Do you want to start your own vending machine business but are looking for some unique ideas for it? In this article, I have compiled a list of some of the best and unique vending machine business ideas that you can start and make good money from.
There are many different types of vending machines selling a whole range of different products. It is a good idea to research about the most in-demand products in your area and plan your vending machine business accordingly.
One of the most important factors in this business is to find an ideal location for your vending machine. You have to find a place where there is high traffic of prospective customers.
The article below will provide you with one of the most comprehensive lists of the best products that can be sold in vending machines. Find the ones that are best suited for your location and can earn you great profits.
List of the Best Vending Machine Business Ideas
1. Soda, Water & Other Beverages
Most definitely some of the best-selling vending machine items are soda and cold drinks like Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, energy drinks like Red Bull and Gatorade, diet soda, and bottled drinking water. According to a report published by Brendon Gaille, soda and other cold beverages make up for about 50% of all products sold in vending machines in the USA.
Best places to install: Any high foot traffic area like subway stations, shopping malls, offices, stadiums, etc.
2. Packaged Snacks Vending Machine
The next on our list of the top-selling vending machine items are packaged snacks like Lay’s chips, Sun chips, Cheez-its, Doritos, Cheetos, Planters Trail Mix, crackers, peanuts, etc.
Everyone loves a quick salty (and sometimes sweet) snack from time to time and these are excellent candidates for easy vending machine products to sell.
Best places to install: Universities, shopping malls, train stations, airports, etc.
3. Candies & Chocolate Bars
Candy and chocolate are another group of high-selling vending machine products. These usually have a long shelf life because of which these make for an ideal product range for vending machines.
These are also small in size so you can fit in large quantities of these resulting in more profits. Candies and chocolates are loved universally by everyone and so, they can pretty much be sold anywhere.
Best places to install: Any crowded place like shopping malls, train stations, subways, school and university campuses, etc.
4. Jelly Sweets Vending Machine
Jelly sweets are some of the bestselling small and inexpensive items that you can sell using vending machines. Be it adults or children, everyone loves to eat them! Some of the most popular jelly sweets are jelly beans, gummy bears, sour jelly candies, etc.
Best places to install: You can put these up at almost any crowded place.
5. Pizza Vending Machine
Being one of the most popular food items across the world, pizza can be one of the best items to sell in vending machines. You can get an idea of their growing popularity and the kind of money you can make with pizza vending machines in the video below.
Best places to install: Bus and train stations, beaches, markets, bars and nightclubs, etc.
6. Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products
Another highly profitable vending machine business idea. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are fast-moving items but make sure that you install these only in places where they are allowed legally.
Best places to install: Places frequented by adults, like outside offices and other workplaces.
7. Greeting Card Vending Machine
Greeting cards can be a really profitable vending machine item. You can stock up on greeting cards for all occasions and they sell especially well during festival seasons.
Best places to install: Provision stores, gift shops, shopping arcades, supermarkets, colleges, etc.
8. Sandwich Vending Machine
Sandwiches can be a great item for vending machine business as you can offer both hot and cold sandwiches as well as a lot of customization. These can also be some of the most healthy vending machine items. Popular sandwiches that you can sell are turkey, chicken, tuna, bacon, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Best places to install: Offices, schools and universities, train stations, metro stations, etc.
9. Burger Vending Machine
A warm, delicious, and juicy burger served to you fresh from a vending machine! Now, who wouldn’t like that? Burgers are a perfect vending machine business idea for any place that sees a lot of crowd. Especially lucrative in places where there aren’t a lot of other burger stands or food stalls.
Best places to install: Nightclubs, bars, pubs, train and metro stations, malls, stadiums, etc.
10. Coffee, Tea & Other Hot Beverages
Hot beverages like coffee and tea are some of the fastest-moving vending machine items across the world. You can either buy these machines (which can be a little expensive) or you can even rent them to start your own hot beverage vending business. These provide a really good business opportunity with great profits, especially in crowded places.
There are some machines that dispense tea bags so you can make your own tea on the go as well!
Best places to install: Colleges, universities, shopping centers, subway stations, or any other crowded place.
11. Milkshakes & Smoothies
Milkshakes and smoothies have become some of the top vending machine items in recent times. These have shot up in popularity and there are many different types of smoothie vending machines available these days like this one.
Best places to install: Schools, offices, universities, theme parks, metro stations, etc.
12. Cosmetics Vending Machine
Another really interesting vending machine business idea is cosmetics and beauty products like lip glosses, eyeliners, eyelashes, mascara, lip balms, etc. A lot of beauty product brands have been getting into the vending business recently to increase sales like this one by Kylie cosmetics (a cosmetics brand owned by the famous celebrity Kylie Jenner).
Best places to install: Shopping malls, city centers, salons, and any other places frequented by women.
13. Ice Cream Vending Machine
Ice cream is an absolute winner when it comes to a list of the best-selling vending machine items. There are tons of different vending machines selling ice creams these days.
This can be a really good business idea depending on the location where you install these. Ice cream sells particularly well in warm places and during the summer season. You can see one of these in action in the video below.
Best places to install: Parks, schools, universities, near beaches, restaurants and hotels, etc.
14. Beer Vending Machine
Like ice cream, beer can be a very profitable vending machine item, especially in hot places. You can stock all the different brands in a beer vending machine. Some of the newer beer dispensing machines even have built-in ID checkers to prevent people from buying who haven’t reached the legal drinking age.
Best places to install: Pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.
15. Wine & Champagne Vending Machine
Similar to beer, you can also have a machine selling wine and/or champagne. You can offer an assortment of different wine and champagne brands.
These kinds of machines are really popular in many different parts of the world and can prove to be very profitable. But keep in mind that there are strict laws, depending on your location, regarding the sale of alcohol and the age limits for it.
You can see an amazing wine dispensing machine in action in this video.
Best places to install: Nightclubs, vineyards, hotels, restaurants, etc.
16. Healthy Organic Snacks
There has been a recent trend of healthy eating and lifestyle in the past few years. A lot of schools, universities, and offices are slowly phasing out unhealthier food options from their menus as people become more conscious of what they put into their bodies.
This serves as a great business opportunity for you to provide these healthy food options in your vending machine. You can offer tasty and healthy snack items like oatmeal snacks, whole wheat breads with sides, hummus, cereal and granola bars, seeds and nuts, etc.
Best places to install: Office spaces, gyms, schools and universities, etc.
17. Coldpressed Fresh Fruit Juice Machine
Freshly squeezed fruit juices can be a very good vending machine business idea with exceptional profit margins. You can offer a variety of juices including oranges, watermelon, sugarcane, apples, and many more.
Another great advantage of having a juice vending machine is that you can pretty much install these at any place frequented by a lot of people. Most people prefer to have fresh juices rather than the bottled ones.
Best places to install: Gyms, tourist attractions, shopping centers, offices, etc.
18. Milk & Other Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products are consumed in almost all parts of the world. You can put up a vending machine offering fresh milk, butter, cheese, condensed milk, and other popular dairy products. This may work even better in areas where such products aren’t being sold already.
Best places to install: Near residential apartments, convenience stores, city centers, etc.
19. French Fries, Mashed Potatoes & Other Potato Snacks
People who don’t like potatoes are quite honestly a very rare breed. All across the globe, people love to munch on potato snacks like French fries, wedges, mashed potatoes, chips, etc. These can be served at any time of the day and as a snack or a main meal.
Selling potato snacks in a vending machine can give you great profit margins. Really nice example of a machine selling mashed potatoes is shown in this video.
Best places to install: Shopping malls, busy markets, bars and pubs, and any other crowded place.
20. Hot Dog Vending Machine
Hot dogs are next on our list of the bestselling vending machine items. These are loved in many different parts of the world and are quick and easy to prepare. Because of this, they can be highly profitable if positioned in the right places.
Best places to install: Sidewalks, metro and train stations, stadiums, shopping malls, etc.
21. Doughnut Vending Machine
Doughnuts are also loved by a lot of people as a quick snack. But the fact that doughnut stores are not very commonly found provides a great business opportunity to install doughnut vending machines in various parts of your city that don’t have doughnut stores.
A great example of these kinds of machines can be this Krispy Kreme doughnut dispensing machine.
Best places to install: Metro stations, train stations, city centers, and any other crowded places.
22. Meat and Meat Snacks
There are many different types of meats and meat products that you can sell in your vending machine. Things like cold cuts, sausages, salami, ham, steaks, beef jerky, and even raw meats can be sold in such machines.
It may sound strange to you, but these kinds of machines are already very popular in places like Japan and even in the US. You can see a machine just like this in action in this video.
Best places to install: Grocery stores and convenience stores.
23. Vegan Snacks & Drinks
The concept of vegan diets has really caught up in recent times. More and more people are becoming conscious of removing meat and dairy products from their diet. You can cater to this segment of people by offering vegan food and drink products.
This can end up being a unique product offering in vending machines and can create a lot of curiosity (and in turn sales) amongst your customers.
Best places to install: Fitness centers, gyms, offices, universities, etc.
24. Ramen, Noodles & Pasta Vending Machine
The next category of food items that you can sell in vending machines is pasta, noodles, Ramen, or spaghetti. These serve as the perfect meal for people who want something quickly on the go. Excellent meal option for working professionals and students.
You can even offer a selection of different cup noodles in vending machines.
Best places to install: Schools and universities, office campuses, shopping malls, etc.
25. Sushi Vending Machine
Although not very popular in the US yet, sushi vending machines are a big hit in Japan and other parts of the world. Considering the rising popularity of sushi in the US, these can be a highly profitable category of vending machines.
You can offer different types of fresh sushi, sashimi, nigiri, etc. in vending machines in high foot traffic areas. You can see one of these machines in action in the video below.
Best places to install: Restaurants, tourist spots, shopping centers, etc.
26. Book Vending Machine
Books can also be a highly viable vending machine business idea. There are already quite a few different libraries and other places that offer books through vending machines.
You can either sell all the latest bestsellers or you can also stock up on used books which can be bought for a margin of the original price and sold for a high margin.
Best places to install: Libraries, schools, universities, and other educational institutions.
27. Newspaper & Magazine Vending Machine
Just like regular books, you can also consider selling newspapers and magazines through a vending machine. Even with the onset of the Internet era, newspapers and magazines continue to be popular all over the world.
Vending machines can be a more modern way of distribution for these which can bring you some good profits in return.
Best places to install: Train and subway stations, sidewalks, and busy streets.
28. Stationery Vending Machine
Every school, college, university, and office is always in constant need of stationery items. This provides a perfect business opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to start a stationery vending machine business in proximity to these places. You can expect good profit margins out of these as well.
Best places to install: Any place with lots of students or working professionals like colleges, schools, offices, etc.
29. Marijuana Vending Machine
With the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana legalized in some states in the US and other parts of the world, it can prove to be a great vending business idea right now. The only challenge here would be to verify the authorization and identity of the buyers.
This problem can be overcome with advancements in technology like biometrics and ID verification. You can see a cannabis vending machine in action in this video.
Best places to install: Dispensaries, clinics, etc.
Burritos are a fast-selling vending machine item. Installing one of these in a crowded high traffic area will ensure good profits. Check out Burrito Box, one of the leading vending machine companies selling burritos.
Best places to install: Gas stations, malls, fairs, train stations, etc.
31. Pet Food Vending Machine
You can make a lot of pet owners’ lives easy by offering various pet foods like kibbles, wet food, treats, etc. from a vending machine. There are lots of different brands that you can stock and this can provide a nice easy income for you.
These kinds of machines already exist and you can see one in action here.
Best places to install: Vet clinics, dog parks, residential areas, and other pet-friendly places.
32. Jewelry Vending Machine
Jewelry can be of many types, both cheap and expensive. You can sell the non-expensive, yet stylish variety of jewelry in vending machines. A lot of women absolutely love trendy jewelry like bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more.
Best places to install: Tourist destinations, markets, shopping malls, colleges, etc.
33. Medicine Vending Machine
Medicines and other pharmaceuticals are a basic need for people in all parts of the world. You can sell many different medicines, antibiotics, cough syrups, painkillers, multivitamins, and many other things via a medicine vending machine.
These provide a 24×7 easy access way of getting medicines for people and ease the burden on pharmacies and emergency departments.
Best places to install: Near hospitals, clinics, and city centers.
34. Mobile Phone Accessories
We all keep needing various smartphone accessories like charging cables, power banks, EarPods & headphones, pop sockets, etc. at some point. Considering the small size of these products, these kinds of mobile phone accessories can be a great range of products to sell in vending machines.
Best places to install: Shopping malls, colleges, universities, etc.
35. Hair Products & Accessories
Another really unique group of products that you can offer to sell in your vending machine business is hair accessories and hair care products. There are tons of different things like shampoos, hair conditioners, hair extensions, hair wax, etc.
Best places to install: In hair salons, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.
36. Soup Vending Machine
Soups can be a great vending machine item and are already quite popular in countries like Japan. You can offer a whole selection of different kinds of soups. These are delicious, quick to consume, and nutritious at the same time.
You can see an excellent example of a hot soup vending machine like this in the video below.
Best places to install: Airports, subways, train stations, hospitals, etc.
37. Salads Vending Machine
Another healthy vending machine business idea, you can offer a wide range of salads like Caesar salad, chicken salad, corn salad, fruit salad, seafood salad, etc.
Salads are very popular within the healthy eating community all across the world and vending machines selling these can be a good money-making opportunity. You can see an amazing example of a salad vending machine in this video.
Best places to install: Outside gyms, offices, colleges, universities, and other crowded places.
38. Cake Vending Machine
Cakes are a very popular food item loved by many. Installing a vending machine that sells cakes in popular places with lots of people can be highly profitable.
There are already quite a few places that sell cakes through vending machines. You can see a great example of a cake vending machine in action here.
Best places to install: Gift shops, restaurants, bakeries, or any other crowded place.
39. Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Stocking fresh fruits and veggies in vending machines is becoming more and more popular. They are ideal to be had as a snack or as part of a diet.
You can sell whole fruits and vegetables or sell them in packages cut into small pieces and served with a napkin and a fork. Ideal food option for health-conscious people or even for someone who wants to go grocery shopping in a hurry.
Best places to install: Supermarkets, schools and universities, offices, convenience stores, etc.
40. Yogurt Vending Machine
You can sell a wide variety of different yogurts in your vending machine business. They are usually packaged in small containers and are ideal vending machine items. People love to have these as a quick snack and it is also highly packed with nutrients.
Best places to install: Train stations, schools, offices, shopping centers, bus stations, etc.
41. Protein Shakes & Other Supplements
Providing protein supplements and other performance-enhancing products in high-demand places like gyms and sports centers can be a highly profitable business idea. Any place frequented by athletes or people practicing sports always has a huge demand for these products and selling them in vending machines can be a unique business opportunity.
Again, you can offer a wide range of these products like protein shakes, energy bars, vitamins, energy drinks, etc.
Best places to install: Gymnasiums, stadiums, sports centers, swimming pools, etc.
42. Detergents & Laundry Products
All kinds of cleaning products are always high in demand. Things like washing detergents, bleaches, cloth softeners, stain removers, liquid detergents, etc. are all great product options to be sold at places where people come to do laundry or wash clothes.
These products also have a long shelf life, making them the perfect line of products to be sold in vending machines.
Best places to install: Near apartment buildings, laundromats, hostels, etc.
43. Flowers Vending Machine
Flowers are one of the most popular gifting items and are also used commonly as decorative items at homes. They can be a highly profitable vending machine business when installed in a high-traffic location.
You can either sell fresh or even artificial flowers in your vending machine. Check out a great example of a flower vending machine in this video.
Best places to install: Subways, city centers, sidewalks, outside shopping malls, etc.
44. Baby Food & Other Baby Products
Another really unique line of products that you can sell in vending machines are baby products like baby food, diapers, oils, creams, shampoos, etc. You can also sell small accessories for babies like feeding bottles, pacifiers, and small toys.
Best places to install: Maternity clinics, hospitals, and baby stores.
45. Chicken Snacks
Chicken is one of the most preferred food items all across the globe. It can be prepared in many different ways like roasted, fried, grilled, etc., and is loved by all meat eaters.
A vending machine serving chicken snacks is a concept already doing the rounds in many parts. You can see a chicken wing vending machine in action in this example.
Best places to install: Any street with bars and pubs, crowded marketplaces, stadiums, and other crowded areas.
46. Toys Vending Machine
It’s a universal fact that kids of all age groups love their toys, be it any part of the planet. And so, a toy vending machine automatically becomes a great business opportunity at any place that has a lot of kids around.
You can stock up on many different types of small toys like plushies, soft toys, RC cars, and many more.
Best places to install: Outside playschools, zoos, tourist places, parks, shopping malls, etc.
47. Nuts Vending Machine
Nuts are highly nutritious and serve as a great quick snack for hungry people. You can sell all the different types of nuts like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc. in a vending machine for some excellent profit margins.
These also have a long shelf life and can be served in many different flavors like salted, spiced, sweet, and even a mixture of all the different types of nuts.
Best places to install: Offices, schools and universities, tourist attractions, etc.
48. Fresh Bread & Bread Products
The demand for fresh bread and various bread products like croissants, pretzels, breadsticks, buns, and others is always high. Bread products are some of the most highly consumed food items all over the world.
And so they can be the perfect candidate for products to be sold in vending machines. Any place that doesn’t already have a lot of competition (bakeries) can be an ideal location for such a machine.
Best places to install: Outside convenience stores, supermarkets, hostels, universities, etc.
49. Seafood Vending Machine
Hugely popular in countries like Japan, different types of seafood like crabs, shrimp, lobsters, fish, and others can also be sold in vending machines. You can sell either processed and ready-to-eat or live seafood in such machines.
You can see an example of a vending machine like this selling live crabs (yup you read that right!) in China in the video below.
Best places to install: Most crowded places like supermarkets, train and metro stations, grocery stores, etc.
50. Pancake Vending Machine
Easy to prepare and easy to consume, pancakes are the perfect item that can be sold through vending machines. Pancakes are also one of the fastest-moving food items loved by many people.
Best places to install: Schools, colleges, office spaces, and any other crowded place.
51. Small Gifts
The next product category on our list of the best vending machine ideas is small gifts. You can have all sorts of small gifts that don’t take up too much space, things like bracelets, smartwatches, key chains, fridge magnets, and sunglasses amongst many others that people can quickly purchase on the go.
Best places to install: Airports, tourist destinations, train stations, subways, and other high-traffic areas.
52. Egg Vending Machine
Eggs are also one of the most highly consumed food items globally. There are already many different vending machines serving eggs in many parts of the world. You can offer different sizes, qualities, or even eggs from different birds in your vending machine.
Best places to install: Near residential apartments, convenience stores, gyms, etc.
53. Skincare Products
Skincare forms a big part of the ever-growing beauty industry. This provides a great opportunity for a vending machine business as these are usually small in size and easy to stock up.
You can provide a lot of options in your skincare products vending machine like moisturizers, serums, facemasks, toners, cleansers, exfoliants, etc.
Best places to install: Beauty salons, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.
54. Underwear & Lingerie Vending Machine
It may sound strange but undergarments and lingerie are slowly becoming popular vending machine items in many places. The product range is very wide and you can offer to sell things like underwear, men’s briefs, vests, boxers, bras, panties, and a lot of other items.
These also serve as a great range of vending items as they can be stored for a long time and the packaging is usually small in size.
Best places to install: Hotels, hostels, tourist destinations, shopping malls, etc.
55. Socks Vending Machine
Admit it, we all keep losing or tearing socks all the time. This makes them one of the fastest-moving clothing items and are perfect to be sold in vending machines. Especially in places like high-volume tourist areas or any place with a lot of people can be a great location to set up a socks vending machine.
Like underwear, these are also quite small in packaging and easy to sell.
Best places to install: Popular tourist destinations, shopping malls, hostels, hotels, boutiques, etc.
56. Car Accessories
Car accessories are usually small-sized products that are fast moving and selling them in vending machines can be a great business opportunity with high profit margins. There are tons of different car accessories that you can sell in these machines like car perfumes, chargers, air fresheners, phone mounts, puncture repair kits, dashboard grip pads, etc.
Best places to install: Car garages, parking lots, and car washes.
57. Popcorn Vending Machine
Popcorn is quite possibly one of the best examples of low-cost and high-profit margin food items. Everyone loves to munch on some good old popcorn in all kinds of places like cinemas, picnics, and pretty much anywhere else. Plus it’s a nutritious and low on calorie quick snack.
Check out one of such amazing popcorn machines in action in Malaysia in the video below.
Best places to install: Cinemas, tourist destinations, shopping malls, subways, and other crowded spots.
58. Disposable Masks & Gloves
Since the times of Covid, personal protection products like disposable masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, etc. have become some of the highest-selling products. The small size of these products makes them ideal to be sold in vending machines.
Best places to install: Outside hospitals, subways, train stations, airports, shopping malls, and other crowded areas.
59. Lego Vending Machine
Legos are highly popular with kids all over and it can prove to be a really unique vending machine business idea. You can sell all the different sets of Legos in your machine. Should be put in areas that are frequented by a lot of kids.
Best places to install: Near schools, shopping malls, toy stores, etc.
60. Scented Soaps & Candles
Fragrant soaps and candles are very popular with the segment of people who are into good living. There are a lot of different varieties available nowadays like handmade soaps and candles, organic, medicinal, and others. These can also give you good profits depending on where you source your products from.
Best places to install: Shopping malls and supermarkets.
61. Drawing & Painting Accessories
Artists and painters are always in constant need of drawing and painting supplies. Things like different types of brushes, colors, pencils, paints, etc. can be sold via vending machines when strategically placed in places where a lot of artists or even art students frequently visit.
Best places to install: Art schools, colleges and universities, art galleries, schools, etc.
Everyone loves to smell great and because of this, perfumes of all price ranges can be sold from a vending machine. Depending on your target market you can either sell cheaper locally made perfumes or you could even stock up on all the high-end luxury perfume brands which can bring in even greater profits.
Best places to install: Salons, beauty parlors, and shopping malls.
63. Personal Hygiene Products
Hygiene and personal care products are also fast moving and everybody needs them. Selling these in a vending machine can be a great business plan where you can sell products like deodorants, soap bars, shower gels, sanitary pads, tampons, oral hygiene products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, etc.
Best places to install: Hostels, train stations, airports, dormitories, etc.
64. Clothing Accessories
There are tons of different clothing accessories that you can sell in a vending machine. One of the most popular of these is hats. They usually come in a universal size so it doesn’t require you to try them on before buying. Hats also don’t usually take up a lot of space making them the perfect vending item.
Besides hats, there are a bunch of other things like gloves, scarves, handkerchiefs, raincoats, etc. that you can also sell in your vending machine business.
Best places to install: Popular tourist locations, shopping malls, city centers, etc.
65. Contraceptive Vending Machine
Many vending machines across the world are already dispensing contraceptives. A variety of different birth control products like condoms, “morning-after” pills, female condoms, pregnancy tests, etc. can be sold via vending machines.
These machines help to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and create an overall healthy environment. Check out one of these machines dispensing morning-after pills in Philadelphia in the video below.
Best places to install: Outside pharmacies, brothels, strip clubs, public toilets, hotels, university campuses, etc.
66. Bait & Other Fishing Products
Next on our list are baits (like worms or insects) and other fishing accessories which are usually small in size and are great to sell in vending machines. These kinds of machines can be installed in places where there are a lot of anglers and other popular fishing spots.
Best places to install: Near big water bodies like rivers, lakes, ponds, and other fishing destinations.
67. Breathalyzer Machine
Want to prevent drunk driving and make money at the same time? Enter breathalyzer machines! While they are not exactly your traditional vending machines, these have been gaining a lot of popularity recently.
This is how they work – the user enters payment via cash or credit card, grabs a straw, inserts it into a testing hole and blows in it for two seconds, and then the machine displays the results on a large monitor. These can be customized for any currency and can be used in any country.
Check out how one of these machines called Boozelator works in this video.
Best places to install: Outside pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc.
68. Event Tickets Vending Machine
Tickets for all kinds of events like sports, plays, movies, exhibitions, and even zoos can be sold via vending machines. Different locations in the city that have a high volume of foot traffic are usually the best locations to install these kinds of machines.
Best places to install: City centers, shopping malls, outside auditoriums, and theatres.
69. T-Shirt Vending Machine
T-shirts of all different colors, sizes, and designs can be sold successfully through vending machines. It is a great business idea as T-shirts are some of the fastest-moving clothing items all over the world.
People of all genders, ages, and sizes love to buy new and trendy designs. So stocking a good selection of T-shirts at affordable prices can be a great business opportunity.
Best places to install: Shopping malls, parks, subways, colleges and universities, etc.
70. Gold Vending Machine
Yes, you read that right! No matter how hard you find it to believe, there are actual gold vending machines (like this one called GOLD to go in the Dubai Mall in UAE) that dispense real gold.
These types of machines are stocked with real gold in many different forms like coins, gold bars, and even jewelry.
Best places to install: High-end shopping malls and shopping centers.
71. Music & Movies
Believe it or not, people still do buy music and movies on CDs and DVDs. Entertainment has always been one of the biggest money-makers regardless of location, culture, or race.
This brings you an excellent opportunity to sell hard copies of music and movies in the form of CDs and DVDs from a vending machine.
Best places to install: Streets, sidewalks, outside convenience stores, etc.
72. Handkerchiefs & Towels
Another really lucrative range of products that you can sell through vending machines are handkerchiefs and towels. These sell especially well during summers and can be sold in places that are hot or where people sweat a lot.
Best places to install: Near beaches, gyms, sports centers, stadiums, etc.
73. Ice Vending Machine
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur then starting an ice vending business could prove to be really profitable as the start-up costs are quite low. These machines can be run 24/7 without much human interaction.
Profit margins can also be quite lucrative. Check out the demonstration of such an ice vending machine in action in Mattoon, IL in this video.
Best places to install: Supermarkets, near residential apartments, car washes, etc.
74. Nail Art Vending Machine
Gaining huge amounts of popularity in recent times, nail art is now being done by automated vending machines in many parts of the world. They offer lots of choices for the customers in the form of a wide variety of colors and designs.
The users first insert the payment using cash or debit/credit cards, select a design from all the different options on the screen, insert their finger in the given slot and the machine automatically prints the selected designs onto the users’ nail/s.
Check out one of these amazing nail art vending machines in action in South Korea in the video below.
Best places to install: Salons, shopping malls, beauty clinics, etc.
75. Umbrella Vending Machine
Already quite popular in Japan, umbrellas are another set of unique products that can be sold from a vending machine. Some machines offer folding umbrellas while others dispense many different options of full-sized umbrellas.
If your place of business receives a lot of rainfall then this could turn out to be a highly profitable vending machine business idea.
Best places to install: Sidewalks, subways, train stations, marketplaces, etc.
76. Crane Claw Arcade Machine
These types of machines are great additions to places where people generally come to have fun. Arcade claw machines are a combination of a vending machine and an arcade game where users insert money and get a chance to win one of their favorite products displayed inside by guiding the crane claw to it.
You can see some of these installed in many of the different gaming arcades. These machines can make you some excellent profits.
Best places to install: Gaming arcades, shopping malls, amusement parks, and any other places with kids and people out to have a fun time.
77. Plastic Bottle Recycling Vending Machine
Have you ever seen a machine where you put things in return for money? Well yes, there are a lot of these “reverse vending machines” being installed these days where people feed them with empty water bottles in exchange for cash.
These machines help keep the environment clean and litter free, while also motivating people to participate in doing so. You can see a similar machine in action in this video from New York.
Best places to install: Subway stations, near parks, stadiums, beaches, tourist destinations, etc.
78. Cotton Candy Vending Machine
An evergreen treat and extremely popular with kids, selling cotton candy in a vending machine can be a great and unique business idea. Profit margins are really high because of the minimal costs of the raw materials.
And once installed in the right locations, these can bring in money for a long time. You can watch one of these cotton candy vending machines in action here.
Best places to install: Any place with a lot of kids like parks, outside schools, malls, streets, etc.
79. Canned Food Vending Machine
Canned foods generally have a longer shelf life than fresh foods. These make them the perfect vending machine items with the advantage of a lot of different options.
You can sell things like caviars, anchovies, tuna, coconut milk, corn, sauces, and survival foods amongst endless other options that can be sold in cans or jars.
Best places to install: Grocery stores, convenience stores, city centers, and other crowded spots.
80. Flip-Flop Vending Machine
Flip-flops are an easy and cheap product category that you can stock up and sell in vending machines. They can be highly profitable due to their low cost and high margins.
People keep losing or breaking their flip-flops all the time, making them a fast-moving product as well!
Best places to install: Near beaches, malls, markets, colleges, etc.
81. Photo Booth Machine
And finally on our list are automated photo booth machines. Even though these aren’t like your conventional vending machine, they can still turn out to be highly profitable.
These machines work best in places where people are celebrating or out to have a good time with family and friends. A lot of different factors will determine your success with a photo booth machine, like the quality of the pictures, props provided, location, etc.
Best places to install: Parties, celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries, nightclubs, bars, shopping malls, etc.
Important Tips for a Profitable Vending Machine Business
There are loads of different factors that determine your chances of success (and those big profits) in a vending machine business. Here are some of those crucial factors –
- Location is quite possibly THE most important factor that will decide your success as a vending machine business owner. Putting up machines in the right crowded places visited by lots of people who could be your potential customers is important.
- Profit margins – Some product categories present better profit margins compared to others. Do your own research before deciding on your product range.
- Number of products that can be stocked in the machine – Keep this in mind as some low-value products might take up too much space reducing profits, while there are some small-sized products that can give big margins and don’t take up too much space.
- Popularity and demand of the products that you’re trying to sell. Trending and evergreen products will always be the big money makers!
- Competition – It’ll be difficult to sell a product from your vending machine if there are many others (both vending machines and traditional retailers) selling the same thing already around the area. Try to find opportunities and beat your competition to it.
Benefits of Owning a Vending Machine Business
Starting your own venture in the vending machine industry is highly lucrative right now and for good reason! It has tons of benefits like –
- Stable income – Once you figure out the initial processes, the vending business can bring you a regular income with very less intervention. It also doesn’t involve things like credit, invoicing, late payments, etc. The customer puts in cash or swipes their credit/debit cards to get their product and you instantly make your money.
- Highly scalable – After you set up your initial few machines, it becomes quite easy to expand and scale this business as you get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
- Low overhead costs – The vending machine business usually has a much lower barrier to entry than a traditional brick-and-mortar business. There are no employees to pay and no offices to rent.
- Customer convenience – Your customers don’t usually have to wait in long queues to make purchases, as is the case in regular stores.
- Flexibility of products – In case the products you select for your vending machine end up performing badly, you can always switch them up with other products that might sell better with higher demand.
- Be your own boss – Having set up your vending machine business, you can work pretty much anytime according to your own convenience. It is totally up to you how many times you want to go take stock or collect earnings from your machines. You can also start your vending business on the side with a full-time job!
Best Places to Install Vending Machines
Here’s a quick summary of all the best places where you can install vending machines for maximum profits –
- Shopping malls – Most people come to malls with the intention of buying things. Therefore, these are some of the best places to set up your vending machines.
- Marketplaces and convenience stores – Markets and shops are high foot traffic places with a lot of people buying things.
- Train stations, metro stations, tram stations, and bus stations – People are always on the go in these places and need things quickly. Vending machines provide the perfect solution for them.
- Offices and other workplaces
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Tourist attractions and destinations
- Airports – People are always looking to grab something quickly at airports. Maybe something they forgot to pack or even a last-minute gift for their loved ones.
- Hospitals and clinics
- Sports centers and venues like stadiums, gymnasiums, swimming pools, football grounds, basketball courts, etc. Especially when these places have a lot of spectators for competitions or tournaments.
- Residential Apartments
- and other crowded areas…
How Profitable Is Owning a Vending Machine?
Vending machines can be very profitable in the long run depending on many factors like location, competition, products offered, etc. An average vending machine in the US earns around $35 a week whereas well-stocked vending machines in high-traffic areas can make upwards of $400 a month.
What Are the Most Profitable Vending Machines?
Some of the most profitable vending machine items are:
– Packaged snacks
– Candies and chocolates
– Tea, coffee, and other hot beverages
– Cold foods
– Clothes and clothing accessories
What Are the Most Popular Items in a Vending Machine?
Soda, water, packaged snacks like chips, chocolates, candies, clothing items, fashion accessories, newspapers & magazines, soft toys, and mobile phone accessories are amongst some of the most popular items sold in vending machines.
I’ve listed down one of the most detailed lists of the best vending machine business ideas above. Remember, market research and product selection will play a crucial part in deciding your level of success.
You can start off small as this business isn’t very capital intensive. And once you do find a winning formula, you can scale and expect your vending business to bring you consistent returns for years to come.
With estimates of the vending machine industry reaching a whopping $25.25 billion by 2027 compared to $18.28 billion in 2019, this can just be the right investment you can make right now!
I wish you all the best!
Do you own a vending machine business? Did I miss any other profitable vending machine items that you’ve had good results with? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!