Tennis Ball Machine

Whether you are planning on polishing your skills to play at a competitive level or you simply enjoy playing tennis during your spare time, a machine that throws the balls can really come in handy. Not only does the apparatus basically replace the second player – which is great for those who do not have a person to practice with – but it challenges you by throwing the balls at a higher speed as well. However, do know that these are not the cheapest purchase out there. Thus, it is mandatory to look into as many products as possible and compare the top-tier entries to each other in order to make a correct purchase. In the following, we will provide you with a comparison matrix of the best tennis ball throwing apparatuses at the moment, so stick with us if you are interested in this subject.

Top 5 Tennis Ball Machines Comparison

1. Spinshot Player 2. Lobster Sports Elite 1 3. Tennis Tutor Pro Lite 4. Match Mate Rookie 5. Match Mate Quickstart
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General Info

Manufacturer Spinshot Lobster Sports Tennis Tutor Match Mate Match Mate
Weight 46.3 Lbs 42 Lbs 29 Lbs 22 Lbs 29 Lbs
Casing Material Powder Coated Metal Polypropylene High Impact Plastic Heavy-Grade Aluminum Heavy Gauge Steel
Dimensions
Height 19.7″ 21″ 12″ 22″ 28″
Length 19.7″ 20″ 19.5″ 11″ 12.5″
Width 13.8″ 14″ 18″ 11″ 12.5″

Specifications

Capacity 120 Balls 150 Balls 120 Balls 70 Balls 125 Balls
Ejection Speed 19 – 68 MPH 10 – 80 MPH 10 – 60 MPH 10 – 27 MPH 14 – 30 MPH
Feed Rate 2 – 10 Seconds 2 – 12 Seconds 1.5 – 10 Seconds 2 – 10 Seconds 2 – 12 Seconds
Spin Adjustable Back and Top Spin Heavy Top and Back Spin Flat or Topspin Heavy Topspin Heavy Topspin
Court Time 2 – 3 Hours 4 – 8 Hours 2 – 3 Hours 5 Hours 5 – 7 Hours
Safe for Children

Features

Oscillator Random Horizontal Optional
Elevation Type Electronic Electronic Manual Manual Manual
Rechargeable Battery
Included Battery Charger
Transport Handles
Remote Control Phone-Based
Other Features
12 Programmable Shot Drills Oversized Wheels Start-Up Time Delay Overcharge Protection Throws Standard Regulation Balls
Adjust Ball Position 60-Degree Lobs Overcharge Protection 10-Second Ball Feed Delay on Start-Up 10-Second Ball Feed Delay on Start-Up
60-Degree Lobs Removable Handle Overcharge Protection
Elevation Indicator

Warranty&Support

Product Warranty 2 Years 2 Years 3 Years 1 Year 1 Year
User Manual
Customer Support
Telephone Support 800-306-0556 800-210-5992 800-448-8867 800-837-1002 800-837-1002
E-Mail Support spinshot-service @hotmail.com support @lobstersports.com customerservice @sportstutorinc.com [email protected] [email protected]
Online Chat Support

The Ball Throwing Machine Reviews

1. Spinshot Player

An advanced battery operated system that revolutionizes the way we practice our tennis skills, the Player is a must-have for players who aspire towards greatness. It can be controlled over the smartphone with the installation of the companion app, thus ensuring optimal usability, and allowing in-game adjustments in a truly convenient manner. It is easy to program and offers versatility in use due to the oscillating programming aspect that we will cover a bit later. Additionally, a 2-year warranty is provided by the manufacturing company, so you are covered in case any defects appear.

Design

The powder-coated metal construction ensures long-lasting durability, so you can rely on the fact that practicing in harsh weather won’t affect it. As it weighs only 46.3 pounds and features convenient transport handles and two caster wheels, moving it on the court will be a breeze. It measures 19.7 inches in height, 19.7 inches in length, and 13.8 inches in width, which means that you won’t have trouble finding a storage space when you won’t be using it for a while.

Performance

With a capacity to hold up to 120 balls at once, it is sure to get you through the practice session without you having to necessarily refill it. When the battery is fully charged, it provides approximately 3 hours of practice time, which is more than enough to work on your skills. The speed at which it throws the balls ranges from 19 to 68 miles per hour. Due to its design and adjustability in settings, it is safe even for kids to practice with it. As aforementioned, you can control its settings and operation via your smartphone if you install the companion app.

Mention Worthy Features and Specs
  • You can adjust the ball’s trajectory and height as you want.
  • You can adjust the feed rate from 2 to 10 seconds for every shot.
  • Includes 12 pre-programmed drills that you can select between.
Oscillation Programming

Its best feature, by far, the oscillating programming allows you to set different oscillation parameters in order to customize the drills you practice with. What you can program and adjust due to this feature include the speed and spin of the balls, as well as the direction in which they are sent off. The realistic practice experience it provides makes it the ideal opponent for beginners looking to polish their skills fast.

PROS CONS
  • Powder-coating over the metal construction ensures durability
  • 2-line drill option makes the game experience even more realistic
  • Allows you to fully customize drills according to your skill level
  • Towing wheels allow an easy maneuvering on the court
  • Supports only Android and iOS apps – Windows is not included
VERDICT

Although there are more than enough features to praise when it comes to this entry, we must admit that the most spectacular trait remains the fact that it can be remotely controlled over the smartphone. Fairly priced considering its overall quality and providing you with the ideal tennis partner, we strongly recommend you go with it if you want to see major improvements in your game.

2. Lobster Sports Elite 1

The Elite 1 measures 21 inches in height, 20 inches in length, and 14 inches in width, and it weighs only 42 pounds, specs which show how convenient it is to maneuver on court and how easy it will be for you to find a storage space for it. As it is battery powered, the lack of an AC power source is not an issue to worry about. Furthermore, it delivers a fantastic continuous run time of up to 8 hours until the batteries need to be recharged, so you will most likely run out of juice before it does.

The impressive 150-ball capacity ensures you will most likely finish the practice session before the apparatus runs out of balls. Additionally, it allows a 15-second delay on the feed motor, thus allowing you to position yourself correctly on the court before the first ball is thrown.

Obviously, just like the entry we previously talked about, it delivers random oscillation in order to make the tennis session a bit more challenging and to simulate how a play would go in real-life as close to perfection as possible. Its feeds are remarkably consistent, an aspect praised by all people who have already bought and used it. All in all, there are no real downsides worth talking about, and we do recommend you take it into consideration as it is worth the money.

PROS CONS
  • Ball bin slot allows you to monitor how many balls are left
  • Remarkable consistency in ball feed
  • Its operation isn’t noisy at all – using it won’t wake neighbors up
  • No need to worry about rusting due to its plastic outer shell
  • When the battery is fully drained, it takes about 24 hours to fully recharge it
VERDICT

Fairly priced considering the consistent shot quality it delivers, and allowing you to customize the practice session as you see fit for your training and capabilities, the Elite 1 is a dream to work with. Among its biggest highlights is definitely the 15-second delay it provides to allow you to position yourself on the court as you like, as well as numerous other features.

3. Tennis Tutor Pro Lite

The main characteristic of the Pro Lite has to be its portability, which is granted by the compact size and rather light profile when compared to other products. It measures 12 inches in height, 19.5 inches in length, and 18 inches in width, and it weighs 29 pounds, so it won’t be hard to take it out of storage when you are in the mood to practice tennis. Great for beginners and pros alike, it allows you to adjust the speed at which it throws the balls, the maximum speed rating being 60 miles per hour.

The ball feed is adjustable as well, allowing you to customize it as desired – pick a time lap between thrown balls ranging from 1-1/2 seconds to 10 seconds. Even though it is rather small, it can hold up a maximum of 120 balls at a time. It features manual elevation control, which means that you can manually adjust the trajectory of the ball from groundstroke to lob depending on what type of practice routine you are up for.

Another feature worth mentioning is the start-up time delay which allows you to get to the other side of the net without fearing that balls might come shooting straight at you. It uses a built-in battery which is rechargeable, and on a full charge, provides up to 3 hours of continuous playtime. Furthermore, it is accompanied by a smart charger that not only charges the battery as fast as possible, but that automatically shuts off when it is done to prevent over-charging and damaging this crucial part.

PROS CONS
  • Smart charger automatically shuts off when it is done charging the battery to prevent over-charging
  • Provides a feed rate varying from 1-1/2 to 10 seconds
  • You can manually adjust the trajectory of the ball as you like
  • Portable design makes it appealing as you won’t have a hard time taking it out of storage
  • Oscillator needs to be purchased separately
VERDICT

Despite what you may be thinking when you first lay eyes on it, the Pro Lite is actually one of the more impressive products on the market. Sure, it might be light and compact, but it packs a punch as it shoots out balls at a maximum 60 MPH speed, and it can fit a maximum of 120 balls at a time.

4. Match Mate Rookie

The Rookie boasts a quite discrete size, measuring only 22 inches in height, 11 inches in length, 11 inches in width, and weighing a mere 22 pounds. Furthermore, the heavy-grade aluminum construction ensures a long-lasting durability, so your money is safe if spent on it.

Delivering a court time of approximately 5 hours, you will most likely run out of batteries yourself before it does. Additionally, considering the fact that it delivers a heavy topspin, it will present you with a challenging play style which will help pick up your skills faster than you hoped. Another aspect worth mentioning is the forgiving 10-second feed rate which allows you to position yourself on the court when waiting for the next ball to shoot out of it.

Alas, it does lack an important feature, more precisely the random oscillation that would have added more realism to the practice session. On the upside, it ensures durability and reliability in the long run due to the overcharge protection it features. Furthermore, it comes at a very affordable price, so you won’t have to spend a considerable amount of money on it either.

PROS CONS
  • Heavy topspin helps beginners and intermediate players improve their game faster
  • One of the lightest tennis ball throwing apparatuses at the moment
  • Prevents ball wasting due to 10-second feed delay when the practice session starts
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Can reach only 27 MPH at tops when it comes to ball speed
  • Does not feature the oscillation function
VERDICT

If you are looking for a budget-friendly system to help you practice tennis when you are left without an opponent, the Rookie is your best option, by far. Despite the fact that it does lack the random oscillation feature which would have made the whole experience more challenging and realistic, it still provides everything a beginner or intermediate player could ask for.

5. Match Mate Quickstart

It comes at a cheap price that somewhat compensates for the features it lacks. As it can reach a top ball speed of 30 miles per hour, it makes for a great option for beginners and mid-level players. Also, it helps you learn the game properly as it throws standard regulation balls.

In order to allow you to accommodate to your position on the court before the training session begins, it provides a 10-second ball feed delay. Another important highlight is the 7-hour top court time provided by the apparatus when the battery is fully charged, ensuring you will run out of juice before it stops working.

To ensure you will enjoy using it for years on end, it features overcharge protection which keeps the battery safe and sound at all times. A very convenient element is the fact that it can hold up to 125 balls at a time, so you will not need to refill it with tennis balls too often. Additionally, it provides a heavy topspin which helps improve your game faster than you would have normally expected, especially if you are not the most experienced player out there at the moment.

PROS CONS
  • Allows easy access to the battery – from its bottom side
  • Heavy gauge steel construction ensures durability
  • Good option for beginning and intermediate players
  • Edge protection ensures you won’t get hurt while transporting it
  • Does not feature random oscillation
  • Lacks transport handles which would have made it easier to change its location on the court
VERDICT

Very affordable and perfectly suited for beginning and intermediate players who aspire to reach a pro level one day, the Quickstart is quite an impressive addition to your tennis practice sessions. Even though it does lack some features, its overall build quality and performance make it an option worth taking into consideration.

6. iSAM Extend

As opposed to our other entries, it is one of the more reasonably priced machines to go with. But what makes it exceed other products is not necessarily the pricing as much as the high degree of customization it allows. You can adjust the ball speed as you like from 15 to 65 MPH, so regardless of your skill level, you will be able to suit its operation to your needs. You can adjust the ball feel as you like at intervals ranging from 2 to 10 seconds. Furthermore, it puts 5 elevation control levels at your disposal, ranging from groundstrokes to high lobs.

What will surely impress you, however, is its generous capacity which enables it to fit up to 300 balls inside at once. Thus, replenishing the ball stock won’t occur all that often during the practice session. Since we are on the practice subject, know that its batteries allow you to play continuously for up to 7 hours. It comes with a smart charger that you can use to charge the batteries quick and easy whenever needed.

It includes the random 2-line oscillation feature to make your practice sessions all the more challenging. It measures 19 inches by 21 inches by 18 inches, and it weighs only 38 pounds, so moving it won’t be all that hard as it is quite portable. Best of all, the manufacturing company offers a 2-year warranty on parts and labor, a warranty which remains active as long as you properly use and store it.

PROS CONS
  • Random 2-line oscillation feature helps you polish and improve your skills a lot faster
  • On a full charge, the batteries provide a maximum of 7 hours of continuous practice
  • Puts 5 different elevation levels at your disposal to choose between
  • Can reach a top speed of 65 miles per hour
  • Some customers state that at the highest ball throw speed setting, the ball lands in the net or goes too long
VERDICT

One of the more spacious systems out there, is can fit a maximum of 300 balls in it at once. If this is not enough to convince you to purchase it, the reasonable price tag alongside the generous playing time of up to 7 hours, and the random 2-line oscillation it features are sure to the trick.

Making the Right Pick

Seeing how this is a considerable investment to make, you must take into account as many aspects as possible to ensure the purchase you are making is the right one. Otherwise, the apparatus you end up with won’t only come at a spicy price, but it won’t provide the practice session you are yearning for. In the following, we will teach you how to make a smart, educated choice by providing you with the questions you should ask when looking for a ball throwing machine. Furthermore, we will explain how a qualitative product looks like as well, thus giving you a clear picture of what you should look for as well.

  • What is the Maximum Amount of Balls that Can Fit in the Dispenser?

    Do not overlook this element in the slightest as it bears a major importance to how convenient it will feel while using it. Sure, you have to be a bit realistic with your expectations as you would not have any use for an apparatus which can shoot 500 consecutive balls, for example, as you won’t be able to play for that long anyway. However, it is ideal to look for a model that can throw from 60 to 150 balls before it needs to be replenished.

  • What is the Top Speed the Balls Shot Can Reach?

    You must look into this spec to figure out whether or not the apparatus suits your present game level, as well as if it can aid you in the future. The higher the top speed, the better as you will still be challenged by it even after years of training with it. We recommend a top speed of at least 30 miles per hour if you are inexperienced, and at least 50 miles per hour if you are an intermediate player. A model like the Lobster Sports Elite 1, which provides a maximum ball shoot speed of up to 80 miles per hour, will surely be a great opponent even when you reach a pro level, for example.

  • Does It Feed the Ball with a Spin?

    If you want an apparatus that can actually help your play, you have to look into the spin aspect. Cheaper models do not offer spin, so the balls they shoot are always flat, not presenting a real challenge. However, if you do buy a system that throws the ball with a spin, the range of strokes will be widened and you will receive a more realistic simulation of how a real-life tennis game actually feels.

  • Can It Feed the Ball in Different Directions?

    Another element you must look into when making the purchase is whether or not it features random oscillation. To put it in simpler words, random oscillation represents the capability of the apparatus to feed the ball in different directions, exactly as it happens when you are playing against a human opponent. Some models even allow you to enable an oscillation pattern before the practice session begins, thus allowing a more complex training customization.

  • How Much Court Time Can the Apparatus Provide?

    You have to be realistic when looking into this spec as it is highly unlikely that you would ever resist for 10 hours of training. What is best for you to do is look for a machine that provides a minimum court time of 2 hours, and a maximum operational time of 8 hours. You won’t be able to hold on for longer than this anyway and anything lower than 2 hours is undesirable as, in time, you will grow stamina and be more resistant on the court, being capable of training for more hours than you did when you started.

  • How Long is the Warranty?

    Clearly, as with any product, you must check the warranty provided by the manufacturing company. This way, you know for how long it will be fixed or replaced free of charge. Furthermore, you will get a better idea of how much the manufacturer trusts the quality of the product, a lengthier warranty denoting that you are looking at a resistant, high-performing apparatus.

How Will It Help Improve Your Tennis Game

Even if it is not the costliest purchase for an aspiring tennis pro, a tennis ball throwing apparatus still requires you to pay a considerable sum of money. Thus, it is understandable why people are skeptic before being provided with further info about the usefulness of the machine when it comes to their game. In this section of the article, we will do just that – show you how the apparatus will help improve your game unlike anything else, and dabble a bit into some health benefits it helps boost as well.

  • Suits Players Regardless of Age and Skill Level

    As you can see, of our picks are safe for adults, as well as children. What makes them safe is the fact that the speed at which they launch the balls can be customized to the skill level and strength of each player. Not all models allow this possibility, but the ones that do are appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. Thus, you, as well as your kids, grandkids, or grandparents can enjoy practice tennis in a safe environment. When playing against a human, this is not a perk you will enjoy at all times as a professional who is competitive by nature won’t be very forgiving when sending the shots. Thus, you will end up humiliated and not learn much from the experience either.

  • Practice at Any Time You Please

    To practice tennis, you need an opponent. Woefully, your schedule won’t always suit the schedule of your friends or loved ones, and you probably do not want to spend a ton of money on a trainer, especially if you do not intend to ever play at a pro level but you are rather just looking to have fun and be active. Fortunately for you, it eliminates this issue completely as it allows you to practice at any hour of the day or night you please. Just get it out of storage, place it on the court, get behind the net, and start playing against this mechanical opponent.

  • Set the Desired Difficulty

    Another benefit provided is the fact that it allows you to customize the difficulty settings. Just change the ball speed and feed rate settings as you see fit for your level at that moment and practice as much as you need until you feel that a difficulty upgrade is needed. With a human opponent, this is not possible as players tend to throw shots at their own pace and speed, not realizing how fast they shoot and how fast you need them to actually hit the ball.

  • Intensify Practice as You Improve

    As you continue to practice your tennis skills with the help of the ball throwing apparatus, you will eventually need to toughen the game session as you will get bored by the present pace and be eager to get challenged once again. Each model has a certain maximum speed limit at which it can throw the ball, and as long as you have not reached a level of comfort with that specific top speed, you will be able to intensify practice sessions as you improve. Also, not that many systems actually have a high top speed they can reach, the Lobster Sports Elite 1 providing a maximum ball speed of up to 80 miles per hour, for example. Therefore, when you do reach a comfort area with this setting, you can continue to practice with it as it is challenging enough to provide an environment where you can boost and polish your game even further.

  • Simulation of a Real-Life Game

    Probably the best part about owning this tennis practice gear is the fact that it simulates a real-life game as closely as possible. First of all, you are provided with an “opponent” that can shoot at the desired speed. Secondly, you are challenged continuously as the feed rate simulates the gap between shots during a normal game. Furthermore, if the model you do end up buying features the oscillation function, the balls will be thrown randomly across the court. Thus, it will feel exactly as if you were playing against an old-timer in the sport of tennis.

Rating and Ranking – How We Proceeded

When dealing with a competitive market, you have to establish some important features and specs which help guide and help you make the right picks in terms of the best products. This is exactly what we did when it came down to finding the top-tier machines, setting aside certain parameters which help delimitate the apparatuses quality-wise. Find out what our rating criteria were from this section of the article.

  • Casing material quality: The quality of the material used for its construction shows whether or not it will resist in a perfect shape as the years pass, and if rusting will ever be an issue. From this point of view, the Spinshot Player, Lobster Sports Elite 1, and Tennis Tutor Tennis Cube models scored highest as they are made with plastic, a non-rust material.
  • Capacity: The capacity of the apparatus shows how many balls it can fit in its dispenser at once. The more the batter as you won’t have to replenish it too often, meaning that your practice session won’t face too many interruptions. When it came down to this rating element, the model that received the highest rating was the Lobster Sports Elite 1 as it can hold up to 150 balls at a time.
  • Ball ejection speed: This spec shows what is the speed range at which balls will shoot from the tennis apparatus. Obviously, it is more desirable for the top speed to be higher as it shows that it will be a worthy opponent even when you reach a higher level as a player. The apparatus which we consider receives the most praise when it comes to ball ejection speed is the Lobster Sports Elite 1 that can reach a maximum ball speed of 80 miles per hour.
  • Spin: The presence of spin on the ball which is shot out of it shows that you will be constantly challenged while playing, strokes never feeling flat during practice sessions. All of the models in our top deliver some type of spin on ejected balls, so they received an equal amount of points when it came to this rating criteria.
  • Court time: This spec shows what is the maximum amount of time you can spend on the court polishing your skills before it runs out of juice and its batteries require to be recharged. From this point of view, the Lobster Sports Elite 1 and the Match Mate Quickstart received most points as they deliver over 7 hours of continuous play time.
  • Safe for children: Whether or not the apparatus is safe for kids shows how versatile its use it. All of the apparatuses we have chosen are safe for children as well, so if you have kids and you plan on teaching them how to play, they make great options. What shows if it is safe for younger players or not is the ball speed range it delivers.
  • Random oscillator: The random oscillator feature plays a quintessential role as it delivers a more challenging and realistic experience when you are training, providing you with shots all across the court. The Spinshot Player, Lobster Sports Elite 1, and Tennis Tutor Tennis Cube are the models that come with this feature and that ultimately received a higher score due to this extra function.

Frequently Asked Questions



?Do I have to recharge the battery before storing it?
It is indeed best to fully recharge the battery before storing it away, even if you have only used it for 5 minutes, for example. Doing this will prevent battery lifespan shortening, thus helping preserve the entire ball throwing system in a top-notch shape for many years, no replacements or repairs being needed.

?What is the role of random oscillation?
Random oscillation is a very appealing feature for a tennis ball throwing apparatus as it provides you with a more realistic game/practice experience. When set in this mode, it will replicate a real match situation as well as possible by shooting the balls randomly across the court. Thus, your practice session will be more challenging and you will increase your skill level faster.

?How is the spin of the ball created?
Models that feature counter-rotating wheels deliver balls that spin in the air, making it possible by rotating the wheels at different speeds. If the top wheel is the one which spins faster, a topspin ball will be imparted, while if the bottom one spins at a higher speed, you will be faced with a slice shot.

Regardless of your main motive for investing in a tennis ball machine, what you need to know from the get-go is the fact that the improvement seen in shot quality after using the apparatus is massive, even after only a few practice sessions. Knowing just how big of an impact it has on a player’s game, we made it a point to pick only quality apparatuses which actually withstand intense, regular use, products that do not disappoint in the long run. Clearly, our top pick, the Spinshot Player is the model that impressed us the most through its overall design and performance. Otherwise, it would not have ranked so high, obviously. While there are a plethora of reasons to why it deserves this spot, probably its most important trait which separates it from competitors is the fact that it allows you to choose between various programmable shot drills. Thus, it actually provides versatility, unlike any other model, helping you grow as a tennis player quicker.

This isn’t to say that our other selections are way inferior as they actually come close to this model quality-wise. For example, the Lobster Sports Elite 1 impresses with the length court time it provides, while the Match Mate Quickstart is unparalleled when it comes to its ball holding capacity. What we hope you take away from this article is that there are more than enough systems that provide excellence in terms of performance while managing to remain quite affordable, and we aspire to have helped you with the info provided here to make a fast and smart choice.

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