Best cheap ball machine

Wuppy

Professional
Looking for a new ball machine with the following specs:

Must-haves:
-Must be battery powered
-Must deliver the ball with speed of 70+ mph

Desirables:
-Easy to change/replace battery
-Good topspin shots
-Easy to pack up and travel with

Otherwise all I'm looking for is low-price and hopefully reliability. I don't care about remote controls, movement of shots, digital stuff, or anything like that. I doesn't even have to swivel.

I plan to use it to drill shots over and over and over.
 
Looking for a new ball machine with the following specs:

Must-haves:
-Must be battery powered
-Must deliver the ball with speed of 70+ mph

Desirables:
-Easy to change/replace battery
-Good topspin shots
-Easy to pack up and travel with

Otherwise all I'm looking for is low-price and hopefully reliability. I don't care about remote controls, movement of shots, digital stuff, or anything like that. I doesn't even have to swivel.

I plan to use it to drill shots over and over and over.
Check out Silent Partner. It has all the desirables EXCEPT easy to change battery which is a real pain in the butt. Other than that, love mine. Can't remember the model, but it was one of their lower end. Price was amazing compared to other makers.
 

tennis4

Rookie
This is a decent choice! http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Tennis_Tutor_Ball_Mach_W_Remote__Dual_2-Line/descpage-TTBMWRDL.html

Or this: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Tennis_Tutor_Ball_Machine_With_Heavy_Duty_Battery/descpage-TTBM.html

Looking for a new ball machine with the following specs:

Must-haves:
-Must be battery powered
-Must deliver the ball with speed of 70+ mph

Desirables:
-Easy to change/replace battery
-Good topspin shots
-Easy to pack up and travel with

Otherwise all I'm looking for is low-price and hopefully reliability. I don't care about remote controls, movement of shots, digital stuff, or anything like that. I doesn't even have to swivel.

I plan to use it to drill shots over and over and over.
 

tennis4

Rookie
You are right, $1500 may be on the high side of the scale.

A friend of mine just bought a cheaper one, I think the price was $800.? While it fits the bill, it is not versatile at all. Besides function and price, one should also consider what to do after it completes its initial task, to keep or to sell. If you can sell it, then a cheaper one may be a practical choice.

I think it is not as easy to resell a ball machine, unless you discount it a lot. Therefore, you really should be careful before stepping in. A machine with more features would help you a lot if you want to keep it. Of course it demands bigger upfront investment.


A price tag of about $1500 seems high to match the title of this thread - cheap and no frills(remote etc)?
 

Bolivian10s

Rookie
If you want a CHEAP low price machine Silent Partner
if you want a solid long lasting dependable machine Tennis Tutor, simple as that.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
If you want a CHEAP low price machine Silent Partner
if you want a solid long lasting dependable machine Tennis Tutor, simple as that.
Problem with TT is that in order to get spin, you have to pay through the nose, and then it's a friggin huge machine that won't even fit in the trunk of some small cars.

I have a TT tutor original and it is great and they are a great company, but if I was going to buy another machine, I'd want spin and wouldn't want to have to pay $1,300+ for it.

Tennis tutor should re-design the original so that it could be stood on its side with spin control, and the I'd be willing to pay a few hundred dollars more to them as opposed to SP because they build quality. As their models are now, I'd be buying an SP.
 

kevint

New User
Is the spin important? I like the compactness, reliability of the Tennis Tutor more. The SP look kinda cheap though. I am debating which one to get between the two also.
 

Bolivian10s

Rookie
Problem with TT is that in order to get spin, you have to pay through the nose, and then it's a friggin huge machine that won't even fit in the trunk of some small cars.

I have a TT tutor original and it is great and they are a great company, but if I was going to buy another machine, I'd want spin and wouldn't want to have to pay $1,300+ for it.

Tennis tutor should re-design the original so that it could be stood on its side with spin control, and the I'd be willing to pay a few hundred dollars more to them as opposed to SP because they build quality. As their models are now, I'd be buying an SP.
You just described the Wilson Portable Ball Machine also made by Sports Tutor, it is lighter and not as wide as the Tutor Plus and does spin and should fit in your trunk and is way cheaper than the Plus models.
 

COPEY

Hall of Fame
I don't own an SP but I've used them, and it sounds like what you're looking for. As one poster already mentioned, the most common complaint people have concerns changing the battery. Personally, I can't imagine it being THAT tough. Moreover, it's not like you have to change it every week or even monthly.

Great customer service, great reputation, very good performing machine - go with the SP (in my opinion).
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
So do the silent partner ones have good topspin?
I have a new SP Lite with remote. I have only practiced using a very limited range of pace and spin. I want mainly slow balls with some spin to grove muscle memory.

At first, I selected pace setting just less than 5 of 9 and spin setting 2 of 5. The pace was very heavy and the spin was too heavy. On hitting the ground the ball seemed to speed up. Shots were heavier than 95%+ of the shots that I see in matches, too heavy. I now have pace set at 4.2 or so and spin set 1 of 5. In my opinion, too small a knob adjustment causes too large a pace change, making it more difficult to adjust the pace.

I don't believe that I will ever want to use the machine on its higher settings of pace or spin.

The battery life depends on the settings. I go out for an hour of hitting and that is enough for me. I don't use the oscillation feature. I have not run the battery down yet in my hour long secessions. The remote helps conserve the battery and also helps me while setting up a video camera. If more than one person were using the machine in a secession, battery life would be more of an issue.

The battery in the SP Lite is smaller and lighter. The manual says that you can remove the battery easily through the output opening in the front.
 
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njboy

Rookie
I approved this message.

Yes. I approved this message.
I have a new SP Lite with remote. I have only practiced using a very limited range of pace and spin. I want mainly slow balls with some spin to grove muscle memory.

At first, I selected pace setting just less than 5 of 9 and spin setting 2 of 5. The pace was very heavy and the spin was too heavy. On hitting the ground the ball seemed to speed up. Shots were heavier than 95%+ of the shots that I see in matches, too heavy. I now have pace set at 4.2 or so and spin set 1 of 5. In my opinion, too small a knob adjustment causes too large a pace change, making it more difficult to adjust the pace.

I don't believe that I will ever want to use the machine on its higher settings of pace or spin.

The battery life depends on the settings. I go out for an hour of hitting and that is enough for me. I don't use the oscillation feature. I have not run the battery down yet in my hour long secessions. The remote helps conserve the battery and also helps me while setting up a video camera. If more than one person were using the machine in a secession, battery life would be more of an issue.

The battery in the SP Lite is smaller and lighter. The manual says that you can remove the battery easily through the output opening in the front.
 

tennis4

Rookie
I wish mine has the topspin feature. However, the most helpful thing of a ball machine is to be able to practice forehand / backhand from a consistent feed!

Mine technically can shoot a ball up to 85 mph speed. The highest number on the dial is 10. I use 6 if I place the machine on the baseline. I would have to move the machine back if I set to 7 or above (not often). As far as feed speed, I use 5 most of the time. If I set to 6 or 7, I practically am learning how to slice because I can hardly catch up the speed (I am talking about using the two line mode.)

These features are helpful and practical. You can practice "static" shot developing the muscle memory. Then you can practice the shot when you are on the run.

In the last 10 years, I replace the batteries once. It costs less than $25 per set and there are two required. In Tennis Tutor, it is rather easy to replace the battery. After you open the top, you see everything.

The only thing might be difficult, most likely few people have to deal with it, is to calibrate the two line feature (how wide it covers the court). It took me over an hour to do it, I guess most of the time was spent in fiddling how things work ...

Having a ball machine definitely is helpful. Most likely you might want to keep it. If that is the case, you really want to reconsider if a bare bone configuration is the right choice for the long run.
 
G

guitarplayer

Guest
I love my SP. I use it all the time. Amazing spin, if you want. I've got remote control...trust me, it's a must. Also the heavy duty battery. Paid $945.00

 

dman72

Hall of Fame
You just described the Wilson Portable Ball Machine also made by Sports Tutor, it is lighter and not as wide as the Tutor Plus and does spin and should fit in your trunk and is way cheaper than the Plus models.
Just seeing this post now.

Does TT customer service also apply to the Wilsons? If that's the case, they're probably worth the extra bucks over SP. TT is a really good company.
 

Delano

Rookie
I love my SP. I use it all the time. Amazing spin, if you want. I've got remote control...trust me, it's a must. Also the heavy duty battery. Paid $945.00

I have a SP lite. I agree about the remote. I wouldn't say it's an absolute must - I don't have one, and I still get a lot of use out of the machine, but it's definitely preferable.

The one thing I would consider is the light battery rather than the heavy duty one. This really depends on how you plan to use the machine. I have to roll/carry my machine a long way from the parking lot to the courts, and I rarely hit for more than an hour, so I'm much better off with a lighter battery. Another thing - it's far easier to remove the light battery from the machine (it fits through the slot in the front, whereas you have to unassembled the machine to replace the heavy duty battery). These light batteries cost less than $30, so if you occasionally want to use the machine longer than 2 hours, just buy another battery or two and charge them up externally.

The heavy duty battery is right for some people too, kind of depends.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I have a new SP Lite with remote...
Thanks for the great review! I think you sold me. Quick question: how easy is it to adjust the clamp that selects the elevation?

My i-Sam is on its last legs. I got my money's worth (3.5 yrs at 2-3 times a week). It was a good basic machine (didn't have spin) - now looking to upgrade - but still has to be portable.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
.............................Quick question: how easy is it to adjust the clamp that selects the elevation?
........................
I have not tried to get lobs yet but just tried the adjustments a little.

It has a threaded lock knob on the side. You unclamp and move the knob back and forth. I guess that this action is moving one or both wheels inside. ? Seems to adjust OK but since I don't adjust it that often the elevation setting is not intuitive to me - Is knob forward high or low? - so there is some random trial and error.

The design would improve with some index marks for setting elevation. I might make index markings with a Sharpie to speed up setting the lob elevation adjustments.

A neat & clever setting scale made for the SP elevation -
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=316040

With a moderate pace setting it is easy to lob a ball over the fence without using the additional lob legs mentioned in the manual below (not used yet, I guess that my unit has them........).

See page 3 of the user's manual.
http://www.sptennis.com/manuals/Edge.pdf
 
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West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
You unclamp and move the knob back and forth. I guess that this action is moving one or both wheels inside. ? Seems to adjust OK...
Thanks. That's better than my i-Sam. It had a lever with 5 settings - this sounds like you can move it a little at a time. But I'm sure when I find the right level I won't adjust it too much.
 
SP Star

I have an SP Star with the heavy duty battery and remote control.

The remote control is mandatory; I cannot express how much it is worth compared to what you pay. And if you can install one on the Lite using aftermarket parts, so much the better.

As far as I am concerned, the feature of top or back spin is even more mandatory. Absolutely!

Regarding the extra weight of the heavy duty battery, unless you have a very rough path to travel, the extra weight is meaningless as long as the wheels are functional. I carry my basket of 110 balls on the machine after I unload it from the car and carry my full bag on my shoulder. Getting to the court is a no brainer easy trip with this setup if you have asphalt or concrete to travel over. Changing a battery is a bit challenging, but easy enough if you follow their directions. My two year old battery is still functioning great.

SP service is without a doubt, absolutely outstanding. I cannot praise them enough.

For me, the choice is easy in the sub $1000 price range and it is SP.

Harry
 
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