Owning a pinball machine was a childhood fantasy for me. I remember obsessing over a few at the local arcade. Pinball machines feel like a relic from the past, but much like vinyl records, they are making a comeback. So how much does it cost to buy a pinball machine?

New Pinball Machines

There are only two companies making pinball machines. Stern, based out of Chicago, was the only company for the last several years producing popular branding games like Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Avengers, Dark Night, and Spiderman. At the time of this blog post, they offer AC/DC, Metallica, and Star Trek for around $3500. The other company, Jersey Jack, opened in 2012 and offers machines with a new technology that has a very slick and futuristic feel to it. They only offer two games, The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit, for a whopping $8000. Alternatively, you can search for arcade and amusement stores in your area on Google which may offer some of the older Stern games in new condition. The advantage to buying a machine is that it will might offer discounted  a local store might offer discounted or free transport to your home.

Used Pinball Machinescost pinball machine how much

A good place to look for used pinball machines is on eBay or Craigslist. The advantage to Craigslist is that you can search locally and avoid the high cost of shipping the machine. There is a lot more variety of pinball machines on eBay, so that is better if you are looking for a specific game. There is a handy website called Bargain Pinball Machines that organizes eBay auctions based on price range or decade. For example, there is a $500-$1000 range and a $1000-$2000 range on the website which is a good spot to start to look for a good deal. You can find a decent game of the 90s for $2000 or less, and that's my recommendation for your first machine. The disadvantage of buying used pinball machines is trusting the seller about the condition. Most people don't know how to fix or inspect a game. If you do have experience repairing machines, you can get a very good deal on a "fixer upper" pinball machine typically under $500. There are also some very good online forums that allow collectors to publish classified ads for their games. Collectors usually will want a fair price for their machines, but the games are typically in very good condition because they have been handled with care. I suggest looking at Pinside, MrPinball, or posts on the rec.games.pinball (RGP) newsgroup.

Shipping

North-American Van Lines (NAVL) or Precision Transportation are the two most popular companies to ship a pinball machine. The total distance between parties will factor into the cost, but it usually falls between $300 and $400. It is cheaper to ship the machine with the legs off, but ends up being more work reassembling upon arrival. The game can also be transported in a crate with the legs attached which is typically the most expensive (but easiest to set up) choice. EBay auctions should have shipping estimates included, but it's always best to contact the seller with your location and get an accurate shipping estimate.

Conclusion

If you have the funds, I would order a new machine from Stern or purchase one from an arcade store in your area for approximately $3500. Otherwise, I would look on craigslist and eBay for a post 1990 machine in good condition for $1500-$2000. So what are you waiting for? Start your search for that perfect pinball and become the envy of all your friends.

SHAQ ATTAQ PINBALL MACHINE ARCADE GAME Lot 538
SHAQ ATTAQ PINBALL MACHINE ARCADE GAME Lot 538
$100.00
Time Remaining: 9d 1h 48m
Add to watch list
Black Knight Pinball Machine By Williams 1980 LEDs  Lots Of Extras WILL SHIP
Black Knight Pinball Machine By Williams 1980 LEDs Lots Of Extras WILL SHIP
$1,799.95
Time Remaining: 5d 6h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1,799.95
Add to watch list
Bally Amigo Pinball Machine 1974
Bally Amigo Pinball Machine 1974
$536.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 10h 58m
Add to watch list
Vintage 1979 Williams GORGAR the First Talking Pinball Machine Works Great
Vintage 1979 Williams GORGAR the First Talking Pinball Machine Works Great
$1,095.00
Time Remaining: 28d 7h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $1,095.00
Add to watch list
Vintage 1979 TIME WARP Pinball Machine in Great Working Order
Vintage 1979 TIME WARP Pinball Machine in Great Working Order
$995.00
Time Remaining: 28d 8h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $995.00
Add to watch list
Black Rose Pirates Pinball Machine Works 100 Plays  Looks Great
Black Rose Pirates Pinball Machine Works 100 Plays Looks Great
$2,875.00
Time Remaining: 6d 4h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $2,875.00
Add to watch list
MOTORDOME Pinball Machine Four Player By BALLYS Watch Video
MOTORDOME Pinball Machine Four Player By BALLYS Watch Video
$172.50 (18 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 25m
Add to watch list
FATHOM Pinball Machine BY BALLYS Watch Video
FATHOM Pinball Machine BY BALLYS Watch Video
$1,600.00 (26 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 54m
Add to watch list
Data East Simpsons Pinball Machine
Data East Simpsons Pinball Machine
$2,400.00
Time Remaining: 4d 7h 3m
Add to watch list
Zizzle Disneys Pirates of the Caribbean  Pinball Machine RARE Arcade SEE DES
Zizzle Disneys Pirates of the Caribbean Pinball Machine RARE Arcade SEE DES
$299.99
Time Remaining: 16d 8h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Add to watch list
1978 BALLY KISS PINBALL MACHINE
1978 BALLY KISS PINBALL MACHINE
$2,750.00
Time Remaining: 15d 18h
Buy It Now for only: $2,750.00
Add to watch list
1979 Williams Tri Zone Pinball Machine in Nice Shape Everything Works 100 COOL
1979 Williams Tri Zone Pinball Machine in Nice Shape Everything Works 100 COOL
$1,175.00
Time Remaining: 18d 16h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $1,175.00
Add to watch list