What Are The Best Baseball Pitching Machines on The Market? [Reviews & Expert Tips]

 Baseball Pitching Machines Reviews

Coaching your players how to hit a baseball with skill and technique is no easy task.

It’s true. It’s hard thing to master.

First you’ve got to solve the problem of breaking down the movement into manageable ‘chunks’ for easier learning. Then, you’ve got to worry about throwing a ‘perfect’ pitch so the player you’re coaching isn’t over challenged in the early stages of development and equally, under challenged later down the line.

Factor all that in with the fact you have to stand there and throw each of these balls and a simple task of ‘hitting a baseball’ becomes ridiculously complex and frustrating.

Simply put, pitching is one of the most crucial parts in baseball, and in order to help your players develop at speed with efficiency, there comes a time where throwing balls for your players will actually hinder their long-term development and therefore their overall performance.

There is an answer however. And it lies directly in the ability of technological advancements in our beloved sport.

Baseball Pitching Machines.

Baseball pitching machines have been round for some time now, and are likely to stand the test of time for reasons we’ll go into in a second.

Today, we’re specifically going to go into detail on portable baseball pitching machines.

As you’ll see below there’s quite a big range in price from cheap pitching machines right through to the expensive, depending on the level of features you need – in this review, I’ll go through these features.

Different models offer different features, but if you’re interested in honing your player’s skills, a portable baseball pitching machine is something well worth considering.

Before we pick through the best pitching machines on the market at the moment, let’s just have a quick recap on why you ought to really have one in the first place.

Benefits of Choosing the Best Baseball Pitching Machine for Your Players:

Improve Timing:

Pitching Machines are a fantastic way of improving timing. Some pitching machines even come with an ‘Action’ feature that’ll give your player a que of when the ball is about to be released.

This is great for ‘readying’ players and improving their focus – a massively useful skill when transferring from the practice field to the real game situations.

Improve Swing

This one really should come as no surprise. Practice makes perfect better. Consistently using a pitching machine with your players, coupled with sound coaching points will have them improving steadily as they learn.

Simple to use

All the portable baseball pitching machine models below are designed with simplicity in mind. By simply adjusting things such as the height, everything from the ‘pitchers’ side of things is taken care of – leaving you with the headspace and clarity to focus on what matters most – developing your player.

Improve Catching

These days pitching machines are pretty advanced pieces of equipment. As you’ll see below, some machines have been specifically built to help you with your fungo work, and those that haven’t, can still be used to test and improve your younger players catching skills.

Allow the Machine to do the Work

Of course, this reason alone could not only save you a huge amount of time and effort, but can protect you against any unwanted injuries too. And without trying to attack your ego too much – there’s a good chance these machines a far more accurate and consistent than most baseball coaches or parents.

Coach Better and More Effectively

This then frees you up to work on other areas of your player’s game such as their technique and swing mechanics – something that can be hard to judge and correct if you’re the person feeding the balls from a distance.

 

With that all said, let’s get into the meat of this guide. Below I have chosen 4 of the best pitching machines on the current market, their features, the benefits these features can bring to your players game and your own coaching and any additional unique additions each machine has or doesn’t have over its competitors.

There are other machines on the market that could have made it into this list, but what I’ve tried to do is create a list that not only caters to multiple abilities, but multiple budgets too.

Enjoy!

  • Coach

 

Top 4 Baseball Pitching Machines [Reviews]

Baseball Pitching Machine #1

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine

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The Hack Attack, is a beautifully crafted baseball pitching machine from Sport Attack. It's ready to use straight out of the box and comes with a pitch selection chart to help when changing pitch ...

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Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine

Product overview of the Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine

In Short;

  • 100 MPH Top Pitching Speed
  • 3-Wheel Design
  • Multiple Pitches: Sliders, splitters, Curveballs, and Fastballs, but the balls can also pivot for line drives, and ground balls
  • L/R Handed Curveballs
  • Highly Durable
  • Portable
  • Comes with 5 Year Limited Warranty

Review

The biggest and most unique difference the Hack Attack has over its competitors is its 3-Wheel design.

Side Note: For the purpose of this review we’ll refer to these wheels as the ‘Throwing Wheels’ as so not confuse them with the wheels used to transport the machine around.

This brilliant craftsmanship brings a few benefits other machines can’t;

  • Vision & Timing: The open, throwing wheel design allows the batter to be able to see ball through the whole ‘movement’ of the pitch. This will give your players more time to read the pitch, make adjustments and improve their timing.
  • Ball Control: An additional throwing wheel also means additional stability and control over the ball. This means you’ll not only have the ball being delivered at the same speed every time but you’ll also have an incredible consistency in the pitch accuracy too.
  • Wheel & Ball Wear: This additional throwing wheel also reduces the amount of gripping – which in turn keeps your balls performing longer and your machine working longer.

Aside from the 3-Wheel design, the Hack Attack also throws an impressive amount of pitches. Pitches include;

  • Fastballs
  • Curveballs (L&R)
  • Sliders (L&R)
  • Split Fingers
  • And, Knuckle Ball’s.

Each pitch can be easily adjusted using both the ‘Pitch Reference’ guide and the 3 separate dials at the rear of the machine.

RH Curve for Youth League Player? No problem – switch your left dial to 3, your right dial to 7 and the bottom dial to 1 and you’re all set to lower the balls into the machine.

What about split fingers for college level players? Exactly the same process; Check the reference guide for the individual numbers and settings, set the dials and feed the balls.

Simplicity at its finest.

There’s also the ability to change the elevation of the shots through the ‘Elevation Control’ – which is simply a small lever you turn to the right – to lower the elevation or turn to the left to raise the elevation.

Your Fungo work is also taken care of. No need to hit the same type of balls aimlessly in the air. The Hack Attack can work;

  • Ground Balls: to the left and right
  • Fly Balls
  • And, Pop-Ups

…by simply pivoting the head of the machine in the direction you want the ball to go.

Transporting the Hack Attack to and from the field is taken care of by the wheels (the transporting type…) that are located to rear of the machine. These have been pretty smartly placed, because not only do you have the option to wheel the machine around the field with minimum fuss and delay, the wheels are conveniently located and non-obtrusive at the same time.

And it a good thing too – because this machine isn’t the lightest on the market.

Coming in at just 200lbs you’ll likely need another pair of hands if you’re planning on lifting it and out of vehicles. For once however, the additional weight does come with a huge benefit.

Without it, the stability of the machine, and therefore the accuracy, speed, effectiveness, long-term durability and overall versatility of the Hack Attack would be greatly reduced.

With an additional wheel for better pitches, 2 wheels for transporting it around facilities and fields, and everything in between to keep each pitch of the highest standard it’s understandable why it weighs in at the weight it does – without it, the Hack Attack simple wouldn’t perform as well as it does.

And while we’re on the topic of durability….

The Hack Attack has a few durability ‘factors’. Firstly the whole thing comes in an aluminum casing supported by the steel frame. Which is not only great for any wear and tear it might pick up when you store and transport it but any damage from changing weather conditions too.

In addition to the casing and frame, the Hack Attack’s also got front and rear guards to protect it against any incoming balls from the batter themselves or outfield players.

Anything else….?

  • Hack Attack recommend you don’t use any synthetic balls
  • 5 Year Warranty comes with a few conditions:
    • Year Warranty against ‘defects in materials and workmanship’
    • 1 Year Warranty for the throwing wheels
    • 1 Year Warranty for Electronic Controller
    • 1 Year Warranty for Wheel Motors
  • Ball Feeder purchased separately

Summary:

Possible Drawbacks

  • Weight: If you’re looking for lighter machine you might want to look at the other pitching machines below – be warned however, you may well end up sacrificing the quality of pitches.
  • Price: Defiantly not the cheapest pitching machine, (or Hack Attack model for that matter) on the market.
  • Rubber Caps: When I first wrote this review I found that there was issue with the rubber caps on the legs of the machine – it now seems for the newer models, (2015 – present) this issue has been resolved with more durable caps. Saving you money and any wasted time.

Overall? ‘An Excellent Machine…’

If price is an issue then I’d recommend checking out some of the other machines below that might fall into your budget better. That said, if you’re working with higher level players the return on investment for your coaching and more importantly your players is incredible.

Why? Well you’ve only got to look at the game-realism this machine can bring to your players.

  • Fungo Work? Sorted.
  • Multiple pitches at multiple speeds and heights? Sorted.
  • Left and right hand pitches? It’s got you covered for that too.
  • Portability, storage and transportation. Yep.
  • Consistency? No problem.

Out of all the machines on the market it represents a real pitcher ridiculously well – all while causing a minimum amount of delay in getting the getting the machine up and running and used.

A lot of time has obviously gone into the design of the Hack Attack and I’d even go as far as to say it’s probably one of the best pieces of equipment we’ve here on PSC.

You have a machine that not only helps develop your batter’s all round game but helps support other players on the field too – all while freeing up time for you focus on the finer aspect of your coaching.

Best Suited for?

  • Higher Standard Players
  • College Players
  • Professional Players

Done looking here? Here’s more information over Amazon in you’re interested.

 

Baseball Pitching Machine #2
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Hack Attack Junior Baseball Pitching Machine

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In Short;

  • 70 MPH Top Pitching Speed
  • 3-Wheel Design
  • Multiple Pitches: Sliders, splitters, Curveballs, and Fastballs, but the balls can also pivot for line drives, and ground balls
  • L/R Handed Curveballs
  • Highly Durable
  • Portable
  • Comes with 5 Year Limited Warranty
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate-level baseball players;

Hack Attack Jr vs Hack Attack

The Sports Attack Junior is a smaller and slightly less powerful version of the original Hack Attack – which is great if you coach younger players.

Essentially, it’s as capable as its superior counterpart with benefits including;

  • 3 Wheel Design for Improved Game Realism
  • Easily Change Pitch Speed and Type
  • Pivotable Head for Fungo Work
  • Portable
  • Consistency and Accuracy

Instead of going into depth on the points one by one as I’ve already done above, it’d be far more beneficial to go briefly into the difference the Hack Attack Junior can bring to your training;

  • Speed: 75mph
  • Total Weight: 65lbs
  • Smaller
  • Cheaper

Hack Attack Junior in a nutshell…

Unless you’re working with high level athletes the Hack attack junior is probably your best option. Yes it does have less velocity in the pitches but that can easily adapted to improve vision and timing by bringing the machine closer to the plate.

It’s also worth noting the hack attack Jnr is considerably smaller and lighter which will be perfect if you expect to move or transport it often.

If you’re looking to save yourself a few dollars but still want a pitching machine that mimics real game situations as effectively and efficiently as the regular hack attack professional – the hack attack Junior might be the additional ‘partner’ you’re training is in need of.

Cons:

As mentioned above in comparison to the Profession Hack Attack speeds of pitches are slower.

Best Suited For?

Again, suited perfectly for up and coming youth players but also with a bit of adjusting you’ll have most adults catered for too.

 

Baseball Pitching Machine #3
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JUGS Lite Flite Baseball Pitching Machine

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At the lower end of the pitching machine spectrum, the JUGS Lite-Flite Pitching Machine. It's a capable machine for introducing your juniors to the sport.

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In Short;

  • 35lbs
  • Portable
  • 360 Degree Angle: For Flyballs and Grounds Balls
  • Compatible with Lite-Flite & Bulldog balls
  • Throws at speeds of 85 MPH at 25 feet
  • Throws L/R Hand: Curveballs, fastballs and L/R Hand sliders
  • Safety Conscious Machine
  • 2 Year Warranty

Review:

JUGS have been doing the whole pitching machine thing for a while. With machines in multiple sports categories, JUGS have a ‘knack’ at throwing balls in the air….

The JUGS Lite-Flite is a small pitching machine that comes with a simple design.

If you’re looking for a more ‘mid-level’ pitching machine that costs less than both Hack Attack models but offers a little more than the Slugger (see below) – the JUGS Lite-Flite might suit your players better.

One of the main benefits it can bring to your training is the weight and size. Coming in at only 35lbs, it comes in as our lightest electronically powered machine. This makes transporting and physically moving it around far easier especially across multiple facilities.

Another thing worth mentioning is it’s designed to only throw lite-flite or bulldog poly balls. Now, while this might not be ideal for everyone (I’ll go into more detail on that in a second) it does open up the possibility for drills that focus on increasing confidence in young batters and catchers. (See video on this page here)

There’s also a handy little feature this machine brings and it’s what JUGS call their ‘Switch and Play Knob’ – which basically means you can interchange between baseball and softball as and when you need to.

It pitches; fastballs, left and right handed curveballs and sliders. And, while it might not have the same sort of consistency as higher priced pitching machines on the market – for the price you do have good consistency in accuracy at around 85%-ish.

It’s worth noting though (and this goes for other machines too), while you certainly wouldn’t want a pitching machine that throws inaccurately all the time, some users have said they prefer and have even grown to like the slight inaccuracy that comes with the cheaper models.

Why? Well, pretty simple really – they tend to challenge the batter more. This, at the end of the day, is what we want to do with our hitters.

Yes, that is personal preference for some folks, but it’s something to keep in mind.

With custom balls provided by JUGS, the speeds of the pitches – or should I say the time in which the batter has to think and react, will be largely dependent on how far the machine is away from your batter. You should expect roughly 85mph from about 25ft away.

Cons:

Only throws Lite-Flite and Bulldog balls which need to be purchased separately.

Best Suited For?

Baseball coaches on a budget and developing youth players.

 

Baseball Pitching Machine #4

[Manual Baseball Pitching Machine]

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Louisville Slugger Flame Pitching Machine

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In Short;

  • Manual Pitching Machine: No electricity needed
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Pitches: Flyballs, Ground Balls
  • 25lbs: Lightest of our top 5 pitching machines

Review

The Louisville Slugger comes in as the cheapest (by a considerable margin) pitching machine in our guide.

This model is a bit different from some of what we’ve seen up until now – in the fact it’s actually manually operated.

With a smart level system, you’ll be able to place the ball in the machine, adjust the pitch and then attach the level down.

Interestingly enough – It’s one of the most popular machines on the market at the moment.

Like most modern baseball pitching machines it doesn’t require any battery or cables to make it work – which if you think about it is great if you’re not one limited play by battery life or locating the nearest plug socket!

It’s powerful enough for younger players; throwing balls of up to 45mph it’s perfect to help young players develop their batting skills without killing their confidence.

Best of all? It’s compatible with all balls– So no need to go out a buy a whole load of new balls.

So, what about pitching those balls?

It’ll throw various pitches, coupled with ground and fly balls. For the fly balls you’d be looking at about 20 foot in height and around 60ft in length which defiantly beats turning your arm to mush throwing the balls yourself.

While it is accurate, there are some variables on it staying consistent. Keep in mind things such as; the surface and type and condition of the balls you’re using will all affect the consistency of the pitches. That said, once you get it in the position ready to throw you should be hitting the zone every time.

For the price though, it’s pretty accurate pitching machine.

Changing the pitches isn’t as straight forward as say the Hack Attack, it will take a little getting used –to make things easier you’re given a pitching reference chart to use.

In terms of speed, if you look at Little League pitchers, they’ll throw anywhere between the 25-75mph hour range – so ideally you’ll need a machine that at least hits somewhere near the top of that range with room to adjust.

The Slugger speed ranges from 18-45mph (approx.) and this can be increased by using softer balls and changing the distance of the pitch.

And what if I need to transport it?

Not only is it the cheapest, but it’s also the lightest too. Granted, the majority of this is due to the manual nature of the machine – but if you’re looking for a pitching machine that pitches really well, that can be picked up and moved easily and transported to multiple locations (or storage facilities if needed) it’s well worth taking a look.

Anything else…?

The slugger will take most balls – which most other machines won’t

Cons:

Being a manual pitching machine can be a virtue or a flaw – depending on how you see it. If you’re looking to observe, correct and demo coaching points then you’re probably better going with one of the other models above such as the Hack Attack Junior or JUGS Lite.

If you however, you’re more of a coach who stands back to let your players learn without the need for constant feedback all the time then this machine could be ‘the one’.

Also, as I mentioned before you might need to make slight adjustments here or there to get the machine to pitch as you want it too. The more you use it the better you’ll get at it and the quicker it will be to set everything up to start practice.

Best Suited for:

Although most hitters would be able to use the slugger, with its reduced speed and power, young hitters especially will benefit immensely from it.

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Wrapping it Up…

Well, now you’re acquainted with the top models of pitching machines, you can decide which one’s good for you and your players. If, for some reason, you are still in doubt, here are a few guidelines on what to look out for when you search for your next baseball pitching machine;

  • Choose a machine that suits your player’s skill level – Coaching is about being able to select the right challenge for the right players. There is absolutely no point in buying a machine that fires 100MPH+ balls when you coach 8 year old beginner baseball players. Equally, you want to bench-mark the challenge properly enough so you’re players are engaged and challenged enough so progressive learning takes place.
  • Consider buying a pitching machine that has a lightweight design – you’ll find little use of a machine that’s bulky and hard to carry around – especially if you work across multiple training facilities
  • Keep in mind the total playtime – those models that operate on batteries can function for a limited time, while manual ones don’t have this limitation.
  • What Coaching Style You Use: If you need a machine that allows you the time to stand back and observe and then make adjustments when needed then choosing an automated machine would make much more sense than getting a manual one that required a lot more effort on your part.
  • Looking to Reduce Time Wasted? (As well as stress levels!) – Consider getting a baseball pitching machine that has a compartment for having more baseballs to play with. This will help you make better use of your time and effectively will make your training more efficient.

 

 

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