Best gumball machine

Toys & Games

Around 100,000 tons of bubble gum are chewed around the world every year.

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Which gumball machine is best?

Gumball machines not only evoke nostalgia, but they can add a touch of whimsy and fun to a room or office. Provide a vintage memory of the past for your friends and customers, along with some tasty candy, with one of these machines. For its overall look and function, the Great Northern Popcorn Company’s Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine Bank is a top choice.

What to know before you buy a gumball machine


There are three types of gumball machines. Replica gumball machines mirror the look of traditional gumball machines. They are usually designed for tabletops and have glass globes and cast metal stands. Replica gumball machines hold up to 600 gumballs.

Full-size gumball machines stand alone and are slightly bigger than replica gumball machines. They have a thin support leg and sometimes offer multiple globes for a variety of candy options.

Mini gumball machines are 6-10 inches tall. They are often made of plastic and have small holding containers. They are easy to refill and have become a popular party favor or Secret Santa gift. 

What type of globe and base do you need?

Replica and higher-end gumball machines have glass globes, while smaller machines have plastic globes. Some retail machines have rectangular globe. Gumball machine stands are made from cast metal and designed for to support weight of a globe full of gumballs. If you want the gumball machine to make a statement, choose a larger, freestanding model. A smaller model is a great choice to decorate a desk. 

Which dispensing mechanism do you prefer?

Part of the fun of a gumball machine is inserting the coin and turning the crank to force a gumball to release. Some models allow you to assemble the gumball machine without the coin operation. Plastic gumball machines do not require the coin insertion but still offer the crank mechanism.

What to look for in a quality gumball machine

Will it dispense more than gumballs?

small candy

The crank mechanism of most gumball machines should be able to dispense small candy and nuts that are no bigger than the gumballs that are recommended. Look for hard candy that won’t melt if the gumball machine is located in a warm, sunlit area.

Color options

Most traditional gumball machines are red with yellow bases. Smaller gumball machines come in many colors since they are made from plastic. Choose whatever color scheme fits your style and space. 

How much you can expect to spend on a gumball machine

Tabletop and do-it-yourself gumball machines cost $40-$60, while vintage gumball machines on metal stands cost $75-$150, depending on the height and materials. Multiple-container and large commercial machines can cost from $200 to over $600.

Gumball machine FAQ

How long do gumballs last in a machine?

A. The typical shelf life of gumballs is 12 months. The challenge is that there is no way to tell how old a gumball is just by looking at it. Try to keep a replacement date marked down on your machine so that you can keep fresh gumballs available.

Can you bypass the coin operation on the machine?

A. It depends on which machine you purchase. Some gumball machines allow you to assemble them without activating the coin operation. Others require minor adjustments that your manufacturer instructions will address. There are some models, though, where the coin operation is a standard feature.

Do gumball machines need to be cleaned?

A. Yes, it is a good idea to periodically clean the globe and the gumball tube. Sugar can build up in the tube over time and make it more difficult for gumballs to dispense. Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning.

What’s the best gumball machine to buy?

Top gumball machine

Great Northern Popcorn Company’s Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine Bank

Great Northern Popcorn Company Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine Bank

What you need to know: This is the gumball machine that will transport you back in time with its vintage look and feel.

What you’ll love: Assembly is easy and quick. It will accept all types of coins, then save them in a bank. Up to 600 gumballs can be dispensed, as well as candy and nuts.

What you should consider: Large gumballs that are not perfectly round sometimes have difficulty dispensing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top gumball machine for the money

Carousel Medium Gumball Bank

Carousel Medium Gumball Bank

What you need to know: This classic model gumball machine is a terrific value for the price.

What you’ll love: This gumball machine doubles as both a dispenser and bank, accepting all types of coins. The coin feature can be turned off if desired. Made with a glass globe and cast metal support, the machine is durable and attractive.

What you should consider: Some types of gumballs struggled to be dispensed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

SparkJump DIY Candy Dispenser

SparkJump DIY Candy Dispenser

What you need to know: This DIY gumball dispenser is a fun, educational project for families. 

What you’ll love: This gumball machine kit is made from wood. It teaches basic construction and geometry skills to children.

What you should consider: Younger children may struggle with the overall process. The finished product is smaller than manufactured gumball machines.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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