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Are Pinball Machines A Good Investment? (Do They Hold Value)

I’m sure anyone reading this will be aware of the price of a pinball machine. For those that don’t know, they are expensive! Whether you are buying a new pinball machine, a used pinball machine, or even a “cheap” pinball machine, the cost is still high. 

Most people in honesty are either buying a pinball machine for personal use or to make a profit from it in an arcade or bar. Something many buyers do consider though is that for such a high price item, is it something that’s a good investment – especially in the long-term. 

In this article then, I’ll be covering the question “are pinball machines a good investment” and will consider the earning potential for them along with whether or not they hold value, or even rise in value over time. 

Are Pinball Machines A Good Investment

If you’re hoping to buy a pinball machine to sell it on further down the line for a profit, then you may want to rethink your strategy. Pinball machines are potentially one of the riskiest investments you could make, especially because their price tag is pretty hefty in the first place. 

Pinball machines are not considered a good investment. This is because they don’t have a good return on investment due to expensive maintenance costs, a high purchase price, and general depreciation over time. As they do not hold value, pinball machines are considered a risky and bad investment. 

While pinball machines do often hold their value, this can be heavily impacted if the pinball machine isn’t properly maintained. As time goes on, there may be a high chance that you won’t get in return what you paid for it, and therefore isn’t said to be a good investment. 

The price of the machine is likely to depreciate, and all in all, the investment in a pinball machine just seems like too much of a risk when compared to other assets, especially in the collectible or retro categories. . 

Do Pinball Machines Hold Their Value

To the average person, maintaining a pinball machine so that its value doesn’t decrease is unlikely.

If someone is highly experienced with pinball machines, including their history and upkeep, then the likelihood is that these people may be able to ensure that the pinball machine holds, or possibly even increases their value.

But if it’s just your way to try and make some big bucks, then chances are that it won’t be a wise decision.

If you actually want to play on the pinball machine, then it’s very unlikely to hold its value. Over time, the usage will cause the pinball machine to become less responsive, parts will suffer from wear and tear and overall, the pinball machine will depreciate in value. 

The rare exception will be if the pinball machine is a collectible item or for some reason gains popularity in the future. This situation can be almost impossible to predict but there is a chance that some specific machines can increase in value

For example, you could compare this to the mileage on a car. The more miles the car has done, the more problems you may start to have. So, with the pinball machine, if it’s being heavily used, its quality is likely to decrease, along with the value. 

Why Are Pinball Machines Expensive

As already stated, the risk of buying a pinball machine for investment is too risky. When you’re paying out this much for something, you’ll want the guarantee that its value will hold or increase and pinball machines are such a niche market that this just can’t be guaranteed. .

New pinball machines can range from anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. In some cases, used or older models may also be priced around here too. So, why are pinball machines so expensive?


Although pinball was popular prior to the 70s and 80s, it was during this video game craze that it became one of the most loved video games. Since then, it hasn’t been as popular, and so as the demand for pinball machines lessened, there aren’t as many around and they’ve become a rare item. 

Rare items can be extremely difficult to source, and when you do find them, they’re not short on the price tag. 

Spare Parts 

As they’re such a rare item, it, therefore, means that parts become a lot more difficult to find if anything goes wrong with them. Depending on the model, some parts may need to be custom-made, and this is harder to find than a few decades ago. 


The upkeep of the pinball machine can literally make or break it. 

If they’re not kept or stored properly, then you’re likely to have more issues with them. And again, you have the same issues with spare parts. Because of their rarity, there aren’t too many professional services around that offer maintenance, and the older it gets, the more upkeep the machine needs. 

How Can You Tell If A Pinball Machine Is Valuable

If you do decide that you really want to use a pinball machine as an investment, then you should know what makes them valuable. Certain factors will increase or decrease the machine’s value so it’s important to know so that you can fully understand if it’s worth the investment to you. 

Every machine is going to be slightly different, but here are some key things to look out for:


How new or old the pinball machine is will have an impact. The more it’s been used, the lower the value in general. This is because of wear and tear and depreciation. In some instances though, a used pinball machine can be more valuable due to rarity or a particular model or theme increasing in popularity. 

This can’t be predicted though so if you do own a pinball machine that suddenly increases in popularity, this is going to be down to pure luck so you can’t base this on a likelihood. 


The manufacturer that originally made a machine may not be around anymore, making the pinball machine rarer than others.


Whether you’re buying or selling, reputation and feedback are key. If you have a history of trusted buyers, then the newest buyer is more likely to trust your expertise. If they’re aware that the machine has been maintained well, it’s more valuable.


Every machine that’s ever been made and released will have copies all over the world, whether that’s thousands or just a few. The rarity and limited releases may increase the value, especially if a particular release is more in demand than others.


Like other video games, if there’s a popular demand, it’ll impact the value. For example, if there’s a particular model of a pinball machine that’s highly requested, its value will either hold or increase.

Final Thoughts

As pinball machines are such a high value item, there’s no denying that people will purchase these with half a mind on the investment potential and whether or not they will hold their value over time. 

Unfortunately, despite being a high value item, pinball machines do not hold their value over time and unless you are a collector, they offer minimal investment value. Investing in pinball machines is a rarity due to the poor return on investment and low potential for returns.

If you specialize in pinball machines and know how to keep them well maintained, there is a chance that a pinball machine could be a good investment (especially if you get a rare or collectible model) but for the average person, pinball machines are not considered to be good investments and will typically lose value over time.