Pickleball Gear

Best pickleball machines in 2024 - top 8 compared

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 23, 2024

The Pickleball Tutor Plus and Erne Shadow Grey pickleball machines on a blue background with "Best Pickleball Machines" written above

If you want to level up your pickleball game fast, training is absolutely essential. But if you can't find a trainer or a partner to practice with, then you're going to need one of the best pickleball machines.

When you're looking to develop quickly, your pickleball drills can be improved greatly with the help of a training machine. Since they never tire and can shoot balls with high accuracy, they're a great investment if you want to improve your pickleball skills quickly.

In this article, I've compared my top eight picks, scoring them across ball capacity, battery life, speed range, drill customizability, and more. So you can see which ones are actually worth spending your money on.

Best pickleball machines at a glance

Best overall

Photo of the Erne Shadow Grey pickleball machine

Our Rating:

1. The Erne

The Erne is my #1 pick because it wins on ball capacity, battery life, speed range and has a mobile app that currently offers the greatest diversity of drills. It's the best replacement for a human drilling partner.
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Read my deep dive

Runner-up

Photo of the Spinshot pickleball machine with the carry handle

Our Rating:

2. Spinshot

A long-time favorite among players, the Spinshot was the first machine to offer a programmable, app-controlled drilling function.

Best mid-range

Photo of the Pickleball Tutor Plus pickleball machine

Our Rating:

3. Pickleball Tutor Plus

A tried-and-tested staple on courts all over the US, the Tutor Plus delivers excellent functionality for a reasonable price.

Best cheap

Image of the Furlihong 680PBH Pickleball Starter Kit, including the machine, paddle, bag, balls and net

Our Rating:

4. Furlihong 680PBH Pickleball Starter Kit

The Furlihong starter kit includes a machine, a clever catching net and bag, a paddle, and 3 pickleballs to kickstart your pickleball practice sessions.

Best for beginners

Photo of the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

Our Rating:

5. Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

The Lobster Pickle is the perfect piece of equipment to help you hone your skills and boost your rating from beginner to intermediate.

Best professional

Photo of the SIMON X pickleball machine

Our Rating:

6. SIMON X

The SIMON X is built like a tank and can shoot balls with enough speed, frequency and spin to keep even the most advanced players on their toes.

The best pickleball machines in 2024

Why should you trust Pickleheads? I spend hours testing every product I recommend. Only the cream of the crop makes it onto my lists, so you can be sure you're buying the best. Learn more about how I test and review products.

Want to know more? Keep scrolling for my in-depth analysis of each pick.

Best overall

1. The Erne

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The machine with the most advanced specs and customizability of any I've tested
10/10

Speed

10/10

Ball capacity

10/10

Battery life

9/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You're an intermediate looking to improve your game:

    the Erne gives you the reps you need to break through a level.

  • You don't have a human drill partner:

    this machine is the closest you'll find to a real human training partner.

  • You're tech-savvy:

    everything is controlled with the Erne app for unbeatable functionality.

Pass if:

  • You're on a budget:

    this machine costs nearly $1900.

  • You're a beginner at pickleball:

    the Erne is probably overkill for a brand new player.

  • You're buying for the custom sequence drill:

    right now the Erne can't customize each shot's height and speed in a sequence. Check out the Spinshot instead.

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Victory Sports Technologies

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Power Source

Battery and AC

Remote

Yes

Oscillation

Random and 2-way

Spin

Top and back

Ball Capacity

150

Max Speed

65 mph

Battery Life

4–8hrs

Weight

50 lbs

Dimensions

22" x 15 ¾" x 34 ¼"

Warranty

1 year

The Erne is my number one choice because it offers the highest ball capacity, longest battery life, widest speed range, and the most pre-set drills of any machine I've tested. In fact, I find the Erne's battery life and ball capacity are even better than advertised.
Simply put, the Erne will make you a better pickleball player. You can practice technical shots like a third-shot drop over and over again, getting reps you'd never get in rec open play.
Both the preset and custom drills come close to simulating real gameplay. This means the Erne is as close to a human training partner as you can get.
My favorite feature is the Erne smartphone app. Since it's software-based, the Erne gets better with each update. This is a huge advantage over hardware-based machines like the Pickleball Tutor Plus.
Brandon Mackie loading the Erne pickleball machine with pickleballs
Brandon Mackie loading the Erne pickleball machine with pickleballs
Who it's for
The Erne is designed for intermediate to advanced players looking to go up a level. It's also ideal if, like me, you want to start drilling but struggle to find a consistent partner.
You can program the Erne to work virtually every aspect of your game—drives, drops, fast hands at the kitchen, and even overhead smashes. It also has a randomized setting to simulate real gameplay.
With the customization potential, I think the Erne is a great fit for a wide range of skill levels, from level 3.0 players up to the pros.
special offer

Save $100 on the Erne with code PH100

Features
All the usual features you'd expect are here, including top and backspin, oscillation, and elevation control. The hopper holds an impressive 150 balls, which means more time drilling and less time collecting balls.
I've managed to fit around 163 balls inside the hopper, though around 10 fell out when I started the machine.
The Erne smartphone app is easy to use and powerful, letting you control things like the spin, frequency, and speed, as well as program your very own drill sequences. This way, you can focus on aspects of your game that need the most work and get the most out of your sessions.
I especially like the vertical drill to practice hitting third-shot drops from different depths (one of the hardest shots in the game). I also like the volley drill to work fast hands at the kitchen at speeds around 40 mph.
Brandon Mackie using the Erne pickleball machine on a court
Brandon Mackie using the Erne pickleball machine on a court
While the custom sequence drill is exciting, be aware it does have a major limitation currently:
You can't customize the speed and angle of each shot in the sequence, making it impossible to add shots like dinks and lobs into your drill. I spoke with the Erne founders and learned they are targeting April 2024 to add this functionality.
The Spinshot, also on this list, does currently have this functionality. However, once Erne releases this feature, it's hard to think how they could get much better.
Design and feel
If you flip the hopper over, the Erne can fold away into a compact unit. The extendable handle and large wheels make it easy to move from your car to the courts.
The Erne is heavy, though, weighing 50 lbs. This is 20 lbs more than the Pickleball Tutor Plus. It's awkward to carry and doesn't fit in the trunk of my Sedan, so I have to use the backseat. That said, the wheels do work great once you're on a flat surface.
The Erne pickleball machine next to a car, folded away for storage
The Erne pickleball machine folded away ready for storage
Performance
For me, the coolest thing about the Erne is the programmable drills. There are 25 in total, with 8 different variations covering every shot you could imagine. No other machine currently allows for such a customizable practice session.
The precision and consistency of shots is another major benefit of the Erne. Its unique ball-throwing system means there are almost no stray shots, unlike other machines. While the accuracy isn't 100% and it could be improved, it's still better than any other machine I've tested so far.

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This is also the only machine on the market that uses a "stealth" throwing system. This means that only the internal yoke oscillates rather than the whole machine.
This makes it impossible to know the direction of a shot until the last second. This makes for effective training on the random drill at high frequency—you really can't tell where the next shot is headed.
Check out this demonstration of how the Erne oscillation works:

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Value for money
At $1,899, the Erne isn't cheap but it is the best training system you can buy. If you're serious about going up a level and you have the budget, I think you'll find it worth every penny. There aren't any expensive add-ons to bring up its functionality—it already does everything.
Just remember: you'll need to buy balls to train with (150 of them) and a tool for picking up pickleballs—unless you want a back strain. These accessories can add a few hundred to your investment.
star icon
My verdict
I tested the Erne's claims on ball capacity, battery life, and speed range and found them even better than advertised. The Erne's app system lets you simulate and train almost any shot in the game. If you're serious about improving your game, it's worth every penny. It's as close to a human drilling partner as you'll find – and maybe even better still.

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Runner-up

2. Spinshot

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Endless drill possibilities from a high-tech, high-end practice partner
8/10

Speed

8/10

Ball capacity

8/10

Battery life

10/10

Shot variety

Pros:

  • You want to design your own drills:

    the Drill Maker App lets you create and save whole sequences of play.

  • You want connectivity to your phone:

    a built-in WiFi network means you can control the machine remotely.

  • You want the latest tech updates:

    new features and functionality can be added by remotely updating the machine's software.

Cons:

  • You want to play straight out of the box:

    the Spinshot requires some initial assembly before playing.

  • You need long sessions with no power:

    the battery only lasts about 3 hours, though extra batteries are cheap on Amazon.

  • You want to test yourself against fast shots:

    this machine's max ball speed is 56 mph, whereas the Simon X can shoot them at 70 mph.

Power Source

Battery, AC, hybrid

Remote

Phone app or optional watch remote

Oscillation

Horizontal & vertical

Spin

Top & back

Ball Capacity

85

Max Speed

56 mph

Battery Life

2-3 hours

Weight

44 lbs

Dimensions

50" L x 45" L x 30" W

Warranty

Two years

The Spinshot pickleball machine is the OG "digital age" pickleball machine. While it doesn't hold as many balls as the Erne or shoot as fast as the Simon X, the sheer abundance of drilling options puts it at second place on my list.
Using your phone and the Spinshot app, you can tailor this machine to target weak areas and seriously improve your game. That's why it's a firm favorite among hardcore pickleballers.
Who it suits
The Spinshot is best suited to intermediate to advanced pickleball players. It's especially useful to those dedicated pickleheads with the time and desire to design their own custom drill sequences.
If you put in the effort, this machine can do just about anything you could ever want from a pickleball machine. It's also ideal for coaches as you can set up sequences to work on a player's weaknesses.
special offer

Buy the Spinshot machine & get $200 off with their end-of-year sale

Features
This machine offers all the usual functions, including spin, height adjustment, and horizontal and vertical oscillation. So, it can deliver a ball in just about any way you could need. The max ball speed is only 56 mph, but it was enough for me personally.
Having the dedicated app was super useful during practice sessions as it meant I could use my phone as a remote control. Otherwise, the control panel on the machine lets you choose from the 12 preset drills or use the basic "watch" remote control that comes as an extra.
Design and feel
This machine is built with high-quality materials, including a heavy metal casing that makes it feel sturdy when moving it around. While this does add some weight to the machine, it's still overall lighter than the Erne at 44 lbs.
The extendable handle, trolley wheels, and lifting handles helped make it extra mobile, perfect if you're testing it on your own like I did. Plus, the compact design means it easily fits in your trunk and won't take up too much space in your house or garage.
Performance
With its own built-in WiFi, the machine connects to the dedicated app on your phone that gives you an impressive range of drilling possibilities.
The machine comes with 12 preset drills, but I had the most fun creating my own custom drill routines. Between practice sessions, you can design real match scenarios to work on, then program a drill to mimic real-play scenarios.
You can program the machine to serve an imagined game or point. For example, a groundstroke to start, then a third shot drop, three sneaky dinks, and ending with an overhead volley. The combinations really are limitless and I loved finding new combinations to try.
I really like that you can download software updates to add new features and functionality, tweaks, and fixes. There's also an option for other users to upload their own custom drills to the app so you can try them out on your machine.
Value for money
This machine certainly isn't cheap. That said, it's built to last, with super high-quality electronics encased in a bulletproof shell. It also comes with a two-year warranty. If you've got the budget for it, it's a great option to consider to help boost your game.
star icon
My verdict
The Spinshot is a premium machine with a price tag to match. If you can afford it, this machine is one of the best machines available today—second only to the Erne in my opinion. The Spinshot lets you target your weaknesses and drill specific sequences until you crack them. Also, the fact that the software gets updated remotely means your machine gets better the longer you have it.

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Best mid-range

3. Pickleball Tutor Plus

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Your perfect pickleball practice partner
10/10

Speed

8/10

Ball capacity

8/10

Battery life

8/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You want to practice a variety of shots.

    The Tutor Plus can mimic a range of shots, including spin.

  • You plan to play where you can't plug in your machine.

    The Tutor Plus has a 3–4 hour battery life.

  • You like to test your reactions to fast shots.

    This machine shoots balls up to 65 mph, and won't tire out.

Pass if:

  • You want maximum ball capacity.

    110 isn't exactly bad, but other machines on our list can hold even more.

  • You're a tall player.

    The handle on this machine is a little too low for taller players to move it around with ease.

Power Source

Battery or AC

Remote

Yes, 2-function (extra cost)

Oscillation

Random & 2-line

Spin

Top & under

Ball Capacity

110

Max Speed

65 mph

Battery Life

3–4 hours

Weight

34 lbs (battery model) or 27 lbs (AC model)

Dimensions

20" H x 22" L x 14" W

Warranty

3 years (battery 1 year)

The Tutor Plus offers great all-round functionality, durability, and value for money.
Who it's for
This is perfect for any individual, club, or pickleball coach looking for a sturdy, durable and user-friendly pickleball machine.
Features
The Tutor Plus packs in all the features you need for a rounded practice session. You can load it with 110 pickleballs and set it to shoot them with topspin and backspin at up to 65 mph. It also offers manual elevation so you can practice a whole range of shots from slow, high volleys to quick dink exchanges and third-shot drops.
special offer

Try the Tutor Plus and get 24 outdoor balls for free

There's an optional upgrade for an extra $100 that adds an electronic elevation button. Random oscillation comes as standard, which allows for doubles drills or practice in groups. There's another upgrade to add two-way oscillation ($200 extra) which makes the machine shoot at two specific points on the court for footwork practice or doubles practice.
The optional remote control costs $200 extra but only controls two functions: it turns the ball feed and oscillation on and off, and that's it.
Design and feel
It's a hard-wearing, sturdy pickleball machine that's built to last. It has a simple, functional design, with two 3" dolly wheels on the back and a handle on the front allowing you to easily roll it around on flat surfaces. The hopper holds 110 balls, which is plenty for most players.
Performance
This machine offers everything you could need for a full range of pickleball drills. The volley rate can be set from 1 to 10 seconds, so you can practice everything from a leisurely knock about to a high intensity rapid volley session or group practice.
Value for money
The base price of just under $1,200 is great value for money, but the additional extras don't come cheap. However for quality of build, functionality and practice value, this machine is well worth the investment.
star icon
My verdict
The Pickleball Tutor Plus is an old favorite of ours for its sturdy, user-friendly design and reliable performance.

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Best cheap

4. Furlihong 680PBH Pickleball Starter Kit

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A complete practice kit for beginners on a budget
5/10

Speed

6/10

Ball capacity

6/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You're a beginner looking to improve.

    This is ideal for those starting out and looking to improve their essential pickleball skills.

  • You want to practice in a basement or garage.

    This machine works well for indoor practice.

  • You're on a budget.

    This complete set comes in at under $250.

Pass if:

  • You're an intermediate or advanced player.

    This is a basic, beginners machine and paddle.

  • You're looking to practice challenging, hard shots.

    This machine tosses balls out at a more relaxed pace.

Power Source

Battery (4 X D4s) or AC

Remote

No

Oscillation

Random

Spin

No

Ball Capacity

4 or 9

Max Speed

30 mph

Battery Life

Unknown

Weight

16 lbs (whole set)

Dimensions

Unknown

Warranty

No

Not everyone can shell out a fortune on a pickleball machine, and the Furlihong 680PBH offers a great practice session for both beginners and players on a budget to elevate your game quickly.
Who it's for
The starter set is best suited to beginners and younger players who are setting out on their pickleball journey. It's lightweight and portable, so can be taken along to the park or set up in a garden for hours of pickleball practice.
special offer

Get the Furlihong for great tech at an unbeatable price

Features
This set features a ball shooting machine, a pickleball paddle, three balls and a ball recycling net. The paddle is a basic model, as are the balls, and adequate for a beginner player.
The clever catching net system means that as you hit the ball back at the machine it's caught and directed down a chute back into the stacker. This means that as long as your returns are more or less accurate, you can play long, uninterrupted sessions with just a few balls.
The standard stacker holds 4 balls but an additional extra stacker can be bought which holds another 5. The machine can be run on AC power or with four D4 batteries, but I recommend using rechargeables to help cut costs.
Design and feel
The Furlihong is a budget option, but the build quality is pretty good overall. The net system can be a little tricky to set up, and tends to move backwards if you whack balls at it. The machine's mechanism is a little loud too. But overall, for the price, this feels and looks pretty decent, and does what it's designed to do.
Performance
This machine can toss balls up to 5 ft high and to a distance of up to 9ft. This is plenty for a beginner to practice all the essential shots and also means this machine can be used indoors.
Using the extendable leg, it can be adjusted to shoot at three angles to mix up the height of your shots. The machine also offers oscillation so you can practice your fancy footwork.
Value for money
For under $250 for the whole set, including paddle, balls, catching net and machine, it offers great value for money and will give you many hours of valuable pickleball practice.
star icon
My verdict
An ideal budget option for beginners looking to practice all the fundamental shots and improve their hand-eye coordination.

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Best for beginners

5. Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

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Increase your skills quickly with this easy to use, compact pickleball machine
7/10

Speed

9/10

Ball capacity

7/10

Battery life

7/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You're an improving-beginner.

    This machine has all the right features to help you progress your game.

  • You have to haul your machine across grass or gravel.

    The large wheels mean this machine is highly portable.

  • You like to spend more time playing and less time chasing balls.

    The hopper can hold 135 pickleballs.

Pass if:

  • You want to practice while plugged into a power source.

    This machine is battery only.

  • You want two-way oscillation.

    Only random here, unfortunately.

Power Source

Battery only

Remote

Yes

Oscillation

Random

Spin

Top and Back

Ball Capacity

135

Max Speed

60 mph

Battery Life

2-4hrs

Weight

35 lb

Dimensions

26" x 16" x 22"

Warranty

3 years

Lobster Sports have been making tennis machines for over 50 years and they've used all their experience to create these highly functional, user-friendly pickleball practice partners. We love the Lobster machines—so much so that there's two of them on this list!
Who it's for
This machine is perfect for beginners as it's more affordable than some of the other full size ball machines, but still offers all the features a beginner to intermediate player needs.
special offer

Try the Lobster machine & get 24 outdoor balls for free

Features
The Pickle's manual elevation crank allows you to go from 0- to 50 degrees, so you can vary the height of the toss, allowing you to work on things like lobs, third shot drops and short dinks.
The hopper holds 135 balls, meaning less time picking up balls and more time practicing your shots.
Design and feel
The Pickle's huge, lime-colored hopper flips over to turn into a cover for the whole neat unit, making it easy to fit in the trunk of your car or pack away when not using it. The 8 inch wheels make it great for rolling around through car parks or other rough terrain.
Performance
This pickleball machine offers you the opportunity to practice a whole range of shots, from long drives to short dinks. It can shoot balls at up to 60 mph with topspin and underspin.
The feed rate can be set between 2 and 12 seconds, depending on how energetic you're feeling. The random oscillation allows two people to practice at the same time and perfect their doubles game.
For any beginner looking to drill their way to an intermediate level, this machine is the perfect choice.
Value for money
At $1059, this unit is more affordable than the competition (the Spinshot costs almost double) and offers plenty for anyone who's a beginner or intermediate player.
star icon
My verdict
The Lobster Sports Pickle is a firm favorite here at the pickleheads HQ, and we have spent many happy hours honing our skills with it.

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Best professional

6. SIMON X

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Military grade construction and precision from a fully-loaded pickleball cannon.
10/10

Speed

8/10

Ball capacity

10/10

Battery life

8/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You want a machine that will challenge your reaction time.

    Balls coming at you at 70 mph every 1.5 seconds will certainly focus the mind.

  • You like the element of surprise.

    This machine's unique oscillation system means you can't predict where the ball will emerge, like playing against a real person.

  • You like the comfort of a guarantee.

    The Simon X has a 5 year parts warranty, and the throwing wheels have a lifetime warranty.

Pass if:

  • You're on a budget.

    This machine is a serious investment.

  • You're a beginner.

    This machine is for upper intermediate and advanced players only.

  • You have trouble lifting heavy items.

    This machine weighs 65 lbs.

Power Source

Battery and AC

Remote

Yes

Oscillation

Random, 2-way and 'stealth'

Spin

Top and Back

Ball Capacity

120

Max Speed

70 mph

Battery Life

10-12 hrs

Weight

65 lb

Dimensions

38" x 14.5" x 14.5"

Warranty

5 years

The SIMON X is best for professionals as it's the sturdiest and most powerful machine on the market today. It's also super precise and consistent, meaning you can easily drill the most technical aspects of your game time and again.
Who it's for
This SIMON X is best suited to advanced players who are looking to really fine-tune the more complex skills that high-level pickleball requires. It's also a great buy for pickleball coaches, academies and clubs, as it's hard-wearing, reliable, and comes with great warranties.
special offer

Get the SIMON X & train like the pros do

Features
This machine has so many features it's tough to list them all. It's clear that advanced pickleball players have put a lot of thought into designing a machine that will do just about everything you need it to.
It holds 120 balls as standard but can be modified to hold over 200. Its battery life is also impressive, with up to 12 hours of play from the standard battery. This makes it ideal for coaching sessions and pickleball camps. It also comes with a wireless remote as standard (no extra charge) which will work at up to 100 ft away.
Design and feel
The SIMON X has a sticker saying "Military Grade Built Machines" and it's true, it reminds me of a tank! It's built with stainless steel and aluminum and is a bigger unit than all the others on the list.
This makes it heavy—all of 65 lbs—so it can be a little difficult to get in and out of the car without the use of ramps. However the 4 wheel system means that once it's on the ground it's relatively easy to roll around.
Performance
This machine can shoot balls like no other, and has levels of finesse that the competition simply can't match. It can toss balls as slowly as 5 mph, but crank it up to max and it will fire balls at 70 mph (the fastest on the list).
It also offers a unique feature known as 'stealth oscillation'. This means that you can't see which way the ball is going to shoot out of the machine beforehand, as you can on most machines. This truly challenges your reflexes like a real life advanced player would.
The machine also uses a "super ramp" system, which is designed to make every ball shoot out exactly as you have programmed it to do so, without any wild shots (other machines have 20-30% error rates by comparison). This consistency really benefits high level players looking to fine-tune precision shots.
Value for money
At $2,595 this is the most expensive pickleball machine on our list, but all that metal and machinery doesn't come cheap.
star icon
My verdict
The SIMON-X is the Humvee of pickleball machines—big, heavy and packed with a ton of precision engineering to make it perform at the highest possible level. If you're an intermediate to advanced player with a big budget, you can't go wrong with the SIMON-X, and the effect on your game will be momentous.

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Best for speed

7. Tutor Plus Ultra

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The ideal machine for learning to deal with those fast smashes.

Buy if:

  • You're looking for a machine that fires balls fast.

    Balls coming at you at 65 mph will test your reflexes.

  • You want preset drills.

    This has 6 built-in presets.

  • You want to connect to your smartphone.

    An optional extra allows you to control the machine from your phone.

Pass if:

  • You're on a budget.

    This machine doesn't come cheap, especially with any added extras.

Power Source

AC or Battery

Remote

Yes, three options (extra cost)

Oscillation

Random, 2-way

Spin

Top and Back

Ball Capacity

110

Max Speed

65 mph

Battery Life

3-4 hrs

Weight

34 lb (battery model) or 27lbs (AC)

Dimensions

20" x 22" x 14"

Warranty

3 years (machine), 1 year (battery)

While the Simon X shoots balls a little faster, this one is designed to be accessible to more than just advanced players, and has an affordable price tag.
Who it's for
This machine is great for any and all players. It has a huge range of options and functions, and can be set up to help you practice everything from the basics up to some of the most technical skills.
special offer

Grab the Tutor Plus Ultra to truly test your reflexes

Features
The Tutor Plus Ultra has all the features of the Pickleball Tutor, with the addition of 6 preset drills and of course a faster ball speed. Balls can now be fired out of it at up to 65 mph, and a s frequently as every second. This is enough of a challenge even for advanced players. The Tutor Plus Ultra also offers two-way oscillation and electronic elevation to help you practice more complex shots.
Design and feel
This machine is almost identical to the Tutor Plus, but with the welcome addition of a digital display. It's a neat, simple unit that isn;'t too heavy but feels sturdily built. It can be easily moved around on its 3" dolly wheels on the back and a handle on the front.
Performance
The preset drills are an awesome addition, with options to practice your dinks, lobs and 3rd shot drops.
With the touch of a button, the machine will adjust the settings automatically to send you precise cross-court dinks, for example. It can also be set to send you 15 balls to your forehand, then 15 to your backhand.
Value for money
The base price of $1,799 is worth it, but a remote will cost you between $200 and $300 extra, which is a little steep in our books.
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My verdict
The Tutor Plus Ultra packs a ton of features to help you turbo charge your practice session. The preset drills are an awesome addition, and the 65 mph ball speed is ideal for honing your response to smashes.

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Best for spin

8. Pickleball Tutor Spin

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Fine tune your defensive returns with the king of spin
8/10

Speed

8/10

Ball capacity

7/10

Battery life

8/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You're looking to hone your reaction to spin shots.

    The next time your opponent sends you a surprise spin, you'll know what to do.

  • You want a lighter weight machine for moving around.

    For a complete machine, this is a neat and lightweight offering.

  • You have limited space.

    This is a compact unit, ideal for the back of your car.

Pass if:

  • You're not sure how often you'll use it.

    You might prefer a more affordable option, like the Furlihong starter kit.

Power Source

AC or Battery

Remote

Yes, three options (extra cost)

Oscillation

Random, 2-Line

Spin

Left and Right

Ball Capacity

120

Max Speed

60 mph

Battery Life

3-4 hrs

Weight

30 lb (battery model) or 23lbs (AC)

Dimensions

19.5" x 12" x 18"

Warranty

3 years (machine), 1 year (battery)

I picked the Tutor Spin as our best for spin because it does exactly what it says on the tin: it's designed specifically to shoot balls at you with left and right spin.
Who it's for
This machine is clearly ideal for anyone looking to learn how to confidently deal with an opponent using side spin, but with its various functions it is useful to any player looking for a good quality pickleball machine.
special offer

Put your spin skills to the test with the Tutor Spin

Features
The Tutor Spin offers random oscillation and manual elevation as standard. Two-line oscillation and electronic elevation will cost extra, as will a wireless remote that controls ball ffe and oscillation only (not spin).
Design and feel
This a neat compact version of the Tutor Plus, which sits lower to the ground. It has a simple, functional design, with easy to use controls. As it's low, this version has a longer, fold-out handle to make it easier to roll around on the two dolly wheels.
Performance
This offering includes most of the performance of our top pick but instead of standard back or top spin, here you can add a tone of right or left to the machine's shots.
Balls can be shot at up to 60 mph at intervals between 1 and 10 seconds, with various degrees of elevation and oscillation options, so can offer a full pickleball practice session for anyone looking to up their game.
Value for money
The base price of $1,059 is attractive, but if you want all the extras this will come up to $1,559. We still think this is an excellent option, especially for clubs or camps.
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My verdict
The Tutor Spin Ultra is a compact and portable cousin to our top pick with an amazing amount of spin added on.

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Also great

9. Lobster Pickle Two

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All the performance of the OG Lobster, with some extra trimmings
7/10

Speed

9/10

Ball capacity

9/10

Battery life

8/10

Shot variety

Buy if:

  • You want maximum ball capacity.

    Lobster machines hold an impressive 135 balls.

  • You're looking to play long sessions 'off grid'.

    The external battery pack can give up to 8 hrs of practice.

  • You're an Apple geek.

    This machine has a remote control that pairs with your Apple Devices for added functions

Pass if:

  • You plan to plug in your machine.

    This machine is battery powered only.

Power Source

Battery (internal and external options)

Remote

Yes, 2-function or 5-function

Oscillation

Random & 2-line

Spin

Top & under

Ball Capacity

135

Max Speed

60 mph

Battery Life

6-8 hours

Weight

42 lbs

Dimensions

26"H x 16"L x 22"W

Warranty

2 years (battery 6 months)

The Lobster Pickle Two is as an honorable mention because it's the upgrade to our "best for beginners" pick.
The reason it didn't come further up the list is that it's expensive (about $600 more than the first Lobster) and it's heavy (42lbs for the battery model and 34lbs for the AC model).
That said, the extra weight gets you a seriously extended battery life, and the machine has some excellent functions, so we had to keep it on the list.
Who it's for
This machine is ideal for anyone who wants an advanced pickleball machine that will work on battery power for hours longer than the competitors.
If plugging in your machine is an issue, this is the machine for you, as with the external battery you can get up to 8 hours of practice on one charge.
special offer

Get the Lobster Pickle Two for 24 free outdoor balls

Features
The Lobster Pickle Two has all that the original version offered, with a few added extras. It's the same size and has the same ball speed and ball feed rate as the original, and it looks almost identical.
However, instead of having to adjust the elevation of the machine manually, this model has an up/down elevation button. This allows you to go from 0-50 degrees to quickly switch between practicing low dinks and high lobs.
The second upgrade is the 2-line oscillation. Rather than standard oscillation where the machine swings side to side, this machine can be set instead to alternate shots between two set points on the court. This gives a whole new set of drill options.
There are four power options: internal battery only, internal battery and AC, AC only, and external battery. The internal battery has been upgraded to offer 4+hours of play.
The external battery is super convenient as you can leave the machine on the court or in the car and take the battery away in its carry bag for charging. The external battery offers up to 8 hours of practice.
Design and feel
The Lobster Pickle Two has the same clever usability as the original. To pack away the machine the hopper flips over and the handle folds down, giving you a neat unit to put in the back of your car or garden shed.
The buttons and knobs are simple, sturdy and easy to use and the 8" wheels make this unit easy to move around, despite its weight.
Performance
This machine offers excellent performance on the courts and is a great practice companion for any level of Picklehead. The new electronic elevation makes its super simple to make adjustments to the launch angle of the shots.
Balls can be shot at intervals of 2 seconds up to 12 seconds at anywhere from 10 to 60 miles per hour.
Value for money
At $1,699, this machine is somewhere in the mid-price range, and with added features like electronic elevation and a remote as standard, this machine represents good value for money.
star icon
My verdict
The Lobster Pickle Two is definitely an upgrade to the first offering and an excellent pickleball machine. However, for an extra $500 added to the price tag, it comes down to your own personal budget.

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How to choose the best pickleball machines

Just like when choosing a pickleball paddle, there's a lot to consider when finding the right pickleball machine for you. Let's take a closer look at every key feature of a pickleball machine and how to know which option fits your needs.

Spin

Spin is the rotation a ball has after you hit it. Almost every shot has some spin on it.

As you improve your game, you need to learn how to read the spin on the ball. Having a pickleball machine that can throw with topspin, backspin, or sidespin can help you assess and respond accordingly.

If you're a big fan of spin, check out my list of the best pickleball paddles for spin.

Speed

All machines have speed control, but some are more adjustable than others. Regardless of your pickleball skill level, you may want something that offers a range of speeds so you can practice different strokes.

At the advanced level, pickleball becomes a very fast-paced game. So, having a pickleball ball machine with a high-speed range can be a great way to train for that style of gameplay.

Find the perfect paddle

Find the perfect paddle

I've personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz

Oscillation

Oscillation is how the ball is delivered to you. Oscillating moves the feeder back and forth across the front of the machine. But there’s a clear difference between random and 2-line.

Random oscillation will fire out balls no matter where it is currently pointed, giving you an unexpected exit trajectory. This can help test your reaction skills, but can also sometimes be frustrating if you’re trying to work on a specific shot.

Meanwhile, 2-line oscillation means alternating between two specific launch angles, giving you the chance to fine-tune your training regimen.

Remote control

You probably don’t want to walk over to the other side of the court every time you need to change a setting. So remotes are important to think about.

Many advanced players love the ability to switch things up with their smartphone or watch, saving them time that is better used practicing.

Drills

The best pickleball machines come with a variety of pre-programmed drills. Whether you want to focus on your dinks, groundstrokes, volleys, or lobs, this can save you a lot of time figuring out how to set up your practice routine.

You even get some inspiration on how to improve your game. Not all machines allow the drills to be customized though. So make sure if you are going to be tweaking, you get the right product.

Ball capacity

When it comes to how many pickleball balls your machine can store, it's usually a case of more is better—unless you often travel with it Make sure you consider how you'll most often be using it before weighing up the different capacities.

Portability and weight

Similarly, the weight and portability of a machine are important to think about if you’re going to be moving it around a lot.

Quality of materials

As with any piece of equipment, you'll want to consider how durable the machine is. It's important to find something that will last, especially if you plan on using it frequently or will be transporting it between venues.

Ideally, you’d want something that’s made with heavy-duty materials to withstand any on-court or off-court use.

Power

Power supply is an important consideration. Will you be doing pickleball practice at home or indoors? An AC-powered unit may be a reasonable option.

If it’s for outdoor use though, a strong battery pack will be required. It’s not just battery length you have to think about though.

Does the entire machine need to be plugged in to charge, or is it an external pack that can be taken inside? Does it come with multiple packs that can help to lengthen the battery life?

Warranty

Too often, customers overlook things like warranties when making a serious purchase. Pickleball ball machines are expensive enough that this shouldn’t be one of those situations.

Price

It always comes down to price in the end. Paying more or less than you need can make an otherwise perfectly reasonable machine seem like a huge mistake.

Make sure you know exactly what you can afford. And don’t overextend just because you want the most expensive product on the market.

What accessories will I need for my ball machine?

Outside of a paddle and enough balls to fill the hopper, there aren’t a ton of necessary accessories for a pickleball machine. You’re probably going to want a ball collector of some sort, whether it is a rolling Kollectaball or a standard pickup tube, and a container to keep them in.

Check our list of the best pickleball accessories

A weatherproof cover is also always a good bet, even if you’re going to be storing the machine indoors. Given the investment you are making, you should protect it when not in use.

Photo of the Kollectaball K-Max Ball Collector Main

How do you use a pickleball machine?

Using a pickleball machine isn't overly complicated, but the more often you use them the more use and value you will get from them. To use a machine effectively, read the manual and watch some videos of others using them.

To get set up, simply:

  • Unbox your machine and find a flat playing surface to start playing on.
  • Figure out your power source, whether it be plugged into AC or running on battery.
  • Fill the machine with pickleballs.
  • Study the settings, and try them all out to see what effect they have on the shots.

Fire up the machine and get practicing!

Will a tennis ball machine work with pickleballs?

This question gets asked all the time, and the simple answer is sometimes. Some machines are capable of throwing various types of balls, but I recommend getting a pickleball-specific machine if you're planning to invest.

Tennis balls are more than twice as heavy as pickleball balls. Not only that, but the material used and the surface of the balls are totally different, meaning that the two balls shot from the same machine will fly completely differently.

If you're looking for precision and consistency (two important aspects of any machine), then you should definitely opt for one that's been designed specifically for pickleball.

Learn about the differences between pickleball and tennis.

Bottom line

So folks, that's my rundown of the best pickleball machines in 2024. The Erne is the star of the show for us, but let's recap the top 5 again:

  1. The Erne: best overall
  2. Spinshot: runner-up
  3. Pickleball Tutor Plus: best mid-range
  4. Furlihong Pickleball Starter Kit: best cheap
  5. Lobster Pickle Ball Machine: best for beginners

Make sure you pick the one that suits you best. What's best for me may not be best for you.

Recent updates

March 2024

My review of the Erne pickleball machine (my favorite overall in 2024) is now live, so I wanted to revisit this article and add more thoughts.

The more I play with the Erne, the more impressed I am. I've already noticed two major updates to its functionality via software updates, so it just keeps getting better.

This article contains affiliate links from which we receive a small commission from sales of certain items. As a brand associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

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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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