There was a time when tennis ball machines were reserved only for clubs, pros, or people with lots of money. But in recent years, they’ve become more accessible as the technology and ease of use has improved, and the prices and sizes have gone down.
In this post, we’ve compiled the best tennis ball machines, with a range of prices and features so you can find the one that’s right for you.
Our Top Picks for the Best Tennis Ball Machines in 2021
- Spinshot Plus-2
- Spinshot Plus
- Sports Tutor ProLite Plus
- Wilson Portable Tennis Ball Machine
- Lobster Sports Elite Two
- Spinshot Lite
- Sports Tutor Tennis Twist
- Sports Tutor Tennis Cube
- Slinger Grand Slam Pack
Use the links above to jump to any of the reviews in this post. You can also check out our post on Spinshot Tennis Ball Machines. We consider Spinshot to currently be one of the top brands.
What to Look For When Choosing a Tennis Ball Machine
A tennis ball machine, also commonly known as a tennis ball shooter, is the best way to practice tennis when you don’t have anyone to play with, and they’re becoming increasingly common not only for clubs and teams, but for individuals as well.
Before we jump into our reviews, let’s go over what we look for in a tennis ball machine, so you can keep them in mind to help you decide on the best tennis ball machine for your situation.
Speed – Consider both the speed range, as well as top speed.
Ball Capacity – This refers to how many tennis balls the machine can hold at once. More ball capacity obviously means you can hit more balls before you have to go pick them all up and refill the machine. You might consider to use pressureless tennis balls in tennis ball machines because they are more durable and less expensive.
Feed Rate – This is a range of how quickly the balls can be shot out of the machine.
Oscillation – Ball machines offer horizontal, vertical, and randomized oscillation. If you want to practice both forehand and backhand, you’ll need at least horizontal oscillation. If you want to add lobs, volleys, and any overhead shots, you’ll need vertical oscillation.
Most ball machines offer horizontal oscillation, and more advanced will also offer vertical, as well as randomized horizontal and vertical oscillation, for maximum ball placement variety.
Spin – Not all ball machines offer topspin and backspin. If this is something that’s important to you, make sure you get a machine with this feature.
Battery Life – How long does the battery last before it needs to be recharged. Consider how long your training sessions are, and then make sure you buy a machine with a battery life to outlast them.
Programmable Drills – Does the ball machine have different preset drills?
Ease of Use
All the features in the world don’t do you any good if you can’t use them. We review each tennis ball machine on how easily you can take advantage of the features it has to offer. This includes whether it comes with a remote control, a smartphone or smart watch app, and ease of use of any programmable settings.
Transportability – Portable Tennis Ball Machines
It’s important to remember that you’ll have to transport your machine to and from your house to your car to the court, and then back again. You’ll want a portable tennis ball machine that isn’t too heavy or large, and that has features like handles or wheels for easier portability.
Your ball machine will most likely end up getting hit by tennis balls. It might get dropped. Durability is an important factor to keep in mind, since you want a machine that will last a long time. These can be expensive machines, and you obviously don’t want to have to replace it if you can avoid it.
When we talk about reliability, we’re talking about how accurate the ball placement is, as well as if the machine ever malfunctions or stops working. You don’t want to have to stop your training to fix or reset your machine.
Other Factors to Consider
Budget – Buying a ball machine can be cost prohibitive for some, but it’s a purchase that can actually end up saving you money. If you consider the money you would spend working with a coach or trainer, a ball machine will end up being cheaper in the long run. That said, not everyone is in a position to buy an expensive ball machine, and in this post we cover a range of pricing options. Some opt to purchase used tennis ball machines to save money.
Skill Level – If you’re looking to buy a tennis ball machine for intermediate or more advanced players, you’ll want something that can change up speed, direction, and has programmable drill settings. For beginners, you might just need something that a simple tennis ball shooter that can shoot balls in their direction, without all the bells and whistles. Whatever your skill level, if you’re serious about improving your tennis game, a ball machine can really help.
Tennis Ball Machine Reviews
- High level of programmability
- Drill Maker mobile app with 12 customizable drill presets
- Patented De-Jam Design prevents jamming
- Battery charges quickly
- Lighter and more compact than machines with similar features
- Has the convenient OLED screen and control panel for easy oscillation settings configuration
- App drills can be difficult to program at first
We consider the Spinshot Plus-2 to be the premier tennis ball machine on the market today. It’s only slightly more expensive than the popular, best-selling Spinshot Player, but comes a convenient OLED screen and control panel for easy oscillation settings configuration.
If you’re looking for the best tennis ball machine money can buy, you won’t be disappointed in the Spinshot Plus-2.
This video covers our top 3 picks from the popular line of Spinshot tennis ball machines.
- Smaller build makes it very portable
- Powder coated metal construction makes it very durable
- Can be hooked up to a battery or straight to an AC module
- Remote control by phone app or watch
- Unable to program drills
- No drill presets
- Long 8-15 hours charging time
As the mid-range variant of the Spinshot Plus-2, you can expect the same kind of high-quality build from the Spinshot Plus. With the price tag going down a bit though, there are a few features from the Plus-2 you won’t be able to find in the Spinshot Plus.
Most noticeable is the lack of preprogrammed drills, and also the inability to actually program customized drills on the machine. But as a Spinshot product, it’s guaranteed that you won’t be disappointed with its overall quality. You might still find this variant a more viable option especially if you don’t have the budget to get the more premium Plus-2.
- Great for intermediate to advanced players
- Relatively small build with the built-in wheels makes it easy to carry and set up
- Includes a smart battery charge that prevents overcharging
- Start-up time delay allows you to get in position
- Long 18-hours full charging time
- Manual elevation adjustment
- Remotes are optional buys
The Sports Tutor ProLite Plus is another great mid-range option. It’s adjustable ground-stroke to lob ball trajectories can be very beneficial in improving the game for kids, beginners, and intermediate players alike. Sports Tutor also boasts its ‘start-up time delay’ feature that lets you take about five to ten seconds to get in position in the court before it fires the first ball.
It’s small build, and with the built-in wheels and handles makes it a very portable ball machine, which can be a huge deal maker for those seeking a ball machine that’s easy to lug around and set up.
Sitting over the $1000 mark, it’s kind of a bummer its remotes are sold as an option, has a rather very long full charging time of 18 hours (considering it has just 3-4 hours up time), and can only offer topspin.
But even then, this still takes a spot in our list since what it offers could be exactly what you’re looking for and is among the best ball machines in the mid-range price tag.
- Great features for price
- Wilson’s manufacturer warranty
- 2-line oscillation sold separately as an upgrade
- On the heavier side
- Remote sold separately
This is a great machine by Wilson if you are looking for a mid-range ball machine. It has more features than your basic beginner machines like the Spinshot Lite or the Match Mate Rookie, but not the programmable drills settings of more advanced machines like the Spinshot Plus-2.
Unfortunately, the 2-line oscillator, which allows you to alternate between forehand and backhand (or to shoot to 2 lines of students), is sold separately as an upgrade. The convenient remote control is also sold separately.
- Excellent battery life
- Convenient remote control (sold separately)
- Great top speed (80 MPH)
- Somewhat flimsy construction, especially the handle and wheels
- Charger can fry the batter if left charging too long (Buy the premium charger to fix this).
- Remote sold separately
The Lobster Sports Elite Two also doesn’t come with programmable drills, but you can set it to random horizontal and vertical oscillation for a variety of ball placements. Combine that with an excellent top speed of 80 MPH and you can expect a great workout!
If you’re happy with random placement, and don’t need programmable drills, this is a great machine.
Important Note: Lobster Sports tennis ball machines appear to no longer be for sale on Amazon. You can buy the Lobster Elite Two on DoItTennis.com, an Authorized Lobster Dealer.
Best Tennis Ball Machines Under $1,000
These next two machines are simpler, less expensive machines designed for beginners. If you’re looking for a tennis ball machine under $1,000, we consider these to be the best options. You might also consider looking for a used tennis ball machine.
- Very lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- Longer battery life
- No drills configurations, or oscillation – program to shoot balls in one place at a time
- No remote control or mobile app
- Smaller ball capacity
The Spinshot Lite is a one of the best budget tennis ball machines in the market. It’s slightly more expensive, but is a better quality machine, with better reliability. It’s also more portable, as it comes with the standard wheels and handle of the Spinshot line.
The Spinshot Lite is the lightest and least expensive model of the Spinshot machines with the fewest features. If you’re looking for a simple machine that will hit balls to the same spot over and over, this machine will do the trick and do it well.
- Very compact and light
- Can be set up and used in any open area
- Great for kids and beginners
- Can be used for baseball toss practice and dog ball fetching
- Lacks any advanced features
- Relatively low ball capacity
The Sports Tutor Tennis Twist is one of the cheapest tennis ball machines in the market, and being so, you shouldn’t expect much with its fairly limited features. It’s a pretty straightforward tennis ball machine; it tosses a ball in an adjustable 10-20 ft at 15 mph every 5 seconds making it very safe for practice especially for kids and beginners. You can use this even for baseball toss practice and even for dog ball fetching practice.
- Start time delay
- Comes with a Smart battery charger
- Lightweight build for easy transport
- Horizontal oscillator optional
- Relatively short playtime of 2 hours
Another offering from Sports Tutor is the Tennis Cube. Like the Tennis Twist, the Tennis Cube boasts its lightweight design with its signature easy-transport build. Like other tennis ball variants from Sports Tutor, the Tennis Twist has the ‘start time delay’ feature, which is a small but very thoughtful feature for a piece of tennis equipment.
Unlike the Tennis Twist though, this offers more features like having an adjustable elevation level, and it does come with a handy optional oscillator that can help you practice groundstrokes and lobs on both sides of the court.
- High-quality durable plastic and textile build
- Doubles as a bag to hold racquets and personal stuff
- Relatively short charge time compared to other ball machines
- Has a USB port to charge phones and personal devices
- No programmed drills
- Oscillator platform is a detachable accessory that might be a hassle to bring
The Slinger Grand Slam Pack is a great tennis ball machine option as it doubles as a bag to carry your racquets and personal stuff with you. Its built-in heavy-duty wheels and durable lightweight build makes it very easy to fit in the trunk of most cars, carry, as well as set-up in the court.
Aside from having compartments to fit your personal stuff, it also comes with a phone holder so you can record yourself practicing and monitor your form, and a USB type-a port so you can charge your devices.
While it lacks any preprogrammed drills, it’s still a great budget option considering its features.
Summary & Recommendations
The days when tennis ball machines weren’t widely accessible for personal use are over. Having a machine is a great way to practice tennis by yourself when you don’t have a partner, or to assist in training and practice sessions.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line tennis ball machine, complete with programmable drills, we recommend the Spinshot Plus-2. If you’re looking for the least expensive machine that will do the job, check out the Spinshot Lite.
Post last updated on January 13, 2023