Updated: October 14, 2016

Tennis Ball Machine Reviews:

Tennis is a great way to get exercise and the sport itself helps build eye-hand coordination and solid footwork that translate into being better in other sports as well. Playing tennis doesn't require a lot, but you do need a partner to hit the ball back and forth to. It's not always easy to find a hitting partner, especially if you are just a beginner and need help developing your game. A tennis ball machine is the best solution for any beginner or intermediate player if they want consistent shots to hit. One of the reasons some people never get better is because their hitting partner doesn't get enough balls back into their court and the rallies last only a few shots. With a quality tennis ball machine, you can have it feed you 150+ balls in a row in the exact same spot or to different areas on the court giving you the most thorough workout available. The older machines that I grew up with didn't always oscillate so you got bored real fast with the same backhand or forehand shot. That has all changed as the modern ball machines have a horizontal oscillator and they can give you shots with different spins and trajectories so it's like playing a real opponent.
tennis ball machine

Consistency is the key to tennis and finding a groove on your strokes is what will pay off when you start playing matches. Paying for tennis instructions is one thing, but getting in the practice of hitting tennis balls for an hour or 2 is what a ball machine is for. Tennis lessons are not cheap and most pros charge something like $40 for 30 minutes. I say, take a lesson a few times a week or every other week and then substitute in a ball machine on the other days to get in hitting drills and practice. It's amazing how fast you can improve in tennis if you have balls fed to you. Some tennis ball machines have an arm that sticks out and shoots the balls over the net to you while others are more like a baseball pitching machine without an extended arm. They fire the ball out at you by forcing the ball through 2 spinning wheels. On the best tennis ball machines you can control the direction of the ball, the pace of the ball, the spins, and how often the balls are released. It's important to keep the balls coming back to you as if it were a real match. Don't make it so you are struggling to get to the balls, you want to have time to setup and hit the ball, then recover to the middle of the court, and then move to the next ball.

After some time using your new ball machine you should be able to program it to a speed level that works for you. The machines are either electric or battery powered. Some public courts offer electrical outlets, but not all are convenient. Before you decide to buy a tennis ball machine, think about where you will be using it mostly and if battery or electric is your best choice. Battery powered machines last from 2 to 3 hours so that should give you plenty of time at any one hitting session. Go with a machine that oscillates horizontally so you can move the ball around the court and get yourself moving like in a real rally. The good news is that you will probably never outgrow your tennis ball machine. Even advanced players can use a machine to work on their slice backhands or topspin forehands. Ideally you have a tennis court in your yard or in the neighborhood you live in so it's convenient to use the ball machine. Sometimes a tennis club uses ball machines so you could always ask the head pro what they suggest in terms of brand and model. I've been subscribing to Tennis Magazine for over a decade and consider myself to be a 5.0 player in the rating system. I still go to my local court and use the machine, especially in the off season to keep my shot groved and eyes and hands working together. As for the best brands, consider a Lobster, Silent Partner, Sports Tutor, and Playmate. The cost of the tennis ball machines is not cheap, so certainly don't consider buying one for yourself unless you are using it at a club for classes or programs as a pro or you have a tennis court at home and need lots of practice. The cheapest Lobster starts at $549 and the most expensive Elite Grandslam IV sells for $1899. You can buy tennis ball machines online at sites like Atssports.com and Holabirdsports.com. RECOMMENDED - We suggest shopping online at Amazon.com since they carry all the leading brand names and often have the lowest prices on the Internet. Browse their top rated tennis ball machines here.

Best Tennis Ball Machine:

Lobster is perhaps the most well recognized name in tennis ball machines and they offer up battery and electric models. The Lobster Elite 2 Ball Machine ($1349) is probably the best ball machine available for tennis enthusiasts. The Elite Two oscillates horizontally as well as vertically giving you the widest range of shots and angles of almost all machines on the market. It feeds balls short, deep, with backspin, topspin and even gives you lobs. Your match play will improve dramatically as the Lobster feeds you balls and gets you moving right, left, up and back. You'll be amazed at how fast your footwork skills improve as you react to hit each shot. The machine weighs 44 lbs but the wheels let you move it around pretty easily. The battery life is good for 4 to 8 hours of play before needing recharging. Speed varies from 10 to 80 mph and the ball capacity is 150. You can feed balls every 2 to 10 seconds, and there is an optional package that comes with a remote and fast charger. The warranty is 2 years. The remote is an extra $199 but perhaps a good buy if you would like to change the workout without having to go and physical punch in the new variables. Just point the remote at the machine and change things like speeds, oscillation, spin, and more.

Value Ball Machine:

Sports Tutor is the #1 selling ball machine in the world and their Tennis Tutor Ball Machine ($949) sells for less than $1000. It's very portable as well, standing only 12 inches tall when the ball hopper sides are folded down. The towing handle lets you transport the machine virtually anywhere. It holds up 150 balls at once and the heavy duty battery offers up to 6 hours of hitting balls. There is a warning indicator that goes off when the battery is low (1/2 hour of charge left). The built-in oscillator allows for simulated match play conditions with balls moving you from left to right and right to left as well as foreward and backwards. If you plan on teaching with the machine, consider the two-line function which lets you have 2 preset areas on the court in which the balls are fed to. This feature is great for when you have 2 lines of students waiting to hit shots. You get a 1 year factory warranty on these machines. You can view the entire lineup of Tennis Tutor ball machines on their website at www.sportstutor.com. You can view the entire collection of Tennis Tutor ball machines online here.

Tennis Ball Machine for Beginners:

It's not like you need a fancy tennis ball machine feeding you balls when you first start learning the game of tennis. With a few lessons you will be on track to practice more and ball machines are the best way to go. If you have a tennis club you belong to then use their courts and ball machines if possible. Otherwise, buy your own and start improving within a few weeks time. The Silent Partner Lite ($699) comes highly recommended by pros and beginners as it offers all the features you need. The battery powered Silent Partner Lite had electronic speed control from 15 to 95 mph and spin control with topspin and backspin (slice). You can do rapid fire drills with the 150 ball capacity unit. The elevation control is done manually so you can have it feed you lobs or direct shots. The random oscillator has visible alignment fins. The 3" rolling wheels let you move the ball machine around on flat surfaces (it weighs 35 pounds). The battery life is up to 2 hours long, which should be plenty of time for any beginner, even as you advance to intermediate levels of play. I have found that this machine is perfect for my students - when one gets tired I just have another one step in for a minute or 2. You can get all the details of Silent Partner tennis ball machiens online HERE. We also suggest the Master I- SAM Model 1 Court Equipment Ball Throwing Machines which is competitively priced and offers similar performance.