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Guide To Ball Machines

 

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect when it comes to your tennis game, and there’s no better way to fine tune that stroke you’ve been working on than with the repetition offered by a high quality tennis ball machine. Deciding to buy one is the easy part however, deciding which one will best fit your tennis training or tennis teaching needs can be quite difficult. We’ll walk you through some of the things you should consider when deciding which ball machine will best meet your needs.

When we compare ball machines, we look at general features like price, dimensions and warranty. We also look at specific features like propulsion, oscillation and power. Each tennis player wants to use a training tool like this for a specific purpose and our aim is to ensure that you choose the best ball machine to meet your goals.


General Features:

 

These are the obvious aspects you would likely think of first. First, you need to assess your own budget as well as the logistical aspects of housing and storing a ball machine in your home or facility. The weight of the machine is also important and may not be something you think of until you have to move it around!

The next thing you need to consider is tennis ball capacity. This is an important feature but remember that many manufacturers report that most players do not come close to using the entire capacity. 300 balls may sound good now, but you might change your mind after you’ve had to pick them all up a couple of times. You should also consider the warranty of the ball machine. You want to make sure your investment is protected and that the ball machine you are buying has the confidence of the manufacturer.

 

Ball Machine Price Warranty Dimensions (Storage inches) Ball Capacity Weight (lbs)
Lobster 201 Ball Bucket Ball Machine $549.00 2 years 12” x 12” x 37” 50 28
Lobster Hybrid 301 Model Ball Machine $689.00 2 years 36” x 13” x 31” 150 31
Lobster Tournament 401 Model Ball Machine $789.00 2 years 36” x 13” x 21” 150 32
Lobster Elite Freedom Ball Machine $799.00 2 years
150 40
Lobster Elite Model 1 Ball Machine $1089.00 2 years 24” x 16” x 19” 150 42
Lobster Elite Model 2 Ball Machine $1349.00 2 years 19” x 21” x 25” 150 44
Lobster Elite Model 3 Ball Machine $1599.00 2 years
150 44
Lobster Elite Grand Slam IV Ball Machine $1899.00 2 years
150 44
Playmate Portable $1695.00 1 year 35” x 21” x 38” 200 65
Playmate Ace $3495.00 3 years 35” x 21” x 38” 200 115
Playmate Smash $4615.00 3 years 35” x 21” x 38” 300 115
Playmate Genie $6295.00 3 years
300 115
Wilson Ball Machine w/Remote & 2 Line $1495.00 1 years
110 38
Wilson Portable Ball Machine Standard $1095.00 1 years
110 38
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/ 2 Line $1295.00 1 years
110 38
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/Remote $1295.00 1 years
110 38

 

Propulsion:

 

Spinning wheel propulsion means that the machine uses two spinning wheels to feed the ball, just like a pitching machine in baseball. Air pressure propulsion means that the machine shoots the ball through a tube using air pressure. Be sure to take into consideration the machine’s top speed and ability to feed ball with spin. Intermediate to advanced players will want to practice hitting balls with pace and spin.

 

Ball Machine Spinning Wheel Propulsion Air Pressure Propulsion Feeding Interval (seconds) Top Speed (mph) Electronic Elevation Control Manual Elevation Control Feeds Lobs Topspin and backspin
Lobster 201 Ball Bucket Ball Machine No Yes 3,6,12 60 No Yes Yes $50 extra
Lobster Hybrid 301 Model Ball Machine No Yes 3,6,12 70 No Yes Yes $50 extra
Lobster Tournament 401 Model Ball Machine No Yes 3,6,12 70 No Yes Yes $50 extra
Lobster Elite Freedom Ball Machine No Yes 2-10 70 No Yes Yes $50 extra
Lobster Elite Model 1 Ball Machine Yes No 2-10 80 Yes No Yes Yes
Lobster Elite Model 2 Ball Machine Yes No 2-10 80 Yes No Yes Yes
Lobster Elite Model 3 Ball Machine Yes No 2-10 80 No Yes Yes Yes
Lobster Elite Grand Slam IV Ball Machine Yes No 2-12 80 Yes No Yes Yes
Playmate Portable Yes No 1-20 60 No Yes Yes Yes
Playmate Ace Yes No 1-60 80 Yes No Yes Yes
Playmate Smash Yes No 1-60 80 Yes No Yes Yes
Playmate Genie Yes No 1-60 105 Yes No Yes Yes
Wilson Ball Machine w/Remote & 2 Line Yes No 1.5-10 75 Yes No Yes Yes
Wilson Portable Ball Machine Standard Yes No 1.5-10 70 Yes No Yes Yes
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/ 2 Line Yes No 1.5-10 75 Yes No Yes Yes
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/Remote Yes No 1.5-10 75 Yes No Yes Yes

 

Oscillation:

 

Oscillation refers to the machine’s ability to feed the ball in more than one direction. Random oscillation means that the ball machine will randomly feed balls in no particular order in the set directions. Programmable oscillation means that you can program a set routine for the machine to give you before it repeats the cycle. The type of oscillation you need in your ball machine will depend on the specificity of your tennis training program and on your budget for this extra feature.

 

Ball Machine Random Oscillation Programmable Oscillation Number of Shots in Program Adjustable Depth Adjustable Height
Lobster 201 Ball Bucket Ball Machine Yes No No
No
Lobster Hybrid 301 Model Ball Machine Yes No No
No
Lobster Tournament 401 Model Ball Machine Yes No No
Yes
Lobster Elite Freedom Ball Machine Yes No No
No
Lobster Elite Model 1 Ball Machine Yes Yes Yes
Yes
Lobster Elite Model 2 Ball Machine Yes Yes Yes 3 No
Lobster Elite Model 3 Ball Machine Yes Yes Yes 7 No
Lobster Elite Grand Slam IV Ball Machine Yes Yes Yes 7 No
Playmate Portable Yes Yes Yes
No
Playmate Ace Yes Yes Yes
No
Playmate Smash Yes Yes Yes
No
Playmate Genie Yes Yes Yes
No
Wilson Ball Machine w/Remote & 2 Line Yes Yes Yes
No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine Standard Yes Yes Yes
No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/ 2 Line Yes Yes Yes
No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/Remote Yes Yes Yes
No

 

Power:

 

TennisExpress.com sorts its ball machines into two categories, A/C Power ball machines and Battery Powered ball machines. Before you buy a tennis ball machine, you need to decide which option will be the most convenient for you and your courts. Do you have a power source available on hand at your court or will you need battery power? We try to provide you with a good assortment of both types to make sure you can meet your needs.


Ball Machine Power Cord Only Battery Only Battery Life Indicator Battery Swapability
Lobster 201 Ball Bucket Ball Machine Yes No No No
Lobster Hybrid 301 Model Ball Machine Yes No No No
Lobster Tournament 401 Model Ball Machine Yes No No No
Lobster Elite Freedom Ball Machine No No Yes No
Lobster Elite Model 1 Ball Machine No Yes Yes No
Lobster Elite Model 2 Ball Machine No Yes Yes No
Lobster Elite Model 3 Ball Machine No Yes Yes No
Lobster Elite Grand Slam IV Ball Machine No Yes Yes No
Playmate Portable No Yes Yes No
Playmate Ace Yes No No No
Playmate Smash Yes No No No
Playmate Genie Yes No No No
Wilson Ball Machine w/Remote & 2 Line No Yes Yes No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine Standard No Yes Yes No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/ 2 Line No Yes Yes No
Wilson Portable Ball Machine w/Remote No Yes Yes No

 



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