Best Tennis Ball Machines 2020 Review
Tennis is a highly competitive sport especially today. You get talented athletes who started young who even hired professional trainers to hone their skills. With the help of new technology, it is possible to improve your game even if you are on your own. Tennis ball machines revolutionized the way tennis athletes train. It has mimicked how the ball is thrown around the court in different ways.
However, there are a lot of tennis ball machines in the market today. It comes in different shapes and sizes. You get to choose from portable ones to those that require an outlet. We understand that reading the specs especially for a beginner can be intimidating. We’ve come up with some of the best tennis ball machines to choose from. And also, we’ll discuss what makes a good tennis serving machine.
Best Tennis Ball Machines Review
Spinshot-Player Tennis Ball Machine
The Spinshot-Player Tennis Ball Machine is a durable and handy tool for both coaches and athletes alike. Unlike other tennis ball machines, the Spinshot-Player Tennis Ball Machine is made not only of plastic. You also get metal parts that make it durable. On top of that, it weighs around 19kg.
You get to control several things including the spin, the height, the angle, and even the feed rate. It means that you can specifically work in one area of your game or mimic an opponent hitting the ball and throwing it on your side of the court.
You can program everything using an app. It means that you can do it remotely as long as you have access to the internet. It is a perfect option for those who are trying to run their drills. You get to select different speeds for six sequential shots mimicking when you play with an actual opponent. This tennis ball machine can store up to 120 balls at once.
You also get to have a one-button watch making it easier to select the drill number that you want to use. This makes the Spinshot-Player tennis ball machine a good training tool especially for those who want to train on their own.
Aside from functionality, it’s also worth mentioning that it has a portable design. It has handle and wheels allowing the user to move the machine around the court. You also have two options whether to use a battery to power the unit or use AC.
What’s the downside to this absolute beast of a machine? It costs around $1,500 making it something that professional coaches and athletes would go for but not the novice players.
Pros:Can store up to 120 balls Programmable via a mobile app Portable
Wilson Portable Tennis Machine
If you are looking for a Wilson ball machine, then this is a good option. Not only can you take it anywhere, but you also get to enjoy great functionality with it. For starters, the Wilson Portable Tennis Machine allows you to adjust both topspin and underspin. You can do light and you can do heavy which allows you to prepare for the actual games. It delivers a speed of up to 75 mph, which is something that pros love.
You can also program the ball’s interval whether you want the tennis ball coming at you every 0.5 to 1 second or you want a more relaxed pace. You can also set it every 10 seconds depending on what you want to work on. This is something that pros could use whether they are building cardio or they are looking to build their form.
This is a portable tennis ball server can last for up to four hours per charge. Its charger also shuts off automatically to prevent the battery from getting overcharged. When it comes to serving tennis balls, it has a 2-line oscillator that allows the machine to feed in different angles mixing it up for the athlete. It is even handy for training two individuals at a time. And lastly, it comes with a remote to get the right setting for your game.
The only problem that a lot of users have with the Wilson Portable Tennis Machine is that it tends to get stuck every now and then. It can get a bit annoying since it can ruin your pace.
Pros:Lasts up to four hours per charge Remote operated Portable Adjustable spin
Cons:The ball tends to get stuck
Spinshot Pro Tennis Ball Machine
The Spinshot Pro Tennis Ball Machine is a tennis ball machine used by pros. For starters, it’s a tennis ball shooter machine that isn’t made of flimsy plastic. It is something that is designed for hours of training in the tennis court. However, it was designed to not intimidate even the beginners. It has knobs that make it easy to adjust the setting.
As for the speed, it can deliver from 12.4 mph to less than 75 mph. Now, the fun part about the Spinshot Pro Tennis Ball Machine is that it has horizontal oscillation that can provide both topspin and backspin while randomly throwing the ball around the court. It means that you get to find yourself mimicking what an opponent does on the other side of the court. You also get to have a watch that can start and stop the machine with ease.
In terms of portability, you get wheels and a handle that allows you to stroll the Spinshot Pro Tennis Ball Machine with ease across the court. And though it is a battery-powered unit, you can order the optional AC module if you want to have it plugged. Charging is about 6 hours while the typical playing time can range from 2 to 3 hours which is a bit low compared to other high-end portable tennis ball machine options out there. Another issue that you might want to anticipate is the fact that some users encountered feeder issues.
Pros:Fast charging and can last up to 2-3 hours With an oscillator Can lob balls up to 75mph Easy to set up using the knob
Lobster Sports – Elite Two
If you are looking for a tennis ball launcher machine that can help replicate actual gameplay, the Lobster Sports- Elite Two is a good option because of its triple oscillation capability that oscillates both vertically, horizontally, and in combination of both. This makes it possible to keep you guessing whether to expect the ball high or low and on which part of the court.
This portable tennis ball machine weighs 42 pounds. You also get durable wheels and a handle that make it easier to move the tennis ball machine. But what makes this unit stand out and even be the best portable tennis ball machine is its battery life. It has a high-capacity and long-lasting battery that can go on from four to eight hours per single charge. That allows athletes and coaches to spend more time on the court.
And when it comes to controlling the Elite Two, you can do it either via your Apple device or using a remote. The capacity isn’t that bad also. You can have up to 150 balls fed on the machine at once.
However, the feed rate is quite slow. You can set the interval from 2 to 12 seconds which is not something that pro athletes can enjoy if they want to mimic a fast-paced game. However, if you are into improving your pace or learning the game, then this can be a perfect machine for you. Though it is a bit slow when it comes to feeding balls to athletes, you don’t have any problem when it comes to practicing different strokes. You also get to have balls thrown from 10 to 80mph.
Pros:Can be controlled using an app or remote Speed of up to 80mph Has vertical and horizontal oscillation
Cons:The fastest interval is only 2 seconds
Spinshot Plus 2
Spinshot Plus 2 is a handy tool for those who want to mimic a high-intensity game but don’t have a partner with them. It offers full drill programmability, quick oscillation setting, and other cool features that make it stand out from tennis ball machines in the market. Compared to the other Spinshot ball machine options out there, a lot of people find the charging time a bit problematic. Imagine charging the unit for 15 hours only to have 2 to 3 hours of playing time.
Speed is decent at 18 to 68 mph, which is something that both beginners and intermediate players can enjoy. The ball feed interval can be quite slow at 2 to 10 seconds, but this is still within the average range. What makes the Spinshot Plus-2 stand out is the fact that you can use apps via Android or iOS to control the unit.
The weight varies depending on which model you are going for. If you are going to use the one that has a battery, this weighs roughly around 46 pounds. On the other hand, the AC model is 42 pounds.
Pros:Can lob balls up to 68mph Different programs for training Portable
Cons:You need to charge for more than 15 hours
Lobster Sports – Elite Grand Four
The Lobster Sports Elite Grand Four has 6 preloaded drills that you can choose from. It’s one of those units shooting tennis balls that can help tennis players with different levels of experience. It’s a perfect option for those who are trying to learn their strokes or those players who want to stay sharp against high-level competitors. It is a battery-operated tennis ball machine that allows you to mix up the ball location, speed, and spin. This keeps you guessing and gives you the same feeling when you are up against a tough opponent.
The Lobster Ball Sports Elite Grand Four can throw the ball from 35 to 80mph with an elevation of 0 to 50 degrees. On top of that, it also oscillates to get the ball to throw in different directions. This ball machine carries as many as 150 balls at once. It even has a translucent catcher that gives you an idea if you are already running out of balls.
There are some issues that you might encounter such as the number of hours needed to charge the battery. The average charging time is between 6 to 18 hours. If you like to charge this fast, you will need to spend on the premium charger which gives you a fully charged battery in just 3 to 6 hours.
Controlling the programs has been simplified because you get to use either the remote control or the app via iOS devices. Now, if you feel that you haven’t charged the unit, you can have the optional external A/C power to eliminate the problem of the battery running out.
Pros:With an A/C adaptor option 150 ball capacity 6 pre-programmed drills Easy to use via the app
Cons:The battery takes 18 hours to get fully charged
Spinshot Plus may be considered a lower-middle tennis lobster but it can still be practical for some users. This tennis launcher has a 120 ball capacity that can feed balls from 18mph to 68mph. It even connects to smartphones for both Android and iOS.
It also features five different parameters that you can set including speed, spin, height, feeding interval, and the oscillation of the unit. This way, you get to practice both topspin and backspins and allow you to practice 20 different shots. The height can be adjusted from 0-50 degrees while the interval for each ball being fed to the user ranges from 2 to 10 seconds.
In terms of the overall construction, the Spinshot Plus doesn’t disappoint. You get a metal box that is both stable and easy to transport.
The deal-breaker for the Spinshot Plus is that you can’t program your drills. It means that you can’t program how you want each shot is going. Plus, you can only use it for 2-3 hours while the charging time takes 8 to 15 hours.
Pros:120-ball capacity You can adjust the height from 0-50 degrees With oscillator
Cons:Long charging time Can’t program your drills
Lobster Sports – Elite One
Pegged at a little over $1,000, the Lobster Sports Elite One offers many features that might interest intermediate and advanced players. The Lobster tennis machine is known for having a 150-ball capacity not to mention it can run for 4 to 8 hours straight. If you’ll check different tennis ball servers, a lot of these models can only last up to 4 hours. However, charging the Lobster Sports Elite One is probably worse than most units. You need 12-16 hours to get the battery fully charged, which can be frustrating if you train every day.
The elevation runs from 0 to 60 degrees which is above average than more expensive models. Even some of the more expensive tennis throwing machine options can only go up to 50 degrees. And also, the Elite One has 4 topspin and backspin levels that give users an experience that is closest to the real thing. Speed range is wide but it can hit a top speed of 80mph while the slowest speed is at 10mph. For the feed interval, you can expect the ball to come at you from 2 to 10 seconds.
The only downside to this tennis ball machine is that it doesn’t have any drills that are programmed for its users. But this is something that you can expect given its price range. Another issue that users don’t like about the Lobster Elite One is the lack of remote control. You need to pay an additional $99 for a remote.
Pros:Can hit 80mph Elevation runs from 0 to 60 degrees 4 topspin and backspin levels
Cons:Additional fee for the remote control
Lobster Sports – Elite Liberty
Another Lobster Tennis Machine up on our list is the Elite Liberty. If you are looking to buy a tennis ball machine that’s not too heavy, the Elite Liberty might be a good option. Weighing only 35 pounds or roughly 16kg, it is easy to move around.
Some technical features in the Elite Liberty make it enjoyable. For one, you can adjust the topspin and the backspin at different levels. Also, you can change the elevation from 0 to 50 degrees and speed can reach from 20 to 70mph.
There are a few areas that a lot of users might not like about this unit. You can play from 2-3 hours per charge depending on your setting though you have to wait for up to 24 hours to get the battery fully charged. If you want a fast charger, then you can get the battery charged in just 3-6 hours. You also don’t get to have a remote control without paying an additional fee.
Pros:Can provide up to 70mph top speed Lightweight Can carry up to 150 tennis balls
Cons:Takes 24 hours to charge
OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus
The OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus is an improved version of the original. Among things that you will see with the Tutor Plus is the addition of a spin setting that allows users to practice their backspin and topspin. The serving speed was also pushed to 65mph from 60mph from the original machine.
One of the things that make it unique among other electric tennis ball machine units is the fact that it has two line oscillator. It means that you get to choose two predetermined court positions. This makes it easier for the user to practice both backhand and forehand shots or when you have two players that are trying to practice at the same time.
The ball feeder gives you a tennis ball from 1-10 second intervals. And you also get a remote that allows you to turn the unit on or off even from afar.
Pros:Allows you to switch from backhand to forehand shots 1-10 second interval Remote operated Improved speed compared to the original
Cons:Can’t set a program
LOBSTER Sports – Elite Two Tennis Ball Machine
The Lobster Sports- Elite Two Tennis Ball Machine is a good option if you are a fan of the first Lobster elite ball machine. The Elite Two offers 10-function remote control that allows you to adjust the spin, ball speed, feed rate, elevation, and other things that can affect your overall game.
It has a triple oscillation design, something that you don’t see in a lot of tennis ball machines. It oscillates vertically and horizontally helping players to simulate matches. The battery life lasts up to 8 hours, while the average tennis ball machine only lasts up to 4. However, you can’t program your drills plus it takes 18 to 14 hours to get the battery fully charged.
Pros:10-function remote Three oscillation design Can last up to 8 hours per charge
Cons:Takes 18-24 hours to charge the battery
Lobster Sports – Elite Three
The Lobster Sports Elite Three is a slightly heavier model than the Elite Two. It has random horizontal, vertical, and combination of horizontal and vertical oscillation features that can help mimic real play for athletes. You also get to enjoy electric elevation from 0 to 50 degrees like its previous model. And just like the other Elite tennis ball machines, you also can’t program drills in this unit. It runs from 4-8 hours while charging takes 18-24 hours.
Pros:Elevation of 0-50 degrees Can be used for up to 8 hours Vertical and horizontal combination oscillation
OnCourt OffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus
Pickleball Tutor Plus is the upgraded version of the Tutor Spin. If you are a fan of the Tutor Spin, then this is something that you might like. You have an option whether you plug it via the AC electric option or you want to use the battery.
It has additional random oscillation features to keep the user guessing. The 2-line oscillation allows you to choose two spots where to get the ball. This is handy for an athlete that is training alone for someone who trains with a partner. Here, you can train both your backhand and your forehand groundstrokes or prepare for doubles events.
It can feed a ball at a maximum speed of 65mph, faster than the original version. However, if you are going to consider other tennis ball machines, you’d find the Pickleball Tutor Plus lacking in this department. The feed rate is at 1 to 10 seconds while it has a start-up time delay that allows the user to go to the other side and get ready.
With a 110 ball capacity and an ability to adjust elevation, this is a top choice for many. However, users complained about the lack of remote control capability.
Pros:1 to 10-second interval With random oscillation Can hit 65mph top speed
Lobster Sports – The Pickle by Lobster Pickleball Machine
The Pickle by Lobster Sports is an interesting tennis ball machine. It is considered a small tennis ball machine weighing only around 16kg. But despite the small design, you get random oscillation, up to 50 degrees of elevation, and the ability to feed topspin and backspin. However, it only has a top speed of around 60mph which is something frustrating for a lot of more experienced players.
If you intend on using the Pickle for a long training session, this unit can last for up to 4 hours. Also, you can charge it after. However, if you expect to use the machine every day, there is a chance that you are not going to be able to use the unit two to three days straight. You need around 18-24 hours of charging time before getting the battery fully charged, which is something that can be a bit frustrating for those serious players.
You also don’t get to enjoy a remote control. Instead, you will have to purchase it as an extra. And if you want to use this every day, you might as well invest in a fast charger that can cut your charging time by more than 60-70%.
Pros:Easy to transport Can last up to 4 straight hours With Oscillation
Cons:No readily available remote control You need to charge the unit for one whole day
OnCourt OffCourt Pickleball Tutor Spin Machine
The Pickleball Tutor Spin Machine is a small tennis ball machine by design that packs a huge punch. It’s most likely the smallest option in the market today. It measures 12” x 18” x 20”.
It weighs only around 13kg or 29lbs, which makes it a favorite by ladies and those who don’t want to worry about storage. However, despite the size, you get to enjoy a massive 125-ball capacity. The Tutor Spin is also available in both AC and battery operated versions. You also get to choose between oscillating and non-oscillating. Whether a beginner or a pro, the non-oscillating version of the Tutor Spin is something that you might not like because it can’t mimic real play. The version that comes with an oscillator gives you a random oscillator feature that feeds shots randomly across the court. You also get a startup time delay to give you enough time to go to the other side and begin your practice.
It can serve balls that go up to 60mph. It’s not the fastest, but it is quite decent especially for its size and if you are just beginning to learn the sport.
The elevation control is manually adjustable, unlike other models that you can simply press using a remote. For this machine, you will need to buy the remote separately which can be a bit frustrating.
Pros:Random oscillator Compact and lightweight design With time delay that allows you to go to the other side of the court
Suz Table Tennis Robot with Net Ping Pong Ball Machine S201
The S201 can accommodate up to 300 table tennis balls. It offers an intelligent design that can mimic different spins from topspin, backspin, to left and right spins. It’s one of those table tennis machines that you can use to hone your skills playing table tennis.
It has analog controls for the ball speed, frequency, as well as the oscillation. You get to practice how to deal with both strong and weak balls. It’s a good option for doing solo practice for table tennis. However, keep in mind that the head needs manual adjustment every once and a while.
Pros:300 table tennis ball capacity Mimics different spins You can control the frequency, oscillation and ball speed
Cons:You need to adjust the head manually
How to Buy Good Tennis Ball Machines
So what should you be looking for in a tennis ball server? Should you go for the best cheap tennis ball machine or should you be spending more money on a popular automatic tennis ball machine? Here are some of the things that can help simplify your options.
What is your budget?
The first thing that you have to consider is your budget. Are you a hobbyist who is only willing to spend $200 for a tennis ball throwing machine or are you a coach who needs all the crafty specs that go with a $2000 price tag? You need to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend on tennis training machines. If you are a serious competitor who happens to train on your own, you might as well spend on the expensive machines that the pros use.
But do you immediately go for the cheapest option? What you need to remember is that you have to consider technical details and even compare different units before making up your mind.
Is it a portable unit?
Some units need A/C to operate while some are battery powered allowing you to bring the tennis shooter even when there’s no available outlet. However, the power source isn’t the only consideration when finding a tennis ball feeder. You also have to consider the weight of the battery-operated tennis ball machine in case you are going to have one that doesn’t require a plug.
An ideal tennis robot machine needs to have wheels that allow you to slide the unit across the tennis court.
If you are playing tennis don’t always expect that it’s sunny. And because the tennis ball feeder is going to be exposed in both rainy and sunny conditions, you want something that can tolerate both. Take a closer look at how the tennis practice machine is constructed. Is it generally made of heavy-duty plastic or metal?
It’s hard to return the ball to your opponent if it is spinning wildly. This is something that even beginners will realize once they start playing. The one that is responsible for the spin is the propulsion system that is used on the tennis machine ball.
There are two basic propulsion designs that you get to see in these units. The best tennis ball machines use either a spinning wheel or a pneumatic air pressure.
The most popular propulsion system used is the spinning wheel. It has two counter-rotating spinning wheels. These units can be adjusted depending on how you want to create a forward spin or you want a backspin. For most of the tennis machines that you get to see in the market today, you’d most likely have the freedom to adjust the spin.
Most of the older tennis robot machine options have a pneumatic propulsion system. The problem with this kind of design is that it requires more power. And also, you will need an additional attachment if you like to achieve a bit of spin on the ball. However, if you are looking to save a couple of bucks when you purchase a tennis ball shooter machine, then you want to find those units that have a pneumatic propulsion system.
Ability to mimic real play
Next, you also need to get a tennis shooter complete with the ability to give you a hard time. This way, you get to train smart even if you don’t have a training partner. The more tennis training machines can mimic how a ball is thrown, the easier it is to get ready for your next opponent and enhance your skills whether it requires soft touches or power shots.
Random shot selection is something that you want to go for. This way, you are not going to expect the ball at one place every time.
Next, you also need to check if the tennis ball machine has an oscillator. Oscillation features allow the ball to be thrown from different directions allowing you to practice your game to not just hit on one spot. The most common type of oscillation feature that you find is a horizontal oscillation that allows you to get balls from side to side. You can even program the oscillation if you are going to buy a high-end automatic tennis ball server.
Height variation is another important feature that you shouldn’t forget when comparing tennis ball machines in the market. Why does height matter? You will be facing different opponents and it also means that they are going to hit the ball in different heights. Some prefer to hit high while others prefer to do it low. The more shots a tennis ball dispenser can replicate, the better it is for the user.
Another important consideration if you want the best tennis machine is the speed which it can deliver the ball in your direction. Machines can hit up to 95mph. But the good news is that most of the tennis ball machines offer a wide range of speed that users can get to enjoy. It means that both advanced and novice players can get to enjoy using these machines.
Number of balls that it can hold at once
A tennis shooting machine can hold 50 to 300 balls at once. This will give you enough strokes to practice without going to the machine and reload the balls again. However, should you be getting a large capacity tennis serve machine? In reality, you don’t need hundreds of balls loaded at once because you are going to pick them up anyway. Imagine tennis balls that are getting in your way as you run from one end of the court to the next.
There are also other features that you might want to check if you are going to buy a tennis throwing machine. One of the things that might come in handy is a remote control. Having a remote control means that you don’t have to go near the machine to get it started. Plus, you can set it up without wasting balls in its capacity.
And of course, does it have a warranty? A lot of these ball machines for tennis cost a lot of money. Some are even above the $1,000 price.
Having a tennis ball feeding machine has its perks if you are serious about developing the necessary skills to play tennis. A professional tennis ball machine can mimic the way actual games are played. You get to control the frequency and the spin plus the speed that it helps you gain the necessary skills to be a good tennis player. However, there are a variety of options out there. It can be a bit confusing at times. With this list and buying guide, you get to narrow down your options. You will have an easier time comparing each product and see which one fits your needs.