Buying a Pinball Machine Print

If you're in the process of buying a pinball machine, you've come to the right place...

There are many more factors involved in buying a pinball, than just the price. Gameplay, Age, Condition, Manufacturer, Theme and Enjoyment are some of the other things that will pull you in the direction of one particular machine, and away from another.

So let's start by looking at the value a Pinball Machine can bring to you and your family...



Yes, enjoyment! Pinballs are not like your typical Video Game.

On a Video Game, you have the same virtual person coming out to shoot you at the same point as always, or the same things to achieve to progress through the level. It never changes - well not until Video Games become smart!

Play Pinball And what about sitting on the couch staring at the TV for hours at a time? This doesn't develop Hand-Eye co-ordination. Although it does make you good at pressing tiny buttons placed very close together!

But Pinball is different.

OK, the playfield layout doesn't change, and you always have a metal ball to hit around, but that is where the similarities end.

The ball never reacts the same way. You can play the same shot over and over, and the ball will do something different (even if only slightly) each time.

You can not guess what will happen next. The game constantly evolves as you play, and no two games are ever the same!

That is the enjoyment we're talking about. And you can play against your friends and family - usually up to four people can play, but sometimes up to six!

So, when you're buying a pinball, take the time you find one you really do enjoy to play. This may mean going to your local pinny parlour (penny parlor?) or amusement arcade, local pub or hotel, and amusement stores to play as many different pinball machines as you can.

This way, you can find one with the theme that you like, and is challenging enough for you not to get bored of it. Remember: You are buying this for yourself and/or family, so if it is too easy you will loose interest very quickly!


Condition is one of the most important aspects in buying a pinball machine.

Custom KISS Buying a pinball for your home is like buying another piece of furniture. You want it to look good, and suit it's surroundings.

Unfortunately, most pinballs have had a hard life making money for the people that owned them in the past, and they usually didn't take good care of them. And neither did the people playing them!

You will see names scratched into the sides, or wear on the playfield, but this shouldn't deter you too much.

Most wear and tear can be touched up and/or new art decals fitted, to cover up the pinballs previous life and restore it to it's former glory.

Unless you are buying a pinball that is brand new, this wear and tear will add a bit of character to the machine.

Something to look for though is cracked or broken plastics on the table. There are some machines that have these plastics readily available (like Addams Family and KISS), and others that do not.

Again, do not worry too much about this, because as the popularity of having a pinball machine at home rises, so does the availability of game specific parts.



The only thing that age has to do with buying a pinball is: What type of pinball do you like?

Do you want a fancy one with all the bells and whistles? Or a more traditional one that has Drop Targets and Bumpers as the main features? How about one in between?

Twilight Zone Backglass And what about the sound? Does it need to have the latest and greatest digital music? Or the more familiar chimes and bells?

These are the questions you will have to ask yourself. We can not say that any one particular model will suit you better than another, this is up to you to decide.

So, what about the scoring? Would you prefer reels, number displays or animation? More choices you have to make...

The one thing to remember is that you must enjoy the pinball playing experience! Buying a pinball for yourself is about satisfying a need... Having a big kids toy to resort to after a hard day in the office.

It's all about having time for you! (And the satisfaction of beating your own high score! Smilie)

So again, take some time to play different pinballs before selecting the right one for you.


There have been many Pinball Machine manufacturers over the years. Pretty much none of them exist today. STERN Pinball Inc. is the only company left manufacturing pinballs worldwide.

Update: A new player has entered into Pinball Manufacturing - Jersey Jack Pinball. Their first release will be The Wizard of Oz, and should be out before the end of 2012!

So for new pinball machines, you have a pretty limited selection.

The most well known brands are: Bally, Data East, Sega, Stern and Williams. These are also the machines that you will find parts easier to get for.

Bally  Data East Sega Pinball Inc. 

Stern Pinball Inc.  Williams

And for this reason, when you are buying a pinball, we recommend that you purchase one of the above brands. We have no affiliation to any of them, but being able to source the parts is half of the battle in repair.


When buying a Pinball, the choice is yours at the end of the day. Find something fun and enjoyable, but is also challenging. Make sure it has a theme you like, and is a machine that parts are available for.

When you combine all of these things together, you will have a great pinball that is well suited to your personality, as well as knowing that when it does break, it can be repaired.

Share this on...


Pinball Tips

Want to know how to open your pinball? Check out "Pinball Basics" for more information.

Twitter Feed

Social Networks

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

RSS News Feed

Facebook Friends