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Two years later: Oak Vista 450 vs A&A PO 89


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Well it’s been two years since my last head-to-head review of Oak’s Vista 450 vs A&A’s PO89 and I thought it was time for an update.

Though the thread is too old to post in, you can see my original review thread HERE.

In short, my views have changed.

Whereas the PO 89 was impressive to start, the Oak Vista 450 has proven more durable and more reliable out in the field.

Below is my review from 2 yrs ago, but with updates.

The words in blue are my updated thoughts…

The lid and lock with key: PO 89 WINS

After two years: The OAK wins.

One thing I liked about the lock/key through A&A is that you receive a key with EVERY machine. If you order 10 machines you get 10 keys, or Order 30 machines and you will get 30 keys, etc. I have ordered up to 15 Oaks and only gotten 3 keys. I’m sure Oak would provide more if I asked --- but why should I have to? I like having plenty of back-up keys, but if you don’t care about that, then this part of the competition is a wash.

The lids are both similar so there is no advantage either way.

But, the locks on the Oak have proven to be more rugged.

Having put these machines through the rigors of 2yrs on location some of my A&A PO 89 locks are starting to stick on me and require more frequent lubricating.

Locks on the Oak Vistas are still smoothly working and accept my key as well as the day they first were put on location.

The globe (clear plastic container that holds the product): OAK VISTA WINS

After two years: No change. Oak Wins.

Oak’s globes are cleaner than the PO 89 globes. Of all my Oaks, I do not have a single “air bubble” in the plastic on any of them. 2 of my 10 A&A’s have little air bubbles in the plastic as if maybe the hot plastic wasn’t agitated enough while it was being put in the mold to form the globe. Some of the bubbles in the A&A globes are hard to notice, but they are there. Whereas even though I have REALLY looked hard at many of my Oaks, I have not found even ONE with a bubble.

The air bubbles on the PO 89’s remain and some of the A&A globes have grown cloudy.

In fact, on one of my PO89 globes, the clouding has gotten so bad, product and displays are hard to see.

The Oak globes remain in good shape.

Aside from normal wear-n-tear on the Oak globes, there is no clouding or other issue.

The wheel - both models I own have 1.1” cap wheels that do bounce balls too: OAK WINS

After 2 years: No change. Oak wheels are still the winner

Oak wins the “wheel” battle for one simple reason. The Oak wheel includes a single spring that shoots out from the stem like a helicopter propeller. This seems to agitate the product better when vending than those wheels that do not include this “propeller”. Though I have not experienced it, a logical conclusion can be made that the extra agitation leads to fewer mis-vends. The A&A PO 89 does not include this spring.

I have had zero problems with wheels from either machine.

Therefore my original review remains accurate.

The agitator spring “propeller” is a nice bonus on the Oaks and that gives the Vista the edge today as it did 2 yrs ago.

Coin box - The body that holds the coin mechanism and quarters: PO 89 WINS

After 2 years: No change. A&A PO89 remains the winner here.

The A&A coin box seems to have a thicker coat of paint on it than the Oak. The Oak scratches a lot faster. There are also less blemishes on the A&A’s paint job. The red is brighter on the A&A too. Most of the Oak machines I own have sharp edges at the top of the coin box. This doesn’t bother customers since it’s only an issue when the globe is off. But it is no fun when emptying the box while servicing. An Oak even cut me once because of this issue while I was moving a few coin boxes in my garage. It seems Oak doesn’t worry about filing down these sharp metal edges as much as A&A does.

The thicker paint of the coin box and bright red color has held true on the PO89.

The Oak’s has not lost it’s luster much either.

The sharp edges on the Oaks have all been worn/filed down, too...so that problem is gone

Bodies to both machines have all aged very well.

But, because the Oak started out below A&A’s body in quality and appearance, it still falls short of the PO89 in this category.

Coin Mechanism (including the shoot door): PO 89 WINS

After 2 years: OAK VISTA wins

I studied the mechanics of these coin mechs from both companies very closely and found them to be pretty much identical in quality, weight, and design. But, the chrome finish on the A&A mechs and shoot doors is much more polished. It shines like a mirror. Whereas the Oak is rather a dull chrome. Add the PO-89's brighter chrome to the brighter red body (see coin box review above) and that makes for a more eye-catching machine than the Oak Vista. The A&A $.25 mechanism is also MUCH smoother than those from Oak. I own many more Oaks than I do PO 89’s. But, head to head, I have not experienced a smoother coin mech on any of my Oaks than I have found on EVERY PO-89 that I own.

Visually the coin mechs on the PO 89 is still better than those of the Oak Vista.

But, looks aren’t everything.

Though I’ve had zero problems with chute covers from either manufacturer, the coin mechs are a whole other story.

Mechs from A&A have required more servicing by far.

Screws loosening up, mechs needing lubrication, and very clunky performance has become the norm with these A&A machines.

The Oaks, while not as nice looking, just keep on working.

I have had zero problems with the Oak mechs and some still have had no service/lubrication to this day but continue working as smoothly as the day I pulled them out of the box.

The base: Metal base including the center threaded rod - - OAK VISTA WINS

After 2 years: No change. Oak wins.

While the base and center rod are pretty much EXACTLY alike from both brands, I give the nod here to Oak because of their consistent quality. 1 or 2 of the center rods on my A&A machines are a little bent. It then requires a little more concentration to get the lid and lock on. Whereas the Oaks I own have ALL had center rods that were as straight as an arrow…which allows you to simply pop the lid on and lock.

This is one category with absolutely nothing more to be said about in my reviews.

Everything above in this category remains as originally described.


Counting the above categories what was once a 3 to 3 “tie” between the Vista and the PO89, is now a runaway win by Oak’s Vista 450.

As before, there are some pros or cons I have listed that may not matter to you and therefore you may not see my review as a 5-to-1 win for Oak.

Furthermore, just as in my original review thread here are some facts about A&A that have not changed after 2 yrs.

Those facts may make this closer than a 5-to-1 loss for the PO 89.

Note: The "strike-through" on item #3 was the sole adjustment to the section below because A&A's email exchanges are not as as smoothly handled as they once were for me.

From my PERSONAL experience (yours may vary):

1. A&A shipping costs less: The catalog price for both machines will show that the Oak is several dollars cheaper than the A&A model. However, when I factor in the higher cost of shipping from Oak and the price break you get from A&A when ordering as few as 10 machines (I never order less than 10), I actually get the PO-89 450 for LESS than the Oak Vista 450.

2. A&A gets me ALL my orders in a timely fashion…which makes a difference on the bottom line. Oak has been consistently slow in getting me my machines. So I must factor in the lost income due to shipping delays (little though it may be – it still counts!) when comparing price.

3. My most important reason: Customer service. A&A has shown that they are MUCH better at communicating with customers. Invoices, Tracking info for orders, packing slips, and email exchanges are all handled smoothly and promptly through A&A.




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I liked your post, thanks sherlock! I have some 450's but I prefer panel heads...but except for some quality control issues a&a has had with their new production machines, I cant tell my oaks apart from my a&a's in the field. I think a&a worked out their production problems because I havent had the problem but the one time I ordered, all other orders they fit together fine with old machines be it oak or a&a.

Probably the main reason I like a&a is because they are one stop shopping, this saves on shipping among other things.

I use to have problems with the lids cracking at the point where the lock fits, but I learned I was over tightening my locks, I since backed off and dont have the problem anymore.

I will say that oaks 50 cent mechs for their 1 inch machines are better quality than a&a's mechs, I have had several issues with aa's mechs jamming, they always make them good, but that doesnt replace all the lost revenue I had. They have identified the problem and hopefully fixed it. If you have these mechs make sure to use loctite on the cog screw or it will fall off after a short time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you do a review in 30 more years you will find that OAK is the best but like you said sherlock A&A's customer service is a bit better and shipping is alot cheaper and faster thank OAK and every penny counts. And like will said i also like the cabinent vista the best.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Sherlock, how about a 4 year review now? Myself, as well as others I'm sure, would love to know how these machines have held up 4 years after your purchase. Thanks in advance!


Sorry for the delay --- just noticed your post and my lack of reply...


I re-read my last update and, frankly, it all still applies as previously posted.

I know it sounds like I'm just being lazy, but the truth is, I have very little to add at this stage.

The machines are still functioning in the manner that I described on the previous comparison/review...the good and the bad.


Maybe at 6 or 10 years, I will have something worth noting to add.

But, as of now, all I can really add to the 4 yr review is this:


Since my last review, I have purchased quite a few more Oak machines and the quality has not dropped. Phone/email customer service remains iffy, but their equipment has been as consistent as I could hope for.


If you have specific questions, post them or send me a PM.

I'd be happy to answer honestly using my personal experience with either machine.


Having said all this, I have to then suggest that approaching 5 yrs out in the field: Oak is still winning.

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