Updated: May 29, 2015
Tennis Ball Hopper Reviews:Whether you teach tennis at your local park or just want an easy way to pickup and store tennis balls, ball hoppers are the way to go. I often go to my local court and practice my serve. Having a ball hopper next to me to hold the balls is a great convenience. I just reach into the basket and take out the next ball. When the hopper is empty, I reverse the legs and go pick up the balls. The ball hoppers are setup so that the balls can fit through the frame if you push the frame over the ball but they are not able to fall back out (except out the top). I've seen some parents bring their kids to the tennis courts and they bring along ball tubes which allow children to gather up the balls after hitting some. Tennis ball tubes are long, slender tubes which again allow the bottom to collect the balls and once they are filled up, you can empty the balls into a basket by turning the tube upside down and having the balls fall out that way. Gamma makes a variety of tennis ball hoppers - tubes, baskets, and carts. Other top brands include Hoag, Unique, and Wilson.
What size do you need? You can get the tennis tubes which hold up to 21 balls, the Gamma Risette which holds 50 balls, and teaching carts that carry over 300 balls. Stability is an issue with some of the basket type models which have reversal legs that turn into handles when you want to carry them. The construction of the ball hoppers isn't always very good quality so the metal bends and eventually the product doesn't stand up straight anymore and has a tendency to fall over quite easily. If stability is an issue, you can always go with the larger carts like the Gamma Brute Teaching Cart (325) which sells for $160 on Amazon.com and will serve you for years. The wheels make this cart easy to maneuver on the courts and the heavy duty wire basket holds over 300 tennis balls. The issue with these carriers are that they can be bulky and not easy to get back and forth to the tennis courts if you are teacher. You find these mostly at tennis clubs where professionals hold clinics and teach dozens of children or adults. For the average person, owning a smaller bucket, or basket type tennis ball hopper is the best choice. Ones that hold between 50 to 80 balls are probably plenty for your needs. Most beginner to intermediate tennis players aren't going to be able to hit more than about 70 balls without needing a little break. That gives you the chance to collect the balls that have been sprayed around the court and get ready for the next hitting game or routine. Even if you want to just hit serves, your arm will get tired after 30 or 40 and it's good to give it a rest for a few minutes like you would in a normal match environment when your opponent is serving. Where should you buy a tennis ball hopper? We found some excellent prices on Amazon.com for almost all the models listed below. Sportsauthority.com, Dickssportinggoods.com, and Midwestsports.com also carry ball hoppers for tennis and often you can find specials on their websites, but pricing is competitive as we found. Wal-Mart carries the Wilson Tennis Ball Pick Up Hopper ($20) and they have reviews listed by customers, similar to what you find on Amazon.com.