10 Best Pitching Machines (Review) in 2020

Batters who want to improve their hitting skills and swing techniques can benefit from having a pitching machine to maintain and improve their skills in baseball and softball. With numerous advantages for using one, it’s no wonder that they’re even used at pro levels in Major League Baseball.

With the many options available, all offering different specifications, price ranges, and features, it’s always a good idea to weigh up a couple of options before selecting one type of pitching machine. The player’s skill level, as well as the type of training they wish to benefit from the machine, are just a few of the factors that should play a part in your decision to purchase a pitching machine.

best pitching machine for little league

Summary: Our Top 10 Pitching Machines Reviews

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball

  • The JUGS name brand

  • 2-year warranty

  • Reasonably priced

Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine

  • No electrical cords needed

  • Reasonably priced

  • Easy assembly

HEATER SPORTS Slider Lite Curveball Baseball Pitching Machine

  • Adjustable Speed Control

  • Pivot head design pitches many styles

  • Automatic ball feeder pitches

Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine

  • Low-profile with a portable design

  • Pitches many types of balls

  • Equivalent speeds

Heater Base Hit Pitching Machine

  • Variable speed control

  • AC power supply

  • Can fit onto a batting cage

Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine

  • Great for casual outdoor Wiffleball

  • 6 Balls included

  • Adjustable and budget-friendly

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine by Sports Attack

  • Easy to set up and use

  • Durable

  • Available for right and left handed players

Jugs BP1 Baseball/Softball Combo Pitching Machine

  • Great for any age

  • 360-degree swivel head

  • Optional battery pack

Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine

  • Adjustable pitch heights

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to use

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine

  • Throws balls at up to 30 mph

  • Great for repetition training

  • Angle adjustment

10 of The Best Pitching Machines for Baseball & Softball in 2020

Below are 10 of the best pitching machines which are guaranteed to improve your or your child’s performance when it comes to baseball and softball. There are numerous machines on the market, so it can be tough to narrow down your choices, so we’ve picked a range that covers all requirements.

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball CLICK FOR PRICE
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The JUGS Lite-Flite pitching baseball machine is lightweight at 35 pounds and throws dimpled baseballs. It can simulate speeds up to 85mph from 25 feet away. This machine can throw fastballs, curveballs, and sliders for a variety of training options. Additionally, a two-year warranty ensures that you will be using this machine worry-free for years to come.

The easy setup 360 swivel design allows you to train with fly balls and ground balls for versatility in your training. If you’re an athlete who needs to train anywhere, the rechargeable battery pack (sold separately) allows you to take pitching machines with you and train anywhere to be at the top of your game anywhere and anytime.

Pros

The JUGS name brand
2-year warranty
Swivel-design allows for 360-degree movement
Reasonably priced for a JUGS product

Cons

Does not throw real baseballs
Adjustments have been reported as sensitive

Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine

Best Overall
Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine CLICK FOR PRICE
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The Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine is designed with children in mind. With speeds up to 45mph, this pitching machine for kids is ideal for the young athlete or even larger athletes wanting to improve their defensive drills (like fly and ground balls).

This pitching machine for softball can take almost anything you can throw at it. From hard or fastpitch softballs, dimple balls, Wiffle balls, soccer balls, and even volleyballs. In addition, if you are looking for a portable option, look no further than this kids pitching machine. With no electrical cords needed and less than 25 pounds of weight, you are free to take this machine anywhere you, please.

Pros

No electrical cords needed and lightweight for portability.
Use any type of ball
Reasonably priced
Easy assembly

Cons

Cannot be used by yourself
Should not be operated by anyone under 14

HEATER SPORTS Slider Lite Curveball Baseball Pitching Machine

The Slider Lite-Ball Pitching Machine from Heater Sports is an excellent pitching machine for athletes. With the swivel adjustment, this automatic pitching machine holds 12 lite-balls and will throw inside and outside breaking balls, fastballs, and curveballs. The powerful A/C motor throws lite-balls every 9 seconds at variable speeds of up to 80mph. 

This is one of the best pitching machines for athletes who want to practice away from the team as it functions independently, so there’s no need for any help. The fully enclosed wheel ensures safety, while the tubular steel legs and the adjustable pitch height keep making the training possible at all heights and angles.

Pros

Adjustable Speed Control up to 60 mph and fully enclosed wheel 
Pivot head design pitches many styles
Automatic ball feeder pitches every 9 seconds

Cons

The wheel is made of plastic and foam which makes them less durable
Users report inconsistent pitches and the need for constant adjustments.

Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine

Premium Choice
Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine CLICK FOR PRICE
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If versatility is something you’re after, look no further than this professional pitching machine. The Louisville Slugger UPM 50 Black Flame Pitching Machine is the ultimate training tool for any baseball athlete. This lightweight, portable pitching machine throws regular baseballs, softballs, light flight, plastic, dimple, and restricted flight balls with increased accuracy.

In addition, a new interchangeable component allows for switching from throwing strikes to throwing longer and higher fly balls. The low profile and portable design combined with its lightweight make this the best pitching machines for on the go.

Pros

Low-profile with a portable design
Pitches many types of balls including baseballs
Equivalent speeds from 40 feet up to 75 mph

Cons

Some users report inaccurate factory assembly

Heater Base Hit Pitching Machine

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The Heater Base Hit Baseball Pitching Machine can pitch real baseballs at variable speeds of up to 45 mph. The 12-ball feeder automatically releases a ball every 10 seconds, perfect for the athlete who wants to train alone. In addition, it features a 6” enclosed wheel giving you consistent strikes every time and the adjustable pitch height gives you plenty of drill options.

The lightweight, rugged composition and heavy-duty steel tripod ensure as much durability as there is portability. A built in harness attaches to batting cage nets for convenience. 

Pros

Variable speed control
Can be used with real baseballs and softballs
AC power supply
Can fit onto a batting cage

Cons

Tripod can be unstable
No battery pack included

Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine

Great Value
Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine – Height Adjustable – Includes 6 Plastic Baseballs CLICK FOR PRICE
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The Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine from Franklin Sports is a serious training tool for younger athletes. This youth pitching machine features adjustable height and the versatility to train athletes of all sizes, perfect even as young athletes grow up.

In addition, this battery-powered automated machine can pitch a ball at seven to ten-second intervals making it as versatile as it is portable. The Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine has a capacity for 9 full-sized balls and is a good budget buy.

Pros

Good tool for younger, lower-level players
Great for casual outdoor Wiffleball
6 Balls included
Adjustable and budget-friendly

Cons

Speed and pitch profile cannot be adjusted
Inconsistency in where pitches land

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine by Sports Attack

Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine by Sports Attack CLICK FOR PRICE
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The Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine pitches major league 100+ MPH fastballs and right or left-handed breaking pitches. Making this professional pitching machine perfect for advanced athletes. The unique three-wheel design allows for a clear view of the ball from feed to throw to simulate a live pitcher.

With its pivoting head, this machine can throw any pitch you want to practice. From fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and split fingers, to ground balls, line drives, pop-ups, and 380 ft fly balls. This machine is also extremely portable and fits into any SUV or full-size car. It is recommended for more advanced athletes at the high school, college, or professional levels. It also comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Pros

Can throw a variety of pitches
Easy to set up and use
Durable
Available for right and left handed players

Cons

Suitable only for advanced players

Jugs BP1 Baseball/Softball Combo Pitching Machine

Jugs BP1 Baseball/Softball Combo Pitching Machine — Throws Baseballs or softballs up to 70 mph. CLICK FOR PRICE
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The Jugs BP1 Combo Pitching Machine is one of the best pitching machines on the market. With a pitching speed range from 15 to 70 mph, this machine is perfect for athletes of all ages.

It is compatible with softballs and baseballs and features a 360-degree swivel head that can launch fly balls, pop flies, and ground balls to ensure that you can train for any situation, not just hitting practice. With the optional battery pack (not included) you can take this machine anywhere and train without limits.

Pros

Great for any age
360-degree swivel head
Optional battery pack

Cons

Expensive when compared to other brands

Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine

Jugs Small-Ball Pitching Machine CLICK FOR PRICE
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This small ball pitching machine is the best baseball pitch machine for beginners and kids. Its simplicity and size make it the ideal portable training tool for younger athletes. With compatibility for softballs and baseballs, this pitching machine for kids is intended for sharpening hand-eye coordination.

Using manual and automatic feeder options, this pitching machine for kids can shoot ground balls, pop flies, fastballs, and overhand curves at speeds up to 75 mph. The simple-looking heavy steel construction ensures that this pitching machine for youth will be long-lasting.

Pros

Adjustable pitch heights
Lightweight and portable design
Speed control dial for convenience
Pre-assembled and easy to use

Cons

Not for advanced athletes
Only 3 balls included

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine CLICK FOR PRICE
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The SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pitching Machine Pro is the perfect pitching machine for young athletes. This pitching machine for the little league can give your youth hitter the practice they need to improve their game. Additionally, this pitcher machine can hold up to 25 special soft practice balls in a convenient shagger that can be used for quick pick-up after all the balls have been thrown.

With an adjustable arm, you can change pitching angles, speeds, and wait times between throws. The battery pack, 12 light balls, and lightweight construction ensure that your new little league pitching machine has the portability and availability to start training anywhere at any time.

Pros

Throws balls at up to 30 mph
Great for repetition training
Angle adjustment for pitching variability

Cons

Inconsistent ball pitching

How to Choose the Top Baseball Pitching Machine

When choosing the best pitching machine, it is important to take into account the different features of the pitching machines, how the machine operates, and aspects such as which types of balls it uses. Other key factors include things such as whether the machine is portable, how durable it is, whether it can fit onto your batting cage, and the power source of the machine. Using a good quality pitching machine can be as beneficial to your game as having the best baseball pants or the best baseball cleats for pitchers.

Take a Look At This DIY Softball Pitching Machine

Features

There are lots of options to pick from when choosing the best pitching machine, enough to confuse even those who aren’t new to baseball. Finding the ideal pitching machine is largely dependent on your needs and preferences. It is important to know what these are so you don’t wind up shelling out thousands of dollars when you don’t have to.

Pitching Machine Style

Some machines are fed balls manually, and others are automatically fed. There are also differences in what types of balls the machines can throw, some throw only one type, others throw many. In addition, some machines are designed for young athletes, older athletes, and even professional athletes. 

Arm Style

The two most popular designs are arm action machines and circular wheel machines. The arm action machine simulates the real-life delivery of a pitcher by swinging an arm much like a baseball pitcher in an overhand motion.

The circular wheel design uses one, two, or three horizontal or vertical wheels that spin like a tire. A ball flies towards the hitter after it is fed into the wheeled apparatus. Typically, three-wheel machines are more easily adjusted to throw a variety of pitches and they can be used for a wide range of other practices outside of hitting, making them some of the best baseball pitching machines.

Wheel Pitching

Wheel Pitching machines are typically more portable and offer a larger range of pitches. Three-wheeled machines have the most control and pitch variety of all the machines. They can throw the most style of pitches, but it comes at a cost. They are the heaviest and most expensive variety. These machines typically best serve older and more professional athletes, whilst a single wheel and two wheels offer different advantages.

Single Wheel

The single wheel variety is typically closer to arm-style machines in that they can only throw fastballs, however, they are usually lighter and cheaper than their counterparts. The single wheel machines are typically best served as pitching machines for little league or younger players.

Two Wheels

Most two-wheeled machines can throw fastballs and breaking balls at higher speeds and accuracy than their one-wheeled counterpart.

Swivel

A machine with a swivel head allows for turning on the horizontal plane a certain number of degrees. This movement allows for pitching withing a range of space instead of a fixed spot, which helps with fielding practice.

Vertical Pivot

In machines with vertical pivot, the head rocks front to back which changes the angle of the pitch. This also allows the machine to simulate fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups for defensive drills.

Feeder

A feeder holds many balls and feeds them into the machine one at a time. Feeders are typically sold as a separate item or as an add-on. Feeders allow for the use of the machines without additional human help, best for athletes who want to practice alone.

Power Source

Most pitching machines operate on 110vAC/1000 watts, which allows them to be plugged into a power source or generator. It is advised to check which type of generator is recommended by the manufacturer before purchasing one.

Check This DIY Baseball Pitching Machine

Type of Balls

Most machines typically require dimpled machine-safe balls. These last longer and are often safer to use in the pitching machine. Some of the newer machines allow for the use of actual baseballs, however, care must be taken when using actual balls, as these can sometimes cause additional wear and tear on the machine.

Portability

Most current machines are relatively portable, however, if you want maximum portability then there are a few things to keep in mind. Some machines are more lightweight than others, and some machines have special battery packs that are rechargeable and allow for use without an extension cord. The most portable options have folding legs or removable components.

Durability

With any investment in this site, you want to be sure that these machines will last for a long time. One of the best ways to check for quality is to check for any warranties your machine comes with, the longer the warranty, the more confidence the manufacturer has in their product.

Speed

Speed is a factor you should keep in mind if you want an optimal practice that simulates actual play. Distance is a very important factor in how much speed matters in your practice.

If you intend on setting up your pitching machine at a regulation distance, speed is an important factor to consider. If you intend to be much closer to the machine, speed is much less of a concern as the ball will get to you quicker and reaction times will be the same.

Types of Pitches

A machine that can throw a variety of pitches may be important if you are looking to hone your hitting skills against anything a pitcher can throw at you. However, if you are looking to just test reaction times, you may only need a cheaper machine that throws fastballs.

Baseball Pitching Machine Made of Wood

Skill Level

For obvious reasons, skill levels play a key role in choosing the best pitching machine for baseball. Whether it is for kids who have no experience and are fresh to the sport, or high school and college athletes, you’ll need to choose a machine that can produce pitches that are compatible with their skill level.

Beginner

For kids just starting out, these machines can be a worthy investment. A tossing machine is a great way to get them in the game whilst increasing their confidence and reducing any fear they might have. Tossing machines can pitch at speeds as low as 10 mph and are easy to carry around.

Little League Baseball

If pitching machines for the little league are what you’re after, there are some things to consider. Adjustability, durability, portability, and safety indoors are all important for the young athlete just starting out.

Remember to use only RIF (Reduced Injury Factor) balls such as Wiffle or dimpled balls. RIF balls have a maximum speed of around 60 mph, which is aimed at reducing the possibility of being injured.

High School/College/Semi-Pro/Pro

The best pitching machine for serious athletes is one that can pitch a variety of balls at different speeds. Two and three-wheeled machines will pitch fastballs, sliders, curveballs, and even knuckleballs at speeds from 80-90 MPH and above. The machines are ideal for indoor and outdoor training, as well as fielding practice.

How To Use a Pitching Machine

Sport

A final point that is extremely important is to determine which sport you require a pitching machine for. There are differences in design that optimize the performance of the machine in line with the training that needs to be done for each type of sport, so keep this in mind when shopping around for the best pitching machine.

Baseball

A baseball pitching machine is designed to pitch baseballs, whether using real baseballs or dimpled machine safe balls. It’s important to remember that real baseballs can shorten the lifespan of a baseball pitching machine.

Softball

Pitching machines for softball are designed to enhance the skills of the player but can only be used for softball pitching, so if you or your child decide to take up baseball instead, you’ll be required to purchase a new pitching machine as the softball machine won’t pitch baseballs.

Combo

Combo machines are perfect for those who want a machine that pitches for baseball and softball. For young players, this might be a good option as they find their feet and try their skills at both sports.

FAQs

Do pitching machines help your hitting?

Absolutely. These machines allow you to work with a predictable pitch so you can work on timing, rhythm, and different phases of your swing.

What pitching machine does MLB use?

The M3 Offensive Pitching Machine is built to train professional-level ballplayers and is the official machine of Major League Baseball. The three-wheel design allows for hitters to have complete visibility of the ball and can throw at 105 mph for accurate simulation of Major League speed fastballs.

Can you use regular baseballs in a pitching machine?

Real baseballs can be used in these machines, however, it is typically not advisable to use them. They can cause undue wear and tear on the pitching machine. Machine safe balls can be used instead and are just as effective.

How fast does a pitching machine throw?

Depending on the machine, the speed can range on anything from 30 mph to 100 mph. The difference in speed is often designed to accommodate youth players as well as adults.

Final Thoughts

Pitching machines for youth and adult athletes are a fantastic way to improve your baseball and softball skills. Not only do they allow you to practice as well as learn new skills, they are an enjoyable addition to your training routine which can be used for hours on end.

One of the best aspects of using a pitching machine is that you can train alone, without the need for a teammate. Alongside our guide on buying the best batting tee, we hope the recommendations above makes it easier for you to know what to look for in the best pitching machines!