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Best Pitching Machine – Good for Self Practice Baseball 2017

When it comes to choosing the best pitching machine, there are a lot of choices available in the market, but only one can be chosen as “the best” per time. The major problem with buying sporting equipment like the pitching machine is to know what to look out for and which one will be suitable for your needs.

Many questions will boggle your mind when you take a look at the numerous options available to you online, but there is one question that should come up on top. How long will the pitching machine last?

There is no use buying a machine that you expect to use as your child grows in age, only to have it malfunction some weeks after purchase. The number of years that you can reasonably expect to use a pitching machine is a critical factor to be considered before buying a pitching machine.

One of the fastest ways of determining the shelf life of a pitching machine is by checking its warranty as compared with others. A manufacturer that offers a 5-year warranty on their machine is a signal that the machine will last long as compared to one that offers 1-years warranty.

If you’re in search for a pitching machine for a young child who might need to continue to playing the game in years to come, it might be a very good idea to buy a machine that is durable and still budget friendly. It’s wise to hold off on the idea to buy an expensive machine at the moment and instead to get something cheaper that will help them develop their timing as well as to eliminate their fear of getting hit by the ball.

On the other hand, if they have been playing for a while and plan to play for a while, you can check out a well-made pitching machine with a much longer warranty. Most companies that make pitching machines for older kids tend to sell their machines with a 5-year warranty. They also make sure the machines are quite durable and can withstand extended use over an extended period.

One reason why getting a pitching machine irrespective of the level you play at is that humans are fallible. We have limits. There is the tendency for you to have arm fatigue when you pitch on a regular basis. You still have to train as well and get acquainted with different pitches before you step on the field for an actual game.

No one wants to be on the other side of a pitcher that is too tired to throw with the needed speed and accuracy. Their fatigue will hurt your game and inadvertently hurt your training. A pitching machine solves all of this without even trying hard. It delivers the ball to the batter in different styles and speeds.

We have two main types of pitching machines namely the arm and circular wheel.

The arm pitching machine uses a bracket to mimic the swing of a human pitcher as he throws the ball to the plate. It has 1-3wheels that spin in a way similar to the way bike tires do. Circular wheel pitching machines, on the other hand, shoot the ball directly at the batter after being feed through its spinning wheels.

The thing with circular wheel pitching machines is that they are dependent on the spinning wheels. The more wheels available on the machine, the easier it will be to adjust it to mimic and recreate real life pitching styles.

With the help of a pitching machine, you can achieve several of your goals including giving a batter the freedom to practice when and how they choose. They can also be set up within a batting cage (indoors, as well as outdoors) so that the hitter can practice and train their muscles to recognize pitching patterns over time.

Irrespective of the level you play in, you will find a pitching machine that will suit your needs. Most pitching machines support a broad range of skill level including youth, high school, collegiate and for minor and professional leagues. It’s a useful training tool for familiarizing young players to the routine of the game.  

For newbies, portability and a pre-determined pitching speed of up to 50 miles per hour are often sufficient for those just starting out. A professional batter would require different pitching styles and speed in other to develop their abilities and become a much more talented at the game. The varying pitching styles are needed to train one to be prepared for different pitchers when you step up to the field to play.

  • Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine
  • 60 m/hr
  • 25 lbs
  • Read review
  • BSN Bulldog Baseball/Softball Pitching Machine
  • 30-60 m/hr
  • 32 lbs
  • Read review
  • Editor’s Choice

  • Heater Sports Crusher Mini Lite-Ball Pitching Machine
  • 45 m/hr
  • 11 lbs
  • Read review
  • Trend Sports Heater Baseball Pitching Machine with 12 Ball Autofeeder
  • 50 m/hr
  • 130 lbs
  • Read review
  • Trend Sports Heater Combo Pitching Machine And Xtender 24′ Batting Cage
  • 60 m/hr
  • 67 lbs
  • Read review

BUYERS GUIDES FOR THE BEST PITCHING MACHINE

In games like baseball, the pitching machine automatically serves the ball to a batter in a variety of styles and speeds.

The pitching machine can serve as a great help for hindering tiredness and ensuring an improved degree of accuracy for the batter.

Aided by its overhand style motion, the arm-action machine uses a bracket to imitate the natural motions of a live pitcher as he throws the ball to the plate. Having 1-3 wheels that spin in the exact way that tires of bikes do, the round wheeled machine can be assembled vertically or horizontally.

Either way, it allows the baseball to shoot out towards the batter when fed through its spinning wheels. The more wheels that the machine has, the easier it is for it to imitate the various pitching styles.

Pitching machines carry out several functions, which include providing a batter the opportunity to practice on their own. It is most advisable to regard the pitching machine as an extra coach.

While the machine does not substitute the human coach, it helps in developing and perfecting one’s skills over time.

The pitching machine supports various skill levels including youth, high school, collegiate and professional leagues. It is a secure and efficient training tool to equip young players with the routine on the field.

In this category, portability and lightweight design are essential because a pitch of up to 50 miles per hour is inevitable to hone their skills. For the other skill levels, speed and variety are crucial as players are meant to work on their abilities and become cleverer than at the basic level.

HOW TO SELECT THE BEST PITCHING MACHINE

Bear in mind that speed and accuracy will go a very long way in ensuring that you invest in a good pitching machine, make sure that your choice has an adjustable speed.

Meanwhile, the strategy is also important, therefore, your pick of a pitching machine must have a good targeting system for training the batter to know different pitch types and learn how best to approach the swing.

In this case, the pitching machine trains their eyes to be able to identify a pitch and develop an instinct to hit the ball properly when the time comes.

High quality, multi-wheel models of the pitching machine possess adjustable legs, pitch angle controls, pivoting heads, and throwing wheel dials for programming the unit to deliver a variety of pitch styles, which includes fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups.

Apart from the cost of a pitching machine, of course, there are other factors that are to be put into consideration when choosing a good pitching machine. Outlined below is a list of points to consider in buying a pitching machine.

LONGEVITY

The number of years that you expect a pitching machine to last is one of the most important points. The simplest way to determine how long a pitching machine will last is to look at the machine’s warranty. By the rule of thumb, the higher the number of warranty years, the higher the quality. Therefore, go for a pitching machine that has a good number of warranty years.

SPEED

One of the things people want to know is how fast a pitching machine will go. The closer it is, the faster it will be.

When you are much closer to the pitching machine, the ball gets to you much faster, and the farther you are from the machine makes the ball get to you later.

To calculate the speed of a pitching machine, divide the regulation distance by the shorter distance the machine will be from the back of the “plate,” then multiply by the speed. If you will be using your pitching machine from the regulation distance, speed is a very important consideration.

PORTABILITY

Some pitching machines are heavyweight, weighing between 65 to 115 pounds. For these types, you require a wheel kit which simplifies transportation of the pitching machine from your car to the field and back. Most of the times, the wheel kit is attached to the frame of the machine.

Some others have wheels so that they can be held on the legs and rolled into the field. However, some pitching machines are lightweight due to the aerospace grade alloys used in their construction; therefore wheel kit is not necessary.

While some pitching machines require electricity to be powered, others run on internal rechargeable batteries that can throw 500-800 pitches before needing a recharge. Some also use high tension springs to launch the balls; no electricity or batteries needed.

PRESENCE OF AUTO BALL FEEDER

When you are practicing in a group, there will always be someone around to feed balls into the pitching machine one at a time. The auto-ball feeder comes into play when you’re practicing solo. Some pitching machines include a free auto ball feeder, and if not, you can afford one easily.

COST

From the above, price alone should not dictate which pitching machine you should buy. There are cheap, yet durable and portable pitching machines. There are also costly ones that are of very good quality. Buy according to your budget.

Finally, decide which of the factors outlined above are the most essential and buy the most affordable machine that meets all or most of those needs.

Our Best 10 Picks for the Best Pitching Machine

    1. Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine

      The Louisville Slugger machine is the go to for any coach or batter looking to get the best available slugging machine for a pitch game.  

      The machine is undoubtedly a quality product that delivers everything that it promises. The slugger pitching machine has gained quite a reputation for itself and is the official pitching machine for the Babe Ruth League, Pony softball, and baseball.  

      The Louisville Slugger machine is an ideal choice for training for pitchers from age six and up, and for beginners or expert pitchers. The machine weighs just about 25 pounds making it lightweight and portable enough to move from field to field, it is also very well-constructed, sturdy and durable, and requires no electricity or batteries to function. The machine can pitch just about any ball, soccer, volleyballs, softballs, plastic, dimpled and light flight balls. With easy to adjust speed controls, the machine can throw plastic and light flight balls up to 60 miles per hour and hard balls from 18 to 45 miles per hour. The slugger does not just work as a pitching machine; it is very accurate for throwing, hard grounders, fly balls and strikes for fielding practice.  It is not just a great choice for coaches; it is also good for parents that like to practice the game with their kids.

       

      PROSCONS
      This machine is very easy to assemble and to use, and it is a great choice for young pitchers learning the ropes. Young children cannot operate the machine as it might be quite dangerous to allow them to do so.
      It is a high-quality product that delivers incredible performance. The stabilizer bar does not last.
      It has a compact design.
      It is completely manual.

    1. BSN Bulldog Baseball/Softball Pitching Machine

      The BSN pitching machine is accurately named. It is a powerful pitching machine with the capacity to throw balls at great speeds. The machine can throw baseballs and 11” to 12” softballs at a speed of 30 to 60 miles per hour.

      The Bulldog, unlike the Louisville Slugger, runs on electricity, the machine runs on 110 volt AC or generator ¼ D.C. motor. You won’t be having any problems with air pressure while you use this pitching machine because it is equipped with urethane wheel to deal with such problems.

      The pitching machine has heavy duty legs that keep it sturdy and can be converted for softball or baseball. This machine is another great choice for a little league team learning the ropes and should be on any parents list of options for best pitching machines. It is easy with different types of balls, even the leather covered balls and won’t remove the cover while pitching.

      The machine features a dial speed adjustment, and it pitches very accurately. It is easy to assemble, align and use the machine, it is also lightweight, and you can move it around easily when necessary. The Bulldog has great buyer reviews, and overall, it performs well for a great price.

       

      PROSCONS
      The Bulldog is a great pitching machine, and it works excellently well, if you want your little league team to hone their skills, this is a good option to consider. The machine pitches faster than expected sometimes.
      It is easy and relatively quick to set up the machine and align it. It won’t take much time to figure out how to use it either.
      It’s quite portable; you can move it around and carry it easily.

    1. Heater Sports Crusher Mini Lite-Ball Pitching Machine

      The sports crusher is a small and portable that’s suitable for your home and the field, and there are many reasons this superb pitcher has made it to our list of best pitching machines.

      You can use this machine to coach your kids right in your yard. The machine can pitch softballs and curveballs at speeds of 15 to 45 miles per hour, and the speeds are adjustable. The Sports Crusher runs on 110V AC power or batteries.

      The pitching machine is quite accurate, and it includes 24 mini-balls to increase the accuracy. One of its more unique features is the adjustable pitch height which means the pitching machine can be used by anyone, kids and adults alike although it is recommended for children 8 years and above.

      It has a tripod design that makes it sturdy and firm even while throwing the balls and the machine pitches one ball every 9 seconds. The pitching wheels are enclosed, so you can be sure even young players using it are quite safe and won’t get hurt. This pitching machine is very high quality, and the performance is impressive for such a small machine, on the whole, this should be on your list of best pitching machines and its great value for money.

       

      PROSCONS
      The machine is quite safe to use, quite important especially if it is intended for use by children.Some reviewers complain about the accuracy of the machine.
      The ball feeder releases a ball every nine seconds which gives plenty to get ready while playing.
      The machine is convenient for use both at home and on the field.

    1. Trend Sports Heater Baseball Pitching Machine with 12 Ball Autofeeder

      The Trend Sports pitching machine has a rather interesting design, and this model is known as one of the bestselling machines of its kind from the Trend Sports Company.

       The machine pitches regulation leather real baseballs or baseball sized dimpled machine balls. The restriction on the type of balls, the machine can pitch makes it quite limited, but its other features more than make up for this.

      The pitching machine is housed in strong, durable steel and it is equipped with a 10-speed adjustable speed dial that allows you to adjust the speeds between 15 and 50 miles per hour. The speed range is excellent for kids from ages five up to practice with and without fear of hitting or getting hurt, it’s also a great choice for a coach practicing with a little league team. The adjustable pitch height makes it convenient for people of different heights and ages to use the machine. It runs on an 110V current or 350 to 400-watt generator, and you can set it up in your house.

      The machine comes with an Autofeeder that holds 12 real balls or 12 baseballs sized pitching machine balls, the feeder throws one ball every 12 seconds, so there’s plenty of time to recover and get ready for the next pitch. For parents looking to practice drills with theirs at home, this machine is an excellent choice for kids and young adults looking to improve their hitting skills. Although it’s small, it performs quite well, and it is available at a great price, so it’s no wonder that it is one of the best pitching machines on the market.

       

      PROSCONS
      The Trend Sports is a decent machine, exceptionally lightweight and portable for use even for children. The Tire pressure has to be constantly monitored.
      It’s easy to set up and equally easy to use.It does not throw real balls.
      The machine delivers great performance.

    1. Trend Sports Heater Combo Pitching Machine And Xtender 24′ Batting Cage

      The Heater Combo is a baseball and softball pitching machine with a batting cage that features a built-in connection harness; the harness prevents the baseballs from flying out of the cage. You can set up this batting cage right in your house for your kids to practice their hitting and improve their skills.

      The polypropylene batting net features a steel and fiberglass frame, steel ground stakes and nylon support ropes. The machine has an adjustable speed control and the 12 balls automatic ball feeder throws softballs up to 58 miles per hour and baseballs up to 60 miles per hour. You can decide to pitch either baseballs or softballs, and the tilt design of the machine throws pop-ups, line drives and grounders.

       

      PROSCONS
      The heater combo is a versatile pitching machine and a great choice if you want to practice both baseball and softball. The machine is quite pricey.
      The machine performs quite well, and the batting cage is a nice addition especially if you are trying to improve your hitting skills.

    1. Franklin Sports MLB Power Pitcher Pro Pitching Machine

      The Franklin Sports has a quirky design and is an amazing little machine available at a very reasonable and affordable price. This machine features three different speeds; 10 miles per hour, 15 miles per hour and 20 miles per hour and a three position pitch angle adjustment. The red light on the machine flashes to show pitch release.

      The recovery time of this machine is also quite fast; it throws a ball every five seconds. A telescopic ball feeder included in the machine holds thirteen balls in total, nine balls and four foam balls and the foam balls are replaceable.

      The pitching machine does not run on electricity, but it uses 4 ‘C’ alkaline batteries which are not included in the package and may be inconvenient to replace. The great thing about this Franklin Sports model is that it can be used by just about anyone from 5 years old up, kids, adults beginners and expert players can all use this machine to practice their drills and make some great shots. In addition to this, the Franklin Sports is very well known for the quality of their sports products and this pitching machine is no different, it really is one of the best pitching machines you will find.

       

      PROSCONS
      The machine is small and portable, very easy to assemble and to use. The alkaline batteries required for the machine are not included and may be inconvenient to replace.
      It’s convenient for home use, just set it up in the backyard for your kids to practice with. The machine is very light and cannot withstand windy weather.
      The machine is very affordable, and offers great value at a giveaway price. The pitches are very high.
      It pitches accurately.

    1. Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine

      Jugs sport is a brand that is famous for its quality pitching machines and one of the biggest suppliers of pitching machines. This Jugs machine promises to help hone your hitting skills and depth perception with its small-ball pitching capacity. Because of the size of the balls, the machine is a great choice for practicing with children.

      The pitching machine throws balls half the size of a typical baseball and they are 5-inch, 5-ounce polyurethane foam balls. The simple design of the machine will help the hitter to throw balls at from different speeds and angles.  

      The machine is made from heavy duty steel and it has an adjustable pitch height that is convenient for different heights and ages. At such an affordable price, the machine can deliver as good a performance as any pitcher used in the big leagues.

      The machine throws accurately, it pitches accurate fastballs and overhand curves with speeds up to 75 miles per hour and it’s a great choice if you are looking for different pitch types to practice with or trying to practice drills in your home. The feeder has an impressive 25 ball capacity, you can switch to manual or automatic and it can shoot fly and ground balls. The feed system is very easy to operate and the machine is a good choice for pro players that need to warm up before a big game.  The pitcher comes with a one year warranty.

       

      PROSCONS
      The pitching machine is a great choice for kids, it is portable and lightweight and will help to improve your child’s hitting skills. The machine comes with just three balls.
      It comes pre-assembled and it is quite easy to use. It only works with small balls.
      The machine is sturdy and well-built with a simple design.
      It is both manual and automatic.

    1. Franklin Sports MLB Learn To Play Pitching Machine

      This pitching machine is another one with a quirky design. It’s portable and lightweight and it is a great choice for household use, assemble it in your backyard and you are good to go. It has an attractive color that will be appealing to little kids and the pitching machine can be used by children from age 5 up.

      The pitch angle of the machine is adjustable and it throws a ball every 7 seconds. There’s a red light on the machine that shows pitch release and it includes 8 aero-strike plastic baseballs. This is a perfect practicing tool and it will help your kids improve their hitting skills and a great choice for when they are learning to play. The machine does not run on electricity and it requires 4 ‘D’ size alkaline batteries to work; the batteries are not included in the package.

       

      PROSCONS
      The machine is a great practice tool for kids and its works well. Reviewers complain that the machine is not consistent.
      It has an attractive design. It is lightweight and can’t stay put on uneven surfaces.
      It is easy to use and carry and the machine has an easily adjustable pitch angle.

    1. First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine

      The Baseline pitching machine is another versatile machine that you can use for both baseball and softball. It’s a portable machine and lightweight too, it has a swivel base and reversible legs. If you plan to coach a baseball team or softball team, this machine is an ideal choice.

      The machine is sturdy and well-built and performs quite well; it throws up to 70 miles per hour. It has two wheels that give it easy mobility and good range and it’s a particular great one for practicing curveballs. The Baseline is a high quality machine and it can last for a very long time, it’s also a great practice tool and will help to improve your batting skills. It comes at a reasonable price and its great value for the money.

       

      PROSCONS
      The machine easily switches from softballs to baseballs. The machine can be quite noisy.
      It’s easy to assemble and very easy to adjust. You have to keep the screws at the base tight so that the pitch angle does not shift.
      It shoots accurately. It is heavier than most other models.
      It is a durable machine and a great practice tool.
      The two-wheeled design makes it easy to move the machine around and gives the hitter good range.

  1. TREND SPORTS POWERALLEY PRO REAL BASEBALL PITCHING MACHINE

    The Trends Sport is a powerful machine with incredible performance. It throws light balls at the speed of 60 miles per hour and baseballs at 45 miles per hour.

    The pitching machine is housed in nylon and fiberglass and it has tubular-steel tripod stand that keeps it sturdy even when the weather is windy.

    The power motor of the machine helps it to pitch accurately and it is perfect for serious drills and training sessions.

    One thing that’s spectacular about the Trend Sports products is the durability although the design of the pitching machine is quite simple; the machine is capable of pitching some of the trickiest shots. Despite this, the machine is easy to use, even for kids and they can learn the different shooting styles like fastballs, curve balls, and grounders with it. The machine runs on a standard A/C power and a ⅛ horsepower motor and setting it up is incredibly easy.

     

    PROSCONS
    The design of the machine is simple and attractive. Real baseballs fed into it can get stuck, but they can be pushed out.
    It is housed in nylon and fiberglass.

    Conclusion

    Finding the perfect pitching machine could be extremely difficult and draining. You have tons of products that have flooded the market which makes a well-researched guide like this a life saver.  

    The Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is one of the products reviewed here and we hold it in high regards. It is ideal for training kids from 6 years upward. It weighs about 25 pounds, sturdy and well-constructed. Another thing about this machine is that it can be used to pitch a broad range of balls from soccer, volleyballs and even softball.

    If versatility is your thing, the Trend Sports Heater Combo Pitching Machine and Xtender 24′ Batting Cage is an option you should look into.

    This pitching machine can be set up in your house for your kids to hone their skills. It comes in a steel and fiberglass frame with adjustable speed control that can pitch baseballs up to 60 miles per hour and softballs up to 58 miles per hour. The Trend Sports Combo Pitching Machine is suitable for players who want to practice both baseball and softball.

    Sometimes, when buying equipment that you expect to use for an extended period of say 3 to 5years, it is best to stick with known brands and there are few brands as strong as Jugs when it comes to the manufacturing of pitching machines.

    The Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine throws balls half the size of a typical baseball and it is suitable for kids who are new to the game and needs lots of practice time. The best part is that it is quite affordable and offers two pitching options – manual and automatic, depending on the level your child is playing at.

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