Lobster is a tennis equipment brand that offers a wide variety of products, including their line of popular tennis ball machines. If you’re a tennis player looking to practice alone or otherwise develop your tennis skills, having a tennis ball machine can be extremely beneficial.
In this Lobster tennis ball machine review, we’re going over our top picks from the Lobster line of tennis ball machines, along with reviews and comparisons to help you pick the best tennis ball machine for you.
The Best Lobster Tennis Ball Machines
- Lobster Elite Line
- Lobster Elite Grand
- Lobster Phenom
- Elite Freedom
Harry Giuditta founded Lobster in 1970. He bought a failing tennis ball machine manufacturer called Green Brook Developing Company and made major reforms to the company. He recalled all the ball machines Green Brook ever offered, redesigned, repaired and brought them back to their customers at the company’s expense. This started Lobster’s mission “to enrich the lives of our customers through [their] unparalleled quality sports equipment products and services.”
For over 40 years since then, Lobster is now one of the top tennis and pickleball equipment brands in the market today. They have managed to cement themselves as a staple in many tennis and pickleball courts today through their core values of honesty, integrity, discipline, vision, respect, and passion.
Lobster Tennis Ball Machine Reviews – Our Top Picks
Before we dive into our top picks and reviews of the Lobster tennis ball machines, let’s talk about their line of products. The naming convention can be a bit confusing because they are all named similarly. We’ll break it down for you.
As you may have noticed in the previous list, Lobster categorizes their product line into three: the Elite, Elite Grand, and Phenom.
For the individual products, you can notice that they have numbers in their product line: Elite Portable 1, 2, 3 then the Elite Grand 4 and 5. Keep in mind that the next iteration of the product basically just has features that are built on top of the previous iteration; for example, the Elite Potable 2 just has more oscillation settings than the Elite Portable 1; the Elite Grand 5 LE has more pre-loaded drill features and oscillation settings than the Elite Grand 4; the Phenom 2 has more customizable settings than the Phenom 1.
The numbered variation is also a great way to remember which tennis ball machines are more appropriate for each player’s skill level; the Elite Portable line is great for level 1.5 to level 3, the Elite Grand for levels 3.5-5 and the Phenom can be used across all player levels up to level 7 professionals.
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Great for beginners
- Relatively long charge time
- No programmable drills
The Elite Liberty is Lobster’s most basic tennis ball machine product offering. It can throw a top and backspin ball at 10-70 mph with a random horizontal oscillation. This is great for beginners that want to train to be more familiar with basic positions and strokes.
The Elite Liberty is also available on the OnCourt OffCourt store.
Elite 2 Portable
- Versatile functionality for beginners
- Electric elevation setup
- Long battery life
- Long charge time, no smart charger to protect from overcharging
- No programmable drills
- Remote sold separately
The Elite 2 Portable is a great tennis companion for mid-level players who want to work on having better strokes and ball familiarization. The Elite Two has triple oscillation which the Elite 1 does not have; this gives the opportunity to simulate matches to help you improve reaction time and agility.
Check out their Elite 2 Portable variation with the external battery pack and an AC/DC powered pack that is lighter than the variation with the battery packs.
The Elite 2 Portable is also available on the OnCourt OffCourt store.
Elite Grand 5 LE
- Highly customizable drills that can be saved
- Portable and foldable
- Ability to fully randomize shots
- Remote and phone compatibility come with additional price
The Lobster Elite Grand 5 LE is probably the most versatile mid-range Lobster product offering that is great for most player levels. The Grand 5 LE features a sophisticated 12 pre-programmed drills that can be highly customizable to fit your practice needs. The controls are also very user-friendly, allowing you to set adjustments according to player drill levels–Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. You can set the Elite Grand 5 LE to an all random drill that mixes up the speed, trajectory, spin, and location of the shots to simulate actual gameplay; aside from that, you can have complete control with full customization features.
The Elite Grand 5 LE is also available on the OnCourt OffCourt store.
Elite Phenom 2
- Great for all player levels
- Full customization of drills
- Remote control and phone compatibility come at an extra price
- Heavier than most Lobster machines
The Lobster Elite Phenom 2 belongs to Lobster’s commercial-grade Phenom line meant to be used across all player levels. Lobster was able to create a fully-customizable ball machine with drills you can save aside from the preprogrammed drills that the Phenom 2 offers. It has complete random short, mid, deep horizontal oscillation and left, middle, right vertical oscillation for complete variety and randomization to simulate advanced level game play.
The Elite Phenom 2 does come with a separate additional 20-function wireless remote control and additional iPhone remote control compatibility.
Spinshot vs Lobster
Spinshot is one of Lobster’s top competitors in the tennis ball machine market.
Spinshot boasts their multifunctional, simple to use, robust construction, portable power, excellent customer service and support, and affordability. For our complete comparison and review guide of Spinshot tennis ball machines, check it out here.
The Spinshot Plus-2 is our top pick in our review of the best tennis ball machines. It has a high level of programmability, patented jam-prevention technology, and a convenient OLED screen for its control panel. It can also be controlled and customized through the Drill Maker app, which isn’t found on the Lobster products of the same price point.
The Spinshot Lite is our budget pick for Spinshot, which can be a solid competitor against the Lobster Liberty, though the Liberty can hold more balls and has random horizontal oscillation.
Summary and Recommendations
Lobster has a wide variety of products you can choose that are appropriate for every player level. It’s a really great court partner with the amount of customizability and programmability their ball machines have especially when you’re practicing and playing by yourself.
The Elite Liberty and Elite 2 Portable are great for beginner- and intermediate-level players looking to improve their strokes and ball familiarization skills. The Elite Grand 5 LE and the Elite Phenom 2 are great to use for most player levels with the amount of customizability they offer.
You might also check out our post on where to find used and refurbished tennis ball machines as well.
Post last updated on January 13, 2023