Best Pinball Machine: The Complete Reviews Guide

best pinball machine

So you've decided you want to bring some arcade fun into your home by getting yourself the best pinball machine of all time.

Before you jump right in and make that investment, there are quite a few factors to consider first and knowing exactly what it is you want is vital to avoid making a purchase that doesn’t quite fit your needs.

Within our complete guide to finding the best pinball machine ever we’ve reviewed the top products and brands on the market and will discuss what to look out for during your search.

Now, read on and let us clarify any unanswered questions you may have, so you can go on to start having fun from the comfort of your own home with the best pinball machine.


Our Top Picks on Pinball Machines


Different Types


Pinball machines come in various shapes and sizes, and many differ within the operation of the machine, which can be split into 3 generations.

Knowing what type of play appeals to you most will really help narrow down your search and make your decision on the best pinball machines ever, a lot easier.

The rest, is mainly down to your personal tastes and style, are you looking for something nostalgic or something new and innovated?

To help you understand the different types of machines available, here’s a breakdown.


Electro-Mechanical (EM) Machines


Primarily any pinball machines produced up until around 1978. These relay-based machines are operated by a score motor and stepper units.

These are the oldest available and have proven to be very durable and long lasting with many still functioning without issues today, however with many mechanical parts to this type, ensuring it is regularly maintained and used is very important to avoid any problems.

This classic machine is a great option for anyone who is looking to recreate any nostalgic childhood memories.


Solid State (SS) Versions


Electronically operated machines and were designed and sold during approx. 1975 and 1990. The next step up from the EM type, this version has been computerized and by introducing the use of microprocessors this type was a big leap forward.

With the score being displayed electronically and your typical 90's animation picture, pinball machines grew in popularity thanks to their digital effects, sound and more complex rules.


Dot Matrix Display (DMD) Machine


The newest type of pinball machines and these solid state machines typically come with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a game produced in the digital age. They come with a display that keeps score and shows low-resolution video.

Available since around the 1990's this version was made with more modern features and unique lighting, sounds and music, making these the most popular choice nowadays for avid gamers.


Many people will make their choice of what type of pinball machine they want based on the games each version works with. To get a better understanding of they type you need, think about what games you wish to play and what machine type is compatible.

If you're looking for nothing in particular and wish to play a mix of old games and new, the Solid State and Dot Matrix would be your best choices.

best pinball machines of all time

Different Brands


As always, a great brand can give you a very clear indicator as to the quality of the products they produced. Whether they are an up and coming new company or a leading brand on the market, understanding what each brand can bring is another good approach to take.

Also factoring in customer ratings, reviews and feedback, we have chosen just a few of the best brands around.


Stern Pinball


Stern Pinball is a unique brand who specialize in innovative products for hardcore gamers. You can't search for pinball machines without being shown a whole host of machines produced by Stern.

This is one of the last leading brands in arcade style games they have a large choice of commercial and consumer pinball games, as well as parts and accessories.

For a wide variety of reasons this is a definite go-to brand and most of the best pinball machines for money will be from Stern.


Sega Pinball Inc.


Sega has a very interesting history. Sega existed during the 1990s and lasted until about 1999 when the assets were sold to Gary Stern.

If you see any machines branded Sega you will be getting all the great features you will find in the Stern products but with all the more classic aspects to them.

One of the best features of the Sega brand is that they were one of the first to design pinball machines based on films being released at the time. This paved the way for gamers to be able to play their favorite game based on some of their favorite movies of all time.


Bally Entertainment


This professional and amateur pinball association are one of those brands that is all about pinball! They pride themselves on creating and promoting some of the world's best products and encourage casual and friendly competition for pinball enthusiasts.

If you're looking for more from a brand than just to purchase a great pinball machine for home then Bally would be a great choice for anyone who is all consumed by their favorite pastime.


Although there are many more brands we can discuss, all of which have unique approaches to their brand and produce great products, the ones mentioned have some of the best customer ratings, great feedback and have become the most popular brands on the market.

Now we can move onto the best pinball machines for home available and get you one step closer to making your decision.


Top 5 Pinball Machine


If you have ever search for pinball machines you will see that there is an endless amount available and all have completely different features and benefits, and so here though we will simplify the great, from the not so great.

Our picks have been chosen based on some of the key aspects mentions such as reviews, ratings and performance. And remember, as always when it comes to Pinball machines it all boils down to your personal tastes.


Stern Game of Thrones Pinball Machine - Limited Edition


Stern Game of Thrones Pinball Machine (Limited Edition)

This pinball machine has been designed with Constructed Using Heavy Duty Powder Coated Steel And Plywood making this a very durable choice.

All the fun of your favorite game with the highly rated TV series Game of Thrones, this machine features A Motorized Animated Interactive Dragon and 7 color changing LED lights.

Some of the other great features of this machine are the latching Lockdown Bars, its Highly Efficient Power Supply, and its adjustable 3-Channel Bass and Stereo system so you can get that impressive arcade sound at home.


Stern Pinball Metallica LED Pro Arcade Pinball Machine


Stern Pinball Metallica LED Pro Arcade Pinball Machine

Stern have produced an exciting pinball machine with their Metallica Pro Machine.

Reflecting the high energy and rock elements that are associated with Metallica, Stern have paid a lot attention to detail to emulate the rock aspect to this pinball machine.

With twelve classic Metallica tracks, and all ramps being made with stainless steel, stern have gone to great length to imitate the bands rock image and give you an enhanced experience.

Hardcore Metallica fans have gone wild over this pinball edition and with all the details it's no wonder why.


Stern Pinball WWE WrestleMania Arcade Pro Edition Pinball Machine


Stern Pinball WWE WrestleMania Arcade Pro Edition Pinball Machine

Another great pinball machine made by Stern is their WWE WrestleMania edition.

Work to becoming a worldwide heavyweight champion by training your choice of wrestler and competing.

This childhood favorite of many comes with 3-channel stereo and a great LED light show.

This pinball machine also comes with the new SPIKE system, which basically uses less energy and generates less heat during operation. If you love WWE then this edition is a great option for you.


Stern Pinball Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball Machine


Stern Pinball Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball Machine

With the GhostBusters pinball machine you will be laughing and having fun the entire game, highlighting the films humor at every stage.

This is an all-round favorite for many, and this classic film serves a great story line to play along with.

Amazingly, this edition comes with custom speech by original ghostbusters cast member, Ernie Hudson, to really take you back to childhood memories of watching the film.

Coming with all the modern features you would expect, the appearance of this machine is a great bonus, having hand drawn art by renowned illustrator Jeremy Packer.


Stern Metallica Monster Premium Pinball Machine


Stern Metallica Monster Premium Pinball Machine

We had to mention this pinball machine thanks to its unique features in comparison to most available.

This game comes with an installed shaker motion to really give all your senses a shock and give you the ultimate gaming experience.

It can be set to set to free play or coin play and adjustable volume and game difficulty, so as your gamer level increases you can increase the difficulty level.


The Next 5 Best Pinball Machines


They were our top 5 however as you can imagine there are many many more products available to chose from that are bound to get your interest. Here are the next best 5 products.


Stern Marvel Spiderman Pinball Machine


Stern Marvel Spiderman Pinball Machine

The Stern Marvel Spiderman Pinball Machine is bound to be many peoples favorite. Marvel is a great franchise and this pinball machine is no different.

This comic based game comes with 4 villains, 3 multiballs and full color LED display.


Stern Pinball KISS Arcade Pinball Machine (Pro Edition)


Stern Pinball KISS Arcade Pinball Machine (Pro Edition)

Stern Pinball KISS Arcade Pinball Machine, Pro Edition comes with some of Kiss's best songs such as, 'Deuce', 'Hotter Than Hell', 'Lick It Up', 'Shout It Out Loud', 'Detroit Rock City', 'Calling Dr. Love', 'Rock and Roll All Night', 'Love Gun', 'Love It Loud', and 'Black Diamond'.

If you are a fan of KISS this is definitely going to appeal to you.


Stern Pinball Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons Arcade Pinball Machine


Stern Pinball Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons Arcade Pinball Machine

Stern Pinball Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons Arcade Pinball Machine is a classic retro game.

If your looking for a colouful, easy to follow game that all the family can enjoy, then this farm based game is a great pick.


PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Can Crusher Pinball Machine


PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Can Crusher Pinball Machine

PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) Can Crusher Pinball Machine is another retro pinball game.

With great Music from Red Fang and art by Dirty Donny Gilies this is a great addition to any games room. An updated version of the hit Whoa Nellie!

This pinball machine comes with stylised backglass and impressive graphics.


Stern Pinball Star Trek Premium Arcade Pinball Machine


Stern Pinball Star Trek Premium Arcade Pinball Machine

Stern Pinball Star Trek Premium Arcade Pinball Machine has to be mentioned for all the Star Trek fans.

This game comes with 7 multicolored LED paths on color-coded routes with 6 missions which transition to more difficult skill leveled games.

Inspired by the films this game will appeal to all trekkie fans.


Buying Guide


Taking everything we have discussed into consideration there is no reason you can't find the best of the best products out there. 


Conclusion


Finding a great pinball machine isn't easy by any means, with price range, size and game compatibility all being factors to consider it's no wonder things can get a little overwhelming.

Be sure to consider the type and brand you like, even take into consideration the noise levels you need, especially for a home games room. If you consider all the aspects discussed you are sure to find the best pinball machine for you.

Overall, it primarily comes down to your style, taste and preferences. With our top picks of the best pinball machines to own on the market you are bound to find one to your liking, here, today.

For advice and tutorials on how to clean, polish, and wax a pinball playfield, watch the YouTube video below.

About the author

Mike W

Welcome to Homegameshub.com I have always enjoyed a variety of games at home. As a child, I played on the trampoline, in our above ground swimming pool and absolutely loved Ping Pong. This obsession with games has continued and now I am sharing my experiences so you too can benefit from a wide variety of home games.