So you want to play more pickleball but you don’t have a partner or an opponent? You want to get better at the game but it’s not exactly easy to practice alone, is it? Well, you may want to consider getting yourself a pickleball machine. And in this piece below we are going to extensively look at the various factors to consider and the pickleball machine brands to buy.
The latest pickleball machines are technologically smart, light, offer a variety of settings, are well priced and offer a great game.
They can’t talk back at you, and they may not share a cup of tea with you after the game, but they’ll certainly give you all the practice you need.
In our previous piece on playing and practicing pickleball alone, we had made a mention of these machines (among other things). Here, we drill deeper into how these pickleball robots work.
How Does a Pickleball Machine Help Practice Alone?
Practice makes perfect with any sport, and the more you play the better you get. We all know that we can’t always find a friend to practice with, and playing pickleball, especially at times of a pandemic like the coronavirus, can become that much tougher.
This is when machines come in handy, and in particular, pickleball machines.
A pickleball machine simulates your opponent, or coach, and can help you practice and master the various shots you need for the game.
The beauty of a pickleball machine is that you can put it on various settings, changing speed, spin and direction of the ball, so it really is like playing against an opponent.
You can practice one particular shot, or do drills, work on your lobs, volleys, dinks and forehand and backhand swings.
Pickleball Machines are Easy to Maneuver
Pickleball machines, and there are a variety of them, are light to carry and easy to move around.
You can keep them at home, or at a club, and of course the maneuverability does depend on which type of machine you get, or which brand. There are quite a few pickleball machines on the market and you do need to do your research before buying one.
We are of course here to help you make decisions with your pickleball machine purchase. First off, we are going to focus on the Lobster Pickleball Machines, a popular brand amongst pickleball professionals, players, coaches, clubs and colleges.
The Lobster Pickle Machine
As mentioned earlier, the Lobster Pickle is one of the more popular brands of pickleball machines.
Players, and coaches, like it because it is light, portable, quiet, carries a lot of balls, is long lasting and has all the settings needed. It needs a fair investment as it is not the cheapest pickleball machine on the market, but it is one of the best.
What People Like About the Lobster Pickle
- It weights 35 pounds and is easy to carry, maneuver and store.
- It is durable and will last for a long time.
- The machine is quiet.
- It is a perfect drill machine for all levels of pickleball players.
- The settings are excellent for the various types of spin.
- Speeds are varied, making it excellent for beginners and / or professionals.
- The angles are easy to change.
- You can use it indoors and outdoors, day and night.
Lobster Pickle Specifications
- The lobster pickle machine weighs 35 pounds
- The speed can be set between 10 and 60 miles per hour.
- Spin can be set at top spin or back / under spin.
- The setting feed rate of balls is between 2 to 12 seconds per ball.
- The lobster pickle holds 135 balls at a time, indoor or outdoor.
- Elevation can be changed manually, up to 50 degrees.
- The machine is on 8 inch wheels.
The machine is powered by battery and will last easily on the court for up to 4 hours. It comes with a charger and you can buy an additional stronger charger, as well as a remote.
Pickleball Machine Oscillation
The Lobster Pickle moves back and forth rhythmically, meaning it will challenge its ‘opponent’ and have the player moving around the pickleball court just enough to keep them on their toes.
The manual elevation or oscillation switch means players can practice all their shots, dinks, lobs, volleys and groundstrokes too, in a varied way, almost like playing a real pickleball game.
Lobster Pickle Portability
Portability is often an issue with a sports machine, but the Lobster Pickle pickleball machine has no issue with weight.
You can carry it / pull it, as if you were pulling a suitcase. It is on solid built-in 8 inch wheels, so it’s easy to get down ramps, up stairs, through doorways and over humps or bumps. You can lug it up and down steps, easily, and without damage.
Here’s a video from Pickleball Central, with a great review of The Pickle. It shows you exactly what The Lobster Pickle does, how to work it, and how beneficial it is to players.
Is There Anything People Don’t Like about the Pickle Lobster Machine?
We have set out what people think below, but the short answer is no. The price may be a little on the higher side compared to some machines, but that is because it is an excellent machine and extremely durable.
Some of the reviews mention the batteries not being the strongest, which is why we recommend you buy the stronger charger with it, looking at the Lobster Pickle 2.
In general, almost everyone seems to find the Lobster Pickle easy to use. The controls and buttons are simple and the technology is not complicated at all.
There has been the odd review about the hopper being bulky, but bear in mind this pickleball machine holds more balls than other machines, which is what coaches and professionals want. Probably a tad on the bulkier side but we don’t see it as a major problem.
Lobster as a Brand for Pickleball Machines
Lobster is a well known brand, having specialized in tennis ball machines for the last fifty years.
Their pickleball machines include The Lobster and The Lobster Two. The Lobster Two is everything we mentioned above, but with four different power options and a multi-function remote.
Basically Lobster have taken the Lobster Pickle and given it a whole lot of extra firing power. Players can use the Lobster Pickle Two while it is being charged, or they can plug it in and use it electrically.
This version, Lobster Pickle Two Ball Machine is 8 pounds lighter than the standard model, the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine.
With the Lobster Pickle Two Ball machine, the battery comes out so you can charge it inside, while leaving the machine in the club, at home, or on the pickleball court.
This machine may appeal to you, and as we say it has all of the features of the Lobster Pickle, and you can choose four different battery/electrical options:
- An internal battery (play up to four hours longer)
- The external battery (leave the machine outside while you charge the batter inside)
- An electrical version (plug in and play)
- An internal battery and electric version (gives you the choice, battery or plugged in)
Here’s a video, thanks Pickleball Central, of the Lobster Pickle Two, which does look amazing. Take note of how you can use it with Apple products too!
The video makes mention of some of the accessories you can get with the Lobster Pickle Machines. Here is a quick guideline:
- Lobster Elite Remote Control. It can be bought at any time without the worry of a later installation issue.
- Lobster Elite 10 Remote Control. Try buying this at the time of purchase for easier installation.
- Lobster Elite 10 Remote Control for Apple. Try buying this at the time of purchase for easier installation.
- Lobster Storage Cover. It can be bought at any time without the worry of a later installation issue.
- Lobster 3-AMP Premium Charger. It can be bought at any time without the worry of a later installation issue.
- Lobster External A/C Power Supply. It can be bought at any time without the worry of a later installation issue.
- Lobster External Battery Pack. It can be bought at any time without the worry of a later installation issue.
Which Lobster Pickle Ball Machine Should You Choose?
This depends on your budget, and it also depends on what you are using the machine for.
If you are going to be using it alone, just you on the pickleball court, you could do with the original Lobster Pickle Ball machine quite easily. It’s easy to use, easy to maneuver and you are unlikely to be on the court, alone, for hours and hours with the machine.
The battery in the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine may not bother you.
If however you have a bit of an extra budget, it might make sense to choose the Lobster Pickle Ball Two Machine, especially the electric one. All you need is a plug point and don’t have to worry about charging. It is also the lighter model.
The machine you choose depends entirely on you, how often you are going to use it, and how important battery life is. As a coach, or a professional, you are more likely to choose the Lobster Pickle Two Ball Machine, solely because you can plug it in and stay on the court all day if you choose.
What are the Other Pickleball Machine Brands?
You will find quite a few different pickleball brands on the market. Here’s a list of some of the other makes of pickleball machines.
- Simon Pickleball Machines
- Tutor Pickleball Machines
- Franklin Pickleball Machines
- Tourna Pickleball Machines
- Spinshot Pickleball Machines
We will tackle each of these machines in greater detail in another piece but these are not the only ones. You can buy a pickleball machine from the suppliers directly, from a pickleball specialist shop, or online.
Online is fine, most places deliver and all seem to have warranties. It might be hard for you to make a choice, which is why it is so important to read the reviews!
Lobster Pickle Machine Reviews
We have spent a lot of time going over various pickleball machine reviews and learning what people have to say about the different brands.
In general, the reviews for the Lobster pickleball ball machines are 5/5. Players seem to love the light weight of the Lobster pickleball ball machines, as well as the various settings for spin, speed and oscillation.
There are a lot of compliments about the ease of the Lobster Pickleball ball machines and many compliments about the battery accessories, the external battery packs and the premium chargers.
There are some negative reviews about customer service, but that is not about the machine, that is about the shop from where the machine was bought! You can do your research and buy from an online sports store, retailer or wholesaler that has a good reputation.
There are some negative reviews about the battery life, but this is why the battery charging accessories are so important, or the Lobster pickle Two Ball Machine.
Final Word on Pickleball Machines
What we do notice from the online reviews is that people who are buying the Lobster Pickle Ball Machines are not just professional players or coaches; lots of new or beginner players seem to be buying these ball throwing machines too.
Some people use the machines once a day, sometimes once a week. Special mention is made of the spin, oscillation, speed and easy portability.
When you read reviews, you should remember that there are never going to be 100% good reviews, so read the good and the bad.
Compare brands, compare prices, and compare durability, weight, and very importantly, the settings.
The reason you are using a pickleball ball machine is so that you can improve all your shots, which means you do want a variety of settings, spins and speeds.
Battery life, or going electric, is the choice you get to make. Do your research and if you want to improve your pickleball game, or making your life easier as a coach, order a pickleball ball machine today.