How to Find a Pinball Machine?
March 16, 2005 4:50 PM   Subscribe

After reading this metafilter thread, it occured to me that I would love to have a pinball machine in my rec room.

From what I can tell, the price range for a used (great condition) machine runs in the $3k-$5k range, which is way outside my budget (I could probably spend about $1,000). Is there a way to rent/leanse the machines cheaply for a year or so? Does anyone have experience with buying/renting pinball machines? Please share.
posted by chaz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Only the newest and most prized machines go for $3k-$5k. If you're willing to put in a little elbow grease, and can do basic soldering, there are a ton of really good looking and good playing machines out there in the $600 - $1500 range. Since amusement companies place machines in areas where the coin slots will get fed, rental prices are often prohibitive if you're talking about home use -- you'll want to buy something used.

Check out the Mr. Pinball site, which has advice on buying machines and features the best pinball classfieds on the net. That's where I found my Pin*Bot, which was the best $600 I've spent in my life.
posted by eschatfische at 5:10 PM on March 16, 2005

Just be careful, you get bored of them fairly quickly, then you have a large unplayed machine sitting there that simply holds drinks and misc material.

I've gone through this once myself and twice with friends. Best is to keep asking locally, I know a few people that'd be happy to get rid of their paperweight for $1,000.
posted by ix at 6:12 PM on March 16, 2005

I actually repair and restore pins as a hobby. (shameless self link here). I can offer you the following tips.

1. Know what you want. What games did you enjoy playing as a kid? Do like simple games where you just bat the ball around, or do you want a complex rule set that requires concentration to play?

2. Know what you want to spend. If you're budget is $1000, you should be able to buy a late model machine, no problem.

3. Realize that you will pay much higher prices for restored machines. If you're willing to get your hands dirty and learn a little about electronics, you can have a nice game reasonably inexpensively.

If you have more questions, go to and search for answers. Lots of noobs have come before you, wanting answers. The guys in that newsgroup are a great bunch, and depending on your geographic area, there will probably be one or two near by that you can schmooze with.

To research games, check out the internet pinball database.

If you want, email me at hoy at I'd be happy to answer other questions.
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:47 PM on March 16, 2005

I bought a pin fairly recently... my first. What I did was just to watch the local ebay listings and go check out the machines in person.

You should be able to find a late-80's/early-90's Williams machine in good condition for $1000 without too much trouble.
posted by ph00dz at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2005

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