Discover the most frequently asked Vending machines questions

How do vending machines work?

Although they are more and more common, users still ask about vending machines: “how do they work?” 

Preliminarily, it’s necessary to understand what vending machines are composed of. This type of machines consists of several separated parts, and these parts are different from one vending machine to another: 

  • Cold drink and snack vending machines: one or more refrigerated trays to store the products, one collecting tray where they are picked up, a coin mechanism and a mechanical or electronic module for ordering items;
  • Hot drink vending machines: one tray for storing the ingredients, containers to mix these ingredients according depending on ordered drink, filters to purify water, another container to collect coffee ground, a tray to pick up the drink, and a mechanical or electronic system to place orders.


In the case of combination vending machines, sweet snacks are usually located in the higher trays and cold drinks in the lower trays. It’s easy to understand why: cans should be exposed to the lowest possible risk of damage as they fall into the collecting tray. Moreover, lower trays of this type of dispensers are usually more resistant than higher trays. 

Most vending machines work the same way: a means of payment is used, the desired item is selected and then picked up in a dedicated container or tray. Accepted means of payment can be different from one machine to another. Coins, banknotes, contactless payment cards but also specific badges or passes may be used. If the vending machine works with coins or notes, it will also include a tray where small change and notes can be inserted.

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For more information on Vending machines go to our buying guide