Let’s face it…
Without practicing your swing, you won’t improve as a baseball player.
That being said…it’s hard to get game ready.
You could practice technique all day long, but without simulating what the pitcher might throw at you…good luck finding your groove!
So how can you get more game ready?
One of the easier way is using on the best pitching machines listed below.
I mean what better way to gain additional confidence from your hard practice and technique work then by taking some actual cuts at the ball?
For this year (2018), the following machines come highly recommended by other users:
What's Included on this page:
Quick pitching machine reviews
Want some quick reviews on what we feel are 2018’s preferred choices in pitching machines? You can find them below.
1- Louisville Slugger UPM45 blue Flame
The Louisville Slugger UPM45, the official pitching machine of Babe Ruth League and Pony Baseball and Softball, is a highly recommended training tool for parents and coaches who want to save their arms and want to help young players overcome their fears and perfect their swinging and hitting skills. This is the most affordable model by far but it is also the simplest to use.
Designed for ages 6 and up, it throws reliable, consistent, and accurate pitches without any electrical power required. But that’s not all. The UPM45 can also pitch any type of ball including regulation type baseballs and softballs at a speed range of 18-45 mph. The UPM45 is not only a pitching machine that throws consistent and reliable pitches, but it can also throw hard grounders and fly balls for fielding practice.
The UPM45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is a must have for all parents and coaches because of its high quality and sturdy built, ease of use and easy portability. With a compact design that fits in the car trunk easily and weighing only 25 pounds, moving the machine is not cumbersome at all. The speed and height adjustments require a little fine tuning in the beginning but once the correct settings are locked in, throwing consistent pitches is a piece of cake for anyone. Read the full review here.
2- Jugs M600 Lite-Flight
When you talk about the best pitching machines, JUGS Sports is often heard of. It is the #1 bestselling company of baseball pitching machines. The JUGS Lite-Flite is the longest lasting and least expensive pitching machine of its kind.
With easy Select-A-Pitch™ pitch selection that can be calibrated to throw left handed or right handed, fastballs, curveballs and sliders, the JUGS Lite-Flite can truly throw big league style pitches at a minor league price. This is a feature rarely found in pitching machines available at this price. The swivel design rotates 360 degrees and can be adjusted easily for fly balls, pop-ups and grounders, which is great for practicing defensive drills in the backyard. Not just that, but the JUGS Lite-Flite includes a quick change design feature that can help you switch between baseball and softball in seconds.
The JUGS Lite-Flite is excellent for practicing with younger kids as it only throws lighter practice balls that will give a fear free practice session and will help young players develop their hitting techniques without the worry of getting hurt.
By giving younger kids a fear free practice session and older players a variety of pitch types to play with, this one is a true training tool that will make practice sessions more fruitful in the end. Read what we think.
3- Heater Pitching Machine
Our next choice of pitching machine reviews looks at the Heater pitching machine. The Heater baseball pitching machine has been known for quite some time as Trend Sport’s #1 bestseller in pitching machines. It is also among the top 10 bestselling pitching machines of its kind.
The Heater pitching machine has a lot to brag about. Available for only $400, the machine is loaded with features and benefits that make it a preferable choice among users and an excellent training tool in the hands of a coach. It features a 10 speed variable speed dial that allows you to choose speeds from 10-50 mph for a fantastic day of practice. With this speed range, the machine is good for ages between 5-15 years.
One feature that truly sets the Heater Pitching Machine apart from others is its Auto Ball Feeder that is included with the package. The ball feeder can hold 12 balls at a time and pitches balls every 12 seconds for great solo practice. But that’s not all. The machine can pitch regulation type leather baseballs and lighter practice balls, which is great for both realistic baseball practice or a fear free practice with lighter ball.
When we talk about pitching machines, we often think about batting practice. But with adjustable pitch height, the Heater pitching machine lets you practice defensive drills in your backyard as well, making it more versatile and a worthwhile investment overall. Read our review.
4- Zooka ZS740
The Zooka ZS740 is a revolutionary product that has changed everything you know about pitching machines. The ZS740 brings the first ever, fully digital pitching machine that can throw balls as fast as 65 mph on battery power. At a very nominal price, this is truly what you call innovation.
The first feature that sets the Zooka ZS740 apart, and makes it one of the top choices of pitching machines, is its rechargeable battery that makes it a true portable machine. Just charge it at home and take it with you on the field. The battery lasts a really long time and is good for more than 500 pitches, which is good enough for one practice session. Another feature is its fully digital system that lets you adjust speed and height of the pitch using simple digital controls, which makes it very easy to use. Another outstanding feature is its safe design that includes no external moving parts that could be dangerous to use.
Because of these basic features, it has quickly become a favorite among users. Coaches prefer the Zooka ZS740 over other pitching machines because of its safety features with no dangerous spinning wheels and electrical cords running across the fields while parents love it for its ease of use, easy portability, sturdy built, and versatility. Check out our Zooka review.
5- ATEC Casey Pro 3G
Known as the most accurate, precise, and consistent pitching machines available out there, the ATEC Casey Pro is meant for serious players and teams who want to take their skills to the next level. This revolutionary, high performance, third generation machine is packed with enough power to throw balls from 30-100 mph. Yes, 100 miles per hour, which is around the fastest ball recorded in MLB history. With such great speeds, this top training equipment will provide a challenging day of practice to even the most top level team. In fact, the ATEC Casey Pro is the official pitching machine of Major League Baseball and is used everywhere by schools, colleges and big teams.
The machine touts a micro-adjustment feature for pin point control; this lets you adjust pitches in specific increments to let the players train for every pitch location in the strike zone. Position indicators lets you index pitch locations and changes and makes pin point control easy. The center of gravity design allows full 360 degree horizontal rotation and 120 degree vertical pivot that offers superior precision and makes it easy to throw every type of pitch imaginable.
The ATEC Casey Pro is simply the best built, most accurate and precise machine that offers you unparalleled ball control and options you can never find in any other machine available. Read the full review.
How to find the best pitching machines
Choosing a pitching machine is certainly not an easy thing. As you’ll see on this page the choice depends on many factors including its use (individual or team), price, customization (specific pitches, specific balls), and much more. Below we have provided a comparison table along with 5 reviews that represent a wide variety of the best pitching machines available today.
Whether you are a young player just developing hand-eye coordination or an experienced player playing in the big leagues, there is nothing more pleasurable than the crack of the bat as it strikes a speeding ball. But to master those skills to be consistently good with the bat requires time, energy and lots of practice. Investing in a good baseball pitching machine is highly recommended for developing and mastering those skills as it gives you more successful practice sessions without asking anyone to serve up quality pitches to you.
Whether you are an amateur player just starting out or an experienced player trying to master your baseball skills, you will find a pitching machine well suited for your needs.
- Wheel operated machines – Baseball pitching machines are mostly operated using single or dual wheels, which offer the benefit of adjusting the speed and direction of the pitch.
- Dual Wheel: Dual wheel machines are more accurate and are meant for experienced and professional players. They offer superior precision, maximum ball control, excellent accuracy, fast speeds, and the ability to throw a wide range of pitch types.
- Single wheel: Single wheels are sufficient for players between 5-15 years old. By offering variable speed control in a range of 10-60 mph, they let you work on your hitting techniques.
- Compressed air machines – Compressed air machines use the power of compressed air to throw balls. These machines have no external moving parts and are usually touted by manufacturers for their safety. These are well suited for young players.
Manual machines provide you the benefit of easy portability for games on the field. However, these machines only let you adjust pitch height and speed in a limited range, making it useful for minor leagues and young players.
Electricity operated machines offer you more precision, ball control, and a lot more options for pitch types. However, for on field power, the machine should be compatible with a battery pack or a generator. Some machines include a battery pack while others require you to buy it separately. If the machine requires you to buy a generator, make sure the recommended generator is available.
Make sure the machine is compatible with any type of baseball including regulation type leather balls. However, for youth leagues, make sure it is compatible with lighter practice balls as well.
Low speed machines are usually portable and extremely lightweight that can throw balls up to 10 mph to help a young child develop hand eye coordination and help him overcome the fear of being hit by the ball.
Medium speed machines are mostly used by Little Leagues and young players between the ages of 5-15 years. These machines simulate speeds from 10-60 mph.
High speed machines offer ball speeds from 30-100 mph, making them useful for experienced players who want to train for the big game.
Make sure the machine you buy offers the particular pitch type you want, whether you want to train for fastballs, curveballs, or sliders.
While your main objective is to provide batting practice, consider the option of defensive training as well. Make sure the machine can easily adjust to simulate fly balls, line drives, and grounders for both infield and outfield practice. There should be a vertical pivot to easily adjust pitch height for defensive training.
A pitching machine has to be portable for you to be able to move it away for practice on the field. Make sure it is lightweight and has design features that make it easy to move around.
Do you plan to use it alone or with a practice partner? If you want to enjoy solo practice, make sure the machine is compatible with an auto ball feeder and a remote control.
Make sure the machine comes from a trusted brand and includes a guarantee on parts. Overall, the pitching machine you choose should be able to give you a successful and more fruitful practice session and should help you improve your baseball skills. Above all, it should suffice your own needs.
Well there you have it, we hope that you have enjoyed all of our pitching machine reviews. As you can see determining a list of the greatest pitching machines is not easy but we have done our best to compile to top list available. We hope you have a great year swinging the bat!