Picture the scene:
You’re standing there, on the tennis court, in utter devastation.
You’ve just lost one of the longest matches of your budding young career.
As you walk to the net to shake hands with your opponent, you think about all that has lead you to this moment, all the sacrifices that your parents have made, all the homework you haven’t done, all the TV shows you’ve missed watching… All so you could prepare yourself to lose in the finals of your local club championships competition that only one other person entered.
You moodily shake hands with your opponent and go to limp off the court. You’re cramping up and you need to ease your muscles…
But then you make the crushing realization…
You need to collect in all the balls that have been left scattered around the edges of the court!
Your back aches as you hobble over the pick of the first of many, wishing that your club had one of those tennis ball hoppers to help you out with just such a task…
You promise yourself that, when you get home later on and have finished mourning this heart-breaking loss, you’re going to do some research in the hopes of finding out what the best tennis ball hopper on the market currently is…
That brings you here, where you are now, about to read this list!
Sorry for your loss. We can’t help with that.
But we can give you some ball hopper information!
What is a Tennis Ball Hopper?
A ball hopper is one of the best ways to gather tennis balls around the court when you need to and then be able to have them next to you while you’re training.
Basically, picture a bucket or a box with long handles that you can carry around the courts with you. The bottom of the unit usually has thin bars or beams evenly spaced out. These allow you to collect tennis balls by placing the hopper on top of them and pushing down on the handles to force them through the beams and into the inside of the bucket.
It’s a really simple design but the idea is genius and saves a lot of back-breaking and knee-bending at the end of a long day out on the courts.
Trust as, as you get older, ball hoppers will become an essential addition to take with you when you head out for a few hours of play.
Now we’ve given you the breakdown, let’s get into the top contenders for your money!
10 Best Tennis Ball Hoppers
1. Tourna Ballport Deluxe Tennis Ball Hopper (80 Balls) - EDITORS CHOICE
Hey, so you know that version of the Ballport with wheels that we briefly touched on up above?! Well, here it is for you!
The wheels are the big addition here, so we’ll focus on those first. With two of them attached to one of the side corners of the main unit of the hopper, they act a bit like wheels for a suitcase. This makes the entire device far easier to maneuver about the court for people of all ages. Children especially won’t find themselves straining to get a hold of the handles when they can simply push.
There only seems to be a red color available here but that’s OK, it’s still eye-catching enough.
A lot of the other features here are very similar to the regular Ballport up above but we’ll run through them quickly, just to remind you.
This is still a lightweight design, weighing in at 4.5lbs. That’s a MASSIVE .5 of an lb heavier than the regular version but don’t panic! That’s why the wheels are here. In all honesty, that bit of extra beef probably comes from the addition of the wheels themselves…
Anyway, the Deluxe version of the Ballport will still carry 80 of your finest tennis balls which is a relatively decent amount for going through some drills.
The lock-in handles, barred lid and roll beams on the bottom all make a return with this model and all provide the same high quality standard as the original Ballport. It can be transferred and lifted around easily enough when required.
The only other slight difference with this Deluxe version is that it comes in at a few inches higher. Standing at a height of 33.5 inches, that is 4 inches higher than the regular model.
Whether or not you decide to go for the Deluxe is entirely dependent on your own comfort levels when carrying or wheeling things around the court. If you feel like you could use that extra bit of assistance, this is an option for you to consider.
2. Tourna Ballport Tennis Ball Hopper (80 Balls)
Right, this one comes in one of three colors so we’re off to a good start! With an option of red, blue, or black, you’ll be able to pair your hopper with your usual choice of kit color if court fashion is at the top of your priority list!
Made of durable polypropylene material, this is a very lightweight design. Coming in at only 4lbs, this hopper will be able to carry at least 80 tennis balls which should see you through a good amount of serving practice.
The lock-in handles will stay securely in whatever way you’ll need them to, either in the holding or standing position. This will help you avoid the entire unit collapsing and balls spilling out across the court while you’re playing. There’s also a slide on bar lid at the top so that you can securely transport the balls from home to court and back again safely
Bar rolls at the bottom will twist, allowing the balls to seamlessly enter the hopper, even when almost full. On some hoppers, these bars don’t twist, meaning balls at the top are in danger of getting bounced out as one enters from underneath. That won’t be the case here.
This is a decent all-round hopper that will get the job done. There are even a few different versions of this. One has two wheels attached so that lifting will no longer be an issue and the other is a miniature version that will carry 36 balls if you’re hitting with a beginner who may not want to play for long.
3. Tourna Mini Ballport
We decided to give you a bit of a break from the Ballport range before we came back with this final miniature version!
This is cute and shares a lot of similarities to its older siblings. For one, the lightweight polypropylene design makes this an immensely easy pick-up and go hopper. Tipping the scales at just 3.5lbs, this is won’t be straining your arms after a hard day of training.
The best thing? Colors! Obviously. You have the standard options of red, blue and black, all of which are very typical of the Ballport line of hoppers.
We’ve got the usual lock-in handles for stability and structure. When in a standing position, this Mini Ballport will stand at 29.5 inches high. That is actually the same as the regular Ballport model so you won’t need to worry about any size irregularities here.
The twist bar lid and bottom return here as well, meaning that the balls will be kept safely inside when on the move and you can also quick-grab them off the ground when it comes to collecting them in at the end of your training.
Of course, given that this is a miniature version of the more regular Ballport, this Mini will hold less of your tennis balls. Still, 36 isn’t all that bad a number, especially if you like to stick to a smaller amount to save yourself from collecting hundreds in every time you run dry.
At the end of the day, this is pretty much the same high-quality product as the other two Ballport variations on this list. It all depends on how many balls you have to transfer to training. If you’re looking for a hopper that you can use to train a large class of beginners, this probably isn’t for you. If you need a personal hopper to have by your side for casual training, this is a solid choice.
4. Gamma Sports Tennis Ballhopper (75-140 Balls)
This Gamma sports hopper offering is a simplistic overall design that ticks all the necessary boxes without overcomplicating anything.
First of all, there are a few different model types to choose from, all of which carry slightly more tennis balls as you go up through them. These range from 50 all the way up to the maximum capacity version of 140! We’ll be focusing on the standard 75 for now.
Despite being an all-bar design, there are still colors on offer here. A black, blue, gold, orange, silver and yellow option are all readily available for purchase.
Made from carbon steel, this will not be bending out of shape anytime soon, even if it’s accidentally knocked over by a wayward forehand from your hitting partner. To avoid any rust or weather damage to the metal itself, Gamma has applied their special coating that means that this hopper will survive for a long time without showing any obvious signs of wear.
The handles here act as a stand for the hopper as well, so when you’re finished gathering all the balls in, you can flip the handle and sit the hopper at somewhere around the around an average grown adult’s fingertip height. That’s nice and handy… Pun intended!
Weight a measly 5.4lbs, this hopper can be swung around the court fairly easily by just about anyone. You can store 75 tennis balls in here, a good number if you’re coaching beginners or simply working on improving some of your own shots.
The look of this hopper is complete with a swing-shut lid attached with a simplistic hinges which allow opening and closing with ease.
This is a straightforward tennis ball hopper and is a good option if you’re going to be coaching juniors who probably won’t be hitting as many balls in practice as more experienced players yet.
5. Gamma Sports EZ Travel Cart Pro (150-250 Balls)
Time for something a little bit fancier!
This instantly looks like something that wouldn’t look out of place in an outdoor adventure shop, so tough and sturdy-looking the design is. Made out of immensely durable nylon and attached to the top of a cart, the bag that carries the balls can actually be used as a carry-case as well.
When not in use, the bag can be folded up and stored just about anywhere and this means that transferring it to and from the courts will be a breeze! The cart itself won’t be causing transport issues either as it folds up easily together and can be stored inside its own larger bag.
Four thick rubber wheels are attached to the bottom leg of each of the cart legs, meaning that the entire unit can be pushed around easily but will stag exactly where you want it to while you’re playing. You won’t need to worry about this rolling onto the court.
Weight-wise, this is super light at just 1.2lbs! There’s unfortunately not an option here to pick the balls up off the ground using the hopper itself. However, you’ll run into no issues steering this around the nooks and crannies on the outskirts of your courts as you look for that ball you skied into the nearby hedges.
This holds more tennis balls than a lot of others on this list, catering to an impressive 150. There’s actually another, slightly larger model that carries 250 balls as well, so it really depends on how many you’re planning on purchasing alongside this.
When put together, this Travel Cart is a little more unique than your average hopper and will certainly make you look professional as you unpack it out on the courts. We’d recommend this for more experienced players, looking to hit as many balls as possible in quick-fire succession.
6. Gamma Tennis Ballhopper Balltube (18 Balls)
Yes, yes, we know, this looks a bit like a rolled-up slice of plastic sheeting… And that’s because it basically is!
This is super easy to use. Carrying it around the courts and stacking up tennis balls inside is one of the quickest ways there is to collect them, which is why these are used by a lot of coaches to encourage their students to fetch all of the balls in before leaving at the end of lessons. You’ll see these attached to fences at many local clubs for just this purpose.
The entire system is obviously extremely lightweight but even comes with a carry strap to make moving and running with this a non-issue.
To dispense balls after collection, simply hang loosen the rubber band sealing them in from one of the sides, and let as many balls as you need tumble into your hands.
There honestly isn’t a great deal more to be said about this. It should be said that there’s not much to it and if you’re looking for something that’s going to be able to see you through a few hours of practice on the court, this probably isn’t for you.
This is more of a way to quickly transfer balls from place-to-place. Unfortunately, due to the design of a system like this, it can only store 18 balls. This means you may want to invest in another larger hopper to hold more balls and use this simply as a means of carrying them around.
Really great pick-up for beginner’s classes though!
7. Wilson Tennis Ball Pick Up Hopper (75 Balls)
No list of tennis products would be complete without a Wilson entry. They just can’t stay away!
First things first, where are the optional colors, Wilson?! Come on! Black is simply not going to go well with my bright pink tennis T-shirt and flowery shorts kit combo, let me tell you!
If your focus is more on specifics rather than appearances, this hopper has a basic metal bar design that is durable and unlikely to bend out of shape on you.
There are two models available to choose from. A 75 and a 95 ball option will give you some variety when it comes to deciding the best size for you to go for.
The foldable legs and handles are good on this product, allowing for sturdiness and stability when stood up. This means that you can focus on playing without worrying that this is going to collapse on you when you’re in the middle of a match point rally. If things DO somehow go awry for you, the foldable hinge lid should help avoid a total disaster!
Wilson have put together a basic hopper here with a good price tag! If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-nonsense design, this is it.
8. Morvat Tennis Ball Hopper (150 Balls)
We have another cart design! We love a good cart design here at Mind the Racket!
The design looks sleek here, with a bright silver lightweight aluminum alloy collapsible frame holding a thick heavy-duty nylon bag that can carry up to 150 of your tennis balls! You’re not going to be running out in a hurry!
This hopper is of course maneuverable, with the four wheels attached to the bottom allowing for easy steer around the court at the end of your session. There’s breaks as well, so if you’re coaching and you want to make sure that your students aren’t trying to mess around with the hopper, make sure you apply them so it won’t be rolling around everywhere.
Even with the bag left on the frame, the unit can be folded up quickly and easily and locked into place for journeys to and from the courts. It’s also ridiculously simple to store away safely and so can slide neatly into the trunk of your car without any issues.
The only real issue with this is that there are no optional colors! Disappointing!
Aside from that, this is a generally very modern-looking ball hopper that should be used by players looking to get more rallies in between each pick-up session. With a reasonable price tag, this is a solid option when looking for the best ball hopper for tennis for intermediate standard.
You also get a tube of three tennis balls thrown in for free, which is always a bonus!
9. Kollectaball Hopper Ball Collector
You’ll probably be tempted to skip right over this final option because of the rather bizarre looking tombola-style design… But keep with us a moment!
The great thing about the Kollectaball is that it has adjustable height options, which means you don’t need to worry about which design to get to suit you. More hopper manufactures should take note!
This is a lightweight design when assembled, coming in at 7.7lbs, and can be switched around into a wheelbarrow position to gather balls in off the court. This is a quirky little product that will certainly make you stand out as you train.
It’s durable as well, with the metal bar ball cage having been tested to last at least 10,000 hours without breaking.
The only real downside to this is that it requires full assembling and can’t be easily stored away. Also, at only a 60 ball capacity, this probably suits more one-to-one coaching rather than an all-out lesson with a number of students.
In the end, this is a different kind of hopper that should appeal to young kids especially. If you’re looking for a way to get juniors to volunteer to collect balls in at the end of a lengthy coaching session, this is a unique hopper that could well be worth trying out!
10. Bkisy Tennis Ball Cart (160 Balls)
Our final cart of the day and it’s a bit wider than the others on our list.
This almost resembles a high school desk for how wide it is as 42cm each way. It can hold up to 160 tennis balls so it makes use of the space the design allows for. This is clearly a design that should be used for more advanced players looking to rally consistently and quickly.
But even good players care about optional colors and so they’ll be pleased to know that they can select from a nice black, red, or blue durable Oxford bag attachment.
This bag is attached to the lightweight collapsible steel frame that is manufactured to avoid bends and breaks. This is clearly a hopper build to last and you shouldn’t be worried about bashing it around the court as you collect in balls.
When you’re not playing, there’s an attachable zip-up lid that can keep your tennis balls dry in the event of a sudden freak thunderstorm.
The wheels on the bottom of the frame are swivel castors and so can be moved in all directions with ease. Even small children can push this around so if you want to bully your little brother or sister to come and be ball boy for you, this should allow them to help you out without complaint.
The bag that this comes in also has side pockets for two rackets so it’s clear the manufacturers have aimed to cover all basis here and have done so very well. If you’re a more experienced player looking for a high-capacity ball hopper, this is probably the best tennis ball hopper around for you right now.
Benefits of Using a Tennis Ball Hopper
Easy to Transport Tennis Balls
This is the main one.
Ball hoppers present an easy way for you to get a bunch of tennis balls from A to B with as little hassle as possible. We’ve all been in the position when you turn up to the courts and need to spend 10 minutes of what could be playing time, instead digging at the bottom of your racket bag for balls…
Get yourself a hopper to avoid this situation!
Collect Balls Easier
Backbreaking work, this.
Bending down to get balls in all the time is annoying, which is why many of the hoppers we’ve listed above have an easy pick-up feature to help you out. Those that don’t are at least lightweight and maneuverable to make sure that you can get to all of the balls as easily as possible.
Plus, if you’re using a tennis ball machine and training on your own, having a hopper will massively speed up your time spent collecting the balls.
Picking balls up one at a time by hand will be a thing of the past with a ball hopper.
Train on Your Own
In the current paused world of lockdown and minimal human-contact, training at your local courts on your own might be something you’ve been doing a lot of late.
A ball hopper will be a useful addition to add to your solo practice session that means that you can collect your balls after serving practice efficiently and without hassle.
Check out the video below to see this in action.
How to Choose a Tennis Ball Hopper
If moving a hopper around the courts sounds like sweaty work after a long hit on the courts, a lot of manufacturers have added wheels to make the whole experience that much easier for you.
These wheels are usually made out of rubber or plastic and many have multi-directional swivel systems installed.
Some lines of hoppers only have wheels on specific models so make sure you know which one does before spending your hard earned dollars.
If you already have a lot of tennis balls, you’ll want a higher capacity hopper so you can fit them all in. This should also be something to consider if you’re a coach looking to take on more students soon. You’ll need more balls. Will the hopper you have currently be OK for that?
If you’re training on your own or with just one or two other people, a smaller capacity should be fine.
We here at Mind the Racket like to aim for a nice round 100 capacity hopper!
You go to the court, you set your hopper up, and you go to hit your first serve, only for balls to come cascading in front of you! The hopper has fallen over in the wind and the balls are now everywhere.
You sigh. You cry.
Get a hopper with some kind of lid to avoid this. Even if you’re only practicing on your own, this is still something you’re going to want to have.
Many of the legs on ball hoppers are foldable or twistable. The one thing they shouldn’t be is bendable but we’ll get onto that in a minute.
Hopper legs will hold your balls up from the ground and means that you’ll be able to avoid bending down every time you need a few more balls.
If you’re as hold as us here at Mind the Racket, this is something you’re going to need to help with your aching bones.
You don’t want a light breeze to be blowing your hopper over in the wind. You want a design that is built to withstand bumps and bashes.
Take note of the material that the hopper you’re considering is made out of. Any solid metal is a good sign but you’ll also want to make sure that it’s resistant to rust and general weather damage.
Hopper manufacturers usually produce a few different models that differ in heights. Get one that you’re going to feel comfortable using regularly and won’t require you to lift it awkwardly when you go to collect in balls.
You’re going to be dragging this around the court for at least a good few minutes every time you run out of tennis balls.
To make sure that this experience isn’t a hugely unpleasant one generally, check the weight of the hopper you’re going for and make sure that it’s going to be an easy lift or pull.
On top of that, does the hopper fold up and fit in the back of a car for easy transportation? It’s not just about manoeuvrability when on the court!
There are many reasonably priced ball hoppers out there and a lot of them cover all the primary bases you’re going to need.
Capacity size usually dictates prices when it comes to your more basic designs and so if you’re a casual player with only a selection of tennis balls, make sure to looks for the good deals available.
Coaches with larger lessons, you may have to pay out a bit more for a bigger design but there are still very good budget options, many of which we’ve touched on up above.
If you’re at a club and want to get a few hoppers, see about possibly banding together with fellow players to get a selection that everyone can make use of. More players chipping in means a smaller price tag individually!
Popular Tennis Ball Hopper Brands
Tourna are actually best known for their tennis racket grips. Beginning all the way back in 1975 in the United States, the Tourna grip took the company from strength to strength all the way up until now, where they produce many other products for tennis players around the world.
Including, of course, tennis ball hoppers!
For Gamma, it was strings that helped put them on the map in 1974. They were the first company to try gut within the strings of rackets which would go on to become widely used on the modern professional circuit in years to come.
And now, they design some of the best ball hoppers on the market currently!
We have arrived at the end of the line on our journey to find the best tennis ball hopper!
We hope we’ve been able to help you weigh up your options a little bit over which hopper to invest in. The standard of ball hoppers are usually fairly high from manufacturers so as long as you do a bit of research prior to investing, you should be OK.
Remember to analyze what you’re primarily going to be using your hopper for. This will help cut down your options significantly.
Good luck and we’ll see you out there on the courts!