Best Pitching Machine Reviews
Who has the Best Baseball Pitching Machine? When deciding to buy a pitching machine, your goal is to obtain the best pitching machine within your budget. Buying a pitching machine is a valuable investment. It is essential that you do the necessary research to find the best machine. The decision made will last for seasons to come and be valuable for shaping your skills.
In a hurry and don’t have time to read this wonderful article 😉 This is our answer.
The choice would be a close race between The Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine and the Rawlings Pro Line Pitching Machine. Both of these options offer an excellent pitching machine for the price (comparatively), with lots of features. If your budget is very tight, the Zooka ZS740 Pitching Machine.
Pitching Machine Mobility
If you are going to be moving your pitching machine (they can be very heavy), then you might want to check into purchasing a more compact style of pitching machine, one that is easier to store, carry and walk around.
Picking The Best Baseball Pitching Machine
To help make your choice more comfortable, this short, but thorough guide for buying the best baseball pitching machine will help you understand more about the differences in each pitching machine and give you insights when constructing your checklist.
There is a lot to think about before making that final purchasing decision. I would suggest creating a checklist of all the must-have features you want from a pitching machine and compare it to the other pitching machines that are currently on the market.
Different Types Of Pitching Machines
A pitching machine will typically come in two different styles: armed or wheeled. The method of the device dictates on the way it releases the ball once the ball enters into the machine.
Pitching Machines that use the “arm style” are what you commonly come across in established indoor batting cages or Theme Parks. They’re durable compared to the portable pitching machine, but have important drawbacks: big and not easily moved.
Most average consumers shop for wheeled baseball pitching machines because they are far more storable, mobile and affordable. While wheeled pitching machines can reach high velocities, many adjust for different pitch types and angles.
Some models can set up to release game-style pitches. Curveball, knuckleball, fastball, slider, sinker, etc…
Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Types of Balls To Use
Aside from pitching mechanics, the pitching machine also differs from the model and types of balls they can use.
About half of the baseball pitching machines are designed to use the dimpled rubber balls, while some of your more basic models will pitch whiffle balls.
Most of your higher end pitching machines will allow for both the dimpled and real leather baseballs.
Some of the cheaper made baseballs will degrade as you use them with your pitching machine; they’ll start to tear at the stitches, form lumps and other defects.
Batting cage balls, the dimpled rubber ones, on the other hand, are built to last and last.
Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Ball Speeds
Consider how fast your baseball pitching machine needs to throw.
In the market for buying a baseball pitching machine for your son or daughter. A low or medium speed machine might be the answer. These machines can only reach a maximum of 65 mph. There are even models that throw as much as 10-15 mph for very young players.
On the other hand, if you are in the market for buying a baseball pitching machine for a high school age or older than there might be a need for a faster machine. A pitching machine capable of simulating the pitch speeds you see in live games.
The best high-speed pitching machines can propel the ball up to 100 mph.
Thus, they are much more attuned to match pitch speeds thrown at any level of play, even the big leagues.
Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Adjustability
When constructing your list of qualities, think about how you will be using the pitching machine.
The best baseball pitching machine can adjust to meet different needs and purposes. For instance, did you know that a pitching machine can help with defensive skills, as well as hitting? If using your machine to practice fielding, find one that adjusts to serve this role.
The Best Baseball Pitching Machine will be able to throw various types of pitches. The option of throwing different pitches is crucial when learning how to hit a breaking ball or a fastball.
Other features could include like how the balls feed into the pitching machine.
If you often practice with someone else, then there isn’t much to worry. But if practicing alone, you want to find a pitching machine that has a remotely controlled auto-feeder.}
Best Baseball Pitching Machine Reviews
Now that you have a general understanding of what you need to look for in a pitching machine, it is time to look at some reviews of the top models on the market and determine some of the standout candidates for your future pitching machine.
This list is designed to include a variety of different models, to meet the many different types and applications of these devices.
The hope is that no matter what specific qualities you are looking for in your pitching machine, there will be an option in the list below that suits your unique account of needs.
When it comes to finding an affordable, but useful two-wheel pitching machine, the Heater Sports Deuce is hard to beat, thanks to its adjustable settings and other features.
In other words, for this to be the best baseball pitching machine it is likely going to need to scratch a few things off your checklist.
First, it is capable of pitching speeds up to 75 mph, but also able to safely and slowly lob the ball over the plate for younger players.
By estimate, it is suited by players eight years of age to adults.
What’s more, especially with young players around, the machine’s encased wheels so no fingers or other appendages can accidentally get caught while it is operating.
If you or your young player are practicing alone, the Heater Sports Deuce has an automatic ball feeder that holds twelve balls and releases one every ten seconds, which is more than enough time to set it and get yourself into position at the plate.
The pitching machine designed with a pivoting head, which allows it to hurl a more extensive repertoire of pitches, including curveballs and other deceptive breaking balls, which is excellent for a player having trouble reading these types of throws.
The height of the machine can also be adjusted.
The Heater Sports Deuce pitching machine is capable of throwing regulation baseballs and same-size practice balls.
That said, I recommend that you use practice balls over real baseballs because these cause less wear and tear on the machine’s wheels.
When it comes to convenience and mobility, the Zooka ZS740 is honestly one of the best baseball pitching machines available. It weighs a mere 25 pounds, so you can easily carry it along with your equipment bag in one trip from your vehicle to the field. Also adding convenience is this pitching machine rechargeable, 12-volt battery.
Not only is this battery long lasting (power consumption reports estimate that it can throw 500-800 balls, depending on pitch speed), but it also eliminates the hassle of power cords.
The Zooka ZS740’s innovation is in its digital interface, which lets the operator track the speed of every pitch.
It’s also capable of being programmed to throw a mix of pitches, for a better simulation of real pitching that allows the batter to practice adjusting from a fastball to an off-speed changeup.
For safety, the digital interface can be password protected, so only an operating adult can turn the machine on.
It also automatically shuts down if left idle.
Because this machine uses compressed air to pitch balls, instead of wheels, it is a lot safer; no fingers can get harmed by fast-moving parts.
This throwing mechanism also means the Zooka ZS740 Pitching Machine can throw real baseballs, without you having to worry about wearing down the machine and needing to replace wheels or destroying the balls.
Compared to a wheeled pitching machine, this one is practically maintenance free.
When it comes time to practice fielding, the easy-tilt-and-swivel design of this device’s tripod can adjust to multiple positions that make it possible to throw ground balls, towering fly balls and hard line drives. No matter what position you play, you can use the Zooka ZS740 to improve your fielding.
When it comes to high-end batting practice aids, the ATEC M2 is at the head of the class.
That said, if pricing and affordability are one of your top concerns, you may want to save yourself the reading time and skip down; these machines can run between $3,000-4,000.
Often, they are purchased for an entire team to use because they have some many different functions for practicing hitting and fielding.
On the hitting side of the spectrum, the ATEC M2 Softball Pitching Machine delivers the best precision control, and one of the best speed ranges on the market.
Its micro-adjustment technology allows the operator to make small changes in pitch location, type, and velocity.
It is arguably the closest at simulating live, top level pitching; you can dial it in to throw a fastball up and in, before throwing a breaking ball down and in and then a changeup away.
For defensive drills, this top-of-the-line pitching machine can be adjusted to throw both infield and outfield practice.
And, to achieve a more authentic feel to practice, you can use real softballs with the ATEC M2 Softball Pitching Machine, or the dimpled practice balls if you choose.
The wheels of the machine are even designed to cause less damage to real balls, so you don’t have to worry about blowing through boxes of softballs.
Aside from its price, the only other downside to this machine is that it has to be plugged in.
Not having available power can make mobility or practice on a field and issue.
Most consumers recommend buying a generator to power it when it is on the field, but that incurs an additional expense to an already hefty price tag.
The beauty of the Louisville Slugger’s UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is in its simplicity.
Where other machines choose to pitch balls with fast-moving wheels, compressed air or other mechanisms, the UPM 45 achieves pitch speeds between 18-45 mph with a pure spring driven arm.
Not only does this mean there is no power or electricity source needed, but it also allows the machine to pitch any baseball or softball.
It is the official pitching machine of Babe Ruth and Pony leagues.
This straightforward design also cuts out a lot of weight. There is no heavy battery pack or generator needed, just the device itself, which weighs only 23 pounds.
The UMP 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is heavier than previous models of the UPM because this latest model has a re-designed base that offers greater stability for steady and consistent pitches.
Despite this simplistic design and easy-to-use operation, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is very accurate.
While it may not have the precise control of a high-end machine, it does have an adjustment knob that changes the height of the pitches, which can be very instructional towards helping young hitters learn how to hit all parts of the strike zone.
If you want to increase the speed beyond the top 45 mph, you can move the machine closer to the plate, this gives the appearance of faster pitching and helps teach speedier reaction times and quicker swings.
According to pitching machine reviews, the UPM 45’s spring does eventually wear out, and the pitch speeds begin to decline.
However, you can order a replacement spring and install it yourself quickly and cheaply.
If the ATEC Casey Pro 3G pitching machine has any competition at the top of the mountain, it would be the Rawlings Pro Line Three-Wheel machine.
Again, this is a high-end machine that is going to cost you a lot (about $3000), but its features are unmatchable and, if you are buying the pitching machine for an entire team to use, it could just be worth it.
As one of the best pitching machines out there, the Rawlings Pro Line is capable of professional pitch speeds up to 100 mph.
It can also throw any type of pitch imaginable, from fastballs and changeups to sliders, curves, screwballs and even a knuckleball.
The three-wheel design of this contraption, over the traditional one or two-wheel construction, makes operating this machine is more accessible than competing models, even the other expensive batting aids.
For example, you don’t have to fuss with adjusting clamps and trying to recalibrate the wheels for the right pitch location.
The Rawlings Pro Line Pitching Machine has twelve pre-set spin types that allow you to set the speed, location, amount of spin and others.
Its digital control panel makes this whole process more natural than ever.
Also worth mentioning with this device is its ability to throw many different types of balls, including eleven or twelve-inch softballs, baseballs, lite practice balls, dimple balls, and more. But, not at once.
In other words, this machine has different feeders and setups that allow it to pitch a wide range of balls, but many feeders are bought separately.
These attachments can add a couple of hundred dollars to the end price tag.
JUGS is the most recognizable name when it comes to pitching machines.
Their light blue color and white wheels are synonymous with what comes to mind for many players when they think about the best baseball pitching machine or softball.
What makes the JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite pitching machine standout, among many of the other JUGS models, is that it is designed only to throw JUGS Lite baseballs or softballs.
While these balls don’t give you the same feel as hitting the real McCoy, they can be critical instructional tools to help younger players get over the fear of being hit by the ball.
And, if you are practicing alone or with just one other person, collecting the balls after every round of hitting is more natural, as the machine balls don’t travel as far.
The JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite pitching machine can adjust to throw either lite softball or baseballs.
It is also easy for the operator to cycle through different pitches for the machine to hurl, thanks to the Select-A-Pitch knob; there is a choice between fastballs, curveballs, and slides.
When it is time to practice fielding, the device’s 360-degree swivel base allows it to launch high fly balls, hard grounders, deep line drives and more.
And, at only 35 pounds and a battery-operated 1.3 amp motor, it is easy to move around the field to offer fielding practice for different positions.
The last piece of the puzzle that makes this device such a standout as one of the best pitching machines out there is its price.
JUGS always offers those Major League quality features for a Little League price.
Compared to the Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel the SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pitching Machine Pro is at the opposite end of the spectrum.
It is not to say it is of the lowest quality and void of features, but instead, it serves a very different level of player.
While those mentioned above, high-end machines are designed to simulate real, professional-level pitching, this super affordable device built with backyard batting practice in mind.
It uses its own specially designed micro-soft Bolt Balls (12 included with the machine) that are just a tiny bit smaller than a baseball.
These balls are engineered to mimic the flight path of a real baseball out of the machine, but only weight .2 ounces, which means you won’t be hitting them far or causing any damage.
Thus, you can practice all day long, right in your backyard, and without worry of hitting windows, neighbors or passing cars.
The machine can hold 25 of the micro-soft Bolt Balls, but you have to order the additional thirteen.
The pitching machines long tube feeder is detachable and can be used to quickly pick up the balls around the yard and reset for the next round of hitting.
Picking up balls is nice when you take the device to the field, instead of the backyard, where the balls may not be so contained.
The SKLZ Lightning Bolt pitches its ultra softballs up to 25 feet at around 30 mph.
However, because of the lightweight nature of these balls, unless you are using it inside a gym or on a calm day outside, the wind can play a significant factor in the flight path of the balls.
The Spinball Wizard 2 and the Rawlings Pro Line 2 Wheel (very similar to the three-wheel described above, minus a wheel) are very close to one another in design.
In fact, Spinball Sports manufactures the Pro Line 2 for Rawlings.
The only significant differences between the two are price (the Spinball Wizard 2 is around $500 lower), and the Spinball Wizard 2 Pitching Machine has an analog dial, instead of a digital control, to change pitch speeds.
Otherwise, this baseball or softball pitching machine is capable of throwing the same vast arsenal of pitches (including the knuckleball), at speeds up to 100 mph and with pretty excellent precision.
It includes a guidebook that shows you all of the settings to achieve each type of pitch, even defensive drills for how to throw towering pop-ups or hard grounders.
So, you won’t miss that digital control anyways.
The Spinball Wizard 2 Pitching Machine is exceptionally light, especially for a two-wheel pitching machine. It weighs only 59 pounds, which is almost half the weight of most competing models.
Also, its wheels are superior to many other models because they are rubber, instead of air-filled.
Rubber wheels last longer, pitch straighter and require less reset time in between pitches.
It can be the best softball pitching machine or the best baseball pitching machine, depending on what type of legs you use (which determines the release height of the ball).
There is even a third option that adjusts between the two heights and can use both regulation baseballs and softballs.
Overall, you are sacrificing the digital control panel of the Rawlings 2-wheel machine to save your wallet several hundred dollars. Not a bad trade-off.
The BATA-2 pitching machines are like the older, cooler brother to the JUGS models.
Why? Because they are used very widely, just like the JUGS, but only by top level, professional baseball teams, due to their high price point.
So, your average youth player or semi-professional may not see these machines as often as the JUGS,
but ask most pros, and they’ll tell you that their team uses the BATA-2 Pitching Machine.
Similar to the Rawlings pitching machines or the Junior Hack Attack, this machine is capable of throwing any pitch that a real human being could throw. Some would call this the best baseball pitching machine.
And, it can throw them just as fast. It tops out at 100 mph, with a low end of about 25 mph. So, any age player can use the machine, but it is designed to be used by big leaguers.
It has to be powered by a 110-volt outlet or generator, which makes mobility a little hard. Not to mention, its welded steel body and stand don’t make it incredibly lightweight either. Thus, if you plan to practice outside, make sure there is an outlet nearby and plenty of extension cords.
The biggest perk to the BATA-2 combo pitching machine is its ability to pitch real, leather baseballs and softballs exceptionally well.
Its Soft-Tread pitching wheels are engineered not just to throw real balls accurately and quickly, but also nearly eliminate any wear and tear damage to the balls or wheels.
In other words, they are more durable than the wheels of competitors’ machines.
This list includes a lot of examples of baseball pitching machines or combination machines, but there are very few examples of what the best softball pitching machine may look like.
Enter the Heater PowerAlley 11-Inch Softball Pitching Machine. As the name suggests, it works with the smaller 11-inch softballs, instead of the larger 12-inch.
The single wheel of this device in enclosed for your safety (and the protection of small wandering fingers).
The wheels speed can be adjusted between 15 and 40 mph so you can practice hitting fast or slow pitches.
For more variety, you can adjust the machine’s height to give pitches more or less arc. It can also be set up to toss grounders or pop fly balls for fielding drills.
If you are looking for a pitching machine for solely softball hitting, this is going to be one of your best options.
Even if your league uses the more massive 12-inch balls, the inch difference is negligible and will end up helping your hand-eye coordination. When it is game time, you’ll see the ball better.
Overall, for its low price and its intent to be a softball-focused machine, the Heater PowerAlley 11-Inch Softball device gets the job done and then some.
It’s only significant drawbacks are it tops out at 45 mph, so older and more experienced hitters will have to look elsewhere, and there is no auto-feeder. You have to have another person feed the softballs in one at a time.
The Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine has a unique three-wheel design allows you to see the ball clearly while going through the feeding motion The hitter sees when to stride giving
an actual live-arm sense of timing and location.
Any change in pitch, from fastballs to any breaking pitch, is quickly dialed using the three-speed knobs. (All two-wheel units require time- consuming awkward throwing head adjustments to change from fastballs to curveballs or right to left-handed breaking pitches.)
With a quick turn of the dials, you can effortlessly throw 70+ MPH fastballs. The elevation adjustment handle will raise or lower the delivery of the pitch. With a simple twist, you can even move the angle up or down within the strike zone between pitches. Throwing head pivots instantly in any direction for all fungo work including deep 250 ft. fly balls, line drives, catcher’s pop-ups, infield pop-ups, and
grounders. The Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine quickly moves on and off the field, merely tilt it, unsocket legs and promptly roll on two transporting wheels. The Junior Hack Attack is designed for use with all regulation and pitching machine balls. It is also the only pitching machine that will convert quickly to throw a different 7.5″ diameter training ball.
Best Baseball Pitching Machine Option
Both of these options offer an excellent pitching machine for the price (comparatively), with lots of features.
If your budget is very tight, the Zooka ZS740 Pitching Machine is an especially excellent option. Plus, it is super portable and even gives you that same digital control that the ultra-expensive
Best Softball Pitching Machine
While the Heater PowerAlley 11-Inch Softball Pitching Machine is the only actual softball device on the list, your best option is probably going to be the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine, at least at the youth level.
The Blue Flame beats out the PowerAlley directly on portability, ease of use and cost.
While the two machines priced very carefully, the spring-operated device isn’t going to need replacement wheels like the Heater PowerAlley, so the operating costs are meager.
It also doesn’t need to be plugged in, if you are planning to practice outside and away from a power source.
For higher level play (and faster pitches) you are going to have to graduate to something like the ATEC M2 Softball Pitching Machine or better.
The market for baseball pitching machines is very diverse. You can buy a low-end model for less than $50 or break the bank for a device that will cost you almost $4,000.
In this respect, the question is not really “what is the best baseball pitching machine?” but rather “what is the best baseball pitching machine for my needs and budget?”
That’s why I encourage you to make that checklist of desired qualities because it will help you determine where on the spectrum you are, how much you’ll need to spend and whether or not the investment is indeed worth it.
- 1 Best Pitching Machine Reviews
- 2 Pitching Machine Mobility
- 3 Picking The Best Baseball Pitching Machine
- 4 Different Types Of Pitching Machines
- 5 Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Types of Balls To Use
- 6 Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Ball Speeds
- 7 Best Baseball Pitching Machine – Adjustability
- 8 Best Baseball Pitching Machine Reviews
- 9 The Heater Sports Deuce
- 10 Zooka ZS740
- 11 ATEC M2 Softball Training Machine
- 12 Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame
- 13 Rawlings Pro Line Three-Wheel
- 14 Jugs M6000 Lite-Flite
- 15 SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pitching Machine Pro
- 16 Spinball Wizard 2
- 17 BATA-2
- 18 BATA-2 Combo Pitching Machine
- 19 Heater PowerAlley 11-Inch Softball Pitching Machine
- 20 Junior Hack Attack Pitching Machine
- 21 Best Baseball Pitching Machine Option
- 22 Best Softball Pitching Machine
- 23 Conclusion