Lifting a pinball machine is no easy task. If you’re hoping to move one of these classic gaming giants into your designated game room, it’s highly recommended that you enlist the help of some friends. Or start taking your strength training a little more seriously.
But how much does a pinball machine weigh exactly? The average pinball machine weighs between 250 to 300 pounds (113.40kg to 136.1kg). It’s important to note that the weight of a pinball machine may vary depending on whether it’s an electro-mechanical or solid-state model.
Electro-Mechanical Pinball Machines
The average pinball machine measures 29 inches wide, 76 inches tall, and 56 inches deep (73.66cm x 193.04cm x 142.24cm) and weigh slightly on the heavier end between 300 to 350 pounds (136.1kg to 157.76kg).
Machines that were manufactured in the ‘70s and ‘80s are often heavier than those made in later decades due to the complexity of their internal components. Remember, this is a time when computers were still massive and boxy. In order to function, many older pinball machines had to rely on a series of relays, switches, and actuators to create sounds, synchronize lights, keep score of points, and so on.
These components are located beneath the playfield, taking up a lot of space and resulting in a higher overall weight. Older pinball machine models also generate significantly more heat than their solid-state counterparts due to the amount of electricity it has to use to power its components.
Some older pinball machines even had small working motors in them to help keep track of specific output timers and sequences, only adding to the machine’s overall weight.
Mechanical pinball machines, in contrast to newer solid-state models that came after, require a lot more maintenance and repair. A common problem associated with older models overheating was that, over time, relays could burn out due to circuit arcing.
If you happen to collect older pinball machine models and happen to smell burning, do your best not to have the machine plugged in around the clock so that it doesn’t wear down as often.
Solid-State Pinball Machines
Pinball machines from the late ‘80s and ‘90s tended to weigh less on average than their predecessors. This is because their internal computer systems are far more compact and require less space beneath the playfield.
There isn’t any need for relays or actuators because the central computer system can play sounds, power on lights and keep timers digitally without the need of old-fashioned series and switches.
Not only are solid-state pinball machines a lot lighter than electro-mechanical pinball machines, but they are also a lot cooler because they don’t require as much electricity and are able to process outputs more efficiently due to their digital nature.
In terms of measurements, these machines also average the same dimensions as most electro-mechanical pinball machines and can be found on the lighter end averaging between 225 to 250 pounds (102.06kg to 113.4kg).
The Effect of Machine Components on Weight
Pinball machines are very intricate and complicated, both above and below the playfield. There are a lot of moving parts and elaborate decorations that can affect the overall weight and size of the machine. Pinball machines can have multiple flippers, several bumpers, a wide range of playfield targets, ramps, gates, stoppers and so on.
Pinball machines are designed with certain themes in mind, which means the layout of playfields can vary drastically. There are different types of targets available, such as those that are stationary, bullseye targets, drop targets, kicking targets, and vari-targets which all affect the overall weight of the machine.
The inclusion of toys and magnets can also be sourced as a variable of pinball machine weight. While toys have no effect on the actual playfield, and are typically decorative, its obvious that the amount there is can cause the overall weight to vary.
Electromagnets, which can often be included to make pinball movement unpredictable, adds a significant amount of weight due to the attached electrical motor required to power the component.
How big and how much does the actual pinball weight?
The actual pinball itself weighs approximately 2.8 ounces (80 grams) and is 1-1/16 inches (27mm) in diameter. In order to keep up with overall machine health and maintenance, it’s highly suggested that the pinballs be inspected occasionally for rust and residue build-up. Pinballs that aren’t perfectly smooth or rusty can result in unnecessary wear and damage done to the pinball machine’s playfield and steel tracks.
Pinballs are inexpensive and can easily be reordered online, often in bulk. It’s also highly recommended to remove the pinballs from the machine when moving it to avoid any unnecessary damage. Removing the pinballs before moving the machine can also avoid the balls from accidentally getting stuck inside.
Size by Brand
During the height of the pinball machine and arcade craze, there were several manufacturers that produced these fun games. From Alvin G to Zaccaria, the size of pinball machine playfields varied, albeit often by a lot. The standard pinball machine playfields measured 20.25 inches by 42.00 inches (52.20cm x 106.68cm).
The Gottlieb System 80 was one of the few pinball machines that had a larger playfield, measuring 26.75 inches by 46.50 inches (67.95cm x 118.11cm) long. As a result, these particular models were on the heavier end of the spectrum due to their larger capacity for internal components.
On the smaller end in terms of size, you can find WMS WPC that measured an adorable 16.50 inches wide by 41.50 inches (41.91cm x 105.41cm), a thinner model in comparison to other pinball machines found at the time.
Headboards and Backglass
A pinball machine’s headboard and backglass contribute to the machine’s overall weight. The purpose of the headboard is ultimately decorative, intended to draw in the eyes of potential gamers with flashing lights and brightly colored title banners. While the backglass itself isn’t incredibly heavy, the frame that holds it in place definitely is.
It’s important to note that it can be rather difficult to replace the backglass of older pinball machine models because it was commonplace for title banners to be hand painted. Unless you happen to be skilled in painting restoration, the likelihood that you will be able to find an identical replacement is incredibly difficult.
The headboards on most pinball machines are actually attached by hinges to the base in case it needs to be folded back for easier shipment, which is good news for you if you have to navigate tight corners or narrow door frames to move the machine.
Novelty Pinball Machines
For those retro gaming enthusiasts that aren’t looking for a big pinball machine to take up a lot of space, there are novelty pinball machines currently available on the market. Miniature replica pinball machines are available sites like Amazon and offer an adorable alternative to the classic game.
These mini pinball machines certainly aren’t as intricate as their original versions but are a lot lighter to carry around for a bit of fun. Some of these novel pinball machines can be lifted in the palm of your hand!
From a historical standpoint, pinball machines actually have a great deal in common with common outdoor lawn games such as croquet or gold. The first versions of pinball required hitting a ball with a stick to hit specific targets, with obstacles in the way to make the game more difficult. It was only in the 1700s that this lawn game was transformed into a table-top game, turning into some of the first versions of the standard pinball machine as we know it today.
On average, the dimensions of pinball machines tend to be incredibly uniform, and their familiar four-legged design is instantly recognizable. Whether you’ve found yourself a solid-state pinball machine or an electro-mechanical pinball machine, these fun arcade games are not easy to lift without the help from friends.
If you’re hoping to move a pinball machine that isn’t as heavy, a solid-state pinball machine is probably your best bet. If you happen to get your hands on a machine manufactured in the ‘70s and ‘80s, be sure to lift with your legs and not your back!