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2019 Tennis Ball Machine Review & Comparison

We've taken the time to compare the best ball machines on the market, so you don't have to. Feel free at any time to call us on 03 9021 2225 to speak to one of our ball machine experts with any questions you may have.

To start with, we've broken up our comparison into three tables, being BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED. Please use the tabs at the top to select your preferred category. Also note, we've only compared machines from the top brands in the world and have excluded many of the newer models on the market like Spinshot, Tennismatic, Tennismash, GLS, Siboasi, DK Sportsbot, Topseed & more.

Baseliner Slam $399.00 Buy nowLobster Liberty $2,099.00 Buy nowTutor ProLite $2,035.00 Buy now

Beginner Range

These machines are simply designed to run you around the court for a bit of exercise & practice. If you want a machine you can grow into, we recommend you review our Intermediate or Advanced comparison tables by selecting the tabs above.

Speed km/h The top speed possible when there is no spin. 35-65 45-100 16-100
Feed Interval The min and max time possible between balls being fired. 5 seconds 2-10 seconds 2-10 seconds
Battery life The min and max play time possible when using the battery. Electric Only 2-4 hours 2-3 hours
Ball Capacity The total number of balls that can fit into the hopper. As a general rule, we feel 150 is the minimum we would recommend. 12-24 150 125
Weight The weight of the machine without tennis balls installed. 6kg 16kg 13kg
Propulsion Drive wheel Counter rotating wheels Counter rotating wheels
Spin Whether the machine is capable of producing topspin and slice.
Manual Elavation
Electronic Elevation Ability to raise and lower the vertical angle of the delivery.
Horizontal Oscillation Ability to fire balls randomly anywhere within the horizontal span of the court (no variation in depth).
Vertical Oscillation Ability to offer random variation in depth to allow for practicing of short and deep balls.
Electric Can the machine be run directly from an AC power point, rather than via a battery? Running off AC can eliminate the headaches associated with batteries, charging them and replacing them when necessary. Optional
Battery Can the machine be run off a battery?
Portable Has wheels and a handle to allow easy movement to and from the tennis courts (from the back of a car).
Low Noise Level The machine's noise level during operation.
Optional Remote Does the machine offer a remote control to allow easy settings adjustments from the other end of the court? Note, all remotes are different, including the number of buttons and functions each can supply, so look for a photo of the remote you are considering to understand its features. Also, Tennis Tutor in Australia does not offer a remote control, but this may be possible to purchase in other parts of the world.
Heavy Duty Battery
Optional Spare Battery A spare battery is great for coaches or those heavy users who don't always have time to charge their battery between sessions, or may want even more play time than the standard minimum that each machine can provide.
Optional Storage Cover These are great for protecting your machine from dust and debris, but we do not recommend you leave them out on court.
Warranty This is the standard manufacturer's warranty. Some machines do have the option to upgrade their warranty to up to 5 years for an additional fee. 1 year 3 years 1 year
Pros
  • Light weight
  • Portable
  • Cheap
  • Fast oscillation
  • Very portable
  • Good top speed
  • Well built
  • Well built
  • Compact
  • Reliable
Cons
  • Small ball capacity
  • No spin or oscillation
  • None
  • Ball flaps can be a bit flimsy
Rating
Price $399.00 Buy now $2,099.00 Buy now $2,035.00 Buy now
Spinfire 1 $2,395.00 Buy nowLobster Elite 2 $3,299.00 Buy nowTennis Tutor $2,585.00 Buy now

Intermediate Range

This range is designed for players who want a high performing ball machine without all the extra bells and whistles that may not be needed.

Top Speed Top speed possible when there is no spin. 130 km/h 130 km/h 136 km/h
Slowest Speed Slowest speed possible. 32 km/h 32 km/h 16 km/h
Interval The min and max time possible between balls being fired. 2-15 seconds 2-10 seconds 1.5-12 seconds
Spin Whether the machine is capable of producing topspin and slice.
Electronic Elevation Ability to raise and lower the vertical angle of the delivery.
Elevation Degree The vertical angle of the delivery. 60° 60° ***
Horizontal Oscillation Ability to fire balls randomly anywhere within the horizontal span of the court (no variation in depth).
Vertical Oscillation Ability to offer random variation in depth to allow for practicing of short and deep balls.
Electric Option Can the machine be run directly from an AC power point, rather than via a battery? Running off AC can eliminate the headaches associated with batteries, charging them and replacing them when necessary.
Battery Can the machine be run off a battery?
Battery life The min and max play time possible when using the battery. 3-8 hours 4-8 hours 4-6 hours
Battery size 20 A/h 18 A/h 14.4 A/h
Charge Time Amount of time required to charge a flat battery using the standard charger. 11 hours 18 hours 20 hours
Fast Charger Can a fast charger be purchased to reduce the charging time? Optional Optional
Ball Capacity The total number of balls that can fit into the hopper. As a general rule, we feel 150 is the minimum we would recommend. 200 150 150
Portable Has wheels and a handle to allow easy movement to and from the tennis courts (from the back of a car).
Weight The weight of the machine without tennis balls installed. 18 kg 18 kg 19 kg
Remote Does the machine offer a remote control to allow easy settings adjustments from the other end of the court? Note, all remotes are different, including the number of buttons and functions each can supply, so look for a photo of the remote you are considering to understand its features. Also, Tennis Tutor in Australia does not offer a remote control, but this may be possible to purchase in other parts of the world. Optional
2 Line Drill This is a drill which shoots one ball to the forehand, followed by a ball to the backhand, and it repeats endlessly. It will keep you running from side to side until you can take it no longer. Some machines offer this in just WIDE and NARROW, while others offer WIDE, MEDIUM and NARROW for a bit more flexibility. It's also a great drill to use when two players are practising together with a ball machine, as it will alternate firing a ball between each player.
Optional Spare Battery A spare battery is great for coaches or those heavy users who don't always have time to charge their battery between sessions, or may want even more play time than the standard minimum that each machine can provide.
Heavy Duty Battery
Optional Storage Cover These are great for protecting your machine from dust and debris, but we do not recommend you leave them out on court.
Warranty This is the standard manufacturer's warranty. Some machines do have the option to upgrade their warranty to up to 5 years for an additional fee. 2 Years (Optional 5 Years) 3 Years 1 Year
Pros
  • Internal Oscillation (disguises delivery)
  • LCD control panel with membrane touch buttons
  • Large ball capacity
  • Optional external battery - decreases machine weight and simplifies charging (only take the battery inside for charging)
  • Huge Battery
  • 2 year warranty with an option for 5 years.
  • Best spin levels we've seen
  • 90 day money back guarantee
  • Vertical oscillation
  • Very portable
  • Huge battery
  • Fast oscillation
  • Great warranty
  • Good build quality
  • Fast oscillation speed
Cons
  • Travelling wheels could be larger
  • A little bit bulky
  • No 'Electric Only Option'
  • Bulky design
  • Ball flaps are a bit flimsy
  • Small handle makes wheeling
    a little difficult
Rating
Price $2,395.00 Buy now $3,299.00 Buy now $2,585.00 Buy now

*** We were unable to obtain the degree of elevation but were advised by Tennis Tutor that their machines could produce any type of lob required for practicing purposes.

Elite 4 $4,399.00 Buy nowSpinfire Pro 2 $3,195.00 Buy nowTutor Plus $3,025.00 Buy now

Advanced Range

This range is designed for the player aspiring to be a champion who wants all the necessary features a good ball machine should have.

Top Speed Top speed possible when there is no spin. 130 km/h 130 km/h 140 km/h
Slowest Speed Slowest speed possible. 32 km/h 32 km/h 16 km/h
Interval The min and max time possible between balls being fired. 2-10 seconds 2-15 seconds 1.5-12 seconds
Spin Whether the machine is capable of producing topspin and slice.
Elevation Ability to raise and lower the vertical angle of the delivery.
Lobs Ability to offer smashing practice.
Horizontal Oscillation Ability to fire balls randomly anywhere within the horizontal span of the court (no variation in depth).
Vertical Oscillation Ability to offer random variation in depth to allow for practicing of short and deep balls.
Triple Oscillation Ability to turn both horizontal oscillation and vertical oscillation on at the same time, to allow for random width and depth balls.
Internal Oscillation Internal oscillation provides more disguised deliveries as the mechanical movements happen inside the machine making them harder to see by the player. Machines with external oscillation telegraph where the delivery will be made, making them more predictable.
LCD Display A screen on the control panel to allow easy adjustments to the settings.
Electric Option Can the machine be run directly from an AC power point, rather than via a battery? Running off AC can eliminate the headaches associated with batteries, charging them and replacing them when necessary.
Battery Can the machine be run off a battery?
Battery Life The min and max play time possible when using the battery. 4-8 hours 3-8 hours 4-6 hours
Battery size 18 A/h 20 A/h 14.4 A/h
Charge Time Amount of time required to charge a flat battery using the standard charger. 18 hours 11 hours 12 hours
Fast Charger Can a fast charger be purchased to reduce the charging time? Optional Optional
Ball Capacity The total number of balls that can fit into the hopper. As a general rule, we feel 150 is the minimum we would recommend. 150 200 150
Portable Has wheels and a handle to allow easy movement to and from the tennis courts (from the back of a car).
Weight The weight of the machine without tennis balls installed. Note, the Spinfire Pro 2 can be purchased with an external battery, so 18 kg represents the weight of the machine only without a battery inside. 20 kg 18 kg 21 kg
Remote Does the machine offer a remote control to allow easy settings adjustments from the other end of the court? Note, all remotes are different, including the number of buttons and functions each can supply, so look for a photo of the remote you are considering to understand its features. Also, Tennis Tutor in Australia does not offer a remote control, but this may be possible to purchase in other parts of the world. Optional
2 Line Drill This is a drill which shoots one ball to the forehand, followed by a ball to the backhand, and it repeats endlessly. It will keep you running from side to side until you can take it no longer. Some machines offer this in just WIDE and NARROW, while others offer WIDE, MEDIUM and NARROW for a bit more flexibility. It's also a great drill to use when two players are practising together with a ball machine, as it will alternate firing a ball between each player.
Pre-loaded Drills Practice drills designed to represent real match situations
Optional Spare Battery A spare battery is great for coaches or those heavy users who don't always have time to charge their battery between sessions, or may want even more play time than the standard minimum that each machine can provide.
Heavy Duty Battery
Optional Storage Cover These are great for protecting your machine from dust and debris, but we do not recommend you leave them out on court.
Warranty This is the standard manufacturer's warranty. Some machines do have the option to upgrade their warranty to up to 5 years for an additional fee. 3 Years 2 Years 1 Year
Review Read Now!
Pros
  • Vertical & Triple Oscillation
  • Pre-loaded drills
  • Very portable
  • Huge battery
  • Fast oscillation
  • Great warranty
  • Internal oscillation (disguises delivery)
  • LCD control panel with membrane touch buttons
  • Includes a fully functional remote
  • Large ball capacity
  • Huge battery
  • Optional external battery - decreases machine weight and simplifies charging (only take the battery inside for charging)
  • Vertical and triple oscillation
  • 2 year warranty with an option for 5 years
  • Best spin levels we've seen
  • 90 day money back guarantee
  • Good build quality
  • Fast oscillation speed
  • Center alignment button
Cons
  • Remote not included (need to pay extra)
  • Telegraphs the delivery
  • A little bit noisy
  • Travelling wheels could be larger
  • No player simulation
  • A little bit bulky
  • Bulky design
  • Ball flaps are a bit flimsy
  • Small handle makes wheeling a little difficult
Rating
Price $4,399.00 Buy now $3,195.00 Buy now $3,025.00 Buy now

Tennis ball machine features to consider

Ball speed

A tennis ball machine that can shoot balls at different speeds should be a basic prerequisite for anyone wanting different challenges when training. It is equally important to practice hitting slow balls as it is fast balls and everything in between.

Keep in mind that professional players would generally be hitting groundstrokes from 80 – 130 kph, so speeds greater than this are rare and not necessary for most amateur players to practice against.

Spin types

The best ball machines on the market are able to shoot balls with topspin and backspin, and this is a very important feature because in most situations your opponent will be doing the same.

Ball machines without this feature are very easy to grow out of and are only suitable for absolute beginners.

Interval

The interval is the time between balls being shot by the tennis ball machine. It is always an advantage to be able to adjust the interval time and to have a large range of interval times to include some variation to your training.

Oscillation types

The greater the variation in oscillation a tennis ball machine can create, the more realistic and challenging it will be. For some players, this feature may not be necessary, but at a minimum we recommend horizontal oscillation.

Horizontal oscillation

This feature will challenge the user with balls randomly landing across a plane parallel to the baseline. The effect would be to make the player move left to right and hit balls at random angles, but not force the user to move forwards or backwards as the depth of all the balls will be the same.

More advanced machines, such as those from Spinfire and Lobster provide the option to adjust the range between medium and wide so that the challenge is suitable to the player's ability or training requirements.

Vertical oscillation

This is often a feature that differentiates machines in different price brackets, such as a Lobster Elite 1 and 2. It allows the machine to shoot balls at different depths in the court, therefore forcing the player to move forwards and backwards to play shots of random depths.

Triple Oscillation

This is the term used to describe a machine that can simultaneously perform horizontal and vertical oscillation, thereby shooting balls at randomly varying angles and depths. As a result, balls will land at completely random positions over the largest possible area on the court and provide the player with the ultimate challenge on court.

This feature is wonderful for players looking to train hard and work on their movement, fitness and stroke play in the most difficult of settings.

Two line drill

For players who are looking for more consistency in the angles that the ball machine shoots the balls, two-line drill will shoot a forehand to one spot on the court, then a backhand and will continue to repeat this process.

A feature only available in high-end machines such as the Spinfire Pro 2 and the Lobster Elite 3, the angle that the balls shoot can be adjusted between wide, medium and narrow thereby providing a different challenge to the player and making it suitable for practising volleys at the net.

The top machines also allow the vertical oscillation function to operate in conjunction with two-line drill.

Drills

Drills will provide the player with the ability to repeatedly practice against a sequence of shots. Advanced machines, such as the Lobster Elite 4, have pre-loaded drills while more advanced machines allow the user to design their own drills.

Whilst this is a wonderful feature it can come with a significant increase in cost and not all match simulation scenarios can be reproduced by the machines.

Internal vs external oscillation

Internal oscillation describes the movement of the mechanical parts inside the body of the machine, making it more disguised. External oscillation is when the whole machine oscillates from side to side, which can telegraph the location of each delivery.

Remote control

Having a remote control is a huge advantage when you want to make any adjustments in how your machine is performing without having to return to the other side of the court. It is also a very valuable safety feature allowing you to quickly stop the machine in an emergency.

A good remote should have range from the other side of the court as a minimum and allow the user to control all the functions the machine can perform yet not be too cumbersome to carry in your pocket.

The most advanced remote controls can be paired to a specific machine meaning it will not affect or be affected by other machines in the area.

Ball capacity

Obviously, the higher the ball capacity, the more balls that can be played before needing to collect them and refill the machine’s hopper, but also the more balls that need to be collected.

Generally speaking, the ball capacity of a tennis ball machine is related to the size and portability of the machine, but a capacity of 100+ balls should be enough to provide a solid workout.

Power source

The option of multiple power sources allows the user to choose a setup that best suits their needs or situation. It is important to understand that battery-powered machines will need regular charging, even if the machine isn’t in use. We recommend charging your battery after every use of the tennis ball machine and once a month when not being used.

An internal battery gives the convenience of having all the major parts of the machine combined together, but adds to the total weight of the machine and means the machine needs to be charged in the same place the machine is stored.

An external battery allows the weight of the machine and the battery to be separated, making them easier to transport. It also has the advantage of being able to store the machine in one place and bring the battery to a convenient place of charging, such as inside your home.

An AC powered machine – one that can be plugged directly into a powerpoint – has the advantage of not requiring a battery, therefore less weight and no need to be concerned about maintaining the charge in the battery. The only downside is that you would always need a nearby power point to operate the machine.

Some machines, such as those from Spinfire, allow you to combine any of these power sources, giving you the ultimate in personalised setup.

Pressureless tennis balls

Tennis ball machines are able to operate with most tennis balls as long as they are in good condition, but perform best with pressureless tennis balls.

The main reason for this is consistency – they will perform in the same way. The speeds and spin levels will not vary.

Pressureless balls achieve their bounce from their rubber core without the need for pressure. This means the balls will bounce consistently despite their age and will last much longer than regular tennis balls.

If there is a particular make or model of tennis ball machine that you are interested in which we don't have on our web site, please email us and we will let you know if we can help.

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