This brief article reviews four different wiffle ball pitching machines, each of which are top picks for various categories that matter to players and their parents.
Our top overall pick can be found HERE. Scroll down to read more about this machine and others...
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Best Wiffle Ball Pitching Machines
Wiffle ball pitching machines are a great practice tool, especially for young baseball and softball players.
The first pitching machine I ever owned was a wiffle ball machine, which I got one Christmas morning when I was a kid. I remember using it a lot - I loved that thing!
I now have a young son of my own. Although a tee was what he first used to learn how to hit, he’s now at the point where the next “phase” of his development as a baseball player is to have him practice off a wiffle ball pitching machine.
So, I set off to research all the different products on the market. I looked at things like each machine’s quality, longevity, features, ease of use, speed, and price.
Below are the results of all that research. You’ll find my top wiffle ball pitching machine recommendations based on certain categories like best overall, top budget pick and the one with the most features.
Keep scrolling to learn more!
Quick Note About Ball Type
For this particular review, I look at pitching machines that throw more than just "traditional" plastic wiffle balls.
I also consider machines that pitch foam balls since the purpose of these balls is similar to wiffle balls.
Meaning, that both ball types don't hurt, and they shouldn't break any windows. For this reason, I consider wiffle balls and foam balls to be the same for all intents and purposes.
Best Wiffle Ball Pitching Machines
Best Overall: SKLZ Lightning Bolt
My pick for the best overall wiffle ball pitching machine is the SKLZ Lightning Bolt.
One of the first things you'll notice on this machine is that it has a long, clear tube at the top that holds up to 26 foam balls at a time.
It pitches balls at up to 30 mph and does so automatically every 5 seconds until the tube empties.
Speed can be simulated to be even faster if the machine is moved closer to the batter.
A neat thing about the Lightning Bolt is that the tube can be popped out and used to pick up the balls without having to bend over.
Speaking of the balls, this machine uses special foam balls made by SKLZ called "Bolt Balls". They're bright yellow and are smaller than normal baseballs, with about a 4 inch circumference.
It runs using 6 C batteries or it can be plugged into a power source with a separate AC Adapter.
We like this machine a lot because it's higher quality than entry level wiffle ball products, it has some decent speed to it, and it's still very affordable. All these things combined make it my top choice.
Still, it's not perfect. Some cons about the Lightning Bolt that I've researched include varied pitch location and the base experiencing some "walking" after multiple pitches.
Video Overview of the SKLZ Lightning Bolt
Machine with the Best Features: MaxBP Original
The most premium wiffle ball pitching machine on the market - which just so happens to have some really cool features - is the MaxBP.
At first glance, it kind of looks like a big black bucket on top of a tripod.
Upon further investigation, you'll see that it's much more than that.
The MaxBP throws fastballs and curveballs (from both right hand and left hand vantage points) using small wiffle balls across multiple speeds.
Speaking of speed, it can throw up to 140 mph (!) and as slow as 30 mph, though pitch speed can be adjusted by moving the machine closer or further.
Throwing that fast with small, lightweight wiffle balls means that the ball can have unpredictable movement on it. As a result, the MaxBP Original is a phenomenal tool for improving reaction time and hand eye coordination.
In fact, multiple NCAA baseball programs and even some major league teams are known to work with MaxBP machines.
A few other important facts to know about the MaxBP Original include:
- It comes with 96 wiffle balls made for the machine.
- The automatic pitch timer is flexible and can be set to throw every 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 seconds.
- It's super portable and only weighs about 12 pounds.
- You can continuously drop balls into the top of the machine while it's running. In theory, it could run for hours throwing one pitch after another.
- Its standard power is an AC plug.
- It must be used with a tripod.
- The MaxBP has a lot of optional add ons you can buy such as a tripod, battery pack, attachment for pop ups, a bag for the machine, and more.
If you or your child are serious about becoming a better hitter, then the MaxBP Original is a solid investment to make. It should pay off for years to come.
Video Demonstration of the MaxBP
Top Pick for Affordability: Franklin Sports Kids Pitching Machine
If you're looking for good wiffle ball pitching machines and your top concern is budget, then look no further: Franklin's Kids Pitching Machine is a great option.
Though it's super affordable, it gets all the basics right.
For example, it has a ball chute that can hold up to 9 balls at a time.
It throws the ball at three different speeds: 10, 15 and 20 mph. Of course it can seem faster if the machine is moved closer to the hitter.
The Franklin Kids Pitching Machine has a timed release every 7 seconds and features a red warning light that flashes right before the ball is released.
It can also be adjusted to three different vertical angles which allows the ball to be released higher or lower. That in particular is a cool option that can come in handy if you also want to do some defensive drills.
This pitching machine runs on 4 C batteries (which need to be purchased separately) and it exclusively uses Franklin's foam baseballs.
It comes with 4 balls, but of course more can be picked up if needed.
Close-up of the Ball Release
Best Cheap Machine for Toddlers: Franklin Kids Electronic Pitching Machine
If you have a kid that's toddler age up to T-ball and you want a cheap wiffle ball pitching machine to play with, I think the Franklin Kids Electronic Machine is your best bet.
It's really similar to the Franklin Kids Machine mentioned above in that it has many of the same features.
For example, it can hold up to 9 balls in the chute, it releases balls every 7 seconds, it can adjust at three different angles and it has a flashing red light before the pitch comes.
The main differences between this machine and the one above is that this one:
- Is cheaper
- Uses wiffle balls
- Uses 6 D batteries (not included)
- Is smaller and lighter
- Does not have variable speeds
- Feels a bit more "cheaply" made
Still, with so many pitching machines on the market today commanding top dollar, you don't have much to lose with buying a crazy low priced machine like this one - that actually works!
One quick note: this pitching machine comes with 6 wiffle balls. However, I've found that it's best to use a plastic bat with this one because a metal bat can deform the balls pretty easily.
Video Demonstration of the Franklin Machine
Additional Pitching Machine Resources
There are lots of different pitching machine models out there, some of which are downright impressive. These models include machines that throw real leather baseballs or softballs and accurately throw many different pitch types at speeds topping 90 mph.
If you'd like to learn more about other pitching machines on the market, we encourage you to check out one or more of the various articles we've written about pitching machines linked to below:
That's A Wrap!
If you're a player or parent looking for wiffle ball pitching machines, then I hope this review was helpful for you.
Feel free to reach out if you have any follow-up questions or comments. I can be reached by email at scott (at) catchershome (dot) com or by sending a note through the contact page.