The Ultimate Guide To Best Pickleball Ball Practice Machines in 2020

Last updated on April 28, 2020
Melvin Robles
Table of Contents

Welcome to the ultimate guide on picking the best pickleball machine for your needs. Below, you'll find our six top picks along with an extensive buying guide that'll help you make the right purchase.

Introduction

Whether you’re new to the sport or you’re a seasoned pickleball pro with years of experience under your belt, you’ve come to the right place. 

In the following guide, we’ll be taking a look at 6 of the best pickleball practice machines currently available on the market. 

But not only are these some of the best practice machines available, but we’ve also broken them down into categories such as the best overall machine, the best premium, as well as the best value pickleball throwing machines. 

So whether you have a tight budget, or you’re looking for the best machine your money can buy, keep reading and we’ll go over the best pickleball practice machines on the market.

Comparison Table

Pickleball Tutor PlusSimon XPickleball Tutor Spin
Pickleball Tutor PlusSimon XPickleball Tutor Spin
Capacity110 balls120 balls
(180 max)
110 balls
Weight27 lbs65 lbs22 lbs
Dimensions12" x 19.5" x 18"38" x 14.5" x 14.5"12" x 19.5" x 18"
Speed10-65 MPH5-70 MPH10-65 MPH
SpinYesYesYes
OscillationYesYesNo
Interval1-10 sec1.5-10 sec1-10 sec
Battery LifeUp to 6 hoursUp to 12 hoursUp to 6 hours
Warranty3 years
(battery 1 year)
3 years
(battery 1 year)
(Pitch wheels Lifetime)
3 years
(battery 1 year)

Top 6 Best Pickleball Machines for Practicing

1. The Pickleball Tutor Plus

Best Overall
The Pickleball Tutor Plus

Pros

  • Ideal for practicing any type of shot
  • Random oscillation
  • Built-in wheels and towing handle
  • Delay timer feature

Cons

  • Smaller ball capacity than other machines

As the overall best pick on our list, the Pickleball Tutor Plus is ideal for any tournament player that needs practice with their backspin or topspin shots. The Pickleball Tutor Plus can easily be tuned to help you practice any other type of shots, including lobs, dinks, drives, serves, and even groundstrokes. 

Capable of holding up to 110 pickleballs, the Tutor Plus can shoot balls up to 65 MPH and can be adjusted to feed you shots from one per second to one every 10 seconds. 

One awesome feature on this machine is that it has a delay timer, which gives you plenty of time to get across to the other side of the net before it starts launching your shots. 

It’s ideal for both indoor or outdoor uses and comes complete with a built-in rechargeable battery that provides you with up to 4 hours of continuous playtime. 

Additionally, the Pickleball Tutor Plus comes with a smart battery charger, providing you with a full charge overnight. It will also automatically shut itself off when fully charged to avoid over-charging and ruining your battery. 

Lastly, this machine is controlled by a single dial to control the amount of backspin or topspin on each shot. It also has a random oscillation setting and in-built 3” towing wheels for easy maneuverability. 

2. Simon X Practice Machine

Best Premium
Simon X Pickleball Practice Machine

Pros

  • Additional 60 ball hopper capacity (180 balls total)
  • Longer battery life (10 to 12 hours)
  • “Stealth oscillation” feature
  • Wireless controller
  • Lifetime warranty on pitch wheels
  • The revolutionary "Super Ramp" feature allows for dynamic adjustments and fine-tuning

Cons

  • Considerably more expensive than other machines

As one of the sport’s best-known manufacturers, the Simon X is the most advanced and powerful pickleball practice machine you’ll find on the market today. 

On top of being complete with all the standard features you’d expect, the Simon X is built using military-grade materials such as heavy-duty aluminum and stainless steel. In other words, you’ll never have to worry about breaking or damaging your practice ball machine; the Simon X is built to last. 

For practicing softer shots, the Simon X can be dialed down to lob your pickleball balls at a mere 5 MPH. But you also have the option to crank things up to a whopping 70 MPH, allowing you to practice like the pros, making this machine one of the fastest practice machines on the market. 

The Simon X has a 120 ball capacity, but you’ll also have the option to add an extra ball hopper to ramp this up by another 60 balls, for a total of 180. 

One of the things that I like the most about the Simon X is that it can be controlled via remote control from up to 100 feet away. Plus, the Simon X offers an extremely neat “stealth oscillation” feature, which means the oscillation occurs on the inside of the machine where you can’t see it, leading to more challenging practice sessions. 

In other words, you’re not going to be able to tell where the machine is going to lob your balls, which makes the Simon X one of the most realistic ball machines to practice with. 

Additionally, the Simon X has a standard battery life of between 10 and 12 hours, which is about 3 to 5 times longer than any other machine on our list. 

Finally, the Simon X can be adjusted to feed balls between 1.5 and 10 seconds apart and comes complete with easy maneuverability wheels and tow handle. 

So if you’re looking for the absolute best practice machine for pickleball money can buy, I’d definitely recommend checking out the Simon X. 

3. Pickleball Tutor Spin

Best Value
Pickleball Tutor Spin

Pros

  • Easy and adjustable setup
  • Time delay feature
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Basic model doesn’t have an oscillation feature
  • Wireless remote costs extra

Available with all sorts of features and add-ons, the Pickleball Tutor Spin is ideal for younger players or those just getting into the sport. 

The best part about this handy, smaller-sized machine is that it’s designed to be set up in no more than 5 seconds. All you’ll need to do is to open up the ball hopper, load in your pickleballs, and you’re ready to start practicing. 

Like most other practice machines, the Tutor Spin is capable of variable speeds, ranging from gentle lobs for practicing drinks, through to 60 MPH hard-hitters to sharpen your skills for tournaments and playing against the pros. 

You’re also able to adjust the machine’s ball feed, ranging from one every second for practicing those quick reaction volleys, to once every ten seconds for a more focused approach to how you receive shots. 

Additionally, the Tutor Spin comes complete with a time delay feature, giving you time to start it up and get to the other side of the court before the machine starts to lob balls your way. This machine is also fully adjustable so that you can practice a full range of trajectories ranging from dinks, high volleys, groundstrokes, and lobs. 

The Tutor Spin is also extremely lightweight, making it one of the most portable practice machines you’ll find on the market. 

4. Simon 2 Pickleball Throwing Machine

Simon 2 Pickleball Machine

Pros

  • Large ball capacity, but compact in size
  • Optional oscillation feature
  • Wireless controller
  • Adjustable ramp for practicing soft dinks or high volleys
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not the most up-to-date practice machine
  • Oscillation feature is only optional, and not included

Compared to the Simon X, the Simon 2 isn’t quite as powerful or as versatile. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an excellent option when shopping for an awesome pickleball practice machine. Plus, being one of the first pickleball machines to have hit the market, the Simon 2 is truly a classic. 

One of the best features of this machine is that it has a larger, 160 ball capacity. But it’s still relatively small and compact, being only 12.5” in width and 31” talls. In turn, this makes the Simon 2 super easy to move around and transport to and from the pickleball court. 

Capable of tossing balls from 0 to 60 MPH, the Simon 2 now comes with the option to add an oscillating platform. Additionally, it comes with a wireless remote that works from up to 100 feet away, making it ideal for both indoor or outdoor courts. 

The Simon 2 also comes with handy “zero jam” technology, and can be dialed in to feed balls at anywhere between 1.5 and 10 seconds apart. 

The Simon 2 has an adjustable ramp, making it one of the only machines on the market capable of throwing consistently perfect dinks to practice your soft game skills. Furthermore, the ramp can also be adjusted to serve you higher lobs, ideal for practicing overhead shots, high volleys, and returning high serves. 

In the end, the Simon 2 may not be as high-quality as the Simon X, but it is nonetheless an excellent practice machine. So if you’re in the market for the best value on a practice machine, I’d definitely recommend taking a better look at the Simon 2. 

5. Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

The Pickle By Lobster Ball Machine

Pros

  • Random oscillation
  • Variable speed and feed rates

Cons

  • Shorter warranty (2 years) than the Simon X or Simon 2
  • Remote control costs extra

With its random oscillation function and adjustable speeds up to 60 MPH, the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine makes for an ideal practice partner, without the need of spending a small fortune. 

Weighing in at only 35 lbs, the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine has larger 8-inch wheels, which makes it super easy to move around as needed. It also comes complete with an inverted ball hopper that holds up to 135 balls, ideal for lengthier practice sessions. 

Because of its random oscillation feature, this machine is an awesome pick for anybody that wants a challenging way to practice their footwork. Plus, like most other practice machines, the Lobster can be adjusted to toss standard shorts, dinks, or lobs, making it perfect for players of any skill level. 

This machine has a battery life of about 4 hours, and can be dialed in to feed balls from anywhere between 2 to 12 seconds apart, ideal for either more intense practices or slower, leisurely practices as desired. 

Finally, the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine is backed by a 2-year manufacturer warranty. 

6. Lobster Pickle Two Ball Machine

Lobster Pickleball Ball Machine

Pros

  • 2-line oscillation ideal for practicing single or double games
  • Electric elevation adjustment
  • 4 separate power options

Cons

  • Remote control optional and not included
  • Heavier than the original Lobster

If the original Lobster wasn’t good enough, then you’re going to love the new and improved Lobster Pickle Two Ball Machine. 

Although the Pickle Two Ball looks similar, it has a few awesome upgrades, such as a 2-line oscillation and electric elevation features, which make adjusting your launch angles as simple and as easy as possible. 

Another notable upgrade is the new and improved battery, which allows for up to 6 hours of practice time without the need for charging. Plus, the Pickle Two is the first practice unit on the market that can be used as both a plug-in or a battery-powered model. 

Like the original Lobster, the Pickle Two holds up to 135 balls and is capable of launching them at up to 60 MPH. At 42 lbs, it does weigh a bit more than the original Lobster, but it still has the same 8-inch wheels, which make it easy to move around on the court. 

Overall, the Lobster and the Lobster Pickle Two offer an excellent range of features and options that allow for a fully customized practice experience. 

Pickleball Machine Buying Considerations

As pickleball continues to grow in popularity, we’re seeing players and manufacturers coming out with an increasing number of new and innovative gear and practice tools. 

Ranging from paddles made with high-tech materials throughout to pickleball throwing machines that are ideal for beginners and pros alike, there’s plenty to get into about this somewhat unconventional sport. 

But because we’re talking about a relatively new sport, which has only been around since the mid-1960s, it can be hard to decide how to compare these newer products hitting the market. 

Fortunately, I’ve put together this following buying guide to help you understand what to look for when shopping for a new pickleball practice machine. 

So with that said, let’s dive into the 6 most important factors to keep in mind when purchasing a pickleball machine.

Ball Capacity

One of the hardest parts about practicing pickleball alone is that you don’t have anybody to toss balls your way. 

Of course, this is remedied by using a practice machine. But machines that have smaller-sized hoppers are much more inconvenient since you’ll need to stop practicing once the hopper is empty to go over and reload it. 

So with that said, I’d recommend looking for a machine with a larger hopper, such as the Simon X, which is capable of holding up to 180 pickleballs, ensuring that you’ll be able to hone your skills without needing to stop to reload every 10 minutes. 

Spin Effect

One of the trickiest parts about playing pickleball against an opponent is that they’re able to put a spin on the ball, causing it to veer its directions as it travels over the net. 

So when you’re practicing, you’re going to want a machine that’s capable of putting either topspin, sidespin, or backspins on its shots to properly emulate pickleball serves from a real player. 

Unfortunately, not all practice machines are capable of this. So if you’re looking for the best way to practice, make sure to look for a machine with this feature.

Weight And Maneuverability

Woman dragging movable pickleball ball machine

Practicing pickleball, especially alone, is already rather inconvenient since you likely won’t have anyone there to help you set up. 

Therefore, depending on your own physical capabilities, as well as where your pickleball court is located, you’re going to want to look for a machine that’s relatively lightweight and maneuverable. 

Think about it! Having a practice machine isn’t going to do you any good if you’re not going to be able to move it onto the court and set it up by yourself. 

Speed, Oscillation, And Interval Adjustments

One of the biggest downsides to practicing against a machine, rather than a real human, is that not every machine is going to be able to toss you different types of shots. On the other hand, when you’re practicing or playing against a human, the most challenging part is that it’s hard to tell where they’re going to send their shots. 

Fortunately, many practice machines have different adjustment features, such as random oscillation, which allow you to truly hone your skills by sending you softer dinks or harder-hitting serves. 

While this may not be the most important factor to consider for younger players or those who are new to the sport, for experienced players, being able to practice different shots and techniques is a vital component to honing your skills. 

pickleball machine settings

Construction And Warranty

Needless to say, not every practice machine is going to be built the same. Some are going to be designed with more fragile, lightweight materials like plastic, while others, like the Simon X, are designed with military-grade aluminum and stainless steel to ensure a durable build. 

So when shopping for a practice machine, make sure to keep in mind what materials the machine is made from. 

Also, many of the machines we’ve discussed are backed by differing warranties. For instance, the Simon X is backed by a much more comprehensive lifetime warranty on its two pitch/throw wheels which are the most important components on a throwing machine, while others are only backed by a 2 or 3-year warranty. 

Pricing And Personal Budget

As with anything you purchase, the price, as well as your own personal budget should always be one of the most important factors to keep in mind while shopping. 

Fortunately, the pickleball practice machines we’ve discussed today range in price, and some can be customized with additional features that will ultimately affect the price. 

So just make sure to keep your own budget in mind while shopping. 

I wouldn’t want you to end up buying one of the most expensive machines available, only to need to return it in a month because you can no longer afford it. 

Wrapping It Up

Best pickleball machines guide thumbnail

In the end, pickleball is a sport that has a lot to love about it. And whether you're a new, younger player or an experienced pro, this relatively new sport has plenty to offer in terms of health benefits, and not to mention that it’s simply oodles of fun to play.  

And with that said, using a pickleball throwing machine is one of the best ways to practice and hone your skills when you don’t have anyone else to practice with. 

So if you’re in the market for a pickleball practice machine, just make sure to keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to playing like the pros.

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