Best Tennis Ball Machines | Ultimate Buying Guide

Nothing beats having a tennis partner you can play with on a regular basis.

It’s a great way to improve your game and work on different shots.

However, if you REALLY want to get better, you need a proper practice routine…

…and chances are, your tennis partner isn’t going to want to hit 50 balls so you can practice your 2 handed backhand.

Yes, you can have coaching from a pro, but how are you going to work on things they’ve shown you in between lessons?

Want to work on your forehand, backhand or any other shot, all in your own time? Here's a list of the top 10 best tennis ball machines.

This is where tennis ball machines come in.

They allow you to practice the same shot over and over until you’ve mastered it, whether it’s your forehand, backhand, or your volleys and overheads.

This article will look at the best tennis ball machines on the market, for beginner, intermediate and advanced players, as well as those in different price brackets.

Top 10 best tennis ball machines

Tennis ball machines come with a whole range of different features, but it is a sizable purchase.

So you should think carefully about which features are important to develop your game.

If you’re a beginner you might not need to worry about facing all the different spins, speeds and angles, but they are important if you’re quite an advanced player already.

For intermediate to advanced players

Spinshot Plus-2 Tennis Ball Machine

This is the flagship machine by Spinshot, and it’s essentially a combination of the Spinshot Player and Spinshot Plus models.

You can control it via an app on your phone (Android and iPhone), which is a real timesaver as you can change the program from the other side of the court. Furthermore, if you don’t like the idea of using your phone during a session, it even integrates with the Apple watch which makes things even easier to use.

Pros
  • 12 drills of 6 different shots – a great choice for advanced players
  • Use your Apple Watch or phone as a remote control
  • LED Screen to make program selection easier.
Cons
  • Battery life of only 2-3 hours
  • Recharging takes between 8-15 hours.

Learn more about the Spinshot Plus-2

Spinshot-Pro Tennis Ball Machine

Slightly cheaper than the Spinshot-Plus 2, this ball machine still comes with a whole range of features.

Although it doesn’t have the programmable drills of the Spinshot-Plus 2, it can provide different levels of backspin and topspin. It also has a simple remote control that can turn off the program and the oscillation mode

Pros
  • Quick recharging time
  • 4 different settings for speed, spin, height, and feed interval
  • 6 different levels of topspin + 6 different levels of backspin – good for intermediate players
Cons
  • No way to program any drills
  • Battery life of only 2-3 hours

Learn more about the Spinshot-Pro

Lobster Sports – Elite Grand Four

Aside from Spinshot, Lobster Sports also have a few tennis ball machines you might want to consider.

The Elite Grand Four is a great option for intermediate to advanced players, with 6 preloaded drills and options for setting the depth, angle and different spins. It also has a larger ball capacity than the Spinshot models listed above and longer battery life.

Pros
  • Excellent battery life – 4 to 8 hours
  • Larger ball capacity – Up to 150 balls
  • Random oscillation option – expect the unexpected when it comes to angled shots!
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • You can’t program any drills, and only use the built in options
  • Only 3 levels of backspin and topspin
  • You need to pay an additional fee if you want a remote control or phone usage

Learn more about the Lobster Sports Elite Grand Four

Lobster Sports Elite Two

If you want something a little cheaper, then the Lobster Sports Elite Two is a good option.

Like the Grand Four, it has great battery life and ball capacity. However, it still has some great features for intermediate and advanced players. There are random options for spin, left and right shots, and short and deep balls, a great way to simulate playing a real opponent.

Pros
  • Receive random balls in different areas of the court with different spins
  • Amazing battery life
  • Good ball capacity
Cons
  • You can’t program any drills of your own
  • You need to pay extra if you want a remote control
  • Takes a long time to recharge machine – 18 to 24 hours

Learn more about the Lobster Sports Elite Two

Spinfire Pro 2 Tennis Ball Machine

Another company in the tennis ball machine market is Spinfire. Their Pro 2 model is worth looking at if you’re an intermediate player or above.

The battery life is great, and it has a huge ball capacity. Furthermore it can send balls to you with heavy topspin and slice at different speeds. The Spinfire Pro 2 also comes with a remote control with a pause option, which can save the battery of the machine while you collect the balls.

Pros
  • Excellent ball capacity – Up to 200 balls
  • LCD display for an easy to use interface
  • Vertical and horizontal oscillation – receive balls anywhere in the court
  • Receive extreme spin shots
  • Good battery life – 3 to 8 hours
Cons
  • No programmable drills – only 2 factory presets

Learn more about the Spinfire Pro 2

Table Comparison – Spinshot vs Lobster vs Spinfire Ball Machines

NameSpinshot Plus-2Spinshot ProLobster Sports Elite Grand FourLobster Sports Elite TwoSpinfire Pro 2
Weight21kg (with battery)20kg (with battery)20kg19kg24kg
Dimensions50 cm (H)
50 cm (L)
35 cm (W)
50 cm (H)
50 cm (L)
35 cm (W)
73 cm (H)
53 cm (L)
39 cm (W)
53 cm (H)
53 cm (L)
35 cm (W)
49 cm (H)
67 cm (L)
51 cm (W)
Ball Capacity120 balls120 balls150 balls150 balls200 balls
Programmable Drills?YesNoNoNoNo
Battery Life2-3 hours2-3 hours4-8 hours4-8 hours3-8 hours
Recharging Time8-15 hours8-12 hours3-9 hours18-24 hours-
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For beginners

The ball machines listed above are really suited for intermediate and advanced players.

However, if you’re a beginner, you might want something a bit simpler, just to practice the basic shots.

Ball machines for beginners are generally a bit cheaper than the more advanced ones, which you would expect, as they have less features and more basic settings.

But if you haven’t been playing tennis for very long and your game is progressing well, you might want to hold off buying one and wait for a more advanced machine, as it’s still a big purchase.

Only you can decide, as you know your game best.

Here are 3 options which you might want to consider if you’re a beginner.

Match Mate Rookie by Match Mate Tennis Ball Machine

This is a great option for beginners. There’s no oscillation on the ball, so it’s great for developing your ground strokes without picking up any bad habits. It’s also lightweight, and features a handle to make it easier to carry.

Pros
  • Up to 7 hours of play time on one charge
  • Very lightweight and easy to transport – Only 22lbs (10kg)
  • No oscillation on the ball – great for beginners and junior players
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • No programmable drills
  • No remote control
  • Only holds up to 70 balls

Click here to read customer reviews of the Match Mate Rookie

Lobster Sports – Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine

In addition to the more advanced options, Lobster Sports also have a machine for beginners, the Elite Liberty..

…and it’s more affordable if you’re on a budget.

It’s lightweight (although heavier than the Match Mate Rookie), but it has great ball capacity and enough settings for beginners to practice their shots; 4 options including backspin and topspin.

The battery could be better as it only lasts between 2-4 hours and it takes a long time to fully charge.

Pros
  • Great ball capacity – 150 balls
  • Lightweight
  • Some good settings for beginner players to work on their game
Cons
  • Battery life could be better – 2 to 4 hours
  • Takes up to 15 hours to fully charge
  • No programmable drills

Read customer reviews on Amazon

Silent Partner Edge Lite

Silent Partner have a number of ball machines available for players of all abilities.

The Edge Lite is their entry level option. It’s 17 kg so slightly heavier than the Elite Liberty and Match Mate Rookie, but for that you get some great features.

It has amazing ball capacity (up to 200 balls) and it has options for spin, speed and feed (interval) rates. It also has an oscillation option, to move you side to side and for practicing overheads and volleys. Therefore it’s great for beginners and for intermediate players too, so it’s a machine which should last you a while.

Pros
  • Excellent ball capacity – 200 balls
  • Good for beginners and intermediate players
  • Options to practice receiving different speeds and spin
  • Oscillation option – practice moving side to side, volleys and overheads
Cons
  • A sizable additional fee if you want a remote control
  • Recharging takes up to 10 hours
  • Only 2 hours battery life
  • No programmable drills

Click here to learn more

Table Comparison: Match Mate vs Lobster vs Silent Partner Ball Machines

NameMatch Mate RookieLobster Sports Elite LibertySilent Partner Edge Lite
Weight10kg16kg17kg
Dimensions56 cm (H)
28 cm (L)
28 cm (W)
53 cm (H)
53 cm (L)
35 cm (W)
61 cm (H)
51 cm (L)
40 cm (W)
Ball Capacity70 balls150 balls200 balls
Programmable Drills?NoNoNo
Battery Life5-7 hours2-4 hours2 hours
Recharging TimeNot available15 hours10 hours
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Under $1000

Let’s be honest.

Tennis ball machines aren’t cheap and if you want one with a whole host of features, you’re probably looking at one which will cost upwards of $1000.

That being said, there are a few good tennis ball machines under this figure that are definitely worth considering.

Spinshot Lite Tennis Training Machine

Althought this model doesn’t have the settings and features of the Spinshot Plus-2 or Spinshot Pro, it’s still a good option if you’re a beginner.

It essentially allows you to practice the same shot over and over again. The only options you have are the speed of the ball, and how quickly you’d like to receive them.

One big advantage of the Spinshot Lite over the more expensive models, is the weight. It’s a mere 10kg, which makes it extremely portable, and a good option for junior players.

Pros
  • Good battery life – 5 to 7 hours
  • Lightweight and easy to carry – Just 10kg
Cons
  • Takes 8-15 hours to fully charge
  • Small ball capacity – Just 40 to 50 balls
  • No oscillation or spin, just a simple ball feeder with only 2 variables; speed and frequency rate.
  • No programmable drills
  • No remote control, or phone apps

Check out customer reviews on Amazon

Silent Partner Edge Star

If you want a tennis ball machine under $1000 which has a few more options than the Spinshot Lite, then the Silent Partner Edge Star might be for you.

In addition to the speed and feed rates, you can also choose how much spin to put on the balls. There’s also a random oscillation option so you can receive balls side to side, and work on your volleys and drop shots. It also comes with a remote control and charges quickly too.

Unlike the Spinshot Lite, this ball machine is a great option for beginners AND intermediate players

Pros
  • Huge ball capacity – Up to 200 balls
  • Choose the spin, speed and feed rate of the balls.
  • Random oscillator for side to side, volleys and overhead practice.
  • Remote control included
  • 6 hours battery life
Cons
  • No option to program your own drills
  • AC-DC unit costs considerable more than the battery option, if you have access to a power supply near the tennis court.
  • Weights 22kg, heavier than other budget ball machines

Lobster Sports – Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine

Although we’ve already looked at the Lobster Sports Elite Liberty earlier, it’s under $1000, so this might give you another reason to purchase it if you’re on a budget.

Table Comparison – Budget Ball Machines

NameSpinshot LiteSilent Partner Edge StarLobster Sports Elite Liberty
Weight9kg22-23kg16kg
Dimensions40 cm (H)
25 cm (L)
25 cm (W)
61 cm (H)
51 cm (L)
40 cm (W)
53 cm (H)
53 cm (L)
35 cm (W)
Ball Capacity40-50 balls200 balls150 balls
Programmable Drills?NoNoNo
Battery Life5-7 hours6 hours2-4 hours
Recharging Time8-12 hoursN/A15 hours
Click here for latest priceClick here for latest priceClick here for latest price

What should I consider when buying a ball machine?

As you can see, some tennis ball machines have a lot more features than others, and like most things, you usually get what you pay for.

That being said, here are some key things to think about before you make your decision:

Weight

Before you buy an enormous tennis ball machine to practice on your local court, make sure you check the weight beforehand. The larger ones are quite heavy and it might be a bit of a mission to carry it from your car and back again!

Battery Life

There’s no point picking a machine which needs to be recharged all the time. Fortunately, most tennis ball machines should have a battery life of 4 to 8 hours, which should be sufficient for even the most hardcore of tennis players!

Program Features

Some machines can be programmed to give you different shot sequences, to simulate playing an actual opponent. You can also change the spin, angle and speed of the incoming shots. These features are really essential for intermediate players and upwards, but if you’re a beginner, it might not be so important.

Ball Capacity

You don’t want to be picking up balls all the time during your practice session with a machine, so make sure you pick one which has sufficient storage for tennis balls. Most machines should be able to hold about 100 balls or more

Remote Control

Some tennis ball machines come with remote controls which mean with a click of a button from your side of the court, you can change the program, or stop it altogether. A real time saver.

Other FAQs

Is a tennis ball machine worth it?

Let’s be honest, it is an investment.

A good machine isn’t cheap, and it all depends on your circumstances.

If you’re dedicated to improving your game, have the time each week to practice, and have good access to a tennis court, then you might want to consider one.

It’s like the perfect tennis partner.

You don’t have to work around someone else’s schedule if you want to have practice session.

If you want to play at 7am three times a week, you can do it without any problem.

100% flexibility.

Furthermore, you can keep practicing the same shot over and over again, which would probably irritate a real tennis partner very quickly.

Also, it’s more accurate than a tennis partner. You can get the same ball in the same place, time after time.

How does a tennis ball machine work?

Most tennis ball machines work by using counter-rotating wheels.

When it’s in operation, a fan sucks in air from the outside, which is then squeezed into a canister. Meanwhile, an electric motor presses the tennis balls, putting them under pressure and pushing them into a tube, when they’re then released onto the court.

Which tennis balls should I use with a machine?

In matches, or if you’re practicing with another player, you’ll definitely want pressurized tennis balls, as they’ll give you better bounce, speed and you can generate more spin.

However, when you’re practicing by yourself with a machine, you should consider pressureless balls, as they retain their bounce for longer.

What are some good tennis ball machine drills?

There are so many things you can work on with a tennis ball machine. Not only can you work on your technique, you can look to build up your stamina and improve your reflexes.

Here’s a great video highlighting some different drills you can use from the guys at Top Tennis Training.

Additional Resources

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Author: Graham Scott

Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a "little noise" about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.

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