Buying a pitching machine for your kid's practice is a major decision. These machines throw balls by mirroring the trajectory and speed of a real pitch. They are immensely helpful in developing the hitting skills of a player.
Some might think of it as an additional expenditure. But these machines have major benefits. They help a player immensely by enhancing his timing, hand-eye coordination, and enabling him to play tricky pitches.
Another advantage is that they give more accurate speed and angles. Also, a baseball player can practice solo if you buy a machine with a shoot.
Choosing the best pitching machine is no easy business. The market is swarmed with choices. On top of that, the top brands launch several models each year. How would you know the machine that is the best?
Worry not, to help you narrow down your choices; we have prepared a list of the top five pitching machines of 2020. We have tested these machines thoroughly and have taken into consideration the user reviews as well.
Factors like its quality, versatility, adjustability, and portability are major concerns when you are buying a pitching machine to train a baseball player. To get to your needs better, take a look at our buying guide.
In case you are certain of your preferences and know exactly what you are looking for, here is the product list.
Here are the top five pitching machines in 2020 that you might like:
Top 5 Best Pitching Machines
OUR TOP PICK
Overall Best Baseball Pitching Machine
If money is not a restraint for you, then this machine by Sports Attack is something you might like to settle for. Experts believe this to be one of the best brands for pitching machines.
The Junior Hack Attack is one of the most commonly used machines by coaches to train kids who are aspiring to become serious baseball players.
The adjustability of speed is one of the most important things for a pitching machine. The Junior Hack Attack can pitch balls at any speed that varies from 30 to 70+ Mph. Although there is no digital readout display to show the exact speed.
But you can certainly rely on its accuracy once you have fine-tuned the setting knobs.
It has three wheels that help it to throw knuckles, sliders, curveballs, grounders, and flyballs. This machine is recommended for the youth league, travel teams, and backyard training. It is suitable for drills at all levels, including the professional level as well.
This machine is a fairly portable one that weighs about 75lbs. So, whether you are practicing in an indoor area or in the field outdoors, you will not have to struggle to carry it. Also, its realistic sense of timing helps the accuracy a great deal.
Although this machine is solely for baseball pitching, you can buy a conversion kit for $150 and use it for pitching softball. You can either plug it to a 110V socket or use a generator for cordless operation. The warranty on this machine is 5 years.
Best Combo Pitching Machine
If you have children with different pitching needs, then this combo pitching machine can come handy. It pitches at a maximum speed of 70 Mph. You can always dial down the speed by a notch, depending on the need of the players.
If you aren’t willing to break your bank, and still want a decent machine that takes care of a school or college going player's needs, then this is the best pitching machine out there.
The Baseline Pitching Machine can throw softballs and baseballs that are 11 or 12 inches in circumference. It has sturdy, convertible legs that allow you to change the mode rather quickly. It can throw pitches like pop-fly and grounders.
The weight is about 50lbs, and so, you can carry it around easily. Moving it from one spot to another should not be a hassle at all for an adult. It can also fit inside the trunk of your car.
It is a full-size baseball and softball pitching machine that does not require the help of any additional tool for running. Once you get it, you are all set to train your kids. The manufacturer recommends this machine for all baseball players who are above the age of 8.
For teams, leagues, residential, and school use, the warranty is five years. But if you are going to use it for commercial purposes, then the warranty on this machine is 1 year.
Best Budget Buy
Looking for a machine that truly helps to hone hitting skills? Try out the Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine. This shoots polyurethane foam balls that are half the size of your regular baseballs. It helps you to concentrate better and augment your skills.
The machine weighs about 23 lbs. and would be perfect in any location you wish to set it up.
From your garage to a full-sized field, you could use it anywhere to train players. The maximum speed of delivery is 75 Mph. The repertoire of pitches it can throw includes fastballs, grounders, and flyballs.
The Jugs small-ball pitching machine is versatile. You can use it to train softball as well as baseball players. Also, if the kids want, they can practice solo as it has a 25 ball feeder. It takes about five seconds for this machine to shoot each ball.
Players can use this time to re-adjust their stance and get ready to hit the next throw. It operates on 110V AC power.
The only downside is that this machine can only shoot special balls that come along with the pack. You can buy extra balls when you need them. They aren't expensive. However, because of its compactness, budget-friendly price point, and versatility, it is one of the best combo pitching machines in our view.
You don’t need to worry about the durability or quality of this machine as it is built with heavy-duty steel. The legs are adjustable. This will let you adjust this machine to a realistic height that suits your need the best. The warranty period of this pitching machine is 1 year.
Best Manual Pitching Machine
The Louisville Slugger Black Flame is a manually operated machine. This means that it uses a spring and foot peddler to launch a ball. If you have a family of more than a single child, then this might be a smart buy.
This manual machine makes pitching rather fun.
You will not have to tire your arm to throw. One of the USPs of this machine is that it allows you to pitch various kinds of balls. You can use it to throw a baseball, cricket ball, softball, soccer, tennis ball or volleyball.
In terms of accuracy, it hits the perfect cord. Even though it is a manual machine, if you set it right, this machine's precision is commendable. It can throw different types of pitches like grounders, pop-fly, and straight ball.
You can adjust its speed between 18 to 50 Mph. This points out to the fact that if you want to pitch fastball, this one might not be the ideal choice. In that case, you can consider buying either of the above three products.
As it is a manually operated pitching machine, you will not have to sweat over finding a socket or spending extra on inverters. It uses a spring and a foot peddler to launch the ball.
This is the official pitching machine of Pony League and Babe Ruth baseball and softball. You can conveniently carry, store and move it around as it weighs only 24 lbs.
Best Pitching Machine for Beginners
If you are here searching for the best pitching machines for baseball newbies, then have a look at this product by Franklin.
You can purchase it for players who are above the age of 6. This machine pitcher will help to develop the timing of the player and will enhance their hand-eye coordination.
The best thing about this pitching machine is perhaps its price. It is available under $50. With this machine, parents can get their child started on baseball without having to make any major investment.
The maximum speed this pitcher can throw a ball at is 20 Mph. This might sound less, but believe us, a beginner does not need more than that. Also, it can hold up to nine balls (six included). This will allow you some time to sit back and relax after you have loaded it. Also, you can teach your kid to load the feeder by himself. It takes about seven seconds for this machine to throw each ball.
It features four angle adjustments that allow beginners to practice various types of pitches, such as soft toss, pop flies, and ground balls. This Franklin machine operates on 4 C batteries.
However, there is one downside to this pitcher. It works only with a certain kind of plastic ball. We recommend that your child use a plastic bat for hitting.
Best Pitching Machines Buying Guide
Before you buy the first option that pops up on amazon or google-search, there are several factors that you must take into consideration.
Who is Using It?
The first point of consideration should be the age and experience of the player. If your child is just starting with baseball or softball, then it is perhaps better to get hold of a low-cost model. A major investment at this point might not be the best of ideas.
If they have a knack for the sport and want to continue it through their school and college days, then you might consider buying a model of higher quality.
You must also take into consideration the number of people training. You might want to buy a more durable model if you are a coach. It is so because, in that case, the pitching machine will be put into use a lot. Hence, a sturdy model that will last through the years should be more your thing.
What Sport is it for?
People, in general, buy pitching machines for two sports— baseball and softball. There is a fundamental difference in the technique of pitching. Baseball requires overhand pitching. Softball, on the other hand, needs a pitcher to throw underhand.
The best pitching machine will likely be specialized for a particular use. But these days, we do have machines that are more versatile and do both. Some machines that specialize in pitching baseball can throw softballs as well with the help of a conversion kit. Analyze your requirement before casting your choice.
Lifespan and Durability
The lifespan of a baseball or softball pitching machine can vary a lot. These machines can last anywhere between one year and ten years. It depends on the quality. Pitching machines have various components like gears, springs, and wheels, which can give way as time passes.
If you are buying for a beginner, then a durable machine might not be necessary. Your youngster will require an advanced pitching machine after a few years. But if it is for a school or college level player, then a more durable machine will perhaps be better.
Generally, a durable model will also be more expensive and cover a longer duration of the warranty period.
Types of Pitches
Most of the machines that you see in the market can replicate only one type of pitch— the classic fastball.
If players are at the beginning level of baseball, then the type of pitch should not be one of your primary concerns. But as they advance, they will have to learn how to hit more deceptive pitches.
For a machine to replicate curveballs, sliders, and sinkers, it will have to have extra wheels. For softball players, they need more riseballs and dropballs for a better practice.
Apart from wheels, the best baseball pitching machines should also have multiple speed options. The speed should be adjustable and accurate. If you don't mind going a little easy on the money, you can get a machine with a reader on it as well.
Power and Energy Options
Pitching machines need a source of power for operation. You have two options— corded and cordless.
The advantage of using a corded machine is that you can use them for a long duration. But on the downside, you will have to have them plugged into the socket at all times. If you are using it on a full-sized field, then you better have an extension with a long cord handy. If you want to avoid plugs and sockets, then you might consider investing in an inverter. But that again is an added expense.
The cordless pitching machines are more portable. You can place these gadgets anywhere without having to search for a socket. But its battery decides the run time.
Best Pitching Machines - FAQ's
What are the advantages of using a pitching machine?
Using a pitching machine has many advantages.:
- It can throw a certain type of pitch more accurately
- Improves that hitter's timing
- Players can practice solo with a machine that can store multiple balls
- Saves the coach from tiring his arm
Can balls shot by pitching machine damage a baseball bat?
It depends on the speed you set your machine at, and the material of your bat. If you are using a plastic bat to hit a leather ball that is pitched at 75 Mph, then your bat will be damaged. It is not the fault of the machine. Your bat will suffer a similar consequence if you hit a ball at that speed, even if it's pitched manually.
Check the material of your bat and its compatibility with the material of the ball and its speed for avoiding such damages.
What are the best pitching machines in the market?
There are several superb pitching machines that you can get. The ones we think are the best are here below:
- Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine
- First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine
- Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine
- Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine
- Franklin Sports Baseball Pitching Machine
How Fast can a Pitching machine throw?
The speed of a pitching machine depends on the model you buy. The speed can be anywhere between 15 to 105 Mph. While 15 Mph or 20 Mph is good for a beginner, but 105 Mph is certainly not required for most players. A machine that can throw at a speed of 60 to 70 Mph should be good enough for players who are at an intermediate level.
We hope this article on the best pitching machines in 2020 was of help to you. If you still haven’t made up your mind, take another look at our buying guide. And if you want to know our recommendation, then here it is; -
We think that the Sports Attack Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine is the best in terms of quality and accuracy. You can even convert it into a softball pitching machine if you spend an additional $150. However, if you are looking for something more cost-effective, then the First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine should be the ideal one.