When it comes to buying a tennis ball machine, you not only have different brands, but you also have to choose between different technologies. Additionally, manufacturers offer different models with different features. Understanding the basics features of ball machines will help you choose the right one for you.
Tennis ball machines shoot balls in one of two ways: using compressed air and using rotating wheels.
Compressed Air Ball Machines
Some ball machines shoot balls from the machine by dropping the ball into a tube, which creates a vacuum between the ball and the air coming into the tube. When enough pressure builds up behind the ball, it shoots the ball out of a tube. This type of ball machine can put topspin or backspin on balls using an adapter you play inside the tube.
– Less wear and tear on tennis balls
– Less expensive than rotating wheel machines
– Less consistent feeds based on different pressures of your tennis balls
Rotating-Wheel Ball Machines
Some tennis machines shoot balls by squeezing them in between two rotating wheels. The ball compresses to squeeze through the small opening and then shoots forward to you. If the rotating wheels are configured so that one is above the other, the machine can produce topspin and backspin.
– More consistent feeds
– More expensive
– Wears out tennis balls sooner
Choosing a Ball Machine
Consider these factors to help you choose the right tennis ball machine for you:
Air-Compressed vs. Rotating Wheels
If This might be the first consideration you have when choosing your machine.
If you want a machine that creates topspin and backspin and flat shots, make sure the machine you are buying has the feature.
Some ball machines only shoot balls in one direction, others shoot balls left to right, letting you hit a backhand and then a forehand. Others move left, right, up and down, varying the direction and depth of balls you receive.
More expensive ball machines let you program workouts or patterns. Some let you program exactly the pattern you want, while others have several pre-set patterns you can use for practices. A programmable ball machine can help create better ball machine practices and ball machine conditioning workouts.
Besides dead balls, the most annoying thing about tennis ball machine practice is turning on the machine and then having to run to the other side of the net as the machine starts shooting balls. Some machines offer wireless remote controls that let you start and stop the machine from the other side of the net. This is especially helpful if you may need to answer your phone during practice.
If you want to take your tennis machine to a public court, your club, the local high school or a friend’s court, you can purchase smaller, portable machines that fit in the back seat or trunk of your car.
Look at the Warranty
Check the warranty to see if it covers the motor, parts, labor or machine replacement. See if it covers shipping of the machine if you have to send it in for repair. Ask if you can purchase an extended warranty.
Don’t take the manufacturer’s or a professional athlete’s word that a particular machine is good. Do some online research to see what users like you think of their machines.
Quick Ball Machine Checklist
Use this checklist to help you buy the best ball machine for you:
•Pneumatic tube or rotating wheels?
•Does the ball machine add topspin?
•Does the ball machine add underspin?
•Does the ball machine oscillate (move side to side)?
•Does the ball machine have a remote control?
•Does the ball machine offer different shot patterns?
•Have you checked reviews?