The Lobster Sports Family has been making tennis ball machines for decades. With the emergence of pickleball as a sport that’s massively growing in popularity, Lobster Sports has built a pickleball machine that lives up to the company’s brand and high standards. The Pickle by Lobster Sports is a lightweight, compact, and easy to operate pickleball machine that’s perfect for beginners and more serious players alike.
All About The Pickle By Lobster
The Lobster Pickleball Machine is one of the newer ball machines on the market. It’s a full-featured pickleball machine packed into a lightweight, highly portable package. The Pickle by Lobster is made in the USA and is designed to be a high-volume machine based on all the great features that make it one of the best-selling machines on the market today.
- All About The Pickle By Lobster
- Lobster Pickleball Specs
- Lobster Pickleball Optional Accessories & Features
- What’s The Difference Between The Lobster Pickle And The Lobster Pickle Two?
- Cons of the Lobster Pickleball Machine
- Caring For Your Lobster Pickleball Machine
- Lobster Pickleball Machine Warranty
- Pickle By Lobster Price
- How Does The Lobster Compare To Other Pickleball Machines?
- Is The Lobster Pickleball Machine Right For You?
The Lobster offers the unique feature of an inverting hopper, plus the smart design of a folding handle and nice, sturdy large wheels for easy maneuverability. The Lobster is easy to get in and out of your car, lift up over curbs and bumps, and move around the court efficiently. This is a considerable advantage over heavy machines with small wheels that are awkward and clumsy at best to transport and carry.
The Lobster is an excellent choice for both beginners and more advanced players, as it can help you practice and perfect a variety of shots, including its sky-high lob capability. Pickleball players of all levels use this machine as their own personal pickleball coach or when they just want a really great workout.
Lobster Pickleball Specs
- Speed: You can set the feed speed on your Lobster machine to shoot balls at you that reach speeds of 10 mph to a top speed of 60 mph, depending on your skill level and the types of shots you want to practice.
- Feed Time: With Lobster, you can adjust the feed rate on your machine to shoot balls between 2-12 seconds.
- Delay: The Lobster machine features a 20-second delay.
- Oscillation: This machine features random oscillation that moves from side to side. If you’re interested in 2-line oscillation, you’ll want to upgrade to the Lobster 2 model.
- Spin: Both the Lobster and Lobster two are known for being ball machines with a great spin feature. They both offer top and backspin options.
- Elevation: You can adjust the elevation of the Lobster machine manually with a knob. Elevation can be adjusted between 0 and 50 degrees (the Lobster 2 features electronic elevation adjustment).
- Ball Capacity: The stated ball capacity of the Lobster is 135 balls, although many reviews say the realistic ball capacity of the hopper is slightly less.
- Battery Life: The standard battery life is up to 4 hours. If you want more extended playtime, you’ll want to invest in the external battery pack upgrade with the Lobster 2 that extends playtime for 4-8 hours.
- Charging Time: The standard charging time is 12-24 hours, so you’ll want to make sure the battery is all charged up the day before you want to play. If you’re practicing daily, it’s a good idea to just plan on plugging it in and letting it charge overnight. A fast charger add-on is available, which shortens the charge time of the battery to 1-3 hours – a significant improvement if you use your machine regularly.
- Power Options: The Lobster comes with a battery-only power option. The Lobster 2 can be upgraded with optional accessories, including an AC power supply if you want more flexibility in power options.
- Height: You can adjust the height of the Lobster manually using a knob.
- Weight: While most pickleball machines are designed to be portable, some are a beast to lug around. The Lobster is an excellent, lighter-weight portable option that fits easily into most cars. It weighs approximately 35 lbs and features a wheeled base for easy maneuvering.
Lobster Pickleball Optional Accessories & Features
One thing that makes the Lobster pickleball machines a favorite is they offer a good, solid base model with the Pickle, but there’s some flexibility with optional add-on features.
Some of the customizable optional features and accessories that you can add to your pickleball machine by Lobster include:
- Optional Remote Control: The optional remote control is a nice convenience feature. This allows you to control the pickleball machine and the settings without needing to continually walk over to the machine to fiddle with the settings.
- External Battery Pack: The external battery pack adds up to 4-6 hours of run time to your Lobster machine.
- 3 AMP Premium Charger: The Lobster machine comes with a 1 AMP charger, but this upgrade allows you to fully charge your pickleball machine within 3-6 hours.
- Elite Power Pack: If you’re not interested in dealing with your pickleball machine’s battery life limitations, the elite power pack allows you to plug the machine into any outlet for unlimited hours of practice and play. The elite power pack is available with the Lobster 2 ball machines.
What’s The Difference Between The Lobster Pickle And The Lobster Pickle Two?
Lobster Sports Family makes two different pickleball machines – the Lobster and the Lobster 2. The Lobster 2 has a higher price tag than the basic model Pickle by Lobster, but it also comes with a few more features.
The most significant difference when comparing the two pickleball tutor machines is the oscillation. The Pickle by Lobster offers a random oscillation function feature, which oscillates from side to side. Lobster 2 offers both random oscillation and a 2-line oscillation function.
The 2-line oscillation offered by the Lobster two is a nice feature for more advanced players or those looking for a great workout during their pickleball practice. The 2-line oscillation feature will shoot balls to preset locations on the pickleball court.
This is nice if you have a practice partner and you both want to use the pickleball machine at once or if you’re looking for a pickleball machine that helps you master shots, including the drop shot and both backhand and forehand shots.
Cons of the Lobster Pickleball Machine
Even the best pickleball machine is going to have a few cons compared to others on the market, especially when you stop to consider personal preferences. Compared to other top-selling machines, these are a few disadvantages that pickleball players have noted about the Pickle by Lobster.
The first is the material that the Lobster machine is made from. The Lobster’s outer shell and ball hopper are constructed from plastic. This can lead to s shorter lifespan if you use the machine a lot for play on the court, where the machine is exposed to a little more wear and tear. If you like a more durable machine, choose one that’s made from military-grade materials, like the Simon X pickleball machine.
When the Pickle by Lobster was originally launched, it was really the first spinshot player pickleball machine. The amount of spin can be controlled manually on the Lobster control panel. This definitely isn’t a “con” for the machine. In fact, it’s a feature that has made the Pickle by Lobster one of the more popular machine.
The downside is that since it came out, other pickleball machines, like the Pickleball Tutor Plus, have adapted to include the spin feature. This means you can find this feature on other pickleball machines that might come with more of the bells, whistles, and advanced options that you’re looking for.
The Lobster comes with a nice inverting hopper, with specs that say the large hopper holds up to 135 balls. Again, this is a nice feature, but in realistic practics, players claim that the ball capacity is actually much lower – around the 110 ball range. Still, for the price point and portability, even the reduced ball capacity is decent and more than sufficient for the average practice session.
Finally, the last thing that puts a few negative remarks on this pickleball machine by the Lobster Sports Family is the battery life if you don’t opt for any add-ons or upgrades. The standard life of the battery-powered model is only 2-4 hours, whereas the standard battery life of other machines is in the 4-6 hour range.
Caring For Your Lobster Pickleball Machine
A Lobster machine is an investment and one that you want to take good care of to ensure that it lasts a long time and offers endless hours of practice and play. The smart design and easy portability of the Lobster make it super easy to care for. Here are a few tips for taking the best care of your Lobster ball machine.
Lobster Pickleball Machine – How To Clean The Wheels
It’s not at all uncommon for the throwing wheels of your pickleball machine to get a little gummed up and grimey, and the pickleball can leave behind a bit of a residue. This can affect how well and efficiently your Pickle throws balls. Fortunately, the solution to this is pretty easy.
To clean the throw wheels on your machine, according to the Lobster Pickle owner’s manual, the throw wheels can be easily cleaned using just a wire brush to get in there, loosen up the debris, and dust them off.
If your throw wheels need a more thorough cleaning, you can take the machine apart for more detailed maintenance.
First, make sure the machine is off. Then you can take some sandpaper or a sponge with a bit of grit and reach into where the wheels are on your machine. Clean each wheel, going around it 2-3 times with the sandpaper. This method more thoroughly removes debris than a quick swipe with a metal brush.
How to Remove Waxy Buildup On The Lobster Pickleball Machine
The waxy buildup on the throw wheels or rollers can be removed using a wire brush or sandpaper as described above. Pickleballs are notorious for leaving behind some residue as they get thrown about.
For waxy buildup and dust on the outside of the machine, you can use a mild detergent mixed with a little water to wipe down the outer exterior. Repeat until the waxy buildup, dust, or debris are completely removed. Don’t use anything too abrasive on the outer shell and hopper since they’re made of plastic. Using abrasives could not only scratch the surface but also eventually weaken it, leaving it more prone to breakage.
For the inside of the hopper, you can use a vacuum to remove dirt and debris. This is especially important if you use the machine for outdoor play and have things like leaves, dirt, or grass finding their way into your hopper.
On that note, pickleballs transfer a lot of debris from the ground or court into your pickleball machine. It’s always a good idea to wipe down all of your pickleballs to clean them of the debris before loading them into the hopper.
Lobster Pickleball Machine, The Real Pickle – How To Replace The Battery
Much like batteries in everything from your laptop to your car, eventually, the battery in your Lobstare Pickleball Machine will need to be replaced. You can definitely do this yourself, but unfortunately, the owner’s manual doesn’t offer much in the way of instructions for doing so.
If you aren’t comfortable changing the battery yourself, you can send your machine to the Lobster maintenance department, and they will gladly do it for you. When you purchase your machine, it includes a six-month warranty for the battery.
The Lobster does come with a smart charger that trickles as it charges, so you’re not at risk of over-charging your machine and stressing the battery. One more thing to note is that you should always make sure the battery is fully charged before placing your Lobster Pickleball Machine into storage.
Once your machine is in storage, you should never let the battery go more than 3-4 weeks without being turned on or charged. Letting the machine sit is a sure way to shorten the life of your battery and require replacement sooner than normal.
Lobster Pickleball Machine Warranty
Both the Lobster and the Lobster 2 ball machines come with a two-year warranty. However, the warranty for the battery and server wheels is only six months. This is an important thing to note since the battery and server wheels would be the most expensive or labor-intensive repairs on the machine.
Pickle By Lobster Price
Compared to others on the market, the Pickle by Lobster definitely isn’t the least expensive, but it’s also not at the top of the price scale. Currently, Lobster Sports has the Pickle model listed for sale on their website for a little under $1000 (keep in mind that prices can fluctuate without notice).
You can find some good quality pickleball machines below this price point, but if you’re serious about wanting to practice and play pickleball, you don’t want to go below the $700-$800 range for a pickleball machine. Relative to this baseline amount, the Lobster isn’t extravagantly priced.
The Pickle 2 by Lobster carries a more expensive price tag. The extra features of the Lobster 2 ball machine put it in the $1500 range. This price range is at the upper end of what you’ll pay for a pickleball machine that’s not specifically designed and marketed to pickleball coaches and professional players.
How Does The Lobster Compare To Other Pickleball Machines?
The Lobster ranks as a full-featured pickleball machine that offers key features like excellent portability, random oscillation, sky-high lob capability, and a basic model with a large hopper. As part of the Lobster’s smart design, you also benefit from the inverting hopper. At a relatively reasonable price point, the Pickle by Lobster stands up well against any other machine at the same price point, including the Pickleball Tutor Machine.
Pickleball players like the Lobster machine because it’s lightweight and can accommodate a range of practice and play styles. You can adjust the settings so that the Pickle throws balls at varying speeds, intervals, and elevations, making it ideal for really getting in there to master shots that have been causing you grief on the court. The Lobster is also surprisingly durable for having an outer shell and hopper that’s constructed of plastic.
If the Lobster has a weak area, it would be that you really need to level up to the Lobster 2 to get all the functions and features of other full-featured machines. Without upgrading for the optional accessories, the Lobster has a shorter battery life, no remote control option, and no external power source or extension cord. The Lobster also has a long charging time compared to other machines unless you pay more for the fast charger.
The bottom line is that the Lobster is a solid, full-featured pickleball machine that’s a really good option for beginning players and those with some advanced pickleball skill level. Serious players, tournament players, and coaches will likely want to explore other options for more sophisticated and durably designed machines.
Is a pickleball machine worth it?
Pickleball machines are a great practice tool when you’re serious about improving your game. They’re also really nice to have around when you want to play pickleball but don’t have a partner. There’s a decent range of prices for pickleball machines, so if you choose the top quality machine for your budget, the enjoyment you’ll get out of it is definitely worth it.
Will a tennis ball machine work with pickleballs?
Tennis balls and the balls used in pickleball are about the same size, but unfortunately, you can’t just toss some pickle balls into your tennis ball machine. There’s a noticeable weight difference between the two types of balls, so a machine that’s designed to toss the heftier weight of a tennis ball won’t work effectively for pickleball practice.
How long does the Lobster ball machine last?
With the standard battery power, you can expect the Lobster ball machine to last up to 4 hours, although reviewers claim that the battery lasts between 2-4 hours, with 4 hours being the max. You can purchase an external battery pack that extends playtime for up to 6-8 hours.
How do you use a pickleball machine?
Pickleball machines can be used for solo practice or when you feel like playing a game of pickleball but don’t have an available partner. The Lobster Pickle throws balls at you one ball at a time, with the help of the machine’s throw wheels. You can adjust the settings with a remote control to tailor your practice to the types of shots you want to master. If you’re up for a great workout, you play until you’ve had a chance to hit all the balls that were placed in the hopper.
Is The Lobster Pickleball Machine Right For You?
The Lobster Pickleball Machine is a good, solid machine for emerging and more technically advanced pickleball players. It’s lightweight, has a nice large hopper, a top speed of 60 mph. There are others on the market that compare, like the Pickleball Tutor Machine and the Simon X, but for the price and features, the Lobster ranks high on the list.
If you’re interested in purchasing a new pickleball machine, it’s a smart idea to compare the features and price points of several, deciding which works best for you, not only right now but also for the pickleball player you hope to become.