The top three brands for tennis ball machines are Spinshot, Lobster, and Tennis Tutor. If you wonder which company produces the best equipment, we conducted more research to help you decide.
They all have great automated ball machines, each with its unique features; however, the Spinshot Player stands out most.
We aim to understand their strengths and weaknesses and how they can help improve your performance, regardless of your playing style or level.
Read my full reviews about these 3 brands:
- Spinshot Tennis Ball Machine Review
- Lobster Tennis Ball Machine Review
- Wilson & Sports Tutor Tennis Ball Machine Review
Spinshot is an industry native to Sunny Southern California that has been in the tennis machine manufacturing business for years producing quality and affordable products. Therefore, it is a go-to supplier of great equipment simulating live tennis sessions. The machines are distinct with their rectangular shape and bright green coating, but, unlike most plastic equipment, the machine’s body is metallic, making it more stable and durable.
Spinshot has produced about five tennis ball machines, including the Spinshot Player, Lite, Pro, Plus, and Plus-2. However, compared to other products, the Spinshot Player is the best-seller, thanks to its incredible features. We will base our focus on the model for the basis of comparison since it is one of the best releases by Spinshot.
This equipment is a beginners’ first choice since it has all the basic features and is user-friendly. Most players love its 12-mode programmability design, where you can customize the drills to get the perfect height, trajectory, 2-line drills, and oscillations. The device can hold up to 120 balls and deliver them at 68 mph in 2-10 second intervals.
The balls can also go randomly, horizontally, or vertically to emulate real-time gaming. One amazing feature is that you can control it remotely using your phone or apple watch. Additionally, you can conveniently power it using a long-lasting five-hour power battery or A/C. For easy transportation, it has inbuilt wheels, a handle on the side, and weighs up to 46 lbs. The rectangular shape also helps during storage since it can fit a small space.
- It has left and right-handed player modes
- It comes with a free remote to connect to your phone or smartwatch
- It has 12 programmable drills
- The low battery charge reduces ball speed
- It is comparatively heavier
The Lobster company was founded by Harry Giuditta in the early 1970s when he bought the Green Brook Developing Company and recalled and redesigned all the machines they had previously made. Currently, the manufacturers have competed favorably with others enabling the creation of ten great machines loved by tennis players. Among the many great releases, we find the Elite Grand Five LE from the Lite series the most comparable.
Unlike the old models, this version is more advanced with better high-tech features. You can customize any aspect you need, such as spin speed, attack, grinder, and all-courter. The good news is, although it is generally an advanced device, you can still set it up to suit beginner and intermediary gameplays. It has 12 preloaded and custom drills and around 18 shot directions.
The machine can carry up to 150 balls and fire at 35-80 mph and 2-9 seconds intervals, depending on the settings. It also uses a battery for power instead of A/C, which can last up to three hours. For better flexibility, you can elevate it at a maximum 60-degree angle. Moreover, it is one of the lightest machines as it weighs 44 lbs, making it portable for use in different locations.
- It has twelve preloaded and custom drills
- It has an optional remote allowing you to customize oscillations, speed, feed, spin, and 2-line features
- It has a six-ball drill for beginner and intermediate players
- Its programming rules are more stringent
- It has a separate remote control that you have to pay for
Tennis Tutor Features
Founded by the engineer Mr. Bill Greene, Tennis Tutor is a US-based company that manufactures high-performance tennis ball machines. The company constructs various Tennis Tutor versions such as Cube, Ball, Plus, Plus Player, and Prolite. However, for the sake of in-depth analysis and comparison, we have selected the Tennis Tutor Plus that has impeccable features.
First, the machine is surprisingly lightweight and portable, enabling you to fold it and carry it wherever you need it. It also has an A/C and a rechargeable heavy-duty battery for extended gameplay, meaning longer court hours. One high-tech feature is that the model cannot overcharge due to the internal smart charger that automatically checks power levels.
To make the experience more realistic, Tennis Tutor Plus has a fantastic topspin and backspin that you can maneuver at will, besides the control panel that you can use to manage ball elevations. Its ball capacity stands at 150 like most machines, while the ball speed ranges from 10-85mph, catering to pro and beginner players since you can adjust accordingly. Furthermore, this product comes with a remote, which controls ball delivery and sideway serves and has a 2-line feature.
- It has low and groundstroke trajectories
- It has a high ball-feed rate ranging from 1.5-12 seconds
- The device comes with a three-year warranty
- The in-built oscillator can shoot balls randomly on the court
- It has a heavy battery contributing to half the total weight
- The two-button remote only has two functions; stop and start ball delivery and sideways
Which Equipment Is Best for You?
This section focuses on the key features you would want in an automated tennis ball machine and which among the three has the advantage.
Of all the machines, the Lobster has the most products with ten releases compared to the Spinshot and Lobster with five and three, respectively. Lobster products are divided into three, Phenom, Elite, and Elite Grand. The most famous Spinshot equipment, on the other hand, are the Player, Plus, Pro, and Lite, while the top Tennis Tutor devices are the Player and Plus versions. The Lobster Elite line boasts five fantastic affordable models, from elite one to three, but the Elite Grand machines, Grand Four, Five, and Five LE are more high-performance.
Every automated equipment here is high-tech and advanced. However, the Lobster has proven more innovative with its great releases, each latest one being better than the last.
The best part about these products is that they have a high ball capacity, meaning that you train alone for hours while sharpening your skills even without an opponent. For instance, most Spinshot machines carry around 150 balls while the Lobster and the Tennis tutor also accommodate an impressive 150 balls each. However, the Lobster A/C models Phenom 2, and its predecessor carries a whopping 250.
Although they all have a high capacity, we again find the Lobster equipment more special thanks to their Phenom models with almost double capacity than the standard versions. Even so, the other Lobster models are also high capacity, able to dispense more than a hundred balls.
The Spinshot has a metal case that is comparatively heavier than the other products. This feature makes it more durable and stable. However, the material is heavier, hence more tasking to transport. You will also recognize the green, rectangular casing, which saves space in storage. The Tennis Tutor also has a similar shape, but they are generally black and come with inbuilt handles and wheels for easy transportation. Lastly, the Lobsters have a plastic casing, thus lightweight, transportable, and come with a foldable handle and flexible ball feeder.
We find the Tennis Tutor the most deserving of the three based on portability, color, and unique design. It is portable, rectangular hence easy to store, and has inbuilt handles and wheels for transit.
Since players carry around their equipment, one feature buyers look out for is the weight. You would rather go for a lightweight device that you can easily transport from home to different courts. Luckily, the manufacturers use light and high-quality material aiming to improve portability.
For instance, lobster machines weigh around 35-42 lbs, with the Elite versions being the least bulky. Similarly, the Tennis Tutor is equally lightweight, with most models weighing an average of 42 lbs. On the contrary, the Spinshot’s heaviest machine stands at 46 lbs, with the Pro version being the lightest at 44 lbs.
We call a tie in this feature. Considering the average weights of various models, the Lobster and the Tennis tutor are the lightest equipment making them easier to transport than the Spinshot.
Spins and Oscillations
These products focus on creating realistic gameplay for you. The best equipment will have different ball delivery angles thanks to the spin feature. For example, most Spinshots have topspin and backspin and further boasts of vertical, horizontal, random, and 2-line oscillations, except the Lite model. The Lobster equally offers great spins and oscillations except the Elite 2 and 3. From the Tennis tutor, the Pro-Lite doesn’t spin, but it comes with oscillations at a small fee.
Spinshot has always had the unique spin and oscillation feature. Apart from one model, the rest have topspin, backspin, horizontal, vertical, and random oscillations.
Court Time and Feed Intervals
The advantage of an automated gaming machine is unlimited and uninterrupted gameplay because you get a reliable device that will always dispense balls for you. The Spinshot and the Tennis Tutor have feed intervals of 2-10 seconds; therefore, you can use them whether you are a pro or beginner.
The two mechanisms also have 2-3 hours of serves according to their ball capacity. Besides, if you use the Spinshot Lite, you get to enjoy 5-7 gaming hours. In contrast, the Lobster has a longer court time at 4-8 hours, except the elite liberty and elite freedom at 2-4 hours. The feed intervals are also longer at 2-12 seconds, which accommodates beginners.
Since most lobsters have a longer court time, it automatically wins this feature at 4-8 hours. It also has a slightly longer feed interval, beating the other two by a few seconds.
The ball speed you need depends on your playing level. Beginners may not be as fast as pros; hence, they would prefer slow speeds as they train. However, avid players are rarely concerned with the ball speed, and some would rather have a fast-paced game to train better on responsiveness.
If you are a beginner, you may incline more to the Spinshot since it has the lowest speeds of 18-68 mph, while the lite registers an even lower 6-37 mph rate. On the contrary, intermediate players and pro players will favor the lobster and tennis tutor since they have impressive 10-80 mph speeds.
Given that the speeds are adjustable, any beginner or pro can go for any of the devices. However, if you are a fast-paced athlete wishing to push the limits, the Spinshot will restrict you to speeds slower than 70 mph.
Unique Product Features
- External battery: A standalone feature in the Spinshot Player is that you can play for longer uninterrupted hours because you can install more batteries without necessarily interfering with the power cage.
- Preprogrammed drills: Unlike other machines, the Grand Five LE allows for more drills to cater to different player abilities. For instance, you can set the lefty, slicer, moon baller, advanced, intermediate, and beginner modes.
- Low battery charge warning: The Tennis Tutor Plus has a unique low-charge signal that alerts you when there’s a charge hour left.
Use Spinshot Player if:
- You are a beginner who wants straightforward equipment that is easy to set up.
- You want a machine that easily connects to your phone and smartwatch
- You want a device with an external battery
Use Grand Five LE if:
- You are a seasoned player with knowledge of how to maneuver customizable features.
- You need a device that simulates real-time gameplay due to high-tech features.
- You want more preloaded and customization features
Use Tennis Tutor Plus if:
- You seek a sleek machine that is easy to transport and store
- You want high-speed ball releases
- You would love a light indicator to tell when the power is low.
All the products are high-performance and come in handy to help simulate real-time gameplay with another player. Most features may overlap, but they are all different in design and functionality. What matters most is what you want your equipment to do for you. However, we strongly advocate for the Spinshot Player for its high speeds, lightweight, high ball capacity, and easy programmability.
You can read more about Best Tennis Ball Machine.