Using a tennis ball machine can be a great way to improve your tennis game.
No matter whether you have a hitting partner or coach available, you can still get that all important hitting practice in with a ball machine.
There are a number of big names in the tennis ball machine market, including Lobster and Spinfire, both of which pride themselves on high quality products, reliability and outstanding customer service.
But, there are more than just two manufactures of great tennis ball machines out there.
Canadian brand ‘Silent Partner’ has been in the business for more than two decades, so it’s fair to say they know a thing or two about making a top class ball machine!
But why would you pick a Silent Partner machine over one of the better known brands out there? Well, let’s take a look at what makes them stand out from the crowd!
Who are Silent Partner?
Silent Partner is a small Canadian tennis ball machine manufacturer, with a head office in Toronto.
They also have a warehouse in Buffalo which is used to supply their ball machines to U.S. customers.
The company was founded by budding tennis player John Bassili, who had a very simple goal in mind.
He wanted a hitting partner that was never late, would always agree with his line calls and would hit the ball exactly where he wanted.
So, instead of waiting around for this special someone to show their face, John decided to build a machine to hit with him instead!
He also wanted a machine that would feed the ball easily enough so not to unsettle his tennis elbow, but would still be able to ramp up and feed at a higher tempo for his son (an up and coming junior) to benefit from.
So, John set out to create the original Silent Partner tennis ball machine, named the ‘Pro’. this was an adjustable electric ball machine that did exactly the job John wanted.
Since the original ‘Pro’, Silent Partner have released a number of easy to use, high capacity, high quality ball machines, falling under the ‘Edge’ and ‘Scoop’ categories.
Now you’ve heard a bit of the background behind this family run, family owned business, let’s explore what sets them apart and take a closer look at their model line up.
What Sets the Silent Partner Ball Machine Apart?
Silent Partner pride themselves on value for money and personable customer service.
With this in mind, the prices of Silent Partner ball machines are quite reasonable considering their high degree of build quality and the features they come with.
This is partly down to the fact that Silent Partner only sells directly from their factory, so there is no wholesaler or pro shop taking a cut.
Silent Partner has a team of skilled technicians that are more than happy to assist you if you have problems with any of their machines, and their general manager is personable and well informed about the products the business sells.
In terms of the machines themselves, they are lightweight and efficiently packaged, making them extremely portable.
However, this does not compromise their performance, as they are able to fire balls up to 95 MPH!
This makes them some of the best performing ball machines on the market, which is amazing when you consider the price point and the fact that you get a 1 year warranty with every Silent Partner ball machine!
There are a range of purpose built features incorporated into all Silent Partner ball machines.
Along with the high maximum speed, you also have manual elevation adjustability for even more control, topspin or backspin and random oscillation available.
What’s more, you can also adjust the feeding frequency from rapid fire down to a complete stop. This gives you the maximum control over your machine.
Whilst Silent Partner machines are not the most high tech out there, they are reliable and well built.
They like to keep things simple, which actually brings the added benefit of great battery life from the built in smart battery.
The feature that really sets Silent Partner ball machines apart is their ball capacity.
Their sleek and compact Edge series can hold up to 200 balls, whereas their more robust Scoop series can hold a massive 300 balls!
So, we have given you a flavour of how Silent Partner ball machines stand out from the crowd in general, but they actually have a wide range of models, each with their own unique quirks and features.
The Edge series of ball machines from Silent Partner places emphasis on being lightweight and compact, making it one of the most transportable ball machines out there today.
Think of the Edge series as a lite version of the all singing all dancing Scoop series.
These come in at a lower price point but still offer great value for money if you are looking to score yourself a bargain!
The Edge Lite is the entry level machine from Silent Partner. It comes with an easy to use control panel and a random oscillator, so you can keep players on their toes!
This is the most powerful portable tennis ball machine you can buy, and is very well priced at under $800!
Edge Lite R
The Edge Lite R takes things to the next level with its handy 2 control remote.
It has all the features of the entry level Lite model, but adds even more convenience to the Silent Partner experience.
The Sport version of the Edge ball machine offers even more variation and durability to the equation.
It has the same basic features of the Lite models, but also has the ability to delay ball feeds, meaning you can add even more drills to your repertoire.
You can delay the ball for up to 15 seconds, giving players plenty of time to recover before the next round of shots.
Also, the Sport comes with Silent Partner’s excellent heavy duty battery, which has the highest capacity of any ball machine on the market!
The leader of the Edge line up is the Star. This is the most complete model in the Edge range as it also features a remote control that can alter the oscillation and feeding.
The Star can also be configured as an AC/DC hybrid, meaning you can plug it into the mains and have unlimited ball machine feeding!
The Scoop series of ball machines by Silent Partner builds on the success of the Edge model range, adding even more features, and a higher ball capacity without compromising quality.
The introduction to the Scoop range is the Rival model. This machine really takes things to the next level when compared with the Edge Star.
It comes with a 16 function remote (compared to the Star’s 2 function remote), a battery level indicator so you can see how much longer your machine will hold its charge for and a smart digital display.
The display details your speed and spin so you always know what type of ball is coming next.
You can also save up to 3 memories in the Rival, allowing you to save your preferred combination of settings and use them straight away when you next turn on the machine.
You also have even more variation in the feeds from the Scoop Rival, as it offers 2 line delivery.
This means you can sweep balls across the court and alternate shots with ease, making for a more realistic practice session.
The Scoop Quest gives you even more control over your machine than the Rival, as it has a 20 button remote.
You get adaptable angles of oscillation that return to the centre position when it’s finished.
You can also have a premium smart charger with the Quest and a 7 indicator lights for both speed and spin, so you can easily see what is going on from a distance.
This is one of the most adaptive and controllable ball machines on the market, and represents great value for money at the $1,700 price point!
The top of the range Silent Partner Ball machine is the Scoop Smart. With this machine, you really do get everything!
There are many ball machine companies that offer smart features with their products these days, but the Scoop Smart offers all the bells and whistles without the insane price!
For under $2000 you get an AC-DC hybrid ball machine that is still extremely portable and is actually the most powerful in terms of ball speed that money can buy.
It features a 24 button control panel and a 22 button remote control, so you can literally customise anything you like on the Scoop Smart machine.
There is a dedicated smart controls section of the control panel that allows you to save your favourite setting memories and load them straight away the next time you use the machine.
The Smart also offers an innovative matchplay function, that simulates realistic match scenarios for you to get the best out of your practice sessions.
The preset modes start with a short ball that mimics a serve, then feeds balls at different speeds, spins and directions to simulate a real life point.
What’s more, the Silent Partner Scoop Smart machine actually has 3 modes that mimic different types of points.
So, if you are practicing for a serve and volleyer, you can use the short points feature. Whereas if you are preparing to face a baseline grinder, you can use the long points feature.
Finally, the Scoop Smart also offers infinite drill variation with their custom drills feature.
You can string together any number of shots with whatever speed, spin, direction, rally length and pause intervals you desire!
This gives you the ultimate flexibility and control over your tennis practice sessions, and is a great feature for coaches as you can really tailor the machine’s feeding to suit each and every player in your session.
The Smart Scoop really does offer all of the smart ball machine experience thrills, for a fraction of the bigger brands prices!
Overall, Silent Partner is a real dark horse in the tennis ball machine industry.
This small, family owned business produces some of the most innovative yet simple ball machines out there.
They have put their focus into the features that matter, offering the most powerful and longest lasting ball machines money can buy!
They offer unrivalled value for money across their range, so whether you are after portability, insane ball capacity or the most cutting edge smart machine features, Silent Partner have got you covered.
They are a brand that puts the customer first and is not interested in fancy marketing or selling through large outlets.
That’s why you can only buy from them directly and this is reflected in their reasonable prices.
Silent Partner are not necessarily the most well known brand out there, but the quality of their machines speaks for themselves.
Both their Edge and Scoop series are fantastic choices if you are buying your first tennis ball machine, as they are reliable, well priced and easy to use.
There’s nothing worse than buying a brand new ball machine and not knowing how to use it, then finding out that you don’t actually need half the features you paid for!
The Edge series is great for players and coaches looking for the most bang for their buck, whilst maximising portability.
So, if you are travelling a lot but want a well put together ball machine that will do the basics flawlessly, go for an Edge series model.
Whereas, if you are looking for a real workhorse that will keep going all day long, can hold as many balls as you want and offers the most features, then a Scoop series would suit you best.
The Scoop Smart is particularly good for programming your own custom drills and match play scenarios, so if you want the most customisable machine in the Silent Partner range, give it a try!
Good luck in your search!