2006 Ball Machine Selector

Features

Brand & Contact Info

The name of the manufacturer and how to get in touch with them. You can contact them to get more information or to order the machine that looks best to you. There are eight manufacturers making machines under nine brand names.

Model

The specific model of machine. However, remember that many of the machines offer several different options. In some cases, when you buy different options, the name of the machine may change slightly. But, in each case, the available options for each machine list the price of adding that option.

Price

Manufacturer's suggested retail price. Prices range from $199 to $29,999.

Warranty

How long the manufacturer guarantees the machine against defects. However, keep in mind that many of the manufacturers do offer extended warranties. See the specific manufacturer for more information and costs of extended warranties.

Dimensions

These are the measurements of the machines for storage or transport. In other words, some machines will be considerably bigger than these measurements when you are using them because you add a ball holder. We list the smaller measurements because the size of a machine really only matters when you are trying to fit it on a shelf or in the trunk of a car.

Ball Capacity

This indicates how many balls you can put in the machine at a time. However, several of the manufacturers indicated that their machines can actually hold more balls than they have listed if you stack the balls higher than the sides of the machine. There are machines that hold as few as 28 balls and as many as 300 balls. But keep in mind that some machine manufacturers tell us that most people don't come close to filling their machines. Who wants to carry and pick up 200 or more balls?

Weight

This is an indication of how much the basic machine weighs without balls in it. So, if you add options or balls, the weight will increase. We list the weight without balls because this is probably how you will transport the machine to the court.

Features
Model SRP Warranty (years) Dimensions (storage) Ball capacity Wt (lbs)
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 $469 2 12" × 12" × 27" 50 20
Ball Bucket 201 $549 2 12" × 12" × 31" 50 28
Hybrid Model 301 $689 2 36" × 13" × 21" 150 31
Tournament 401 $789 2 36" × 13" × 21" 150 32
Elite Model 1 $1,049 1 24" × 16" × 19" 150 42
Elite Model 2 $1,299 1 24" × 16" × 19" 150 44
Elite Model 3 $1,549 1 24" × 16" × 19" 150 44
Playmate
Portable $1,495 1 19" × 21" × 25" 200 55
BP-X $3,169 3 35" × 21" × 38" 200 85
ACE $3,169 3 35" × 21" × 38" 200 85
SMASH $3,995 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 85
DEUCE $4,995 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 85
GENIE $5,995 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 85
GENIE PC $7,995 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 85
GRAND SLAM $7,495 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 110
GRAND SLAM PC $8,995 3 35" × 21" × 38" 300 110
SAM
I-SAM Model 1 $699 1 19" × 17.5" × 18" 250 29
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) $949 1 19" × 17.5" × 18" 250 34
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 $1,099 1 19.5" × 16" × 21.5" 300 48
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 $1,299 1 19.5" × 16" × 21.5" 300 48
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 $1,599 1 19.5" × 16" × 21.5" 300 48
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 $1,899 1 19.5" × 16" × 21.5" 300 48
SAM Sport $2,995 3 35" × 25" × 50" 250 87
SAM Coach $3,595 3 35" × 25" × 50" 250 87
SAM Millennium $4,995 3 31" × 26" × 56" 250 143
Big SAM Robot $29,999 1 60" × 48" × 108" 200 398
Robot Optimizers
Boomer $14,450 1 38.5" × 31" × 21.5" 300 124
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite $599 1 22" × 18" × 14" 200 35
Sport $949 1 22" × 18" × 14" 200 46
Pro $1,199 1 22" × 18" × 14" 200 48
Sports Attack
Ace Attack $5,499 1 34" × 53" 200 150
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist $199 1 10" × 11" x23" 28 11
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic $549 1 12" × 19.5" × 18" 125 20
Tennis Tutor ProLite $649 1 12" × 19.5" × 18" 125 22
Tennis Tutor $989 1 12" × 19.5" × 20" 150 42
Tennis Tutor - Plus $1,119 1 20" × 19.5" × 20" 150 46
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model $1,549, 1 20" × 19.5" × 20" 150 46
Tennis Tower $1,145 1 44" × 23" × 22" 225 60
Shot Maker - Standard $2,900 2 38.5" × 31" × 21.5" 300 96
Shot Maker - Deluxe $3,600 2 38.5" × 31" × 21.5" 300 96
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe $4,100 2 38.5" × 31" × 21.5" 300 96
Wilson Portable $995 1 22" × 14" × 20" 110 38
Super Coach
Super Coach $7,495 1 36" × 27" × 22" 200 121
Contact information
Lobster • lobsterinc.com • 800-526-4041
Lobster
Playmate • playmatetennismachines.com • 800-776-6770
Playmate Genie Deuce
SAM • MasterSports.com • 800-837-1002
SAM Millenium
Robot Optimizers • tennisrobot.com • 888-8BOOMER
Robot Optimizers Boomer
Silent Partner • sptennis.com • 800-662-1809
Silent Partner Pro
Sports Attack • sportsattack.com • 800-717-4251
Sports Attack Ace Attack
Sports Tutor • sportstutor.com • 800-448-8867
Tennis Tutor Pro Lite
Super Coach • tennismachine.com • 408-855-9644
Super Coach

Power

Runs on Battery or Power Cord

An "X" in this column means that you can power the machine with a battery or a power cord plugged into an electrical outlet.

Runs on Power Cord Only

Machines in this column require an electrical outlet for power.

Runs on Battery Only

These machines can only be powered by a rechargeable battery.

Battery Amp/Hour

This is an indication of how much "juice there is in the batteries." It is a measure of the number of amps of electricity the battery can deliver in 1 hour. One manufacturer described amp/hours as being like a car's gas tank. More amp/hours is like a bigger gas tank, meaning that the machine can run longer on a charge. We are publishing this number instead of the machine's battery-life. We felt publishing this number for each machine helps reduce any discrepancies in the battery life that is indicated by each of the manufacturers.

Battery Life Indicator

These machines have some sort of indicator to let you know how much battery life is left. Once again, some of these indicators are more informative than others. Talk with the manufacturer for a more detailed description of how it works.

Battery Swapability

An "X" in this column means that the machine allows you to take out a battery that is almost out of juice and replace it with a fresh battery. However, keep in mind that to do this you will have to purchase a spare battery.

Smart Charger comes Standard

All battery-operated machines come with a charger to recharge the batteries as they wear down. But, machines with an "X" in this column come with a smart charger included in the listed price. A smart charger is designed to recharge your battery until it is fully charged. Then, when your battery is fully charged, it reduces the voltage that it feeds to the battery to just enough to keep it fully charged. A regular charger would keep feeding excess electricity to your battery after it is fully charged until the charger is unplugged. This excess electricity can degrade your battery and ultimately shorten your battery's life-span. But, a smart charger allows you to keep your charger plugged in without damaging your battery.

Smart Charger available as Option

Machines with a dollar amount in this column come with a standard charger included in the listed price. But, for the extra fee listed in this column, you can get a smart charger (as described in the previous feature) instead.

Power
Model Runs on battery or power cord Runs on power cord only Runs on battery only Battery amp/hour Battery life indicator Battery swapability Smart charger comes standard Smart charger available as option
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 X
Ball Bucket 201 X
Hybrid Model 301 X
Tournament 401 X
Elite Model 1 X 18 X
Elite Model 2 X 18 X
Elite Model 3 X 18 X
Playmate
Portable X 15 X X X
BP-X X
ACE X
SMASH X
DEUCE X
GENIE X
GENIE PC X
GRAND SLAM X
GRAND SLAM PC X
SAM
I-SAM Model 1 $149 X X 7.5 X X
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) $149 X X 15 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 $149 X X 15 X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 $149 X X 15 X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 $149 X X 15 X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 $149 X X 15 X X
SAM Sport X
SAM Coach X
SAM Millennium X
Big SAM Robot X
Robot Optimizers
Boomer X
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite X 7.5 X X X
Sport X 15 X X X
Pro $249 $80 X 15 X X X
Sports Attack
Ace Attack X
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist $0 X 6 D cell
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic X $50 9 X
Tennis Tutor ProLite X $50 9 X
Tennis Tutor $50 X 18 X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus $50 X 18 X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model $50 X 18 X X
Tennis Tower X
Shot Maker - Standard X
Shot Maker - Deluxe X
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe X
Wilson Portable $50 X 12 X X
Super Coach
Super Coach X

Propulsion

Spinning Wheel Propulsion

An "X" in this column indicates that the machine uses two spinning wheels to feed the ball to you. In almost every case the spinning wheels are stacked vertically with just enough space between them for a ball to squeeze through. So, the faster the wheels are spinning, the faster the balls will be propelled.

Air Pressure Propulsion

An "X" in this column indicates that the machine shoots the ball through a tube like a cannon. The amount of air pressure determines the speed and depth of the shot.

Feeding Intervals

This column indicates how often the machine can feed balls. Most machines offer a range of intervals. Smaller intervals make for a harder workout, while higher intervals allow more time for preparation and watching your results.

Top Speed

Almost every machine offers the ability to adjust the speed at which the ball is shot from the machine. They all are capable of feeding a very slow ball for shots shorter in the court and for weaker players. So, we just list the fastest speed that each manufacturer says the machine will shoot the ball. However, most of the time, most players don't need the ball speed maxed out because the players they play with don't hit that hard.

Elevation Control

Electronic — An "X" in this column indicates that the machine can change the height of the shot by pushing a button or turning a knob.

Elevation Control

Manual — An "X" in this column indicates that the machine can shoot balls at different heights, but you have to physically aim a shooting arm or tilt the machine in some way to do so.

Able to Feed Lobs

An "X" in this column indicates that the manufacturer tells us the machine is capable of feeding lobs to allow you to practice your overheads.

Able to Feed Topspin & Underspin

An "X" in this column means that the machine uses spinning wheels to propel the balls and you can make one wheel spin faster than the other to put spin on the top or bottom of the ball. If you see a price in this column, it means that the machine is capable of putting spin on the ball, but you must purchase an extra option to do so.

Able to Feed Sidespin

An "X" in this column indicates that the machine has spinning wheels that don't just touch the ball on top and bottom. The wheels that are on the sides of the balls can be spun faster than the others to put spin on the sides of the ball. This is mainly helpful for simulating serves.

Propulsion
Model Spinning wheel propulsion Air Pressure propulsion Feeding interval (seconds) Top speed (mph) Elevation control — electronic Elevation control — manual Able to feed lobs Able to feed topspin & underspin Able to feed sidespin
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 X 3, 6, 12 55 X X $50
Ball Bucket 201 X 3, 6, 12 55 X X $50
Hybrid Model 301 X 3, 6, 12 70 X X $50
Tournament 401 X 3, 6, 12 70 X X $50
Elite Model 1 X 2 - 12 80 X X X
Elite Model 2 X 2 - 12 80 X X X
Elite Model 3 X 2 - 12 80 X X X
Playmate
Portable X 1 - 10 80 X X X
BP-X X 1 - 10 90 X X
ACE X 1 - 10 90 X X X
SMASH X 1 - 10 90 X X X
DEUCE X 1 - 10 90 X X X
GENIE X 1 - 10 90 X X X
GENIE PC X 1 - 10 90 X X X
GRAND SLAM X 1 - 10 120 X X X X
GRAND SLAM PC X 1 - 10 120 X X X X
SAM
I-SAM Model 1 X 2 - 7 60 X X
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) X 2 - 7 60 X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 X 2 - 13 80 X X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 X 2 - 13 80 X X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 X 2 - 13 80 X X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 X 2 - 13 80 X X X
SAM Sport X 1.5 - 8 90 X X X
SAM Coach X 1.5 - 8 90 X X X
SAM Millennium X 1.5 - 8 90 X X X
Big SAM Robot X 2 - 20 100 X X X X
Robot Optimizers
Boomer X 1 - 10 100 X X X
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite X 1.0 - 15 95 X X X
Sport X 1.0 - 15 95 X X X
Pro X 1.0 - 15 95 X X X
Sports Attack
Ace Attack X 1.5 - 12 110 X X X X
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist 5 15 X
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic X 1.5 - 10 60 X X
Tennis Tutor ProLite X 1.5 - 10 60 X X
Tennis Tutor X 1.5 - 12 85 X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus X 1.5 - 12 85 X X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model X 1.5 - 12 85 X X X
Tennis Tower X 1.5 - 8 85 X X $200
Shot Maker - Standard X 1 - 6 95 X X X
Shot Maker - Deluxe X 1 - 6 95 X X X
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe X 1 - 6 95 X X X
Wilson Portable X 1.5 - 10 75 X X X
Super Coach
Super Coach X 1.4 - 5.6 85 X X X

Oscillation

No Oscillation

Machines with an "X" in this column are not cabable of feeding the ball in more than one direction. So, if you want to practice forehands you have to point the machine toward your forehand and vice-versa for backhands. However, you cannot practice forehands and backhands at the same time unless you're willing to use a little extra footwork.

Oscillation — Random

These machines are capable of feeding balls randomly to different locations on the court to simulate real play. However, as we explained before, you need to do a little more inquiring to find out just how randomly the machine can shoot balls. Some machines can choose randomly between two positions, while others can shoot balls virtually anywhere on the court.

Oscillation — Programmable

This is another feature that requires a closer look. Machines in this column have a control panel that allows you to shoot balls in a pattern that you determine. But look to the next few columns to see how complicated a program you can give it.

# of Shots in Program

This column indicates how many different shots you can program before the machine repeats its program. So, machines that have a higher number in this column offer you the opportunity to create a more complicated drill for yourself or your students.

Adjustable Depth within Program

These machines offer the opportunity to create even more complicated drills because they allow you to feed one ball deep in the court followed by another ball that is shorter in the court.

Adjustable Spin within Program

Again, these machines offer more complicated drills because they allow you to vary the amount of topspin or underspin from one shot to the next.

Adjustable Height within Program

These machines allow you to vary the height of the balls during the program. So, you can practice against a ball that comes high over the net followed by another ball that is fed low over the net.

Adjustable Interval within Program

These machines allow you to vary the time between ball feeds during the program. This way you can tell the machine to feed you a lob and wait long enough for you to hit the overhead before feeding the next ball. Or you can program a longer time between balls you will be hitting from the baseline than balls you will be hitting from the net.

Interactive Feed Control

The Boomer from Robot Optimizers features a video camera, a powerful computer, and can even talk to a player.

These features allow a player to play a game against Boomer, where Boomer is the opponent, umpire, ball-boy, cheerleader, and wiseguy (it even trash talks). The camera is used to rate each shot a player hits from 1 to 9 based on speed, depth, and width. In game mode the machine varies its feeds based on the quality of the shot from the player. In drill mode, it says the score of each ball and even tells the player if the shot is out.

Oscillation
Model No oscillation Oscillation — random Oscillation — programmable Number of shots in program Adjustable depth within program Adjustable spin within program Adjustable height within program Adjustable interval within program Interactive feed control
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 X
Ball Bucket 201 X
Hybrid Model 301 X
Tournament 401 X X X
Elite Model 1 X
Elite Model 2 X X X
Elite Model 3 X X X
Playmate
Portable 3
BP-X X 3
ACE X 3
SMASH X X 7
DEUCE X X 7 X X X X
GENIE X X 7 X X X X
GENIE PC X X 8 X X X X
GRAND SLAM X X 7 X X X X
GRAND SLAM PC X X 8 X X X X
SAM
I-SAM Model 1 X
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) X
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 X X 2
SAM Sport X X 3
SAM Coach X X 6 X
SAM Millennium X X 9 X X X
Big SAM Robot X X 30 X X X
Robot Optimizers
Boomer X X 30 X X X X X
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite X
Sport X
Pro X $299 2
Sports Attack
Ace Attack X 4
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist X
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic X
Tennis Tutor ProLite X
Tennis Tutor X $200 4
Tennis Tutor - Plus X $200 4
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model X $200 4
Tennis Tower X $300 4
Shot Maker - Standard X X 3
Shot Maker - Deluxe X X 6
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe X X 6
Wilson Portable X $200 2
Super Coach
Super Coach X X 30 X X X

Remote control

Remote Control Available as Option

These machines do not come with a remote, but you can buy one. Look at the next several columns to find out what the remote controls and whether it is wireless.

Remote Control — Cord

The remote controls that are available for these machines are actually wired to the machine, making them a little less portable. However, some of them do allow you to control more of the settings on the machine.

Remote Control — Wireless

The remote controls that are available for these machines are not actually attached to the machine. So, you can take them wherever you want as long as the signal is strong enough to reach the machine.

Remote Control of Oscillation

These remotes are actually able to turn the oscillation feature of the machine off and on in addition to being able to start or stop the balls from feeding.

Remote Control of Program Settings

These remotes allow you to control the program settings. So, you don't have to go back to the machine to change the order of shots.

Remote control
Model Remote control — standard Remote control — optional Remote control — cord Remote control — wireless Remote control of oscillation Remote control of program settings
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 $70 X
Ball Bucket 201 $70 X
Hybrid Model 301 $70 X
Tournament 401 $70 X
Elite Model 1 $199 X X
Elite Model 2 $199 X X
Elite Model 3 $199 X X
Playmate
Portable X
BP-X X X
ACE X X
SMASH X X
DEUCE X X
GENIE X X
GENIE PC X X X X X
GRAND SLAM X X
GRAND SLAM PC X X X X X
SAM
I-SAM Model 1
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) X X X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 X
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 X X
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 X X X X
SAM Sport $99 X
SAM Coach X X
SAM Millennium X X
Big SAM Robot X X X X
Robot Optimizers
Boomer X X X X
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite
Sport
Pro X X X
Sports Attack
Ace Attack $300 X
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic $70 X
Tennis Tutor ProLite $70 X
Tennis Tutor $200 X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus $200 X X
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model $200 X X
Tennis Tower $200 X X
Shot Maker - Standard $200 X X
Shot Maker - Deluxe X X X
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe X X X
Wilson Portable $200 X X
Super Coach
Super Coach X X

Miscellaneous

Cover Comes Standard

These machines come with a cover included in the price listed.

Cover Available as an Option

This column indicates whether the manufacturer makes an optional cover available and how much it costs.

Includes Wheels for Portability

Machines with an "X" in this column have wheels attached to them to make the machine easier to move around.

Other Optional Accessories

This column lists any other optional accessories that are available for each machine and how much each accessory costs. It also lists any special features that we did not create columns for.

Miscellaneous
Model Serving tower — standard Serving tower — optional Cover — standard Cover — optional Includes wheels Other options (see key below)
Lobster
Economy Ball Bucket 202 $49 1
Ball Bucket 201 $49 1
Hybrid Model 301 $49 X 1
Tournament 401 $49 X 1
Elite Model 1 $49 X 2
Elite Model 2 $49 X 2
Elite Model 3 $49 X 2
Playmate
Portable $85 3
BP-X $3,995 $85 5
ACE $3,995 $85 5
SMASH $3,995 $85 5
DEUCE $3,995 $85 5
GENIE $3,995 $85 5
GENIE PC $3,995 $85 5
GRAND SLAM $3,995 $85 5
GRAND SLAM PC $3,995 $85 5
SAM
I-SAM Model 1 X 7,9,12
I-SAM Model 2 (aka I-SAM Plus) X 9,12
SAM Professional Portable Model 1 X X 9,11,12
SAM Professional Portable Model 2 X X 9,11,12
SAM Professional Portable Model 3 X X 9,11,12
SAM Professional Portable Model 4 X X 9,11,12
SAM Sport $115 X 13,14,15
SAM Coach $115 X 13,14,15
SAM Millennium $115 X 13,16
Big SAM Robot X X 17
Robot Optimizers
Boomer $3,895 X X 19
Silent Partner
Ultra Lite $40 X 8
Sport $40 X 8
Pro $40 X 8
Sports Attack
Ace Attack X $200 X
Sports Tutor
Tennis Twist
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic $35
Tennis Tutor ProLite $35
Tennis Tutor $35 X 10
Tennis Tutor - Plus $35 X 4, 10
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model $35 X 4, 10
Tennis Tower X X 4
Shot Maker - Standard X X
Shot Maker - Deluxe X X
Shot Maker - Super Deluxe X X
Wilson Portable $35 X 10
Super Coach
Super Coach $25 X 18

Key to Optional Accessories

  1. Spin adaptor $50
  2. Fast charger $99
  3. 3-Hour rapid recharger $145
  4. Player simulation $150
  5. Built-in transformer for international power standards $111
  6. External extended life battery $189, 110/220 volt AC converter $199
  7. 110/220 Volt AC converter $149
  8. Additional removable battery $40
  9. Extra heavy duty battery $25
  10. Ext. battery pack $130, ext. AC power supply $125, smart charger upgrade $40
  11. Lob enhancer $30
  12. Water-resistant storage cover $65
  13. Water-resistant storage cover $115
  14. Ships via FedEx Ground
  15. Feeds balls from 30" above ground
  16. Feeds balls from 39" above ground
  17. Elevates to 9 feet for service practice (can do kick serves)
  18. Can deliver any type of ball, (topspin, underspin, flat, lob) to any place on court, in any sequence
  19. Plays games, rates shots, uses a camera, talks to players, cordless headphone system ($500 or $50/mo), wireless printer for analysis ($2000 or $100/mo)
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