As pickleball continues to grow, we see manufacturers coming out with more advanced gear, with newly released paddles made using high tech materials and innovation resulting in the best paddles to hit the market to date. Other advances include the invention of new court equipment and training aids such as ball picker-uppers and pickleball ball machines.

While these ball throwing machines have been around in the tennis world and used other sports for decades (the first baseball pitching machine was made in 1897 using gunpowder!) pickleball is a much younger sport (invented in 1965) and we are still in the relatively early stages of the sport with lots of new equipment being launched specifically designed for pickleball.

Although pickleball balls are roughly the same size as tennis balls, the weight and diameter are different enough to render them incompatible with existing ball machines. Because pickleballs will not work with tennis ball throwers, equipment makers have had to either redesign their existing ball launchers or come up with a totally new machine.

Currently, the following machines are selling on the market: Spinshot Player, the Pickleball Tutor Spin & Tutor Plus, the Pickle by Lobster,

In mid-2018, Playmate also announced that they are launching a pickleball machine. They are offering demos at clubs but their website still does not show a retail price or way to actually purchase one on their site.

To research this topic, we looked everywhere and were surprised that we couldn’t find a clear comparison table of the features of these machines anywhere – so we decided to make one ourselves especially for our readers.

If you are considering buying a pickleball machine, we are here to help you. We’ve organized the information in a format you can easily compare and also given several things to consider before buying. Scroll down to see detailed reviews of each machine.

This is obviously a much bigger buying decision than say a paddle or a pickleball bag, so it makes total sense you’d want as many details as possible to find the best pickleball ball machine for your needs and budget.

Pickleball Machines Comparison Chart

Feature Spinshot Player Pickleball Tutor | Spin Pickleball Tutor | Plus Lobster Pickle
Speed (MPH) 18-68 10-60 10-60 | 10-65 10-60
Ball Capacity 120 125 125 | 110 135** (~100)
Shot Adjustable Arc Arc- Yes YES YES YES
Shot Intervals (Seconds) 1.5-10 1-10 1-10 2-12
Oscillation YES Optional Add-On Optional Add-On YES
Spin Effect YES Side Spin Top Spin/Backspin YES
Fast Charger Optional NO NO Optional
AC/DC Power Optional Optional Optional Optional
Battery Life (Playtime in hours) 2-6 hours 3-4 3-4 2-4
Weight 42 lbs 29 lbs 34 35 lbs
Wheels YES NO YES (Since 2018) YES
External Battery YES YES YES Optional
Wireless Remote YES YES Add On Add On
Parent Company Name Spinshot Sports  Sports Tutor Sports Tutor Lobster Sports
Years in Business 20+ 20+ 20+ 40
Warranty 3 Years (***Lifetime on throw wheels) 3 Years 3 Years 2 Years
Price Spinshot Player Tutor Spin    Tutor Plus Lobster Pickle
*Speed: These are advertised speeds. We have not used a radar machine to confirm these. Some of our readers have reported that actual speeds are less than advertised. **Ball Capacity: The lobster advertises a capacity of 135 but we’ve found realistically it fits about 100 without overflowing.

Spinshot Player Pickleball Machine – Best Overall

Spinshot Player is a pickleball machine that is widely known for its versatility and performance. The machine is designed to help players improve their pickleball skills by providing realistic game simulations. In this article, we will cover the specifications, features, and pros and cons of the Spinshot Player.

The Spinshot Player comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 6 hours of continuous use. The machine has a maximum ball speed of 68 mph, which can be adjusted to suit different playing levels. It also has a spin control that can produce topspin, backspin, or no spin. The elevation control allows for shots to be hit at different heights, simulating live gameplay.

Featuring a compact and portable design, the Spinshot pickleball machine is easy to carry to different locations. It can hold up to 120 balls at a time and has an automatic ball feeder that can be set to deliver balls at a specific interval. The machine is also equipped with an adjustable tripod that can be adjusted to different heights.

Click to see the Spinshot Player pickleball machine on Amazon.

Pros: The Spinshot Player is an excellent tool for improving pickleball skills. The machine provides realistic game simulations and allows players to practice different shots and ball speeds. The adjustable speed and spin control also make it possible to practice for different types of opponents. Additionally, the rechargeable battery and portability of the machine make it a great option for players who want to practice on the go.

Cons: One of the main drawbacks of the Spinshot Player is its price, which may be a bit steep for some players. Additionally, the machine may not be suitable for those who want to practice more advanced shots, such as lobs and dinks, as it is designed primarily for groundstrokes.

Company Profile: Spinshot Sports is a leading manufacturer of pickleball machines, known for their high-quality and innovative products. The company has been in business for over 20+ years and has a reputation for producing top-of-the-line pickleball equipment. Their products are used by players of all levels and are widely recognized in the pickleball community.

In conclusion, the Spinshot Player is a versatile and effective tool for improving pickleball skills. With its adjustable speed, spin, and elevation control, players can practice for different types of opponents and simulate live gameplay. While the machine may not be suitable for everyone, it is an excellent option for those who are serious about improving their pickleball skills.

Here’s a video overview of the new Spinshot Player pickleball machine.


The Pickleball Tutor Spin:

Pickleball Tutor Spin w/Remote - Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide.

This is the most common pickleball throwing machine we see on the courts being used by coaches, clubs and in private lessons.  There are loads of useful training videos and drills posted online by users which is also helpful when trying to get the most out of your investment.

First Impressions: Over the years, the Pickleball Tutor machine has become a common sight on the pickleball court with many coaches and serious players using this model. The shape itself is rather boxy looking but the new Tutor Plus model does have a  more ergonomic design and now both Tutor models do have wheels to make them easier to transport.

Click to see the Pickleball Tutor Spin on Amazon.

However, it is very portable as it’s the lightest of all the machines, folds down into a very portable rectangular shape (only 20″ on the longest side) and at 22 pounds, the basic model can be carried around by most players without a problem.

Weight AC Model
Tutor 22 lbs
Tutor Plus 27 lbs

Weight With Battery
Tutor 29 lbs
Tutor Plus 34 lbs

The features on the “Basic” model may be somewhat lacking since it does not come with the oscillation function but it is an optional add-on. On the other hand, the basic model is affordable for someone looking for a simple machine without bells and whistles.

However, for those that want extra features, there are plenty of add-ons to customize the machine to your liking, including oscillation, electronic elevation, external battery pack, and remote. There is also an AC model available.

Portability: The basic Tutor model (without any external battery pack or other accessories) is actually the lightest of the three machines at 22 pounds.  The dimensions (12″x 18″x 20″) make it very portable.

Pickleball Tutor Spin w/Remote - Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide.

Speed: While all three machines have a minimum speed of 10 mph speeds so the only difference is on the high end and the difference is negligible since they are all within 5 MPH of each other (60 vs 65).

Do you think you’ll be spending a lot of time practicing at max speed? As mentioned earlier, we feel 50 mph is plenty of speed for most pickleball players to practice even their hardest shots and all of these machines have an (advertised) speed that tops that.

Spin: While the original Tutor didn’t have  a spin feature, the current model does. You could upgrade to the newer Plus version that does (see below).

Elevation: On the basic model of the Tutor, the elevation is controlled by manually turning a knob. There is an Electronic Elevation  Add-on that you can buy (+$100). This automatic elevation feature is only available on the oscillating machines so you would need to purchase the oscillating version (not basic model and also select the electronic elevation add-on.


Pickleball Tutor Spin w/Remote - Pickleball Tutor is The #1 Selling Picklebal Machine Brand Worldwide.

Battery:  The standard battery offers 3-4 hours of playing time on the court. There is an optional External Battery Pack
that gives an extra 6 hours of play. This needs to be purchased separately. Also note that the external battery is not light, weighing in at 12 pounds so that’s something to consider if you are planning to transport the machine often.

There is also an AC model which of course makes battery life a moot point…as long as you are within cord reach of a power source.

Start-Up Time Delay: Gives you time to get to the other side of the court before the balls start shooting out of the machine.

Company Profile: The Pickleball Tutor is made by Sports Tutor Inc. They also make automatic throwing machines for tennis, softball, volleyball, baseball and soccer.

OnCourt OffCourt is the exclusive representative of the Pickleball Tutor in the U.S. 


  • Commonly used by coaches and clubs.
  • A basic affordable model with custom add-on options.
  • Weight: lightest of all three (22 vs 35 lbs).


  • Smallest ball capacity (125 vs. 160).
  • No spin setting.
  • Remote must be fitted at the time of ordering the machine, no option as an add-on later.

The Pickleball Tutor PLUS: 

OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus - Includes 2-Line Oscillation, Electronic Elevation, and Remote/Spin Feature Added to Plus Version (150 Ball Capacity)

Read Amazon Reviews

In 2019, the new and improved version of the Tutor was released: The Pickleball Tutor Plus

This new machine is an improved version of the standard Tutor described above.  Below we’ll outline the major improvements and upgrades.

The Tutor Plus offers a few new features over the original. Most notable is the addition of a Spin setting to practice both topspin and backspin. They’ve also increased the max serving speed to 65 MPH, a five MPH boost over the original machine. Here are some of the other features:

Two Line Oscillator: This unique setting (no other machine we’ve seen has this) allows to shoot to two predetermined court positions – this is a great option if you want to alternate practice shots between forehand and backhand, or if two players are practicing at the same time (i.e. a private lesson for two or group lesson line drills).

Start-Up Time Delay: Gives you time to get to the other side of the court before the balls start shooting out of the machine (also included on basic Tutor).

Electronic Elevation Control: This allows you to easily change the ball trajectory using a switch (marked “Higher/Lower”) directly on the control panel (rather than having to use a manually adjusted knob.

OnCourtOffCourt Pickleball Tutor Plus - Includes 2-Line Oscillation, Electronic Elevation, and Remote/Spin Feature Added to Plus Version (150 Ball Capacity)

The ball feed options remain the same, allowing you to set it from one second up to 10 seconds of delay between shots.

Lobster Pickle Pickleball Machine

The Lobster “Pickle” is the most recently launched pickleball machine of the three machines currently being sold on the market.

First Impressions:

Lobster Battery Powered Pickleball Machine - the pickle

The Lobster “Pickle” (check price)

Just looking at this machine, you can see that the company took the time to work out the features and design needed for a very practical ball throwing machine.

It looks like a very close cousin to their other battery-powered tennis ball machine line (Elite and Grand models).

While it is a few pounds heavier than its two closest competitors, the pickle is built on 8” wheels and has an ergonomic handle to roll the machine around the court. This feature in itself is a clear distinguishing factor, making it the most portable machine of the ones currently available.

Portability: The ball hopper conveniently inverts back on the machine for storage and transportation. Easy transport is a major advantage over its competitors.

As of 2018, new units of the Tutor do come with caster wheels and a carry handle. Also, the regular Tutor comes with a foldable carry cart so Pickle has less of an advantage in the portability category than it did when originally launched.

Spin:  The Pickle is capable of shooting balls at speeds anywhere from 10-60 MPH giving you the flexibility to train a wide range of shots.  The slowest speeds help you perfect your dink shot and or soft lobs while the highest setting will blast shots at you that would get you a speeding ticket on many roads!

Speed: The top speed of 60 miles is similar to the other machines on the market (within 5 MPH).

As the sport of pickleball evolves,  serves are getting harder and faster (as we saw at the recent 2018 Minto US Open), so having the ability to practice your return at speeds that are 10-20 MPH faster than the other pickleball ball launchers, which is definitely a plus for the Lobster brand machine.

The Lobster Pickle machine has a separate knob on the control panel to control the amount of spin ball. This default setting (with dial in a neutral/ vertical position) is for a flat delivery with no tangible ball spin. The dial has a +/- 4 setting to left/right to add varying degrees of desired topspin or backspin (marked underspin and topspin on the dial).

This is definitely a highly marketed feature of the “Pickle”. Although it was the first to introduce it, the Tutor Plus now also offers a setting for spin.  As with speed, many players feel spin is an increasingly important skill in pickleball, whether imparting spin on your shots or being able to handle returning shots coming at you with heavy spin.

For training drills to increase your skills for spin shots, this is a key feature that Lobster sports offers with their new machine. While it’s true that a good coach can drill you by putting spin on their shots, this machine definitely is a cool training tool for coaches and players.

It would be tough even for many coaches to repeatedly deliver a high volume of practice shots in such rapid succession that are fast, well placed and with a consistent amount of topspin or backspin. This takes the guesswork out of your spin drills.

Elevation: allows you to crank up the machine from level 0 to a max of 50 degrees. This gives you the flexibility to practice hard drives and the return of serve from back at the baseline, high lob shots/smashes or soft dinks. The elevation is controlled manually.

Battery:  The basic battery charger that comes with the machine takes between 12-24 hours to fully charge the battery. If you want a quicker charge, there are upgrades available from Lobster, the Fast Charger will reduce the time to 6-18 hours and the Premium Charge will shave that downtime to a quick 1-3 hours.  

Ball Capacity: Advertised as holding 135 pickleballs. Some of our readers have reported back that 135 is a stretch, realistically about 100 balls fit comfortably without falling out.

Price: At the time of writing this, for the features included, the slightly more affordable than the Tutor. *The Basic Tutor is actually the least expensive model but you’d need you factor in the cost of the oscillation add-on to get similar functionality between the two machines – this feature comes included on the Lobster Pickle.

Check Current Price of the Lobster Pickle


  • Optional accessories (remote, external battery pack, fast charger).
  • Spin Setting
  • Price


  • Weight: heaviest of the three machines.
  • Plastic outer body and hopper.
  • Shortest court playing time on battery.
  • Some of our readers report problems with server wheels failing.

Company Profile:  The “Pickle” model just bounced on the scene in 2018. However, the company, Lobster Sports, has a 40-year history of making quality tennis ball machines.  The company was founded in 1970 by Harry Giuditta who purchased a failing machine manufacturer and started the company off down a better path by recalling all the company’s machines!

These early beginnings show the integrity of the company and their 40+ history in the industry is a testament to their quality products.

The “Pickle” joins the Lobster Sports full line of ball machines, including their battery-operated and larger electrical models for tennis. Some of which, like the Lobster Phenom line of machines,  have ball capacity up to 250 and fully programmable training programs for tennis pros with a wide variety of shot locations and pre-programmed court drills. These larger machines are powered by an AC cord.

They also sell more portable battery-operated ball machines including the new “Pickle” model that was specifically made for pickleball. Lobster Sports is located in North Hollywood, CA and its products are all made in the USA.

Buyers Guide:

What to consider when buying a pickleball machine:

Ball Capacity: Ball capacity is one of the key features that players consider. The number of balls that can be held in the hopper has a direct impact on how efficient the machine will be to play with. Every time you have to stop doing drills to pick up balls.

Having a ball mower can speed this up, but still stopping practice to pick up balls and refill the machine will cut into your lesson or practice hour.  The ball capacity on these three machines ranges from 120 (Tutor) to 160 (Simon 2) with the Lobster Pickle falling in the middle with a capacity for 135 pickleballs (in tests, the real capacity is closer to 100)

While there is a relatively large difference (40 balls) between these 3 machines, at a certain point I think there is a limit to how many balls you really need in the machine. 120 balls is still a lot of shots in a row!

Realistically at over 100 balls to me seem like plenty. At that point, you have balls all over the court and you’ll need to stop anyway for a variety of reasons:

  • Too many balls around your feet are a tripping hazard and you’ll end up stopping to get them out of your way.
  • At this point, you’ll probably want or need a breather and give your arm a short rest.
  • Pickleball coaches may not really want to do over 100 shot drills. There needs to be a break for correction/instruction and stopping to collect the balls and refill hopper is a natural part of a lesson. 100+ shots give ample opportunity for a series of drills.
  • The larger the ball capacity is, the larger the hopper would need to be (and therefore the overall size of the machine). It seems logical that all three machine makers design their models to hold roughly the same number of balls.

Pitch/Throw Wheels: The two pitch/throw wheels that shoot the ball out into the court are without argument, the most critical part of any ball throwing machine. If the wheels are out of balance or degrade negative performance and inconsistency will result. It can also be an expensive part to repair or replace.

Shot Adjustable Arc: This feature is critical to modify the shot selection you want to practice. Straight-line drives for hard serve returns or long baseline drives and shorter arc for softer lobs and dink shots. Having a higher arc capability is also very useful for high lobs and practicing the overhead smash.

Speed: All three ball machines we’ve looked at on this list have a minimum speed of 10 MPH so on the low end for delivering soft lobs, dinks and drops they are all very comparable. Although older models of the machines had varying max speeds, as of 2019 all the new machines being sold have a max speed of 60 MPH except the Tutor Plus maxes out at 65.

Even though an older, used machine from a few years ago might have a top speed of 40 MPH – that’s still a very decent speed to train your serve returns and baseline drives and a max velocity that many players would find adequate.

A serious, competitive player or pickleball coach with advanced level players wanting to take their practice up a notch or two will appreciate the extra punch these newer machines offer.

Shot Intervals (Seconds): How many seconds between shots. Speed intervals as low as 1 second up to 10-second pause between shots (may be useful for coaching and giving tips in between shots.

Oscillation Pattern: Currently, the machines offering this use a random horizontal pattern to keep shots unpredictable.

Spin: Currently the Lobster Pickle is the only machine offering this and has options for both backspin and topspin.

Elevation/Elevation Degrees: Ability to increase the height of the lob and dink shots. Max elevation would be for high lob returns and practicing overhead shots.

Charging time and Battery life/playtime: When buying a battery-powered model, the charging time can be a major consideration since the added hours needed to charge could limit how much the machine can be used on the court daily (coaching, busy clubs) or the need to buy extra external battery packs.

AC/DC power: This can be a very useful option where you are within reach of a power source (extension cord) and are not limited to the amount of time the machine can be played continuously.

Play While Charging: Most machines do not have this option as the machine cannot be in use while the battery is charging.

Remote Control:  A remote control, as you can imagine makes the machine much more convenient. If you are drilling with a coach or taking turns with a friend, they can pause the machine for you. However, if you are practice alone, standing on one side of the court with the machine on the other baseline a remote can be a major time saver.

Even if you are with other people, having a remote saves the hassle of having to go back to the machine to turn it off. This can make lessons much more efficient since the pickleball coach doesn’t have to be walking back and forth. It’s also a huge benefit to be able to stop the drill often, give a quick coaching tip or modify the drill (adjust a cone, target, etc) and then quickly resume the lesson.

Why not just hit all the balls in the hopper- and then refill it. Keep in mind that even the smallest capacity hopper of the machines holds a whopping 125 pickleballs. Realistically, very few if any players will hit that many balls in a row without experiencing fatigue or at least wanting to pause the machine briefly.  If you don’t have a remote, the machine will continue to spit out balls while you walk back around the net and to the machine- so a pretty inefficient way to practice.

Price: The cost is obviously an important factor in any buying decision. One thing to keep in mind with these machines is not just the base price but the “add-ons” you might need. For example, the Simon 2 has a battery life that doubles the others so you may not need an external battery pack. The Lobster machine comes with oscillation, whereas this would be an additional option on the others. However, all things considered, for an investment like this the machines are pretty competitively priced even with the add-ons they come within about 10% of each other so not a major price difference. The exception would be the new Playmate brand machine which we’ve heard rumored will retail for 3x the price of these three:

Check Current Prices:  Spinshot Player |  Tutor SpinTutor Plus |  Lobster

Renting vs Buying a Pickleball Machine:

Current rental rates:  While there is an ample supply of tennis ball machines for rent, pickleball machines are less common. There are even websites dedicated just to tennis ball machine rentals with prices as low as $25/day and even less per day if you rent by the week. My local tennis club rents machines for $10/hr if you just want a quick practice session.

However, just based on supply and demand, you’ll most likely pay more per day for a pickleball machine rental since there are fewer around and the demand for them continues to rise.

We’ve seen local pickleball clubs and sports equipment rental shops renting pickleball machines for about twice that:  $49/day or about $90 for a weekend (pickup Thursday PM and return Monday AM).

Do you know how much they charge at your local pickleball club…or if they even have machines for rent?  If so, please let us know in the comments!

At the current prices of new pickleball machines, by the time you rent a ball thrower 10 weekends (or 45-day rentals) to “get your money back”… if you used roughly one weekend a month by the end of about a year you would have paid the same in rentals. Something to consider when shopping. How often do you really see yourself using it?

Benefits of using a pickleball ball throwing machine.

Who can benefit from a pickleball machine:

  • Coaches
  • Clubs
  • Players


Honestly, this took a ridiculous amount of time to research! We have updated the article several times since it was published as companies have added and changed things on the machines.

However, I’m glad we did it since buying one of these machines is likely the biggest purchasing decision a pickleball player will make (apart from building a home court) and our site exists to give you the information you are looking for to make an informed decision when buying pickleball equipment.

We sifted through all the information we could find, contacted all three companies with follow-up questions, read each manual from cover to cover and watched all the YouTube videos we could find to include as much info as possible. 

This article was a long time coming, we’ve been putting it off- mostly because of the number of hours we’d need to put in researching it, but felt the site would not be complete without a section on pickleball ball throwing machines.