Despite the Wilson branding, Wilson Portable tennis ball machines are actually manufactured under a contract with Sports Tutor, the same company that makes the Tennis Twist, Tennis Tutor, Tennis Tower and Shotmaker machines. So it shares many design features with those machines, and even looks quite similar.
Wilson Portable features
The Wilson Portable has a fairly standard set of features for the market segment it occupies, catering to the school/club and recreational market: speed control between 10 and 75 mph, interval control between 1.5 to 10 seconds, random oscillation, varying degrees of spin, and a range of trajectories from groundstroke to lob. Optionally, it also comes with remote control and two-line capability (at additional cost).
One of this machine’s major selling points is its portability. Admittedly at 38lbs including the battery, it’s a bit lighter than most other comparable machines, but you aren’t exactly going to ask your six year old to load it into the car for you, if you know what I mean! (When it comes to tennis ball machines, “portable” is really a euphemism for battery-operated – in other words you’re not dependent on your courts providing a mains electricity supply). While on the subject of power supply, additional power options which you may want to consider are a Fast Charger, or an external AC power adaptor which allows you to run the machine off mains power if it’s available – these do cost extra however.
The Wilson Portable has a built-in handle and wheels to make it easier to move, but a recurring gripe is that the handle doesn’t extend, so you typically have to walk hunched over when pulling it (it’s less than 2 feet high) – not the best way to loosen up those hamstrings before a workout! However, the upside to this is that it’ll fit comfortably into most cars, and also won’t take up too much room in the house, garage or clubhouse.
I’ve heard no major gripes about the machine’s performance, as you’d expect from a company who’s been in the business for as long as Sports Tutor has, and in the end this is the main factor for me. I can put up with a few rough edges as long as it does what it says on the tin – and this machine does.
You can find out more at the manufacturer’s website. Please feel free to share your experiences of the Wilson Portable in the comments section below.