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Reality Check 2023: All the Types of Vending Machines Available

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Type of vending machine

5? No, then 7? Wait, 10?! What more!

The type of vending machine found in India can range from a simple toy vending machine to a cashless coffee vending machine, or from a traditional food vending machine to an automatic vending machine in India used to dispense t-shirts!

The point is, there lies a thick fold of factors that determine the type of vending machine that will suit your business. These are:

1. Type of Vending Machine based on Management System

Right on the front, the vending machine management software and system define its type. This includes:

  • Traditional vending machine: They require manual management, accept hard cash as payment (eg. coins) and are often manually operated.

  • Automatic vending machine: Also known as smart vending machines, they are operated and driven by cloud-based technology that continues to bring a revolution in machine remote management, consumer retail behaviour and vending machine price in India. With digital payment, smart alerts and a contactless interface, they are democratising phygital retail.

Pro tip: Buy a vending machine that is supported by the best vending machine software. Market research suggests the global smart vending machine market will rise to USD 25.16 billion by 2030.

Picture of a man looking at a row of refrigerated vending machines in India
A refrigerated, bottled beverage vending machine in India

2. Temperature-based vending machines

Another differentiator of vending machine type is temperature control. This depends on the product placed in the vending machine as different items require different maintenance temperatures:

  • Frozen: Typically for products that require extremely cold temperatures like ice cream, seafood, and other packed frozen food.

  • Refrigerated: Few items like cold drinks, dairy, cosmetics and vegetables have to be stored at lower temperatures to maintain their freshness, here refrigerated vending machines are used. These are the most popular vending machine in India.

  • Ambient: Products that need to be stored at room temperature (chips, clothes, chocolate, etc) are placed in ambient vending machines.

  • Heating: Looking for hot food on the go? Hot food vending machines are here to your rescue, as they come with an inbuilt food-grade heater or oven that heats up the selected product before the end consumers can collect it and enjoy ready-to-consume items hot and fresh. A cashless coffee vending machine commonly seen in offices is a great example.

  • Combo: A combo vending machine comes with refrigerated and non-refrigerated compartments to allow vending machine operators to set up a unique product mix.

Pro tip: With Vendekin’s smart vending machine management platform you get access to top F&B retail products at pre-negotiated prices to yield better margins.

 A wall-mounted vending machine
A wall-mounted vending machine

3. Type of Vending Machine as per Placement

Placement and utility also define the type of vending machine, these are:

  • Wall-Mounted: A vending machine that is permanently fixed into walls. They usually sell limited products and efficiently work in areas with limited space.

  • Stand-alone: Owing to their large size the stand-alone vending machines are stationed at a particular location and are rarely moved.

  • Wheeled: Small and medium-sized vending machines can be wheeled due to their convenient sizing, which allows them free movement.

  • Tabletop: Ever seen a cashless coffee vending machine in India? They usually reset on top of a counter or table. They represent tabletop vending machines that are small and easily movable.

4. Vending machines based on product dispensation

The next point of difference among vending machines in India comes with their dispensation equipment:

  • Spiral: Such machines have coil sections that hold the product. Once the payment is made the shelf uncoils and the product drops, to be collected.

  • Elevator: With modern technology, elevator dispensation has become common. Where the product drops at a motor elevator instead of falling directly to the dispersion box. This is very useful for delicate items like milk pouches.

  • Gravity dispensation: Traditional vending machines use this method most prominently. Here an active motor technology utilises the force of gravity to dispense the product.

Automatic vending machine scanning for payment
Automatic vending machine scanning for payment

5. Payment method-based vending machine

The way transactions happen also determines the type of vending machine. How? Take a look at the points below:

  • Cash/ Coin payment: Before the rise of vending machine software, vending machines only accepted coins, since finding spare change was a hassle and brands wanted to show more diverse products, so they introduced cash vending machines.

  • Card payment: Next in line was debit and credit card vending machines. They essentially require you to tap the scanner installed or insert the card to make the payment.

  • UPI and QR payment: Another tangent of digital payment comes with e-wallets like UPI. Such cashless vending machines allow you to pay from a wide range of digital patent gateway by simply scanning the QR code.

Pro Tip: Digitalise your traditional vending machine payment model in less than 120 seconds with Vendekin’s RetroBox.

6. Type of Vending Machine as per the Product

The type of product dispensed by the vending machine also determines the type of vending machine. Given below are a few examples:

  • Snack Vending Machines: Simply put, this type of vending machine dispenses various types of packaged snacks and confectionery items. With an automatic vending machine, the range of products is now more diverse with packed chips, namkeen, chocolate, candy and even healthy snack options, such as dried fruits and nuts.

  • Beverage Vending Machines: Beverage Vending Machine is among the top searches with ‘vending machine price in India’. They dispense carbonated soft drinks, water, juice, coffee, tea and energy drinks.

  • Ice Cream Vending Machine: Equipped with smart refrigeration technology that maintains the optimum temperature for frozen desserts, ice cream, yoghurt and other cold food.

A combo vending machine at the office
A combo vending machine at the office
  • Combo Vending Machines: Generally, combo vending machines are automated machines that offer a combination of snacks and beverages in one unit. In specific cases, they can be customised for different product mixes. (eg. a combo vending machine for various cosmetic products)

  • Toy Vending Machines: Often seen at game zones and used in specific campaigns, toy vending machines can dispense play tickets, winner coupons and even real toys.

  • Sanitary Napkin Vending Machines: Coming under personal care vending machines, they specifically vend sanitary pads and tampons in public washrooms, schools, offices and other public spaces.

  • Coffee Vending Machines: It is a self-service machine that allows customers to select and purchase their preferred coffee options by using an electronic interface. Some cashless coffee vending machines also offer customizable options like adding milk, sugar or flavour shots.

  • Other product-specific vending machines: With the latest vending machine software and technology, one can customise the vending machine as per product specifications. This has led to the birth of t-shirt vending machines, paan vending machines, football vending machines, panipuri vending machines, etc.

Pro Tip: With Vendekin get yourself a customised vending machine!

7. Selection interface Vending Machine

The way the end-consumer interacts with the vending machine also determines its type. This majorly condenses down to the way the machine allows product selection, that is via:

  • Keypad: This traditionally used selection method required the end-consumer to physically select the key corresponding to the specific item. In multiple cases, the keypad would get worn out requiring more maintenance and repair.

  • Digital Touchpad: With more advanced technology, vending machine companies in India came up with a digital touch screen that allows product inquiries and selection.

  • QR Mobile scan: Taking another leap is sophisticated vending machine software that eliminates physical interaction with the vending machine altogether. All you need to do is scan the QR code, surf through the products on the web app (note: no additional app download required) and make payment digitally.

8. Reverse Vending Machine

A Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) is a specialised type of vending machine that accepts used or empty containers, such as plastic bottles or aluminium cans and gives back a monetary reward or voucher in exchange for recycling. Hence the name, reverse vending machine.

RVMs typically work by scanning the barcode to ensure that it is eligible for recycling. Once accepted, the machine may crush the container and store it in a bin. Some RVMs may also use image recognition technology to recognize the type of container being recycled.

In conclusion

Whatever may be your business requirement, there is a type of vending machine to suit it. After all, it is the automatic vending machine that will be the point of sales and interaction with the end consumer.

So while considering the vending machine price in India or the location, it is vital to consider the type of vending machine to invest in. And for seamless remote maintenance, trust Vendekin’s smart vending machine management software, vNetra.

And vend-ture out with us, to get customised vending machines with the retail benefit of Vendkin’s smart technologies. Drop us a hello at +91 9555712713 or

We will see you again with more expert insights!


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