Best softball pitching machine
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Softball pitching machines – Buying Guide, Ratings & Comparison
If you are short on time, but you want to find what the best softball pitching machine is, you have come to the right place. In the following short paragraph, we will tell you all that you need to know in order to make an educated purchasing decision. After looking at customers’ surveys and specialized forums, we have concluded that the model to get is the Louisville Slugger UPM 4. This versatile choice can throw any ball and can even be used for soccer and volleyballs. It can throw hard balls up to 18 to 45 miles per hour with easy-to-adjust speed controls, while lighter plastic balls can be thrown up to 60 miles per hour. The unit is completely manual, and it does not require electricity or batteries to work, allowing it to be used pretty much anywhere. If our first pick is not available for sale, we recommend you bear the Sports Attack Junior Hack in mind.
Top features to consider
Getting a good softball pitching machine is not an easy task, especially once you realize the fact that each product has its own set of features that can make identifying the ideal purchase that much harder. To help you in this regard, we have compiled a buyer’s guide that will go through some of the crucial factors worth considering when buying such a unit.
Power source and portability
While analyzing some of the most popular softball pitching machine reviews that users have left, we have noticed that the power source is a crucial factor when looking to buy your first product. Pitching machines can be powered by electricity, batteries, or they can be manual.
The advantage of a manual device that does not require a power source is that it allows owners to use the machine outside of their backyard, in places where finding a power source might prove difficult.
If you do want to get a portable option but don’t want it to be manual, you can consider wheeled machines that come with a battery pack option. The battery should allow you to get hundreds of pitches without the need for the unit to be plugged in.
Adjustability and versatility
If adjustability matters to you, owners recommend that you focus your attention on wheeled machines since in terms of speed, curve, and launch angle, they are the best choice for shooting fly balls. Armed pitching machines have an advantage concerning speed and durability, but they suffer a lot when it comes to adjustability and portability.
If you want to get a unit that can be used not just for softball but others sports such as baseball, soccer, or volleyball, you need to look for a versatile product.
Many of the models currently available on the market can accommodate an extensive array of ball sizes, and based on our experience, manufacturers will make sure to advertise this nifty feature so that you won’t have to look too long for it.
Get the machine that can match your skill
If you are looking to purchase a pitcher for an amateur softball player or even for yourself, and you don’t have much experience, you need be able to face pitchers who will be throwing curves, screwballs, sliders, and even knuckles. A pitching machine that can help the player practice hitting curves is very important if you wish to get up to a higher skill level.
These models can be a tad more expensive but if you are serious about softball, the pricier models can help you advance as a player, and we believe that such an investment justifies the higher price.
Top rated products
Finding the right cheap softball pitching machines for your needs is certainly not an easy task, what with the many options available to choose from. To make things easier, we have extracted some of the top-rated models currently available so that you can choose the one that meets your rigorous requirements.
Louisville Slugger UPM 4
With the Louisville machine, you can throw any ball from hard balls, fastpitch softballs, and dimple balls, to even soccer and volleyballs. Indeed, if versatility is on your mind, this model is a no-brainer, especially once you consider that it is one of the most affordable options on our list.
Portability is another key feature of this model since it weighs less than 25 lbs and it is entirely manual. This means that it will not require electricity or batteries to work, and that will allow you to transport it outside of your backyard and practice softball with your kids wherever you wish without being limited by a power cable.
It can throw hard balls from 18 to 45 mph, and you can easily adjust the speed controls to suit players of any level. For light flight and plastic balls, the machine can throw them up to 50 mph. The machine can also be used to throw slow pitch softballs with up to a 12 inches arch.
As far as accuracy goes, this model is very accurate for throwing strikes, fly balls, and even grounders and the many positive consumer reviews seem to confirm these claims.
The unit is very portable and lightweight at only 25 pounds, and that makes it very easy for people to carry it in the back of their cars and transport to their favorite field.
The mechanical pitching machine is ideal for throwing accurate pitches and outfield and infield drills, all without the need for batteries or electricity.
Since it can handle a wide range of ball sizes and types, this is an excellent purchase for families that want to let their children experiment with different kinds of sports.
Assembling this machine is very straightforward, and we noticed that even users that usually struggle with assembling products had no problem with this one thanks to the clear and well-written instructions.
Be mindful that this model has a lot of torque and requires some weight and strength to push the pedal, meaning that it is not safe for children under 14 to operate it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($148.75)
Sports Attack Junior Hack
The Junior model is one of the most impressive three-wheel pitching machines intended for serious youth players currently on the market. The starting price might seem a bit discouraging at first but if you want to get a high-performing option, then you are certainly going to enjoy using this option and the numerous features it comes equipped with.
You can control your every pitch since the three-wheel design will allow you to throw fastballs, tight and left-handed breaking pitches, including curveballs, sliders, and split-fingers, all at speeds of over 70 mph. Of course, you have three different speed dials so that you can have full control over the type of pitch that is thrown.
The inside/outside adjustment feature will allow you to center the first pitch without having to kick out the rear leg or move the machine. When the dial adjustments and the elevation crank work in tandem, the machine can move the ball around and even work out the corners of the strike zone, providing you with excellent batting practice.
This model comes equipped with two transportation wheels so that you can bring it on or off the field quickly. To make transportation even more accessible, one of the tripod legs will act as a handle when the machine is moved.
The Sports Attack model is designed to handle the needs of players of all levels, from amateurs to professionals, which makes this a great purchase if you want it to be used by as many softball players as possible.
The unit is built in the USA with high-quality materials so that you can be confident in its durability and the quality of the craftsmanship. A 5-year manufacturer’s warranty backs the model.
It has a 5 second recovery time and comes with three throwing wheel dials so that you can have complete control over each pitch.
It is also very versatile since it can throw regulation leather balls, wiffle balls, dimpled practice balls, and other soft practice pitching machine balls.
Users were very satisfied with their purchase, and the only thing that they had to complain was the fact that the machine does not work well for 8U softball because it won’t get the balls over the plate at the right speed.Buy from Amazon.com for ($2199)
First Pitch Baseline
The Baseline model boasts a unique design that will make it extremely easy for you to switch between the baseball and softball mode. The adjustable speeds range from 0 to 70 mph for baseball and 0 to 60 mph for softball, a feature that will allow users to practice at virtually any level. The pitch angle is similarly adjustable, making it easy to cover the entire plate.
Switching between softball and baseball is achieved quickly since the reversible legs allow for quick adjustments with no tools required in just a few seconds. Since it can work for both softball and baseball, this is a great choice for people that want a versatile product.
The skid plate is curved, and that will help improve pitch accuracy and ball longevity. Despite the impressive power of the motor, you won’t have to worry about stability problems since the unit manages to remain stable on virtually any surface thanks to the capped steel legs.
Speaking of the motor, we are glad to report that this critical yet dangerous part of the machine is cased in steel for added security, especially around children and it runs on household A/C power or with a compatible generator.
The industrial strength ¼ horsepower motor can throw balls at adjustable speeds of up to 70 mph, making the unit suitable for players of various skill levels.
Utilizing this unit is extremely easy, and the numbered dial indicates the speed that the ball will be thrown at.
Versatility is a crucial advantage of this machine since it can be used for both softball and baseball. It can throw any type of practice ball, even regulation leather balls.
The option is fully adjustable with a 360-degree rotation, meaning that positioning this pitching machine for both fly-ball and fielding grounders is extremely easy.
For added protection, the electric motor is cased in steel which will ensure your protection and that of the people around you.
It would help if you were mindful of the open wheel design. While it makes the machine more natural to use, it can also be dangerous, and children should not be allowed to put their hands anywhere near the wheel.Buy from Amazon.com for ($849)
The Jugs Junior is one of the most popular youth-league pitching machines in the world, and for a good reason. This nifty option is quite versatile, and you can purchase it and use it as a softball-only machine, or as a softball/baseball combo if you wish to utilize it at its full potential.
When used for softball, the machine can be equipped with a softball chute and curved legs. For baseball, you can use the baseball chute and the long straight legs. You can set it up for either sport, and pitches will be thrown out from a realistic release point, making it ideal for youngsters that have just started out in the game.
It can throw fastballs, slowpitch or fastpitch, and it is compatible with baseballs, Lite-Flite balls, 11 or 12” softballs, Softie balls, tennis balls, and Jugs Bulldogs. This model weighs 75 pounds which makes it portable and is very easy to set up by just one person.
The Junior offers 360-degree swivel for pop-ups, ground balls, and fly balls and the Digital Speed Readout allows for quick and easy speed adjustments. The ¼ motor operates on 110-volt AC, or with a 1000 Watt generator if you plan to use it away from a power source.
The unit is solidly built thanks to the heavy-duty steel construction and the highly-efficient ¼ horsepower motor which should give increased longevity to the product, especially since you also get a 5-year guarantee on all parts.
With the help of the new Digital Speed Readout display, you can easily set the machine to throw at the exact mph that you desire to accommodate the skill level of your players.
It comes with a baseball and softball chute as well as with curved and long straight legs so that you can use this option for whichever sport your desire straight out of the box.
What’s more, this model is also feeder-compatible meaning that you purchase such an accessory if you want hitting and fielding to be done automatically.
While most buyers were satisfied with their purchase, we did notice a few that were not entirely pleased with the speed and accuracy of the Jugs machine.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1339.99)
The Lite-Flite model is an excellent choice for up-and-coming hitters who want to hone their swings. Since the machine is designed to throw only Lite-Flite baseballs, 11 or 12” softballs or Jugs Bulldog softballs and baseballs, it isn’t a big-league pitching machine, but it is ideal for young hitters that want to learn how to hit sharp-breaking pitches safely.
The Jugs alternative can also prepare you for the bigs since it offers a full range of movement, meaning that it can be adjusted for all types of pitches. You can use it for fastballs, sliders, and curveballs, at simulated speeds from 15 to 85 mph.
Similarly, you can adjust the swivel-design base to 360 degrees to simulate ground balls, fly balls, and pop-outs. If you are a fielder and want to practice defense in the comfort of your backyard, this is a feature that you will definitely appreciate. It also won’t matter which side of the plate you prefer since the machine can throw both right- and left-sided pitches.
The pitching machine weighs only 35 pounds and is designed to work both outdoors and indoors. If you are on a tight budget, you will undoubtedly appreciate the affordable price of this fun and dependable model.
The pitch-selection knob will provide users with a complete range of movement to adjust for numerous types of pitches, including curves, sliders, and fastballs.
Portability is a crucial advantage of this model, and if you are looking to use the unit away from your backyard, the Lite-Flite is compatible with the Jugs Lite Flite Battery Pack that will help run the pitching machine for up to three hours of continuous use.
The proprietary Switch-and-Play knobs allow for a quick change mechanism so that users can switch and adjust the setting from softball to baseball and vice versa.
Thanks to the swivel design, you can adjust the machine to 360 degrees, so that you can simulate ground balls, fly balls, and pop-ups.
As is the case with professional-level pitching machines, the numerous settings of this unit can take a while to learn.
Similarly, buyers have found that calibrating the unit to get the pitch they want can be a bit time-consuming.Buy from Amazon.com for ($389.99)