The Wilson ball machine has a 2-line feature where 2 tennis players can practice at the same time. No other tennis ball machine offers this at this price.
The Wilson portable 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 one model for $1,095 with optional upgrades. You can add a remote control for $200 and a 2-line feature for $200 as well. The remote is key chain sized, which is very convenient, and lets you control start and stop of the ball feed, and 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.
In this review, we look at the features offered by the Wilson portable ball machine and how they compare to other tennis ball machines. 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.
Wilson Ball Machine Features Overview
Power Type – The Wilson ball machine is battery powered, with a standard battery life of 3-4 hours. There is an optional external battery pack for $130, an optional smart charger upgrade for $40, and a smart fast charger for $75. You can also get the Wilson portable ball machine with AC/electric power for an extra $50. These costs are all in line with other ball machine power related extras we’ve seen.
Oscillation – 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/side to side oscillation. It does not offer vertical oscillation, which means the machine does not automatically fire balls 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 ball machine, however the 2-line function is a big plus.
Of the ball machines we’ve reviewed on this site, the Lobster Elite tennis ball machine Model 2 offers all 3 types of oscillation for only $54 more than the Wilson. However, the Lobster Elite 2 does not offer the 2-line function. To get that feature, you need to move up to the Lobster Elite 3, which is $410 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 ball machine the best option. But, if it’s going to be just you using the machine most of the time, then the Lobster Elite 2 would be better so that you can get all 3 oscillation types for just $54 more.
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.
Dimensions – 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.
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.
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.
Feed Rate – this is how fast the balls are fired out of the 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.
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.
Customer Ratings and Comments
Sites with Customer Reviews Posted (6)
Number of Reviews (10)
Average Score (4.8 out of 5)
|Easy to use (10)||Hard to move (1)||Intermediate (9)|
|Improves performance (8)||Poor ball enclosure (1)||Professional (6)|
|Great family time (1)||Casual athlete (8)|
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.
Don’t recommend — Recommend with reservations — Recommend — Strongly Recommend
We like the Wilson portable ball machine and feel that it is a really good buy with the 2-line feature for $1,295. The next cheapest machine to offer the 2-line feature runs $1,750. We also like that the Wilson ball machine has spin control settings. However, we feel that the Wilson ball machine is lacking in its oscillation settings without a random electronic depth/vertical feature. We would also like to see greater ball capacity. A 110 ball capacity seems lacking in comparison to other machines at this level and this price.
Where to Buy the Wilson Ball Machine
The Wilson portable ball machine is currently out of stock at all of the retailers we’ve researched. We’ll let you know where you can buy this machine when it becomes available again.
Rate the Wilson Ball Machine Yourself
If you have tried out this tennis ball machine for yourself, let us know. You can write a review in the comments section and give it a rating below.