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Best Pickleball Machines: A Guide On Choosing Gadgets That Turn Your Losses To Prowess

colorful balls of pickleball

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

The ball flies its way towards you... until you smash it with a paddle in hand.

Pickleball!

It’s an excellent game, isn’t it?

It’s the perfect balance of relaxation, thrill, and of course, a little competitiveness. I’m guessing most of you are probably here to level up your skills with the help of a pickleball machine.

There are various options to choose from, and I’m sure one of them can make you the pickleball pro you aim to be.

I voted the Simon X candidate as the best pickleball ball machine, and here’s why!

Top 6 Ranking Of The Best Pickleball Machine

1. Simon X – Best Overall

Simon X

The Simon X is one of the most popular pickleball machines, and that’s no surprise with its high-tech specs and eye-catching offers.

First off, it is incredibly durable and low-maintenance, thanks to its stainless steel and heavy-duty aluminum construction. You only need to keep its two military-grade pitch/ throw wheels clean.

And mind you, those pitch wheels come with a lifetime warranty! It is beneficial since they are a critical factor to consider when buying. Ball capacity is 120, and you can further add 60 more using an extra hopper.

The machine comes with a wide range of 5mph to 70mph speed, above what most can offer. So that, together with its 1.5-10 second shot interval and patent-pending super ramp, you can practice a wide range of shots, dinks, lobs, topspins, underspin, etc.

Elaborating more on its super ramp, with it, you can make infinite ball height variations and precise adjustments. It is one of Simon’s most popular features as of today.

You can adjust these specs with an incredibly advanced remote that can reach up to 100 ft away. Furthermore, its “stealth” oscillation feature is what makes this model unique.

The random movement or direction each ball will take is hidden from view, further bringing out the vibe of playing with an actual human. A huge thanks to its built-in and easy-to-pull handle, portability will never be an issue at all.

Pros

  • “Stealth” oscillation feature
  • Relatively higher specs
  • Military-grade construction
  • Patent-pending super ramp feature
  • Lifetime warranty on its two pitch/throw wheels

Cons

  • High price

Takeaway

Higher price doesn’t always mean better quality, but the Simon X begs to differ. With a sufficient amount of money, I highly recommend this model for those aiming to be pro pickleball players.

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2. Pickleball Tutor Plus – Best Value

Pickleball Tutor Plus w/Remote, 2-Line, Electronic Elevation - Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide. The Pickleball Tutor Plus is another popular option for its features for indoor and outdoor play and cost-effectiveness. I find its attributes above average for a pickleball machine.

For the main specs, they are more than enough for a decent practice. It has a maximum ball capacity of 110 and a ball speed that can reach up to 65mph. Shot intervals range between 1-10 seconds.  People know it for its topspins and backspins, but it can do much more.

The latest model is upgraded with two-line oscillation and electronic elevation features, helping you enhance your skills more efficiently.

They will be able to aid you automatically in forehand and backhand shots, lobs, serves, groundstrokes, etc.

As a bonus, it has a built-in delay for you to prepare and reach the other side of the net before it starts shooting. Even with built-in towing wheels and a handle, it remains to be portable, too.

If you’re interested, Pickleball Tutor Plus also comes in other models that are slightly cheaper. However, they may only come with one-line random oscillations and manual elevations. If you don’t mind the lacking upgrades, try considering them.

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • 2-line oscillation
  • Electronic Elevation
  • Can do topspins and backspins
  • Built-in delay feature

Cons

  • Relatively lower ball capacity
  • Separate purchase of wireless remote

Takeaway

The popularity and quality of Pickleball Tutor Plus aren’t far from the best. Personally, it’s the wisest choice for decent features at an affordable price.

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3. Pickleball Tutor Spin – Best For Sidespins

Pickleball Tutor Spin - Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide. I consider the Pickleball Tutor Spin a companion or side option for Tutor Plus. Its attributes and specs are only slightly different but still efficient.

Ball capacity reaches 125, and ball speed 60mph. Its shot intervals also range around 1-10 seconds. Additionally, it features an adjustable arc to help you with dinks and lobs.

The main difference between Tutor Spin and its companion machine is that this one is made more for right and left spins.

The latest model also includes the upgrades of two-line oscillation and electronic elevation and a built-in delay for more accessible play.

You’ll be able to fold it into dimensions of 12-inch by 19.5-inch by 18-inch for portability and compactness. Although you won’t receive this purchase with wheels, it will come with a wheeled cart instead.

If you like Pickleball Tutor Spin but have a tight budget, like Tutor Plus, it comes in other models. It will have downgraded features of one-line oscillation and manual elevation, but its affordable price range makes up for it.

Pros

  • Can do right and left spins
  • 2-line oscillation
  • Electronic Elevation
  • Built-in delay feature
  • Foldable and Compactable

Cons

  • No wheels included
  • Separate purchase of wireless remote

Takeaway

The Pickleball Tutor Spin is famous and a master for left and right spins. With almost the same quality and specs as the Tutor Plus, it is undoubtedly a good choice for efficiency and ease of portability.

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4. Simon 2 – Best Seller

Simon 2

Simon 2, without a doubt, offers outstanding attributes. They may be less grand than its companion Simon pickleball machine, Simon X, but it’s still above average for good practice and more affordable.

Ball capacity reaches 160, which is a lot more than the standard. It can reach speeds between 10-60 mph and a ball feeding rate of 1.5 to 10 seconds. You can opt to add its oscillating platform to master further the skills you require.

Utilizing these specs with the model’s adjustable ramp, you’ll be able to practice dinks perfectly, including lobs, serves, and volley practice. The model works with zero jam technology to control these features with ease using a wireless remote, reaching about 100 feet away.

You’ll love the fact that this model also offers a lifetime warranty on its two pitch/throw wheels. But above all, this machine is well-loved because of its high durability and portability.

Despite being made of stainless steel and heavy-duty aluminum, it only weighs 32 lbs. You can fold it to a compact size about  31-inch tall and 12.5-inch wide. Moreover, this pickleball machine can be very transportable due to its wheels and handle.

Pros

  • High ball capacity
  • Compactable and portable
  • Adjustable ramp
  • Lifetime warranty on its two pitch/throw wheels

Cons

  • Optional Oscillation feature, not included
  • No spin feature

Takeaway

Being one of the first pickleball machines, Simon 2 has always been one of the best sellers. Even though it’s not that up-to-date, its quality and practical features for practicing a wide range of skills still meet the current standard.

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5. The Pickle Two By Lobster – Best In Flexibility

The Pickle Two By LobsterThe Pickle Two by Lobster is an upgraded version of the original. Although it weighs slightly heavier (35lbs to 42 lbs), the upgraded specs and flexible options make up for it.

Primarily, the main specs are more than enough for a good game. It has a ball capacity of 135, but some say it's only 100 in reality. It has a ball speed range between 10 to 60 mph and a 2-12 second shot interval.

In addition, you’ll find the machine upgraded with a two-line oscillation and electronic elevation. These upgrades, along with the specs, will assure better performance for your practice. The model is likewise capable of simulating top and backspins.

What I found attractive about this Lobster pickleball machine is its wide range of options to adjust to your preference.

It offers four different power options: internal battery, external battery, electric-powered battery, and electric-powered.

Furthermore, you can choose the elite10 optional remote if you are an Apple user and upgrade the basic charger to a fast or premium one. As per portability, it comes with an inverting hopper, a folding handle, and large 8-inch wheels.

Pros

  • 2-line oscillation
  • Electronic Elevation
  • It offers four power options
  • Optional remote

Cons

  • Remote not included

Takeaway

The best pickleball machine for you should also be suitable for your lifestyle. If you want a ball machine that can offer both high-quality specs and a wide range of options, try Pickle Two.

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6. Pickleball Tutor Mini – Best Budget-Friendly

Pickleball Tutor Mini w/Oscillator- Most Compact Pickleball Machine. Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide. Among the best pickleball machines I’ve reviewed, the Pickleball Tutor Mini is the most compact and portable option.

Weighing only 24 lbs, you can easily transport it. Consequently, its specs are relatively lower than the other products. It has a maximum ball capacity of 60 and a ball speed of 50.

However, I decided to include it because it may be the best budget option if you’re only looking for a pickleball machine to use occasionally. Plus, its specs are still enough for decent practice and skills enhancement.

Like the Tutor Plus and Tutor Spin, it also comes with a built-in delay feature. You can further opt to pay a little more for a built-in random oscillator.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Sufficient specs for an average game

Cons

  • Relatively lower specs than other models
  • Built-in oscillator not included

Takeaway

The Pickleball Tutor Mini is the best choice for low-budget and occasional uses. Despite being relatively lower than other models, the specs are good enough for the average player to practice.

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How To Choose A Pickleball Machine

Consider The Ball Capacity

orange pickleball balls in a basket

The number of best pickleball balls the hopper can carry is one of the primary factors you should consider.

An insufficient ball capacity leads to constant reloading, which can be exhausting. Meanwhile, an excessive quantity leaves numerous balls on your court. You could end up tripping on one of them, and it might be challenging to tidy up the cluttered area in one sitting.

Choosing the ball capacity depends on how you wish to practice and how large your practice area is.

For instance, a coach may opt to go for around 100 balls. It would provide them excellent practice before giving corrections and tips to their trainees when the hopper is empty.

Check The Quality Of Pitch/Throw Wheels

Considering the state of the pitch or throw wheels is necessary because they are responsible for shooting the ball to the court. Poor quality of this part could lead to your machine's poor performance.

You may also consider their warranty, as they can be costly to repair or replace when damaged.

Keep The "Human-Simulating" Features In Mind

When searching among the best pickleball ball machines available, it is significant to consider the difference between practicing with a human versus a machine. Luckily, the latest products include features that can nearly simulate human-to-human combat. 

Versatility and Elevation

When talking about versatility, we refer to the adjustable arc of the machine. Shot adjustable arc and elevation degrees can help practice different kinds of shots such as pickleball volley strategy.

For instance, short arcs are helpful for soft lobs and dink shots. Meanwhile, longer arcs and high elevation degrees are suitable for practicing high lob returns and overhead shots.

Ball Feed Rate

Sometimes called 'shot intervals,' the ball feed rate refers to how often the machine will release a ball. You can use the interval for a quick rest or for correcting your movements.

Most of the best pickleball machines can shoot from as slow as every one second to as fast as every 10 seconds. This feature may vary for some brands. Remember to choose based on what's most efficient for your current skill.

Ball Speed

young man playing pickleball

We use lower speeds for soft dinks and lobs and faster ones for drives and valleys. Pickleball machine reviews say that a maximum speed of around 40 to 50mph is decent enough for an average practice.

However, it would still depend on your skills and how well you want to practice. If you're at an expert level or aim to become one, consider a more variable speed range.

Oscillation Pattern

I consider this factor very important if you want to simulate practicing with a human. A random oscillation pattern can keep shots unpredictable to test and further improve your skills.

You will read in some of our reviews that some of the products feature a 2-line oscillation. The feature is good for practicing alternate forehand and backhand shots or for two people practicing simultaneously. It will be able to shoot in 2 preset courts automatically.

Spin

Some machines are capable of simulating topspins, sidespins, or backspins. When battling or practicing with a real opponent, they sometimes include a spin on the ball to shift directions as it travels over a net. Not every model has this feature, so keep in mind if you need them.

Other Features

Careful consideration of the key features to give the best play won't be enough if it doesn't suit our lifestyle. There are various attributes of pickleball machines we should further consider that don't revolve around the sport.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Price
  • Battery
  • Warranty
  • Weight and Maneuverability

You might observe that some of the machines we've reviewed also offer deals, such as the Pickle Two by Lobsters with its four power options. I suggest checking them out in the product details; they might benefit you greatly!

Furthermore, try observing the player practicing with a pickleball machine in this video:

It might give you some tips and insights on what you should do and expect after purchasing a ball machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a pickleball machine worth it?

If you’re a pickleball player who enjoys the game or aims to be better at it, then a pickleball machine is worth the investment.

A high-quality machine can help you practice independently without the need for other players. Recent models can simulate almost every shot and skill of a real opponent.

Can you rent a pickleball machine?

You can. Check your local neighborhood for stores or some online markets that offer rented pickleball machines.

What are the benefits of a pickleball machine?

For aspiring players, a pickleball machine allows you to practice independently at your pacing of choice. You are free to choose what skills to focus on and improve in an environment as if you’re battling a real opponent.

For coaches, it can help in assessing your trainees in practicing different aspects they need to improve. They conclude with a perfectly fair judgment because they apply the same set of levels to all players.

Will Pickleball Machines improve your game?

With constant practice and knowledge in using the pickleball machine, you’ll slowly improve your game. The latest models offer high-tech features that can better challenge and test your skills and techniques.

Final Thoughts

With the most high-tech specs and outstanding features, the Simon X is the best pickleball ball machine. It may be a bit expensive, but it’s worth it for a good pickleball machine's well-balanced and high-quality features.

If you still find it too much for you, I recommend the Pickleball Tutor Plus. Its specs and attribute are also above average, and I’m sure you’ll find it a very cost-effective option.

And that concludes our review. So if you're still a little over the fence, you can now decide to buy your pickleball machine with confidence. I hope to see you in the next game, future pickleball master.

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