Getting into the world of pitching machines can be an intimidating endeavor. We’re here to help you figure out the best pitching machine for you. You may be looking for baseball or softball, something budget friendly or the best in class without concern over price. Either way, we’ve got you covered with a number of pitching machine reviews for 2021.
1. Jugs BP3
The best overall model
The Jugs machine has become one of the most popular machines because of its reputation as an elite product with great durability. It’s a brand trusted by the NFL and MLB alike. We believe the Jugs BP3 is the best baseball pitching machine on the market in 2021.
The Jugs BP3 is the best model in the game. Its 3-wheel design lets you switch pitches from a right-handed breaking ball to a left-handed breaking ball with the turn of a dial. There’s no adjustments to be made.
We love the Changeup mode and pre-set hitting circuit. This allows you to change from a fastball to a change up without tipping off the hitter. We’d like to see a mode where you can add breaking balls in, but we haven’t gotten there yet.
It’s nice to see such a large variety in pitch speed. Knowing that you can range from 40-90 means that you’ll be able to use this with players in the later years of their little league all the way into their high school careers.
The price tag is pretty hefty, but if you’re running a league or working with an organization, you may be able to split the cost. This machine will absolutely perform for you.
- 40-90 MPH.
- Digital speed display.
- Changeup mode.
- Micro-adjustment on pitch location.
- Pre-set hitting circuit.
- Features 9 pitches.
- Hefty price tag.
2. Hack Attack
The fastest machine
The Hack Attack is very similar to the Jugs machine. It’s a 3-wheel machine that offers incredible quality, but also can compete with the top arms in Major League Baseball.
The Hack Attack is the best competition you’ll find for the Jugs BP3. It has a similar 3-wheel design which allows breaking balls in both directions without having to manually change the direction of the wheels. The Hack Attack has an open design to maximize how well you can see the ball.
The Hack Attack has also made it a point to speed the process up a bit. You’ll find that a 5 second re-load time is faster than most of the competition. Another huge benefit with the Hack Attack is that it has wheels specifically designated for transport. That is, it has wheels that make it easier to move.
- Pitches can reach 100+ MPH.
- 3-wheel design.
- 7 pitches.
- Micro-adjustments to location.
- 5 second reload time.
3. Junior Hack Attack
The Junior Hack Attack is the softer model of the Hack Attack. It’s a great machine, but what makes its parent model stand out is how hard it throws. Without that speed, it’s simply missing something.
While the Junior maintains a lot of the best features it can’t compete with its parent model. That’s largely due to the fact that it tops out at 70 MPH. On their website, Hack Attack addresses this by pointing out that using the machine at 45 feet would make pitches the equivalent of 90 MPH. If you’re looking to spend thousands of dollars, you deserve to have the machine do the work for you.
The Junior model still offers great reload time and small level adjustments to make sure pitches are going where you want them. That being said, 30 MPH on the maximum velocity is significant. Topping out at 70 MPH means that this model won’t cut it for high school players.
- Top out is 70 MPH.
- 5 second reload time.
- 7 pitches.
- Micro-adjustments to location.
- Requires adjusting wheels.
4. Jugs BP2
The best 2-wheel machine
The most popular brand takes the top prize again. Jugs BP2 is our top-rated pitching machine when looking at 2-wheel models. The BP2 offers a lot of the same features that the BP3 does, except for the wheel. That’s significant because you have to manually adjust the wheels for different pitches.
The Jugs BP2 is the best 2-wheel pitching machine you’ll find. The obvious downside to a 2-wheel machine is that you have to adjust the wheels’ angles to change the pitches that are being thrown. It forces you to tell the batter what’s coming. This machine will throw a fastball/splitter combination and a slider that breaks in both directions without changing anything which is nice.
The speed is controlled by a knob on the control panel. While the knob doesn’t have a specific setting, you can read the sped on the digital display. We also really like the micro-adjustment to location. Just like the BP3, you can use a lever to adjust the pitch by an inch or two rather than trying to left and readjust the entire unite.
It may be tough to purchase with a $2,695 price tag, but we assure you it’s the best option in its class. This model struggles because it’s a 2-wheel model. However, we believe that it still offers value in the fact that it’s able to reach 90 MPH. That speed means it’s still usable on a high school baseball field.
- 45-90 MPH.
- Digital speed reading.
- Micro adjust location.
- Easy knob adjustment.
- Requires adjusting wheels.
5. Spinball Wizard 2-Wheel
The best mid-tier combo machine
The Spinball Wizard 2-wheel machine may be the offers the best features out of any mid-tier model that we reviewed. If we’re being honest, we almost put it in the top tier. It’s a versatile machine that can be used with players from 10 years old into their collegiate years and beyond.
This is the first machine that is a “combination” model. That means it’s able to throw a baseball or a softball. If you’re a family who has several children playing, this could be invaluable.
We’re also really impressed by the speed that this can throw. A 40-100 MPH speed range could cover anyone who is facing live pitching. Another interesting feature is that this machine is able to stand about 5 feet tall. That means this is designed to provide a realistic release point for baseball players.
The biggest drawback that you’ll find is that the company is a bit slow on shipping the machine out. Typically, it’s about 2 or 3 weeks before you receive the machine.
The only other con that you’ll find is that this is a 2-wheel machine. In a perfect world, you’d like to have a 3-wheel option. Because it has 2 wheels, you’ll have to adjust the placement and speed of the wheels to change the pitch.
One final significant point is pricing. The Spinball Wizard retails for $1,699 for a baseball or softball machine. It’s $1,799 to get the combination model that can use both baseballs and softballs.
- Combination model (baseball and softball).
- Pitches 40-100 MPH.
- High release point – realistic pitching.
- It’s a 2-wheel machine.
6. Heater Sports Deuce 95
The best solo batting practice machine
The Deuce 95 is the first machine on this list that a hitter can actually use without any help. It’s a great pitching machine in general, but the fact that it enables a hitter to practice alone makes it stand out.
The Deuce 95 could earn several awards. We believe it’s the best softball pitching machine, the best combination pitching machine, the best pitching machine under $1,000 and the best life-long pitching machine. Three of those make sense, so we’re going to explain the final point.
The Deuce “throws” pitches from 25 MPH to 95 MPH. That makes this a machine just as much one of the best youth pitching machines as much as it is one of the best high school pitching machines. It’s designed for its minimum speed to be low enough to work with 7-8-year-olds while it’s top out can reach the average speed of a major league fastball.
Given the variety of uses and the $999 price tag, this may be the best value pitching machine you can find. With its auto-feed feature and 10 second delay between pitches, this might be the best home pitching machine that a young player can find.
- Pitches range from 25-95 MPH.
- 12 ball auto-feeder.
- “Throws” 5 different pitches.
- Ability to take BP alone.
- Baseball/softball combination.
- 2-wheel system.
7. Zooka ZS740
The most mobile pitching machine
The Zooka defines a mobile pitching machine. It’s a battery-powered, tripod pitching machine that only has one wheel. It’s lacking in some features, but its portability is second to none.
Zooka focused on a niche market. But they are dominating that market. They built a machine around portability and included features like a battery that can handle over 500+ and a machine that weighs 30 lbs including the tripod. Other machines are able to run on a battery if you purchase it separately. This machine is made and sold with a battery.
One factor that is a bit middling is the speed that the ZS740 shows. The minimum speed of 10 MPH is outstanding for younger players. That’s truly a speed that 5-6 year olds can handle. It is an outstanding option if you’re looking for a pitching machine for kids. Unfortunately, it’s top out speed is only 70 MPH which means that this machine will be phased out before your player ever reaches high school.
With the focus on portability, this machine is a 1-wheel model which limits the types of pitches that a hitter will see. Because this only has one wheel, it can only throw a fastball or a changeup. We’d like to see a bit more, but understand the concept of their build.
Ultimately, with a focus on portability, we see the value here. Especially when you consider the price.
- Digital speed reading.
- Over 500 pitches on 1 charge.
- Able to throw baseballs, lite balls, safety balls, tennis balls.
- Min. speed of 10 MPH, great for younger players.
- Low end speed.
8. Jugs Lite-Flite
The best pitching machine under $500
Once again, Jugs steps up as one of the best brands in the business. They offer a great combo option that can deliver baseballs and softballs.
The Lite-Flite lives up to the Jugs reputation. It’s a great option that still allows a hitter to practice 5 different pitches. This combo model also features a “switch-and-play” knob that makes it easy to go from baseball to softball machine in a matter of a few seconds.
Even at $450 players tell us that the Lite-Flite consistently outperforms anything else in this price range.
- Combination machine (softball/baseball).
- Throws multiple pitches.
- Switch-and-play knobs.
- Only throws lite balls.
9. Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame
The best lightweight pitching machine
The UPM 45 Blue Flame is truly unique in that it runs on manual power. That is, there are no batteries and no cables to power it up. The design makes me think of a catapult. After positioning everything for the pitch that you want, you simply press a pedal down with your foot to make the throw. It’s surprisingly accurate.
Because this model is man-powered, it doesn’t get the love that it should. Being incredibly light, mobile, and accurate means it is one of our favorite budget pitching machines. At $180, it’s something that won’t break the bank. It’s also something that you can let young players use by themselves without being worried that they’ll get hurt.
The design of the UPM 45 Blue Flame seems to imply that it was designed as a kids pitching machine or a machine for little league pitching.
- Lightweight (25 pounds).
- Surprisingly accurate.
- Easy to use.
- Can use a variety of balls.
- Runs on manual power.
10. SKLZ Catapult
The best soft toss machine
This stretches the concept of a pitching machine a bit, but we think it still belongs on this list. It is the cheapest model you’ll find that has a good reputation. The design is pretty simple and allows players to practice just about anywhere.
As we mentioned already, this isn’t a typical pitching machine in that it doesn’t throw a straight pitch toward the batter. Instead, this machine tosses the ball into the air in the way that a coach would during soft-toss.
It’s a great pitching machine for youth as it’s the perfect fill-in when you can’t find a coach or teammate to come out. Because of the simple mechanics, this is a great option for home use. Having an $80 price tag also makes this machine incredibly affordable.
- Holds 8 balls at a time.
- AC or battery power.
- Throws ball up to 25 feet.
- 8 second reload time between pitches.
- Pricing is very reasonable.
- Doesn’t throw a straight pitch.