Wilson Tennis Ball Machine Review
The Wilson portable tennis ball machine has a 2-line feature where two tennis players can practice at the same time. No other tennis ball machine offers this feature at such a low price point. It's also extremely portable and battery operated making it easy to transport.
Editors Overall Rating
Detailed Review of the Wilson Portable Tennis Ball Machine
The Wilson portable tennis ball machine is designed and manufactured by Sports Tutor, which makes many of the world’s most popular tennis ball machines. Sports Tutor produces six tennis ball machine models, the Tennis Twist, the Tennis Tutor Prolite, the Tennis Tutor ball machine, the Wilson ball machine, the Tennis Tower ball machine, and the Shotmaker. You can read more about all of the Sports Tutor tennis ball machine models in the Sports Tutor section of this website.
The Wilson portable ball machine comes in only one model with optional upgrades. You can add a remote control for a couple hundred dollars and a 2-line feature for a couple hundred dollars as well. The remote is key chain sized, which is very convenient, and lets you control start and stop of the ball feed as well as oscillation.
The 2-line feature automatically fires one ball to the forehand side of the court and then another ball to the backhand side. This feature allows two players to practice with the same machine at the same time or lets one player practice alternating forehand and backhand shots. The 2-line feature is convenient because it allows it closely simulate a tennis match.
In this review, we look at the features offered by the Wilson portable tennis ball machine and how they compare to the other tennis ball machines on the market. We then analyze the Wilson portable ball machine based on overall customer satisfaction, ratings, reviews, and positive and negative consumer comments. We also offer our own rating and recommendation on whether to purchase the Wilson ball machine.
Best Features of the Wilson Portable Tennis Ball Machine
The Wilson ball machine is battery powered, with a standard battery life of 3-4 hours. There is an optional external battery pack, an optional smart charger upgrade, and a smart fast charger. You can also get the Wilson portable ball machine with AC electric power if you prefer to plug the machine in. These costs are all in line with other ball machine power related extras we’ve seen on the market.
This is a key feature when analyzing tennis ball machines and one of the major factors affecting the cost. The Wilson ball machine offers random horizontal and side to side oscillation. It does not offer vertical oscillation, which means the machine does not automatically fireballs at multiple depth settings, close to the net, and in the backcourt. You have to go over and manually adjust the machine to get different depths.
Our preference for a ball machine is one that offers all three types of oscillation, random, horizontal, and vertical. We feel that it is essential for variety in shot practice, and the best way to simulate an actual live opponent. So, that is a negative for the Wilson portable tennis ball machine, however, the 2-line function is a big plus. Especially given the low price point for this tennis ball machine.
Extremely Compact Design
The Wilson portable ball machine measures (Length x Width x Height) 22 x 14 x 20 inches (.56 x .36 x .51m), making it one of the most compact tennis ball machines we’ve seen.
Other Features of the Wilson Tennis Ball Machine
Spin control – The Wilson portable ball machine offers a dial in the control panel that lets you control the degree of top spin and backspin.
Elevation control – You have multiple settings to adjust for the angle that the ball is fired from the machine.
Weight – The Wilson ball machine weighs 38lbs (17.24kg), which makes it one of the lightest ball machines we’ve seen with its level of features. The ball machines we’ve reviewed on this site range in weight from 11 lbs (5kg) for a very, very basic ball machine to 90lbs (40.82kg) for a heavy duty commercial type model. You should be able to lift and move 38lbs easily in and out of your car and around the court using its wheels. This makes the Wilson tennis ball machine one of the most portable on the market.
Speed Range – The Wilson ball machine fires tennis balls between 10-75 mph (16.10-120.70 kph). The ball machines we have reviewed range in speed from 10 mph to 95 mph (152.89 kph), so the Wilson portable ball machine falls within the optimal range for speed, however a bit slower on the high end. Children and beginners can easily practice with balls at a speed of 10 mph. Most advanced players will feel challenged by balls coming at 75 mph, however many expert and professional level players may need a machine that fires balls at speeds over 80 mph. We would still recommend this tennis ball machine for all beginner to advanced players.
Ball Capacity – The Wilson portable ball machine hold 110 tennis balls. Ball capacity on machines we’ve reviewed on this site typically average 150, with economy tennis ball machines holding 50 balls and some other machines holding up to 300 balls. At 110 balls, the capacity on the Wilson ball machine is the lowest of all of the ball machines we’ve seen in its price range. What this amounts to is this. If you have the ball feed rate set at an average pace of 1 ball fired every 6 seconds, you’ll have to refill a 110 capacity ball machine about 5.5 times during an hour workout. Moving up to a 150 capacity ball machine and using the same feed rate, you’d only have to refill the machine 4 times. We definitely recommend a roller tennis ball hopper if you’re buying this tennis ball machine.
Feed Rate – This is how fast the balls are fired out of the Wilson machine. The Wilson ball machine fires at a rate ranging from 1.5-10 balls per second. The fastest machine we’ve seen fires at a rate of a ball every 1.5 seconds, and the slowest fires at a rate of a ball every 12 seconds. So, 1.5-10 seconds is a good range. This is a standard feature for this price range.
Warranty – The Wilson portable ball machine comes with a one year warranty on parts and service. Most tennis ball machine brands offer a 2-year warranty, which is a term we feel more comfortable with. We have found only one deluxe model that offers a 3-year warranty, and that model is over $3,500.
Wilson Tennis Ball Machine vs. Lobster Elite
Of the ball machines we’ve reviewed on this site, the Lobster Elite tennis ball machine Model 2 offers all 3 types of oscillation, but costs more than the Wilson machine. However, the Lobster Elite 2 does not offer the 2-line function.
To get the 2-line feature, you need to upgrade to the Lobster Elite 3, which is around 400 dollars more than the Wilson. In our opinion, if you plan on having two people use the machine at once you definitely should have the two-line feature, which makes the Wilson tennis ball machine the best option in its class. But, if it’s going to be just you using the machine most of the time, then the Lobster Elite 2 could be better so that you can get all 3 oscillation types (vertical, horizontal, and random).
Wilson Tennis Ball Machine Consumer Reviews
Average Score (4.8 out of 5)
|Easy to use||Hard to move||Intermediate|
|Improves performance||Poor ball enclosure||Professional|
|Great family time||Casual athlete|
Summary of Positive Comments: Many commentators enjoy the different speed, spin, and directional options with the Wilson ball machine. They also say the machine is very reliable.
Summary of Negative Comments: Some reviewers commented that the Wilson portable ball machine is hard to carry around and the handle is a low if you are over 6’2” (1.88m) tall. Several purchased a small dolly or cart to help roll it around.
The Verdict - Strongly Recommend
The Wilson portable tennis ball machine is the best in its class for the price range. We feel that it is a really good buy with the 2-line feature. The next cheapest machine to offer the 2-line feature runs at several hundred dollars more than the Wilson ball machine. We also like that the Wilson tennis ball machine has great spin control settings for topspin or backspin. However, we feel that the Wilson ball machine is lacking in its oscillation settings without a random electronic depth and vertical feature. We would also like to see a slightly greater ball capacity. A 110 ball capacity seems lacking in comparison to other machines at this level and this price. However, it’s not that bad if you have a roller ball hopper to pick up the balls.
Where to Buy the Tennis Tutor Ball Machine?
The Wilson portable tennis ball machine can be bought on Amazon. It is currently out of stock at all of the other retailers we’ve researched. We’ll let you know where you can buy this machine when it becomes available again.