A Definitive Guide to the Best Tennis Ball Machines for Every Player

Have you ever thought about the advantages of using the tennis ball machine? Any tennis player, be it small kid, junior or adult,  trying to make his tennis strokes better, will come to the moment when he needs to practice the same shot again and again. The problem is no one can feed you in the same direction, speed and height you need when you want to improve your forehand or backhand. Even if you will practice with Novak Djokovic, even he will hardly repeat the same stroke ten times in a row. And there comes the time you start considering investment in the Tennis Ball Machine.


Content:

Top 5 Tennis Ball Machines

What you need to know about Tennis Ball Machines

Basic Parameters:
WeightPower – Ball Capacity

Technical Parameters (Propulsion and Oscillation):
Feeding the BallSpeedFeeding IntervalAbility to SpinFeed Directions (Oscillation)ElevationRemote Control – Programmed Drills

Best Tennis Ball Machines comparison table

Best Tennis Ball Machines under $1000

Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Longest Court Time

Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Highest Ball Speed

Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Lowest Weight

Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Most Programmable Drills

Accessories for Tennis Ball Machines
Tennis Balls for Tennis Ball machines

Full Tennis Ball Machines Reviews: [price category in brackets]
Spinshot Lite [$]Spinshot Pro [$$] – – Spinshot Plus [$$]Spinshot Player [$$$]  – Spinshot Plus-2 [$$$] 
Lobster Elite Liberty [$]Lobster Elite Freedom [$]Lobster Elite One [$$] – Lobster Elite Two [$$]Lobster Elite Three [$$$] – Lobster Elite Grand Four [$$$]
Slinger Bag [$]
Wilson Portable [$$]


Top 5 Tennis Ball Machines
[ranking made with help of TennisProGuru readers]

#1
Spinshot Player Tennis Ball Machine

Ability to adjust 5 different parameters (ball spin, ball speed, horizontal and vertical angle, feed interval) and the possibility to make a high number of combination of different practice drills makes from Spinshot Player #1 pick of our readers in tennis ball machines segment. 12 preprogrammed drills and the possibility to adjust them or set absolutely new drills, easy to use phone remote control and Apple watch compatibility adds another pleasant sweetener to already perfect machine.

Price: $$$
Rating: ★★★★★
FULL REVIEW HERE
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#2
Lobster Sports Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine

Second overall choice and the top choice of beginners among our readers. Convenient pricing for basic features suitable for any beginner. A wide range of speed and spin control are unique for tennis ball machines at this pricing category. Space for 150 balls in feeder makes it a champion not just in its category but between tennis ball machines generally. Lightweight, easy to maneuver thanks to oversized wheels, and easy to store tennis ball machine. An ideal starter machine for anyone who wants to practice hard.

Price: $
Rating: ★★★★
FULL REVIEW HERE

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#3
Spinshot Plus Tennis Ball Machine

Third most requested tennis ball machine by our readers is the similar model to the most popular Spinshot Player. Spinshot Plus is just slightly cheaper and offers the same good phone remote control feature. You can adjust three different parameters (ball speed, spin and feed interval). Additionally, the Spinshot Plus Tennis Ball Machine is equipped with five different oscillation modes. Altogether it provides adequate variability for any advanced or intermediate player.

Price: $$
Rating: ★★★★
FULL REVIEW HERE

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#4
Spinshot Lite Tennis Ball Machine

It is not surprising that this model is considered as the best model for juniors. Its price is just slightly above $500 that makes Spinshot Lite one of the cheapest models on the market. Spinshot Lite is also really light and easy maneuverable on the court. Its battery gives you a convenient 5 to 7 hours of practice time. Ideal for any tennis club for preparation of young players.

Price: $
Rating: ★★★
FULL REVIEW HERE

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#5
Lobster Sports Elite Two Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Elite Two can simulate match conditions thanks to the triple oscillation feature. With remote control and fast or premium charger you will get a perfect tennis partner for any intermediate or advanced player. Topspin, backspin, short or long shots. Everything is possible for this tennis ball machine.

Price: $$
Rating: ★★★
FULL REVIEW HERE

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What you need to know about Tennis Ball Machines

Maybe you remember Andre Agassi autobiography (if not, then you should read it definitely). His fierce enemy at Las Vegas home court was his black tennis ball machine. However, look at what he has proven during his career. We definitely can say that the machine was one of the important factors in his road to success.

It does not matter what type of player you are. The tennis ball machines can be useful for the beginner, immediate or „almost pro“ player. Choosing the right machine is not easy. Every player has different needs and every machine has different features.  Prices start well below a thousand dollars for a basic model. Models with more features costs north of $1000 so you have to be very picky in choosing the right one. Our definitive guide gives you an overview of the parameters you have to follow while considering the purchase of the best tennis ball machine.

Weight

Let us make it clear from the beginning. We are talking about real tennis, so the ball machine has to be solid and stable standing on the court. So let us skip tennis ball launchers you have to hold in your hands. It is good for a dog’s fun, not for serious tennis practice.

For example, Bazook Tennis Ball Launcher is really light, with just 2 pounds weight, but you will have the problem to shoot the ball in the same direction two times in a row. So leave this toy really just to dog fans or for fun.

Ideal weight is around 40 pounds (ca. 20 kilograms). Almost all types have wheels that ease manipulation and transport. Be aware, that ball machine will be moved a few times on the court. Before practice and after it and even during it when you would like to change the angles of strokes you practice. So it is necessary for you to choose a light but stable tennis ball machine. With appropriate weight, even girls or juniors will be able to push it around without extra help or substantial effort.

The weight and design are important when you need to transport a tennis ball machine between the tennis club and your home. Rectangularly shaped machines can be lifted by one person and you do not an extra pair of hands.

Power

The second important parameter you need to consider is the power supply of your machine. Depending on the place where you will use a tennis ball machine you will choose either Battery Only or Cord Power Supply (A/C). Naturally, if you play mainly on outdoor courts you will choose a Battery powered machine. The durability of a battery is usually between 2 to 4 hours, some models offer court time up to 7 hours. For me, anything more than 2 hours is enough for any practice. Power Cord (A/C) machine makes sense if you practice indoors with an electric socket next to the court.

The battery tennis ball machine definitely gives you more flexibility. Moreover, most of the advanced models offer a possibility to add also a power module for A/C supply for an additional fee.

Ball Capacity

Ball Capacity is in general very overestimated parameter. Many people would like having as many balls in the feeder as possible. But keep in mind, that during practice you need time to stop and relax for a minute. Even in a tennis match, you have a break after every second game. Nobody can play 500 balls in a row, perhaps except those training for the fitness marathon. If your aim is to improve the quality of your tennis strokes, the ball machine with capacity from fifty to three hundred is sufficient. Market standard is space for 120 (Spinshot Tennis Ball Machines) to 150 balls (Lobster Tennis Ball Machines) in a machine feeder.

Check the comparison of the best tennis ball machines with our Rating at the bottom of the article

Propulsion and Oscillation

Let`s have a look at the technical parameters of the best tennis ball machine. 

A way of feeding the ball

Tennis ball machines use either two spinning wheels to feed the ball or air pressure. There is no difference between these two ways of shooting the balls. They are reaching the same level of speed. So it does not matter which one your machine will use.

Top Speed

Depending on your tennis level you will need the machine with a different speed range. For beginners, 60 mph speed will be enough. Intermediate and pro player will probably look for machines with higher maximum speed (80 mph). The minimum speed usually starts at 10 or 20 mph.

The possibility to have different speed shots in one drill is very welcome. It enables to simulate real match exchanges, with quick changes between baseline hits and stop balls at the net.

Feeding Interval

It is better to have more flexibility. Ability to adjust the feeding interval with your playing progress is important. You will find machines with strictly set intervals (e.g. 3, 6, 12 seconds) and those with the wider range of feeding interval in seconds (1 to 60 seconds). The usual time range is 2 to 10 seconds.

Ability to feed the ball with spin

When buying a tennis ball machine you should have a clear idea of how it should help your play. In case you want just to hit hard flat strokes you can choose a cheaper machine without a spin feature.

However, if you would like to improve the wide range of different strokes, you should definitely choose a tennis ball machine with the ability to feed the ball with spin (topspin and backspin (some manufacturers call it underspin)). Better models provide options to pick the spin rate for both spins.

Note: Even machines without spin feature shoot balls with slight topspin, however, you do not have the option to change the spin rate.

Ability to feed the ball in a different direction (oscillation)

Probably you do not wish to stop practice at the moment you want to change forehand to backhand strokes. In this case, you should go for a tennis ball machine which is able to feed balls in a different direction.

There are two basic oscillation modes: horizontal and vertical. The simpler machines offer just random horizontal oscillation. Random horizontal oscillation means the machine moves from left to the right and back at the preset sequence.

Better machines have both oscillations embedded and you can pick one of them or combination of both (called two-line oscillation pattern). The best and most expensive tennis ball machines have the possibility to set up different sets of shots (different angles, length, height, and speed).

Oscillation is an important factor, as it really can make a difference during a practice. It is most important in simulating match conditions.

Elevation control

There are two possibilities, electric or manual elevation. The electric elevation is more convenient and usually comes also with the possibility to program it. Manual elevation uses the handle you need to pull and move to change the height of the shots.

Remote control

This feature is pretty important. It gives you a chance to control the machine from the other side of the court. Without remote control, you need to switch on a tennis ball machine and run to the other side of the court. Of course, there is a few seconds delay between the switch on and the first shot of the ball. But it is really hard to be prepared and focused on the first few shots without the remote control.

The practice is much easier with remote control if you are alone on the court. It is usually supplied for free with more advanced tennis ball machines and a lot of cheaper machines gives you a possibility to buy a remote control for an additional fee.

Remote control can be either in the form of two buttons handy case or as an application in your smartphone.

Programmed drills

The best tennis ball machines come with programmed drills features. Drills are sequences with a number of shots with different parameters. The individual shots or full sequences can be adjusted by a user or reprogramed totally.

Generally, the more parameters and drills you can set before, the better the practice you will have. Your practice session can really be refreshed if you can program a sequence of shots with a different spin, direction, height, and speed.

Best Tennis Ball Machines comparison

 

Spinshot Player Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Sports Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine

Spinshot Plus Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Sports Elite Two Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Sports Elite One Tennis Ball Machine

Spinshot Pro Tennis Ball Machine

Set programme and control with your phone

Easy to transport and easy to store model

Good value for price paid

Triple oscillation feature for match simulation practice

Extraordinary long court time

Side to side ball shooting

Most popular between TennisProGuru readers

Top choice for beginners

For intermediate players in need to practice the swing

For intermediate and advanced players

For beginners and intermediate players, or small tennis clubs

For beginners and intermediate players

RATING

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PRICE

$$$

$

$$

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POWER

Battery or A/C

Battery

Battery

Battery

Battery

Battery

WEIGHT

46 lbs

35 lbs

46 lbs

42 lbs

42 lbs

44 lbs

SPEED RANGE

18 to 68 mph

20 to 80 mph

18 to 68 mph

10 to 80 mph

10 to 80 mph

18 to 68 mph

BALL CAPACITY

120 balls

150 balls

120 balls

150 balls

150 balls

120 balls

ELEVATION

Electrical 0-50 degrees

Maunal 0-50 degrees

Electrical 0-50 degrees

Electrical 0-60 degrees

Electrical 0-60 degrees

Electrical 0-50 degrees

OSCILLATION

Horizontal, Vertical, Random

Random horizontal

Horizontal, Vertical, 2-line, random

Random horizontal, Random vertical, Combination of random and vertical

Random horizontal

Random horizontal

SPIN

Topspin and Backspin

Topspin and Backspin

Topspin and Backspin

Topspin and Backspin

Topspin and Backspin

Topspin and Backspin

COURT TIME

2 to 3 hours

2 to 4 hours

2 to 3 hours

4 to 8 hours

4 to 8 hours

2 to 3 hours

FEED INTERVAL

2 to 10 seconds

2 to 12 seconds

2 to 10 seconds

2 to 12 seconds

2 to 12 seconds

2 to 10 seconds

REMOTE CONTROL

Phone Remote Control

Optional two button remote control for additional fee

Phone remote control

Optional two button remote control or elite10 (full control) remote or apple phone remote for additional fee

Optional two button remote control for additional fee

Two button remote control

PROGRAMMED DRILLS

12 adjustable preprogrammed drills

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

RATING

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Best Tennis Ball Machines under $1000

Tennis Ball Machines with the price under $1000 are intended for beginners or lower intermediate players. They are made for practicing the basic shot set. Beginners who already know the technique of the shots will appreciate the possibility to practice them again and again.

You can not expect a lot of advanced features from these models. The cheapest ball machines offer just the basic shot scenario, where the balls are shot in the same direction. The advantage is long court time and lower weight.

More expensive models with a price closer to $1000 have usually random horizontal oscillation and ability to shoot the balls with spin. These features help to simulate the match conditions.

Preprogrammed drills and electric elevation are not offered with these tennis ball machines. The remote control is available just for some of the machines and usually for an additional fee.

Tennis Ball Machines with the price tag below $1000 are the perfect help for beginners who need to play hundreds of shots to get the technique of backhand and forehand under their skin. They are for players who need practice and want to have it at the lowest possible price. Check our choice of best tennis ball machines under $1000 that offers good value for a reasonable price in the table below.

 

Lobster Sports Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine

Spinshot Lite Tennis Ball Machine

Lobster Sports Elite Freedom Portable Tennis Ball Machine

Easy to transport and easy to store model

Entry level tennis ball machine for the lowest price

Light model for flat strike practices

Top choice for beginners

Up to 7 hours of court time

For beginners and intermediate player or small tennis clubs

RATING

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PRICE

$

$

$

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POWER

Battery

Battery

Battery

WEIGHT

35 lbs

22 lbs

35 lbs

SPEED RANGE

20 to 80 mph

6 to 37 mph

35 to 65 mph

BALL CAPACITY

150 balls

40 balls

150 balls

ELEVATION

Maunal 0-50 degrees

NO

Maunal 0-50 degrees

OSCILLATION

Random horizontal

NO

Random horizontal

SPIN

Topspin and Backspin

NO

NO

COURT TIME

2 to 4 hours

5 to 7 hours

2 to 4 hours

FEED INTERVAL

2 to 12 seconds

2 to 10 seconds

2 to 10 seconds

REMOTE CONTROL

Optional two button remote control for additional fee

NO

NO

PROGRAMMED DRILLS

NO

NO

NO

RATING

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Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Longest Court Time

   

Court Time

Full Review

Price

 
1.

LOBSTER ELITE ONE

4 to 8 hours

Read Full Review

$$

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2.

LOBSTER ELITE TWO

4 to 8 hours

Read Full Review

$$

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3.

SPINSHOT LITE

5 to 7 hours

Read Full Review

$

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Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Highest Ball Speed

   

Highest Ball Speed

Full Review

Price

 
1.

LOBSTER ELITE LIBERTY

80 mph

Read Full Review

$

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2.

LOBSTER ELITE TWO

80 mph

Read Full Review

$$

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3.

LOBSTER ELITE GRAND FOUR

80 mph

Read Full Review

$$$

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Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Lowest Weight

   

Weight

Full Review

Price

 
1.

SPINSHOT LITE

22 lbs

Read Full Review

$

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2.

LOBSTER ELITE LIBERTY

35 lbs

Read Full Review

$

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3.

LOBSTER ELITE FREEDOM

35 lbs

Read Full Review

$

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Top 3 Battery Powered Tennis Ball Machines with Most Programmable Drills

   

No. of Programmable Drills

Full Review

Price

 
1.

LOBSTER ELITE GRAND FIVE LE

24

n/a

$$$$

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2.

LOBSTER ELITE GRAND FIVE

18

n/a

$$$$

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3.

SPINSHOT PLAYER

12

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$$$

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Accessories for Tennis Ball Machine

After choosing the best tennis ball machine, you still have a few tasks to do.

Best Tennis Balls for Tennis Ball Machines

Firstly, you will need a lot of balls to feed your new friend on the court. Balls for tennis ball machines should all be the same pressure. Any flatten tennis ball can be stuck in a feeding mechanism and tennis ball machine will stop working. You will need to manually release the stuck tennis ball before restarting your tennis ball machine.

Therefore, you should use new or not very worn off tennis balls. Manufacturers recommend using pressureless tennis balls. They are often called “forever” balls. Pressureless tennis balls do not wear out, keep their bounce and therefore you can use them for a very long time. Of course, it is a money-wise solution too.

Secondly, you will need something to pick up all the balls you stroke during your practice. Picking up 100+ balls after your practice really tires one’s hand and back. Do not forget to take some ball hopper with you, it really eases and speeds up your practice.

Wilson 75 Tennis Ball Pick Up Hopper

Tourna Pete Sampras Ballport, Holds 80 Balls

Gamma Ballhopper Balltube 18

Penn Pressureless Tennis Balls, 48-Ball Bucket

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FULL REVIEWS OF TENNIS BALL MACHINES

Spinshot Tennis Ball Machines:

Spinshot Logo

Top end model combining features of Player and Plus models – SPINSHOT PLUS-2 – FULL REVIEW
Most popular with TennisProGuru readersSPINSHOT PLAYER – FULL REVIEW
Good choice for intermediate players – SPINSHOT PLUS – FULL REVIEW
Starter machine model with oscillation and spin possibility – SPINSHOT PRO – FULL REVIEW
Entry level model for the best price on the market – SPINSHOT LITE – FULL REVIEW

Lobster Tennis Ball Machines:

Top choice for beginnersLOBSTER ELITE LIBERTY – FULL REVIEW
Extraordinary long court time – LOBSTER ELITE ONE – FULL REVIEW
Triple oscillation for match conditions simulation – LOBSTER ELITE TWO – FULL REVIEW
Triple oscillation plus 2-line function for narrow and wide shots – LOBSTER ELITE THREE – FULL REVIEW
Ideal for flat shot practice – LOBSTER ELITE FREEDOM – FULL REVIEW
The perfect opponent for game-like experience – LOBSTER ELITE GRAND FOUR – FULL REVIEW

Slinger Bag Tennis Ball Machines:

Slinger Logo

A lot of features for a really low price – SLINGER BAG – FULL REVIEW

Sports Tutor Tennis Ball Machines:

Sports Tutor

Worldwide known name manufactured in the license –  WILSON PORTABLE – FULL REVIEW

Match Mate Tennis Ball Machines:

Match Mate Tennis

Overview of product lines of Match Mate Tennis – Match Mate, iSAM, Precision Tennis System

Posted in Best, BLOG, Lobster Tennis Ball Machines, Reviews, Spinshot Tennis Ball Machines, Tennis Ball Machines, Tennis Ball Machines under $1000 and tagged , , , .

Tennis Pro Guru

Simon is the leading editor of TennisProGuru.com from 2015. He is an avid tennis player from age of 5, however, he never reached the pro level. Still, he likes playing tennis on different courts, with different rackets, and against different opponents. In his free time, you can find him watching all possible tennis matches he can find on the web or tv. Challenger or Grand Slam? It does not matter, just tennis matters.

4 Comments

  1. I was wondering if you had ever used the Silent Partner ball machines. While they are not as well known as the Lobster & Spinshot machines, there are a few in the sub-$1000 category that compare well feature-wise. I’ve played with one for several years now, and have been quite happy with it.

    • I did not have the chance but I will add it to my wish-list now to add it to the comparison. They look similar to Lobster in terms of design.

  2. Our tennis club has an older make and model tennis ball machine that needs to be repaired or replaced with a similar machine. We can’t find it on-line and the documentation has, unfortunately been lost. Can someone help us out?

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