Pitching Machine Reviews

Image of First Pitch BaselinePitching machines act as an invaluable tool to improve your timing, swing, strength, and confidence every time you step up to the plate. They also act as a great tool for fielding practice, accurately simulating fly balls, ground balls and pop ups.

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We’ve made sure to include machines that are suitable for all budgets and age groups, along with models that offer a great deal of versatility in the different types of pitches, speeds, those that feature automatic feeding systems, can take real baseballs, and much more.

 

Pitching Machines Comparison Table

 

 Image of Franklin Sports MLBImage of Louisville Slugger Image of JUGS Lite-Flite Image of First Pitch Baseline Image of Zooka ZS740 Image of Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack
Franklin Sports MLB Louisville Slugger JUGS Lite-Flite First Pitch Baseline Zooka ZS740 Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack
Max. Speed (25 -30 ft.)40 mph60 mph85 mph70 mph100+ mph70 mph
Pitch TypesFastballsFastballsFastballs/curveballs/slidersFastballsFastballs/ChangeupsFastballs/curveballs/sliders/knuckleballs/splitters
Power Source4 D Batteries ManualOutlet/Rechargeable Battery PackOutletRechargeable Battery PackOutlet
Weight3.2 lbs.12 lbs. 35 lbs. 50 lbs. 38 lbs. 75 lbs.
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Pitching Machine Reviews

Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Pitching Machine

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This is the most inexpensive option on the list, and for that reason it does suffer from a couple of issues. But if you’re looking for a pitching machine for young kids to improve their hand-eye coordination it is a good choice. Dog owners have also spoken very highly of the machine too.

You are able to adjust the machine for different pitching angles, although the ball doesn’t always end up where you intend it to go. The fact that you are warned via a red flashing light when the ball is about to be pitched is a very handy feature. Particularly for kids so they aren’t caught unaware that a ball is coming their way.

The speed of the pitches is also quite impressive too, given the machine’s low price. From a distance of approximately 25 o 30 feet, the ball travels at around 30 to 40 mph. Keep in mind that this is with the 6 Aero-Strike plastic baseballs that come included; real baseballs should not be used.

The machine is highly compact with dimensions of 17.75” x 9.5” x 9.85”, making it easy to move from location to location. Four D batteries are required for the machine to function. Single wheel

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Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine

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This is the official Pony Baseball and Softball League pitching machine, so you just know that it is great for kids and coaches who take their baseball and softball a little more seriously and are looking to hone their skills.

The machine is able to throw hard balls from 18 to 45 mph, and light flight and plastic balls all the way up to 60 mph. The speed is also easy to adjust, and you can even throw fly-balls and hard ground balls to improve every aspect of a player’s game with just this one machine.

A ball is pitched with consistent speed and location every single time, which is something that cheaper machines struggle with, but not this one.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an automated machine, though, as someone has to load the balls into the machine and pull the handle every time.  This also means that no outlet or batteries are needed, making the machine highly portable, particularly as it weighs just 12 lbs.

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JUGS Lite-Flite Machine

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The JUGS Lite-Flite Machine steps things up a notch compared to the previous two best pitching machines on this list.

The machine has the ability to simulate speeds up to 85 mph at 25 feet, and 65 mph at 40 feet. The speed can be adjusted via a dial too. The pitches are consistent 90% of the time, with the remaining 10% in variation coming in handy to keep you on your toes, and it’s not as if every single pitch you receive will be consistent in actual game situations.

Keep in mind that this is through the use of Lite-Flite and Bulldog baseballs, and as there is no automatic feeder, someone has to be there to operate the machine

Besides just how fast a pitch is able to be thrown, the versatility of the machine is its real selling point. It is able to accurately simulate fastballs, as well as left and right handed curveballs and sliders, so you are fully prepared for anything that comes your way in an actual game.

You should also know that due to the machine’s 360-degree swivel design, you can accurate simulate pop-ups, ground balls and fly balls too.

It’s also good to see that the machine takes a rechargeable battery pack, in addition to being powered by an outlet. So you can take it with you to practice wherever you go.

One look and touch will tell you that this is one very well-designed pitching machine. It is made of heavy-duty steel, making it very durable.

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First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine

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Made in the USA and backed by a generous 5-year warranty, the First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine is one heavy-duty and highly durable product. It has more than just dependability going for it, though.

The machine is able throw balls up to 70 mph and supports the use of dimpled balls, leather baseballs and softballs. The throws are consistent, but keep in mind that this only occurs if you feed the balls in a consistent manner. Therefore, the machine does allow for some variation.

As every good pitching machine does, it is able to simulate fly balls, pop ups and ground balls due to its easy 360-degree adjustment design. It is also easy to adjust the pitch angle to cover the entire plate.

Take note that the machine only runs on A/C power, so if you need to use a battery pack for any reason you will be unable to do so.

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Zooka ZS740 Pitching Machine

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The penultimate best pitching machines to make this list is also one of the most expensive. However, it is also right up there with the best and comes packed with some very useful features.

The Zooka ZS740 is the only pitching machine that is able to take real balls and throw up to 70 mph using just an internal battery system. It is also the only machine at its price that is able to throw computer-controlled, random change-ups.

Once fully charged, which takes 10 hours, the machine is able to throw 800 40 mph pitches, 700 50 mph pitches, and 500 70 mph pitches from as far as 60 feet. Keep in mind that there is also a connector for the use of an additional external battery, enabling you to extend practice time.

One feature that we and everyone who has used this machine loves is the digital control panel that gives you easy access to speed settings, pre-programming a practice with multiple speeds and pitch locations, and contains a digital speed readout.

Real baseballs, dimple balls, safety balls, and tennis balls can all be used, with pitches coming every 2 to 7 seconds, according to your preferences. The machine flashes and audible alerts can be viewed and heard when the pitch is coming, so you aren’t caught off-guard.

In spite of all these features and the machine’s very heavy-duty design, the ZS740 weighs less than 30 lbs. and due to its rechargeable battery system it is highly portable.

While there is no autofeeder system that comes built into the machine, you can purchase one separately.

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Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack

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The Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack doesn’t come cheap, but if you are serious about baseball there really is no machine that comes close to it without getting into the several thousand dollars range. Even then, this machine is comparable to those.

Versatility is the name of the game with this machine.  Left and right handed curveballs can be thrown, along with sliders, knuckleballs, fastballs, and splitters – all the way up to 70 mph. The built-in height adjustment handle also allows you to lower or raise the pitch inside the strike zone with unrivaled accuracy.

Your timing can also be perfected due to the visible arm action alerting the hitter when to stride as well as the angle of the release.

Of course, line drives, pop-ups, ground balls, and even fly balls that cover 250 ft. can all accurately be simulated.

A solo feeder comes included, which holds 15 balls. A Team Feeder is sold separately and is able to hold as many as 150 balls – yes, really! Leather baseballs, dimpled balls, wiffle balls, and all softer practice balls can be used.

The Hack Attack is made in the USA, backed by a 5-year warranty, but keep in mind that it weighs 75 lbs. so it isn’t the most portable of pitching machines. Although it is compact enough to fit any full size car, SUV, and standard doorway.

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Pitching Machines Buyers Guide

Different Types of Pitching Machines

Single wheel pitching machines are ideal for younger and more experienced players. These machines are primarily focused on pitching fastballs between 10 – 60 mph. However, you can also find single wheel models that are able to throw curveballs and can simulate left-handed and right-handed pitching.

Dual wheel

Dual wheel pitching machines are designed for older and more experienced players. The speed can range from 25 mph all the way up to 90 mph. Almost any pitch can be thrown, and you are able to project balls at different angles to a high degree of accuracy.

Compressed Air

Compressed pitching machines should also be considered for younger players in particular. Balls are thrown thanks to the power of compressed air. We have listed a couple in our pitching machine reviews.

Factors to Consider

Skill Level/Age/Speed

It’s important that you purchase a pitching machine that is suitable for a player’s age/skill level. It’s not suitable for a young kid to have a 90mph pitch come his way; equally, it’s useless for a high school or college player to face a 30mph pitch.

For kids and complete beginners a pitching machine that is able to toss balls at regular intervals as low as 10mph can be invaluable. This works on their hand-eye coordination in a very safe environment.

Youth league players should use a machine that accepts RIF balls and pitches balls at a maximum speed of around 60 mph.

High school and college players, on the other hand, will benefit the most from a machine that is able to pitch balls up to 90mph, delivers plenty of variety in its pitching options, and has dual motors.

Balls

Be sure to check whether a pitching machine is compatible with all the different types of baseballs you are planning to use with it. For example, for youth leagues you need to make sure that a machine can take lighter balls, and harder balls for higher levels.

Pitch Type

You need to make sure that the machine you are interested in buying is able to deliver various kinds of pitches other than just the fastball, if your budget and preferences allow for it.

Portability

Pitching machines can be portable in one of two ways: being lightweight and having wheels. Sometimes it isn’t possible to purchase a lightweight machine if you’re looking for one that can take many balls and comes packed with features. What it always possible, though, is to purchase a machine that has wheels to make it as easy as possible to move it from one location to another.

Defensive Drills

You’re likely interested in a pitching machine so you can improve your batting; however, defensive drills shouldn’t be overlooked either. It is beneficial if a machine is able to simulate things like line drives, fly balls, pop-ups, and grounders, so players can improve every aspect of their game. A machine that features a vertical pivot is necessary to simulate these types of plays.

Price

One of the most important considerations is just how much money you have to spend on a pitching machine. If your budget is low you may have no other choice but to sacrifice certain features, like a variety of pitch types and a high maximum speed.

In most cases, it is usually a smart idea to save up a bit more money so you can be completely happy with your choice and have no need to upgrade down the line. This will inevitably save you money in the long run.

Construction Quality

Ideally, you should look to purchase only a very well-constructed pitching machine that will last a number of years. Inevitably, the more expensive the machine is the better constructed it usually is.

Checking the warranty is typically a great indicator of how many years you should expect a machine to last, as manufacturers won’t offer a lifetime warranty if they expect the machine to break down after just a few months.

However, you don’t necessarily have to purchase an expensive machine. Say that you are thinking about purchasing a machine for your young child who has just shown interest in playing baseball. For all you know your kid could lose interest after a couple of months, leaving you with an expensive machine that sits there just collecting dust. So in some cases it is wise to sacrifice quality for expense.

Power Source

Pitching machines are usually designed to be used in a fixed location, meaning that you need to be near an outlet to use it. If there isn’t an outlet nearby, no need to worry! Some are designed to work with a battery pack or a generator. If you’re planning on using a machine in different locations, it is smart to make sure that it supports various power options.

Solo Use

If you’re not planning on using a machine with a practice partner, you need to make sure that there is some way to practice solo. This involves a machine that has an auto ball feeder and remote control (or in-line switch).

Brand

There are only a handful of brands that you should stick with. We’ve made sure to include only the most reputable brands that have thousands of satisfied customers and honor their warranties in our pitching machine reviews.

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