Maybe you’re thinking about taking your hitting game up a notch. And whether you like it or not, you can’t always have a pitcher by your side to practice. So, you’ll likely have to end up getting a pitching machine. Problem is – you’re not sure how much it’s going to cost you.
Let me give it to you straight.
Buying the best pitching machines on the market is not exactly cheap. These devices come in different price ranges, and going with the newest and shiniest option is often not a good idea. It will cost you a lot of money which seems impractical if you are simply working on your basics, for instance.
However, the price range of pitching machines is wild. It can go as low as $30 and even as high as $4000-$5000. Crazy, right?
Understanding the different prices at which you can find a pitching machine is essential to set up a budget on your mind. So, you can save up for it and get it whenever it seems the most necessary.
In this article, that is the exact topic I am hoping to cover. By giving you an idea of different price ranges for three of the most popular pitching machine brands, I will help you figure out the perfect one for your needs.
How Much Does a Pitching Machine Cost
These days, you can find a pitching machine on pretty much any budget. The days of having to fork over thousands of dollars for a machine that essentially does the job of a pitcher are long behind us. Sure, a cheaper pitching machine will not feature as many bells and whistles as a professional model, but it gets the job done.
I have divided pitching machine prices into three categories with the most expensive one being the top tier used by professional teams and enthusiasts who really want to stay up to date with the new big thing in the market. To help you get a clearer picture, let me go through the three tiers one by one.
Top Tier: Professional Grade
As I have already said, top-tier pitching machines are aimed at serious athletes looking to push their skills to a professional level. These high-quality pitching machines can cost anywhere from 3000 dollars to upwards of 4000 dollars. But they also offer a lot more functions than the other two tiers.
The upgrade from a mid-tier to a top-tier pitching machine is a big one; as is the bump in pricing. There are many great top-tier pitching machines out there. The Rawlings Pro Line and Hack Attack by Sports Attack are two great choices if you want to go with a top-tier pitching machine.
Let’s take a closer look at the Hack Attack to see exactly what your money gets you.
Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine by Sports Attack
If you have ever been a part of your high school baseball team or watched them practice, then there is a good chance that you have seen a Hack Attack in action. Priced at around 3200 to 3500 dollars price range, this is one of the most popular top-tier pitching machines in the market.
Its velocity range is aimed at professional players or players who are trying to take their skills to the big stage. But velocity is rarely the only thing that matters. The ability of the Hack Attack at throwing different types of pitches like fastball, curveballs, and sliders makes it truly a machine worth picking up.
The three-wheel design of the Hack Attack also lets the batter clearly see how the ball is fed through before pitch to get a read on the pitch which is a good habit to learn when playing against a real pitcher. It can throw fastballs as fast as 100+ miles per hour which is amazing as it can help the batter react to real pitching conditions.
The accuracy of the pitching machine is also quite precise and it will always hit the target that you set up. It comes with a pitch elevation control that lets you throw fly balls as high as 380 feet, line drives, or even groundballs. So you will be able to train your fielders without any issue with this pitching machine.
Since the machine weighs around 175 pounds, you should forget about moving it without a vehicle and that is not a bad thing. Its extra weight comes from the sturdiness of the frame and this is an indication that it will last you a lifetime even when it takes a beating.
If you have the budget and are willing to invest in your players then the Hack Attack can be a good purchase. There are way more expensive options out there, but I felt that the Hack Attack covered a good chunk of the functionalities that you might ever need from your pitching machine.
Mid-Tier: Good Value for the Price
For people who do not want to spend as much money on a top-tier pitching machine, the mid-tier options can offer a great value for the price. Sure, you do give up a bit in terms of performance and flexibility, but unless you are using those premium features regularly, it is not really worth it anyway.
A mid-tier pitching machine can cost you between a thousand to 3000 dollars. Since the price range is quite flexible, you can save a lot of money if you really want to. Personally, I love the Jugs BP1 for a mid-tier unit as it is automated, and comes with a few features that I really love.
Let’s take a closer look at the Jugs BP1 and see what the mid-tier pitching machine is all about.
Jugs BP1 Baseball/Softball Combo Pitching Machine
With a flexible price that often ranges from 1500 to 1700, the Jugs BP1 can be a fantastic investment for anyone who wants to drill their batting or fielding skills with a pitching machine. It is priced a lot lower than some of the high-mid tier products without compromising anything in terms of performance.
Since it is an automatic machine, you do not need an operator to constantly monitor it. It does not come with an automatic ball feeder though, so someone needs to feed the ball into the machine. If that is an issue for you, you could attach just about any auto-feeder to this pitching machine.
The velocity range of the unit is pretty decent for the price. Its upper limit caps out at 70 miles per hour to test the limits of your batters. Not only is it a challenging speed for newbies, but also for some experienced players. On the other end of the spectrum, the slow pitch speed of this unit is around 15 miles per hour.
The thing that I love most about the Jugs BP1 is its 360-degree swivel design. This feature allows you to train your fielders by throwing the ball in any direction from the machine as per your instructions. You can easily adjust the trajectory of the ball using the control panel.
When it comes to portability, it is not as bad as the Hack Attack but is still quite a bit heavy coming in at around 75 pounds. So if you need to move it around from the field to your home, you might be better off using a car. Carrying it around with the help of a friend is also possible by disassembling the legs.
The quality of the frame is pretty durable and should survive any abuse it faces out in the field. It does have a few moving parts, but I have yet to see any of these pitching machines fail when used regularly. The frame is made using high-quality stainless steel, so it should not rust or wear out anytime soon. The Jugs BP1 is a fantastic mid-tier option that can benefit players of all skill levels. However, it does not come with any safety features, so I would advise against letting young players operate it on their own. But under your supervision, your players can get a lot of use out of this pitching machine.
Low-Tier: Affordable and Beginner-friendly
If you are training kids 12 years old or under, then it makes no sense in investing thousands of dollars on a pitching machine. You will need to constantly monitor them and provide input to help them fix their stance or technique. So relying too much on a pitching machine is generally not a good idea.
However, having an entry-level pitching machine to work with when you want to will give you some great opportunities to train their hand-eye coordination. And the low-tier pitching machine gives you an affordable way to do exactly that. These pitching machines do not cost you more than a thousand dollars which makes them a great pickup if you want a beginner-friendly option.
Let’s take a look at the Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine, a fantastic entry-level option at this price range.
Louisville Slugger Black Flame Pitching Machine
Often regarded as the best little league pitching machine, the Louisville Slugger Black Flame comes at an entry-level price ranging between 220 to 260 dollars. Since it is a manual machine, you will not have the luxury of getting a hands-free experience with it. But at this price, you really have nothing to complain about.
The Black Flame features a strong yet lightweight frame that promises reliable performance and a decent range of velocity. It has been my go-to option whenever I am working with little leaguers. And since it can handle almost any type of baseball and softball, I can get a lot of use out of it.
The velocity range of the Black Flame is decent for a beginner though, for an experienced player, the speed of the pitch might be its most limiting factor. It can pitch as fast as around 50 miles an hour. As for slow pitches, you can set it up to pitch at only 18 miles per hour which is quite decent.
Its digital readout display is easy to use and lets you monitor and control the trajectory and speed of the pitch. If you are training your outfielder or infielder, for instance, you can set it up to throw fly balls, ground balls, or line drives.
The throw accuracy of the Black Flame is also pretty excellent, as long as you set it up perfectly. It does have a bit of wobbling issues if it is not secured properly. My advice would be to anchor it down using stakes or sandbags. That way, each pitch will be on target and you will not have to worry about any wobbling.
All these features are great and all, but the one thing where it truly shines is portability. Thanks to its lightweight frame of only 24 pounds, you can easily move it around from one place to another if you need to. It can still take a fair bit of abuse despite its amazing lightweight design.
The only major downside to this unit is that it is a manual model. So without a partner or a coach to operate this device, you will not be able to use it. This however never was a major issue for me as I like to communicate with my players in between pitches.
How Much is a Batting Cage and Pitching Machine
Unfortunately, if you are investing in a pitching machine, there are a few extra expenses that come with it. Accessories such as a batting cage, and an automatic ball feeder can add a lot of versatility to the pitching machine. And you also have to think about buying pitching machine-specific baseballs to use with it.
So, let’s take a quick look at how much each of these accessories might cost you.
Cost of Baseball Pitching Machine Accessories
Nobody likes running around chasing balls unless they are fielding. With a batting cage, no matter how hard your batter hits the baseball coming out of the pitching machine, it will stay inside the cage. It gives you a controlled environment to practice your swings without having to chase after the ball.
A decent indoor batting cage might run you anywhere from 500 to 1500 dollars. If you need larger cages for the open field, it will cost even higher. It is arguably the more important choice in accessories despite costing the most.
Pitching Machine Baseballs
Some pitching machines require special balls designed to use with them. These unique balls feature a slightly different construction which lets them be more accurate or simulate real curves of a pitch when used with a pitching machine. Though some machines can use real baseballs, using a pitching machine-specific (if that’s how it works) ball is usually the better idea.
Thankfully, buying a set of pitching machine baseballs should not be too difficult. If you are on a budget, you can find a pair of decent balls for about 20 to 30 dollars. However, for more serious athletes, there are a couple of fantastic choices that cost just under a hundred dollars.
Automatic Ball Feeder
Another accessory that might add a bit more versatility to your automatic pitching machine is a ball feeder. It will let you practice solo without requiring a partner or a coach to feed the ball into the pitching machine. Most top-tier pitching machines come with their own automatic ball feeder.
But if you are going with a mid-tier automatic pitching machine, it can be a good idea to invest in an auto feeder. However, it is not cheap. So, if you have to choose between a batting cage or a ball feeder; I would recommend going with a batting cage. As for the price, you can pick one up at around 500 to 1000 dollars.
A pitching machine can be a great investment if you are planning to use it regularly in your training.
Learning how to use a pitching machine effectively can help you accelerate the rate of progress of your batters and fielders making you more capable as a coach.
With a clear picture of the pricing, you can decide which unit you want to buy and set up a realistic budget. Personally, I would always recommend going with a mid-tier pitching machine as it offers the best value if you can afford it. I hope I could make the entire process a bit easier for you. Good luck!