Over the course of several months, we have tested more than dozen pitching machines, talked to the baseball coaches and star players, and gone behind the scenes to understand the science in each machine. After all this research, we believe the following 6 are the best baseball pitching machines.
We have brought together a diverse variety of options by weighing in many important factors. And we believe that our picks are simple the best pitching machines for baseball this season.
Top 6 Best Baseball Pitching Machines 2019
Pitching Machines Reviews
This is the lightest two-wheel pitching machine available in the market. If you are looking for excellent portability together with a solid performance, the Spinball Wizard 2 is a great choice.
This machine has been designed by former Boeing engineers, so it is no wonder that it is made to offer a world-class performance. The wheels used in this machine are extra-thick and durable compared to most other machines. Made from high-quality urethane, these wheels are 1-inch thick and ensure that the machine pitches with greater accuracy over a longer period.
Setting up the Spinball Wizard 2 machine is a breeze. There is a single adjustment clamp which lets you set up all three angles of the machine in a single go. Once set up, the machine is fairly stable and will not lose its grip. The operation of the machine is quite flexible so that it can be used to pitch balls at all angles, including fly balls and grounders.
Weighing a mere 59 lbs, this machine is incredibly easy to move around. Its portability is definitely one of the winning features. You can pitch at speeds up to 105 mph with Wizard 2.
Jugs offers a number of pitching machines in the market. Many of these are standalone machines geared at a specific game, such as softball. However, we prefer all-rounder pitching machines that can offer pitches for different games. This is why we have shortlisted this combo pitching machine from Jugs.
The BP1 machine offers pitching speeds ranging from 15mph to 70mph. You can choose the exact speed you desire and a digital display shows this actual speed in real-time. Weighing at around 75 lbs, BP1 is still quite light and portable, although it weighs more than the ultra-portable Wizard 2 reviewed above.
BP1 pitches 11-inch and 12-inch balls. These include tennis balls, softball, baseballs and virtually any other dimpled and seam balls that fall within this size bracket. The pitching is flexible and with a swivel base, the machine can be positioned to pitch the balls at virtually any angle. This means the machine can pitch grounders, pop-ups and fly balls alongside regular pitches.
BP1 uses a 110-Volt AC supply to function. You can go with an alternative and use a battery pack to truly make the most of this machine’s portability.
The MaxBP machine takes an unusual route to training players. It makes use of small Wiffle balls – the player is forced to hit a smaller ball which trains his body and mind to focus on a smaller target area. The end result is better accuracy and hand-eye coordination.
Another stand-out feature of the machine is that it weights a mere 20 pounds. This makes it a hands-down winner when it comes pitching machines, although the fact remains that it does not pitch regular softballs or baseballs.
The pitching speed range of this machine is also fairly large and exceptional. It can pitch balls from 35mph all the way up to 140mph, with six different pitching speed options in between. You can tweak the settings to have the machine pitch right-hand curveballs, left-hand curveballs and fastballs.
Like the smaller-sized balls, the higher speed options train the players to more rigorously hone their hitting skills. It also simulates in-game pitching conditions more precisely.
The bucket-head of the machine can hold all the 48 golf-sized Wiffle balls in a single go. This ensures that once you top up the head, you don’t have to worry about refilling it after every few pitches.
MaxBP Original has a battery run-time of 4 hours. This is fairly sufficient for an average training session. You will have to purchase the tripod for the machine separately, though it is easily available with MaxBP.
The Slide Curve Lite-ball machine is meant for batting cage practices. In fact, it is offered as part of a complete package, together with a machine cage. The machine and the cage are easy to set up, so that you are up and going with your training session in no time.
This machine can pitch balls at speeds up to 60 mph. The feeder can hold 12 balls in one go. There is a 9-second pause between each pitch so that the player can easily adjust and get ready. With an adjustable pitch height, the machine can be adjusted to simulate various pitch heights. A simple swivel adjustment also allows pitches to be thrown from various angles. The machine can pitch fastballs and curveballs.
Slider Curve machine comes with a sturdy and rather conventional design. It features steel legs which ensure durability and rubber tips which offer stability during pitching. Together with balls that are included with the machine and a fairly sizable batting cage, this machine is a one-stop solution for the pitching training of younger players.
The power source for this machine is a standard wall outlet so that you don’t have to worry about special adapters or batteries. This makes it especially convenient and easy to set it up.
One of the most creative pitching machines available on the market comes from the leading softball and baseball manufacturer, Louisville Slugger. The Black Flame machine is entirely manual and features a very creative design. This means that it needs no power source or battery packs.
Black Flame can throw pitches anywhere between 18mph and 60mph. It offers an excellent degree of accuracy, which is probably why it is the official pitching machine of Babe Ruth. Although manual, the machine can be easily adjusted to throw different types of pitches including fly balls, grounders and straight pitches. You can adjust the height of the fly balls and the hardness of the grounders to customize player training.
The machine can be used for baseball, softball, cricket, tennis and a variety of other sports. This makes it a truly one-stop pitching and training solution for players and coaches alike. You can use plastic, dimpled, hard and soft balls with Black Flame.
The machine is incredibly easy to carry around and offers great portability. The baseball pitching range of the machine is 18mph to 50mph. It pitches fastpitch softballs at speeds ranging from 15mph to 45mph.
If you are looking for one of the conventional pitching machines, this pitching machine from Heater Sports is the one. It stands in the same league as the Slider Curve machine above. It also bears many design resemblances with the Slider pitching machine.
The machine has an automatic ballfeeder which can carry 12 balls at a time. There is a pause of 8 seconds between each drop. You can choose from 0 – 10 speed control options with the speeds ranging from 10mph to 60mph.
This Heater Sports pitching machine relies on a power source to operate. You can either plug it into a wall socket or use the battery pack. The battery pack affords better portability so that once charged, you can set up the machine anywhere indoors or outdoors.
You can adjust the machine to pitch fly balls, grounders or fast balls. The variety of pitching options and speeds makes this machine a great choice for players of all ages and at all levels.
Consider the factors below when buying pitching machines
#1. Who can use a pitching machine?
A pitching machine is an excellent training companion. It is typically used by coaches who are seeking to improve the hitting, catching and fielding abilities of their players. And as such, more heavy-duty machines cost a tidy buck which means usually only teams can afford them.
However, individual players also often use the more inexpensive models to improve their game in their private training regimen. This is particularly true of the players who want to their game to the professional level, or improve their pro-game.
#2. Types of pitching machines
Typically, there are three different types of pitching machines. You need to understand each type in order to discern which one best suit your training needs.
An armed pitching machine is one which makes use of an arm to toss the pitch. These machines are more heavy-duty and are better suited for team practice. They are also more bulky and costly while offering less variety when it comes to the types of pitches.
A wheeled pitching machine, on the other hand, is more versatile, portable and affordable. They are also not as heavy-duty as armed machines. Wheel pitching machines are typically meant for use at home and are frequently the choice of individual players.
Finally, compressed air pitching machines use compressed air to shoot balls. In doing so, these machines do not make use of any power source, in contrast to arm and wheeled pitching machines. A downside to these machines is that they need a person to stand by them and operate.
One of the key factors to consider when getting a pitching machine is adjustability. The variety and types of pitches a machine can throw determines how versatile it can be during a training session.
Arm pitching machines can shoot only fastballs. Wheel machines, on the other hand, can throw curveballs, fastballs, knuckle balls, split fingers and more. Wheel machines are available in one-wheel, two-wheel and three-wheel options.
Of these, one-wheel offers minimum adjustability while three-wheel models offer maximum adjustability. The more adjustability a machine has, the more you can control the type of pitches it can shoot to meet your specific training requirements.
A wide range of companies manufacture pitching machines, so there is a considerable variation in the quality and price range.
If you want a pitching machine that you can absolutely rely upon, it is best to stick with the following top 4 brands.
Iron Mike: Iron Mike manufactures only arm pitching machines. So you can say that the company is the most reliable vendor when it comes to the best of arm pitching machines. If you want an arm pitching machine, Iron Mike is your best.
Jugs: Jugs is another world-famous brand for pitching machines. Like Iron Mike, this company has its own specialty – it produces a wide variety of wheeled pitching machines. You can choose from 1-wheel, 2-wheel and 3-wheel models.
Hack Attack: Hack Attack is the Lockheed Martin of the world of pitching machines. The company produces cutting-edge, high-end pitching machines that are used by the professionals.
Players and coaches who are absolutely serious about taking their game to the next level go with the Hack Attack – however, the steep price tags of Hack Attack machines mean that these could be afforded only by larger teams.
BATA: BATA prides itself in producing top-of-the-line pitching machines that are entirely manufactured in the USA. The company offers a wide range of machines for baseball and softball, as well as combination machines.
BATA machines are known for their exceptional durability and performance. These machines are designed to be the best at what they do.
#5. Learning how it works? Make sure you like it.
Every pitching machine is different from the next one, in some major or minor way. This can sound like a hassle when choosing pitching machines but it’s also a blessing in disguise.
This means that you can choose a machine that is exactly to your liking and requirements, down to the very details.
It is important that you spend some time with a pitching machine before you choose to buy it. If the machine is too technical, ask the vendor to provide you with a training manual or instructions in order to learn its functioning quickly.
At the same time, the sound, the speed, the movement, the color and the overall design and shape of the machine should be to your liking.
With such a sheer variety available in the market, you can easily find a machine that fulfills all these requirements for you.
The speed of a pitching machine is another vital consideration when determining the right pitching machine. A pitching machine should shoot pitches fast enough to challenge a player.
If the pitches are too slow, the player is not able to improve his skill level.
In general, plugging-in arm wheeling machine offers maximum speed. This is precisely why they are most frequently used for team practice.
Wheel pitching machines, in contrast, offer less speed while compressed-air machines are the slowest. In general, speeds range anywhere between 10mph and 90mph. Machines offering speeds above 90mph cost significantly more.
The weight of a pitching machine determines how portable it is. Lightweight machines are easy to carry around and use anywhere indoors or outdoors.
Heavier machines require more effort to move so that you may be inclined to keep them set up at one place. You have to find a balance between shooting prowess and weight in most cases.
A machine that can shoot powerfully will essentially be heavier, such as in the case of arm pitching machines. In contrast, more lightweight and portable pitching machines tend to shoot at lower speeds, which is a tradeoff for their ease of use.
#8. Ease of use
The ease with which you can set up a pitching machine is important. This is particularly so if you will be moving around the machine – every time you move it around, you will need to pack it and then set up on its new location.
Heavier machines such as arm pitching machines are harder to set up and move around. Wheeled pitching machines are easier to move around and some even come with a single-clamp system that lets you set up the machine in no time.
Also look out for the controls on the machine. You want the machine controls to be easy and intuitive so that you can switch between fastballs, curveballs and other pitching types. It should also be easier to add balls to the feeder.
In the case of many recent models, you can even choose a machine with a digital display to know exactly the speed of the pitched ball.
#9. Power source
Pitching machines come with three types of power options: plug into a wall outlet, use a battery pack, or get a machine that uses compressed air for shooting.
If you are going to use the pitching machine in one place, you can go with the wall outlet option. However, if you want the machine to be portable and intend to move it around a lot, you may consider a machine that supports battery pack or compressed-air shooting.
In the case of compressed-air shooting, the best thing is that you need not worry about a power source at all.
However, if you want the machine to shoot pitches at high speeds such as 90mph and more, you will need a machine that is directly plugged in.
#10. Homemade pitching machines
It is possible for you to create a pitching machine right at your home. A home-made pitching machine is not as perfect or well-functioning as one you buy at the market, but you can customize it all you want.
The basics of the machine include using two wheels to pinch a ball and then rotate at high speeds to throw it. Use a motor for each of the wheels – you can adjust motor speed to create spin on the ball and pitch curveballs.
You can also study the specifics of branded machines and then use them to create your own machine. This is a particularly good option if you are on a limited budget.
Used pitching machines
Used pitching machines are another option when you are considering buying one. Used machines cost significantly less than the new ones although there is the issue of reliability.
In order to make sure you get a machine that functions well, contact resellers with a good track record and review ratings.
Also try to stick with the notable seller marketplaces or the official baseball or softball websites. These will ensure that the used machine you get works well and is a good return on your investment.
A quality pitching machine is a great way of improving the performance of a player or an entire team. This is why it is vitally important to get it right.
You can use the guide above to find a pitching machine that suits your team, budget, skill level and other requirements.
Alternatively, you can choose one of the top 6 best baseball pitching machines we have shortlisted for this season. Either way, make sure you take a good stock of your needs and requirements before you make the final choice.
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