Lobster Sports Elite 3 Portable Tennis Ball Machine Review

The Lobster Elite 3 is a mid-range tennis ball machine made by the Lobster tennis ball machine company.

And recently I had the privilege of playing on this exquisite machine for an afternoon of incredible exercise and training, but more on that later. First I thought I would start out with a little bit about the Lobster Elite 3 tennis ball machine.

Lobster Elite 3 Description

The Lobster Elite 3 is Lobster mid-range tennis ball machine. It is a very robust unit with a bright red base and white reversible hopper.

The hopper holds 150 balls and can be detached and reversed to fit snuggly onto the base of the unit, effectively eliminating the hoppers volume for transport. And since the unit weighs only 50 pounds or so, it can be lifted with some effort and carried or placed into a car or trunk if need be.

The unit also comes with a handle and large wheels that make it easy to wheel from the car through the parking lot, grass, gravel, whatever to the tennis court.

I was surprised at how effortless it was to transport the Lobster Elite 3. The bulk of the weight is made up by the battery; which is a necessary evil because plugging in tennis ball machines can be a real pain.

Lobster Elite 3 Features

As I mentioned above the Lobster Elite 3 has a 150 ball capacity that shoots out a tennis ball every 2 to 10 seconds (it’s adjustable). The ball speed can be adjusted anywhere from 10-70 mph and coupled with the adjustable delivery speed you can tailor your workout to just about any level of skill or physical conditioning.

The tennis ball machine has multiple delivery options that include 2 setting oscillation options (narrow and wide) and a vertical oscillation function. This means that the Lobster ball machine can deliver a ball to just about anywhere on the court: baseline or at the net, down the middle or outside by the corners.

It has an option to set it into static mode so you can practice lobs or any other shot for that matter. It also has two spin settings (topspin and backspin) that allow you to practice hitting both types of spin.

The battery life is surprisingly long with it lasting over 3 hours for my session and reports of it lasting for two other (shorter) sessions on top of that before needing a charge.

Being the middle of the road as far as Lobster tennis ball machines go, this unit costs just under $1600.

There are some extra accessories (that can be purchased for an extra cost) such as a faster charger to decrease the time it takes to charge your battery as well as a nice nylon red cover to protect the unit from damage and the elements. Not to mention there’s a sweet remote control options using a key chain fob, but that costs a lot extra and has to be factory installed.

My Lobster Elite 3 Experience

Recently I had the privilege of practicing with a Lobster Elite 3 tennis ball machine for close to 3 hours all together. My brother-in-law is the coach of the local high school’s tennis team.

I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to buy a Lobster Elite 3 for his tennis team and we just had to test it to made sure it worked. We started out just taking it easy doing a few drills on the static setting to warm up a little bit.

As I warmed up I wanted to increase the speed of the ball and delivery speed so it was nice having someone there to change the settings for me. We took turns practicing forehands and backhands and then we let loose and went for the oscillating mode.

Keeping it on the narrower oscillator gave me a pretty good work out as I would have to run from side to side to hit the ball. We tried using the wider setting and that tended to throw the ball outside into the doubles section.

When we finally included the vertical oscillation into the drill, that’s when things go interesting. I was doing really well keeping up with the balls when the machine was just going side to side but the vertical oscillations had me running all over the court and more than a few got by me.

The 150 balls lasted approximately 15 minutes and I can tell you that 15 minutes is more than enough. I consider myself an average player and in pretty good physical condition and I was wiped out after 3 of those sets.

Lobster Elite 3 Pros

The pros of the Lobster Elite 3 were many. The ball delivery was consistent and the ability to change ball speeds and ball frequency made it incredibly easy to tailor the workout to challenge me. I felt like I got some great practice early on just using repetition to improve my form and I got a tremendous workout running back and forth, from close court all the way back to the baseline on our full out rally modes. It was really nice to have the break to pick up the balls as well as the fact that we alternated. I could see playing by myself and having a workout done in 30-45 minutes.

Lobster Elite 3 Cons

The biggest thing that’s wrong with the Lobster Elite 3 is that it’s so darn expensive. At $1600 I could never afford to purchase one on my own (then again, I’m only a casual tennis player). It was nice to play on someone else’s dime.

The only other thing that could be improved is during the last 6-8 balls the balls would trap each other from getting into the delivery queue and they wouldn’t get fired. Now 8 balls out of 150 is barely anything, but you think it’s empty and you still have a few more in there.

Where to Buy Lobster Elite 3 Tennis Ball Machine

The Elite 3 is an expensive unit and it would be nice to get the lowest price on the Lobster Elite 3 tennis ball machine. Shopping around online you’ll find a handful of sites that are a little bit more than $1600. From what I’ve found (when I was wondering if I could afford one) is that Amazon had the lowest price on tennis ball machines. Coupled with free shipping and excellent customer service, purchasing a Lobster tennis ball machine from Amazon is probably your best bet for getting the lowest price.