Most Profitable Vending Machines

most profitable vending machines

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There are many advantages when it comes to owning and operating a vending machine business. With the right set-up, vending machines can be an incredibly profitable venture. In this article, we’ll explore the most profitable vending machines. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Is a Vending Machine Business Profitable?

Yes, the vending machine industry is booming and this business can be highly profitable for a vending machine business owner if done correctly. It requires research, planning, and the right selection of machines and locations, but it’s worth the effort. From a single vending machine alone, vending machine operators earn on average $35 weekly in vending machine sales, but with proper placement and stocking can generate about $400 per month.

Most Profitable Vending Machines

Choosing Profitable Vending Machines: Our Methodology

In our quest to identify the most profitable vending machine options for entrepreneurs, we’ve developed a comprehensive methodology that factors in various key elements crucial for vending machine profitability. This methodology is supported by a rating scale from 1 to 10, where each score reflects the potential profitability of a vending machine type. A higher score, closer to 10, indicates greater profitability potential, factoring in aspects like consumer demand, location efficacy, maintenance costs, and product margins. Now, let’s delve into the specific criteria we use to evaluate the profitability of different vending machine types:

Consumer Demand (9/10)

Understanding the popularity and frequency of purchases for specific types of products is crucial. High consumer demand directly correlates with higher sales volume.

Location Suitability (9/10)

The profitability of a vending machine significantly depends on its location. High-traffic areas like malls, schools, and transit stations typically yield higher sales.

Product Margins (8/10)

We assess the profit margin for each type of product dispensed by the vending machine. Higher margins typically result from specialty items or branded goods.

Maintenance and Operational Costs (7/10)

Lower maintenance and operational costs contribute to higher net profitability. We look for vending machines that are reliable and require minimal upkeep.

Versatility and Adaptability (8/10)

Machines that offer a variety of products or can easily adapt to changing consumer trends score higher, as they can maintain profitability over time.

Initial Investment and ROI (7/10)

We consider the initial setup costs and the return on investment. Machines with a faster break-even point are more appealing for quick profitability.

Technological Integration (8/10)

Features like cashless payment options, remote monitoring, and inventory tracking contribute to operational efficiency and can boost sales, impacting overall profitability.

Durability and Longevity (7/10)

Long-lasting machines reduce the need for frequent replacements or major repairs, contributing to sustained profitability over time.

Most Profitable Vending Machines


CriteriaDescriptionImportance (8/10)
Location- The placement of your vending machine is crucial. High-traffic areas with a steady flow of potential customers, such as office buildings, schools, or busy public spaces, are ideal for maximizing profits.8
Product Selection- Offer a variety of popular and in-demand products in your vending machine, tailored to the preferences of your target audience. Options may include snacks, beverages, healthy choices, or niche-specific items.8
Machine Reliability- Choose vending machines known for their reliability and minimal downtime. A malfunctioning machine can result in lost sales and maintenance costs.8
Inventory Management- Opt for machines equipped with efficient inventory tracking systems. This allows you to monitor stock levels, plan restocking, and minimize product wastage.6
Pricing Flexibility- Select vending machines that offer flexible pricing options, such as adjusting prices based on product popularity or seasonal demand.6
Payment Options- Ensure your vending machines accept a variety of payment methods, including cash, card payments, and mobile payments. This caters to a wider range of customers.8
Maintenance and Support- Choose a vending machine supplier that provides reliable maintenance and customer support services. Quick response to issues is vital for minimizing downtime.6
Profit Margins- Calculate the profit margins for each product in your vending machine. Focus on items with higher margins to maximize your return on investment (ROI).8
Competition- Assess the competition in the chosen location and niche. Consider how your vending machine can differentiate itself, whether through product selection, pricing, or customer experience.6
Energy Efficiency- Opt for vending machines with energy-efficient features to reduce operating costs and environmental impact.6

What are the Best Vending Machines to Own?

Owning the right vending machines can be crucial to running a successful vending machine company. Let’s take a look at what makes some of them ideal for this venture.


Food and Beverage Vending Machines

Food and beverage vending machines offer a wide selection of snack and drink items for customers, making them an easy choice for busy shoppers. Products range from soft drinks and candy to chips, nuts, healthy snacks, and more.

Bulk Vending Machines

Bulk vending machines can dispense products such as gumballs, toys, trinkets, jewelry, and more in bulk amounts. They come in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit any business.

Ice Vending Machines

Ice vending machines are popular options due to their convenience. An ice vending machine can make up to 500 pounds of fresh ice daily in a variety of sizes. These machines require very little maintenance or supervision, making them a solid choice for busy entrepreneurs.

Specialty Retail Vending Machines

Specialty retail vending machines provide everyday items like cell phone accessories or travel products that customers may need on the go. These smaller machines are relatively low maintenance but can generate substantial sales if placed in high-traffic areas.

Vending Machine TypeDescription
Food and Beverage Vending MachinesOffer a wide selection of snacks and drinks, including soft drinks, candy, chips, nuts, healthy snacks, and more. Ideal for busy shoppers looking for quick refreshments.
Bulk Vending MachinesDispense products in bulk, such as gumballs, toys, trinkets, and jewelry. Available in various sizes and styles to suit different businesses and locations.
Ice Vending MachinesProvide fresh ice in various sizes, making up to 500 pounds of ice daily. These machines are convenient and require minimal maintenance, making them suitable for busy entrepreneurs.
Specialty Retail Vending MachinesOffer everyday items like cell phone accessories or travel products for customers on the go. These smaller machines are relatively low mainte

The 40 Most Profitable Vending Machine Business Ideas

Vending machine businesses have been around for years, and they continue to be successful. Here’s a look at some of the most profitable vending machine business ideas you can use to make money.

1. Coffee Machines and other Hot Drink Machines

Coffee and hot drink machines are popular among offices, hospitals, universities, fitness centers, and cafes. People turn to them for quick, convenient drinks.

2. Ice Vending Machine

Ice vending machines provide convenient access to affordable ice and are often seen in convenience stores, gas stations, schools, industrial parks, and recreational areas.

3. Soda Machines and Cold Drink Machines

Cold drink machines provide a convenient way to access tasty, chilled beverages in places like convenience stores, cafeterias, schools, offices, and recreation centers.

4. Snack Vending Machines

Snack vending machines offer on-demand access to snacks for customers in busy environments like factories, break rooms, airports, and universities.

5. Candy Vending Machine

Candy vending machines are popular in public places, such as train stations, airports, amusement parks, and more.

6. Chocolate Bars Vending Machine

Chocolate bar vending machines are a great way to provide a convenient source of snacks for customers on the go.

7. Toys Vending Machine

Toy vending machines are a great way to provide affordable and fun items for children in places like amusement parks, shopping malls, and movie theaters.

8. Healthy Snack Items

Healthy snack items are becoming more popular as people look for healthier options when they’re out and about.

9. Sandwich Machines

Sandwich machines are a great way to provide fresh and tasty sandwiches for customers who are in a hurry.

10. Smoothie Vending Machines

Delicious and nutritious smoothies are a great option for health-conscious customers. Smoothie vending machines provide quick and easy access to these drinks.

11. Pet Food Vending Machine

Pet food vending machines are growing in popularity and provide a wide variety of options, from dry kibble to canned food.

12. Pizza Vending Machines

Everyone loves pizza and now they can get it anytime, anywhere with the help of a pizza vending machine.

Most Profitable Vending Machines

13. Burger and Hot Dog Vending Machine

For those customers looking for a full meal on the go, a burger, and hot dog vending machine is a great way to provide convenient access to fast food.

14. Alcoholic Beverages Vending Machines

Vending machines dispensing alcoholic beverages are a great way to provide customers of legal age with easy access to their favorite adult drinks.

15. Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

Cigarette vending machines appeal to adult smokers for convenience and are best located in bars, clubs, and private establishments with secure environments.

16. Cosmetics Vending Machine Business

These typically attract those who want quick, easy access to beauty products and are ideal in shopping centers, airports, and busy, upscale areas.

17. Ice Cream Machine

Ice cream machines are popular with all ages, and are best located in schools, parks, or community centers.

18. French Fries Vending Machine

French fries vending machines are great for busy areas and can be found in places like malls, airports, or sporting arenas.

19. Burritos Vending Machine

Burritos vending machines are often found in universities, hospitals, offices, and airports, offering convenient snacks or meals.

20. Doughnut Vending Machine

Who doesn’t love doughnuts? Doughnut vending machines offer a convenient way for customers to get their doughnut fix.

21. Salads Vending Machine

For those customers looking for a healthier option, salad vending machines provide fresh and delicious salads in a hurry.

22. Seafood Vending Machine

These are ideal for beach towns or areas near busy fishing ports, as customers can enjoy fresh and delicious seafood without having to wait in line at a fish market.

23. Cakes Vending Machine

Cakes vending machines are a great way to offer customers sweet treats and desserts on the go.

24. Ramen, Noodles & Pasta Vending Machine

These are great options for universities as they provide quick and easy access to delicious hot meals on the cheap.

25. Sushi Vending Machine

Sushi lovers will be delighted to find sushi vending machines in places like shopping malls, airports, and train stations.

26. Marijuana Vending Machine

As the legal landscape changes, marijuana vending machines are becoming more popular in certain areas. These are typically found in dispensaries and provide secure access to cannabis products.

27. Vegan Snacks & Drinks

A healthy alternative to standard snacks, vegan vending machines offer organic and plant-based products.

28. Flowers Vending Machine

These can be a lifesaver for those who need a last-minute gift. Flowers vending machines offer fresh flower bouquets and arrangements for customers to purchase.

29. Soup Vending Machine

Soup vending machines are a great addition to hospitals and institutes of higher education, as they provide convenient access to hot meals.

30. Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

These vending machines provide customers with access to fresh fruits and vegetables and are often found in healthcare facilities, schools, and corporate buildings.

31. Nuts Vending Machine

Nuts vending machines are a great way to offer customers an alternative to traditional snacks and are often found in hotels, casinos, or airports.

32. Protein Shakes & Fitness Supplements

The fitness industry is booming and vending machines full of protein shakes, energy drinks, and supplements are a great way to keep up with the demand.

33. Popcorn Vending Machine

Movie theaters, arcades, and amusement parks are all great places to find popcorn vending machines.

34. Disposable Masks & Gloves

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many locations are now offering disposable masks and gloves in vending machines for customers to purchase.

35. Personal Hygiene Products

Vending machines with personal hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste are becoming increasingly popular in gyms and other public spaces.

36. Contraceptive Vending Machine

Contraceptives have become more readily available with the advent of contraceptive vending machines. Nightclubs and bars are a couple of places they could be profitable in.

37. Umbrella Vending Machine

These are great for rainy climates like Seattle and San Francisco and ensure customers have access to umbrellas in a pinch.

38. Cotton Candy Vending Machine

Kids and adults alike can enjoy the sweet taste of cotton candy with these vending machines, making them great for amusement parks or fairs.

39. Sunscreen Machine

Beaches, pools, and other outdoor recreational areas are perfect locations for sunscreen vending machines.

40. Photo Booth Machine Business

Customers can capture memories with these vending machines, making them great for events like weddings and birthday parties. They’re also a great way to attract customers to retail shops.

Final Words

In conclusion, vending machines can be a profitable business venture, especially with the right franchise guide. A vending machine franchise or an ice machine franchise can offer various non-food vending machines and food business ideas to choose from. Identifying profitable niches is crucial in the vending business and can make all the difference in success. With careful research, choosing the right franchise, and proper market analysis, vending machines can be a profitable investment.

Most Profitable Vending Machine FAQs

Where are Vending Machines Most Profitable?

To maximize profits, choose areas with high foot traffic, offer products that customers are looking for, and make sure you keep the machines serviced and stocked. With the right combination of these factors, you’ll have yourself a steady source of passive income.

Do Vending Machines make Good Money?

Vending machines can be a great money-maker with the right combination of location, product selection, and maintenance. If you place them in areas with high foot traffic and offer products customers want, you’ll see a steady stream of income.

Which Vending Machine is Best?

It depends on your individual needs. Consider factors like location, product selection, maintenance, and design when buying a vending machine. Also, make sure the machine has all the features you need to run a successful business.

Is a Starting Vending Machine Business a good Idea?

Starting a vending machine business can be a good idea if you plan carefully, choose the right machines, and have the necessary capital to get started. Before launching, consider factors like location, customer base, product selection, and maintenance.


In the world of business ventures, owning and operating a vending machine business can be an enticing path to profitability. The vending machine industry is experiencing a surge in popularity, and for those who navigate it wisely, it can indeed be a lucrative endeavor. As you’ve discovered throughout this article, the key to success lies in careful planning, strategic choices, and a commitment to providing what customers want.

Here’s a concise summary of what we’ve explored:

  • Profitability: The vending machine business can be remarkably profitable when executed correctly. While the average revenue from a single vending machine may start at $35 per week, effective placement, stocking, and management can translate into around $400 per month in sales.
  • Variety of Vending Machines: The diversity of vending machines available means there’s ample room for customization to suit your business goals and target audience. Whether it’s food and beverage vending, bulk vending, ice vending, or specialty retail vending, there’s a vending machine for nearly every niche.
  • Profitable Vending Machine Ideas: We’ve covered an extensive list of profitable vending machine ideas. From coffee machines and ice vending to candy, toys, and healthy snacks, there’s a vending machine opportunity catering to diverse consumer preferences. The list also includes innovative options like marijuana vending machines, vegan snacks, and even photo booth machines.
  • Franchise Opportunities: Exploring franchise options within the vending machine industry can be a smart move. Vending machine franchises and ice machine franchises can offer a structured and supportive framework for success. However, thorough research, the right choice of franchise, and market analysis are essential for profitability.
  • Choosing the Right Locations: Location is a critical factor in the vending machine business. To maximize profits, opt for high-traffic areas where your target audience frequents. Additionally, ensuring that your machines remain well-stocked and serviced is vital for maintaining customer satisfaction and steady income.
  • Factors to Consider: When selecting vending machines, take into account various factors such as location suitability, product selection, maintenance requirements, and machine design. Each of these elements contributes to the overall success of your vending business.

Starting a vending machine business is undoubtedly an attractive prospect, but it’s important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires meticulous planning, ongoing market analysis, and a dedication to meeting the needs of your customers. However, with the right strategy, vending machines can become a reliable source of passive income, offering a win-win scenario for both entrepreneurs and consumers alike. So, if you’re considering venturing into the world of vending machines, do your research, identify profitable niches, and set yourself up for a profitable and rewarding journey in this dynamic industry.

To sum it up, vending machines are more than just mechanical devices dispensing snacks and drinks; they are the embodiment of convenience and opportunity for those who seize them wisely.

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Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.