Top 15 Questions About Pitching Machines [ANSWERED]

This article gives clear answers to some of the most common questions about pitching machines.

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questions about pitching machines

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15 Common Questions About Pitching Machines - Answered!

Pitching machines can have a lot of different variables to them.

Especially if someone is considering purchasing a machine, it can get confusing.

What do all of the terms in the product description mean?

How do I get it to run?

Is it even worth the hassle of getting a machine?

We get it. We know it's easy to get lost among the sea of pitching machine details.

That's why we put this brief article together - to answer some common questions that coaches, parents and players have.

In the next section, you'll see a list of 15 questions about pitching machines and answers to those questions.

junior hack attack point of view

Questions (and Answers) About Pitching Machines

Are pitching machines worth it?

Yes, pitching machines are worth it if a person wants to be a better hitter (or fielder!).

They are an effective way to get in a large number of swings and to practice hitting with live pitching, which has a ton of benefits whether someone plays baseball, fastpitch softball or slowpitch softball

They are a great training tool, and are, in fact, one of the best tools a hitter can have in their toolset. 

Are pitching machines good for batting practice?

Yes, pitching machines are good for batting practice. Why? Because they simulate high-quality, accurate pitching at a large volume. 

Pitching machines allow hitters to get in rep after rep at the plate without unnecessarily wasting the arm of one of the pitchers on the team.

How fast do pitching machines throw?

The speed that pitching machines are capable of varies depending on the model and type of pitching machine a person uses. 

As a very general rule of thumb, cheap pitching machines do not throw very hard, nor do those that are designed exclusively for youth players. 

High-quality pitching machines - like most 3 wheel pitching machines - can often deliver accurate pitches in excess of 90 mph.

So in short, pitching machines are generally capable of throwing as slow as 20 mph and as fast as 90 mph, though capability really depends on the model.

Can pitching machines throw curveballs?

Yes, certain pitching machines are able to throw curveballs.

Machines that are able to do so tend to have at least two wheels. All three wheel machines are able to, such as those made by Sports Attack.

To determine whether or not a pitching machine can throw curveballs, check out the product details on a two or three wheel device.  

Can a pitching machine throw a knuckleball?

Yes, a few pitching machines are able to throw knuckleballs, though they are still fairly rare compared to all the different machines in existence. 

A good example of a pitching machine that is able to throw knuckleballs is the Junior Hack Attack.

junior hack attack 3 wheel pitching machine
Picture of a Junior Hack Attack machine

How much are pitching machines?

From prices as low as $50 and as high as $14,000, the cost of pitching machines can vary dramatically. 

For example, cheap wiffle ball-throwing kids pitching machines can be purchased for $50 or less. 

On the other end of the spectrum, there are high-end, high-tech pitching machines that can run as high as $14,000 brand new. 

Many coaches and parents view pitching machines as an investment and opt to buy a higher-priced machine, knowing that they are paying for quality and durability. 

The good news is that you don’t have to pay $14,000 for machines like this, and that exceptional pitching machines can be found in the $1,000 - $3,000 range. 

To see more real-world examples of pitching machine prices, check out our articles on the topic.

How much is a batting cage and pitching machine?

Combination batting cages and pitching machines can vary in cost depending on the product or model in question. 

The top choice that we recommend currently costs around $1,200, which gets a person everything they need to build a functioning batting cage with a pitching machine in one package. 

Another option is for a person to purchase a batting cage and pitching machine separately. 

What is a 3 wheel pitching machine?

A 3 wheel pitching machine is a type of pitching machine that uses three wheels - or tires - operated by three independent motors that work in tandem to deliver pitches. 

They are superior pitching machines in that the 3 wheel design gives them the ability to throw highly accurately, with speed, while utilizing the widest variety of pitch types in the process. 

For more information on these types of machines, see our post on the top three wheel pitching machines.

jugs bp3 3 wheel pitching machine
The Jugs BP3 three wheel machine

What is a 2 wheel pitching machine?

A 2 wheel pitching machine is a type of pitching machine that uses two wheels (also called tires) that work together to throw pitches.

Most two wheel machines are good quality and most can throw the ball pretty hard.

Similarly, a 1 wheel pitching machine is a type of machine that throws the ball using only one wheel or tire.

Can pitching machines be used for defensive practice?

Yes, pitching machines can absolutely be used to practice defense. 

By adjusting the horizontal angle of most machines, a person can tilt it up to throw massive pop flies or down to throw ground balls, or for catchers to practice blocking.

It's also a good tool for catchers to get in extra receiving practice behind the plate.

The versatility that pitching machines offer proves its value to coaches and players. With one machine, a player can work on all aspects of their game.

vanderbilt baseball drills
Vanderbilt baseball uses an ATEC machine for outfield drills

What types of balls can a pitching machine use?

The type of balls that a pitching machine can use depends on the machine.

Some pitching machines only throw wiffle balls; some only throw dimpled pitching machine balls; still others can throw both leather baseballs and softballs as well as pitching machine-specific balls.

Always look at the details of the product to understand what a particular machine is able to throw.

What type of power do pitching machines require?

Premium, high-quality pitching machines typically require standard, 110v electrical power to work.

Most people either use a generator or run an extension cord to an electrical outlet to power their pitching machine.

A small number of machines (that can still throw hard) are able to be powered by using a separate battery pack, such as the Zooka ZS740.

Many smaller kids-focused pitching machines - especially those that throw wiffle balls - are powered using C batteries.

How heavy are pitching machines?

The weight of pitching machines varies with the machine.

Small, wiffle ball throwing machines - the type designed for kids at t-ball age - are very lightweight at around 5 pounds. 

One wheel pitching machines are usually between 45 - 75 pounds, and two and three wheel machines tend to weigh around 75 pounds on the low end and 150 pounds on the high end.

Large, commercial pitching machines can weigh 600 pounds or more.

Do MLB teams use pitching machines?

Yes, MLB teams use pitching machines.

They use them for both offense-related and defensive practice. One of the most common machines that big league teams use is the Junior Hack Attack

For example, the below picture shows San Francisco Giants coach Alyssa Nakken using the Jr. Hack Attack pre-game in 2021.

alyssa nakken pitching machine
The Giants use a Junior Hack Attack pitching machine (source: Getty Images)

What are some of the primary pitching machine brands?

Some of the most well known pitching machine brands are Jugs, Sports Attack and Heater Sports.

Other pitching machine brands that are pretty well known include Iron Mike, ATEC and Spinball. 

There are, of course, more brands in the market, but these are some of the most well known players. 

That's A Wrap!

We hope we were able to answer some of your questions about pitching machines with this article.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us.

Thank you for stopping by Catchers Home!

Scott Perry is the owner and lead author at Catchers Home. He's a former baseball player, a current coach, a husband and a Dad. He remains as passionate about baseball today as he was as a kid.