Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: February 26, 2021
Rec Room Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
In this digital age, it’s not surprising to find family members—in the same room— glued to their gadgets and not talking to each other. Even toddlers aren’t exempted! Granted, this might polish up your tech skills, but what happened to actual human interaction? Are you looking for fun ways to initiate family bonding time that entails interaction? Purchasing the best skee ball machine is a great start. And get this: you can all enjoy this fascinating machine in the comfort of your own home. No need to visit the gaming arcade.
Do you want one? If you’re no gaming expert, knowing which machine to pick can be quite daunting. But lucky for you we’ve taken the liberty to review five of the best skee ball machines on the market. If they all look the same to you, making it hard to pick one, then go with our Editor’s choice – the Barrington Roll and Score game set. Not only is it versatile but it comes with many interesting features that’ll keep everyone engaged. If you’re keen on making your own pick, compare the features of the other four popular products we’ve gathered.
All products selected were reviewed against important specs related to the material, balls, dimensions and warranty. After spending countless hours on our research we’ve compiled a detailed comparison table, reviews of each product and a comprehensive buying guide. At the end of the article, we’re certain you’ll know exactly which skee ball machine to pick. Let’s get started.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve voted this Barrington Roll and Score Game set as our Editor’s choice. By picking this machine you’re guaranteed fun for the whole family. Barrington is one of the leaders in the manufacturing of quality recreational games and this model meets its high standards.
We’re impressed by how sturdy the machine is. The body is made up of oak wood accents while the legs are framed with iron trimmings. It’s clear that this product is a durable option.
This is the model to pick if you want a machine that gives off a rustic feel. And though it features an “old-school” design, this skee ball machine was made using modern technology.
Among the many high-tech features incorporated on this model are the automatic ball return, jumbo scorer and slick ramp. The unit comes complete with a well-lit LED score display that’ll keep children captivated. Some users do feel that the lights aren’t as bright as you’d want them to be.
The balls are made of squeezable rubber and will offer ample grip.
It’s fairly easy to assemble. However it’s one of the heaviest models on our list and on the bigger side. So make sure you have enough room before picking this model.
Consider this reasonably priced skee ball machine if you want value for your money. This fun-filled classic arcade game from Lancaster will have the whole family playing through the night.
For such a reasonable price, it comes complete with most of the bells and whistles you’ll find on the high end models. It features an LED electric scorer that also has sound effects. It has an automatic ball return function so you can keep on playing effortlessly.
The machine is of superior quality. Thanks to the wood grain finish, not only will the unit last long but this significantly enhances the product’s aesthetics. When not in use it’ll certainly serve as a stunning decorative piece.
The machine features easy to control push buttons. Kids won’t have a hard time using the unit.
It’s not as heavy as the other models, so moving it when necessary won’t be a challenge.
You’ll find it fairly easy to assemble. Once set up, the machine is rather big so make sure you have enough space.
Note however that some people may find the sound obnoxiously loud. Unfortunately, it doesn’t count balls, so you have no way of telling how many shots you’ve taken.
If you’re working on a tight budget but still want a decent skee ball machine for your game room, pick this Hot Shot model which we’ve voted as our Budget pick. Your kids won’t feel shortchanged because it works just as well as the other more expensive models.
The eye catching graphics alone are enough to wind up your little ones with excitement.
It’s designed for only two players and also features an electric scorer.
If you’re working with minimal space this model will fit perfectly. It’s not very big and is considerably lightweight compared to the other models. Being lightweight, you don’t have to worry about the machine destabilizing because it features leg stabilizers to keep it in place during play.
The best part is that the unit features a space-saving folding design so you can store it out of the way when it’s not in use.
It’s made using scratch resistant poly so your kids won’t be damaging it any time soon. The score rings are also molded to the unit, so there’s little chance of them breaking.
Thanks to its versatility, you can either plug the machine onto a power outlet or use it with batteries.
For such a light unit, it’s not the easiest machine to piece together. Also, the unit is pretty loud so keep that in mind when you consider where to play with your new toy.
Here we have a classic skee ball machine that your kids will love. Pick this model if you want a vintage skee ball machine.
Made up of engineered wood, you’ll be impressed by the unit’s durable construction. Though it’s a practical unit, the manufacturer didn’t compromise on the product’s aesthetics. Thanks to the rich oak finish, it’ll certainly make your game room visually appealing.
The unit comes complete will all the features you need to make your game night interesting; from the side lights to the modern targets.
Hathaway Boardwalk is confident of the quality of their product that they’ve covered it with a 180-day warranty period on any workmanship defects.
It’s a fairly heavy machine and will need a big room because it’s on the larger side.
You’ll appreciate the soft balls which are much lighter compared to the other arcade balls. Your kids won’t have any difficulty handling them.
Some people find the scoring design questionable citing that it’s difficult to score. Plus the machine is also noisy.
Not all skee ball machines are noisy. Pick this Hall of Games machine if you want a unit that has pleasant sound effects. It’s for this reason that we’ve voted it the Best sound effects skee ball machine.
Sound aside, you’ll be impressed by the print graphics that add to the product’s aesthetic value.
You’ll find it simple to operate thanks to the easy access push control buttons. Starting or resetting the game will only take you a matter of seconds.
The machine features a clear acrylic cover which is designed to keep the ball from flying off the unit. This will come in handy if you have to place the machine in your living room. You don’t have to worry about flying balls damaging your TV set.
The machine is reasonably sized and will fit into almost any room.
You’ll appreciate the solid construction of the unit that guarantees its durability.
Assembling the unit is easy which is convenient if you want to start playing right away.
It’s really hard to fault this machine. But we can only suggest that you place rubber bumpers on the legs to stop the machine from scratching your floors.
What we liked:
Easy to assemble
Simple to operate
Great sound effects
What could be better:
May scratch floors
Things to Consider
You’ve read the reviews so which model are you picking? If you’re still unsure, go over this buying guide. Here we’ll discuss everything you need to know about skee ball machines to help you make the right pick. We’ll also answer a few burning questions you might have to help with your decision making.
Skee ball machine – who is it for?
The beauty of this product is that it offers fun-filled activities for the entire family—both adults and kids. No one will feel left out. That’s excluding babies of course. With this machine adults and teens get to feed their competitive drive while toddlers develop their fine motor skills. It’s a win-win, right?
Skee ball machine – space consideration
Probably one of the most important things you need to consider before turning your home into a gaming arcade is space availability. How much space do you have? If you have plenty of space then you can pick a large machine. Needless to say, if you don’t have much room then opt for a smaller one. There’s no point in filling up your apartment with a large machine and be left with no room to swing your arm during play. As an example of the ergonomic skee ball machine you can view Hot Shot Arcade Ball Table, with only 96 inch length.
Also, consider who the machine is for. Will you be using it alone? A small machine will do if that’s the case. If, however, you want something for the whole family, then a big machine is best.
Features to consider while buying the best skee ball machine
Now let’s discuss the actual machine itself. Considering how these skee ball machines look almost identical—save for the design and color—it pays to know what features to look out for. We explain a few below.
We’re guessing you want a machine that’ll last you long, so pay attention to the material. What is the skee machine made off? Opt for a machine that’s made of high quality materials to ensure durability. Oak and iron are examples of high quality materials as found on the Barrington model.
Closely related to the material is the aesthetics. Certain materials such as oak make the overall product visually appealing.
You need to figure out the style you want. Do you want a traditional, modern or rustic vibe? This will affect the design and color of the machine you pick. Case in point; the Hathaway Boardwalk is the one to pick if you want a vintage design. Consider the other items in your game room—if you have any. Will the skee ball machine you pick blend right in?
Different skee machines come with varying number of balls. The ones you pick will depend on the number of primary players. Pick a machine with more balls if the whole family will be using the machine. If it’s just for you, then a few balls will suffice.
Also consider the material used in the construction of the ball. Are they made of wood, ceramic or rubber? You want balls that are easy to grip, with no slippages. The Barrington skee ball machine model is a good example of a machine that features rubberized balls.
Most skee tables are approximately 10ft long but this will differ from one product to the next. Before making your purchase, consider the dimension of the table and if it can fit into the space it’s intended for. Also think whether you’re able to fit it through doorways leading to the room assigned to it.
Manufacturers who are confident in the quality of their product will back it up with a warranty. Pick one that’s covered by a reasonable warranty period in case damages occur. This way you can either get it repaired or replaced, without losing money.
Naturally these machines are available with different price tags. What you need to keep in mind is that the lower priced models may be compromised with regards to build quality. Your best bet is to pick one that’s made with high quality materials, as previously highlighted, to guarantee longevity. Lancaster Skee Ball Game Machine Table is an example of the best price and quality.
On the other hand, determine who the machine is for. Are you buying it for your kids or the adults in the family? Cheaper models are better for kids, while mid to high-end machines will be better for adult usage, because they play with more physical power.
We strongly advise against using other balls with this machine. If it’s now from the manufacturer, it may not work. This is because the original balls are specifically designed with the particular machine in mind, with regards to dimensions of the scoring ring etc. You may end up using large balls which can make scoring difficult or impossible altogether. Also, some balls may be too heavy for the skee machine and cause damage to the ramp. If they don’t damage the machine, they may fly around the room and damage your other furniture. Rather purchase from the manufacturer if you happen to damage or misplace one of the balls.
As you might have gathered, most skee ball machines mentioned on our list are ideally suited for the whole family. This means both adults and kids will enjoy a fun-filled competitive game on these machines. However, most models are specifically designed for kids that are aged three years and up—and rightly so. Kids younger than that won’t be able to figure out how the game works. But when it comes to adults, as long as you still have that competitive streak in you, feel free to join your kids and score away.
Wrapping It Up
We’ll wind up the article by outlining our top three picks. In first place we have the Barrington skee ball machine which we’ve voted as our Editor’s choice. This is largely owed to its durable construction and attractive rustic design.
The second best skee ball machine is the Lancaster Skee Ball Game Machine Table which we’ve voted as our Best value pick. It’s simple and quick to assemble. Plus, we’re impressed with the sturdy design and that it’s made using premium quality materials.
In third place, we have the Hot Shot Arcade Ball Table which is our Budget pick. The inexpensive price tag is a huge plus. But we’re also impressed with the stunning graphics and space saving design. It helps that it’s pretty lightweight too. But that’s our opinion. According to you which model do you presume to be the best skee machine?
Give any one of these models a try and enjoy fun skee ball games with your kids in 2020!