The Lobster Elite Liberty is the best selling tennis ball machine on Amazon and one of the more popular ball machines on the market. It can be found for an unbeatable price and free shipping here on Amazon.
Let me explain the key features to you.
Portability, Size and Ball capacity
The Lobster Elite Liberty tennis ball machine weighs 35 pounds (15.8 kg). It’s dimensions are 21 x 14 x 21 inches. At this size, I had no problem loading the machine into my car.
The handle folds down and the gray plastic bin can be turned upside down, to make it more compact (see picture). The wheels and handle on this machine make it very easy to push around the court.
The ball capacity of this machine is 150 balls.
Spin and Max Speed
Unlike the Lobster Elite Freedom, the Lobster Elite Liberty has the ability to control the spin. It can do both topspin and backspin (or flat).
The spin setting can be adjusted anywhere from -4 (max backspin) to +4 (max topspin) and anywhere in between, including flat feeds.
And it can shoot balls anywhere from 20 to 80 MPH.
Keep in mind that the more topspin or backspin you add, the slower the feed.
For this reason, I don’t like hitting with the max amount of topspin or backspin as it slows down the feeds too much for me. Personally, when I’m hitting topspin groundstrokes I like to keep the spin setting on +2 and speed setting at 80 MPH, or if I’m doing backspin I will put it on -2 at 80 MPH.
One thing I noticed is that on the Lobster Sports website it lists the max speed at only 70mph, however on the Amazon page it lists the max speed at 80mph. On the actual control panel of the Liberty Elite the max speed goes up to 80mph. Bottom line is don’t let the Lobster Sports website fool you, the max speed is 80mph.
And in order for it to achieve the max speed of 80mph it has to be on the flat setting, as I mentioned previously the spin slows down the feeds.
Random Horizontal Oscillation
The Lobster Elite Liberty has the option to feed balls randomly from side-to-side. With the horizontal oscillation feature enabled, feeds reach both corners of the court as well as everywhere in between.
I wish this machine was able to adjust how far right or left the balls go. When I was at the net hitting volleys, I was not able to reach every ball because the angle was too wide. Some would go right past me. Fortunately, I was able to fix this problem by moving the machine closer to the net to reduce the angle.
Overall, this is a must-have feature because it allows you to alternate between forehand and backhand feeds.
The feed rate is 2 to 12 seconds, meaning that it can feed balls as quickly as once every 2 seconds or as slowly as once every 12 seconds. This is a good range. I’ve found that the max feed rate setting of 2 seconds is great for practicing volleys (as I show in my video).
The elevation knob is found on the right hand side of the ball machine.
The elevation can be adjusted anywhere from 0 to 50 degrees. To lower the height of the feed, turn the elevation knob counterclockwise. To make the feed higher, turn the elevation knob clockwise.
Turning the knob all the way clockwise will give you lobs. This setting is good for either hitting overheads or practicing lobs from the baseline. When I was using lobs to practice overheads, the lobs weren’t quite as high as I was hoping for, but still got the job done just fine.
Battery and Charger
The Lobster Elite Liberty tennis ball machine battery lasts about 2-4 on a single charge. It also has some optional features available, a 1-Amp Fast Charger, a 3-Amp Premium Fast Charger and an External AC Power Supply. However, I think that these are unnecessary as the basic charger included did the job just fine for me.
Lobster offers a 2 year warranty. Here is some more info straight from the owner’s manual:
Lobster Sports warrants that each Lobster Sports ball machine purchased will be free from defects in material and workmanship for 2 years from the date of purchase except for the battery and server wheels which are warranted for 6 months. Demonstration models and reconditioned machines have a 1 year warranty. Said warranty to be determined by Lobster Sports at time of purchase. Any part of ball machine which proves to be defective in material or workmanship within the 2 year warranty period will be repaired or replaced at Lobster Sports option with a new or functionally operative part. Warranty extends only to the original customer and may be enforced only by such person.
This warranty does not cover the following conditions: A) Damage resulting from misuse, neglect, alteration, accidents, tampering, abuse, fire, war, insurrection, civil disorder, flood, acts of God or any other casualty; B) Failure of Customer to properly follow operating instructions provided by Lobster Sports at time of delivery; and C) Damage caused by use on circuits or voltages other than indicated on the applicable nameplate.
I made a video that shows the machine in action which you can watch below.
0:17 Topspin backhands
0:43 Topspin groundstrokes
1:31 Flat groundstrokes
2:02 Underspin groundstrokes
2:57 Max underspin groundstrokes
4:31 Rapid fire forehand volleys
5:20 Max topspin baseline lobs
The first drill I do in the video is topspin backhands. For this drill I have the spin setting on +2 (medium topspin) and the speed on 80mph (max speed).
The second drill I do is topspin groundstrokes with the horizontal oscillation feature enabled. Again I have the spin setting on +2 (medium topspin) and the speed on 80mph (max speed).
The next drill I do is flat groundstrokes with horizontal oscillation. I put the spin on 0 (no spin/flat)and the speed on 80mph (max speed). One thing to keep in mind is
For underspin groundstrokes, I put the spin on -2 (medium underpin) and the speed on 80mph (max speed).
Max Underspin Groundstrokes
On this drill, I put the spin all the way on -4 (max underpin) and the speed on 80mph (max speed).
For this drill, I put the spin on +2 (medium topspin) and the speed on 80mph (max speed).
Rapid Fire Forehand Volleys
On the next drill, I again put the spin on +2 and the speed on 80mph (max speed). I adjusted the feed frequency setting all the way to 2 (maximum).
For overheads, I put the spin on +2 (medium topspin) and the speed on 60mph. I also turned the elevation knob as far as it could go clockwise.
Max Topspin Baseline Lobs
For this drill I put the spin on +4 (max topspin) and the speed on 80mph. I also adjusted the elevation knob as far as it could go counterclockwise.
How does The Lobster Elite Liberty compare to similar Lobster models?
The two Lobster models most similar to the Lobster Elite Liberty are the Elite Freedom and the Elite 1.
Lobster Elite Freedom Differences
- $100 less
- No spin control option (which means no topspin or backspin feeds)
I do not recommend the Elite Freedom because it does not have the spin control feature that the Elite Liberty has. For only $100 extra, you can buy the superior Elite Liberty and get to experience a more realistic shot coming to you. Most opponents you face are not going to hit the ball completely flat with no spin, therefore the Elite Freedom is not very realistic.
Lobster Elite 1 Differences
- $190 more
- Elevation range is 0-60 (10 degrees higher than Elite Liberty, which means higher lobs)
- Elevation is electronically controlled (instead of manual knob)
- 7 pounds heavier (worse for portability)
The only thing better about the Lobster Elite 1 is it’s ability to feed higher lobs. If you want to be fed better lobs, have a heavier machine and pay around $200 (not me), then get the Elite 1. Otherwise the Lobster Elite Liberty is by far your best choice.
The Lobster Elite Liberty tennis ball machine is a great ball machine that is superior to both the Elite Freedom and the more expensive Elite 1. It has everything you need in a tennis ball machine. It can control spin, ball speed, elevation, feed frequency and horizontal oscillation. If you want to take your game to the next level and win more matches you should definitely buy the Lobster Elite Liberty Tennis Ball Machine.