Should you Buy a Used Ball Machine?


 Ball Machines



Looking at buying a used tennis ball machine

    For the cash limited tennis player new ball machines may be outside of their price range so that often leaves trying to find a cheap tennis ball machine by looking for a used one online.  Is this really a good idea?  By buying a used ball machine chances are you don’t get to pick out the best tennis ball machine on the market, you’ll be looking for the best machine you can find currently for sale.  That could limit you to a very small selection and that might prevent you from getting the ball machine that would be best for you.  Used tennis ball machine

    Looking for a bargain in used equipment is great as long as you don’t buy someone else’s problems.  Most ball machines are fairly basic machines so there’s far less to worry about than say buying a used car.  Like a used car trying before buying is always a good idea.  Since tennis ball machines are so simple it’s easy to try out all of its controls to make sure they all function properly.

    Tennis ball machines are both mechanical and electronic machines so you’ll try and exam both areas to make sure that everything is operating properly.  First you will want to check to make sure that every button and knob on the control panel works.  Does it tell the machine what to do correctly and how well does the machine then do the function.   For example does the elevation control work and does it shoot the tennis balls high enough to create lobs?  So most tests are: do the functions work and how well do they work?   But even if the machine is not in perfect working order that might not be a problem if the function is something that you can live without.  For example if the ball machine battery is worn out and you still can use it as an electric ball machine it may still be a usable machine if you were planning only to use it on your tennis court at home.  A top of the line tennis ball machine with a feature or two that doesn’t work might still be a better deal than a new cheap tennis ball machine with features that work poorly.

    Portable tennis ball machines that are battery operated have a part that has a limited life span and that’s the battery.  Rechargeable batteries wear out.  So when buying a used machine you will likely be looking at the expense of replacing an item that can cost between $50-$100. 

    My first tennis ball machine the Prince Model 1 (now known as the SAM P1), was built to last.  The body was built like a tank, but it was the electronics that created a problem for me.  I got a lot of good use out of it but it developed some kind of electronic problem that drained the battery too quickly.  I made a few attempts at shipping the unit back to see if they could fix the problem, but even after replacing the whole control panel (holding most of the electronics) the problem wouldn’t go away.  Someone asked if they could buy my machine from me, but I didn’t want to pass on that hidden problem to someone else so I just gave my machine away to a friend for free with the understanding that he would have to deal with the manufacturer to see if they could fix the problem.

    The point I wanted to make is that even if you do test the machine there still could be hidden problems that you might not find in your test use of the machine.  With my machine I could have bought a new battery and then sold the machine only for the new owner to discover that there’s a problem 6 months later.  When you find a problem that much later, how do you know if it was there when you bought the machine or it might have just developed from your use of the ball machine?

    So knowing what I know about the kinds of hidden problems a ball machine might have I am not a fan of the idea of buying a used tennis ball machine.  On the other hand if the owner is someone you know and trust then a used ball machine might be a really good deal.

    How much should you pay for a used tennis ball machine?   You want to compare it to the price of the same machine new.   A new machine comes with a new battery and a warranty of some kind.  Since you don’t get those items with a used machine you should expect a price that’s at least 70% less than the new price.  And that would only be for a machine that’s still in excellent condition. 

    You are not going to find very many used tennis ball machines for a number of reasons:  

  • Most people will never use their first tennis ball machine enough to be able to justify a newer or better machine.
  • The new features offered are not significant enough to make existing owners want to upgrade their current ball machines.
  • Most players will find it hard to outgrow using even the most basic ball machine.

    Since there’s not a large number of used tennis ball machines for sale, selection will be greatly limited.  So rather than checking tennis ball machine reviews for the best ball machine you should first find out what’s available and then just search for reviews on those ball machines.  A better option for many people is tennis ball machine rental.


    Why Tennis Ball Machine Rental is a better option for some people.


Last Updated: 12/7/09   Site Map

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