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Most Profitable Vending Machines in 2023

by Busines Newswire
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Profitability is a defining characteristic of successful vending machine enterprises. Many people think about the advantages of a vending machine investment because of the inexpensive start-up expenses, low maintenance costs, low labor requirements, and large range of machine kinds and goods. The most popular types of vending machines, the ones that are the most successful, and how novice and experienced vending owners can increase profitability are all covered below.

What vending machines are the most common?

Most consumers are unaware of the wide variety of vending machine kinds available. The usage of vending machines in specialist companies like car washes and Laundromats has been made possible by industry advancements. In addition, long-established food and beverage machines. Vending machines even sell specialized goods like PPE, hygiene supplies, and cosmetics. Which vending machines are used the most by customers?

Vending machines for snacks

One of the first varieties of vending machines was the snack vending machine. The most popular snack items, like chips, candies, chocolate bars, and other sweet delicacies, are frequently available at these vending machines. Snack machines are now frequently filled with granola bars, yogurt, fresh fruit or dried fruit substitutes, veggie/dip combos, and more as a result of a recent focus on offering healthy options.

The main benefit of snack vending machines is the convenience of quick, on-the-go snacking. They are present pretty much anywhere that vending machines are permitted. Any location will be successful for a snack machine, whether it sells healthful snacks or ones that will sate a sweet-and-salty hunger.

Vending Machines for Drinks

The majority of drink dispensers will carry water, iced tea, and non-carbonated sodas. Although they can only give a small selection of coffee, hot beverage machines are also quite common in the vending machine market and can provide a wide range of beverages, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider, and more. Additionally, there are cold drink dispensers for health-conscious people. and keep products like protein shakes, sports drinks, and other beverages with no added sugar on hand.

To give customers the chance to meet all of their needs in one location, soda machines and other beverage vending machines are frequently coupled with snack machines. The excellent profit margins and little risk of failure of this type of machine make it a still a highly popular choice for vending machine business owners. These machines also succeed in almost all settings, just like snack vending machines.

Vending machines for meals

Customers can purchase a variety of meals from meal vending machines, including pizza, hotdogs, burgers, salads, sandwiches, burritos, and more. These devices are widely used in places including hospitals, offices, People who don’t have time to visit a typical sit-down or fast food restaurant or who are closely monitoring their spending habits value the possibility to pick up a full meal at a reasonable price highly.

They are a fairly frequent addition to a vending machine business once the operator has some expertise in the sector because vending owners can depend on them to be highly profitable in the correct place. Compared to other vending machine kinds, they do require more frequent stock rotation, but the popularity with consumers and the cash they provide make the extra time investment worthwhile.

Vape and Cigarette Vending Machines

One of the most common types of vending machines today are specialty retail vending machines that provide cigarettes and vape supplies to adult customers. Cigarette vending machines are not permitted in all establishments (shopping malls are one exception), although they can thrive in settings with a high concentration of adults.

The costs connected with these machines will be higher because the technology for more security will increase the cost of the machine and because buying these products in large quantities will increase the cost of the individual products. Due to their popularity and the higher price tags of the products chosen for resale, these machines’ profitability is still very good. People who purchase these products from vending machines are likely to do so in the future; they attract rather devoted customers.

A Financial Glimpse of the Vending Machine Market

The vending machine market in the USA is significantly bigger than most people believe, and small company owners make up the majority of the sector—exactly two-thirds. In contrast to most other industries, no owner of a vending machine company has more than 5% of the market.

Even while well-known brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola will hold the biggest market share percentages, they still cannot compete with the thousands of small-scale vending machine owners that run operations with only one or two units. Vending machine sales can range from as low as $75 per month to as high as $600 per month for the very profitable units.

Clearly, the market for vending businesses is very diverse. The number of vending machines a vending machine operator has might range from one to twenty or more, and this will considerably affect the profitability of their machines. It’s advisable to utilize a profit calculator to forecast profit margin for your particular situation.

The two million vending machines that are currently in use in the nation bring in about 7.4 billion dollars a year. You may estimate that the average customer spends $35 annually on products from vending apps when you compare this revenue to the number of adults in the nation. The annual income of the typical vending machine owner is less than one million dollars.

There are 15 million machines in the vending machine sector worldwide. New vending machine operators are entering a sector that is largely saturated but still expanding each year, with the United States accounting for one-third of the global vending machine market. The greatest moment to launch vending machine company endeavors is currently, with a compound annual growth rate predicted to be around 10% (with expected growth continuing beyond 2030).

Which vending machines provide the highest revenue?

Popularity can sometimes be a good predictor of a vending machine business’ profitability, however depending on the site possibilities and target market, a vending machine owner may find that less popular machines are occasionally a better choice. Let’s examine the vending devices the highest profit potential for your vending machine business.

Bulk Vending Machines

The potential income from bulk vending machines is greater than that of any other form of vending machine. This is due to the fact that they are basic mechanical devices that require little maintenance and don’t require any external power sources, such as batteries or electricity.

Buying price

Vending machines in bulk often cost $500 to purchase. In general, they are far more economical than any other kind of vending machine, with prices ranging from $50 to $2700. A brand-new gumball vending machine, for instance, only costs $100. These machines’ prices are so low because they don’t need electricity to manage the inventory or accept payments; instead, they merely collect coins through a mechanical dispensing mechanism and stock goods that don’t need to be kept at a specific temperature.

‍Maintenance Cost

Bulk vending machines’ internal systems are far more straightforward than those of regular vending machines, and as a result, they are far easier to maintain. Bulk vending machines don’t require power for anything. The cost of and frequency of maintenance services for bulk vending machines will be very low.

Estimated Median Sale

The prices of goods in bulk vending machines are exceptionally low, frequently under $1. The typical transaction only costs 25 cents; while some families may use the machine several times to buy candy for all of their kids, most people just spend a quarter at a time.

‍Profit Margin

Bulk vending machines generate the highest profit margin for the vending machine industry despite the incredibly low purchasing price for each item. It costs as low as $35 to buy a bag of 850 gumballs, which is sufficient to fill the machine entirely. The gumball machine owner will have made $200 once all of the gumballs have been sold at 25 cents apiece. You won’t find a profit like that with any other vending business; this is a 570% return.

Ice Vending Machine

Customers can purchase whole bags of ice from an ice vending machine. In many places, ice vending machines are fairly common. For beachgoers and campers who need to stock up on ice to keep their food cold, as well as for regular customers who want a contactless way to purchase ice for domestic usage. This is another factor contributing to the popularity of ice vending machine businesses among vending machine operators. Ice vending machines will primarily be found outside of supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations. Although these machines will cost the most to buy, they are also among of the simplest to use.

‍Buying Cost

Your vending machine firm will typically spend $20,000 on an ice vending machine application. Due to the size of these enormous machines, which are usually installed outside and must handle a lot of heavy objects, the initial investment is significant. Ice vending machines will be worth close to $100,000 at their peak. As a result, in order to enter the ice vending machine market, vending buyers will need to make a sizable upfront investment.

Maintenance Charges

Vending machine operators won’t have to spend a large portion of their income on maintenance and servicing charges because ice vending machines have a high production and little need for maintenance. The payment system is the part that is most likely to need repair, as well as cash and coins, they frequently accept cashless payments. Particularly when a high-quality machine is bought, the water line and refrigeration equipment in these machines are rather resilient and dependable and won’t require maintenance too frequently.

Expected Median Sales

The majority of customers who buy ice from a vending machine buy one or two bags at once, thus the anticipated average sale will fall between $1.50 and $3.

Revenue Margin

A 10 pound bag of ice only costs your vending machine company 25 cents after water and electrical expenses. Since each bag will sell for about $1.50, a return of 600% is quite impressive. If the vending machine is filling up to its daily limit of 75 bags. only 15 bags will be required to break even, and the rest will be 100% profit.

Cold Food Vending Machines 

Healthy foods like sandwiches, wraps, breakfast burritos, salads, and more are available from cold food vending machines. They might also have frozen meals in them. Similar to ice cream vending machines, its often perishable product does require more administration than other vending machines, but the machines’ ability to replace meals makes them very popular with customers and profitable for vending machine operators.

Buying price

When new, cold food vending machines will set you back several thousand dollars. They are fairly complex machines with more expensive and sophisticated refrigeration and temperature control systems, as well as smart payment devices like card readers. However, many types may be bought as refurbished devices due to their widespread use, which can assist reduce the initial cost.

Maintenance Cost

Cold food vending machines will require more maintenance than most other types. These machines will need more frequent maintenance than ordinary vending machines and will need skilled professionals because of the complex refrigeration system, temperature control technology, and more sophisticated payment systems (card reader, cash/coin readers).

Expected Median Sales

A cold food vending machine apps will provide items with prices ranging from $1 to $10. Since the majority of the items sold by these machines are complete meals, most customers simply buy one thing. However, smart vending machines that also sell desserts could bring in more money every transaction.

‍Profit Margin

Markups on goods can be quite high in cold food vending machines because of the more complex nature of the products and the card readers they frequently have. This is especially true in congested areas when there are fewer food options available. For each item they sell, vending machine operators can anticipate making a few dollars in profit.

Vending machines for snacks and beverages

Around 30% of vending machine markets worldwide are made up of food and beverage machines. They are the backbone of the vending industry and the best vending machines for beginning business owners because their passive income is essentially guaranteed and their stock rotation is less critical than it is for vending machines that sell cold or fresh food.

‍Expected Average Sale

The cost of purchasing snack and beverage machines will be high. They range in price from $3000 to $5000 on average, although those with more sophisticated technologies can cost up to $10,000. However, if you aren’t set on buying a brand-new machine, you may frequently find these machines as reconditioned ones to aid with prices.

Maintenance Charges

Snack and beverage vending machines will have maintenance expenses that are comparable to those of cold food vending machines. Snack machines that sell fresh snacks and all beverage machines will have the same refrigeration and temperature control systems as cold food machines. Snack machines that simply sell chips, candies, and chocolate bars won’t necessarily be refrigerated. Therefore, more frequent maintenance requirements and higher repair expenses will ensue, will be higher, typically requiring the assistance of a professional.

‍Expected Average Sale

Typically, the price of snacks and beverages from vending machines ranges from $1 to $3. The majority of customers will only purchase one snack, although this is not always the case. In particular, if a vending machine offers a variety of enticing foods and beverages, many families, college students, and other customers will purchase many things from it during the same transaction.

Revenue Margin

Typically, the prices in food and beverage vending machines are 300–400% higher. For instance, a water bottle might only cost 50 cents, yet it might sell for $2. The price of a bag of chips can range from 35 cents to $1. These profit margins in the vending industry are not the highest, but the higher sales volume can help combat the lower revenue per item.

Most Profitable Vending Machine Locations

Where to locate vending machines for maximum profitability should be one of the first important considerations when developing a business plan for a new vending operation (or one that is ready to expand). Regarding success and revenue, the vending location can definitely make a huge impact. Whether you want your machines to be placed in a highly visible area or somewhere a bit more private, we’ll explain the most profitable vending machine locations in the sections below.


Airports are one of the finest places to locate profitable vending machines, according to market studies. Generally speaking, airports are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and thousands of people pass through them each day. People from various walks of life will be interested in purchasing snacks, drinks, or even toys for their children without having to wait in long queues or pay exorbitant airport costs at airports, where you may target your vending machines to them.

The variety of available sites also makes an airport one of the finest places to put a vending machine. Given the enormous size of most airports, there can be a huge number of vending machines there at once without there being too much competition. As a result, finding a site won’t be as challenging as it would be in more constrained areas. With the least amount of downtime possible, you can have your vending machine up and running quickly and start making money.


Another excellent place for profitable vending machines is hotels and motels. They interact with a diverse group of people on a regular basis, and the building’s constant turnover means that there is always the possibility of meeting a new consumer. Many hotel/motel visitors won’t want to go out to eat, and they could also decide to forego any dining options the place provides.The best approach to set up a vending business for success is to place vending machines in the lobby areas, on each level, and adjacent to other amenities like ice makers, gyms, and swimming pools.

Office Structures

Many office workers no longer bring their own lunches to work and instead opt to eat out or have deliveries made for the team on special occasions. They might not always have the time to leave the premises for a meal, and this can become quite pricey. Profitable vending devices thus thrive in office buildings.

Vending machine owners can make a nice profit as long as there are 50 or more regular employees in the building each workday. There is a good chance that several people will take advantage of the offerings each day, whether they are snacks, cold drinks, or entire meals. Additionally, they will appeal to those who work in distribution, maintenance, and other fields that help increase machine profitability.

Shopping Malls

Due to foot traffic, shopping centers make excellent places for vending machines. A mall or other shopping center’s high visitor volume means that the vending machine will be seen by a huge number of potential customers. Vending machines can become quite profitable in areas where people shop because it can make them hungry and where parents might need to pacify youngsters, these locations with the right stock.

Apartment Buildings & Complexes

Another great place to assure a profitable vending machine is an apartment complex. The vending machines are not only available to those who live in the apartment complexes every day; most people also pass by them twice daily, if not more. Additionally, any visitors they receive will be made aware of the vending machine and could end up using it. This makes apartment lobbies ideal locations for vending machines.

Many apartment buildings offer amenities like exercise rooms, swimming pools, community laundry rooms, gathering areas, and more. Since each location has a reasonable foot traffic volume and is likely to attract the same customers frequently, it can be a profitable place to put a vending machine. Other community members may also use outdoor amenities, expanding the machine’s customer base and boosting its overall profitability.

Industrial Structures (Facilities for Manufacturing, Storage, etc.)

The best places to put vending machines are in industrial parks’ factories, warehouses, distribution centers, and other buildings. Since the majority of them are manned by rotating shifts around-the-clock, the workers sometimes lack the opportunity to go out for meals or snacks during their shorter breaks.

In addition to giving hundreds of workers access to food and beverages throughout their shifts, vending machines in these locations also generate a pretty stable income. Once the staff members are aware of what the vending machine has to offer, they are more inclined to make frequent purchases. The consistency of purchases is a key factor in vending machine profitability, and industrial buildings provide good reliability in that regard, The consistency of purchases is a key factor in vending machine profitability, and industrial buildings provide good reliability in that regard.


Some of the most well-liked locations for vending machines are hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They never shut their doors to the public and are open 365 days a year. When you take into account the employees, the patients, the visitors, the maintenance staff, the volunteers, and more, they will serve a sizable consumer base. They are manned with hundreds of employees every day. One of the most adaptable settings for a vending machine business is hospitals. They are often enormous buildings with multiple levels that provide various indoor and outdoor sites for profitable vending machines.

Additionally, because such a wide variety of individuals can buy goods from the machine, any form of machine can prosper. A hospital can accommodate meal/cold food vending machines, snack vending machines, cold or hot beverage machines, and speciality retail machines. In this kind of setting, the potential for enormous profitability speaks for itself.

Assisted Living Facilities

Profitable vending machine locations include long-term care facilities like nursing homes. Many people live in these facilities at once, and the majority of them have visitors at least once every week. In addition to giving customers a welcome break from the restaurant’s meals, vending machines also give guests’ visiting relatives and friends access to quick snacks and beverages. These locations give vending business owners a reliable source of income, and they can prosper with just about any product category. The staff in long-term care facilities is another possible source of income. The majority of employees in these facilities put in long hours with few breaks, which is ideal for boosting vending machine sales. These sites are unquestionably profitable for owners of vending businesses because people are out and about at all hours of the day and night.

Vehicle Dealerships

When it comes to launching and growing a vending machine business, car dealerships provide a number of benefits. A relationship with one dealership is important because the great majority of them will be a part of a larger dealership family. will present potential areas for future growth.

There are several things that contribute to a vending machine’s incredible success when it comes to profitability in a dealership. Nearly every dealership has a service department as well, and the wait time to get a car can be up to three hours. Customers who decide to wait for their car are likely to use a vending machine to pass the time by purchasing a snack or cold beverage.

Additionally, those who visit dealerships to shop for a new vehicle are likely to spend at least a few hours there exploring, speaking with a salesperson, and being offered the chance to buy a vending machine item on a number of occasions.

Vending machines serve both the dealership’s numerous daily footfalls of consumers and the staff members who work there. They may find a vending machine to be their ideal supply of cold drinks, fresh snacks, and mouthwatering meals because they frequently work long hours and may not have enough downtime to visit a restaurant.

Other fitness facilities & gyms

Every city has an overabundance of public gyms and other fitness facilities. Vending machine placements here are among the most lucrative, however not all stock types work well. People won’t be too happy with soda machines or unhealthy snacks in food vending machines as they go to the gym to get fit and healthy.

But they’re also a great place to find vending machines that sell nutritious foods, protein shakes, electrolyte-balanced drinks (sports drinks), and even specialized things like towels, deodorant, and more. Both gymgoers and personnel will value these things much, and vending machine owners will profit from them as they can be priced up higher than regular vending items.

Profits are guaranteed to flow whether vending machines provide one-of-a-kind retail items, a quick snack to fuel a workout, or a healthy meal and drink to recharge after testing one’s physical limitations during training. Additionally, gym users will frequently become dependable clients, ensuring a consistent flow of cash.

Schools (All Age Groups)

Vending machines have a good chance of making money whether they are installed at middle schools, high schools, or on college or university campuses. There may be days when parents simply don’t have time to prepare a packed lunch for their children. Students have healthy appetites and brief lunch breaks. They may find tremendous comfort in the selection of healthy vending machines. Between lessons, they offer teachers a variety of wholesome snacks, drinks, and meals.

Campuses at colleges and universities provide even more flexibility than those at lower academic levels. Vending machines are an excellent addition to dorm rooms, libraries, and other facility buildings since they can feed late-night study sessions or improve performance before a game or exam.

How to Maximize Vending Machine Profitability

There are some things a vending machine owner can do to increase the profitability of their business, regardless of the sort of machine they have or where it is placed. The most profitable vending machines in any category will most likely share most or all of these characteristics.

Payment Method

Although they were initially just intended to accept pennies, vending machines have evolved to include more sophisticated currency and coin readers, and contemporary vending machines are outfitted with completely cashless payment systems. People in the modern world desire convenient payment methods for everything, including their vending machines, whether they work with debit/credit card scanners or are compatible with mobile payment systems.

A excellent approach to increase the profitability of your vending machine business is to buy new machines that come with cashless payment choices and upgrade existing units to the current standard. The majority of people no longer carry coins or paper money, hence they may not be able to use vending machines that don’t have card readers or mobile payment choices.

In essence, you’ll see potential customers committing to the buy more frequently the easier it is for them to pay. The success of the machine can be greatly impacted by meeting the demand for accessible payment options.

Product Type/Diversity

The secret to a successful and well-liked vending machine business is product variety. This is accurate whether there is only one vending machine or several in a single location. A snack machine plus a drink machine, for instance, will bring in more money than two snack machines placed side by side since customers who came over for a drink may also pick up a snack to go with it, and vice versa. But if there are two of the same kind of equipment, they will wind up competing with one another, which would reduce their profitability.

Additionally, offering a variety of goods in a single machine might aid vending machine owners in maximizing their earnings. The only way to increase the number of people making purchases is to provide the greatest customer service possible for each individual. A wide range of products not only makes more consumers more likely to use your machine frequently, but it also gives them more opportunities to buy several things at once.

Inventory Control

A key factor in a vending machine’s success is inventory management. If there isn’t anything for customers to really buy in the vending machines, it doesn’t matter if you place them in high traffic areas. For your business to be as profitable as possible, keeping a constant check on the stock levels in your machine is crucial. Inventory management entails not only keeping a lot of stock on hand, but also making choices about which products to sell. Some products will sell more successfully than others, and if any products are not selling at all, it is crucial to take them out of the lineup and add new ones. A machine filled with products that people truly want will bring in far more money than one filled with less desirable items.


Even though we are all taught as children not to judge a book by its cover, we all continue to do so. Vending machines also adhere to the same principle. Potential consumers won’t find a dirty machine enticing, and any obvious symptoms of neglect will act as a strong deterrent. Maintaining the external appearance and cleanliness of your equipment will help you draw in consumers and generate more income.

Similar to this, malfunctioning vending machines may draw users, but you can bet they won’t return if their first payment method was rejected or their item became stuck. Although customers can contact the service line for help with these problems, it’s unlikely that they will be interested in making any more purchases from that machine in the future. Maintaining the equipment will promote repeat business and boost profitability by ensuring it is continually operational.

Hours of Operation

The amount of hours that customers can use the vending machine will have an impact on how much money your vending machine business will make, just like it does with any other type of business. Your hours of operation might be constrained to mall hours in more secure settings like shopping centers. The heavy foot traffic in this instance would compensate for any lost sales resulting from nighttime closings, but not every location (even other retail shops) will provide that advantage.

If your operating hours are currently restricted and your revenues aren’t where they should be, expanding public access can be the simplest approach to raise the profitability of the machine. Most vending machine operators choose to leave their machines available to the public 24/7. It’s ideal to let customers make purchases whenever they want, unless the property owners set the hours.

Marketing initiatives

Many people who are new to the vending sector are unaware of how crucial marketing is to beginning a business. People won’t be able to utilize a new vending machine if they are unaware of it, after all. Profits will undoubtedly increase if you blog about your vending machines on social media and consider the value of word-of-mouth promotion.

It’s not necessary for marketing to solely take place online or through direct communication. There are several businesses that can design unique skins for your vending machine to enhance its aesthetic appeal and entice customers to approach and investigate the offerings.

It can be worthwhile to speak with a few wrap companies to create a fresh and interesting design for your vending machines if you see that business is quite slow for your new or existing vending machines. You should also consider spending some time on social media marketing.


We are confident that this guide has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to be successful, whether you are interested in starting your own vending machine business and joining an industry of entrepreneurs or you simply want to learn what makes a vending machine business profitable to improve an existing business.


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