The iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 offers an excellent challenge for beginners and intermediates and is one of the most affordable tennis ball machines for sale.

iSAM-tennis-ball-machineIn this review we analyze the iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1based on overall customer satisfaction, ratings, reviews, and positive and negative consumer comments. We also look at the features offered by the iSAM tennis ball machine and how it compares to other similar tennis ball machines. We then offer our own rating and recommendation on whether to purchase the iSAM tennis ball machine.

The SAM tennis ball machine iSAM Model 1 is manufactured by Master Sports Inc, which produces a total of eight different ball machine models. The iSAM was formerly known as the Little Prince tennis ball machine. All of the Prince ball machine models switched over to the SAM brand name in January 2006. The design and features of each model stayed the same, just the name changed. You can read more about SAM ball machines on our SAM page.

The Model 1 iSAM is one of the least expensive tennis ball machines on the market, coming in at $699.00 USD. Despite its low cost, it is still packed with features and we consider it one of the best tennis ball machines under $1,000. Although we generally like to see vertical oscillation as an option on our tennis ball machines, as well as spin control (the iSAM serves only flat balls with random horizontal oscillation), at its price level, the iSAM is still a great entry-level machine.

For beginners and intermediates, the iSAM Model 1 is an ideal machine and will provide you with more than enough for practice and drilling. More advanced to expert level players however may want to look for a more advanced machine. If you want to stay with the SAM brand, we recommend the SAM Model P4, which is number three on our list of the Best Tennis Ball Machines.

Here is a list of all of the features you’ll find in the iSAM Model 1 tennis ball machine.


iSAM Ball Machine Model 1 Features Overview

Power Type – You can choose either battery powered or electric as the power source for the iSAM Model 1 tennis ball machine. Standard battery life is 2-3 hours. You can get a fast charger upgrade for the battery for an additional $55 and an AC converter to run the battery version of the machine with electrical power for $178.50.

Spin control – the iSAM does not offer spin control. We like to see the ability to control top spin and under spin as a feature on all of our ball machines, however, as stated above, beginners and intermediates can still get a great workout without spin on the ball.

Weight – The iSAM Model 1 tennis ball machine is the second lightest ball machine on the market, weighing just 29 lbs (13.15kg) for the battery operated model and 25lbs (11.34kg) for the electric version. The ball machines we’ve reviewed on this site range in weight from 11 lbs (5kg) for a very, very basic ball machine (no spin, no oscillation) to 90lbs (40.82kg) for a heavy duty commercial type model. 29lbs should be very easy for almost everyone to pick up and put in your car and move around the court and parking lot.

Dimensions – The iSAM Model 1 tennis ball machine measures a very compact (Length x Width x Height) 19 x 21 x 26 inches (.48 x .53 x .66m) in use and 19 x 21 x 18” in storage. The hopper on the iSAM can easily be inverted and used as a storage cover. Also, the iSAM has two reinforced straps that are mounted to the front and base of the machine, which let you carry it like a duffle bag.

iSAM Control Panel

iSAM Control Panel

Speed Range – The iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 fires tennis balls between 15-60 mph (24.14-96.56 kph). The ball machines we have reviewed range in speed from 10 mph to 95 mph (16.10-152.89 kph), so the iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 seems a bit limited in terms of speed range, especially at the upper end of the scale. However, beginners and intermediates will certainly feel challenged by balls coming at up to 60 mph, and this speed range offers enough variety for a range of drills.

Ball Capacity – The iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 holds 250 tennis balls. Economy tennis ball machines will hold 50 balls, whereas ball machines in high usage situations, such as clubs or tennis camps can hold up to 300 balls. A 250 ball capacity for a tennis ball machine at this price level is a huge benefit for the iSAM.

Feed Rate – this is how fast the balls are fired out of the machine. The iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 fires at a rate ranging from 2-7 balls per second. The fastest firing time we’ve seen in a tennis ball machine is one ball every 1.5 seconds and the slowest is one ball every 12 seconds. So, 2-7 seconds, although not ideal, should be sufficient for most players.

Warranty – the iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 comes with a one year warranty on parts and labor. Most tennis ball machine brands offer a 2 year warranty although some offer only a one year. We have found that only deluxe models over $3,500 offer a 3 year warranty.

iSAM Remote Control

iSAM Remote Control

Extras – The iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 offers a 2-function wireless remote control ($140) that lets you control the speed of the ball, feed rate, and turn the oscillation on or off.



Customer Ratings and Comments

Sites with Customer Reviews Posted (8)
Number of Reviews (66)
Average Score (4.2 out of 5)

Pros: Cons: Best Uses:
Easy to use (58) Difficult to use (3) Intermediate (57)
Improves performance (51) A bit heavy (2) Casual athlete (44)
Cost effective (1)   Professional (4)
Easy setup (1)    


Summary of Positive Comments: Most reviewers talk about how their games have improved using the iSAM and how much of a workout it gives them. Others talk about how easy the machine is to use, set up and take down. Almost everyone was very happy with their purchase of the iSAM.

Summary of Negative Comments: Several reviewers said that the iSAM should have better wheels to pull it instead of having to pick it up and carry it. A few mentioned that the iSAM oscillates balls too wide, sometimes sending the ball out of bounds. They had to put the machine further back to help counter this.


The Verdict

Don’t recommend — Recommend with reservations — Recommend — Strongly Recommend

We recommend the iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1 for beginners and intermediates, and any player that is looking for an inexpensive tennis ball machine. More advanced players will need more of a challenge which they can find with a more expensive ball machine that offers more spin and speed options. For the price and the value though, you really can’t beat the iSAM. Also in the consumer reviews, which were primarily from intermediate and beginner level players, almost everyone seemed to love this tennis ball machine.


Best Places to Buy the iSAM tennis ball machine Model 1– $699.99
Amazon sells everything, including tennis ball machines. You can find some really great deals here on other tennis accessories as well. If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon you also see suggestions based on your previous purchases, as well as numerous consumer product reviews. Amazon is a great resource for shopping for just about anything. – $769.99
eSportsOnline is owned by Sport Supply Group, Inc (NASDAQ – RBI) which is based in Dallas, TX and is the Nation’s largest manufacturer, marketer and distributor of sporting goods products directly to the institutional and team sports marketplace.


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More About the SAM Tennis Ball Machine

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