Robotics has become quite advanced, and robots can do everything from vacuum your home to train ping pong players. Advanced ping pong robots can calculate gameplay with a ‘better-than-human’ result in a way that will not beat the player yet help the player improve his or her game.
If you are serious about learning how to play ping pong well and want something a little more advanced than hitting your ball against a wall, a ping pong robot can help you practice specific techniques to make you a great player.
Ping pong ball machines range from simple ball throwers to more advanced robots that can run drills, adjusting speed, frequency, and spins.
Best Ping Pong Robot
To the rest of the world, ping pong ball robots might seem like a super small niche. But to those who are serious about the game, there are several choices available. From beginner to professional, there are good options at every skill level and price point to build skills and improve your game.
1. Butterfly Amicus Prime
The new Amicus Prime robot offers a full range of interactivity through an app compatible with any Android or iOS device. The machine is capable of a complex table tennis workout, including a variety of spins, trajectories, speeds, and placements. The app comes with pre-loaded drills developed by professionals and coaches in the sport to provide real training right at home.
This ping pong robot produces up to 120 balls per minute with different spin, speed, trajectory, and placement. It is capable of advanced training with in-app support from professional coaches. The manufacturer seems to stand behind this product with a two-year manufacturer warranty and a five-year Megaspin warranty on the robotic mechanism.
Benefits of the Amicus Prime:
- Key fob sized remote connects wirelessly through Bluetooth technology.
- Integrated technique videos and preloaded drills provide additional training support in the app.
- Capable of reversing exercises to practice both left and right-handed techniques.
- Compatible with interval training.
- App-integration offers regular updates on software and firmware to keep your machine running optimally.
Things to consider when looking at this robot:
- With all of the bells and whistles, the Amicus Prime is the top tier of Amicus robots and has a top-tier price tag to match.
- The number of drills that are pre-loaded is significantly fewer than other models (currently 20 exercises), but it is expandable. Memory is only limited by the device that you are running the app on.
- The Amicus Prime is an app-controlled robot and requires a second device like an android tablet or iPhone to operate unless you use the included tablet device. No details are available on the included tablet. Still, it likely comes with basics for the operating system and memory, limiting the number of drills that you can store on the device.
2. Power Pong 5000
The Power Pong 5000 is the top-tier model from this manufacturer. It offers an optional app for control and training enhancements that is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems. Like all Power Pong models, it provides a wide variety of controls for speed, spin, trajectory, or placement.
The paired app allows for easy programming. Users can adjust placement and trajectory with a drag and drop interface. The app comes with a selection of pre-programmed drills, or user-created exercises can be shared between coaches and players with ease. This robot is capable of launching up to 120 balls per minute for continuous action and operates on pre-programmed drills or random mode.
Benefits of the Power Pong 5000:
- It comes with a catch net and ball picker for continuous play.
- Android/iOS app provides drills and coaching.
- Mirror function for opposite-hand drills.
- Random setting to mimic real play instead of robotic actions.
- Unlimited memory slots for storing drills.
Things to Consider when Looking at this Robot:
- It does not come with a tablet. You will need a separate Android/iOS device to use the app. Players can use the control panel on the machine to operate without the app.
- It comes with fewer pre-programmed drills (currently on 12) than other models, so you will have to create your own or use drills shared by other players.
The Power Pong 5000 is a great option that sets up quickly and is entirely portable. It is convenient for switching between robotic play and human play. And, it comes with a carrying case for portability. The optional hardwired controller offers an advantage over similar models that only provide Bluetooth connectivity.
3. Newgy Robo-pong 2055 Table Tennis Robot
The Robo-Pong 2055 is a good middle of the road option that is still capable of handling 120 balls per minute with a variety of settings for speed, spin, placement, and trajectory. It uses digital programming, which makes it faster and more reliable than many of the analog models on the market. It comes with 64 pre-programmed drills and optional upgrades to PC features to download additional training.
The Robo-Pong 2055 is Newgy’s best option for a professional-quality robot. The digital control panel is available in six languages to reach a wider audience. While it doesn’t have the functionality of full in-app integration, it is the next best thing at a more pleasing price point.
Benefits of the Robo-Pong 2055:
- The digital control panel offers speed and precision without requiring a secondary device like a tablet or smartphone.
- Multiple spin settings, including combinations.
- The random setting for more natural gameplay.
- A wide selection of pre-programmed drills.
Things to Consider when Looking at the Robo-Pong 2055:
- No app is available to support enhanced training options. PC required to download additional drills.
- One year limited warranty + 30-day money-back guarantee is not as extensive as some other manufacturers.
- No wireless remote. All functions controlled through a digital display on the machine.
The Robo-Pong offers the most versatility at a mid-range price. You can do a lot with full variable control over spin, speed, placement, timing, and oscillation. It is a reliable robot that seems to work well with no jamming or obvious defects. If there is an issue, rest assured that the manufacturer offers additional warranty support to take care of your investment.
4. IPONG Trainer Motion
The IPONG trainer is a good entry-level trainer for both beginners and casual enthusiasts. It offers an easy, battery-powered setup that is completely portable. It features five settings to control topspin, backspin, no spin, oscillation, and frequency. All settings are controlled with a wireless remote.
At the most affordable on our list, the IPONG Trainer Motion is a great choice for an entry-level model. It might not offer all of the customization or technology features of the higher-priced models, but it does offer just enough variety to make it a meaningful trainer.
Benefits of the IPONG Trainer Motion:
- Good, entry-level machine for kids or beginners who are just learning the game.
- Upgraded motors and gears from previous versions improve performance on the longevity of this machine.
- Easy set up is ready to play in minutes. No technical programming required.
Things to Consider when Looking at the IPONG Trainer Motion:
- It does not come with a catching net to stop balls. Instead, the manufacturer provides a scoop net to aid in retrieving balls.
- It holds up to 100 balls and launches up 70 per minute, or roughly about half of the capacity of higher-end models.
- Jams and finicky settings are a little more common with this lower-end model. But if you are looking for something budget-friendly, useful, and easy to set up, then the trade-off might be worth it.
The IPONG Trainer Motion does not have all of the bells and whistles of the more expensive robots, but it is perfectly capable. As an entry-level machine, it may be a little more touchy, but rest assured that the customer support and warranty for this machine are impeccable.
5. Paddle Palace Robot H2W Touch Pro
The H2W Touch Pro offers a decent amount of versatility in the type of spin, placement, and oscillation that it can throw. It comes with 30 built-in drills and the ability to program your drills. It can produce variety for top-level training but lacks app integration that is common with robot models at this price point.
Several features in this robot are designed to simulate real gameplay with a human opponent. One feature includes a spin indicator that displays before the ball is launched, helping players anticipate what is coming. In real gameplay, certain non-verbal clues usually identify the type of ball that is coming.
Benefits of the H2W Touch Pro:
- The LCD touch screen is easy to navigate.
- Serve and volley in the same training sequence for more realistic gameplay.
- Variety of spins in the same sequence available.
- Choose between controlled, random, or programmable oscillation.
Things to Consider when Looking at the H2W Touch Pro:
- No wireless controller or Bluetooth connectivity. All functions are controlled from an LCD touchscreen.
- No Android/iOS apps to download additional training sequences or connect with coaches. Limited technology for this price point.
- One year manufacturer warranty is not as robust as other models at this price point.
How to Choose a Table Tennis Trainer Machine
Shopping for the best ping pong robot is like any other product purchase. Consumers want to find the best value for their money. With prices starting in the $300 – $400 range and exceeding more than $2000 in some cases, a ping pong ball machine is a significant investment.
Ping pong robots have several different names, including table tennis robots, ping pong machine, or ping pong launcher. Basic models will offer enough options for beginners or children to practice basic techniques. More advanced, and likely more expensive options, provide an array of settings to throw more balls, with more variety to really practice techniques and test equipment.
Why Do You Need a Robot?
Ping pong or table tennis is a popular 20th-century game from England. Today, it is most prevalent in Asian countries who often have professional-level leagues and dominate the event in the Olympics.
While casual players are not likely to need a ping pong robot, anyone who takes the game seriously could benefit from even a basic model. Ping pong might seem like a simple game, but at professional levels, it is a fast-paced exchange of backspins, topspins, and agile footwork.
Top-level players benefit from more than just practicing one-on-one or hitting a ping pong ball against a wall. Ping pong ball machines can run drills to practice using new equipment, learn footwork, and handle different types of hits.
Important Features of a quality Table Tennis Robot
Ping pong ball machines run the gamut in price and capability. What is the best value for the money is going to be different depending on the intent and skill-level of the player. Before we can compare which machines are better or worse, let’s take a look at what they can do.
Ball capacity refers to how many balls the machine can hold, which translates to how often you will have to stop to reload it. Entry-level machines seem to fall in the 100 or less ball capacity while professional-grade machines can handle well over 200 balls.
Possibly more important than ball capacity is the ball return mechanism. Basic models have virtually no mechanism for retrieving and feeding balls. This means that players will spend a significant amount of time picking up balls in between drills.
Unless you are just looking for new and exciting ways to get your steps in, you will want to find a machine that has some sort of a net to catch the balls.
Types of Spin
One of the main reasons that an avid table tennis player might want to purchase a table tennis robot is to improve how they hit balls served to them with different spins. A ping pong ball with a topspin handles differently than a ball with backspin, and the most efficient way to learn the difference is to run drills with a table tennis machine.
Not all machines can produce all types of spin. Similarly, more advanced robots can add variable spin settings so that the receiver is always on their toes and doesn’t learn to anticipate certain types of spins. Understanding the capability of a machine to produce the kinds of throws that you want to practice is a crucial component to selecting the right device.
Remote Control Options
Ping pong robots are typically set up at one end of the table while the player is at the other end. Changing between settings requires the player to travel back and forth in between drills unless they have a remote. Technology affords us the option to have models with either no remote, a wired remote, or a wireless remote. A wireless remote option is the most convenient but is not always available on lower-end models.
Ping pong robots are available in either A/C power that plugs into an outlet or battery-powered that affords wireless mobility but requires charging. The best option for how your ping pong ball machine is powered depends mostly on the space you will use it in. It would be best if your model could convert to either A/C or battery power. But if that is not an option, consider if it is more important to you to have access to an outlet or portability.
It may not seem like it by watching a simple game of ping pong, but there are some complexities to honing your gameplay. Some of the best table tennis robots are capable of shooting balls from a variety of directions, with different spins, speeds, and consistency. An entry-level machine will likely have much more limited options.
We would like to pretend that money isn’t a factor when choosing the ‘best of’ something, but the reality is that your budget is an essential factor. Ping pong ball machine manufacturers have various models available at different price points to meet consumer demand. There are good options at every price point, so identifying your budget and sticking with it are important steps to your overall satisfaction with your purchase.
If you are in the market for a ping pong robot, there are many things to consider. But the most important is your skill level as a player and what you want to work on. A decently skilled player looking to perfect footwork does not have the same needs as someone new to the game.
Choose the right model based on your needs compared to the robot’s capabilities. An entry-level model will not likely include advanced ball catch and feed mechanisms. Those features come essentially standard on the higher-end models. But even relatively inexpensive models can offer a variety of drills, including different spins, speed, oscillation, and placement.
Hey! , I am Roland Campbell , a recreational table tennis player for over 5 years and counting. I do a lot of research on table tennis (Ping Pong) and publish my findings here at Pingthatpong.
Michael Brines says
What is the best robot to buy and easiest to set up and I take off. I have grandchildren and experienced adults
Roland Campbell says
Hi Michael, thank you for your question. We’ve always been big fans of the Newgy robots, which are very good and offer a strong value. Especially if you and your family aren’t highly competitive table tennis players and just want something that works really well and isn’t had to figure out, it’s hard to go wrong with the Newgy brand. Specifically, this model is very compelling. If you can spend about 25% more, this model really offers a lot, especially for those that want to train seriously and can enjoy the additional features & capabilities.