While not a necessity, like a baseball bat or glove, pitching machines are a great tool to have, but also some of the most expensive equipment you can buy for baseball or softball.
You can easily spend thousands on the best pitching machine. And, price isn’t the only factor to consider when reading pitching machine reviews.
Other conditions can also impact the buying decision and make it hard to determine what is the best pitching machine to buy for your individual needs.
- Best Pitching Machine 2018 Buying Guide
- Best Pitching Machine Reviews
- BATA 2 Pitching Machine
- Heater Combo Pitching Machine
- Zooka ZS740 Baseball Pitching Machine
- ATEC M3 Baseball Pitching Machine
- Heater Jr. Pitching Machine
- ATEC M1 Baseball Pitching Machine
- JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite
- Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame
- Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Combo Pitching Machine
- Personal Pitcher Pro Pitching Machine
- SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro Pitching Machine
- Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Triple Hit Baseball Machine
- Our Recommendations For The Best Baseball And Softball Pitching Machines
Best Pitching Machine 2018 Buying Guide
This 2018 buying guide will alleviate some of the challenge in shopping for a good pitching machine.
Not only will this guide look at some of the best pitching machine reviews, but it also has a wealth of information to answer a number of common questions regarding the different types of pitching machines, such as:
- How much does a good pitching machine cost?
- Who makes the best pitching machine?
- Is there a pitching machine that can throw multiple types of pitches?
- What is the best pitching machine for youth leagues?
- What is the best baseball pitching machine?
- What is the best softball pitching machine?
- And more…
In addition, the selection of pitching machine reviews included in this buying guide will cover many different types of pitching machines.
So, there will be relevant reviews for you, whether you’re just looking for the best beginner pitching machine or the best pitching machine for high school baseball.
Even if you’re looking for something very specific, like the best budget batting cage and pitching machine combo for a little leaguer, there will be at least one pitching machine review of use to you.
As you read through this guide and the subsequent baseball and softball pitching machine reviews, think about how you’ll use your machine and for what purpose(s).
There’s a lot to consider, like how the machine is powered, what skill level it is designed for, is it portable and more.
Making a list of what you feel are the ideal qualities for the best pitching machine will help you zero in on the reviews and models that are most suited to those needs.
Pitching Machine Styles
The majority of the game’s best pitching machines can be divided into three categories: armed, wheeled and cannon (compressed air). This determine how the machine actually throws pitches.
Armed Pitching Machines
An armed pitching machine is what most batting cages use. If you’re looking for the best automatic pitching machine, you’re likely looking at an armed machine. Most professional pitching machine will likely be armed.
- The drawbacks to an armed, indoor pitching machine are size and price. These are not portable and definitely not cheap pitching machines.
Wheeled Pitching Machines
For most consumers that are looking for the best pitching machines for home use, you’re going to shop for a wheeled machine.
- Not only are these cheap baseball pitching machines, compared to armed models, but they are also easier to travel with and to store, which definitely makes them a better backyard pitching machine, or something you can carry to your neighborhood field.
- The drawback to a wheeled pitching machine is speed.
If you’re looking for the best pitching machine for college baseball or professional play, you need it to be able to throw balls 90 MPH and higher.
Only the very high-end wheeled machines will be able to reach such velocity, which means you could be looking at a major financial investment!
Compressed Air Pitching Machines
The last option is a compressed air pitching machine. These cannon-like machines use compressed air and a strong spring to literally shoot balls.
- The upside to the best baseball pitching machines using compressed air is that they are not only portable, but don’t require an electrical power source. Thus, they don’t need to be plugged in to use.
So, as long as you have compressed air, you can use them anywhere and don’t need miles of extension cords.
- They do, however, require another person to operate; no solo practice here.
The advantage of compressed air pitching machines not requiring a power source is an important feature for a lot of people.
If you plan to use your pitching machine outside of your own backyard, finding an outside power source might be difficult.
That said, there are some wheeled machines that have a battery pack option, which will allow the apparatus to pitch a couple hundred pitches (number of pitches depends of the model and how high you set the speed setting to) without the need to be plugged in.
A battery powered pitching machine offers true portability and can be used just about anywhere, but they often lack the power necessary to throw 90 MPH and greater.
Even the best battery operated pitching machine will top out at around 85 MPH, which will have a very dramatic effect on the battery life and number of pitches per full charge.
Shoppers searching for the best pitching machine also have to consider adjustability.
Armed pitching machines have some advantages, especially in speed and durability (they are basically a military-grade tank, when it comes to being indestructible) but these machines not only lack portability, but also adjustability.
This means that they are going to pitch the ball at or very near the center of the plate almost every time.
While this is helpful for the hitter, because it allows them to focus on the mechanics of their swing rather than wondering where the next pitch is going to be, it drastically limits the capabilities of an armed pitching machine.
Wheeled machines, on the other hand, are much more adjustable, in terms of speed, launch angle and curve.
Thus, they are the best pitching machine for shooting fly balls.
If you’re looking for a pitching machine that throws different pitches or the best curveball pitching machine, a high-end wheeled model is likely your best answer.
Compressed air machines are also adjustable, but they lack the ability to throw curveballs and other types of pitches, so they are limited in this matter.
Types Of Balls
One factor of adjustability is the size and types of balls that the machine is capable of throwing.
Many pitching machines are restricted to only throwing practice balls, instead of real baseball or softballs.
Other machines are specially engineered to only cater to using softballs (or similar-sized practice balls) and likewise for baseballs.
Thus, if you are looking for the best pitching machine for fastpitch softball, then you absolutely need to make sure that the model you’ve chosen as the best pitching machine is capable of throwing softball-sized practice balls.
On the topic of practice balls versus regular balls, buying a bulk supply of practice balls will help stretch your money.
You may already have piles of used baseballs/softballs lying around, but those will be go fast once you start using them for batting practice in a pitching machine.
Practice balls last much longer and are made to be fed through these machines.
How Much Are Pitching Machines?
Cost is a big factor when looking at top pitching machines; prices can range from under $100 to $5000 and above.
Price can vary on all of the factors that we’ve discussed so far, as well as the overall quality of the machine, any additional features, warranty, etc.
The best cheap pitching machine is only going to suit the needs of a young player, while an experienced player at a pro-level of play needs to look at top rated pitching machines, even though they are much more expensive.
For example, the best pitching machine under $200 might double as the best pitching machine for Little League play or the best pitching machine for kids, but an older player that needs the best pitching machine for college baseball is going to find that they need to spend a significantly higher price tag for their device.
Perhaps the most influential variable, when determining the price of a pitching machine, is the type of machine.
Compressed air and single wheel machines are generally the favored choice for players looking for the best budget pitching machine, while double wheel and armed machines are significantly more money.
For less than $100, you can easily find a plastic, single wheel pitching machine that would be the best backyard pitching machine.
But, most players are going to spend around $200 to $500 for a decent device. A high-end, battery operated pitching machine can cost over $900!
If you’re looking for the best inexpensive pitching machine, you will want to steer clear of double wheel pitching machines or armed pitching machines, as these can cost a few thousand dollars!
Again, pitching machines are the most expensive piece of equipment that you can buy as a baseball or softball player.
The huge price tags that these products often have means you need to be extra careful when weighing your options.
You don’t want to spend too much or too little and not get the best pitching machine to satisfy every item on your checklist.
Quick Summary Of Pitching Machines
Due to the high number of qualities and features that players need to take into account when looking at baseball or softball pitching machines for sale, the following table will help summarize the information explained in detail above.
Best Pitching Machine Reviews
The following list of pitching machine reviews encompasses a wide range of different styles, prices and various features.
These are some of the best softball and baseball pitching machines for sale today and there should be an option to satisfy the checklists of most players.
These reviews are listed in no particular order.
All of our pitching machine reviews are very thoroughly researched. That said, given the high price of these products, it’s important to do extra research beyond these reviews, especially before making a final purchasing decision.
After the reviews, there will be a short summary of some of the top pitching machines for various categories, such as:
- Best pitching machine for youth baseball
- Best combo pitching machine
- Best softball pitching machine
- Best portable pitching machine
BATA 2 Pitching Machine
The BATA 2 Pitching Machine is a double wheel, variable speed pitching machine. This allows it to pitch from 25 MPH to 100 MPH.
While the price ranges between $1500 and $2500+, the number of speed options means it is usable at all levels of play, from Little League to the Show.
Bata 2 Combo
The BATA 2 has a 3-way swivel head. This allows it to pitch batting practice, throw grounders to the infield and pop flies to the outfield.
It is a complete machine that will throw all types of pitches. You can enhance practice further with the BATA feeder addon.
According to BATA 2 pitching machine reviews, the device weighs just under 100 lbs.
While this definitely makes it hard to carry, there’s a Transport Wheels Kit addon that helps improve this apparatus’ portability.
That said, you need a 110V AC plug to power the machine.
This is one of the most versatile pitching machines because it is usable with real or practice, dimple balls.
And, you can pick between a baseball, softball or combo pitching machine.
Part of this versatility is thanks to the BATA 2’s Goodyear rubber pitching tires. These are extremely durable and accommodate all types of balls.
These high-grade wheels are a big reason why the BATA 2 comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
- Huge range of available speeds, from 25 MPH to 100 MPH
- Tons of addons to help improve the pitching machine’s portability and usefulness
- Lots of versatility in terms of usable ball types, pitch type and positioning
- Goodyear pitching wheels are sturdy enough to last years
- Has a significant price tag that will not suit every player’s budget
- Not very portable, unless you spend extra for the Transport Wheels Kit
- Must be plugged in for power
The price of the BATA 2 Pitching Machine may seem high, but it is arguably the best pitching machine for the money because of how versatile it is.
You can get use out of it at any level of play, for any type of league (softball or baseball).
Heater Combo Pitching Machine
Heater makes a lot of pitching machines for different levels of play and league types.
Their combo pitching machine is easily the most adaptable model on their list. It quickly converts from a baseball pitching machine into a softball model.
It is also adaptable in terms of what you plan to use it for, whether that be batting practice, infield grounders or outfield pop ups.
You can even change the height of the machine to help practice high or low fastball hitting.
You cannot use the Heater Combo Pitching Machine to throw curveballs or other types of pitches.
Users of the Heater Combo Pitching Machine can adjust the speed up to 60 MPH (56 MPH for softballs).
This somewhat limits the capabilities of this pitching machine, but it is arguably the best pitching machine for twelve-years-old and below.
It’s fully enclosed wheel helps protect young kids from potential injury while operating.
The Heater Combo Pitching Machine has a 12-ball hopper that automatically feeds a ball every 10 seconds.
This means a player could use this Heater pitching machine alone, as long as they have the space and A/C power outlet.
This sturdy one wheel pitching machine has a 30-day money back guarantee and a one year limited warranty, so your investment is protected for the first season of play.
- Great pitching machine for younger players that don’t need high speed pitches
- A valuable tool for batting practice or fielding practice thanks to adjustable angles
- Can be used with baseballs or softballs (practice or real)
- Enclosed wheel helps deliver a safer product for kids
- Requires access to a power outlet to run
- Doesn’t exceed 60 MPH pitch speeds (56 MPH for softballs)
- No pitch type variety
The Heater Combo Pitching Machine is the best entry level pitching machine for young players.
It is safe to use with baseballs, softballs or dimpled practice balls and will throw balls to about 60 MPH.
Zooka ZS740 Baseball Pitching Machine
The Zooka ZS740 is the best mechanical pitching machine using compressed air and rechargeable batteries.
Not only does it fire baseballs at up to 70 MPH, but it’s also much safer than a wheeled machine because there are no exposed moving parts!
In terms of battery life and speed, Zooka reviews suggest that the machine will toss 800 pitches at the 40 MPH setting, 700 balls at 50 MPH or 500 balls at 70 MPH.
That’s a lot of batting practice, no matter what speed you set it to!
And, if you or your team need more swings than that, you can invest in an extra Zooka external battery for double the hacks.
The Zooka pitching machine regulates its speed with a convenient digital readout.
It can even be programmed to change speeds throughout practice, which can help make BP feel like live pitching.
This digital screen feature of the Zooka can be password protected, to ensure that no one accidentally changes the pitch speed.
The other perk of the Zooka S740 is its portability. With a weight of less than 30 pounds (even less if you don’t need the tripod stand), this is easily a top candidate for being the best lightweight pitching machine around.
This machine is also exceptionally durable:
- First, it has a sturdy construction of steel, polycarbonate housing and top-quality aluminum alloy. This thing will take a line drive and keep firing pitches!
- Second, because it uses compressed air instead of wheels or arms, there are far fewer moving parts that need to be routinely replaced and properly maintained.
Zooka backs their best pitching machine with a 30-day money back guarantee and a one year warranty.
- Extremely lightweight and battery operated makes portability a breeze
- Very durable machine that doesn’t require occasional wheel replacements
- Modern and digital pitch readout allows full control over speed and variation
- Usable for hitting or fielding practice
- You cannot use softballs with this pitching machine
- Doesn’t exceed 70 MPH pitches
- Real baseballs will produce some pitch movement, but there is no real way to use the Zooka ZS740 to throw curveballs
You’d be hard pressed to find a ZS740 Zooka pitching machine review that didn’t find this lightweight device to be a tremendous hitting and fielding aid.
Its digital readout and rechargeable battery make it a real winner.
ATEC M3 Baseball Pitching Machine
The ATEC M3 is a triple wheel pitching machine. This unique design helps increase the speed and spin of pitched balls because there is more surface area contact with the wheels.
This allows the M3 to shoot all different types of pitches and reach a maximum velocity of 105 MPH.
It can even distinctly mimic the motion of a right handed breaking ball versus left handed.
Selecting different speeds or pitches is very simple. There is a selection of control knobs on the exterior of the machine.
The Quick Pitch Select knob allows you to change the next pitch type, while the Speed Range dial can increase or decrease the velocity by small or large increments.
The real beauty of this design is that you don’t have to stop batting practice to physically change how the machine is set up in order to achieve a different speed or pitch type.
All you have to do is change the control settings and the machine automatically adjusts for the next pitch.
The ATEC M3 can throw fastballs, curveballs, sliders, splitters and even knuckleballs.
This is the most diverse selection of pitches that you’ll find in a pitching machine.
You can mix and match pitches straight from the arsenal of next game’s opposing pitcher, which makes this an absolutely invaluable hitting tool for getting a batter’s timing and ball tracking down before the big game.
ATEC pitching machine reviews and the ATEC Sports company itself recommend that the M3 only be used with Atec-brand batting machine balls.
These are specially engineered for the M3 to enhance pitch accuracy and spin. There are no softballs for this machine.
It’s worth mentioning that the M3 is the official pitching machine of Major League Baseball. This guarantees quality and performance!
- Pitches five different types of pitches between 30 and 105 MPH
- Recognized by Major League Baseball as the official pitching machine
- Control knobs can change speed and pitch type without interrupting batting practice
- Three wheels for more speed and spin
- Not usable with softballs
- Specifically designed for batting practice only
- Best results when used with ATEC-brand batting machine balls, which means a small, added expense
- High-end price tag isn’t affordable by all teams or players
The ATEC M3 Pitching Machine is the best pitching machine for teams or players strictly looking for a baseball batting tool.
It may have a steep price tag but you can’t top the performance of this product.
Heater Jr. Pitching Machine
If you’re looking for the best pitching machine for eight-year-old and above ages, the Heater Jr Pitching Machine is a great option.
Not only is it an affordable pitching machine, but it is also packed with fantastic features, like the 12-ball automatic feeder that pitches a baseball every 10 seconds.
You can fill the feeder, quickly take your place at the plate and get a good amount of hacks in before you have to reset the machine.
The reason that Heater pitching machine reviews recommend this model for eight-years-old and above is become it tops out at 48 MPH pitch speeds, which is a normal speed for young pitchers to throw, which helps train the eye of Little Leaguers.
For olders players, this slow speed helps them focus entirely on their swing mechanics and control.
The Heater Jr Pitching Machine’s Variable Speed Control function allows the hitter or coach to throw a mixture of different pitch velocities.
For even more pitch variety, the durable steel legs grant this machine adjustable pitch heights, so a batter can practice high or low pitches in the strike zone.
When batting practice is over, the enclosed wheel housing can be adjusted to throw ground balls, fly balls.
The wheel’s enclosure not only helps protect the wheel from outside damage, but it also keeps players or coaches from accidentally injuring themselves when the machine is on.
With these small height, speed and angle adjustments, you might even be able to throw a slight curveball!
The Heater Jr is designed to be lightweight and easy to travel with. However, you need a standard AC power source/outlet to power, so bring some extension cords!
If you’re looking for cheap softball pitching machines, you’ll have to look elsewhere because the Heater Jr is only usable with baseballs, dimpled batting cage balls and lite-balls.
- Pitches up to 48 MPH – a great speed for younger players or older hitters that want to focus on swing mechanics
- Automatic feeder holds 12 balls and spaces each pitch by 10 seconds
- Adjustable speed, height and angle features are safe to use and allow for more diversity
- An affordable pitching machine for all players
- The Heater Jr Pitching Machine is not compatible with softballs
- Despite a lightweight design for maximum portability, the machine requires a power source to plug into
- Max speed of 48 MPH isn’t going to satisfy the needs of more advanced players who want help with timing and ball tracking
The Heater Jr Pitching Machine is possibly the best youth pitching machine for the money. It is affordable and has great features.
Its biggest drawback is that it tops out at 48 MPH pitch speed, but that is plenty of mustard for young players to practice!
ATEC M1 Baseball Pitching Machine
ATEC machines are some of the best in the business. As discussed already the M3 is the height of wheeled pitching machines, but has a massive price tag.
The M1 is a slightly scaled down model that has a lot of the same great technology at a fraction of the cost (still going to run you over $1000!)
This one wheel machine has a pitch speed range of 30 to 70 MPH, which makes it a great option for players up to the high school level.
The speed of the pitches is controlled with a knob on the side of the apparatus, which makes it very simple to throw a mixture of fastballs and off-speed pitches for a more authentic batting simulation.
The ATEC M1 is capable of throwing fastballs and curveballs. For the breaking balls, it can even mimic a left handed or right handed release.
However, the machine’s operator has to manually access the Head Tilt System control to change the pitch type, unlike the ATEC M3 where pitches can be changed much more easily and quickly on the control panel.
Despite this small inconvenience, the M1 delivers a ton of pitch accuracy.
This is due to the wheel’s concave design, which grips the balls better than traditional wheels to enhance both speed and placement.
ATEC’s pro-grade wheels are much harder than many competing models. This greatly improves the lifespan of the machine and requires far less upkeep and maintenance.
Similar to the ATEC M3, this machine is designed for best-use with ATEC’s Hi.Per(R) balls.
These balls further improve the already-impressive accuracy of this device. But, will require you to buy all your practice balls from ATEC.
Alternatively, you can just use regular baseballs!
- Same high-quality as ATEC’s top pitching machines, but for less money and fewer features
- Capable of pitching fastballs and left-handed or right-handed curveballs with a slight adjustment
- Pitch Speed Control knob quickly adjusts between 30 and 70 MPH throws
- Specifically designed for baseball players, which makes this pitching machine not compatible with softballs of any size
- While much cheaper than the high-end M3, the ATEC M1 Pitching Machine still carries a pretty hefty price
The ATEC M1 Pitching Machine is recommendable as the best pitching machine for ten-year-old players and older, especially those that are serious about the game and willing to spend a mid-to-high price for a pitching machine.
JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite
By sheer popularity and volume of positive pitching machine reviews, it is impossible to leave the JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite off of any list of top pitching machines.
Perhaps the biggest reason that the JUGS M6000 is so popular is because of its affordable, rechargeable design that caters to both softball and baseball players.
Plus, the JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite can be adjusted to toss different types of pitches with various movement to simulate sliders, curveballs and other breaking balls.
The machine can also mimic the speed of an 85-MPH fastball (when placed 25-feet away from the batter), according to JUGS pitching machine reviews.
The base of this machine swivels 360-degrees to pitch in all directions and more angles.
This helps a coach easily shift practice from batting to infield and outfield fielding.
The only drawback to this is that the JUGS Lite-Flite is designed to only be used with JUGS’ Lite-Flite balls or Bulldog polyballs.
This doesn’t affect batting practice much, but fielding these lighter practice balls might be too far from the real thing to prepare players for gametime.
On the upside, these lighter balls are designed to be used for pitching machines, so they won’t deteriorate as quickly as regular baseballs or softballs.
And, their lighter design can be a helpful hitting aid for batters that are afraid of inside pitches and need help squaring up on these types of pitches.
The JUGS M6000 has a lot of optional features that really allow for a customizable pitching machine experience.
Many of these features vastly improve the functionality of the device.
For example, the optional remote switch, combined with the optional automatic feeder, means the batter can have complete control over when balls are pitched. Solo batting practice anyone?
Alternatively, if you’re taking your JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite to a field without a power source, then you’ll want the optional rechargeable battery pack.
- Quickly switches from baseballs to softballs, so every player can enjoy the JUGS M6000 LIte-Flite
- Lots of optional features add more depth to an already great pitching machine
- Capable of simulating fastballs, sliders and curveballs and reaching speeds of 85 MPH
- Considering how feature-rich the machine is, it is very affordable
- Only usable with specific Lite-Flite or Bulldog practice balls, which are softer than real baseballs or softballs
- Can only simulate 85 MPH if the pitching machine is placed closer to the hitter
- Added features will increase the final price of the machine
At the end of the day, no matter what optional features you’ve added to your JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite, it’s still going to be the best pitching machine under $500.
Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame
In the world of baseball and softball pitching machines, the Louisville Slugger Ultimate Pitching Machine (UPM) 45 Blue Flame is an oddity.
While the majority of armed pitching machines are bulky, weigh hundreds of pounds and definitely not portable, the Blue Flame is none of those things.
It weighs just 25 pounds, requires no batteries or electrical outlet to run and still delivers a great simulated pitch experience.
The UPM 45 Blue Flame pitches balls with a lever action mechanism. This throws hard baseballs and softballs up to 45 MPH, while lighter balls can be thrown even harder at about 60 MPH.
No matter what type of ball you use, (the UPM 45 Blue Flame can even throw soccer balls, volleyballs and more!) you’re going to get consistent accuracy and placement at the plate.
For young hitters, this speed is appropriate with live pitches they’ll face in game situations.
Older players like the Blue Flame because its consistency allows them to know exactly where the ball is going to be as it crosses the plate.
This knowledge allows the hitter to focus on other aspects of their swing and mechanics, rather than tracking the ball.
Many Blue Flame pitching machine reviews state that this device is an invaluable coaching tool.
You can pitch batting practice as well as fielding practice without ever actually throwing a ball.
As a coach, this is great because it saves your arm for other drills that can’t be performed with the Louisville Slugger UPM Pitching Machine.
It’s also a perfect standard for coach pitch baseball and softball leagues.
This is a great and affordable pitching machine manufactured by one of the best in the game.
Whether you’re looking at Louisville Slugger pitching machine reviews or bat reviews, the conclusion is always the same: high performance, great design, fair pricing.
- Throw hard and light baseballs and softballs or other sports balls at 18 MPH to 60 MPH (depending on the ball)
- Constantly throws a level pitch across the plate, which allows the hitter to focus solely on their swing and mechanics
- Weighs less than 25 LBS and requires no power source or batteries for supreme portability
- Can be used for batting and fielding practice
- Very affordable coaching tool
- Lacks the ability to adjust to throw different pitch types
- For real, hard baseballs and softballs, you’re only going to reach a maximum pitch speed of 45 MPH
For its price, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is an unmatched coaching tool.
It is the best home pitching machine because you can bring it anywhere and use it with any type of ball.
Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Combo Pitching Machine
Just like the ATEC M3, this is another triple wheel pitching machine. The added wheel helps this device throw a wider variety of pitch types with improved accuracy and speed.
It can pitch with speeds up to 100 MPH for baseball or 90 MPH for softball. This is the key advantage to the Rawlings Pro Line 3 over the ATEC M3 – the ability to pitch both baseballs and softballs.
Controlling this pitching machine is easy thanks to the iPitch Digital Control Panel. This allows you to adjust the pitch speed, spin direction and spin amount.
The nice thing about the Pro Line 3’s speed control is you can increase/decrease the speed by a single MPH.
Competing models, on the other hand, don’t offer that kind of exact speed adjustments.
The spin direction control has 12 different options and spin amount allows the user to pick between none, low, medium or high.
With the spin amount and direction features, Rawlings pitching machine reviews suggest that you can essentially throw 37 different types of pitches!
For example, you can set the spin direction for top, which helps simulate a sinker or curveball. Alternatively, you can set the machine to no spin; this will throw a knuckleball-like pitch.
The wheels of the Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Pitching Machine are much harder than competing models.
They utilize a 1-inch urethane tread that allows the machine to pitch faster for less downtime between pitches.
Other pitching machine wheels can leak air or become unbalanced after lots of use. Thanks to the hard, sturdy design of Rawlings’ wheels, that isn’t the case with this machine.
Unfortunately, the Rawlings Pro Line 3 shares another similarity to the ATEC M3: price.
This is a high-end pitching machine that only serious baseball and softball players are going to want to buy.
- Capable of throwing any pitch, from any angle and up to 100/90 MPH (depending on whether you’re using baseballs or softballs)
- Extremely durable and high-quality wheels last longer and pitch quicker than many competing models
- Added third wheel helps increase pitch speed, accuracy and allows for better spin
- Can be used with real or practice baseballs/softballs
- iPitch Digital Control Panel makes changing speeds or pitch spin incredibly easy
- One of the most expensive wheeled pitching machines you can buy
- Weighs 120 LBS, which means it isn’t the easiest pitching machine to carry
The Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Pitching Machine is possibly the best pitching machine if money is no issue.
It’s a little more versatile than the ATEC M3 because it allows for softball pitching too.
Plus, its iPitch Digital Control Panel gives the user absolute control of speed, spin and direction of pitches.
Personal Pitcher Pro Pitching Machine
If you need a cheap pitching machine to use at home or in the backyard, the Personal Pitcher Pro Pitching Machine is an ideal option.
It costs less than $200, has the capability to pitch fastballs and curveballs up to a simulated 95 MPH and weighs less than 5 LBS for extreme portability.
The reason that the Personal Pitcher Pro is able to do so much with such a small, lightweight and affordable machine is because it doesn’t pitch traditional baseballs and softballs or even the dimpled practice balls.
Instead, this pitching machine uses wiffle golf balls.
While this may seem like a disadvantage, these smaller, light balls actually hold a lot of benefit.
Because they are smaller than traditional balls, the batter needs to hit every pitch squarely to get good contact.
This helps batters consistently find the sweet spot on the their bat.
And, because these balls are so light, they not only naturally move and curve, but they won’t injure the batter.
Thus, you can put the Personal Pitcher Pro machine only a few feet away to simulate those 90+ MPH pitch speeds.
The other beauty of owning the best wiffle ball pitching machine is you can use it practically anywhere.
The balls are too light to travel far or with any damaging force behind them. You can even practice in a basement or garage!
Their small size ensures the balls won’t break, even when using a metal or wooden baseball/softball bat.
The Personal Pitcher Pro has a 4-hour rechargeable battery and can be plugged directly into an AC outlet.
It comes with an automatic feeder and 48 wiffle golf balls to get you started.
However, this pitching machine doesn’t have a tripod included.
Instead, it will mount to any standard camera tripod (you can find these online for less than $20).
- Super easy to transport and the wiffle balls mean you can use it almost anywhere
- With the small wiffle balls, hitters need absolute perfect hand-eye coordination and swing control to make contact
- Has 4 speed settings that can simulate pitches between 15 and 95 MPH
- Can throw fastballs or right/left-handed curveballs
- Very affordable home and backyard pitching machine
- You have to buy a tripod stand separately
- Doesn’t actually pitch 95 MPH, but rather simulates the experience by placing the machine closer to the batter
- Can only be used with the wiffle golf balls, which lack the authentic feel of a real baseball or softball
This is arguably the best small ball pitching machine for under $200.
It is portable, has rechargeable batteries and the small golf wiffle balls won’t break or cause any damage, even when using a game bat.
SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro Pitching Machine
This pitching machine is similar to the Personal Pitcher Pro because it uses a similar type of smaller practice balls.
Again, these smaller balls help train a batter’s eyes and sharpness for more accurate hits.
And, they don’t travel far or have the propensity to break windows like baseballs and softballs.
Thus, these small practice balls are a much safer and backyard-friendly training tool.
The SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro has a five second delay between pitches.
This gives ample time for the hitter to recover from the previous swing and lock in for the next pitch, without wasting any time waiting for the machine to spit out the next practice ball.
And, it holds 26 balls total, so you won’t have to collect and reset the machine until you’ve had plenty of swings.
With this budget pitching machine, you have the option of plugging it in or going the battery-operated route with six C batteries (not included with purchase).
It is not clear how long this pitching machine can last on battery power alone and plugging in the device does not recharge the batteries.
In terms of pitch speeds, the Lightning Bolt is somewhat limited. It’s max speed is only 30 MPH.
If you want to simulate faster speeds, you can move the machine closer to the batter. To add a little variety to the pitches, the angle can be adjusted.
The advantage that the SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro has over a machine like the Personal Pitcher Pro is price.
This is possibly the best pitching machine under $100 on the market.
Unfortunately it doesn’t have as much pitch variety, in terms of speed and type.
- Lightweight design of balls and machine makes it great for backyard play
- Option to power the machine by batteries or plugging in the AC adapter
- Small practice balls are very safe to use and their size helps train a batter’s eyes to ensure they make great contact every trip to the plate
- One of the cheapest, feature-rich pitching machines out there
- Max pitching speed of 30 MPH isn’t going to satisfy more seasoned players
- Batteries are not included and don’t recharge when the machine is plugged in
- Lacks the ability to throw different types of pitches, like breaking balls
Because of its low maximum speed, the SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro is the best pitching machine for six-year-old and older players that want to develop better vision at the plate by practicing at home or in the backyard.
Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Triple Hit Baseball Machine
For the very young, aspiring baseball player, the Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Triple Hit Baseball Machine is the perfect learning tool.
It is easily the best pitching machine for five-year-old and younger players.
This pitching machine is a three-step learning process that allows a youngster to develop and grow their baseball fundamentals.
The first step of the development process is a stationary tee. Once your son or daughter has mastered this step, then they move onto balls being “pitched” straight up.
Essentially, this mimics throwing the ball up and hitting it yourself, but with a little better accuracy.
The last stage of the young player’s development is a more traditional pitching machine that launches balls from ten feet away.
This function can also be a valuable tool for helping a young player learn to catch the ball and the light, plastic balls mean little-to-no chance of the child getting hurt by pitches.
This pitching machine only comes with three balls, but you can purchase more separately for only a few dollars more.
The Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Triple Hit Baseball Machine includes a plastic bat that is appropriate for a small child.
- Three-step development process really builds a great foundation of hitting in very young players
- Can double as a hitting or catching learning tool
- Includes three balls and a plastic bat
- Designed for very small children only and won’t be very useful beyond the age of five or six-years-old
The three-step development process of the Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Triple Hit Baseball Machine is really unmatched when it comes to teaching a toddler how to play baseball or softball.
Our Recommendations For The Best Baseball And Softball Pitching Machines
When you consider how many pitching machine reviews we’ve looked at and the various factors that go into ultimately deciding which machine is best for you and your needs, we thought it would be a good idea to recommend some of our favorites for various categories.
Best Pitching Machine For Professional Players
When money is no issue and you need the very best pitching machine for sale, then you want the ATEC M3 Pitching Machine.
Not only is this triple wheel device the official pitching machine of Major League Baseball, but it also has the highest pitch speed of any machine on our list and the easy-to-change pitch type controls are an unmatched feature!
The Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Pitching Machine is a close runner up, especially if you need a machine capable of handling softballs.
Best Portable Pitching Machine
By only weighing a whopping 5 LBS, having great features and using super light golf wiffle balls, the Personal Pitcher Pro Pitching Machine is your best bet if you want something portable that you can take and use anywhere.
Plus, it has four hours of rechargeable battery life, so you don’t even need a power source to plug it into.
Best Combo Pitching Machine
The BATA 2 Pitching Machine has an available purchasing option to be a combo machine, meaning it can be used with both baseballs and softballs.
This top pitching machine features high-quality materials, especially in the wheels, and lots of pitch type and speed variations.
It is a little expensive. So, if you’re looking to save some money, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame is another option.
On the other hand, you could invest even more for a Rawlings Pro Line 3 Wheel Pitching Machine; it all depends on your budget.
Best Pitching Machine For Youth Baseball
The ATEC M1 Baseball Pitching Machine is a great option for youth players. It has a lot of the same quality and features as the more expensive M3, but at only part of the cost.
The biggest difference between the two machines is pitch selection and speed, but, as a youth player, a slower machine is much more acceptable.
Best Overall Pitching Machine
Considering price, features, pitch speeds, pitch types and a number of other variables, the best overall pitching machine is likely the JUGS M6000 Lite-Flite.
Not only is it an extra affordable combo pitching machine, but the various optional features really let you customize your pitching machine for exactly what you need it for.
And, it is capable of pitching balls at moderately fast speeds with even a little movement.
With this research-packed guide, you have all of the information and know-how that you need to find the best pitching machine for your unique checklist of must-have features, whether you are a coach, player or parent.
While this guide is full of good insights into each pitching machine review listed, it’s still good to do some research on your own.
After all, a pitching machine is a big investment!
It would also be a smart strategy to talk to coaches, other players and anyone else that has been around the game and is familiar with these devices.