Tennis ball machines have many uses but choosing the right one for you can be tricky.
There are many different ball machines on the market and although they all fire balls some do it differently than others. Firstly I would say that the Tennis Cube and Tennis Twist as these are basic machines, good for beginners or minors who are just starting out. The Twist simply places the ball in front of you for you to hit, its not a proper ball machine. The Cube is a proper ball machine and pops the ball over the net rather than fires it. Great for beginners but not if you are a reasonably decent ball hitter.
From my experience the proper ball machines start with the Tutor Prolite, this is a light machine weighing 12kilos so easily put into the car and carried to the court. The Prolite has the basic functions, start stop delay, ball speeds up to 60mph, optional oscillation for left to right movement, one battery for 2 hours use. Simple to use, light to carry and good value at around £800 new or £599 for a good used one.
Next up is the Tutor model 2 the first of the real ball machines. It has many features except spin, but it holds two batteries giving you up to 3 hours use and its still light to use being 17kilos. Its a better built machine, more robust and having wheels and a pulling bar makes it easy to transport. New price £1200 my used price around £700 depending on condition.
Next up is the more versatile range of ball machines, these include Tutor Plus, Lobster Elite and Wilson ball machine, all these machines have spin, larger batteries for around 4 hours use, still portable, optional remote control, obviously heavier at around 25kilos so lifting it in and out of the car could be an issue. The Wilson machine being the lightest in this range at 22kilos. Prices range from £1200-£1450 new and a good used one I would sell for £950-£1150 depending on condition with our three month warrantee.High end gives you Lobster Venom, Tennis tower, these being club machines not very portable and mains only. Great with all day use and lots of features/drill programs and remote control to increase the fun in using these machines.
I have personally used Tennis Tutor for over 20 years as a tennis coach and they are very reliable and have great features, they are also reasonably priced for the features you get.
Here is a comparison chart to help you see the different models: