Pitching machines are a crucial addition to baseball training and practice. These machines come with different specs and features with some exhibiting high-end features while others are of poor quality. Due to this difference, it is necessary to know the right machine to buy; one which will give you value for money. When looking for pitching machine for youth and kids baseball, it is necessary to ensure that you only purchase that which is ideal for this group of players. Here are some of the best pitching machines in 2017:
Read my article “Best Pitching Machines In 2017 For The Money: Youth And Kids Baseball” below for more information.
- 1 JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball Review
- 2 Louisville Slugger (UPM 45-Blue Flame) Pitching Machine Review
- 3 Trend Sports Heater Baseball Pitching Machine 12 Ball Review
- 4 Louisville Slugger (UPM 50 Black-Flame) Pitching Machine Review
- 5 Zooka: ZS740 Pitching Machine with Tall Tripod Review
- 6 ATEC Power Streak Baseball / Softball Training Machine Review
- 7 Heater Sports Power Alley Review
- 8 Slider Curve Lite Review
- 9 How to Choose the Right Pitching Machine?
JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball Review
If you are looking for a pitching machine that will help you hone the skills of upcoming hitters, then the JUGS Lite-Flite is the ideal pitching machine to purchase. This machine is specific in that it only throws Bulldog and Lite-Flite baseballs & softballs only. The best thing about the machine is that it stimulates speeds of up to 85mph at a distance of 25 feet. The machine has 1/8 horsepower and a 1.3 amplifier motor. This lightweight pitching machine weighs about 35lbs thus making it easy to carry the machine around.
Great pitching machine
The JUGS Lite-Flite pitching machine is designed to throw balls in a wide range of movements including curves, fastballs, and sliders. What’s more unique about this machine is that its swivel-design casting at the base provides a 360-degree option for fly balls, pop-ups and ground balls. With this machine, it is possible to train young hitters to learn to hit sharp breaking pitches. The swivel-designed based is adjustable for stimulating ground balls, fly balls, and pop-ups; which is specifically necessary for fielders practicing defense.
- Simulates high speeds at long distances
- Unique pitching ability featuring fastballs, curveballs, and sliders.
- Features 360-degree swivel
- Cannot be operated manually
Louisville Slugger (UPM 45-Blue Flame) Pitching Machine Review
Louisville Slugger is a popular brand in the baseball brand and is well reputable for designing high-end baseball equipment. In this spirit, the UPM 45 Blue-Flame pitching machine is classic equipment that is specially designed to help baseball players enhance their pitching skills. This machine throws the different type of balls from hard balls, light flight, plastic, soccer & volleyballs and fast pitch softballs. The machine comes with easily adjustable speed controls and throws balls at speeds of 18-45 mph. For plastic and light-flight balls, the machine has a throwing capability of over 60 mph.
Well designed and extremely accurate
This UPM 45 pitching machine is popular for its unique accuracy when throwing fly balls, strikes, and grounders. Due to its superior construction, this Louisville Slugger machine is the official machine used for pitching in Pony baseball & softball and Babe Ruth League. The most fascinating aspect of the machine is that it is manual and as such needs no electricity to perform. Additionally, it is extremely lightweight as it weighs not more than 25 lbs. This makes it easy and possible to move the machine from one point to the other.
- Can be used for different drills
- Extremely accurate
- Throws different types of balls
- Completely manual hence can be cumbersome to use.
Trend Sports Heater Baseball Pitching Machine 12 Ball Review
If you are looking for a personalized baseball pitching machine, then the Trend Sports Heater Machine is the best machine for you. This heavy duty pitching machine is designed to last and features adjustable pitch height. It has a strong steel casting and housing that enhances the durability and life of the pitching machine. This machine delivers amazing ball speeds with utmost accuracy with every pitch. There is a 10 speed variable in the machine that allows players to adjust the speed of the pitching machine from 15-50mph.
Customized pitching machine
The most intriguing aspect of the Trend Sports Heater machine is that it comes with an auto feeder that feeds balls into the machine automatically. This saves you the trouble of feeding the balls manually. The machine is designed to throw 9” dimpled baseball size. The machine requires 110v of current to run. This pitching machine is safe to use with kids and youth baseball players without having to worry about accidents.
- 10-speed variable speed control
- Automatic twelve ball feeder
- Adjustable height
- Battery operated
- No option for manual operation
Louisville Slugger (UPM 50 Black-Flame) Pitching Machine Review
With a throwing speed of a maximum of 50 mph, the UPM 50 pitching machine from Louisville Slugger is manually operated and does not require any electricity or battery power to function. This combined with its light weight allows for easy portability in the field from one point to the other. The machine is compatible with dimple, plastic, hard& soft, and restricted flight balls. The machine’s interchangeable components allow you to switch the pitching style from throwing strikes to longer and high fly balls.
Easy assembly and use
Setting up this pitching machine is easy and takes very little time. This mechanical machine is also quite easy to use. Additionally, the machine is exceedingly safe and does not pose any risk or safety hazards to players when in use in the field. The machine throws fastpitch softballs at speeds of 15-45mph. For slow pitch softballs, the machine throws up to twelve (12) foot arch.
- Lightweight hence portable
- Can be used with a wide range of balls
- Easy assembly and use
- Amazing throwing speeds
- Manual hence can be tiresome to operate
Zooka: ZS740 Pitching Machine with Tall Tripod Review
The ZS740 is probably the most widely used pitching machine in baseball. This is because the machine is uniquely designed with high-end features that include high pitching speeds of over 65mph. another unique feature of the machine is the ability to throw different kinds of baseball including tennis balls, most safety balls, and dimple balls. The safety feature of this pitching machine is rated at 100/100. As such, the machine is ideal to use around kids and youths with minimal accident risks.
If you want a pitching machine that you can move with expressly and conveniently from one point to the other, then this is the machine for you. This is because the machine is battery powered and hence is easy to carry around. A full battery charge provides an excess of 500 pitches. You can adjust the pitching speed of the machine from 10 to 65 mph.
- Amazing pitching speeds
- Safe to use for kids and youth
- Digital speed readout
- Battery powered hence portable
- Performce of the machine is limited to battery charge/ no option for manual operation.
ATEC Power Streak Baseball / Softball Training Machine Review
With this machine, I can be able to practice for a long time in various drills that include both defensive and hitting technique drills. The structure of ATEC allows for many kinds of manipulation and hence, I can easily carry out any kind of adjustment to conform with the training requirement that I might need at any given time.The machine also gives me the potential to use many types of balls that run from softballs, baseballs and more has provisions for containing small balls. This provides me with an ideal variety during practice
- ATEC uses balls that are designed both for indoor and outdoor practice
- The machine is hardy and hence can be used over a long period
- Owing to being made from steel, the weight can bring mobility inconvenience
Heater Sports Power Alley Review
The Heater Sports Alley pitching machine allows me to practice at any level of professionalism. It allows for different types of maneuver training as it can be able to pitch various balls, with a velocity of between 40 to 60 miles per hour depending on the ball type. Both Pop-flays, grounders, fastballs and soft and lite balls are pitched by this machine. Working with its adjustable property, it puts me in a position whereby, I can be able to set the height to the desired level of which, my training demands can be met and skills perfected.The alley comes with a net fabricated from polyethylene material and allows for containment of balls pitched during play and hence, it makes it convenient if I was training as a sole person, to collect the balls at a go and carry out quick reloading.
- It is safe to train with as the wheel is totally wrapped up and hence, no possibility of injuries to any body part
- It has the capacity to pitch balls at a high velocity
- It may cause inconvenience in movement as it relies on power and hence, without nearby sources it cannot work
- The polyethylene netting act as a limitation in case someone wants to change position. Re-installing consumes time.
Slider Curve Lite Review
With a curve Lite machine I am able to adjust the speed of the balls being thrown up to a maximum velocity of 60 miles per hour. The machine also gives me an opportunity to load up to 12 balls on its structure and also it is not bulky.
- Slider Lite has the capacity of pitching balls at a higher speed of 60 miles per hour
- The size of this pitching machine allows portability and hence good for practice
- The wheel is totally enclosed and this provides protection to any potential hand injury
- Mostly pitches fastballs and may not be ideal for use if different varieties are required in play.
When looking for the best pitching machine for kids and the youth, it is important to settle on a machine that meets your needs and preferences. It is advisable to settle for versatile machines; those that can be used indoors and outdoors.
How to Choose the Right Pitching Machine?
Pitching machines are designed to help baseball players improve their hitting skills. These machines are designed for use by all types of baseball players: experienced and amateur players alike. Pitching machines can literary replicate the role of a coach. Choosing the right pitching machine to use is usually a complex task especially for people who are new to purchasing baseball equipment. Usually, these machines are a long term investment and as such, it is important that you only settle for the best machine.It is worth noting that a top quality pitching machine as it gives you highly successful practice sessions that are aimed at enabling you to improve your hitting skills.
There are several considerations you should make when choosing the right pitching machine. They include:
The design of a pitching machine affects its efficiency and reliability. It is therefore necessary to find a machine whose design suits your needs.
1. Wheel operated machines- Pitching machines are commonly operated through single/dual wheels. This offers users with the benefit of being able to adjust speed and pitch direction to suit your needs.
Dual wheel- Pitching machines with dual wheels are specially designed for use by professional players and are more accurate. These machines provide players with excellent accuracy, superior precision, the ability to throw different pitch types and fast speeds.
Single wheel- Mostly, single wheel pitching machines are designed for use by players aged 5-15 years. These machines offer variable speed control within a 10-60mph range and let the players focus on their hitting techniques.
2. Compressed air machines –These pitching machines use compressed air as their source of power to throw balls. The most amazing aspect about these machines is that they do not have any external moving parts. As such, they are uniquely safe to use thereby making them a favorite choice for young players.
Always ensure that the pitching machine of choice is compatible with all types of balls with the inclusion of regulation type leather baseballs. Additionally, make sure that the preferred machine is compatible and works perfectly with simpler practice balls.
Pitching machines throw balls at varying speeds. Low-speed machines having a throwing ability of up to 10mph and are extremely lightweight thereby making them portable. These machines are suitable for training young players hand-eye coordination as well as enabling them to remove the fear of getting hit by baseballs. Medium speed machines have a throwing speed range of 10-60mph. These machines are designed for use by players within the age bracket of 5-15 years; players in little leagues. High-speed machines on other hand are exclusively designed for experienced players. The throwing speed range of these machines is 30-100mph. This makes them ideal for pro-players training for big leagues.
The type of pitch you will be training on is yet another important consideration when it comes to choosing the right baseball pitching machine. The machine of choice should be favorable to the type of pitch you will be using whether you are training for sliders, curveballs or fastballs.
The brand is very important not only in baseball pitching machines but also in other baseball equipment. Only settle on machines from trusted and prominent brands that come with a performance guarantee on parts. There are brands that are known to make high-end and uniquely reliable baseball equipment. These are the brands you should prefer when shopping for pitching machines. It is worth noting that substandard brands have inferior quality equipment that is not only unreliable but also wears out quite fast.
Purchase price and maintenance cost
Pricing is yet another important factor to consider when choosing the right baseball pitching machine. It is advisable that you only settle for a machine that is affordable to you not only in purchasing it but also in maintaining it too. The cost of pitching machines ranges between a few hundred dollars simple portable machines to several thousand dollars for top quality heavyweight machines. Despite the need for maintenance being subjective to wear & tear and use of the machines, heavyweight machines tend to be quite expensive to maintain as their parts are equally pricey.
The source of power used by a pitching machine determines its functionality. Manually powered machines are easily portable on the field. However, their functionality is limited to varying speed and adjusting pitch height to a specific range. This makes the machines mostly useful for young players and minor leagues.
Electricity powered pitching machines provide players with better precision, varied pitch type options, and better ball control. However, the portability of these machines for field use is limited especially if the machine is not compatible with a generator or a battery pack. There are pitching machines that come with battery packs while in other machines, these packs are bought separately. When buying a generator or a battery pack for your pitching machine, ensure that you only purchase the manufacturer recommended battery pack/generator.
Portability and ease of use
You need to prioritize on portability when choosing the best pitching machine. This is because you should be able to move the machine on the field for practice and training sessions. One of the key factors to be on the lookout for in portable pitching machines is weight. Only purchase light weight machines as they are easier to move around than the heavy ones. In addition to this, you should also look for a machine whose design features make it easy to move the machine around.
Avoid choosing machines that are too complex to operate and handle. Instead, settle for a machine that you can easily operate and use without requiring any detailed technical know-how. If possible, settle on machines that are remotely controllable and have an automatic ball feeder. These machines are quite easy to use even when you are on your own without the help of a practice partner.
Identifying the right pitching machine is not as easy like it is presumed to be. This is because it requires a combination of factors and other considerations to find the right machine for you. Always ensure that the machine of choice meets your preferences and needs. This is so that the machine becomes of ultimate use and help to you.