow down your focus as you decide what is right for you.
- Pinball Machine Buyer’s Guide – This video will help give you insight into what type of machine you want. New or Vintage? The video also compares what pinball machines are available today, versus what will be available down the road if you decide to wait a little while.
Buying the right Pinball Machine for $200, $500, or $1,000
No matter what your budget is, there is a pinball machine out there for you! There are a plethora of options available in a variety of price ranges.
However, most of the options available seem to either be miniature table top versions available for under $200, or the full-blown fancy arcade pinball machines that will cost you thousands of dollars. Unless you are willing to purchase a vintage model in used condition but for a lower price it is difficult to find something in the middle price range.
Now that you know what’s out there for the amount of money you have budgeted for a pinball machine, you can also check the secondhand market. There are some great options available on the secondary market, especially if you are talented enough to know how to fix some older machines!
For most people (myself included) buying a used machine that you can test locally and make sure it functions properly is the best way to find a full size machine without spending a fortune.
Start shopping! Best of luck finding the perfect pinball machine!