What Ball Machine Should I Buy?



I have a budget of around $2000 for a ball machine I am fine with buying used or demos if I have to. I would like to have horizontal oscillation and vertical oscillation where speed and spin are changed in addition to the depth. Is that really that important though? How about programmability and internal oscillation?
The names of some of the machines I have heard about are sp smart, sp quest, lobster 3 and 4, spinfire pro 2, playmate volley, tennis tutor plus player, etc. other suggestions are welcome too.
Basically what ball machine would give me the most for my $2000?


Volley has no vertical oscillation Sam is too expensive.


New User
I have a Lobster Grand V. It has many features and I've experienced no issues since I purchased the machine in February of this year. For all the features the machine has, that I use regularly, I would probably be just as happy with the Lobster Elite 3.


Hall of Fame
The question you'll want to resolve for yourself is what are you intending to use this machine for - teaching, as a substitute playing partner or to hone specific skills for your game?


The question you'll want to resolve for yourself is what are you intending to use this machine for - teaching, as a substitute playing partner or to hone specific skills for your game?

I've decided to get a ball machine too, my price range is in line with the OP. My needs will be as a substitute playing partner and working on specific skills. What I've seen on this site, it seems the most recommended machines are either Lobsters or Silent Partners.
I spent perhaps another 500 than the OP mentioned, but got Lobster's brand new "top of the line" (in 2010) fully programmable Grand Elite V LE with full function remote. The features and benefits on this machine are basicly the same today, however, they have added some new pre-installed programs (drills) and a remote with more functionality. My 2010 machine can be easily "upgraded" to include these new programs, along with the newer iTunes, Apple iPhone App Remote Control.

I wanted/needed a (quasi) full court playing partner, along with the other basic horizontal, vertical, side to side, etc. options. You can program/select and save 6 separate shots on the Grand Elite V LE , with each shot having it's own placement (spot/location on court), speed, spin and rate (frequency). But there are also a half dozen other very challenging pre-programmed full court or baseline drills that are pre-installed and easy to select/start/change - remotely. I did not want to be limited or for my ball machine practice sessions to become routine or boring.

Having said that, I still do utilize the basic baseline forehand/backhand functions often or even "mostly", as these are the most common and frequent real world strokes, shots a player will typically encounter. I did not want to have to rely on (or pay for) other players, coaches, etc. to practice the many other shots required and necessary to have a complete game. Or to "get a good workout". And it not become boring. Because you can and will perfect the basic forehand/backhand baseline shots pretty rapidly with a good ball machine!!

This has been an incredible machine. Despite some rather incredible claims and a somewhat "tall order"........ the machine does what Lobster claims/claimed it would do. And it does it well. Consistently. I have not experienced one problem or concern. The original battery, which is almost 5 years old now -- still operates, functions, performs and charges like it did when new in 2/2010!! I can easily get a 3+ hour session in or a fully charged battery. But to be honest, it could be longer, for the machine will kill you long before the battery dies. I'm pretty shocked my battery has lasted and performed this well for this long, and I think is indicative of the level of quality parts, engineering, etc. that Lobster utilizes in their machines. Regarding the battery.......I simply followed the instructions by keeping it regularly (and religiously) charged on at least a 1x monthly basis; even when not using the machine for several months (or longer) at a time - using the included charger.
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