Best Skee Ball Machine: Reviews, Buying Guide and FAQs 2022

by Mike Jones

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was convince my parents to take me to Chuck E. Cheese's so that I could play skee-ball. I loved playing that game - heck, I still do! That's why I was super excited when I realized that I could actually buy my very own home skee-ball machine for the basement game room.

Sounds pretty awesome, huh? That's cause it is! As an adult, I've been getting my skee-ball gaming on whenever I'm in a city that has a Dave and Buster's. But now, I can play whenever I want. If that sounds as awesome to you as it does to me, then let me help you relive those childhood memories by telling you how to get your very own skee-ball machine for home use. Below you'll see some of my recommended models as well as some tips on shopping for one of these.

Editor's Recommendation: Top Skee Ball Machines 2022

Top 8 Best Skee Ball Machines for the Money: Reviews 2022

To help make your decision just a little easier, our editors have taken the time to share some of their thoughts on the top skee-ball machines on the market. Check out their reviews below.

1. Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Skee Ball Table

 Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table
Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table

Looking for a skee-ball machine under $1000 that has a vintage skee ball machine look? If so, we highly recommend this model from Boardwalk. Keep reading our Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table Review to see what our editors like about this model.

As you can see in the image, it has a more old school look to it than the model reviewed up above. And this retro skee ball machine has a cheaper price than a lot of models on the market.

One positive feature of this model is that it weighs a LOT less than the model listed above. Since it is made out of MDF, the weight for this one comes in at just over 100 pounds!

You'll find that this one is a good option for younger kids since the balls are semi-soft instead of the traditional hard balls.

It's also important to note that this machine is not as long as the model reviewed above. In fact, it measures in at just over 8-feet in length!

2. BARRINGTON 10 Foot Roll and Score Game Set

BARRINGTON Roll And Score Game Set
BARRINGTON Roll And Score Game Set

If you're looking for an elegant skee ball machine for your home that won't break the bank, then check out this model. Keep reading for our Barrington Billiards Coventry Collection 10 Ft Roll and Score Skee ball Game review to see what our editors think about this one.

Like the MD Sports model above, we're crazy for the design of this modern looking wooden skeeball table from Barring Billiards.

And we love that it is priced so affordably. In fact, if you're shopping for a skeeball table in the under $800 - $1000 price range, then we think that this should be the first table that you consider adding to your home game room.

Don't let the classy look of this game scare you away - you can still have hours of fun on it. This table has a LED lights and an oak finish and rust-resistant metal legs to enhance any game room or basement. Built-in ball return, electronic scoring, and arcade sound effects will keep your family entertained for hours!

It does weigh in at around 200 pounds, so make sure that you have some friends around to help you move this thing once it arrives at your home.

3. Hall of Games 9ft Roll and Score

Hall Of Games 9ft Roll And Score
Hall Of Games 9ft Roll And Score

The Hall of Games Roll and Score Skee Ball machine is an awesome addition to any game room, man cave, or other gaming space. With LED lights built in, ABS scoring rings, and an automatic ball return, this skee ball machine will keep you and your family preoccupied with gaming fun for hours.

The Hall of Games Roll and Score features one solid piece of equipment with ½'' playing surface. Black PVC laminate and print graphics add to its visual appeal. With its vibrant LED lighting, engaging arcade sound effects, and push button controls with featured easy access, this skee ball machine brings the experience of a real arcade right to your home.

Clear, acrylic cover is also featured to prevent the ball from escaping. To ensure durability and long-term use, the ABS scoring rings are built to last. The table legs are built sturdily, featuring cross panel support for reinforcement. Four balls are included with the machine and with dimensions of 107 inches in length, 24.5 inches in width, and 75 inches in height, the Hall of Games Roll and Score will easily fit in most game rooms.

4. Fat Brain Toys Arcade Alley Ball

Fat Brain Toys Arcade Alley Ball
Fat Brain Toys Arcade Alley Ball

The Fat Brain Toys Arcade Alley Ball tabletop game is the perfect way to keep your children entertained for hours. Appropriate for kids ages 6 and up, with easy gameplay, a bright, colorful display, and easy assembly, this fun tabletop game will have your little ones begging to play again.

The Fat Brain Toys Arcade Alley Ball tabletop game allows children to sharpen spatial reasoning and improve hand-eye coordination, as well as concentration, all while enjoying the fun of a game. Children can play alone or in two-player mode. There are eight balls featured for loading the game's shooter. This tabletop version of the alley ball arcade game features an electronic scoreboard for easy score keeping and features a 3-foot-long track.

The product is 17.1 inches in length, 3.55 inches in width, and 13.3 inches in height. Batteries (3AAA) are required. Weighing only 2.8 pounds, the Fat Brain Toys Arcade All Ball tabletop game can be easily transported by your children.

Fat Brain Toys also confidently promises to create each of their toys with safety and quality at the forefront. Their toys have appeared on NBC's Today Show and ABC's Good Morning America.

EDITOR'S NOTE: These skee ball machines frequently go out of stock on Amazon and other similar machines will then be in stock. We do our best to keep this article updated with the latest products in stock. There around 10 different machines that rotate their stock quantity. This post was last updated September 2020.

5. Franklin Sports Whirl Ball Arcade Game - Link

Franklin Sports Whirl Ball Arcade Game - Game Room Ready Tool Free Arcade Game - Auto Scoring Electronics with Arcade Ball Return Ramp Great for Kids and Family Fun!
Franklin Sports Whirl Ball Arcade Game - Game Room Ready Tool Free Arcade Game - Auto Scoring Electronics with Arcade Ball Return Ramp Great for Kids and Family Fun!

The Franklin Sports Whirl Ball Arcade Game is one of the best value-for-money skee ball machines on the market. Primarily designed for kids but suitable to be played as a family, there is so much to love about it.

What we love about this machine is that it comes with a dedicated Auto Scoring electronic system that counts the score.

It comes with an automatic ball return ramp that brings the ball back to the direction it is facing. That way you can focus on the game and not have to worry about retrieving the balls after each round.

The machine has 5 scoring zones with different point values which adds a different layer of fun to the game.

As if that is not enough, the machine comes with foldable legs. As a result, you can easily fold the game for easy storage. Thereby, reducing how much space it carries in the house.

Highlighted Features

  • Game room ready out of the box. There is no need for special tools to assemble this arcade game machine. You can start playing immediately.
  • Features an electronic scoring system as well as arcade sounds to simulate the traditional arcade experience.
  • Ideal for kids but adults can also join in on the fun.
  • Easy to store.
  • More Scoring zones increase the level of difficulty of the game.
  • Comes with a timer for fair competition.
  • Automatically returns arcade balls after each round.

6. Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball - Link

Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball
Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball

With a dimension of 17.14 x 3.55 x 13.4, the Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley ball machine isn't just a game addition to your recreation or game room. It is also a stylish addition to the room thanks to its vibrant lighting system.

Made entirely of steel, this machine lets you play authentic alley ball! Only two players can play at a single time and it has a 36-inch playing surface (length).

It comes with an automatic scoring system to keep track of the scores. There is also a timer so that you and your friends can have a multiplayer game that is competitive while also being fair. The maximum setting you can set on the timer is 60 seconds.

Out of the box, it comes with a 36-inch long alley board as well as 8 steel balls. It also comes with an instruction manual to get you started.

NOTE: It does not come with batteries. You will have to purchase batteries separately.

One major issue users tend to have with this machine is that the balls tend to scatter because the net designed for this purpose is poorly designed and barely does its work correctly.

NOTE: This issue seems like a factory defect as it is not present in all machines. You just have to hope yours is fully functional and without defects.

Highlighted Features

  • The playing surface is 36 inches long.
  • Comes with a timer as well as a dedicated auto-scoring system.
  • Can be played by two players at a time.
  • Comes with a set of easy-to-follow instructions on how to assemble and play.

7. Lancaster 108 Inch Classic Arcade Roll and Score Machine Table - Link

Lancaster 108 Inch Classic Arcade Roll and Score Machine Table
Lancaster 108 Inch Classic Arcade Roll and Score Machine Table

If you are looking for a fun Skee ball machine playable by more than 2 players, the Lancaster 108 Inch classic Arcade Roll and Score Machine table would serve you well.

Made from wood and plastic, (wooden frame. Only the electronic part of the machine has a plastic component), this machine offers a fun way of spending the day with families and friends.

Playable by four players at the same time, the gameplay is highly competitive. Essentially, players have to roll their balls down the alley to get the balls to enter one of three bull's eye rings at the end of the machine.

It comes with arcade lights, an electronic scorer, arcade sound effects as well a push buttons to give you and your family an authentic arcade experience. The machine also comes with an effective ball return design so you and anyone playing can focus on having a competitive match without having to break strides to return balls to the starting line.

Highlighted Features

  • Made using premium plastic and sturdy wood.
  • The machine offers an authentic arcade experience thanks to its auto-scoring system, built-in automatic ball return feature, blacklight lighting system, and sound effects.
  • Up to 4 players can play at once.
  • Primarily designed for family game nights.

8. Skee-Ball Arcade Table Machine Game for Home Basement, Recreation Rooms - Link

Skee-Ball Arcade Table Machine Game for Home Basement Recreation Room - Deluxe Nostalgic Classic Family Fun of Roll and Score - Made in The USA
Skee-Ball Arcade Table Machine Game for Home Basement Recreation Room - Deluxe Nostalgic Classic Family Fun of Roll and Score - Made in The USA

This premium arcade machine features a sturdy and classic design that gives nostalgic feelings to avid skee ball fans.

Made in the USA, this machine is a perfect addition to any home game or recreational room. You can even place it in your garage, private jet, man cave, etc. Provided there is space enough for it, this machine would fit right in.

Highlighted Features

  • A fun game that can be played by the entire family
  • Nostalgic design for avid skee ball game fans
  • Easy to assemble and play
  • Compact design (with dimensions of 8.6 x 2 x 5.4 inches) means it can fit almost any room. Even a private jet!
  • Comes with detailed instructions on how to set it up and play.
  • Authentic arcade sounds, and a Digital Scoring system
  • Works both on electricity and batteries.

Buying Guide for the Best Skee Ball Machine

Things To Consider Before Buying
Things To Consider Before Buying

So, I've got you interested in adding one of these awesome skee ball machines to your family game room. Now, let's make sure that you get the perfect machine for the job by answering some of the questions below.

Who Is It For?

Are you a cool adult like me who is just buying one of these for yourself? Or do you have kids at home who will also be playing the game? If so, are these teenagers or younger kids? The reason that this is important is that you want to be sure that you choose something that is kid-friendly. Or, maybe you're buying one of these just for the kiddos - if that's the case, then you probably don't want to spend a fortune on one that teens and adults can enjoy.

Knowing who you're shopping for first will help you pick the perfect skee ball machine.

How Much Space Do You Have?

If you live in a small apartment, condo or townhouse, then I have some bad news for you - one of these is probably not gonna fit in your home. In case you haven't played one of these in a while, they are really long and take up a lot of space. You need a good sized family game room, a basement or a garage where you can put it. One average these things are close to 9-feet long and around 5-feet high in the back.

What's Your Budget?

If you've ever looked into buying an arcade cabinet, then you know what I'm about to say. Skee-ball machines for home use are not cheap. There are a couple of models that I've seen available under $1000 brand new, but the really nice machines will run you a few thousand dollars.

Should You Buy A Used Skee-Ball Machine?

Since the really nice models can be very expensive, you may want to consider buying yourself a used machine. You can look on your local Craigslist or eBay to find one. However, before you take this route keep in mind that you may need to call on an electrician or arcade repair person to give it some TLC, and that cost can also add up. So, we really do advise you to go with a brand new model when possible. But, if your budget can't afford it, then we suggest eBay as the place to start for second-hand skee ball machines.

History of Skee Ball Machines

Skee-Ball is a game with arcade roots, but is now used almost exclusively as an online or mobile app. The first Skee-Ball machine appeared around 1909, and was simply called 'Bowling' by its inventor Joseph Fourestier Simpson. Because of this, many people still refer to the game as 'bowling' Skee-Ball. Since its creation the game has been constantly improved and changed into what we know today: A tall structure that holds ten pins at the bottom, and a ramp that sends a ball up to roll down said ramp and knock down as many pins as possible. At least four balls can be purchased per game.

The first known video game version of skee ball appeared in 1976 for the arcade game called 'Killer Ball'. The inventor of the game did not receive royalties for his invention, and was instead credited in the game's manual. Surprisingly, this version did not become very popular.

The modern Skee-Ball machine (pictured above) was invented by Jon A. Bohmer, who patented it in 1998 (along with Ralph Iskaros and David K. Low). The most popular Skee-Ball app, called 'Skee Ball [$1.99]', is available for the iOS platform.

This game was also created and patented by Jon A Bohmer in 1994 (along with David Gomberg). It has many similarities to skee ball, but is played on a flat surface, using small balls. It can be found in carnivals and arcades around the world under various names (Skeeball, Skill Ball, Alley Ball, etc...).

Different Types of Skee Ball Machines

Skee Ball is a carnival type game that consists of a ball ramp and nine numbered wooden rings along the length of one or more lanes. The object of the game is to roll balls up the lane and into each hole, earning points according to where the balls lands.

Different types of Skee Ball machines: Standard Skee Ball : The most common type of Skee Ball machine. There are three lanes in a standard game, with a score counter at the end of each lane.

Classic Skee Ball

A standard Skee Ball machine with special features such as additional lanes and/or balls per player. Nine-Skeeball is an example of this.

Nine-Skeeball

A standard Skee Ball machine with nine lanes. This is sometimes called "Roller Bowler" or just "Bowling".

Single Lane Skee Ball

A very rare type of Skee Ball machine that only has one lane, but three players can play at the same time. The score counter for this game is located on top of the mainframe.

Bumper Skee Ball

A more recent development, bumper games are designed primarily to attract younger players and others new to arcade games by providing a lower level of difficulty.

Miniature Skee Ball Machine

These Skeeball machines are smaller than regular ones and usually made of plastic instead of metal. They also need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

Each different type of game has its own unique quirks and challenges, but the bones of each game are essentially the same. Nine wooden rings (numbered ones) hang along one or more lanes. The player rolls a ball up an inclined lane with the hopes that it will land in one of those nine holes along its length. The first ring is worth ten points, the second ring twenty-five and so on until the ninth and final ring is worth 75 points. Every player gets three balls per turn and continues until all nine rings have been scored. Then a new set of holes begin with a lower point value (usually 1 - 9).

The object of the game is to score as many points as possible. In all types of Skee Ball, a perfect game is 300 points, which is generally considered unattainable, but some games have been able to achieve a score of 250 or higher.

How to Set Up and Use Your Skee Ball Machine

Prepare Your Playing Area

This step is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure there are no obstacles in the way of where you plan on putting your Machine. Also make sure that there is enough space for everyone to play at once, and that you're only shooting the balls into safe zones (such as places with padding, or areas you can easily sweep up the balls).

Know Your Machine

This step is pretty important, make sure you know exactly what parts come with your Machine. You usually get a ramp for rolling down balls, two holders on the sides of the ramp to place pins in, and one or two holes on the front where the pins are to shoot the balls up.

Install Your Pins

This step is pretty self-explanatory, just push the pins into the holes on the front of your machine so you can shoot them onto your ramp. Make sure to tighten them with a screwdriver if they are too lose. Note : these are not supposed to be shot at with any force, if you do so they will break.

Put the Balls In

These are usually stored inside of your machine, you should be able to find a door or something similar that lets you to get them out. Note : You can't put all 6 balls in there or else it won't shoot any, 3 is usually the max.

Prepare for Launch

When you are ready to shoot, place your balls by the ramp so they are ready to roll down when you press the button.

Shoot Away

When everyone is ready, press the button on your machine that launches the balls towards your pins. This will be different for each machine, but you'll figure it out pretty fast if you didn't see a guide. Good luck!

The Benefits of Playing a Skee Ball Machine

Skee ball is a classic game that has been around for centuries. It is a simple, yet fun game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. While it may not be as popular as it once was, skee ball machines are still a great way to have fun and relieve stress. Here are some of the benefits of playing a skee ball machine:

It's a great way to relieve stress

Skee ball is a great way to relieves stress. Throwing the balls and hitting the targets can help you take your mind off of your worries and focus on something else.

It's a great workout

Playing skee ball is also a great workout. You'll get your heart rate up and burn some calories while you're having fun.

It's a great way to socialize

Skee ball is a great way to socialize with friends and family. It's a fun game that can be enjoyed by everyone.

So, if you're looking for a fun and exciting way to spend your free time, consider playing a skee ball machine. You'll have a blast and you'll reap all of the benefits listed above. Thanks for reading!

Fun Ways to Play Skee Ball With Friends and Family

Skee Ball. If you have never played before, it is a fun game where players roll balls at large bowling pins to see how many points they can score. The name of the game came about because even though the early version of the game used holes instead of pins, players said that rolling the ball along the ground reminded them of the motion of skeet shooting.

The original game is very simple. Players buy balls, which are numbered 1-10. The number on the ball determines how many points you get if you score a strike (all pins knocked over in one throw). The pin setter puts each pin up based on its value before players take their turns. If you knock down all ten pins with your first ball, you get 100 points. If you knock them all over with your second ball, it is worth 90 points, and so on until 10 points for your last ball.

It's great when playing the game just to practice aim and see how many balls it takes to score a strike. More points are awarded for strikes with all numbers, which is known as a turkey. You can set up your pins in different ways to make the game harder or easier, depending on the players' level of skill. For example, you can place three pins close together and seven others spread apart for an easy target challenge.

You can play a large version of the game at carnivals and arcades. The pins are set up on a slanted platform, which makes scoring even more challenging.

FAQs about Skee Ball Machines

Who is a Skee ball machine for?

Hearing a lot about Skee Ball machines but you are not quite sure if you should buy one? Read on, we got you covered.

First things first; buying a Skee Ball machine is a no-brainer if you are a big fan of Skee ball. However, this does not mean you can't purchase one as a casual.

Having a personal skee ball machine means you get to play the game anytime you want, thus developing more interest in the game itself. One thing to consider when buying a skee ball machine is that they come in different types: there are skee ball machines for adults as well as for kids.

Asides from buying the machine for your personal use, they are also very good gift ideas especially if you have an adult friend that particularly loves the game.

How long is a typical Skee Ball Machine?

Skee Ball Machines comes in different length. That said, the main thing to consider when buying one is how much space you have in your room.

Do you have a dedicated recreation or games room? Can you comfortably walk, stand, or even perform other activities once the machine is in the room?

These are very important questions to ask yourself before deciding how long you want your skee ball machine to be.

Most Skee Ball Machine sizes range between 10 x 2 feet or 8 x 2 feet.

How much does a Skee ball machine cost?

Saving up for your Skee Ball machine but not quite sure how much it would cost? Well, the actual cost of any skee ball machine depends on several things.

Regardless of how much you have, there is always a Skee Ball machine for you. Mostly the price of a Skee Ball machine depends on the quality of the machine. Sometimes it also depends on the number of features the machine has as well as the brand you are buying from.

Hence, you can find Skee Ball machines as cheap as $50. And, you can also find machines as expensive as $500. The most important thing is to identify whether or not the machine offers the best value for money.

Is an Electronic Scoring system important in a Skee ball machine?

This is one of the unique features that determine how expensive a Skee ball machine is. As a result, not all models have it since it add a new level of versatility to the machine.

For most machines, you have to manually keep track of the scores. While this is not overly a bad thing, it can quickly get tiring. Apart from that, it can also lead to errors.

A machine with an electronic scoring system, on the other hand, eliminates this issue so you can fully focus on the game being played. Apart from that, machines with an electronic scoring system also come lighting system as well as arcade sounds that adds another rich layer of enjoyment to the game.

That said, there are instances where having an electronic scoring system isn't that important. For instance, if you play the game alone, you don't necessarily have to keep scores and you can just play for as long as you want. In this case, you are not getting the best value for money by purchasing a machine with LEDs and an electronic scoring system.

Can Kids Play Skee Ball?

Of course, they can! Not just that, there are skee ball machines specifically built with children in mind. They have small sizes and mostly comes with arcade sounds and a lighting system to keep kids occupied and engaged. That is not to say kids can't play on any type of Skee ball machine.

For instance, if you are an avid fan of the game, you can buy a machine and introduce your kids to the game. If they take to it, the game can quickly become a favorite family pastime that you all play and enjoy together.

Buy them at Walmart, eBay, Etsy (limited quantity)

Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table for Family Game Rooms with LED Track Lighting, - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Barrington Billiards Roll and Score Game Set, 10' - Vintage Games for Arcades, Fairs, - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Barrington Billiards 130 Inch Premium Roll and Score Game, burgundy/black - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Hathaway Hot Shot 8-ft Arcade Ball Roll and Score Machine Table with LED Electronic - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Hall of Games 108" Roll and Score Game, Brown/Black, 9 Foot - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Hathaway Boardwalk 8-ft Arcade Ball Table - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Skee Ball Machine Buyers

Skee ball is a simple arcade or carnival game in which players aim to score points by rolling balls up an inclined playfield and into certain scoring zones. The name of the game comes from its early practice of having players use an actual skee (or skai) board, upon which the player would jump with one foot to propel the ball up the board. In modern play, a player rolls a skee ball up an inclined playfield from one end to the other, with scoring zones marked along the way. The score is tallied by how many of these zones are successfully traversed.

So, if you are looking for the best skee ball machine on the market, we highly recommend checking out the ones that we have listed above. Not only do they provide hours of fun and excitement for everyone in your family, but they are also built to last. With these machines, you will be able to enjoy this classic arcade game right in the comfort of your own home.

About Mike Jones

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family."

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