Best Pinball Machines For Home Use (2018): Awesome Stern Systems To Own

Best Pinball Machines For Home Use

The best pinball machines are marvels of engineering, execution, and ingenuity. They represent the peak of game design, and are often the highlight of the arcade.

Most pinball machines that you can buy for your home are cheap, chintzy kids toys. They aren’t nearly as interesting, elaborate, or reliable as the systems you’ll find at your favorite bar or commercial gameroom.

Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the best pinball machines you can buy. We’ll explain why there are so few high-end models available to the consumer, and recommend a few for passionate home players.

PictureProduct NameProduct InformationCost
Stern Pinball Star Wars Arcade Pinball Machine, Pro Edition Star Wars Arcade Pinball Machine Pro Edition • Star Wars theme • Weight: 250 pounds $$$
Stern Pinball Aerosmith Pro Arcade Pinball Machine Stern Aerosmith Pro Arcade Pinball Machine • Aerosmith theme • Weight: 210 pounds $$$
Stern Pinball Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball Machine Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball Machine • Ghostbusters theme • Weight: 210 pounds $$$

Why’s It So Hard To Find A Decent Pinball Machine For Home Use?

Pinball machines are some of the most complicated gadgets ever created. Like a Rube Goldberg machine that’s playing against you, they have dozens of features, tricks and traps built in to create a challenging game. As such, they’re quite expensive to design and manufacture properly. That’s why there’s such a vast gap between the toy models, which are extremely cheap and easy to beat, and the commercial-grade models, which are massive, complex, and expensive.

Since they require so much energy to produce and demand a price tag most people can’t afford, it’s no wonder that only a few manufacturers are in the business of making high-end pinball machines!

Best Pinball Machines For Home Use: Our Reviews For 2018

We think that Stern makes the best high-end pinball machines on the market at the moment. Granted, there’s fairly slim competition. That’s not to discount the quality of their designs and builds, though! Stern pinball machines are designed and built entirely in the USA. They have an insane degree of quality control, and have come up with some really fun designs. You can find Stern serious with Game Of Thrones themes, Metallica soundtracks, and practically anything else you can imagine.

Here are some of our favorite Stern pinball machines being sold today:

Star Wars Arcade Pinball Machine Pro Edition

Stern Pinball Star Wars Arcade Pinball Machine, Pro Edition

Click for Price

The Stern Star Wars Pro Edition is a classic in the pinball collector’s community. It’s based on the original trilogy, and offers the chance to play as several of the main characters and visit all the key scenes from the movies. It combines the best of old and new, with hand-drawn artwork and accompanying animations on an HD display. The best thing is the sound, though. The Star Wars soundtracks are unmatched, and here they’re on a high-end stereo system with adjustable levels. The 3D Death Star is also a highlight, with its LED lasers that shoot across the playing surface.

Stern Aerosmith Pro Arcade Pinball Machine

Stern Pinball Aerosmith Pro Arcade Pinball MachineClick for Price

Aside from movies, the most common themes for high-end pinball machines are bands, particularly classic rock bands. This Aerosmith machine is a perfect example of the genre, and the best we’ve reviewed. The hi-fi soundsystem is preloaded with 9 classic hits, and the hand-drawn art across the playing surface features all the band members and classic albums. There are lots of neat plays on song titles, too, such as the 3D elevator for “Love In An Elevator” and the Jacky-In-The-Box from Toys In The Attic.

Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball Machine

Stern Pinball Ghostbusters Pro Edition Arcade Pinball MachineClick for Price

This Ghostbusters machine is one of Stern’s best, as far as we’re concerned. It has a great mix of new & modern features. They also managed to rope one of the original cast members into doing some narration! Jeremy Packer’s art is stellar, and the gameplay is always interesting thanks to the moving slime target which shifts around as you go through the maze. We think this one is a perfect encapsulation of what a great pinball machine can be!

Why You Should Buy A Premium Pinball Machine For Your Home Gameroom

They last for decades. Pinball machines might have a lot of moving parts, but the high-end models are designed to be used by hundreds of people per day in arcades. You don’t need to worry about your system every wearing out in home use!

They’re limited-edition collectors items which appreciate in value. The great pinball machines are made in limited quantities (usually fewer than 500 units). So, owning one is a special thing. If you decide you’re done with yours years down the line, you can plan on being able to sell it for a profit.

They’re interactive art installations. Any great pinball machine is the product of a collaboration between ingenious engineers and a creative artist who put tons of time and effort into the concept, the art, and the soundtrack. A truly excellent pinball machine is much more than a game. It’s an immersive experience.

They’re just plain fun. There’s a reason pinball machines are in every arcade in the world. Other games come and go, but there’s something timeless and engaging about the way these mechanisms work that keeps us coming back year after year.

Why You Might Want To Reconsider

Pinball machines aren’t great for groups, though you can certainly choose between users on any decent model. You’re still going to be looking at a situation where one person is playing and others look on. Most other gameroom gear is a more immediate competition.

A high-end pinball machine is also extremely expensive–moreso than anything else you can buy for your gameroom. They’re even pricier than high-end air hockey tables! Unless you absolutely know you can afford one and get your money’s worth, you may want to think again about buying one of these.

Pinball machines are also limited by nature. They have a set number of paths and obstacles, which don’t change the more you play. Eventually, you’ll figure out how to beat the game. Compare that to table tennis or air hockey, where the game never stops ramping up as players become more and more skilled. That’s when your pinball machine stops being your personal obsession and starts becoming a showpiece for guests and a collector’s item.

What’s Next

To see more pictures of any of the models we’ve recommended above, as well as current prices, all you have to do is click on the links in our reviews!

You can also head over to our homepage to check out the rest of our buying guides.