If you are looking for the best pitching machines for sale (for both baseball and softball), I would like to share my top picks with you. Additionally, this article will show you what to look for when picking the perfect one and all other considerations you should take.
A Pitching Machine Saves Young Arms (And The Arms Of Coaches And Parents)
I was the main pitcher on my JV baseball team. We weren’t the best team and we were really short on pitchers, so when I pitched I went the whole game. To make it worst, if we had a game the next day I would have to play center field or short stop.
Something weird happened half way through the season because of this; I couldn’t throw hard anymore. My fastball lost 10 MPH and no matter how hard I tried to throw it, it came out slow. As a 15 year old I was pretty scared and it almost made me quit the sport for good.
People are starting to realize how much strain pitching puts on the arms of young players and more and more preventative measure are being put in place to protect them. Most pitching coaches urge against throwing a curve ball until high school or college, little league players have pitch limits and even MLB pitchers are paying close attention to their pitch totals. Still, Tommy John surgery has become almost like a right of passage for pitchers.
A pitching machine is a great tool to lessen the strain of pitching in practice. There were many times I had to throw batting practice to my teammates and those pitches add up. In a spring season of baseball I could easily throw a thousand pitches during practice; that’s 10 games worth!
This applies to coaches and parents too. Depending on age and skill level, your child or player can regularly see up to 90 MPH fastballs in high school. Is that something you can really simulate when tossing bp? And even if you can throw hard, is that something you think your arm can take for a long time? Parents and Coaches with good intentions get hurt unnecessarily all the time trying to help out.
A pitching machine is the best way to practice against live pitching without putting young pitchers and yourself in danger of a costly and time consuming arm injury. Plus it will improve your hitting and timing.
How To Pick The Perfect Pitching Machine
Pitching machines range from simple and inexpensive to more complex and expensive. I’m sure you can guess the harder the machine pitches the more it’s going to cost. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing yours:
- Make sure it’s skill level appropriate
- Choose a durable and high quality model
- Consider personal preferences (how portable it is, whether it’s manual or needs a power outlet, etc.)
When I say skill level appropriate, I basically mean how fast do you need the machine to throw and whether or not you or your child are going to be facing curve balls and sliders. If you’re purchasing for a little leaguer, or tee baller, it may not be necessary to have a machine that throws 85 MPH. Some pitching machines only go up to 35/40 MPH while others throw very, very fast.
You want to pick a pitching machine that is durable and will last a few years. If you plan on getting a couple seasons out of it, you are going to want a high quality and name brand machine. If you are buying for your own child and are expecting the machine to last a few years, buy one that will be useful now and in a few years. For example, your child may be facing 50 MPH pitches now but in a few years they’ll be facing 75 MPH. Choose one that can do both.
Lastly, there’s a bunch of little things to consider depending on your situation. Do you need something that’s easily transportable? Do you plan on packing it away in your trunk when you’re done? Do you have a place to plug it in if it requires electricity? Do you prefer a battery operated one? A manual one? One that pitches both baseballs and softballs? These are all things that you need to think about.
Every need will be met with at least one of the following machines. Let’s get into them now.
Mound Yeti Two Wheel Pitching Machine: My Number One Pick
Company: Mound Yeti
Recommended age: All
This is my favorite pitching machine for a few reasons. First off, it throws as low as 30 MPH and as high as 100+ MPH (that’ll keep your catcher on their toes!), making it perfect for all ages and skill levels. Also, it can easily toss curve balls, sliders and knuckle balls to both lefties and righties. It can:
- Do pop ups and grounders because of its movable head
- Comes with transporting wheels
- Easily be switched from baseball to softball
Many pitching machines require an additional cost to convert to softball but that’s not the case with Mound Yeti; the softball conversion kit is included for free. It’s extremely easy to use and will service you and your team for many years.
JUGS Lite-Flite Machine Baseball And Softball
Recommended age: 5 and up
The Jugs Lite-Flite is one of the most versatile pitching machines on earth. This machine might not be the best for high schoolers but it can simulate up to 85 miles if set up close enough. From regular pitching distance it can go anywhere from 30 to 50 MPH. It can throw sliders and curve balls to both righties and lefties. Additionally it features:
- 1 year warranty
- AC power source
- Dial to change speeds
- and weighs 35 pounds
It can be rotated 360 degrees and can be used for popups and grounders. In order to use for softball you’ll need to purchase an additional piece to do so. This is the perfect pitching machine for your backyard or if you plan on transporting it a lot. It’s light weight and not overly bulky.
It does only throw Lite-Flite baseballs/softballs or JUGS Bulldog baseballs/softballs. The reviews on Amazon are really positive too. Many people rave about it and believe it’s the best and safest machine for the money.
BSN Bulldog Baseball/Softball Pitching Machine
Recommended age: All
This Bulldog pitching machine is another great product. It pitches a little faster than the Jugs Lite-Flite, so it’s better for older players. It goes between 30 to 60 MPH from regular pitching distances and can simulate faster if moved closer. Also this machine:
- Throws both baseball and softballs. You can use practice balls too
- Has a durable urethane wheel to eliminate air pressure issues
- Heavy duty legs that can be switched between baseball and softball
The reviews are excellent too. Many people on Amazon believe this is a must own for all parents to aid in their child’s baseball development. It’s not the lightest machine on the list at 48 pounds but can still be transported fairly easily.
First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine
Company: First Pitch
Recommended Age: 15 and under
The First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine is perfect for any baseball player and for backyard set ups. It can pitch up to 70 miles and is very durable. Among the many high reviews on Amazon, 1 coach claims he’s had one for 3 years and uses it for both his 16 and under team and 12 and under team.
Other great features include:
- Easy to transport and reasonably light weight (50 pounds)
- Can be used for pop ups
- 5 year warranty
- Adjustable legs
- No tools required
It needs an electrical outlet to run or you can use a small generator. A few people recommend a 1000W generator to run it smoothly.
JUGS Junior Baseball Pitching Machine
Recommended ages: 15 and under
This is the second JUGS pitching machine on the list and for good reason; they are a really great baseball company. This pitching machine is the next level up and reaches speeds of up to 60 MPH from normal pitching ranges. If you move it in closer you can simulate faster speeds. Additionally, it’s:
- Reasonably lightweight (75 pounds) and easily transportable
- 5 year warranty
- Digital speed read out
- 360 degree turning ability for popups and ground balls
It needs an electrical outlet or can be run on a 1000W generator. Also, it’s very stable and won’t move around when pitching.
Louisville Slugger UPM Blue Flame Pitching Machine
Company: Louisville Slugger
Recommended Ages: 13 and under
Louisville is a huge baseball company and the UPM Blue Flame is an exceptional manual pitching machine. It doesn’t require any electrical current or battery. All you do is load the ball, pull the lever and it pitches. It can throw a hardball or softball up to 45 MPH and can hurl a soft practice ball 60 MPH; that’s surprisingly fast for a manual pitching machine. Also, it’s:
- Extremely light weight (25 pounds) and very portable
- Throws any type of ball
- Accurate and level pitches
- Official pitching machine of both the Babe Ruth League and Pony Baseball and Softball
Because there are no motors or wires, you can expect to get a lot of use and time from this simple device.
Sports Attack Junior Hack Baseball Pitching Machine
Company: Sports Attack
Recommended ages: All
This product from Sports Attack was almost my top choice but the price kept me from doing that. If you can afford it I say go for it, if not the other machines on this list will work. The reason I love this pitching machine so much is how versatile it is. It throws up to 70 MPH from a pitching mound and can hurl sliders, curve balls and knuckle balls to both righties and lefties. Also this machine:
- Is good for 250+ foot pop ups, line drives and grounders
- Portable and will fit into any compact car
- 5 year warranty
This is perfect if you have a younger child because it will help them for many years and will be useful as their skills develop.
Other Great Picks
The pitching machines I’ve mentioned so far are all well known and well reviewed but aren’t the only ones you should consider. Here’s a list of a few more I like at different prices:
Did You Find What You Were Looking For?
No matter what your needs are, there’s a pitching machine on this list for you. If you are a parent or coach of little leaguers there are manual pitching machines that throw slow pitches and if you are an elite high school player or college player, there are pitching machines that throw a 100+ MPH.
I always recommend purchasing from Amazon because they have the widest selection of high quality pitching machines and offer free shipping on products over $50. If you are interested in browsing their selection, click below:
If you have any questions about my recommendations, comment below and I’ll make sure to answer as fast as possible. If you want your friends and family to see, share on social media.
Are you ready to take your game to the next level?