Pickleball Machines
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Top 8 Best Pickleball Ball Machines: ProTips & Picks

Ball machines are becoming increasingly popular as training tools for beginners and pros alike. We have all seen a tennis ball machine and how it is used for practice. A pickleball machine is very similar.

As we know, pickleball is one of America’s fastest-growing sports. Per a recent article by CNBC, there are 4 million playing the sport. Pickleball is a great sport for everyone, from kids to seniors. I play both rec and league play, and using a pickleball machine is an integral part of my training.

For League play, we train in Clinics with a mix of gameplay and using ball machines to focus on specific skills and shots. Using a pickleball machine has really improved my game. The shots, while generally a consistent type, have enough variation that they do simulate on-court play.

I am familiar with different types of machines based on the venues I have played. We use a Free Standing ball machine at our courts. What’s nice about this machine is the large hopper and the remote. Learning how to tune it for the types of shots you want to practice took a bit. But once you learned this, it was easy every time.

This is a great article from Sarah Ansboury, who is a Pickleball Touring Professional and Director of Pickleball Instruction at Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head, Island, on practicing with a pickleball ball machine and its benefits. Palmetto Dunes is where I first stepped onto a pickleball court and fell in love with the game.

What Is A Pickleball Machine?

A pickleball machine is like your personal trainer. They are very similar to a tennis ball machine. You can use it to up your pickleball game because it throws balls at you automatically, perfect for when you want to practice alone or with a friend.

Automated pickleball machines are one of the emerging technologies in pickleball that promise to continue to advance, making portability, ease of use, and skill improvement readily accessible to individuals and facilities.

You can use it to up your pickleball game because it throws balls at you automatically, perfect for when you want to practice alone or with a friend. Whether you need to sharpen your serve, return, or just your overall performance, this machine’s got your back.

They give you endless practice sessions to fit every practice routine. They are a great drill partner, and there are several drills that you can do: solo drills, two-three player drills, or doubles drills.

These pickleball machines usually come with a hopper packed with balls. And just like a tennis ball machine, you can set it up to toss balls at different speeds, angles, or even with a spin—Plus, some models can do specific drills, so you can zero in on your weak points. Most can take indoor or outdoor balls.

Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or already a pro, a pickleball practice machine can be a game-changer. You can use it to perfect your technique and boost your consistency, not to mention your all-around performance. Practicing alone? No problem. This machine doesn’t care if you don’t have a partner.

Pickleball ball machine

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Ball Machine?

Better Your Serve

Firstly, it’s a great way to better your serve. The machine gives you balls at the same speed and spot, so you can build a consistent serve that’ll give your opponents a hard time.

Improve Your Return Game

Then, there’s your return game. A pickleball machine can throw balls at different speeds, trajectories, and spins, helping you master a return that’s tough for opponents to score off.

Multi-shot Practice

Lastly, it’s not just about individual strokes. A pickleball ball machine helps you get better at handling all kinds of shots, making you a well-rounded player ready for whatever the opponent throws your way.

So, if you’re serious about leveling up your pickleball skills, investing in a ball machine is totally worth it. Trust me, it’s a great tool for polishing your technique, keeping your game consistent, and overall just elevating your performance.

What Are The Types Of Pickleball Machines?

Free Standing

There are many types of pickleball machines to choose from. Where I play, we use a free-standing machine. These pickleball machines stand on their own, come loaded with many features, and give you a lot of flexibility. They’re usually a bit more expensive, but if you’re looking for something packed with options, they’re your best bet.


When choosing a machine, you need to consider your specific needs and how much you want to spend. If you’re really into pickleball and practice a lot, I would choose a free-standing machine. But if you’re just starting out, want to take it to various locations with you, or you’re a more casual player, a portable machine might be more up your alley.

What Should You Consider When Choosing The Best Ball Machine For You?

Size of the Hopper

The size of the hopper is important. It means you can drill longer the more balls the machine can hold. Having done countless drills using pickleball ball machines, this can be a real advantage.


The best pickleball machine for a beginner should have a speed range from 0-45 mph. More advanced players will be able to set it at the higher setting of 45-65 mph, but it will provide a range of options for all levels.


Trajectory is essential if you’re trying to master certain shots. For instance, if you’re focusing on your serves, a machine that delivers high-arcing shots is a must. Different oscillations are important. Some machines can have random oscillation, and other machines 2 line oscillations. A few offer both.


Spin can make a big difference, especially when working on your returns. For instance, a machine that can add topspin to the balls would be handy if you’re trying to perfect your backhand returns.

Extra Features

Some machines come with extra features, pre-programmed drills, the ability to program different speeds, trajectories, spin rates, and an external battery pack. These can be really useful if you’re looking to practice specific drills. Ball capacity is also something to keep in mind.

Also, look for a machine that has a remote control. This really makes practice sessions more productive.


Finally, price plays a huge role. Pickleball machines can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The price generally goes hand-in-hand with the machine’s capabilities and features.

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What Are Features Every Pickleball Machine Should Have?


  • Durability: The machine should be durable enough to withstand the rigors of regular use.
  • Interval adjustments: This allows you to determine the time between balls.
  • Preset drills: This allows you to just select a drill and get to practicing.
  • Battery powered: An external battery pack makes charging very easy, and increases practice uptime. This is a must, or you should buy two battery packs. One is to keep on a charger, and one is for use.
  • Portability: The ball machine should be portable enough to transport to and from practice easily.
  • Ease of use: The machine should be easy to use, even for players unfamiliar with technology.

Additional Important Features

  • Programmability: Some ball machines can be programmed to hit balls at specific speeds, trajectories, and spin rates. This can be helpful for players who want to practice specific drills.
  • Remote control: Some ball machines can be controlled by a remote control. This can be helpful for players who want to practice without having to run back and forth to the machine.
  • Ball hopper capacity: The ball hopper capacity is the number of balls the machine can hold. A larger ball hopper capacity is ideal for players who want to practice for extended periods without having to refill the hopper. For those used to a tennis ball machine, the ball capacity is much different.
  • Battery life: The battery life is the time the machine can run on a single charge. A longer battery life is ideal for players who want to practice without worrying about the machine running out of power.

When choosing a pickleball ball machine, it is important to consider your needs and budget. If you are a serious player who wants to practice regularly, then a machine with a lot of features is a good option. If you are a beginner or a casual player, a machine with fewer features may be a better choice.

Who Are The Major Manufacturers?

These are the Top 5 manufacturers:

  • Pickleball Tutor: Pickleball Tutor is a popular brand of pickleball machine known for its durability and ease of use. The Pickleball Tutor can be programmed to hit balls at various speeds, trajectories, and spin rates. 
  • Lobster: Lobster is another popular brand of pickleball machine known for its power and accuracy. The Lobster can hit balls up to 60 miles per hour and can be programmed to hit balls at various trajectories and spin rates. 
  • Spinshot: Spinshot is a brand of pickleball machine that is known for its high-end features. The Spinshot can hit balls at very high speeds and can be programmed to hit balls with various spin rates. 
  • Slinger: Slinger is a newer brand that is known for its affordability, portability, and features. You can store all your pickleball equipment in the Slinger, including paddles, shoes, and balls.
  • ERNE: This is a new advanced pickleball ball machine. It has features that set it apart from the others in the market. It can hold up to 150 balls (best in class) and has over 24 preprogrammed drills.

What Are The Best Pickleball Machines?


Best overall
ERNE pickleball ball machine

New innovation in ball machines

Easy to use. Different approach to motion control; delivers smooth and precise shots.

The largest number of preset drills covering 28 different court positions.

Two types of power, AC (unlimited) and battery. Gives great flexibility.

Smart Phone Controls for all functions

Ball speeds of 10-65mph

Ball Feed adjustable from 1-10 seconds

150 ball capacity



  • Only 42 lb capacity with towing wheels- easy to transport
  • Smart Phone Controls: iPhone and Android apps available for control of the machine
  • Random oscillator delivers shots randomly across the court to practice on the run
  • Largest number of preset drills on the market today
  • Rechargeable battery and AC power (unlimited)
  • 3-year manufacturer warranty; 6 months on battery and throwing wheels


  • On the expensive side
  • Slightly heavier than others

#2 Tutor Plus

Runner Up: Overall
tutor plus pickleball ball machine

The Sports Pickleball Tutor Plus is one of the most popular pickleball machines on the market.

Shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

A single dial controls the amount of topspin or backspin with speeds of 10-65mph

Ball Feed adjustable from 1-10 seconds

110 ball capacity

Tutor Plus Controller
Tutor Plus Remote Control
Tutor Plus rollers


  • Less than 35 lb capacity with towing wheels- easy to transport
  • Easy-to-use knob controls
  • Random oscillator delivers shots randomly across the court to practice on the run
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 3-year manufacturer warranty – best in class


  • Ball capacity is lower than other options
  • Slightly heavier than others

These features make it an easy choice for our best pick. There are others that might do individual things a bit better. But this machine is hands down the most effective.

#3 Tutor Spin

Best Mid-priced
Tutor Spin

The Sports Pickleball Tutor Spin shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

Side spin: from no spin to a left or right sideways movement of several feet

Speed of 10-60mph

Ball feed adjustable 1-10 seconds

125 ball capacity

Tutor Spin Controller
Tutor Spin roller


  • Less than 30 lbs and tows like luggage with a built-in handle and casters
  • Easy-to-use knobs
  • Random oscillator delivers shots randomly across the court to practice on the run
  • Built-in battery with 3 hours of run time; rechargeable overnight with automatic shut-off
  • 3 yr warranty – best in class


  • Lower speed range

#4 Lobster

lobster pickleball ball machine

A great basic machine that is extremely portable

Shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

Variable top spin – Heavy Top Spin and Back Spin

Speed of 10-60mph

Ball speed adjustable 2-12 seconds

135 ball capacity

Lobster controller


  • Only 35 lbs
  • Portable
  • Built-in battery with 2-4 hours of runtime (trickle charger included)
  • Random oscillator delivers shots randomly across the court to practice on the run
  • Elevation up to 50°
  • 2 year warranty (battery 6 months)
  • Large ball capacity


  • The warranty period is shorter
  • Accessories can be costly

#5 Lobster Two

Portable more features
Lobster Two

This generation eliminates most of the issues with the Lobster but at a higher price point.

All the features of the Lobster

Oscillation is 2 Line – the ball is delivered to 2 alternating preset spots PLUS random horizontal oscillation

#6 Spinshot Pickleball Machine-Player

Best for serious/advanced players
spin shot pickleball machine

This is a serious pickleball machine with advanced training in mind from a company that is a leader in tennis ball machines.

Shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

12 programmable settings by controller or smartphone and pre-programmed drills

Can custom program drills using the Drillmaker app and save for next session

Speed 10-68mph

Internal and external battery


  • Programmable and Custom Drills
  • Pre-programmed drills
  • Saves 6 shots at a time
  • Highest ball speed
  • 2 year warranty (battery 6 months)


  • Heavier at 42 lbs
  • Shorter battery life at 2-3 hours
  • Higher priced

#7 Tutor Mini

Best portable/budget-friendly
mini pickleball machine

The Sports Tutor Mini is an excellent machine that you can take with you anywhere. Very versatile.

The Sports Tutor Mini shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

Random oscillation

Speed 10-50mph

60 ball capacity


  • Weight 24 lbs
  • Extremely portable
  • Low price point
  • 3-hour battery life
  • 3-year warranty best in class


  • Ball speed max of 50mph
  • No remote
  • Manual elevation
  • Oscillation options limited

#8 Slinger

Runner Up: portable/budget friendly
Slinger pickleball ball machine

The Slinger is an excellent machine that you can take with you anywhere. Very versatile.

The Slinger shoots any type of shot: Groundstrokes, Lobs, Dinks, Drives

Random oscillation

Speed 10-45mph

120 ball capacity


  • Portable
  • Large ball hopper
  • USB charging station
  • Versatile – holds all equipment (paddles, shoes, balls)
  • Low price point
  • 3-hour battery life


  • On the heavier side
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Ball speed max of 45 mph
  • Manual elevation
  • Oscillation options limited
  • No pre-programmed drills
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We’ve looked at the best pickleball ball machines’ role in training. They allow every player to hone their skills, refine strategies, and improve overall gameplay.

From models like the Pickleball Sports Tutor Spin and Lobster Sports’ Pickleball Machine to the innovative Pickleball Sports Tutor Plus, each machine brings unique capabilities. These machines enable us to practice for extended periods, work on specific areas of their game, and experience a wide range of shots that replicate real-game situations.

The best pickleball machines are training tools for individual players like ourselves, coaches, and teams. Investing in a good pickleball ball machine that’s right for you can be a game-changer if your goal is to advance your game and your ranking.

I am including a video of how to use a ball machine to train by Pro Player John Cicola.

As technology develops, we will continue to see even more advanced machines that will take our practice and training to the next level.

Therefore, whether you’re an amateur, a professional player, or a coach, the importance of integrating a pickleball machine into your training routine must be addressed. Having this edge could be the difference between being a good player and a great one.

Frequently Asked Questions

The simple answer is yes. They provide a consistent and tireless drill partner that allows you to do solo drills or with a partner.

Most machines can take either. The difference between balls is largely in their hole patterns.

I have included a video in this review. Also, our article on 16 Best Pickleball Drills has great drills using a Pickleball Machine.

Yes. We have reviewed six great options.

There are several ways to practice:

  1. Drills that can be done at home with or without a wall (think garage). This takes you through some solo drills.
  2. You can buy a small portable pickleball machine and a portable net. You can set these up in your driveway, a parking lot, or on a tennis court. Portable nets range from $60-$300, so there is one for all budgets.
  • 4 people
  • Initial serving team only gets one rotation (0,0,2)
  • You only score when you are serving
  • There is a double bounce rule: The return team must let it bounce, and the serving team must let it bounce before hitting on the return (the serving team cannot take the ball out of the air)
  • You cannot take a volley in the kitchen, if the ball bounces first in the kitchen you can hit it out of the kitchen.
  • There are no ‘lets’. If the serving team serves and it hits the net and lands in the kitchen, it is short, and the serve is lost. If the ball hits the net and clears the kitchen, the ball is fair, and the point is played out.
  • The score is simple: it is your score, your opponent’s score, and then what server you are 1 or 2.
  • The first server is always in the right-hand box (even side).

Feature Image Courtesy of PPA Tour

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