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Skee ball, a game where you try to score points by tossing into the ring with corresponding values, is a fun and pure pastime that can be enjoyed by you and your family, friends, and/or colleagues. Usually found in country fairs and arcades, skee ball can now be played in the comfort of your home – we’ve rounded up some reviews of skee ball machines below to get you started.
Different skee ball machines may appeal to you depending on how you want to play, your indoor area size, and who will play it. Each machine has its own unique features so it’s up to you to decide which one fits best for you.
While I recommend reading through this article, if you are in a hurry, here’s the top pick: MD Sports 9-Foot Roll and Score Table.
MD Sports 9-Foot Roll and Score Table
Made with a wood grain finish, the MD Sports 9-Foot Roll and Score Table is a skee ball machine with LED lights with dimensions measuring 107 x 24.5 x 60.75 inches. Its simple electronic scorer is easy to read and it even has sound effects when you score points.
Backed by a clear acrylic board, it keeps the ball in play so it won’t fly out of the machine when you toss it. A total of four (4) skee balls are included and there’s also an automatic built-in ball return system. These two features allow you to keep the excitement going and maintain fast-paced play in 2-player mode.
The rubber balls have a medium weight and don’t have a lot of bounce to them, which helps to keep them inside the machine. As well, the scoreboard is electric-plugged so you won’t be limited to batteries unlike with other machines.
Things I Like About This Product: The wood finish compliments most indoor designs due to the natural grain. The thick legs also help add weight and stability to avoid possible accidents.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t save your high scores so you’d have to start over again (or take a picture of the score if you want to save it). It could also be a bit difficult to assemble at first so assistance from someone would be helpful.
Big Sky 87-Inch Roll and Score Game
If you prefer a smaller length, the Big Sky 87-Inch Roll and Score Game is a great pick, especially for young players. Aside from the 87-inch length (roughly 7 feet and 3 inches), it measures 20.5 x 47.6 inches for width and height respectively. The fun design is eye-candy for the little ones while the sound effects from the electronic scoring will also grab their attention.
This machine includes awesome kid-friendly features such as an easy-to-use push-button control to start or restart the game. Aside from the automatic ball return system and scoring rings powered by an ABS sensor, it also comes in a one-piece construction so you don’t have to worry about putting it together.
Along with the laminated playing field for durability, the wooden legs are also thick enough to keep it stable during rough play. While it only comes with two red balls, they are easy to grip for most kids.
Things I Like About This Product: Due to its one-piece construction, assembly is easy. The design also doesn’t take too much space so it can fit even into smaller spaces.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The MDF does have a bit of smell at first, but it dissipates when your room is properly-ventilated. There’s also no way to tweak the audio volume and some may find it to be too quiet.
Hot Shot 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table
If your skee balls are constantly flying off the ramp, take a look at the Hot Shot 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table, it has square netting all around the playing area. The playing surface is made with 5/8-inch thick MDF that’s been poly-sealed to make it scratch-resistant.
What I like about this skee ball table is that you can fold it in the middle to save space when storing it – perfect for small play areas or apartments. This 2-player skee ball table not only has cool graphic prints but also leg stabilizers at the bottom to keep it from moving during game play.
The total dimensions when open are 96 x 25 x 55 inches, while it closes to just 63 inches in length when folded. Moreover, the scoring system can run either by battery power or using a plug to keep the tally going without interruption.
Things I Like About This Product: It is foldable so you can save a generous amount of space in storage. You also have two options for scoreboard power: battery or outlet.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The scoring system and the sensor are quite sensitive, so avoid touching or bumping it during play. The skee balls included are a bit bouncy, but that can also be influenced by your tossing force.
Skee-Ball: Tabletop Classic Arcade Game
So you want to play skee ball but don’t have a place to put in a big machine? Why not try the Skee-Ball: Tabletop Classic Arcade Game? This tabletop option is ideal for very small spaces and for when you’re traveling due to it’s excellent portability.
The set comes with five solid wood skee balls that have a decent weight to prevent bouncing, while there are also extras included such as an official rule book and a score sheet for tallying. While this isn’t an electronic skee ball machine, it can still be enjoyed by all –even in your camper!
Measuring 3 x 19.5 x 14.5 inches, this tabletop skee ball can even use golf balls as a substitution. The size is just right for little kids and beginners, or if you want them to get used to a manual skee ball first without investing a ton of money (and see if they like it).
Things I Like About This Product: As a tabletop skee ball setup, you can take it anywhere and the balls are made of solid wood so they are less likely to bounce off the rings.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The scoring system is manual, which could be difficult for tallying, but it exercises kids’ math skills.
Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball
For those who want a minimalist skee ball setup, the Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball may be the perfect pick. This 3-foot-long machine can fit into most kids’ rooms (or any room for that matter) and it features colorful graphics as well. With electronic scoring and enough for 2-player games, each player has a 1-minute time limit to score more points over the other.
Eight steel balls are included with the setup which is more than enough for game play, even if some of them make their way off of the board. To power it up, all you need are 3 AAA-size batteries, providing easy portability. The sound effects also add more thrill to this small but fun skee ball machine.
A major difference in the design of this unit (as compared to the picks above) is that it uses a finger launcher mechanism in the middle to shoot the balls – hence the metal material of the skee balls.
Things I Like About This Product: Since it is small and portable, you can place it anywhere in your room without taking up too much space. The unique spring launcher could be an alternative to tossing the ball and accidentally bouncing off the target.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The smaller design of the skee balls may make it more difficult to shoot and not as suitable for very young children (unless they will have supervision when playing).
Hathaway Boardwalk 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table
Made with style in mind, the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table features curved oak wood feet that make you feel like you’re playing on Santa’s sleigh, an appealing design for kids. You might also like it if you prefer arcade machines that have a vintage look.
I like the side LEDs on the scratch-resistant, poly-sealed playing field, which gives it a true arcade feel when you play with family and friends in a dim or dark room. With dimensions of 99 x 25 3/4 x 53 inches, the setup comes with six semi-soft balls, each with 2.5 inches of diameter – easy to grip for little fingers.
Unlike other electronic mechanisms, what’s neat about this skee ball machine is that you don’t necessarily have to power it up for the balls to return. Much like the Hot Shot skee ball setup mentioned above, this one also features a surrounding net over the target to ensure it catches balls that accidentally bounce off.
Things I Like About This Product: The ball returns without the need to be plugged in (and it returns quickly). It also has surrounding netting around the target for easy ball catching.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The melamine surface could make the balls a bit too noisy.
Homewear Wood Skill Ball Game
Yet another tabletop option, the Homewear Wood Skee Ball Game measures 28 x 14 x 2 inches and comes with five wooden balls. The design is simple and straightforward so you can play it both indoors and outdoors. It’s manual scoring allows for two or more players to enjoy at a time.
Setup is also relatively easy – just fold the base to hold the balls and you’re ready to go. Moreover, the folding mechanism allows you to keep it stored without taking up a lot of space. Since the balls are also wooden, they won’t bounce as much as rubber balls.
Things I Like About This Product: Bearing a simple design, you can fold it and store it easily. It is also portable enough to be played anywhere.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: As with the previous tabletop skee ball pick, you have to retrieve the ball manually and also manually record scores.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Skee Ball Machines Featured Above
If you wonder how I picked the above-mentioned skee ball machines, here’s what I considered before adding them to the list:
Skee ball machines typically have an 8-foot length depending on the design. Skee ball machines designed for kids are often smaller, while tabletop models are typically the smallest to be easily transported and stored. The standard width is around 25 inches across so you have more space for the ball to roll back.
Knowing the dimensions of your skee ball machine choice is important if you have a limited amount of room in your indoor space.
Scoring can either be manual or electronic – the former usually meant for tabletop skee ball games while the latter for larger, more elaborate machines. While electronic scoreboards make it easier to tally points, manual score sheets can also exercise children’s addition skills, so it can also be a great home activity to give their brains some exercise in real-life application.
If you do consider electronic scoring, you will usually have to power it up using batteries, but some models can also have a plugged-in option for unlimited game tallying.
The important feature to look for in a skee ball table is whether the target is properly enclosed. Some of the picks mentioned above have extra netting on the sides so that if ever the ball accidentally bounces too hard, it’s less likely to fly off the machine.
If you have kids at home, having smooth railings and parts of the machine helps to reduce accidents or injury. To keep the machine or setup steady, having non-skid rubber feet is also beneficial. The design of the legs should also be thick enough to keep the machine balanced.
Most setups will have four to five rubber skee balls to play with, but you can also buy more if you like – as long as they fit in the targets. Typically, you’d want a ball that isn’t too bouncy, so it is less likely to jump off the playing field.
The picks above also mentioned other types of skee balls, such as wood and steel. Don’t be surprised – the steel balls are smaller in size and use a ball launcher (like a pinball game), putting an alternative spin on the original skee ball game.
On the other hand, the wooden skee balls are used for the tabletop units, because they are the least likely to bounce off due to their hard material, making them a perfect match for a small skee ball setup.
As we mentioned above, skee balls can be made from rubber, wood, and sometimes metal. But this time, let’s also talk about the skee ball machine or setup itself.
Most skee ball machines are made of oak wood with a smooth finish so that the ball rolls evenly and easily. The bottom legs should be thick and heavy enough to keep the machine as steady as possible. Added prints and designs are a plus for kids or if you are looking for a specific look for your indoor arcade collection (e.g. vintage designs).
You might find a few plastic pieces on the skee ball machine, but it’s usually in minor parts – perhaps in the target rings and the like.
What makes a skee ball machine worth the price is the setup. Is it easy to put together? Is it really heavy to lift from the delivery van to your room? How clear are the instructions? Are there missing pieces? Do the parts connect snugly or do they need a bit of tweaking?
Fortunately, most of the picks mentioned here are more straightforward because the majority have a one-piece construction. All you need to do is place it in your desired spot and presto – you’re pretty much ready to play!
Additionally, a skee ball machine that can be folded in half for storage, such as the Hot Shot 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table, is convenient for small spaces. This can be helpful if you don’t have a designated spot for your skee ball machine or if you want to improve foot traffic in a room when it isn’t being used.
A skee ball machine returns the ball underneath the rolling ramp. The ball return mechanism should be smooth and simple. A quicker ball return results in a faster game so you can score more points during a round.
The FAQs: Your Most Common Questions Answered
Let’s get to know more about these fun and simple machines before you buy one so that you’ll get the most of your budget:
How Much Is a Skee Ball Machine?
The price range of the skee ball machine is around $400 to $700 depending on different factors, such as:
- Materials and Design: Oakwood is typically used for skee ball machines. However, if you find a machine that has more metal parts then this could also impact the price. The coating and finish of the materials (as well as colorful designs) can also add to the price tag because more detail and time has gone into it. Also, bigger machines may cost more due to added materials.
- Features: Skee ball machines that use an outlet for powering their scoreboard may cost a little extra. Also, lights can add value to a skee ball machine.
How Big Is a Skee Ball Machine?
Skee ball machines typically range from 8 to 13 feet in length. Home versions are usually smaller since they need to fit into smaller rooms. On the other hand, longer skee ball machines are often commercial models and can be used outdoors or in an arcade center.
The height is usually around 40 to 55 inches while the standard width is about 25 inches. Arcade or outdoor skee ball machines with longer lengths can have taller and wider designs.
For those who want a simple skee ball machine but with a beautiful wood finish that can go with nearly any home décor, check out the MD Sports 9-Foot Roll and Score Table and the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table.
Smaller homes might be looking for a smaller skee ball machine, so the Big Sky 87-Inch Roll and Score Game might be just what you’re looking for, especially if your machine will be used by kids. But if you don’t have enough space for a large machine, you can also try these tabletop options: the Skee-Ball: Tabletop Classic Arcade Game and the Homewear Wood Skee Ball Game.
Alternatively, the Merchant Ambassador Electronic Arcade Alley Ball has a unique take on the skee ball machine with its pinball-like ball launcher.
If you or your other co-players have a problem with bouncing balls, the added netting covers of the Hot Shot 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table and the Hathaway Boardwalk 8-Foot Arcade Ball Table can ease your problems.
Whichever option you go with, skee ball is an excellent game to add to your rec room.