Best Pitching Machine for Baseball & Softball 2018 Reviews

If you’re considering how to advance your hitting capacity in a baseball or softball game, looking for the best Pitching Machine will be a good choice. At first, it might be a big investment. However, you will soon recognize that this machine is truly necessary in many cases.

Since we know why you’re here, below are our Pitching Machine reviews of the top products available on the market. Take a look at them and find out the one you need most.

Best pitching machine reviews for Baseball & Softball

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Top 5 Best Pitching Machine 2018 for Baseball 

Product Name

Feature

Our Rating

Zooka: ZS740

Best Super Portable & for Pro

SKLZ Lightning Bolt

Best for the Money & Home Use in Backyard

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine

Best Wheeled Pitching Machine & for Team

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine

Best for both Baseball & Softball

Louisville Slugger UPM 45

Best Youth Pitching Machine

Ways to Find the Best Pitching Machine

Before entering detailed reviews of the top 5 products above, you need to understand important information about choosing the pitching machine.

Budget and Need

The truth is that most of the pitching machines come with a higher tag. But, the price also changes according to brands and features. So, determining how much you can pay and which feature you really need is the first necessary thing. And if you do this step well, you can opt for something that is near or within your budget.

In our opinion, the SKLZ Lightning Bolt is the good pitching machine for those who are on a tight budget.

Your level and Ball speed

The ball speed is another important factor in your practicing process. Will a high speed or low/medium speed be perfect for you? To answer this question, you need to determine your level of playing as well.

If you’re new to the sports, the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 would be an ideal selection. It’s because this machine gives a low and medium speed, ranging from 18 to 65mph. And it is really excellent for youth and beginners.

Meanwhile, the veteran players and professionals require the high speed of up to 100mph.

Level whenusing pitching machine

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Portability

When it comes to the portability, you need to check whether the pitching machine is heavy or light to move from one point to another. For the youth, they need something that they can adjust and relocate whenever they want without asking for any support. To the pro, they prefer the machine with wheels.

Besides, make sure that the best pitching machine can be adjusted in different ways to satisfy your demands and purposes. What’s more, some require a carrying bag so that they can store and transport the machine with ease.

With a portable design and adjustable speed, the Zooka ZS740 is considered as a great choice in this case.

Types of Pitching Machine

Armed and wheeled

This type mainly mentions how the ball is delivered. The armed pitching machine is often used in professional batting cages. It tends to be big and includes a mechanical arm that can turn at different angles and speeds to release the ball. Meanwhile, the wheeled machines are more usual outside of professional leagues because it’s smaller and affordable.

Manual and Battery-powered

The manual machine is great if you’re going to use it for a team or batting practice. As its name suggests, this device doesn’t have a power source. So, it needs a spring-loaded arm that is controlled via a button or pedal to deliver the ball.

The battery-powered pitching machine is quite convenient for those who prefer to practice alone. It contains a fair amount of balls and automatically throws one after another. The only drawback of this machine is that you need to prepare a backup battery.

Types of balls

The pitching machines are mainly designed to be used with baseballs or softballs, not for real ones. But, you also find out some permit you to use both. In this case, we suggest the JUGS Lite-Flite Machine because it’s extremely appropriate for baseballs, softballs, and even tennis balls.

In-depth 5 Best Pitching Machine Reviews:

1. Zooka: ZS740 with Tall Tripod

Zooka: ZS740 Pitching Machine with Tall Tripod

In terms of portability, you should opt for the Zooka ZS740 pitching machine for sure.

The thing that I liked most is all about the internal rechargeable battery. Just charge it at home and you can take it anywhere you want. Furthermore, the battery lasts for a long time with more than 500 pitches per charge. What’s more, it only weighs 38 pounds, allowing you to carry it along with ease.

Thanks to a digital control panel, you are able to adjust the speed of the Zooka ZS740 from 10 to 65mph. Wonderfully, it also controls the height of the machine, which means you can practice fly-balls or throw-grounders or defense effectively.

Pros:

  • Well-built and lightweight
  • Portable
  • Adjustable speed between 10 and 65mph
  • Internal rechargeable battery
  • Easy to set up
  • Convenient to carry along
  • Safe for the youth and kids

Cons:

  • Some require another option for manual operation

2. SKLZ Lightning Bolt

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pitching Machine Pro

With a compact design, the SKLZ Lightning Bolt may be an ideal selection for home use. The first fantastic feature is that this pitching machine works on batteries, allowing to practice anywhere you want.

With a speed ranging from 25 to 35mph, this device can deliver 26 balls in a session. That means you are able to practice 26 times under controlled conditions. Since it works automatically, you will get a 5-second delay after each pitch. Additionally, adjusting the SKLZ Lightning Bolt for various pitching angles is quite easy. So, this improves your skills over time.

Wonderfully, this product comes at an affordable price amongst our pitching machine reviews.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Runs on 6 size C batteries
  • Easy to adjust for various pitching positions
  • Ideal for home use
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comes with a speed of over 36mph
  • Offers 5 seconds delay

Cons:

  • Avoid using in windy days
  • Some complained of its short durability
  • The balls sometimes get stuck

3. Hack Attack Machine

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine by Sports Attack

Do you need the best pitching machine for teams or organization? Do you want something that lasts for a long time? Hack Attack Baseball by Sports Attack is what you should look for.

This device may be adjusted to imitate a right or left-handed pitcher and is able to throw curveballs, fastballs, breaking pitches, split fingers, and sliders. Since the Hack Attack Baseball can release a fastball up to 100mph, it’s totally best suited for high-standard and pro players.

Besides, the three-wheeled design helps to advance the ball visibility. Relying on that, you can concentrate more on speed, timing, angles, and location than other machines. What’s more, you’re free to adjust the pitch from right to left and up to down in order to practice hitting.

And don’t worry about setting up the Hack Attack Baseball by Sports Attack since you don’t need to do. Just open the box and use.

Pros:

  • Throws a fastball up to 100mph
  • Comes with 3-wheeled design
  • Easy to adjust
  • Best for teams and organization
  • Powerful and long-term
  • Well-built, sturdy, and heavy

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Acquires an access to a generator or electric outlet
  • Some have reported about the easy-to-worn rubber cap ends

4. JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball & Softball

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball

If you don’t want to spend a large amount of money for the above pitching machine, you can try JUGS Lite-Flite since it’s known as the best choice for little leagues with a price under $500.

The Lite-Flite pitching machine has a relative weight (35 pounds) and provides a proper amount of portability. Moreover, it can work with both baseballs and softballs. What’s more, you can adjust a high speed up to 85mph within a distance of 25 feet, allowing you to practice batting balls at different speeds.

Another unique feature that makes the JUGS Lite-Flite outstanding is its swivel-design base casting, offering a 360-degree choice for pop-ups, ground and fly balls. Relying on that, you are able to practice defense and hitting sharp breaking pitches easily.

Pros:

  • Best for both baseballs and softballs
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Provides high speeds at long distances
  • Throws various pitches to practice
  • Features a 360-degree swivel design

Cons:

  • Takes too much time to adjust a series of settings
  • Buys a rechargeable battery pack separately

5. Louisville Slugger UPM 45 

Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine

The Louisville Slugger UPM 45 is an ideal selection for training youth pitcher and newbies. Its weight is about 25 pounds, so it’s lightweight and portable to carry along. Moreover, it’s sturdy and well-built.

Since this pitching machine offers an adjustable speed control, you can throw any ball such as volleyballs, softballs, soccer, dimpled, plastic and light flight balls. Wonderfully, it’s accurate for delivering fly balls, hard grounders, and strikes for practicing fielding.

Unlike above devices, the UPM 45 doesn’t require any battery, electricity or power source to function. Since it’s completely manually, you have no worry about maintenance. What’s more, this machine has an affordable price, making it ideal for small teamwork.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Lightweight, portable, and sturdy
  • Manual – ideal for teamwork
  • Throws various types of balls
  • Reasonably priced
  • Easy to adjust speed – from 45 to 60mph
  • Accurate while throwing balls

Cons:

  • The speed isn’t suitable for seasoned players
  • This machine cannot throw curveballs and sliders
  • Requires at least 2 players to use


Some Facts about Pitching Machine

How to use a Pitching Machine?

To help you get the most benefit from using these devices, below are necessary tips you should follow.

-  Try to approach the speed of a standard live pitcher so that you can get a realistic feeling.

- Hitters should begin with some bunts to help them estimate the consistency and speed of the pitching machine.

- Always take full advantage of the slower/faster controls as much as possible.

- The hitters should move around as frequently as they possibly could in order to make their practice process more realistic.

- Don’t forget to ask for a coach or consultant’s support in order to give instant feedback.

How does a Pitching Machine work?

The manual machine works with a lever action. Because of its simple design, it can throw any ball. Although the pitches may be consistent, you need to feed the ball manually or have your partner to do it.

Like Tennis Ball Machine, The automatic pitching machine uses a wheel to direct the ball. So, the biggest issue is that you need to have a power source. And you cannot use it for throwing soccer balls after using baseballs. In this case, the best thing is to opt for the three-wheeled devices because you might adjust different types of pitches and force.

The compressed-air machine is known as the safest choice for kids since it doesn’t have any exposed moving parts. So, don’t expect for a variety of pitches like the three-wheeled pitching machines or an accommodation of different types of balls like the manual ones.

How much does a Pitching Machine cost?

As I mentioned above, the first thing you need to do is to determine your budget. It’s because the pitching machines range at any price from different prices from hundreds to thousand dollars. Besides, remember to decide which features are important so that you can pick the right one after all.

Do Professional Baseball players use Pitching Machine?

Of course, yes. However, they don’t devote their entire time to this machine. To them, practicing with a real and actual player will help them improve their hitting. Spending most of the time on working with the pitching machine might make them get the same pitch. And this is not a good thing in a true match.

To solve this issue, the professional baseball players often tend to choose the device with different speeds to practice their swing technique.

Are Pitching Machines Good for Batting Practice?

Yes, practice is always good, right? But, there are some issues that you should consider.

Basically, if you perform well with the pitching machine in the batting cages, you might be less effective when you’re pitted against a real one in the game. It’s because the consistency of this device tends to attract you into the wrong security that any pitch will be perfect.

And the result is that you cannot decide whether you should swing on the left or right or how to decipher the real situations accurately.

Who invented the Pitching Machine?

A mathematics instructor named Charles Hinton invented the first pitching machine in 1897. This gunpowder-powered machine was used for the baseball team of the Princeton University. However, Hinton was dismissed because his machine caused some injuries to the players.

Later, his next introduction to the University of Minnesota was successful and he worked there until 1900.

Which Best Pitching Machine should I buy?

For having the best pitching machine, you need to understand your own demands and preferences. Do you need a device for the team or individual practice? Do you need something that is portable? Or do you just have a limited budget to buy one? Etc.

The SKLZ Lightning Bolt will be the best choice for those who are in a deep pocket. Of course, it comes with awesome features that are totally suitable for home use. In case you are looking for the machine that is fit for both baseballs and softballs, the JUGS Lite-Flite machine is known as the top pick. Or you’re a pro player and want something super portable, the Zooka ZS740 will be your ideal choice.

Generally speaking, this article definitively helps you pick up the product that I’m sure you’ll be happy. Just read it carefully and all your queries will be solved. But, if you still want to know more, don’t mind leaving your comments in the box below. We’re always here to answer all.

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