Claw machines have been a source of entertainment in locations since the 1980s, they gained a significant presence in Pizza Hut restaurants and later spread to other venues like the NHL, NBA and MLB. Now, claw machines can be found in most locations that experience heavy foot traffic, like an arcade, family entertainment center, restaurant or mall. Often placed near the entrance to attract players into the location as they are seen as a staple of the arcade experience.

A good claw machine is one that is well-designed, well-maintained, and provides a fair and enjoyable playing experience for the customer. Here are some key factors to running a successful claw machine in your location:

  1. Good Prize Selection: The machine should offer a variety of prizes that are well-stocked and appeal to players. Whether that be licensed merchandise, mystery boxes, candy, or electronics such as headphones or speakers—a good mix of prizes helps you have something for every player.
  2. Attractive Design: The claw machine should have an eye-catching appearance, colorful lights on the cabinet paired with LED lights on the inside to highlight the prizes is a sure way to grab the attention of players.
  3. Fair Pay-Out Rate: Players love to win, so make sure you offer a reasonable chance of winning a prize by not making it too difficult to win. Plus, the more that people see others winning prizes in your location means a higher chance that players are going to put money into your claw machine.
  4. Ease of Use: Claw machines tend to be games that most people understand; however, you still need to have clear instructions for players on how to play and the cost of a play. Especially with the new technology being added to some machines, it can still get confusing for some people.

While there are still more factors that contribute to a great claw machine, a lot of things depend on your location and audience. A prize that works well in one location might do poorly in another; it’s important to test out new merchandise and listen to what your players want.

I think it’s safe to say that claw machines are one of the backbones of this industry, and players of all ages still get excited whenever they see one out and about. The unpredictability of the claw’s movement and the sense of control the player feels while operating it can be appealing. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment they feel when successfully retrieving a prize—everyone loves to win.

AVS Companies has a variety of claw machines available from our manufacturers, as well as claw machine merchandise and parts as well. Please contact us at or (847) 439-9400 for more information!