When it comes to hitting training, pitching machines can be your best friend. They are used by hitters of all levels to get efficient hitting practices from the comfort of their homes without the need for actual pitchers.
Knowing what type of machine is best for you can help you create an effective workout that will help you master your swing.
This article lists the best pitching machines for softball and baseball that are available for purchase in 2021.
My Personal Recommendation
Whether you’re looking for the best pitching machine for baseball or softball, there is nothing better than Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine.
It is the official Pony Baseball and Softball League mechanical pitching machine that is sturdy and portable to allow you to enjoy batting practices anywhere.
It can throw many types of fly balls, hard balls, or fastpitch and slowpitch softballs from 18 to 45 mph with speed controls that are easy to adjust.
With all these good features, this pitching machine will surely be helpful in your drills.
Best Pitching Machines in 2021
Atec M2 Baseball Pitching Machine
The M2 Baseball Pitching Machine is a two-wheel machine built to train collegiate-level players comprising great accuracy, impressive power, and portability. With this two-wheel pitching machine, you can now practice with much control and power over the pitches the machine throws ensuring that you will get the most out of your training depending on your skillset.
This pitching machine can pitch up to 90mph and can throw collegiate level fastballs, curveballs, and sliders to any spot and direction. It is compatible with regulation leather baseballs as well as dimple and foam machine baseballs and is trusted by many nationally ranked college baseball programs to develop their elite players and take their hitting abilities to the next level.
It has concave wheel treads that help in increasing ball grip and in maximizing pitch accuracy to throw the pitch that you want. It also has a Quick Change Tilt System that allows you to change the throwing hand and axis-of-rotation of pitched balls allowing the machine to project balls at different angles.
The machine is constructed with a durable steel frame with a wide base tripod for maximum durability and balance preventing it from falling over and ensuring that it stays mounted when using. It has integrated durable die-cast wheels to promote maximum mobility and ease of storage.
The M2 Baseball Pitching Machine has a five-year warranty and weighs about 100 lbs. which can be heavier than other machines.
Sports Attack Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine
The Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine features a three-wheel design recommended for high school, college, and professional-level baseball players. It can pitch unmatched right and left-handed major league fastballs and breaking pitches allowing you to practice hitting or catching any type of pitch with great accuracy and varying speed and direction.
The unique three-wheel design allows the batter to see the ball naturally through the feeding motion, speed, and release like that of a live pitcher. The visible arm action alerts the hitter when to stride as well as the angle of release, giving him a live arm sense of timing and placement.
The three-wheel structure also ensures that the ball is gripped in three locations providing tremendous control and accuracy when pitching. It can throw fastballs up to 100 mph, curves, sliders, split fingers, and knuckles so you can practice hitting any type of pitch that you want. It can pivot immediately in any direction along with a genuine game-like spin, simulates grounders, long fly balls, deep line drives, towering infield flies, and pop-ups so you can also practice how to catch these balls with mastery.
This pitching machine for high school is made with a rugged powder-coated rust-proof steel frame to ensure it lasts for a long time and has an extra-wide tripod base to guarantee real stability and safety on pitching mounds.
It weighs approximately 135 lbs. which can be heavy and hard to transport but it is worth every effort.
JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball
If you’re looking for a pitching machine that can be used for both baseball and softball which delivers Big League style pitches at a minor league price, then check out the JUGS Lite-Flite Machine. This machine is the best pitching machine under $500 that you can find in the market with great quality so you can practice hitting pitches without breaking your bank.
This pitching machine can throw different types of pitches from 15 to 85 mph such as left-handed curves, left-handed sliders, fastballs, right-handed sliders, and right-handed curves for both baseball and softball.
You can easily adjust the swivel-design base casting 360 degrees to simulate fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups which is helpful if you want to practice defensive catches. It can throw both left and right-handed pitches so no need to worry about which side of the plate you prefer or what your hand orientation is.
This pitching machine features a quick-change design with exclusive Switch-and-Play knobs for adjusting the machine from baseball to softball easily and quickly. It has a portable design and a 1/8 Horsepower, 1.3 amplifier motor, and weighs only about 35 lbs.
However, the Lite-Flite Machine is only for Poly Balls (Wiffle balls) and lite flite balls which you can purchase separately.
Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine
The Blue Flame Pitching Machine by Louisville Slugger is a versatile and lightweight pitching machine that can throw any type of ball, hard balls, fast pitch softballs, dimple balls, light flight, plastic, and even soccer and volleyballs without worrying about it getting damaged unlike many other pitching machines that can only throw specific ball type and limited ball sizes.
You can also choose particular speed settings so you can practice hitting balls at different speeds and power. This pitching machine can go as low as 18 mph up to 60 mph depending on the type and weight of the ball you are using.
This machine pitches reliably and consistently for batter after batter allowing the hitter to concentrate on developing a proper level swing path to the ball. It can also throw accurate fly-balls and hard ground balls consistently to incorporate into your drills and eliminate the need for hitting the ball during drills.
Weighing roughly 25 lbs., it is very portable so you can use and transport it anywhere. It is also manually operated thereby there is no need for a power source or batteries to use it so even though there is no electric power or socket in your practice area, you can still use it.
However, since it is manually operated, you will need time to familiarize yourself with this machine, nonetheless, it is not rocket science and is still relatively easy to operate and familiarize yourself with. Likewise, this pitching machine can only throw regular pitches, you can’t practice curveballs and sliders with this.
Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine
The Small-Ball pitching machine is built with heavy-duty steel with adjustable legs that help simulate a realistic delivery height for both baseballs and softballs. This machine is to be used with a 5-inch Jugs Small-ball (polyurethane foam ball) which is half the size of a normal baseball.
This way, it will help the hitters learn to track the ball better from the release point to the impact zone, while simultaneously sharpening their mental focus. It is also a good way to do bunting drills for hitters.
This pitching machine can throw accurate fastballs and overhand curves, with simulated speeds up to 75 mph, and can also shoot fly and ground balls for you to practice hitting and catching balls at a different speed and against a variety of pitch styles.
It is designed for repetitive and consistent practices and enables you to increase your mental concentration by teaching you how to hit a small object with a small bat. Training with this improves your depth perception to keep your head still and your eyes at a level.
The Small-ball pitching machine is portable and light, weighing only 23 lbs. for easy transportation allowing you to use this machine anywhere. It has a manual and automatic feed that has a 25-ball feeder that releases the ball every five seconds. It comes with three free Jugs Small-balls so you still need to purchase separate packs of 5-inch balls.
How to Choose Pitching Machines
Type of Pitching Machine and Skill Level
A wheel pitching machine contains one, two, or three wheels that spin much like a bike tire. The wheels on these machines are usually set in either a horizontal or vertical fashion.
It works in a way where a ball will be shot out towards the hitter after it is fed into the wheel or wheels. Choosing among one, two, or three-wheel pitching machines will depend on your preference and skill level.
For kids, younger players, or beginners, you can pretty much get away with a one-wheel pitching machine. It generally throws a straight fastball between more or less 25 to 70 mph with their included speed control which is enough to practice hitting regular straight pitches. Look for one-wheel pitching machines that can provide consistent, accurate, and reliable pitches.
A two-wheel pitching machine is usually faster with a speed range of approximately 25 to 90 mph. It also gives you more control and power over the type of pitches you want the machine to throw.
You also get significantly more types of pitches to practice with such as fastballs, curveballs, and sliders in any direction.
If you want to improve your batting and catching skills then definitely go for two-wheel pitching machines. This type of machine is a must for high school baseball players, college, older players, or players with higher skill levels.
Like the two-wheel pitching machine, a three-wheel pitching machine can throw a wider variety of pitches at greater speeds and with higher accuracy. It gives you more control over the type of pitch, the speed, and the direction of the pitch for you to practice with.
You can pretty much throw any kind of pitch with this machine including fastballs, right and left-handed breaking balls, split fingers, knuckleballs, and even grounders, long fly balls, deep line drives, towering infield flies, and pop-ups allowing you to practice your catching skills as well. Out of all the three, this type has the most accuracy, speed, and consistency perfect for college-level or professional athletes.
Adjustability and Control
The best pitching machine is not the one that has the farthest distance range nor the one that can produce the most powerful strike. It is something that can cater to all your needs and purposes so it is important to look for a machine that you can control and adjust accordingly.
Generally, pitching machines have adjustable speed settings that can help you practice with different speed level pitches. It can go as high as more than 100 mph which is appropriate if you want to improve your batting skills. This feature is also beneficial for kids and younger players for their safety since most machines can be adjusted to lower speed levels.
On the other hand, if you also want to improve your catching skills, some machines can be adjusted for that purpose which enables it to throw grounders, fly balls, pop-ups, and more.
Portability and Power
It is important to consider where you will be using the machine more to determine what type of power system will work for you. If you practice more in an area where there is no power source, then opt for a battery-operated or even a manually operated or spring-loaded machine. If you plan on using the machine for long hours then make sure you choose something with higher output capacities so it doesn’t disrupt your practice sessions.
On the other hand, an electric-powered pitching machine is highly favorable since it guarantees consistent performance despite long hours of use. If you can practice in an area where you can directly plug the machine in, it is certainly the best choice.
Pitching machines can go from lightweight and portable to heavy that’s why you must also take into account if you will transport it often or if you will just keep the machine stationary or even installed in the batting cage. If you tend to move from one place to another or use it in the field, a more lightweight machine is perfect for easy transport and portability.
Otherwise, heavy machines with durable wheels are also a great choice for you.
A pitching machine is a necessary investment that if purchased and utilized right, will yield satisfying improvements and development on your baseball skills so remember to keep in mind your purposes, skill level, and needs. I hope this article has helped you make a wise decision for your next purchase.