Owning a pickleball machine gives you a tremendous advantage at getting better at the game and sharpening your skills whether it’s on your own or with the help from a coach. If you are a pickleball player who is looking for a pickleball training machine then read our list of the best pickleball training machines!
The side shot fires and the spin balls that are served by a pickleball machine at random over the net are sure to keep you on the edge by getting you better with your dinks, returns and also give you the ability of going against more powerful and strong opponents, which also sharpen your counterpunch shots that can help score a lot more points during a match.
If you’re into pickleball and you’re a serious player then you’ve come just to the right place!
You can also check: Top 11 Best Pickleball Paddles in 2021
What is Pickleball?
First, let’s start with what pickleball exactly is. Invented in 1965, it’s a fun and friendly game with simple rules meaning anyone can pick it up and learn playing quickly enough, however, it can also be a fast paced competitive game for players with more experience in playing it.
In simple terms, pickleball is essentially the combination of table tennis, tennis and badminton. It’s a game that is easily playable both indoors and outdoors on a court that is normally the same size as a badminton court and it also has a tennis net which is slightly modified for pickleball.
It can be played as both singles and doubles. It uses a plastic ball that has holes in it and a paddle to play. Pickleball is a fun game that can be enjoyed by people of every age range and have a fun time playing.
What is a Pickleball Machine?
You have surely seen tennis ball machines around, whether it be on the television or on tennis courts, but chances are you haven’t come across a pickleball machine.
A pickleball machine is great for your practice sessions. It feeds you balls by shooting them over the net automatically just like an opponent would in an actual match.
It allows you to essentially better your overall gameplay by practicing almost every type of pickleball shots since the machine can be set to serve speed shots, lobs, dinks, vollety, slams and other alternating shots as well at any desired speed.
This means that you can refine your skills and techniques by building muscle memory and getting used to almost every type of pickleball shots.
A good pickleball machine should allow you to deliver balls at various places all over the court by pre-setting the machine to do so. This can help you to alternate between shots quickly. The machine should also be able to alter between various feed rates to help you get used to both slower and fast paced opponent plays.
What Exactly Does a Pickleball Machine Do?
Pickleball machines are used to shoot pickleball balls across the court and over the net based on either random or predetermined settings. It comes in handy the most if you’re practicing shots or maybe want to sharpen your backhand and forehand techniques but you don’t have a partner or coach to practice with.
If you want to build up your stamina, reaction times and your reflexes you can also do so using the pickleball machine to serve you balls at various speeds and alternating feed rates on both sides of the court. It provides you a more challenging way to sharpen your skills.
Things You Need to Consider before Buying a Pickleball Machine
Now, before jumping the gun and buying a pickleball machine to practice with, here are some things you might want to consider:
This is a very important feature that every player needs to consider. The efficiency of your pickleball practice machine depends largely on how many balls it can hold in its hopper.
You have to remember that every time the machine is empty you will have to pause your training to pick up the balls again. This can easily get frustrating and hold you back from practicing for longer periods of time.
However, having a ball mower in possession may make things easier by speeding up the process of picking up the balls and refilling the pickleball machine; it still gets in the way of your lesson and cuts down your training hours.
Generally the machines have a capacity to hold balls that can vary from ranges of 120 to around a 160. Even with the lesser 120 you have to consider that 120 shots in a row is still a lot of shots.
In practical terms having over a 100 shots is plenty, since having too many balls fired will get them all over the court and you would have to stop for multiple reasons, such as:
- You’ll eventually end up having to stop because of the number of balls all over the court and having too many balls spread across your feet is easily a tripping hazard.
- Having a machine with a large capacity of holding balls means it will have to have a larger hopper, meaning it will have a whole larger body, which makes moving it around a chore.
- You would probably need to give your arm some rest and catch a breather at that point.
- Most pickleball trainers and coaches generally may not want to do drills over a 100 shot anyways since there needs to be a break time for correction and instruction from the coach. Collecting the balls to refill the hopper is also a natural part of the training to begin with and having over a 100 shots gives you enough opportunity and room for a series of drills.
A critical part of every ball throwing machine, the two throw/pitch wheels that are used to fire the pickleball balls out on the court. It can cause inconsistency, a degrade in performance and give out negative results if the wheels are to be out of balance or getting out of shape. They’re often pretty expensive to replace or even repair.
Shot Adjustable Arc
An important feature that is used to modify the selection of shots you want to practice. Whether be it long baseline drives or straight line drives to practice your hard serve returns and even a shorter arc for those soft lobs and dink shots. You can also practice overhead smashes and high lobs with a higher arc setting.
This lets you have control over the number of seconds between each shot. A good speed interval is ranging from at least 1 second which lets you have a fast paced match to about 10 seconds or more which can be useful for coaches to provide instructions between shot intervals.
Most latest machines have a standard speed of at least 10 MPH on the lows to deliver soft lobs, drops, dinks etc. and high speeds that generally max out around 60 to 65 MPH.
However, the 40 MPH max speeds that are offered by the older machines aren’t bad either. They’re quite sufficient and offer decent enough speeds for you to train your baseline drives and a good max velocity that is adequate for most players.
A more competitive and serious player or a strict coach may want the extra punches offered by the newest and latest machines to bring their practice sessions up a notch or to have a more advanced and challenging training regime.
There aren’t that many machines offering this feature yet, but what it does is it keeps the shots unpredictable by using random horizontal patterns. This can lower reaction time and make you more reflexive.
This is a feature that helps you to increase the height of the dink and lob shots. It can also be used for practicing overhead shots and high lob returns with the max elevation.
A feature offered only by pickleball machines from Lobster so far. This feature allows the ball to have an option of both topspin and backspin.
Battery life and Charging Time
If you’re going in for a model that is battery powered then it is very important for the charging time to be considered. The playtime of the machine is directly dependent on how long it needs to charge as added hours of charging limits the usage of the pickleball machine for longer periods of time on the court or anywhere else it may be used, and may you may end up having to buy external packs of battery.
Play While It’s Charging
A feature that a lot machines do not have! This feature allows the machine to also be used while it’s charging, meaning longer usage.
A very useful and handy feature that lets you charge your pickleball machine with an extension cord when you’re near a power source. This can offer you longer playing times.
Another really handy feature! It makes the use of the machine much more convenient with a remote control at hand, especially if you’re practicing alone. If you’re taking turns with a friend or have a coach with you during your training hours then it’s easy to pause the machine since they can help you do that, but if you do end up practicing by yourself then having a remote can be a great time saver since you can operate the machine from the other end of the court.
It’s still a great help even if people are around. Not having to go back and forth to turn off the machine saves a lot of time during your pickleball lessons, making them more efficient and time saving.
It also provides the benefit of being able to turn it off in between drills so the coach can give instructions, tips or even adjust the machine to a certain setting or angle if needed and resume the training lesson in no time. It saves a lot of hassle and time having a remote to control your pickleball machine.
You may think it’ll be easier to just hit all balls and then refill it after but you need to consider the fact that a good pickleball machine will be able to hold around 120 balls at least.
In reality, most players don’t really hit over a 100 balls straight without experiencing any kind of fatigue. Many players would want to pause to take a break to maybe look at their progress and going back to the other end of the court to turn off the machine while it still continues to spit balls out, isn’t very efficient when you’re practicing. It will just make more of a mess for you to clean again.
The cost of the product is obviously a major factor when buying it. You need to consider the fact that you’re not just looking at the base price of the machine but you also need to add the price of any add-ons or extra equipment that you may need.
For example, some pickleball machines have a battery life that is more than double compared to the others, meaning, if you were to get those you’d save the cost of having to buy an external pack of battery. Some machines come with an oscillation feature while it is an extra add-on feature on others.
Even still with the extra add-on features most of these machines are really close in terms of price range so there isn’t much of a difference between them, apart from a few premium ones which can go up to very high prices.
Best Pickleball Machine Brands
Best Pickleball Machine Brands
Once you start looking for pickleball machines and researching them, you will find yourself often coming across similar brand names again and again, such as:
These are the few companies that are also referred to as parent companies and they mainly started off with tennis ball machines.
Now with all that said, let’s get into our list of some of the best pickleball training machines for you!
Best Pickleball Training Machines
Offers variable spins
Franklin Sports MLB
Comes with 6 balls included
Distance and height adjustable
7 second pitches
Easy to use
Easy to carry and store
Flexibility with power options
Spinshot Plus- 2
Flexibility with power options
Easy to store and carry
Has easy controls
Easy to carry
Comes with 25 free pickleballs
Easy to set up
Offers a three year warranty
Allows different add-ons
Has an intelligent design
It is easy to set up
Easy to carry
Easy to set up
Has a seven angle setting
Great customer service
1. Lobster Sports - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
It helps with every type of pickleball training and caters to the needs of players whether they are beginners or professionals. The feed rate, speed, throw type and even elevation can be manually set up. Lobster provides you with a great pickleball experience and is great for family use as well
2. Franklin Sports MLB - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
This Franklin is family friendly and a great partner for kids to play with. It can be set up with ease and it also has a flashing red light indicator that shows when the ball is fired. This allows children to practice on their own and be independent.
3. Spinshot Pro - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
Spinshot is a brand known to deliver their users flexibility and convenience. The Spinshot Pro makes your training sessions much smoother and easier to go through with their smartwatch connection. The machine also allows easy manual adjustments with its knobs.
4. Spinshot Plus-2 - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
The Spinshot Plus is a thinner model compared to most other machines in the market. Thus it is lightweight and can be carried with much ease. This model in particular is actually a fusion between two of its previous models. This machine also comes with included features from the previous ones.
5. OnCourt OffCourt - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
It is fair to call this one of the best pickleball machines out there. It can shoot balls at 60 MPH and also holds 150 balls in a batch, meaning you don’t need to take breaks every few shots and it can be set to shoot at whatever setting you prefer. It also applies a left and right spin for practicing tough serves.
6. Wilson Portable - Best Pickleball Training Machines of 2021
Wilson is a brand that provides its customers an excellent product performance and also has a great service quality. This machine is really portable with its compact build and it’s also easy to use and get the hang of.
The manufacturers also offer you a three year warranty. They also have a great and responsive customer service. It also can throw balls randomly to make your practice even more challenging.
7. GDAE10 Automatic
This machine by GDAE10 may be small but it is still functional for both outdoor and indoor uses. It can be placed on a table or church for height adjustment. It ensures a great bonding experience with your family. This is a great machine for beginners and is easy to set up. It’s not that difficult to figure it out and can be easily handled for use.
The YAETEK is sure to make your practice sessions worthwhile with its product speculation. It has a great overall quality and also a great ball holding capacity. It is also really easy to set up.
If you look out for the things mentioned above and choose your pickleball machine wisely to your needs then it will surely be a great investment towards a better training session.
Anything is possible with hard work, determination and practice, and a great way to practice would be with the use of a pickleball machine. Whether you’re a beginner, a professional with experience or even a coach, a pickleball machine is sure to come in handy and provide you with different benefits.
All the options above are amazing picks, so just choose one and sharpen your skills!