A 3 wheel pitching machine is arguably the top training aid out there for baseball and fastpitch players.
This article identifies the best 3 wheel pitching machine with lots of detail provided on our top pick, as well as info on our runner up pick.
Keep scrolling to learn more!
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3 Wheel Pitching Machine - the Details
When I was growing up I had one of those small, wiffle ball pitching machines.
At the time I thought it was awesome. I could take as many cuts as I wanted (at least until the wiffle balls ran out).
But there soon came a point when it was no longer challenging. I got bored with it.
Around that time I started going to an indoor baseball training facility that had a legit, 3 wheel pitching machine.
It was, let's just say, impressive.
The speed, the movement and variety of pitches - everything about it was just what I needed to step up my game.
These were the type of pitching machines I would go on to use as the years went by and I moved up.
This article focuses exclusively on these machines.
Specifically, we highlight the best 3 wheel pitching machine on the market and provide lots of details with pictures, video and more.
Keep scrolling to learn more…
What is a 3 Wheel Pitching Machine?
A 3 wheel pitching machine is a type of pitching machine that uses three independent wheels to throw a variety of pitches.
Each wheel is powered by a different motor and has separate controls.
Having three independent wheels allows the machine to easily throw a crazy wide variety of pitch types, at high speeds, and it does it very accurately.
They're a step up from one wheel and two wheel machines, which can't throw as many pitches as accurately as a 3 wheel pitching machine can.
Why is a 3 Wheel Pitching Machine the Best Type?
Three wheel pitching machines are the best of the best.
Every MLB team has one, as well as most minor league and NCAA baseball teams - not to mention countless high school, travel ball and other amateur teams.
In general, there are four main reasons why these types of machines stand out above the crowd.
1. Variety. Three wheeled pitching machines are incredibly versatile. They are able to throw realistic breaking balls, change ups, and other pitches that you'd see in a game.
2. Accuracy. The third wheel in the machine allows for better control over the pitch's movement and speed, which produces the result of more accurate pitches.
3. Consistency. Three wheel pitching machines give you super precise control over pitch speed and movement. The result is consistent pitches that are delivered exactly as intended.
4. Visibility. Players are able to see the ball much better with a 3 wheel machine compared to a two wheel machine due to the layout of the wheels. This helps with a batter's timing, big time.
5. Durability. The craftsmanship and materials used in a 3 wheel pitching machine are second to none. These are high quality, premium machines that were designed to operate for a long time. They also tend to be better guarded, meaning there is a lower risk of the machine breaking due to the batter hitting a ricochet liner.
For these reasons, 3 wheel pitching machines are the best of the best pitching machines on the market today.
Best 3 Wheel Pitching Machine
Top Overall Pick: The Junior Hack Attack
Our pick for the best overall 3 wheel pitching machine available today is the Junior Hack Attack, by a company known as Sports Attack.
It has, in our opinion, the best combination of quality, features and affordability of all 3 wheel machines for baseball that are out there.
Let's take a quick look at some details of the major components of the machine.
The Junior Hack Attack has three throwing wheels, all protected by guards. The wheels are solid and are not inflated right air.
Each wheel plays a role in gripping the baseball, which means pitches are incredibly accurate.
Wear and tear on the wheels are minimal and each should keep spinning for a long time.
A separate motor powers each wheel, which means wheel speed is controlled independently.
Motors are shaped like a cylinder and connected under the center part of each wheel.
The controls on the Junior Hack Attack are fairly simple, making it easy to operate.
There are three knobs in a triangular shape on the back of the unit that control the speed of each wheel.
A small metal lever on the left side adjusts the elevation of the pitch by moving the throwing head, and on the bottom middle part of the frame it allows you to pivot the device laterally.
Types of Pitches
Pitch type depends on how you set the speed of each wheel.
In practice, it can throw literally any type of pitch. A fastball, sinker, curveball, slider, knuckleballs, and more.
And to top it off, it throws these pitches from a left hand or right hand thrower point of view.
The manual gives details on the wheel settings to use for each pitch type. Easy!
The Junior Hack Attack can deliver pitches as slow as 35 mph and as fast as 70 mph or more from 60 feet away.
Faster pitches (e.g., around 90 mph) can be simulated by moving the machine 50 feet from the plate.
If you're looking for a great machine that throws even faster, the Hack Attack can deliver pitches over 100 mph from 60 feet away.
It's a phenomenal machine, but it costs more (and is heavier) than the Junior Hack Attack.
The machine comes with three legs that can be popped in and out of the machine easily.
When installed, pitches are delivered at 42 inches above the ground.
Two types of leg extenders can be purchased separately, if needed.
Weight and Transport
The Junior Hack Attack weighs about 75 pounds, which is actually pretty light for a 3 wheel pitching machine.
Still, the 75 pounds is enough mass that the machine is sturdy and doesn't have hardly any recoil.
Additionally, the machine can be moved pretty easily using it's two transport wheels.
When the legs are removed, it can be picked up by one person and placed in a vehicle as small as (most) coups and sedans.
The Junior Hack Attack needs power to work. It's not designed to run on battery power, but on 115 volt 3-wire grounded power.
This can be accomplished using an extension cord to standard power in a house/garage/building, or by using a generator such as this one.
Types of Baseballs
There's a lot of flexibility in the types of balls the machine can use. It can use regular leather baseballs and traditional pitching machine balls, like these.
Keep in mind you should not use synthetic leather balls in this machine.
A few accessories that you may be interested in getting include the following:
- Solo Ball Feeder. Let's you use the machine by yourself without the help of a separate person.
- Leg Extenders. Allows you to lift the machine up to a greater height. Great for defensive drills.
- Softball Conversion Kit. Transforms the baseball version of the Junior Hack Attack into a softball pitching machine. Great if you're a coach (or parent) of both baseball and softball players, so you can use one device for both sports. Note: There is a Softball-specific Junior Hack Attack you can purchase if you only plan to use it with softballs.
- L Screen. Needed to protect the operator of the machine - and of course the machine itself - during BP.
Note: Please refer to the official Junior Hack Attack manual for more details on all facets of the machine.
Fantastic combination of quality and affordability
Not overly heavy
Simple to move around
Controls are not complicated
Tons of versatility in pitch type, location and speed
Easy to use for batting practice or defensive work (pop flies, grounders, catcher drills, etc)
Built to last
Not able to work with battery power
Video of the Jr Hack Attack in Action
Runner-Up Pick: Jugs BP3
After the Junior Hack Attack (and its sibling, the Hack Attack), our next recommendation for a three wheel pitching machine is the Jugs BP3.
This is an elite machine designed for baseball players and it can throw pitches up to 90 mph at normal distance. As an FYI, Jugs also makes a great fastpitch softball version of the BP3.
One of the best things about this machine is that it has preconfigured settings that control pitch type, making it super simple to choose a pitch by turning just one dial. The BP3 has great change up settings in particular, and can automatically circulate between throwing fastballs and change ups.
It also throws curveballs, sliders and cutters from both the left and right hand point of view, and a split finger fastball.
On the control panel there is an LCD display that shows detail about the pitch chosen.
It also comes with a remote that can be used by a second coach to vary the pitch type, even when standing from a distance.
All in all, the pitch settings and features are a huge selling point for this machine.
The Jugs BP3 requires separate power in much the same way as the Junior Hack Attack.
This machine has three white pneumatic tires controlled by three ¼ HP independent motors, each of which is protected by a metal guard. Jugs says the tires are made to last 20 years.
On the stand to the left and below the bottom tire are both a "macro" adjuster - which can throw fly balls up to 325 feet in the air - and a "micro" adjuster for precise ball placement.
This 3 wheel pitching machine has three steel tubed legs that can be easily popped in and out.
It does not have independent wheels for transport. Instead, to move it you would need to tip it over and roll it on the bottom wheel, kind of like a wheelbarrow.
The BP3 is a big, sturdy machine. Great in that it's well built, durable and has minimal recoil. But it's heavier than the Junior Hack Attack, weighing in at around 140 pounds.
It's best to have two people working to load and unload it.
Lastly, this machine can throw regular baseballs as well as basically any Jugs branded balls, such as these.
Note: For much more detail about this machine, we encourage you to check out the manual at this link.
Great pitch variety with a super simple to use control panel and an LCD display
The best changeup settings of any pitching machine we've seen
Throws very fast very accurately from 60 feet
Big, durable wheels that should last a very long time
Levers for adjustments are easy to use
Able to quickly convert it for defensive drills, including (very) high pop flys
There is also an excellent fastpitch softball version of the BP3
More expensive than the Junior Hack Attack and the Hack Attack
Transported using one of the pitching machine wheels, not separate wheels
Additional Pictures of the Jugs BP3
Are There Any Cheap 3 Wheel Pitching Machines?
Three wheel pitching machines are not cheap. They are complex machines containing many valuable, specialized mechanical components required to function properly.
In short, we are not aware of a new 3 wheel pitching machine that you can buy for less than $2,000, at a minimum. You may have luck at a lower price point if you find a used one.
While a 3 wheel pitching machine is a definite investment, we hope it's clear by this point that it's typically an excellent investment for coaches and parents of ballplayers.
If you're not used to looking at professional pitching machines like these, you may experience a bit of sticker shock when you see their price tags.
However, if you work with serious players, then these machines are worth their weight in gold.
That's A Wrap!
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