What is a tennis ball hopper?
Have you ever seen a ball hopper before? You might have seen them on the side of tennis courts. In essence, hoppers are a portable basket that you can move around the court and collect tennis balls with.
Most of the best tennis ball hoppers have handles or “legs” that you can use to either carry the basket around the court or stand it upright.
To collect tennis balls all you need to is grab the hopper by the handles and push down when you are directly over the ball you want to pick up. The hopper will squeeze the ball through the gaps in its frame (usually the hopper is made out of wire) and the ball ends up in the basket section.
In most of the best tennis ball hoppers, the handles have a dual purpose. By flipping them down, you can actually stand the hopper up. This puts the ball hopper at around waist height which makes it much easier to get the tennis balls out of it.
You will be absolutely amazed at how much more quickly you’ll be able to pick up balls with a great ball hooper! It can save a lot of time and effort which allows you to get back to what you love to do: playing tennis!
If you’re debating whether you need a ball hopper or not, just think about how much you plan on playing or practicing. You’ll be able to pick up 10x as many balls in way less time than you would if you were doing it by hand.
That’s why if you’re coaching tennis or plan on practicing tennis a lot, you need to get a great tennis ball hopper.
Choosing the Best Tennis Hoppers
As with every product, there are characteristics that distinguish the best from the worst. Look at this buying guide below if you’re in the market for one of the best tennis ball hoppers.
As it will be getting a lot of regular use, it is important that the hopper you buy is well made and durable. The traditional material they are designed from is wire but you can find some such as the Pete Sampras Tourna 80 made from polypropylene instead.
While there are advantages to each material, the main consideration is that they are rugged and will stand up to the job in hand. If you remember this when purchasing, then you will get the correct choice for you.
Another point to take into account is buying a hopper that is easy to move around the court with. After all you don’t want to lugging round something that you can barely carry! The whole point of getting a hopper is that it’ll save your back!
After a lot of experience with heavy ball hoppers, trust me, you will want a hopper that is lightweight enough to carry around a tennis court with ease.
Tennis ball hoppers are not only useful for collecting balls with but also for storing them in when collected. As such, you will want to find one that has handles that lock down as legs so it can stand up and be used for this purpose on court.
This is a small feature but man oh man does it make a difference on the court! It’s much easier to grab balls from a hopper with legs than to constantly reach down and pick up tennis balls from the ball hopper. Save your back and get one of the best tennis ball hoppers with legs.
This may not be something everyone has to worry about but most of us are on a budget so price becomes important. As with everything, there is a wide range of products at various prices out there to choose from though.
Even if the actual price is not a concern you still want to make sure you get something that gives value for your money, whatever you pay for it.
5 Best Tennis Ball Hoppers
So, which hoppers give you best value for money along with the usability and durability? We rundown five of the best for you to try out:
1 Wilson 75 Tennis Ball Hopper
The Wilson 75 is a superb tennis ball hopper especially for those on a budget. It will hold 75 tennis balls which is a respectable amount and the no spill lid will ensure they stay in the basket once collected. It is lightweight compared to others on the market so easy to carry and move around the court.
Made from durable plated steel, the construction is good and it is easy to put together. A nice touch is that it’s compact and can even be folded down for storage if required. The handles also convert into legs if needed on court which is a great feature.
This is one of the lowest cost ball hoppers on the market but also one of the greatest quality. That’s why it comes in #1 on our list of best tennis ball hoppers.
2 Gamma Sports Tennis Ball Hopper
This is a great product and one that competes with the Wilson 75 as they are similar in features. The Gamma hopper holds an impressive 75 balls also making it ideal for coaches and teachers.
The Gamma is made from carbon steel wire with a diamond clad weather resistant coating. This makes it very durable and will keep it good as new for years.
Easy to carry around, the handles feel good in your hand and make it a pleasure to use. The handles also fold down into legs to allow you to stand it in one position on court.
There is a lid included to stop any balls escaping once collected – this is a great idea as no-one wants to be chasing balls around they have already picked up!
A unique floating wire design is incorporated into the frame making it super easy to pick the balls up. All in all, this is a great product from Gamma who are a respected name in the sport.
3 Tourna Pete Sampras Ballport
What a legend Pete Sampras was! Widely considered one of the best tennis players ever, he has a few products with his name on and this is one of them. Now just because he was a great player doesn’t automatically mean he makes great kit but it is usually the case.
This hopper is no different as is fantastically well designed and constructed. Made from tough polypropylene this thing is hard as nails and will last for years. It won’t rust or have joint welds to break like the hoppers made from steel or wire due to the material it’s made from.
Easy and quick to set up, this will hold 80 balls so plenty for taking a lesson with or running a practice session. The handles lock into place when up or down as legs so you know it is secure and won’t be moving anywhere.
Collecting balls with this hopper is very simple as there is a floating bar system at the base to allow the balls to be picked up easily and without scuffing them.
4 Hoparazzi Pro Elite 125 Ball Hopper
Not a name known to everyone, Hoparazzi has delivered a top-notch piece of gear here. It has a slightly larger capacity than the ones we have looked at before, holding 125 tennis balls. This makes it a great choice for the tennis coach or teaching professional.
A sturdy wire constructed hopper, this comes in a range of bright colours so you can choose one that you like best. A nice touch with this hopper is that it comes with wheels on the bottom to make it easier to transport from your car onto the court.
The handle height is adjustable also so you can get it just right for you and ease any stress on your body from carrying it.
As with the others we’ve looked at, the handles convert into legs that lock into place making it strong when standing in one place. This is a great feature as it allows it to stand up securely on one side of the court making access to the tennis balls easy.
5 Gamma Ball Mower 350
Now this won’t be for everyone but it’s so darn cool I had to include it. On top of that, it’s just a fabulous piece of equipment that ticks all the boxes in terms of the job we want it to do.
Let’s get the main drawback out of the way first, it’s very expensive so probably not suitable for the individual or amateur player. But for a tennis club or more serious tennis player, then it could well be a good option.
As the name implies, this is shaped like a standard lawn mower and will hold 350 balls at a time. If you need a large capacity then this is the hopper for you.
This is obviously great at saving you time as are the arms that spread out 47 inches to pick the balls up. This width of spread means you can collect more balls in less time.
The design on this hopper is superb – made from aluminium, it will last a lifetime and stand up to the rigors of the job in hand. This is a great looking and cool piece of machinery and one that you may feel is worth the extra money for the benefits it brings.
Best Tennis Ball Hoppers: Afterthoughts
If you don’t use a tennis ball hopper at the moment, it really is worth investing in one. The advantages they bring in terms of saving you time and effort are fantastic. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to be actually playing tennis when on court rather than chasing balls around all day long?