Everything You Need to Know About Pinball Machine Rental

Everything You Need to Know About Pinball Machine Rental
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Everything You Need to Know About Pinball Machine Rental
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Everything You Need to Know About Pinball Machine Rental
Published on
February 2, 2023
Updated on
May 6, 2024
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So, you’re thinking of buying a pinball machine for your home. Perhaps you’ve been longing to hear its dings and clacks, or saw your favorite theme on a pinball machine at the local barcade. 

However, pinball machines are expensive, and you don’t know if it's worth the cost to buy one. Well, have we got the solution for you! As pinball has increasingly shifted from commercial buyers to home buyers, more pinball distributors and operators are starting to offer pinball machine rental options.

In fact, renting a game has been the practical choice for many pinball enthusiasts looking to get into the hobby or try a lot of games before committing to buying one. That said, some are in the dark about the ins and outs of renting this popular arcade game.

In this post we’ll explain everything you need to know about pinball machine rental, from how it works, the benefits of renting versus buying, and how to find local distributors and operators that rent out pinball machines. 

So, let’s get the pinball rolling!

Why Rent a Pinball Machine?

A pinball machine is an awesome piece of arcade machinery to have in the comfort of your own home. Freed from the constraints of having to pump in a dollar a play on location, you can live the dream of free play. Work on exploring the depths of the game's code, practice your flipper skills, or experiment with some new scoring strategies.

Sure, you can always buy a new or a used machine to accomplish the same things. However, renting could be a good choice if you're on a budget, want to try out a bunch of machines, or don't want to worry about maintenance.   

Let's explore the advantages of renting vs buying a pinball machine.

You Can Try Many Different Games

There are so many different pinball machines out there. There are new games from pinball manufacturers like Jersey Jack and Stern, there are classic machines from Bally and Williams, and all sorts of games in between. There are movie themed pins, and music themed pins, and wholly original games. There are flow games and control games and deep games and shallow games.

Buying a new machine will set you back thousands of dollars and if you want to swap it out, you’ll have to sell it first and then buy another one. Sure, some folks in the hobby buy new machines and rotate them very frequently in order to try a lot of games, but that's a lot of work! Renting one accomplishes the same thing, but will likely only cost you a few hundred dollars a month.

The point here is that you could try various pinball games without getting too invested. See if the machine you want suits your taste. If it doesn’t, then simply return it and try a different pinball theme as your provider allows. 

A Fun and Inexpensive Way of Spending Time With Your Friends and Family

Who among us isn't on the lookout for cheap and creative ways to spend time with friends and family? Renting a pinball machine is both cheap (relatively speaking, of course) and highly creative!

Having a family pinball night at home means you don't have to spend money on going out - no gas, no drinks, no food, no tokens or card top-offs. And if you have a killer game room setup, it can be a great addition to watching sporting events with friends or your regular hangs.

No Need to Worry About Maintenance

Another advantage of renting a pinball machine is that you don’t have to worry about upkeep and maintenance, which otherwise is a significant part of pinball ownership. Owning your machine means you need to learn how to fix it regularly, keep up with cleaning and maintenance, and set aside a budget for spare parts.

Remember that pinball is a sophisticated piece of electronic machinery. There are lots and lots of little moving parts that wear and break down. The time will come when you have to replace a few parts to keep the machine working. For example, you need to buy new pinballs or bulbs, or replace a set of playfield rubbers. 

It’s inevitable as well that you’ll have to repair the machine. Maybe a switch stops registering on the playfield somewhere, or the game starts kicking out multiple balls into the plunger lane, or you determine you need to do a complete rebuild of your flipper mechs. To do that, you’ll need a lot of specialty tools and equipment. Plus the extra space to store it all. Do you really want to buy all of that? Do you have the extra space to store it? Many don't!

If you rent your games, however, you can just call up your rental shop when something breaks, and let them handle the regular maintenance when you swap out or return your game.

How Much Does Renting a Game Cost?

Most places that rent pinball machines do so for a monthly fee, and that fee depends on factors like your location, the game's popularity, and demand in your local area.

Like most rental fees, newer games will be more expensive to rent than older machines. Same goes with more popular machines versus less popular ones.

Plan on spending anywhere between $200/month and $600/month to rent a pinball machine.

Sometimes distributors or operators will offer rental specials where you can get a deal, so be on the lookout for those (for example, a lower cost for a game that's been sitting around or a discount for a longer rental commitment).

How to Rent a Pinball Machine?

Renting a pinball machine is like renting a car. You just have to identify the brand, model, and theme you want. Some of the popular names to choose from are Stern Pinball Inc. and Jersey Jack Pinball for newer games and Bally or Williams for older games. 

Once you have the details, get in touch with a local distributor, or your local operator, and ask if they offer rentals. You can ask if the distributor has the machine you have in mind. And if they don't, see above benefit for renting a game - try something new/different! You never know what you'll wind up really liking.

After that, ask for a price quote and contract, and ask if there are any available deals or specials.

Finally, sign your rental agreement and pay whatever fee the provider requires before delivery. Most times, you won’t need to worry about a delivery fee as that is largely included as part of your rental fee.

How to Find Companies That Rent Arcade Games Near You

In case you’re wondering how to find arcade and pinball rental companies near you, then continue reading. 

Google It

Google is your friend. It's probably how you found this article. Use those Google-Fu skills and look for "pinball rentals near me", or "rent pinball machines in Boston" (just you know, change Boston for your city. Unless you also live in Boston. In which case, we should be friends). 


The pinball community is very present on Facebook. Try going to Facebook groups like Pinball Enthusiasts and asking if anyone rents games in your location. You may even find an ad on Facebook Marketplace if you search for "pinball rental".

Ask Around

If you have a favorite place to play pinball near you, ask around and see who operates the games. Many times they will be operated by a small business or fellow hobbyist and would be glad to talk about renting something from their game inventory. And if they don't rent games themselves, they'll probably know who does.

A few recommendations as a starting point - Bushey Brothers in Connecticut for the New England area, Wedgehead for the Portland, Oregon area, or Little Shop of Games in Florida.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it—everything you need to know about pinball rental. 

We learned that having fun with the pinball hobby doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. You could spend hours and hours playing rented pinball machines with your friends and loved ones. What’s more? Renting allows you to try various games cheaply until you find the perfect pinball for your family. 

Just remember that when you rent a pin, treat it as if it's your own. Taking care of it helps build your relationship with the game rental company and will help you grow your appreciation for the game.