5 Things To Consider When Buying a Pitching Machine - Buyer's Guide

The Top 5 Factors to Take Into Consideration When Buying a Pitching Machine - A Buyer's Guide

When looking to purchase a pitching machine, there are many factors to consider before making your buying decision. Factors like price point, pitching machine style, age and skill level, portability and warranty will all play a role in the pitching machine you see fit for you, your kids or your team.

Because there are so many different types, brands and styles of pitching machines available, it is important to understand these differences before making your buying decision.

A pitching machine should be an investment that is made once in your lifetime, and with the proper information, this can be accomplished. 

Let's take a look and see what you need to learn before buying your first pitching machine! 

1. Assessing Pitching Machine Value and Price Point 

The most expensive pitching machine is not necessarily the best pitching machine for you. Although high price points often do equate to better quality and more sophisticated technology, age and budget should be considered.

For example, on of our most expensive and popular pitching machines is the Hack Attack 3 wheel machine from Sports Attack. This pitching machine retails for $3,299 and is truly among the best valued pitching machines of its class.

But, if you’re a parent or a coach of a Tee Ball or 12U team, you certainly will not want to be throwing 100 mph fastballs or left-handed curve balls to your kids.

When assessing the value of a pitching machine, you should think about the overall quality, longevity, warranty, and of course, price point.

Of course, everyone needs different calibers of pitching machines and different levels of technology, so there is not a definitive answer as to which machines offer the best value. So instead, we comprised a short list of the top 5 best value pitching machines.

In this list below we chose machines for all different age and skill levels and took into consideration price point, overall quality, and warranty.

Best Value Pitching Machines

    • Price: $2,199
    • Overall quality ranking: 9/10
    • Age level: One of our best pitching machines for high school, this machines works great for players ages 16 and all the way up to the MLB!
    • Warranty: 2-year manufacturer’s warranty on throwing wheels and motor and 5-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects and workmanship
    • Price: $1,499
    • Overall quality ranking: 9/10
    • Age level: 12 and up
    • Warranty: 5-year manufacturer's warranty

    3. Heater Sports Deuce 75 mph 2 Wheel Pitching Machine

    • Price: $799.99
    • Overall quality ranking: 7/10
    • Age level: 8 years and up
    • Warranty: 1-year manufacturer's warranty 

    4. Heater Sports Real Baseball Machine with Ball Feeder

    • Price: $449.99
    • Overall quality ranking: 7/10
    • Age level: One of our best little league pitching machines, this machine works great for players ages 8 and up.
    • Warranty: 1-year manufacturer's warranty


    5. Heater Sports Jr. Real Baseball Machine

    • Price: $299.99
    • Overall quality ranking: 7/10
    • Age level: All ages
    • Warranty: 1-year manufacturer's warranty

      The machines listed above have consistently been among our best selling pitching machines year after year with top customer reviews for each.


      If the pitching machine you are considering purchasing is not listed above, don’t worry! Just make sure to consider the factors we talked about earlier. If all the boxes are checked, you’ll be fine!

      2. Pitching Machine Style - Arm Style vs. Wheel Pitching Machines


      Another important concept to understand when purchasing a pitching machine is understanding the difference between wheel and arm style machines. We get this question all the time and we want to make sure the differences are clear to you.

      If you’ve been to a batting cage before, there's a good chance you were hitting balls thrown from an arm style Iron Mike pitching machine. The Iron Mikes are the best arm style pitching machines out, and they are great for what they are designed for.

      Arm style pitching machines are known for throwing consistent fastballs right down the line and cannot throw any other variation of pitches, like breaking balls. 

      However, most arm style machines come with large hoppers that can hold hundreds of baseballs.

      With that being said, if you're just looking to work on your swing, arm style pitching machines are the perfect machine for you. Set yourself up with an Iron Mike MP-6 and hit up to 600 baseballs in one session at speeds from 25-80 MPH.

      Let’s do the math, if 600 baseballs are being pitched to you at intervals of 10 seconds, that’s 100 minutes of consistent BP!

      Because of this, arm style pitching machines are great for batting cages or team practice. You can even set one up in your backyard if you don't plan on moving it around very often.

      However, the downside of arm style pitching machines is that they are heavy, unportable, and usually very expensive.


      3. One, Two, and Three Wheel Pitching Machines and Skill Levels


      The biggest difference between arm pitching machines and wheel pitching machines is that wheel pitching machines are portable and offer a wider variety of pitches.

      However, there are different types of wheel pitching machines. There are one wheel, 2 wheel and 3 wheel pitching machines, each offering their own level of pitch dynamics for different levels of skill.

      Let's see what each on has to offer! 


      One wheel pitching machines

      One wheel pitching machines are similar to arm style pitching machines in that they are both can only throw fastballs. With only one wheel moving the ball, you can’t get much movement on the ball.

      However, most quality one wheel pitching machines are much more inexpensive, lighter and more portable than arm style pitching machines. For under $1,000 you can get a high quality one wheel pitching machine that will last you for many seasons. 

      Age level for one wheel pitching machines: One wheel pitching machines are designed for youth players, ranging from ages 6 and up. Some of our one wheel machines offer more power and are even suitable for players in high school!


      Two and 3 Wheel Pitching Machines


      With a 2 wheel pitching machine, you begin to gain more control and power over the pitches your machine throws.

      The basic concept of a 2 or 3 wheel pitching machine is that the pitching machine wheels spin independently of on another at different speeds which creates spin on the ball. 

      Most 2 wheel pitching machines can throw fastballs, and breaking balls at speeds in the 90's. 2 wheel pitching machines are also more accurate and more consistent than 1 wheel pitching machines. 

      Age level for 2 wheel pitching machines: 2 wheel pitching machines can be used for kids as young as 8 years old, and as old as 18 and up, depending on the power of the machine. Just be careful to slow down the pitch speed for younger children! 

      Moreover, an additional pitching machine wheel and stronger motors equals more power, which equates to faster and more dynamic pitches. This is important for older players at a higher skill level.

      Similar to a 2 wheel pitching machine, a 3 wheel pitching machine can throw a wider variety of pitches at greater speeds and with higher accuracy.

      Most 3 wheel pitching machines have a separate motor and control knob for each pitching machine wheel. This means that each pitching machine wheel spins independently of the others, and the operator is in control of the speed of each wheel.

      With control over each pitching machine wheel, you can virtually throw any pitch, including fastballs, right and left handed breaking balls, split fingers, knuckle balls, and more. 

      3 wheel pitching machines are the most accurate pitching machines and have the biggest break in the breaking balls they throw.

      However, 3 wheel pitching machines are more expensive, heavier and larger. All of our 3 wheel machines come with transport wheels, so portability is actually not an issue, but higher price point may pose an issue for some buyers.

      Now that we know the pros and cons of each style of machine, we can intelligently weigh our options and figure out which style of pitching machine is best for our kids or team!


      Pitching Machine Wheel Type Recap:


      Arm style pitching machine pros: Throw consistent strikes, have a large ball feeder capacity (up to 600 baseballs!) and can really help players improve swing.


      Arm style pitching machine cons: Large, expensive, heavy, not portable, only throw fastballs (cannot throw breaking balls).


      One wheel pitching machine pros: Lightweight and portable, great value for the money, inexpensive, and great for youth players.


      One wheel pitching machine cons: Cannot throw breaking balls and less powerful than 2 wheel machines.


      2 and 3 wheel pitching machine pros: Portable, great value, can throw all kinds of pitches including breaking balls as well as infield and outfield balls for drills.


      2 and 3 wheel pitching machine cons: Expensive.


      By explaining the pros and  cons of each pitching machine style, we were also able to explain how to determine the right pitching machine for your age and skill level, with price point taken into consideration.


      But this isn’t the be all end all of determining the right pitching machine for you. Let's read on and see what else we need to understand before making our first purchase! 


      4. Which Pitching Machines are Portable? And Which are Not?


      We’ll keep this section short, as there isn’t too much to talk about actually…

      The truth is, the majority of all pitching machines on the market nowadays are portable. However, some machines are more portable than others.


      For example, one of our best sellers for kids, the Heater Sports Jr. Real baseball machine, weighs under 40 lbs and features folding legs that can be broken down for portability and storage. It doesn’t get much easier than that!


      Or the Hack Attack 3 wheel pitching machine, that weighs 160 lbs but comes equipped with transport wheels. Simply put the machine on its transport wheels, and move it on and off the field with ease!


      Overall, most pitching machines are either light enough to move on your own, come with transport wheels or feature a transport kit that can be purchased as an accessory.

      The only pitching machines that are not portable are the Iron Mikes, that can weigh up to 600 lbs!


      5. Pitching Machines with the Best Warranties


      Another important factor to consider when researching your next pitching machine is the warranty. You want to make sure your newly purchased investment is covered. 

      Not all pitching machines are created equally, and neither are the warranties that back them.

      We made a list of the pitching machines brands we carry that feature some of the best warranties on the market.


      1. Bata baseball- Bata pitching machines are made in the USA and feature a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. A warranty like that is unheard of in the pitching machine industry. Doesn’t get much better than that!
      2. Sports Attack- Sports Attack manufacturers the Hack Attack, Jr. Hack Attack and the Blast Attack, and do a great job at it. All of the Sports Attack pitching machines made in the USA and are backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects and workmanship. In the pitching machine industry, a 5 year warranty is definitely above average.
      3. Atec- A sister company of Wilson, Atec is backed by its world famous brand name as well as a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty. With a guarantee like that, you have nothing to worry about. 
      4. Spinball and Rawlings- Spinball and Rawlings are both manufactured by the same company under Rawlings, right here in the USA. Everyone loves Rawlings, so trusting them is no issue. Oh, and did we mention their machines are backed by a 5-year warranty as well? That’s a no brainer!
      5. First Pitch- A top pitching machine manufacturer in the youth and little league market, First Pitch has been engineering and manufacturing quality youth pitching machines for years now. Backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty, it is no wonder why kids and coaches love them!

      In conclusion, anything over a 2 year warranty for a pitching machine is sufficient. Most of these pitching machines are made in the USA anyway and are backed by good reputations - If they weren’t, we wouldn’t carry them in our store!


      Conclusion


      A pitching machine is a necessary and expensive piece of training equipment that need only be purchased once. So, before making your next purchase, be sure to take into consideration your budget, skill and age level, preferred machine style, portability and warranty.

      For more information on picking the right pitching machine, check out this in depth article from the Dugout Debate on best budget pitching machines.

      With proper research and information, your new baseball training investment will yield the results you're looking for and will last you many seasons to come!

      If you would like more information and product recommendations, feel free to check out our list of the top 10 pitching machines of 2019.

      If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends and family, and be sure to leave us feedback in the comments section below.

      If you have any questions about picking the right pitching machine or about this article, feel free to contact us here or give us a call at (888) 466-0009!


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