5+ Best Tennis Ball Machines (Expert Guide)
Are you looking for the best tennis ball machine to help you improve your game?
We've put all the top ball machines to the test and narrowed our list down so you can easily compare your options.
Here's our expert opinion on the best tennis ball machines for all budgets.
What to Consider When Buying a Tennis Ball Machine
It can take a lot of time to compare all the tennis ball machines on the market.
There are a wide variety of manufacturers with an array of different features and capabilities which is why we’ve put the hard work in to help you find the best tennis ball machine for your needs.
For our tests, we’ve used a simple criteria based on what we think a top ball machine should provide:
- Ball Capacity
We’ll go into what to look for in your tennis ball machine in more detail later, but first, let’s get to our list of the best ball machines out there!
The Best Tennis Ball Machines
Let’s get straight to it, here are the best tennis ball machines based on our extensive testing.
- Spinfire Pro 2 (v2)
- Lobster Phenom 2
- Spinfire Pro 1 (v2)
- Lobster Elite Grand 5 LE
- Lobster Elite 3
- Tutor Tennis Tutor 2
Keep on reading for our in-depth tennis ball machine reviews.
Note: We’ve looked at the best tennis ball machines from brands like Spinfire, Lobster, Tutor, Spinshot, VEVOR, Slinger, and Playmate – not all of them made the cut, but we’re confident this list offers the best option for you.
Spinfire Pro 2 (v2)
The Spinfire Pro 2 builds on the success of the awesome all-rounder, the Pro 1.
The high-quality Australian brand has really come into its own with the Pro 2, with a 150 ball carrying capacity and options for internal or external batteries (along with an AC adaptor).
This machine can randomly vary the horizontal oscillation, which, with its dark-colored cannon interior to help disguise the ball’s flight and direction, really keeps you on your toes when training with the Pro 2!
The large transport wheels, retractable travel and carry handles, and remote control storage make this more compact design a really user-friendly tennis ball machine.The ball hopper also packs down to make it as compact as a medium-sized suitcase, making it easy to store and wheel around.
The upgraded electronic components and simple LCD screen mean the Spinfire Pro 2 performs better than ever, whilst its extreme spins give it an incredible breadth of ability!
So, not only is the Spinfire Pro 2 portable, adjustable, and capable of top performance, but it also offers incredible value.
It comes in at less than half the price of similar models from competitors on this list, so you’ve really got to check it out.
Lobster Phenom 2
The top-of-the-range model from one of the best brands out there, the Lobster Phenom 2 is a great tennis ball machine.
Lobster is renowned for making high-quality, reliable machines and the Phenom 2 offers all you could possibly need from a tennis ball machine.
The cannon will fire balls between 35 and 85mph, offering a great breadth of ability and catering for all playing levels.
It will also hold up to 250 balls at any one time, a very impressive figure that is unmatched on the ball machine market.
This machine also comes with six pre-programmed training modes, along with customizable programs that can string together up to 18 shots in sequence.
You can also control this ball machine using the iPhone or Android app, or the remote control, giving you true flexibility!
What’s more, the Phenom 2 can feed with backspin, and topspin, vary the height and width of feeds as well as feed a random selection of balls to really keep you on your toes!
Overall, the Lobster Phenom 2 is one of the best tennis ball machines on the market. It comes with a fast recharger and 4 to 8 hour battery life, making it truly portable.
That’s a lot of features, but it does come at a premium price.
We’ve gone with the Spinfire Pro 2 ahead of this one just because we believe it offers better overall value. However, if you’re willing to spend top dollar, then the Lobster is a great option.
Spinfire Pro 1 (v2)
The Pro 1 from Spinfire is a high-quality ball machine that delivers performance and reliability at a great price.
Not everybody needs all the unbelievable functionality a Spinfire Pro 2 or Lobster Phenom 2 offers, and not everybody wants to pay those prices.
The great news is there are some brilliant alternatives in a slightly lower price bracket, and they’re led by the Spinfire Pro 1.
With ball speeds ranging from 20 to 80mph, the Pro 1 can cater to all needs.
While most ball machines will change directions by moving the external wheels of the machine itself, the Pro 1 uses internal rotation. This allows for faster ball delivery and more disguise (especially with its blacked-out cannon)!
One of the most compact and convenient ball machines on the market, the Pro 1 can deliver balls at 2-15 second intervals and at either narrow, medium or wide horizontal oscillations.
This less expensive version of its bigger brother the Pro 2 is a great option for someone looking for a compact, reliable, and good-looking ball machine that won’t break the bank!
Lobster Elite Grand 5 LE
This lighter-weight, more portable tennis ball machine from Lobster is a less expensive alternative to the Phenom 2.
With many of the same features as the top-of-the-range Phenom 2, the Lobster Elite Grand 5 LE offers good value for money as a middle to upper-range machine.
Its 150 ball capacity and 38lb weight make this a smaller, more portable machine.
Whilst its 35-80mph ball speed range and 0° to 60° automatic height adjustment make this a versatile machine for all playing abilities.
You can also plug this machine into the mains to have almost unlimited practice time!
Tutor Tennis Tutor 2
The Tennis Tutor 2 ball machine is a great option for beginner and intermediate players.
It offers simple and easy-to-use modes, with beginner, intermediate and advanced settings.
The Tutor 2’s player model system also varies the speed, spin, and direction of feeds continuously, providing a realistic match-like experience.
The Tutor Tennis Tutor 2 offers very reasonable value for money.
Its compact design, remote control capabilities, and 150 ball capacity make it the ideal travel ball machine. Very impressive considering it is only 12 inches tall when folded down!
Lobster Elite 3
Lobster’s best-selling tennis ball machine, the Elite 3, is a great entry-level ball machine.
Arguably the best value offering on the market, the Elite 3 comes with a remote control and can fire balls between 20 and 80mph, allowing you to cater ball speed for your audience.
Whilst the Elite 3 does not have programmable training modes, you still have a great deal of flexibility with this machine, as the height, depth and width of feeds can be adjusted automatically.
You can also vary the spin types with this machine, making it a great option at the low price point.
Tennis Ball Machine Specifications You Should Be Aware Of
When you’re making a large investment in a tennis ball machine then you want to make sure you’re doing your research.
We’ve done a lot of the hard work for you, but you’ll want to take a closer look at each of these machines’ capabilities.
Here’s a short guide to what you should be looking at.
Probably the most important consideration when buying a tennis ball machine is how much it will cost you.
Achieving value for money can be difficult if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Prices tend to range anywhere from $700 all the way up to $10,000, so deciding on your budget is the first place to start.
Most of the tennis ball machines tend to fall in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, so you certainly don’t need to break the bank to get a reliable and robust product.
Oscillation refers to the change in direction of the cannon arm on the ball machine. If the cannon can change direction, from left to right and up to down, it significantly increases the versatility of the ball machine.
Horizontal oscillation refers to the machine’s ability to feed balls to both the forehand and backhand side, whereas vertical oscillation refers to feeding at different heights.
This means you can practice returning high topspin balls as well as short slices or drop shots.
The maximum speed the ball machine will feed to is an important factor to consider.
Most machines will feed balls between 20mph and 95mph, so consider the audience that it will be used for.
Beginners may only need a machine with a maximum speed of 60mph, whereas more experienced or athletic players may require a faster ball speed.
You may also want to consider using a speed radar to measure the speed of your shots when practicing, or a smart sensor to track your spin rate.
Both of these tools will improve your data collection during a practice session and help you get a better grasp of your progress.
Having a machine that can offer balls with topspin and backspin are a great addition to a tennis ball machine’s capability.
This allows for a variety of shots to be practiced, along with the ability to change tactics and work on specific technical skills.
You can also adjust the level of spin on most tennis ball machines, meaning you have a greater degree of control when it comes to practicing.
Most advanced players will want to replicate match situations in practice, so having a machine that can hit flat, topspin and slice balls is a great asset.
The best tennis ball machines will have different modes and settings you can use to create patterns of play.
Although machines with more modes will be more expensive, it is worth considering how many different modes you’ll need depending on who will be using the machine.
A less expensive machine may only be able to feed in one direction, at a few different speeds and have a couple of different speed settings.
Whereas a more expensive and advanced machine will have custom drills, be able to feed to different areas of the court at different speeds, meaning you can really customize your sessions to suit your needs.
Here are some of the best tennis ball machine drills for you!
The size, weight and battery capacity of your ball machine is also a point worth noting.
If you are looking to move this machine around a lot and use it on multiple courts throughout a session, you may want to consider a smaller, lighter weight, portable tennis ball machine.
However, if you plan on keeping it where it is, a bigger and heavier machine may do the trick.
Whilst most decent tennis ball machines these days have a rechargeable battery, some machines will only work from a plug socket.
You’ll also want to think about how long you’ll need to use the machine in one stint, as most machines’ batteries will last anywhere between 2 and 8 hours.
Another key factor is how many tennis balls a ball machine can hold at any one time.
This basically means how many balls will be fired before you need to go and pick them all up!
Again, this really depends on your audience, budget and what size machine you are after.
Most machines will have a ball capacity ranging from 50 up to 250 balls, so you really need to consider how many you’ll need before purchasing!
Also, it is worth considering what sort of tennis balls you’ll want to use with your new machine.
Pressureless tennis balls are very often used in tennis ball machines due to their durability and consistent feel over a long life span.
Which is the Best Tennis Ball Machine?
If you’re looking for a top-quality tennis ball machine, then you can’t look past the Spinfire Pro 2.
It’s easy to setup, incredibly portable, and offers top performance.
All of this comes at a price that offers serious value for money.
Of course, the Spinfire Pro 2 is a top-of-the-line model, and not everybody will be looking for such a powerful machine.
If this is your situation, then we would highly recommend the Spinfire Pro 1 as an alternative.
Again, the pricing is fantastic, and it does absolutely everything you need it to do.
There you have it, thetennisbros.com’s best tennis ball machines.
Next, It’s Time to Get Out On Court
Once you’ve bought your tennis ball machine it’s time to get out on court and start practicing.
Your new ball machine will be able to help you practice your game, but it’s important you have a clear picture of what you’re trying to achieve.
We’ve got you covered here with expert coaching from our former tour pro, Dave Ireland.
Check out his range of courses which are full of useful tips you can practice against a ball machine.
We’ve also got more free resources to help you out:
Now there’s only one thing left to do!
Get the best tennis ball machine.
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