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Which kids’ gumball machine is best?

Gumball machines are fun, affordable ways to add a bit of color and nostalgia to your home. Simply drop in a coin, turn the knob and out comes a delicious gumball. Gumball machines for kids differ from traditional devices in that they’re smaller, usually constructed from plastic and designed with safety in mind so little hands can’t get stuck in the dispenser. 

If you want a kids’ gumball machine with a sturdy construction and a vintage look, the Great Northern Popcorn Company Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine is the top pick. 

What to know before you buy a kids’ gumball machine

Types of kids’ gumball machines

  • Traditional: Perhaps the most recognizable type of gumball machine, traditional devices feature an old-fashioned, vintage look with a red and silver motif. These devices are typically coin-operated and can either be free-standing or placed on a countertop. 
  • Modern: These gumball machines can appear in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, from sleek, high-tech candy dispensers to wooden DIY gumball kits. Some modern gumball machines may feature working lights and sounds, while others will incorporate a long, winding track for the gumball to follow while it’s being dispensed. 

Parts of a gumball machine

Not all gumball machines look alike, but they all feature a few fundamental components. The globe is the round orb that contains all of the candy. It’s almost always clear, so the user can see the colorful treats that await them. In old-fashioned devices, the globe was usually constructed from glass, but gumball machines for kids today may be constructed from plastic, so they’re less breakable.

The base is the part that holds the globe. In traditional gumball machines, the base is red and silver and holds the dispensing mechanism. This part is often constructed from a heavy material, like metal, so it won’t easily tip over. 

Age range

Kids love gumball machines because they’re bright and colorful, with a simple mechanism that’s satisfying and easy to understand. If your device is coin-operated, they can also be great tools for teaching young minds about financial responsibility. That said, these devices could be dangerous if your child’s hand gets stuck in the dispensing mechanism. Most manufacturers state that their gumball machines are suitable for kids over the age of three, but check the product details to be sure. 

What to look for in a quality kids’ gumball machine

Dispensing mechanism

Most classic gumball machines have a coin-operated mechanism and a compartment that stores all of your collected change. This type of dispenser is particularly helpful if you want to limit the amount of candy that your child has access to. Other gumball machines may feature a simple knob or crank mechanism that can be turned to release candy, no coins required. 

Some high-end devices can even feature motion-activated sensors. Simply place your hand below the dispenser and candy will be released. 


Consider whether you want a gumball machine that’s empty or pre-filled with candy. Pre-filled machines don’t require any future purchases until you run out of gumballs, but you’re limited to whatever candy is included with the machine. If you want to fill the machine with your own candy, check out the product’s dimensions to make sure that the treats will be compatible with the dispensing mechanism. 

How much you can expect to spend on a kids’ gumball machine

The cost of a kids’ gumball machine will usually depend on its size and the quality of its construction. Most people can expect to spend around $10-$60 for a sturdy, kid-friendly device. 

Kids’ gumball machine FAQ

How long do gumballs stay fresh in a gumball machine?

A. Gumballs will usually come with a printed expiration date on their packaging. If they don’t, the shelf life of gumballs is usually considered to be 18 months from the manufacturing date.

Where can you buy more gumballs to refill your gumball machine?

A. Check with your machine’s manufacturer to see if they sell refill bags of gumballs. You can also search online for gumballs specifically made for gumball machines. 

What’s the best kids’ gumball machine to buy?

Top kids’ gumball machine

Great Northern Popcorn Company Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine

Great Northern Popcorn Company Old-Fashioned Gumball Machine

What you need to know: Sold by a well-known manufacturer, this gumball machine has a quality construction and a classic look. 

What you’ll love: This gumball machine for kids is constructed with a real metal base and a glass globe. The coin-operated mechanism will accept any type of coin, and the cast-metal dispenser has an authentic, aged appearance. 

What you should consider: The glass globe is breakable, so you may want to keep it away from young children. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kids’ gumball machine for the money

Kicko Twirling Gumball Machine

Kicko Twirling Gumball Machine

What you need to know: This colorful gumball machine can hold up to 48 candies and features a unique swirling dispensing mechanism. 

What you’ll love: Simply press down on the top of the machine, and it will dispense a single gumball that rolls down a swirling track. These machines are also compact and affordable, making them an easy addition to a child’s birthday party. 

What you should consider: The machine doesn’t come with any gumballs, and you aren’t able to choose the color of the device. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Kids’ gumball machine worth checking out

SparkJump DIY Candy Dispenser

SparkJump DIY Candy Dispenser

What you need to know: This DIY kit is a great gift for crafty kids or aspiring engineers. 

What you’ll love: This kit comes with everything you need to build your own wooden gumball machine at home. It’s a great project to work on with your child, and the resulting gumball machine is built to last. 

What you should consider: This assembly kit isn’t suitable for young children or kids who don’t have an interest in building projects. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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

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