(Topic ID: 201095)

Pinball Moving Recommendations

By nipper2u

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 22 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by nipper2u
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    #1 2 years ago

    Hello, Looking for some real world experiences regarding moving pinball machines up and down stairs. I have a 3rd floor game room and wanted to know if you have had better success with an appliance dolly, shoulder dolly straps, or some other option I don't know about. My friends and I are just average Joes. Thanks for your time and consideration.

    #2 2 years ago

    Get an Escalera. Seriously.
    But one important thing to consider is the amount of space on the landings for dolly turn around space.

    #4 2 years ago

    Certainly a great suggestion - I will see if there is any place that rents those near me. Otherwise it wouldn't be affordable. I used some forearm straps before but going up and down stairs wasn't really an option with those.

    Thanks for the input so far!

    #5 2 years ago

    I've only used an appliance dolly before and it isn't too bad - especially if you have a group of guys. I wouldn't attempt it by myself but with 1 or 2 friends, it becomes pretty trivial. I have to go downstairs and I'll have one person steering the machine up top and two down below helping lower it down the steps.

    #6 2 years ago

    Some observations:
    Appliance dollies are great for going DOWN stairs, but have limited advantages going up. You still need to lift and two guys.

    If you get a regular dolly, make sure it's not one of those short ones with two handles. I really like my "heavy duty" dolly from Harbor Freight (the red one with the inflatable wheels and rounded single handle). Best $30 I've spent.

    Not sure how those refridgerator shoulder straps I see the delivery guys use would work. One guy had better be STRONG.

    But seriously, if you're going to be moving more than a couple machines a year, or moving more than a couple times a year, the escalara is a great suggestion. Yes, they are expensive, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that has one that regrets buying it. I moved 3 machines to a buddy's place a couple weeks ago, and was VERY sore for a couple of days. I've got access to a Lectro Truck, but we couldn't get to it that day. It was a bad decision.

    How old/fit are you? I'm pushing 50, and not all that active (though not a couch potato at all), and I don't look forward to hauling machines out of my basement at all anymore. Don't write off the Escalara too quickly.

    Just my $.02,

    #7 2 years ago

    better make friends with your neighbor

    in all honesty, get an escalera.... your back will thanks you later

    #8 2 years ago

    Appliance dolly for sure.
    Strap that puppy in there. If it's a newer DMD era game you're gonna pout a blanket/pillow/cardboard between the head and the game when it's folded down. You should then wrap it with some plastic so it doen't come lose.
    2 people is all you need. One lifted while the other person pushes from the bottom if going up or stops it from falling going down.
    If you're moving EMs the head comes off and it's much easier/lighter. 3rd floor is a tuffy though. Besides your turning radius/landing you really need to pay attention to the floor material. If it's carpet you're good, if it's wood you gotta be careful.
    If it's vinyl you have to make sure you don;t damage the floor when turning a 300lbs machine with all it's pressure on one wheel. I use some thin wood sheets you can buy at any hardware store

    EDIT: Just gotta do it once to get the jist of it.

    #9 2 years ago


    I have 2nd floor game room. The single flight of stairs is split in the middle with a landing, on which is a step up. Kind of makes things difficult.

    I used an applicance dolly and 4 men to get Twilight Zone up the stairs (my first purchase). It only took one trial to convince me there's a better way.

    With an Escalera, last month, I moved a Wizard of Oz up the stairs single-handedly. Mind you, I had to behead it because of the landing. With the head on, I've got to unstrap and re-strap it twice to make the U-Turn at the landing.

    Any way, they're expensive but what price can you put on greatly reducing the risk of lifelong chronic back pain? What if your helper throws out his back? How about slipping and having your machine crash down the stairs?

    #10 2 years ago

    Which model of Escalera is the best for pins? There are several heights and weight limits... Any advice?

    Thanks txx3ddq442 for the info about WoZ... I've got two levels of split flight stairs, one with a step. I'm going to have to take the head off anything I move because a person can't get around it when on the landing. Did you just move the dolly to the other side of the game twice (never rotating the game itself?)

    #11 2 years ago
    Quoted from GhostThruster:

    I've only used an appliance dolly before and it isn't too bad - especially if you have a group of guys. I wouldn't attempt it by myself but with 1 or 2 friends, it becomes pretty trivial.

    Exactly. I wouldn’t spend the money on an escalera unless you’ve got health issues or plan on doing this 2-3 times a month.

    #12 2 years ago


    Used escaleras for $1350 shipped from Texas. Be sure to inquire about the condition, if they have been refurbished, have new batteries & chargers, etc. The last time there was a discussion about this seller, they were saying different things to different people about the condition of them.

    If you want a new one, flipnout1 sells them.

    #13 2 years ago

    Another option is to remove the heads from the games. Bring the heads and bodies up separately. This will significantly reduce your load for using a light duty aluminum hand truck (way lighter than those heavy dust monsters).

    Removing and replacing heads only takes 10 min on each end.

    If ambidous enough remove the playfield as well and you and a buddy can just carry all three up separately.

    #14 2 years ago

    I'm the guy that sells the Escalera. I've been selling them for some time and I've probably heard all the reasons to buy or not buy one
    But here is what I hear consistently. "Best decision ever". At every show I take them to someone tells me that. It's nice to sell a product that helps this hobby and save the backs of all us old guys


    #15 2 years ago

    Remove the legs, head and back glass. Remove the glass & playfield from cabinet. Now you have a much lighter cabinet to move. It will take more trips up the stairs but easy strapped to an appliance dolly.

    #16 2 years ago

    Very timely post since I have a pin on the way that needs to go down into the basement. The stairs have a landing that gives me only 35 inches between the stair tread and the wall opposite the tread. Then I need to make a 90 degree turn to the right to descend the rest of the stairs. Is this right hand turn possible with the back box still attached with only 35 inches of clearance or do I need to take it off? If I need to take it off, how is that done? Is there a post here describing the procedure? I ask as this is my first pin, so I have no idea.

    Thanks for any help,

    #18 2 years ago

    Thanks again everyone for the input!

    In my experience a standard dolly is too short for a person up top on the stairs to easily guide it up the stairs with two people below pushing up (in my case the handles of the dolly kept getting stuck on the lip of every step on its way up). Also the rubber wheels, while nice and big, left marks on the stairs.

    I did help a friend move a pin (a Hobbit which is heavy) down from a 3rd floor. The upper set of stairs had a wooden floor landing halfway down that was divided by an additional step. While we used an appliance dolly to that point and after, we had good luck using forearm straps to pick up the pin, rotate it 180 degrees in place on the landing, move it down that one step, and then slip the dolly back behind it. The negative was we gouged the wood floor and marred the baseboards in the process. So put down something to protect the wood floor, have an appliance dolly and forearm dolly\straps (I assume a shoulder dolly would work as well), and use a magic eraser to clean up wheel scuffs after.

    Also using a hydraulic table with wheels helped get the legs off, wheeled around, and on and off the truck, then lowered down so we could set it on the dolly laying flat on the ground to and strap it on. Just wrap it before putting it on the table so you can wrap it all the way around underneath without the table in the way.

    Also, carpet (hard plastic) and hardwood floor (a fuzzy cover) sliders are helpful!

    #19 2 years ago

    Remove head, glass, playfield... Will be much easier...

    1 year later
    #20 1 year ago

    OK - I am moving. My new house has step to the basement with a landing. From the landing I need to turn 90 degrees and then down two more steps. My plan right now is take the pins down the main stairs to the landing with an appliance cart. Unstrap the pin from the appliance cart and then use another dolly to take the pin down a ramp for the last two steps. To do this, I would have to lean the right hand side fo the pin agains the second dolly. Clearly having a moving blanket protecting the side art. Has anyone moved a pin using a dolly where the side of the pin is against the dolly?

    It may sound more complicated than it needs to be, but I have to move multiple pins and want to do this as smoothly as possible.

    #21 1 year ago

    I know a guy who has a bad back, so he setup a system using a winch and he built a temporary track that the pin sits on. Anytime he gets a new game or he sells one he just sets up the track and can easily get pins up and down the stairs. just food for thought.

    1 week later
    #22 1 year ago

    I have never moved a pin on the side but I will reiterate from experience (as I mentioned above) that you want to put something on the floor of the landing to protect the floor/base boards and the pin from scratches or carpet snags. I used an appliance dolly for actually moving it, and "shoulder moving straps" to rotate on the landing. I also recommend buying a roll of cellophane moving wrap to wrap up the pin, and some moving sliders to push it around on (they make smaller ones that fit the feet on a pin exactly). Hope that helps.

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    From: $ 19.99
    $ 48.00
    Cabinet - Other
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 349.95
    Lighting - Led
    Pin Stadium Pinball LEDs
    $ 369.00
    Cabinet - Decals
    € 22.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    $ 29.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    $ 79.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    From: $ 5,899.95
    Pinball Machine
    Pinball Pro
    From: $ 6.00
    Playfield - Protection
    Pin Monk
    £ 37.00
    Lighting - Led
    From: $ 42.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 1,199.00
    Flipper Parts
    $ 25.00
    Cabinet - Other
    Filament Printing
    $ 6.00
    $ 154.00
    Cabinet - Toppers
    Id Rather Play Pinball
    $ 7,399.00
    Pinball Machine
    Pinball Pro
    $ 265.00
    $ 799.00
    Flipper Parts
    $ 95.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    $ 9,099.00
    Pinball Machine
    Operation Pinball

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside