There are softball real ball pitching machines and the light or small ball pitching machine.
Generally, all softball pitching machines require a batting cage (there are a few exceptions) and most can be purchased with auto-feeders and remote controls for solo player batting practice.
REAL BALL PITCHING MACHINES
These Real Ball Pitching Machines throw game balls or pitching machine balls (aka dimple balls).
There are three major categories of softball pitching machine, one is new:
- Wheel Pitching Machines ($299 – $5000)
- Arm Pitching Machines ($1000 – $3000)
- Compressed Air & Manual Pitching Machines ($189 – $899)
Wheel Pitching Machines
(One Wheel Up To 70 + MPH & Two Wheel Models Up To 100 + MPH)
The wheel pitching machines are the most popular types and are seen in backyards, machine-pitch leagues, high school softball, college softball & indoor training facilities. They consist of a pitching machine wheel(s), a motor to propel the wheel(s), electronics with speed & direction control knobs and a steel frame and tripod. All of these batting machines run on 110v power though many softball fields without power use generators.
Most can be purchased as softball pitching machines, baseball pitching machines & some are available for both sports. Most throw fastballs only but some 1 wheel models add a High School quality curve ball or drop ball. 2 wheel models can throw about any pitch at any speed but are heavier & less portable. Popular options are automatic ball feeders for solo player practice. There are even 3 wheel pitching machines for even more pitch variety and control.
Major Wheel Pitching Machine Brands Include
BATA Pitching Machines (our personal favorite pro lineup) & Heater Pitching Machines (best youth pitching machines, Atec, Jugs, 1st Pitch, Twin Spin, Hack Attack & Homeplate
Arm Pitching Machines
(Iron Mike C-82 Youth & Slowpitch Model 25-65 mph & 25 – 85 mph For All 3 Adult Models)
These are the workhorses of many programs from High school up through the pros. You’ve seen arm pitching machines at the commercial batting cages. Big green hulks of steel with their red lights warning of the impending pitch. They’ve been around for over 50 years and are really quite civilized & simple, once you get to know them.
They are equipped for softball or baseball and can easily be changed if needed.
They only throw a straight fastball & use game balls or (yellow) pitching machine balls. They are accurate at varied speeds of 25 to 85 plus MPH though the Iron Mike C 82 entry-level machine throws 25-65 MPH (it also works well for slow-pitch softball, though the arm throws in an overhand motion). You should cover them during the off-season but really, you never have to move them, they are built like Russian tanks.
Rack Fed or Hopper Fed:
There are two types, one which is rack-fed and will hold 28 softballs or 38 baseballs; the other is the hopper-fed model which holds up to 400 softballs or 600 baseballs.
Major Arm Style Pitching Machine Brands Include
Master Pitching Machine aka Iron Mike & Atec
Compressed Air & Manual Pitching Machines
(Zooka 740 25-60 mph baseball only & Louisville Slugger UPM 45 softball baseball 18-45 mph)
When there’s no power available, you might consider a batting machine propelled by utilizing compressed air (best for handling wet balls &includes internal rechargeable batteries – great for pitching machine leagues or one that propels balls by pressing a foot pedal that loads a heavy spring and is very accurate too.
Major Brands Include
Zooka Pitching Machines & Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine, Ultimate Pitching Machine model UPM 45
LIGHT OR SMALL BALL PITCHING MACHINES
(variable speeds of 25 to 70 MPH)
These machines vary in ability and are most popular using golf ball size plastic, foam or wiffle balls. Some throw various pitches while others require their own specific ball. These small ball pitching machines are great for travel or backyard and many school teams use them to practice indoors. Many real softball and baseball pitching machines can also throw lighter but not smaller diameter balls..
Major Brands Include
Personal Pitcher, Grand Slam Pitching Machines, Heater Slider (baseball only).