How to Make a Gravity Feed Coin Sorter

Updated February 21, 2017

Loose change is a hassle. Lots of people do not even like carrying it around, so it accumulates in jars, bottles and bowls at home. You probably have enough loose change around your home to take someone special out to dinner. The key is sorting it so you can roll it and either deposit it into your bank account or exchange it for paper money. Making your own change or coin sorter is easy when you use different sized holes and gravity to do the work for you.

Drill 3/4-inch holes in the bottom of one plastic tray. You can drill them in a pattern or randomly, but make sure you do not overlap any of the holes or coins that should not go through the holes might. Test each of the holes to make sure a penny can easily go through each one. If not, use the drill or some sandpaper to round out the edges of the holes slightly. This tray sorts out the nickels.

Use the 5/8-inch drill bit to drill holes in the bottom of a second tray that are more than 18mm in diameter but less than 19mm. Try to fit dimes through each hole to make sure they are larger than 18mm. If pennies do not fit through the holes they are smaller than 19mm. These holes can also be organised in rows or just random. This tray sorts out the pennies.

Repeat Step 1 in a third tray, but round out these holes with the drill so they allow nickels through, but not quarters. This tray sorts out the quarters.

Stack the trays so the one with no holes is on the bottom, which sorts the dimes. The tray for the pennies is just above, the nickel tray is second from the top and the tray for the quarters sits on top.

Pour some change into the top tray and hold all four trays in both hands. Shake the trays back and forth and watch the smaller coins drop into the lower trays.


Experiment with how much change your trays can really handle at one time. They sort easiest with less change in them than they do with a large pile.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 plastic stacking trays
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch drill bit
  • 5/8-inch drill bit
  • Sandpaper
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About the Author

Marissa Robert graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English language and literature. She has extensive experience writing marketing campaigns and business handbooks and manuals, as well as doing freelance writing, proofreading and editing. While living in France she translated manuscripts into English. She has published articles on various websites and also periodically maintains two blogs.