Best Tennis Ball Machines | Ultimate Buying Guide

tennis balls at the net

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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?

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.

A review of the top 10 best tennis ball machines, for beginners, advanced and intermediate players.

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! Although many tennis ball machine have wheels, you’ll still need some smooth terrain without too many bumps and steps to move them around comfortably.

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 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.

tennis ball on racket

Best tennis ball machines for advanced players

Table Overview

ProductNameFeaturesBuy
Spinshot Plus-2

  • Weight: 21kg

  • Dimensions: 50 x 50 x 35cm

  • Ball Capacity: 120

  • Programmable Drills: Yes

  • Battery Life: 2-3 hours

  • Recharging Time: 8-15 hours

Check Price
Spinshot Pro

  • Weight: 20kg

  • Dimensions: 50 x 50 x 35cm

  • Ball Capacity: 120

  • Programmable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 2-3 hours

  • Recharging Time: 8-12 hours

Check Price
Lobster Sports Elite Grand Four

  • Weight: 20kg

  • Dimensions: 73 x 53 x 39cm

  • Ball Capacity: 150

  • Programmable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 4-8 hours

  • Recharging Time: 3-9 hours

Check Price
Lobster Sports Elite Two

  • Weight: 19kg

  • Dimensions: 53 x 53 x 35cm

  • Ball Capacity: 150

  • Programmable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 4-8 hours

  • Recharging Time: 18-24 hours

Check Price
See image belowSports Tutor Shotmaker Mini

  • Weight: 28kg

  • Dimensions: 56 x 66 x 43cm

  • Ball Capacity: 225

  • Programmable Drills: Yes (only on Mini Deluxe Model)

  • Battery Life: 4-6 hours

Check Price

Detailed Comparison: Spinshot vs Lobster vs Sports Tutor Ball Machines

Weight

DRAW

There’s no real winner here. None of these ball machines can be considered lightweight, so they’ll work best if you don’t need to carry them very far.

Battery Life

WINNERBoth Lobster Ball Machines

Both the Lobster ball machines (Elite Grand 4 and Elite Two) offer very good battery life so you can practice for longer in between plugging them in and recharging.

Program Features

WINNERSpinshot Plus-2

While the other ball machines can help you practice receiving spin, left and right shots, the Spinshot Plus-2 takes things to another level with all the different drills you can try out. Furthermore, you can program your own drills to really hone in on particular area of your tennis game you need to improve.

The Shotmaker Mini is a close second, but the programmable drill feature is only available for the Deluxe model.

Ball Capacity

WINNERSports Tutor Shotmaker Mini

A ball capacity of 225 balls for the Shotmaker Mini is superb, so you can get a longer practice session hitting different shots, although you’ll spend more time picking up the balls afterwards!

Price

WINNER – Spinshot Pro

Ball machines aren’t cheap, but if you think of them as an investment in your game over many years, it’s not too bad, especially if you decide not to have much coaching from a club pro.

The Spinshot Pro is the cheapest option of these ball machines which are suitable for more advanced players.

Chart – Which one is the most popular?

WINNERLobster Sports Elite 2

The Lobster Sports Elite 2 has the most monthly searches online, so it seems quite a popular tennis ball machine.

Chart showing the most popular tennis ball machines for advanced players from Lobster Sports, Spinshot and Sports Tutor.

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

Sports Tutor Shotmaker Mini

This is a relatively new line of ball machines from Sports Tutor, which are more lightweight than the older models. There are 3 options to choose from; Standard, Player and Deluxe. While the Standard option is really for beginners, the Player and Deluxe options can certainly help advanced players with their game.

The patented Player Mode™ can simulate shots which most beginner, intermediate or advanced players can hit (and you can choose which setting you want for this)

The Deluxe model offers the same plus the option to program your own drill patterns, up to 6 shots which can be hit to any one of 7 court positions.

Sports Tutor Shotmaker Mini

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Large ball capacity
  • Player mode™ – simulates playing an opponent at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level
  • Programmable drills on the Deluxe model

Cons

  • Extra cost for the remote control and if you want an external battery

Learn more about the Shotmaker Mini

Best tennis ball machine 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.

Table Overview

ProductNameFeaturesBuy
Match Mate Rookie

  • Weight: 10kg

  • Dimensions: 56 x 28 x 28cm

  • Ball Capacity: 70

  • Progammable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 5-7 hours

  • Recharging Time: N/A

Check Price
Lobster Sports Elite Liberty

  • Weight: 16kg

  • Dimensions: 53 x 53 x 35cm

  • Ball Capacity: 150

  • Progammable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 2-4 hours

  • Recharging Time: 15 hours

Check Price
No image availableSilent Partner Edge Lite

  • Weight: 17kg

  • Dimensions: 61 x 51 x 40cm

  • Ball Capacity: 200

  • Progammable Drills: No

  • Battery Life: 2 hours

  • Recharging Time: 10 hours

Check Price

Detailed Comparison: Match Mate vs Lobster vs Silent Partner

Weight

WINNERMatch Mate Rookie

At just 10kg, the Match Mate Rookie is one of the most lightweight ball machines on the market, with a fairly good ball capacity. This is lightweight enough to move around the court with ease.

It should be noted that, although the Silent Partner and Lobster Elite Liberty are heavier, they come with wheels which certainly helps providing the terrain is smooth and flat if you’re transporting either of them to and from the tennis court.

Battery Life

WINNERMatch Mate Rookie

The Match Mate Rookie has a battery life of 5-7 hours so you can get some good practice sessions in when you’re on the court.

Program Features

DRAW

Both the Silent Partner Edge Lite and Lobster Elite Liberty have side to side oscillation, the option to set the elevation of the feeds and the choice of receiving backspin and topspin.

Ball Capacity

WINNERSilent Partner Edge Lite

A ball capacity of 200 balls will certainly keep you busy and should be more than enough for one long practice session.

Price

WINNER Match Mate Rookie

The Match Mate Rookie is the cheapest option of the three. However, it does have less features than the other two, including no side-to-side oscillation.

Chart – Which one is the most popular?

WINNER – Lobster Sports Elite Liberty

The Lobster Sports Elite Liberty has 390 online searches every month, significantly higher than the other two ball machines.

Chart showing the most popular tennis ball machines for beginners from Lobster Sports, Match Mate Rookie and Silent Partner

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

Learn more about 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.

Click here for a comparison of the Elite Liberty with the Tennis Tutor.

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

Click here to learn more

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

Best budget tennis ball machine (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.

Of the options already listed in this article, these are both under $1000.

Here are a couple more consider:

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

Easy Toss Machine

The Easy Toss Machine is one of the cheapest ball machines you can buy. It is very lightweight, and small which means it’s very portable and easy to move around the court to practice different shots.

Ball capacity is limited to only 16 balls, and you only get one type of feed.

It’s really best suited for junior players, but you can still use it if you’re a beginner of if you’re learning a particular ground stroke and want to break things down to the basics.

Easy Toss Machine close up

Pros

  • Lightweight – only around 6kg
  • Great battery life – around 8 hours

Cons

  • Small ball capacity – only 16 balls
  • No oscillation or spin – only one type of feed
  • No remote control

Learn more about the Easy Toss Machine

Bottom Line

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 probably don’t need to worry about facing all the different spins, speeds and angles to begin with, but rather just work on the basic technique for hitting your forehand and backhand groundstrokes, along with your volleys. As you progress though, you will likely need to face more difficult feeds with different spins and speed.

However, if you’re an intermediate or advanced player with fairly solid groundstrokes, you need a machine which will give you more challenging shots straight away, to replicate more what you’ll face in a match.

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’ll 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: Dad Racket

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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