Our Guide To Help You Find The Best Ball Machines For Tennis

In the world of sports stardom and elite athletes, it always seems as though the way they perform is easy, especially when watching from the comfort of a TV in your toasty living room. But the difference is in the previous sentence I just wrote. What is it you may ask? Well, said athletes aren’t in the living room watching TV, they are out there practicing relentlessly to hone their ability to become the best they can be. These are the athletes that understand their weaknesses and do all they can to improve them so they can limit any potential disadvantage they may have.

But what if I told you that there is a way to train like elite athletes? What if I told you that you could improve your ability by using simple and effective training equipment? What if I told you by dedicating a few more hours a week to enhance your game with said equipment could evolve your performance to the best it has ever been? I imagine your response would be, “Where do I sign up?”. The fact of the matter is no matter what type of sport is played, all athletes have to work and train harder than the average Joe to become of an elite standard. They also use the best equipment possible that is specific to their game, such as tennis ball machines for tennis players like Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal, whom of which have all used tennis ball machines throughout their entire career as they all recognize the vital benefits!

In this article, I will explain the insights into the 5 best tennis ball machines on the market today which can take your game to the very next level. I will highlight the importance, pro’s and con’s, and specific information on all 5 machines so you can help conclude as to why a particular machine would be best suited to you in aid of enhancing your game as much as physically possible!

BEST OVERALL
Spinshot Player Tennis Ball Machine
BEST VALUE
Lobster Sports Elite Liberty
MOST PORTABLE
Wilson Portable Tennis Machine
BEST FOR YOUTH
Spinshot Lite Tennis Ball Machine
BEST FOR PICKLEBALL
OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus

Spinshot Player – The Cadillac Of Tennis Ball Machine

As far as tennis machines go, the Spinshot Player tennis ball machine is a great addition to any players’ training regime, and potentially the best there is! Let’s discuss why this machine is deservedly one of the best machines on the market.

The machine itself comes equipped with a phone app that enables any user to custom build their training program to very specific needs. Sounds fancy right? The app allows control of the machine by modifying functions such as speed, spin, height, angle and feed rate to create your very own drill! This function alone tells me how practical and efficient this piece of equipment is for increasing anybody from a beginner to a high standard tennis player as the intensity is completely dependent on the user.

Alternatively, the product also comes with an optional remote watch to help adjust your drills instead of having to stop your session and use the machine completely through the app. This is a great option for changing the dynamic of your drills during real-time practice so you can still work up a sweat whilst changing the pace of your drills at the very same time! In addition to this, the machine only weighs around 19kg which makes it very durable and handy when completing specific drills from different areas of the court just in case you need to work on returning various shots such as serves, backhands, or forehands, etc. 

All in all, I would say this machine is a great purchase for any player of any level who wants to remotely improve their game! It offers an array of great and practical functions that are perfect for anybody to use! So, if you still haven’t bought one by the time you have read this article and still want to know more? Check out the list of pro’s and con’s in the below:

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Phone app function
  • Remote watch function for real-time adjustments
  • Pre-programmed with 12 drills that can be modified to specific levels
  • Comes complete with battery
  • Options for oscillation features

Cons

  • Other battery options such as AC power mains and hybrid battery power packs have to be ordered separately
  • It doesn’t stand out as a modern piece of equipment on first glance, but I can assure you that it does what is needed and has many brilliant features

Lobster Sports Elite Liberty – Best Value Tennis Machine

Firstly, you may think the aesthetics of the Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine resembles a small bathtub and you may be right, however, I’ve always been taught to never judge a book by its cover and this is exactly the case with this durable piece of equipment and I’ll tell you why:

The Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine is a brilliant and cost-effective alternative to many of the more expensive tennis ball machines that are currently on the market and it also comes with a variety of great features for any tennis playing addict! It also comes with a great feature known as the ‘Spin-control feature’ which enables you to program the machine to provide shots that help challenge your topspin and backhand returns.

The machine itself is extremely durable with a weight of around 15kg which makes it a handy choice for maneuvring the machine to positions around the court where you feel improvements are much needed. Additionally, the Elite Liberty machine is great for transporting due to its oversized wheels. It makes it easy to use when transporting it through places that involve environments that may have gravel, grass and even big curbs.

Think of it as a small monster truck tennis ball machine with practical capabilities for all kinds of tennis lovers! Not only this, but it’s also a very versatile piece of equipment in terms of the functions that it has to offer. Said functions include manual oscillation, ball speeds with ranges of 20-70 mph, an elevation feature with a range of 0-50 degrees and can operate from 2-4 hours with its lightweight battery. 

As you can see the machine has many beneficial features and, in my opinion, is a great purchase for the price that it retails for. However, I would advise those of a beginner level would find this more applicable as opposed to elite standard players. I say this as more expensive machines tend to have more enhanced features, but that isn’t to say the Elite Liberty machine isn’t a great purchase, on the contrary, for the price it is perfect for those who play at beginner level and want to vastly improve their game!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Lower cost than other machines
  • Simple and effective functionalities
  • Durable
  • Comes complete with battery
  • Options for oscillation features

Cons

  • Not as many functions as more expensive options
  • Battery life is a bit shorter than other options

Wilson Portable Tennis Machine – Lightest And Smallest Option

There are many great tennis brands out there, however, there are only a small few that have had a great impact on the sport and have stayed relevant ever since they began. Wilson is one of those brands. They have been established since 1913 helping provide the best and most up to date tennis equipment there is to offer, especially with the Wilson Portable Tennis Machine!

The machine itself looks pretty bog-standard to the average eye with its stiff robotic appearance, but don’t overlook it just yet. Remember what I said about not judging a book by its cover? The same principle applies to the Wilson Portable Tennis Machine! It comes complete with ball speed settings of up to 75mph to challenge any willing receiver. Another great niche feature is the ball feed setting which enables you to unload a tennis ball every 1.5s-10s automatically. Enough to convince you yet? If not, keep reading, you’re in store for a lot more! Did I mention it also comes with spin control and elevation control to provide obstacles for heavy topspin and underspin along with ball trajectory adjustments from groundstroke to lob shots? This should be enough to convince you of the capability this machine has to help increase your game and in my opinion is debatably the pinnacle of tennis ball machine in terms of the features it provides!

As you can see the Wilson Portable Tennis Machine would be a great investment for any tennis player that is looking to vastly improve. Although it’s on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of the price, in my opinion, it is well worth the sacrifice simply due to its beneficial features that can be used anywhere from beginner level to professional level players.

Pros

  • Ball speed settings of 10-75mph
  • Ball feed settings of 1.5s-10s for each ball that is unloaded
  • Spin control for heavy topspin and heavy underspin
  • Elevation control for ground strokes and lob shots
  • Trolley handle and towing wheels for transporting
  • Great for those from beginner to professional level
  • 3-year parts and labor warranty

Cons

  • 3-4 hours playing time (Some models offer up to 6-8 hours)
  • Doesn’t have a remote-control feature that rival machines come equipped with

Spinshot Lite Tennis Ball Machine – Best Suited for Junior Players

If you read the first review then you will know Spinshot already has an array of machines that contain important and effective features and they don’t stop here!

The Spinshot Lite is a basic model version specially designed for junior tennis players. The fact that they have decided to cater to the younger generation of players tells me this company has a diverse approach and wants players of all ages and abilities to become better players whilst using their machines. Although it doesn’t have as many advanced features this also comes with a counter positive due to the machine being one of the cheapest on the market!

The Spinshot Lite does not have as many features as its predecessor but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered as potentially THE best tennis ball machine out there for junior players. It has a maximum speed of 60kph which is considerably less than the adult model, however, in my opinion, this is smart as not only does it allow juniors to get to grips with the pace of self-distributing balls but also prevents them from injuries as the speed is nowhere near as fast.

Along with this it also has topspin, flexible power, smartwatch remote and horizontal oscillation features that the original Spinshot machine has. However, the watch remote and oscillation features are orderable options from Spinshotsports. Although it doesn’t have as many features as most adult models it does have features that are more than enough for any junior player to better their game! It also has a trolley and wheels so all you mom’s and dad’s do not have to carry this 10kg (which I might add is very lightweight) all around the court on a hot summer’s day but instead can let your son or daughter manoeuvre it themselves. 

In conclusion, any junior that uses this machine has the potential to become a menace of tennis. Was that too cheesy? Okay maybe, but it’s the truth so don’t judge me and judge the machine for yourself and its brilliantly simplistic features that enable juniors to become increasingly better at tennis!

Pros

  • One of the cheapest tennis ball machines available
  • Maximum speed of 60kph
  • Very portable and lightweight
  • Topspin feature
  • Optional smartwatch remote and oscillation features
  • Perfect for junior players and beginners

Cons

  • Limited set of features
  • Doesn’t suit more experienced players

OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus – Best Pickeball Machine

Okay, first and foremost I have to say this is NOT a tennis ball machine. With this said you may be thinking, “Why is there a review on a pickleball machine amongst a comparative review of tennis ball machines?”. I get it, I really do, but hear me out. Although pickleball is, in theory, a shorter game of tennis with different style bats and balls it can still provide great benefits! Let’s see if I can sway you with the below features:

The OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus is a fantastic addition for any pickleball participant, or for that matter, anybody who’s had experience playing with paddle and racquet sports. Pickleball is considered a combination of tennis and badminton along with table tennis and racquetball so anybody who plays these games can see some sort of benefit from the pickleball experience! Additionally, the machine we have here comes equipped with many great features similar to the most upscale tennis ball machines currently available on the market. Such features include ball speed feed which allows any user to unload balls every 1s-10s.

The PLUS version also has a brilliant spin feature in aid of practicing those deadly topspin and backspin shots along with a max ball speed of 65mph. Fortunately, these aren’t the only great features either as it also comes with manual elevation control for adjustments in groundstroke and lob shots, a randomized oscillator so you’re able to hit shots whilst on the move. I love this function on machines as it forces you to react to an unpredictable stimulus which essentially is what these types of sports are all about!

Now as mentioned before this isn’t a tennis ball machine so it may not come with as many features but I do believe it has brilliant and very beneficial features. One feature that stood out to me that I haven’t seen on other machines is the Start-Up Time Delay setting. This setting allows the user to get to the other side of the net before the balls begin shooting which I find is great in terms of letting users gather their composure and readiness for the oncoming onslaught of pickleballs! If this isn’t enough then OnCourtOffCourt has also included 25 FREE, yes, I said FREE pickleballs as a ‘cherry on the top’ for any purchase of their Pickleball Tutor Spin. 

So, how does it sound? You’re interested, aren’t you? It’s okay, you should be! It’s a very good piece of equipment that would help any willing participant for their training whether you’re interested in tennis, badminton, table tennis or racquetball and I firmly believe this machine can help develop your game in many aspects of all sports mentioned along with pickleball itself. What are you waiting for? Give it a try!

Pros

  • Ball Speed Feed – Adjustable setting to allow a dispatching of balls every 1s-10s.
  • Manual Elevation Control – Allows users to challenge their groundstroke to lob shots.
  • Randomized Oscillator - Randomly feed shots across the court.
  • Start-Up Time Delay – Enables the user to get across the net before balls start to unload.
  • Includes 25 FREE pickleballs.
  • Smart battery charge that shuts off power once the machine is fully powered.

Cons

  • Only up to 4 hours of playing time when other machines can be longer-lasting. However, I do think this is sufficient for the type of game it is.
  • It does not include a towing trolley but instead only has towing wheels so transportation of the machine is maybe a little less practical than others.

Other Useful Tennis Articles

Best Ball Machines For Tennis - The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

Tennis ball machines are, well, machines with tennis balls inside them. Is that all I hear you say? Not by a long shot!

They have many different benefits for any level of tennis player. They are designed to effectively take away the human element of coaching, which to some people may sound risky and I understand the initial worry. However, they are brilliant pieces of equipment that shouldn’t be overlooked as they have many beneficial features.

They should be used more often than not in my opinion because they are so practical and can be used virtually in any open area whether it’s a gym, court or local park! Another point I would like to make is that you can hire a coach and the problem is they may not be up to standard, this means your time and money has been wasted, whereas with a tennis ball machine you know it’s capabilities and you can set the standard yourself, it’s a win-win!

1. Types Of Tennis Machines

Upon first thought, you would probably think there is one tennis ball machine that is just replicated by lots of other companies because to the average eye they just shoot balls at you, sometimes in a ferocious manner when you forget to take the top ball speed setting off and end up injuring yourself, but that’s just one of my experiences. However, don’t worry I’m over it, for now. But, in all seriousness, different machines cater to different people and games and I’ll tell you why:

Junior Machines

As we know there are many tennis ball machines in the world but if they had the same features then it wouldn’t exactly accommodate every player’s ability due to age and ability range. Some machines such as the Spinshot Lite Tennis Training Machine is specific for junior players which helps them ease into the game with its reduced speed settings and more complicated features that other models come equipped with.

Adult Machines

A lot of machines on the market will for adults and I understand why the price for said machines isn’t cheap and it’s more affordable for a working adult to purchase. These types of machines such as the Wilson Tennis Ball Machine is great for adult users as it comes with an array of advanced features in comparison to the beginner and junior models as it has options for ball speeds up to 75mph, spin control to test topspin and underspin and elevation control for groundstroke and lob shots.

Non-Tennis Ball Machines

Okay, so the subheading might look slightly confusing because why would there be non-tennis ball machines in a review of tennis ball machines but, as discussed earlier for the Pickleball Tutor Plus, there are machines out there that are similar but are more suited for different types of games. A perfect example here is the Pickleball Tutor Plus as it challenges the capabilities of pickleball as opposed to tennis. Though it’s not tennis it still has the same great benefits as most tennis ball machines but on a more relaxed level simply because the courts are a fraction of the size and the bats and balls that are used are not as big or heavy. It’s still great to see companies accommodating for similar parts of the game so everyone can experience this type of training.

2. What Features Can Tennis Ball Machines Have?

There are many features that tennis ball machines have with some having more than others! The main features I would highlight are the Ball Speed Feed, Oscillation, Elevation/Trajectory Control, and Pre-Programmable Drills. Let’s discuss these features in finer detail:

Ball Speed Feed

Ball speed feed is a brilliant feature that is usually complete with all tennis ball machines. It allows the user to choose a setting that distributes the ball at a certain speed, usually between 20-80mph, depending on the level of difficulty the user wants to experience. Just a side note though, if you happen to choose an 80mph speed setting, perhaps wear a gladiator helmet, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Oscillation

This feature is perhaps my favourite feature as it mimics gameplay simply at the hands of a machine. The concept itself is very effective when upping the tempo of your drills and training as it allows the machine to offload balls at various areas of the court forcing you to react to a stimulus which, as we know, is how the game of tennis is played because we never really know where the opposition will hit their ball. Think of it as playing an intense game of tennis with R2-D2 from Star Wars.

Elevation/Trajectory Control

The elevation/trajectory control feature is great for challenging your groundstroke or lob shots. It’s simple, effective and it works! Some machines are manual and some machines have an automatic setting but either way with this setting you will be able to challenge those intricate parts of your game and get them up to scratch in no time.

Pre-Programmable Drills

Now, this is a feature that comes with most, if not all machines and is a great way to get used to the machine and its initial components and complexities that you may come across. It allows the user to choose an already programmed drill from within the machine to help work on a specific part of the game. This for me is important as it helps any novice get used to how the machine works before being able to create their own drills once they get used to how it works.

Ball Tennis Machines – Frequently Asked Questions

Now, this question should be totally dependent on the user so ask yourself first and foremost are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player? Are you a junior or adult player? Do you have a budget? All should be considered when looking for the best tennis ball machine as it should be perfect for YOU and YOUR development!

It’s similar to a rocket launcher, but with tennis balls and less deadly… sometimes. But, in all seriousness, they typically work by distributing balls with a variety of different functions. Firstly, tennis balls are placed into a bucket that is attached to the machine and then settings are placed by the user for what the user wants to practice most. Such settings can be to test returns for different ball speeds, trajectory shots for lob or groundstroke, underspin or topspin and oscillating shots so you can move around the court and mimic real-time tennis. But, please note not all machines come with said features so ensure you have researched all items to be considered.

In my opinion tennis ball machines are a great alternative to paying for coaching. Though they both have their advantages and disadvantages I believe for the practicality that tennis ball machines are a perfect way for an avid player to improve their game. Cost wise and over time, tennis sessions from an established coach can cost an awful lot, especially if sessions are booked multiple times a week. However, a one-off payment for a great standard tennis ball machine can be both cost-efficient and simultaneously improve anyone’s game over long periods!

There’s no set price for renting a tennis ball machine unfortunately as there are a couple of ways this can be marketed. One way is joining a tennis club that has machines at their facility. Some clubs may charge a one-off fee or a yearly rental fee which can work out cost-effective but alongside a membership fee, it could be pricey over time. Another way is an independent company who rents the machines themselves. Prices, in this case, can start from $25 per day (Mon-Fri) and $30 per day (Sat-Sun) or some deals can be on offer for weekly deals at around $89.

Tennis ball machines are certainly a fantastic way to improve your overall game. Though you aren’t playing against another human or with a coach they still have the ability to improve specific components of your game! In my opinion, they are perfect for improvements simply due to how practical they are and how advanced some of the machines are. They include many suitable features as opposed to the first generation of machines that pretty much only had a basic serve feature whereas the more advanced machines have all sorts of functions that can benefit your overall game!

Best Tennis Ball Launcher - Final Words

So, that was a lot to take in I imagine, wasn’t it? Even after reading the article you may still be spoilt for choice in terms of what machine to use, and that’s completely okay! My job here is to guide and advise what machine would be best suited to YOU! Whether it would be the fully equipped Spinshot-Player machine that has above and beyond features but for a more expensive price or the Pickleball machine that is less equipped, cheaper but caters to a different dynamic of the game, it all depends on what is perfect for you and your development as a tennis player. With that said I also have some questions for you to consider in the below:

What’s your opinion on tennis ball machines?

Do you think they have a place in today’s game and can they improve performance?

Have you used tennis ball machines in the past? If so, what was your experience with them? If not, would you be tempted to use one in the future?

Kevin Fitzgerald
Kevin Fitzgerald is a tennis coach based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Kevin was introduced to tennis by his father at the age of 3. Tennis quickly became a passion, and he started coaching at the early age of 16. Kevin now writes for several tennis related blogs and magazines.

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