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Erne - pickleball machine review

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Published on: Apr 4, 2024

The Erne pickleball machine on a pickleball court

If you're looking to improve your pickleball game, you might have heard of the Erne pickleball machine already. Maybe you've seen it on the courts and wondered if it really does make you a better player.

I've been waiting months to get my hands on the Erne. It was backordered for most of last year, and is already sold out again. In my Erne pickleball machine review, I'll tell you exactly what I think, and whether it's worth the high price tag.

My verdict5.0star iconIt's no contest—the Erne is the best pickleball machine I've ever tested. I'm calling it the Tesla of pickleball, as Erne's software keeps getting better over time. If you're serious about improving your game and you can handle the big price tag, the Erne is absolutely worth the investment.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You want to become a better pickleball player:

    the Erne really does improve your game with varied drills that simulate real game scenarios.

  • You want the Tesla of pickleball machines:

    this has the most advanced tech I've seen, with software updates that keep improving its performance.

  • You can afford the $2k investment:

    the price won't suit everyone, but if you have the budget, this is well worth the investment.

Pass if:

  • You don't have a court you can reserve:

    you'll want uninterrupted practice time on a proper court to get the most out of the Erne.

  • You're on a budget:

    there are cheaper pickleball machines out there, though you'll have to sacrifice on performance and tech.

  • You're brand new to pickleball:

    you'll want to learn the basics before investing in the Erne.

Speed Range

10-65 mph

Ball Capacity



0.80-10 seconds

Battery Life

3-5 hours


50 lbs

Portable Remote


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Review summary

The Erne claims to be the best pickleball machine and training partner ever created. It retails for $1,899 but you can save $100 with my code PH100.

My testing confirmed it's true—the Erne outshines the competition in almost every category. I scored it 10/10 on speed range, oscillation, ball capacity, battery life, and more. The Erne will make you a better pickleball player. So, if you have the budget, I recommend it 100%.

Watch my full review of the Erne:


Now let's take a look at what makes it so special.

I was impressed from the start with this machine. The unboxing and setup were both pretty easy, taking me only 5-10 minutes. Then once you're on the court and ready to go, the Erne is a joy to use.

You can plug it in, or run wireless on the battery. I've found this super useful since finding an outlet on a pickleball court can be a pain. The battery life really does last as advertised. After the first 6 hours of use, mine still had more than 50% battery left.

I'm calling this the "Tesla of pickleball" because it's high-tech for modern users. There are no buttons on the machine itself, as everything is controlled through the Erne app on your smartphone.

Brandon Mackie with the Erne pickleball machine
Brandon Mackie with the Erne pickleball machine

I was skeptical at first, as not every player is tech-savvy. However, I can confirm the app is surprisingly easy and intuitive to use. The only thing that wasn't obvious was that clicking on individual drills toggles through pre-set subdrills. The Erne founder had to tell me about that one.

Once you fill up the ball hopper (I managed to fit 153 in mine) and you choose the mode you want, you're ready to start playing. It can shoot balls from 10-65 miles per hour and oscillate over a range of vertical and horizontal angles, so you can tailor it to whatever you want.

When it comes to pickleball drills, you have two main options. You can either focus on one type of shot (like hitting a good drop shot over and over) or mix it up to simulate real gameplay.

Brandon Mackie hitting a ball from the Erne pickleball machine
Brandon Mackie hitting a ball from the Erne pickleball machine

I have no doubt the Erne will help you become a better player. I really like customizing drills to create real-game sequences that I want to practice. Recently, I've been focusing on improving my hand speed at the kitchen and I'm now super pumped to play in real games again.

The Erne is undoubtedly high quality—you can feel it in the components and the build. It feels like it was designed by NASA. However, one downside is that all that engineering makes it bulky and hard to transport.

I'm a fit guy, but even I find it hard to lift this machine! I was even more disappointed to discover it doesn't fit in the trunk of my Sedan. I have to put it on the back seat where it's not as secure.

The Erne pickleball machine folded away ready for storage
The Erne pickleball machine folded away ready for storage

Accuracy is another slight letdown for me. While the accuracy is better than other machines I've tested, sometimes the ball doesn't land in the same spot. Occasionally, it goes straight into the net—even when it's on the "fixed point" setting (more on the different drills later).

I also wish I could further customize my own drills. Currently, there's no way to choose the speed or angle of each shot. The manufacturers say they're prioritizing a fix for this, though. Once they nail this feature, I'm not sure how the Erne could be any better.

Lastly, you're going to need some extra pickleball accessories when you buy the Erne, including lots of balls. I bought 150 Franklin X-40 pickleball balls, as well as a pickup tube that saved my back from lots of bending over. The makers of the Erne even sell a tube of their own.

Brandon Mackie refilling the Erne pickleball machine with pickleballs
Brandon Mackie refilling the Erne pickleball machine with pickleballs


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  • Great pre-programmed drills help you train shot after shot

  • Range of speeds from 10-65 mph to simulate real gameplay

  • Customizable drills and sequences to practice what you want


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  • Not easily portable

  • Accuracy could be better at times

  • Customizable drills are limited—you can't currently change speed or angle of individual shots


Let's take a look at some features of the Erne to see why I consider it the best pickleball machine on the market.

Software powered

For me, the standout feature is the fact it's controlled entirely by a dedicated app on your phone. This is why I'm calling it the Tesla of pickleball. The developers have already solved two big customer complaints via software updates to the app.

One of these fixes now lets you save default configurations for preset drills. The other fix (releasing in late April 2024) lets you customize individual settings (speed, angle, etc.) of shots on a custom sequence. This will be huge.

Most pickleball machines, like the popular Tutor Plus, are hardware-programmed, meaning you're stuck with what you get. That's why I believe the Erne is worth the price tag. While it costs more than most machines, it gets better every time the team pushes a software release.

Internal yoke

On random settings, the Erne's internal yoke kicks in. This means you don't know which direction the machine will throw the ball, keeping you on your toes.

With other machines I've tested, the entire device moves when oscillating. This takes away from the randomness since you know where the ball is going. I really like this feature because it mimics genuine gameplay.

With the Erne, I did find that you need to turn the frequency up high enough (7 or higher) for this to work properly. Otherwise, you can see the direction of the yoke from across the court and know where the ball is going.


Battery or AV

Another top selling point for the Erne is the power choices. I don't know of any courts with plugs that are readily available, so I really like that the Erne has a 4-8 hour battery life.

I put this to the test, and after 6 hours, the battery level was still over 50%. While this will depend on how hard you run it, it's a huge relief not having to find an outlet.



Speed range


Oscillation range


Ball capacity




Battery life


Ease of use





Speed range: 10/10

The range of speed (10-65 mph) is so good. At 10 mph, I feel like I'm defending against really good drop shots. For me, the sweet spot is 45-50 mph when I want to work on my fast hands.

I don't know why you'd need to use the maximum 65 mph (a pro pickleball serve is around 50 mph). It's way too intense and borderline scary! Still, I appreciate having such a wide choice of speeds.

Oscillation range: 10/10

Oscillation just means how the machine moves back and forth—it can turn right and left or up and down to mix up shots from all angles.

The Erne edges most machines here. It offers 62º of range horizontally and 17º vertically. There are no shots that I can't simulate with the oscillation settings.

You can really see this on the "random" drill—especially at higher frequencies (7 or higher). It's a crazy good workout that had me sprinting all over the court.

Ball capacity: 10/10

Erne claims they have the largest ball capacity on the market, at 150 balls. Meanwhile, the Pickleball Tutor (my favorite mid-range machine) can hold 110.

I managed to squeeze 153 balls in during my sessions. When using the "random" drill setting, these last me just over 5 minutes of continuous drilling. That's one heck of a workout!

Portability: 7/10

Personally, I find the Erne a pain to transport. At 50 lbs, it's heavy and awkward to carry. It doesn't fit in the trunk of my Sedan, so I have to put it in the backseat.

However, once I get it on the court, I'm able to wheel it around easily enough. The wheel system works great, even on grass or unpaved surfaces. It's just getting it there that's hard.

Brandon Mackie transporting the Erne pickleball machine to the court
Brandon Mackie transporting the Erne pickleball machine to the court

Battery life: 10/10

The marketing claims this has a 4-8 hour battery life—this checked out for me. After 6 hours of testing over one weekend, the battery was still over 50%. That's plenty for a marathon training session.

The fact that you don't need to use the plug (but there is one provided) is a big bonus. Everything being controlled via the smartphone app also saves your machine battery.

Ease of use: 9/10

The Erne is very easy to set up—around 5-10 minutes with unboxing and assembly. The Bluetooth connection is seamless for me too. It has a good range and I'm yet to have any connection issues when operating it from across the court. The portable remote is a nice touch too.

The app itself is intuitive but I couldn't figure out that you have to click on a drill to toggle through sub-drills. The Erne CEO was the one to tell me this! So, I have to dock a point for that. Otherwise, it's easy to use.

Accuracy: 8/10

The first thing I have to say is that this is the most accurate machine I've tested. That said, accuracy here could be even better. Don't expect all your balls to hit exactly the same spot every time.

On multiple occasions, I've had shots feed into the net on the fixed drill, which is frustrating if you're picking up every ball by hand.

Customization: 9/10

When it comes to customization, the Erne is far ahead of other machines I've tested, and this is down to the software.

You can set up drills how you want them, with a variety of shots to help you practice real scenarios. Erne offers 28 ball positions on the court and you can sequence them any way you like.

The only reason I'm docking a point is that they have yet to bring individual shot settings to the customized program. This makes adding a shot like a dink or lob to your sequence virtually impossible. Erne confirmed they are working to add this soon.

Once that software update is released, I can't think of how the Erne could be better in this regard. If it works, I'll happily give it 10 out of 10.


The Erne has eight sets of drills. Let's take a look at each one:


This one is simple. You pick a point on the court and the Erne will hit the ball there, one after another. I use this drill a lot to practice my drops.


The Erne feeds you a deep ball and then a short ball across the court. I don't care for this drill as it only seems helpful for pickleball singles.


This is my favorite drill. You get varied depths of shot, all from one point on the court. I've used this drill to hit literally hundreds of drops in a row.



Here, the Erne shoots balls at varied angles across the court, all at the same depth. Again, this is more of a singles drill, though it is a good workout.


Pick your point and the Erne feeds you balls at volley height. I use this to work my swinging volleys, starting with backhands and then moving to forehands.



With this setting, you can't tell where the next ball is going. I don't care so much for this one, though I can see some players loving it. It's a really good workout, but it feels more like a singles drill.


This is a fun one. I usually up the speed to practice hitting lobs deeper in the court. Watch me test out this drill:



This is the custom program drill and part of what sets the Erne apart.

Let's say I want to practice a third-shot drive from the baseline, a fifth shot drop from the transition zone, and then a swinging volley at the kitchen. I can set that exact sequence in the Erne and practice it over and over.


At $1,899 (minus $100 with my code PH100), this is a very expensive pickleball machine. Yet it's always sold out, so clearly lots of players find it worth the price tag.

Personally, I think this is 100% worth the investment if you have the money and you want to improve your game. Since it's so wide-ranging in its features and drills, it's suitable for any player from beginner to pro.

That said, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. If you don't have the budget or are more of a rec player, there are some great pickleball machines at a lower price point. The Furlihong Starter Kit, for example, is a great cheap option at $200.

If you're serious about pickleball, though, I think you'll get a lot out of the Erne.

Bottom line

The Erne might still need a couple of fixes to its accuracy and customization. However, even with these small issues, it's by far the best pickleball machine on the market in 2024. The great software and long battery life for wireless play are just two of the standout features.

Once you're in full swing on the courts, I'm confident you'll get a great workout and improve your game quickly. If you're ready for the investment, this machine can 100% make you a better player.

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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