Pinball Cabinet Accessories Part One: Beverage Caddies
Posted 16 July 2021
This month we are kicking off a series of posts about ways to accessorize your pinball cabinet. From light kits, speakers and shooter rods to beverage caddies, follow along as we navigate the options for cabinet upgrades. Our first post in the series focuses beverage caddies. We will outline what to consider when you buy a caddie and review the best options available on the market.
One of the easiest and most functional upgrades you can make to your pinball machine is a beverage caddie. For the home pinball collector, a drink holder is convenient way to enjoy a beer or your favorite drink while playing. For the pinball operator with games in bars and restaurants, the drink holder is a great way to keep drinks off the glass. In either case, beverage caddies are a great addition to any pinball machine.
Photo courtesy Pinball News
The beverage caddie is also one of the easiest pinball part to install on your game. Most beverage caddies for pinball machines are mounted using the bolts on one of front legs of your pinball machine. This can be easily accomplished with by propping up the front of your pinball cabinet and removing the leg bolts to install the caddie. While magnetic cup holders are available, we don't recommend them given the lack of magnetic strength these products offer. You might find your favorite drink on the floor instead of held in place on your sturdy pinball leg.
3D printed beverage caddie; photo courtesy Thingiverse,
So what should you consider purchasing a beverage holder for your pinball machine? The first and perhaps most important consideration is location- do you want your cup holder on the left or the right? Some home collectors we've met have even installed their cup holder on the front of the machine which keeps your drink away from he flipper buttons. If you want the most flexibility for installation location, select a design with a universal mount that can be used on either side of your pinball machine. For example, the PinGulp 3.0 (available at Mezel Mods) or the Pin-Buddy™ (Marco Specialties) that allow mounting on either side of your game.
PinGulp 3.0 available from Mezel Mods
Pin-Buddy™ available from Marco Specialties
A close second to preferred installation location is the cup size you'll need for your favorite beverages. If you will you be using your caddie for beer mugs or coffee cups, you'll want a holder that has an opening to accommodate the handle. Additionally, you'll want to consider the overall diameter of the caddie to make sure you favorite container fits right inside. [A standard size pint glass is about 3" in diameter at its widest point. For example, the PinGulp Premium fits standard pints and bigger mugs while the PinGulp 3.0 has a smaller diameter and fits mostly pints, cans and bottled drinks.
The final functional aspect to consider is ease of cleaning. Can the caddie be removed easily for cleaning without taking off the leg bolts on the pinball machine? Does it have a drain that allows liquids to drain out the bottom instead of pooling in the bottom? Keep these features in mind as you shop for a drink holder for your favorite pinball machine. Check out this video for a more in-depth review of the functional aspects of three styles of pinball beverage holders.
With all the nuts and bolts out of the way, you can consider the aesthetic aspects of the beverage caddie. Most of the widely available caddies are black (glossy or matte) but can also be found in translucent colors like this one from Pinball Life.
Pin-Gulp Premium in Translucent red, from Pinball Life
But why stop with a plain beverage holder? Some game collectors take their beverage caddies to another level by having them hand painted or by adding decals to integrate with the pinball machines theme.
There are a few options to consider when purchasing a beverage holder and we hope this post helps you sort them out. Let us know your experiences with pinball beverage holders in the comments!