Arcade Games, Arcade Machine

10 Things to Consider When Buying a Bartop Arcade Machine in the UK

February 21, 2022

A bartop arcade machine is a great way to get your friends and family together for fun and games. It can be used as a bartop or enclosed in a classic standup cabinet. With so many options out there, it may seem intimidating when trying to decide on the best one for you. Here are 10 things you should consider before buying a bartop arcade machine in the UK.

Table of Contents

1. How much space do you have?

Bar Top Arcade Machines do as they say – sit on a bar top, which means they can also sit on top of your table. They can range in size very significantly depending on the brand, making sure to measure the area before purchasing one that is too large for your home.

2. What kind of games do you want?

When buying an arcade machine, some people are looking for more specific titles than others. Your new bartop arcade machine can have one or multiple games on it, depending on your preference. For example, there are bartop machines with 8-bit emulators that carry thousands of different games, bartop machines with 20+ classics, bartop machines with 2-player games, bartop machines for MAME, bartop machines built into mini-refrigerators, and the list goes on. There are so many options out there, it would be worth your while to research different models before making a decision.

3. How much money are you willing to spend?

Arcade machines can range in price greatly, starting at $300 and going up from there. If you’re just looking for something small and fun to play while you drink with friends at home this is ideal. If you have kids and they are the ones who will be using it, bartop arcade machines can be a great educational tool to teach them about early games and their components!

4. Where will you put the arcade machine?

Some bartop arcade machines can be very heavy and bulky, so make sure that where you plan to place it has enough space for its size. Also, some bartop arcade machines must be wired into a power source for use, so get an outlet close to where you want it to go or get an extension cord with the proper amperage for safe use.

5. How old are your kids?

If you have small children in your household, bartop arcade machines may not be the best choice. The bartop machines with mini-arcade games on them are safe for younger kids, but older ones may want to play more mature games with a MAME emulator that can be viewed via laptop or mobile device. Check with your children before making this purchase, as it is only common sense.

6. Who will be using it?

If you will be the only one playing on your bartop arcade machine, all games, emulators, and controls can be customized to your preference. If multiple people are going to use it, you should consider how each person plays before customizing too much. For example, if someone is color-blind, certain palettes may not work for them. This is a reason bartop arcade machines with MAME are better for multiple people, as they can customize their own palette and joystick settings in the emulator menu.

7. Is the bartop arcade machine in the UK built into furniture?

Sometimes an arcade machine is built into other furniture, such as desks or pool tables. This can be fun until you realize how inconvenient it is to play games with lots of controls and buttons on a desk. If an arcade machine is built into furniture, make sure there are not too many cables snaking their way up through the bartop or out one side of the cabinet – these can be very inconvenient at times, especially if you prefer playing while sitting down.

8. How many bartop arcade machines do you want?

Do you plan on having them in different rooms? If you plan on having more than one bartop arcade machine, perhaps choose completely different ones but make sure to compare games between the two machines by having the same games. The Arcade Machines at Arcade Mania comes with thousands of games to choose from in a range of different skins

9. What do you want the bartop arcade machine to do?

Some bartop arcade machines can be used as a TV, while others are just for classic games. If you’re looking strictly for games and nothing else, bartop arcade machines with MAME emulators or bartop arcade machines with built-in mini-arcade games work best. Bartop arcade machines with popular classics are the best choice to get the most bang for your buck.

10. Will you be transporting it?

Although many arcade machines are bar-height, bartop arcade machines are more easily transported due to their lighter weight and ability to be taken apart into two bits for easy storage and transportation. If you will be moving your arcade machine often make sure it comes in two parts so it can be used as a bartop arcade machine or as a full arcade machine.


Bartop arcade machines are a great way to bring the nostalgia of classic games into your home! Before you buy one, here are ten things that you should have considered from the list above. 

These include where you will put it, how old your children are and what they want to use it for, who is going to be using it or if anyone else in the house wants their own bartop arcade machine, where you plan on buying more than one bartop arcade machine from (if so), whether or not the bartop arcade machine can be used as a TV stand or just an emulator with games built-in, what kind of classics do you want to be included in your bartop arcade machine’s library? And finally – will this bartop arcade machine need to be transported. Once you have decided on that you can make your decision.

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