Best Table Tennis Robots (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2019)

ping pong robots review

Expert: Kevin James, Last Updated: 11/04/2019

Every sports enthusiast wants to get better at their respective game, and unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to this. The only way to take your game to the next level is through practice, blood, sweat, and tears, or steroids I suppose, but we don’t condone that at all.

With table tennis, it can often be hard to find the time to practice, as well as someone at a similar standard who is willing to put in the grueling hours with you. Luckily, there are products on the market to help you out with this conundrum.

Table tennis robots (often referred as Ping Pong ball machine) are designed to allow players to practice without the need of a partner or opponent. By setting up the robot on the far side of the table, you have a ready made automatic server to fire balls in to you. This really helps you to work on your returning game, as well as consistency with your shot making.

The robots can also be purchased and tuned with your personal ability in mind. The last thing you want to do is to have a machine that makes things easy for you, or one that makes returning impossible. We want you to keep your bats in your hands, not through your walls.

Frankly, when it comes to ping pong robots there are limited options to choose from. There are only a couple of manufacturers who deal with such machines. The good thing is, I've personally tried almost all of them (if not all). 

In the next section I've, reviewed best ping pong robots currently available and categorized them based on player experience level.

Let's start:

Ping Pong Robots Comparison

Beginners (Under $150)

Product
Spin Type
Speed
Oscillation (Ball Placement)
Random Play
Price
Top, Back, No
(One spin at a time)
Average
No
No
Top, Back, No 
(One spin at a time)
Good
Yes
No

Intermediate (Under $450)

Product
Spin Type
Speed
Oscillation (Ball Placement)
Ball Recycling
Random Play
Price
36 type of spin
(Manual adjustment req.)
Good
Yes
No
No
42 type of spin
(Manual adjustment req.)
Good
Yes
Yes
Yes

Professional (Between $1000 to $1800)

Product
Spin Type
Speed
Random Oscillation (Ball Placement)
Ball Recycling
Random Play
Programmable
Price
All possible spin
(Manual adjustment req.)
Good
Yes
Yes
Yes
To certain extent
* All possible spin
(Automatic)
Best
Yes
Yes
Yes
Completely programmable

Beginner


iPong Original

{Simple yet practical table tennis robot}

Suitable for: Beginners, Amateurs


ipong original table tennis robot

Product Specification:

  • Two motor design
  • Can produce either top spin, back spin or no spin at a time. No random spin option
  • Compatible with 40mm balls
  • Ball tray holding capacity 110
  • Ball casting frequency - 20 to 70 balls per minute
  • Wired remote control
  • A/C supply powered

Pros
+ Excellent starter robot to practice and get your strokes right
+ Produces top spin, back spin and no spin ball
+ Ball speed can be adjusted along with spin. The setting is limited to either fast speed and high spin or low speed and low spin.
+ Quite consistent with ball placement, however time to time there is a slight variation
+ The robot, if placed creatively, can help you practice different types of strokes.

Cons
- Ball jamming and multi ball release may happen, but it's quite rare after the recent firmware update. This primarily happens due to the type of balls fed. After 4-5 session its a good idea to clean the balls.
- No side spin

iPong Original Review

Manufactured by one of the leading table tennis equipment brand Joola, this product is an excellent starter robot for beginner players who are looking to hone their skills. This lightweight robot is very simple to operate and setup. Simply place the robot on one side of the table, feed in the 40mm balls on the top tray, power on the supply, and you are all set. 

It comes with a wired remote which can be used to set spin and speed setting. The robot can throw upto 70 balls per minute and can produce one spin (either top or under) at a time. To produce no-spin ball, set the topspin equal to the underspin and that should be it. However, the robot lacks random spin and random placement option. 

You can place the bot at various locations to practice different aspects of the game. For example, placing the machine at the corner of the table, you can practice forehand/backhand returns. Place the robot at a downward angle and you can practice returning serves. 

If you're starting out with table tennis or are looking to improve your game, this robot can do wonders for you. You can work on your forehand/backhand strokes, counter-spin, chops and looping with this bot. Additionally, due to its simple yet practical design, this robot would surely give you a trouble-free ownership experience. 

Yes, occasionally you may face ball jamming or multi ball release but the reason in most cases is the table tennis balls that are fed. Sometimes unclean balls or irregular shaped balls causes this kind of behavior. 

To summarize, iPong Pro is an excellent table tennis robot for beginners/improvers and the price point is simply amazing.

iPong V300

{A step up from iPong Original, comes with oscillation feature}

Suitable for: Beginners, Improvers


iPong V300 Table Tennis Robot

Product Specification:

  • Two motor wheel design
  • Can produce one spin at a time, either top spin, side spin or no spin
  • Adjustable oscillation option to set ball placement 
  • Works best with 40mm balls
  • Ball tray holding capacity 100
  • Ball casting frequency - 20 to 70 balls per minute
  • Wireless remote control
  • A/C supply powered

Pros
A step up from iPong Pro. Additionally comes with:
+ Adjustable oscillation option
+ Better design and build quality compared to iPong Original
+ Improved wheel and motor design
+ Wireless remote to control - spin, speed and oscillation

Cons
- Occasional ball jamming issue. Usually happens due to too many balls fed or irregular sized balls.
- No side spin

iPong V300 Review

Similar to its predecessor iPong original, this robot is excellent for beginners and improvers. It comes with a more powerful motor and upgraded hardware design. The recent firmware upgrade has fixed the issue of occasional ball jamming and ball accuracy.

The major difference which this robot offers compared to iPong Original is the side to side oscillation, memory feature to save settings and wireless remote. With improved wheel design and powerful motor, the ball gets thrown with higher speed and spin. However, in lower speed setting, I observed the ball trajectory was a bit off but that's the case with any beginner robot.

iPong V300 retails for about $50 costlier than iPong Original. But the extra functions like random oscillation, memory setting and wireless remote justifies the price point. 

To summarize, iPong v300 is my top pick in the beginner's category.

Intermediate Robots


HP-07 Ping Pong Robot

{Value for money, realistic ball trajectory, cutomizable}

Suitable for: Beginners, Intermediate, improvers


hp 07 table tennis robot

Product Specification:

  • Two motor wheel design
  • Adjustable speed, spin and direction
  • Robot head can be tilted up and down to produce seven different angle of ball throw
  • Robot head can be rotated to produce 36 variety of spin
  • Can imitate serves and returns
  • Ball tray holding capacity 100
  • Ball casting frequency - 40 to 70 balls per minute
  • Wired remote control
  • A/C supply powered

Pros
+ Can produce 36 variety of spin and 7 different ball throw angle with varying degree of oscillation (ball placement)
+ Adjustable speed, spin and direction
+ Powerful motor produces realistic spin and speed
+ Good construction quality 

Cons
- To produce side spin you manually need to rotate the robot head (due to two-wheel drive).
- Remote and instructions are in Chinese. But the product is self-explanatory and a couple of YouTube videos are available for setting up the robot.

HP-07 Ping Pong Robot Review

The original manufacturer of this robot is Huipang which is a reputed Chinese manufacturer. However in US, the same robot is sold under different brands like - Popsport, Promoter, Yaetek, Gdae10 etc.

HP-07 is a battle-tested robot. No kidding! It is one of the top-selling robot in China. And if you don't know, Chinese people take there ping pong game very seriously! 

This robot is ideal for players looking to seriously train and improve their game. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate player, this robot will serve you well. The robot can produce 36 variety of spin. Broadly it is a combination of topspin, under spin, right/left spin and no spin.

The head of the robot can be tilted up and down in seven different angles to produce a varying degree of bounce. Especially useful for practicing serve returns. The oscillation function can place the ball on 8 different locations (corner, 2/3rd or 3/4th distance from corner and middle). And using the wired remote, the speed, spin and ball placement can be adjusted. 

To summarize, HP-07 is a solid intermediate table tennis robot. With its exhaustive list of features, above par build quality, and good price point makes it our top budget pick in the intermediate category.

JT-A Ping Pong Robot

{Comes with Auto ball feeding}

Suitable for: Beginners, Intermediate, improvers


JT-A Ping Pong Robot

Product Specification:

  • Two motor wheel design
  • Ball frequency - 30 to 100 balls/min
  • Ball speed - 4m to 40m/sec
  • Ball capacity - 200+
  • Spin - 42 types (Combination of Top, Side, Back, Left, Right, No)
  • Oscillation - 8 locations
  • Landing: Random
  • Comes with recycle net
  • Auto collect and returns balls
  • Wired remote control
  • A/C supply powered
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros
A step up from HP-07, comes with:
+ Recycling net for auto ball feed
+ adjustable ball placement
+ superior build quality
+ better ball feeding mechanism 

Cons
- Mostly sold out or unavailable
- Bulky and takes some time to setup

JT-A Ping Pong Robot Review

The original manufacturer of this robot is again Huipang but its sold in US under brands like GDAE10, Nopteg etc. This robot has a lot of firepower and can compete with some of the professional robots made by brands like Newgy or Y&T. But, as the parent company Huipang does not actively market the product in US and this has led to poor visibility of this product.

The biggest USP of the product is the recycling net and auto ball feeding mechanism. This means you can practice uninterrupted without needing to manually recycle the balls. The recycling net in itself costs ~$70 if purchased separately. 

The second differentiator is the varying degree of customization you can do with this robot. It can produce 42 variety of spin (needs manual adjustment of the head) including the no-spin ball. The ball placement can also be adjusted by adjusting the head orientation. The ball trajectory is realistic and you can practice a vast variety of strokes play. The point of fall of the ball is random which makes the practice even more challenging and non-monotonous. 

One slight issue I found was that the manual and remote were in Chinese. But the manufacturer provides links to the Youtube videos for the setup. 

Overall, JT-A ping pong robot can definitely help you practice all round gameplay and improve your game. Priced at around ~$450 (at the time of writing this post), this product offers great value both features and price-wise. 

Expert Robots


Newgy Robo-Pong 2055

{Vale for money professional ping pong robot}

Suitable for: Intermediate, Advance


Robo Pong 2055 Table Tennis Robot

Product Specification:

  • Two wheel system
  • Ball frequency - 01 to 170 balls/min
  • Ball speed - 5m to 60m/sec
  • Ball capacity - 120+
  • Varying combination of spin
  • Oscillation Position - 21
  • Random ball placement and spin
  • Auto collect and returns balls
  • Wireless remote control
  • A/C supply powered
  • Warranty: 5 years

Pros
+ 64 pre-programmed drills to practice various level of gameplay
+ Ability to program custom drills
+ Adjustable speed, spin and placement
+ Random ball placement/spin
+ Auto ball feeding
+ Auto ball feed with high quality recycling net
+ Designed and manufactured in USA

Cons
- The carrying bag needs to be purchased separately

Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 Review

First in our list of professional table tennis robots is Newgy Robo-Pong 2050. This robot is manufactured by the Newgy Industries which has been in the business of manufacturing ping pong robots from the last 31 years. As the company only deals with table tennis robots, you can be sure the product you're buying is top notch and is backed by years of research. 

The robot comes with a recycling net for auto ball feeding. The whole process of setting up the robot takes around 10 mins which includes setting up the robot, installing the catch net, frame and putting the balls. Once setup, everything else can be controlled using the digital remote.

By default, the robot comes with 64 pre-programmed drills. I found the supplied drills to be very effective. You also have the option to design and store your own programs. In total 99 custom drills can be programmed. The drills can be programmed using the digital control box or using the PC.

The robot head can be adjusted to produce different types of spin. Ball speed, spin and placement can be adjusted to minute precision using the supplied remote. The robot can also be programmed for random ball placement, speed and spin.

The lag between each ball throw is similar to the one you see in real gameplay. Similarly, the oscillation is swift and fast. This is one of the major difference between professional and intermediate robots where the lag is quite a bit. 

The Robo-Pong 2050 comes exhaustive training material and setup guide. You get a training DVD, starter manual and instruction support manual.

While making such a costly purchase one needs to also account for the continued support from the manufacturer. In this department, Newgy really stands out. The product comes with 5 years of warranty and spare parts are readily available. Moreover, the product firmware is regularly updated which is definitely a plus.

Overall, Robo-Pong 2050 is an excellent table tennis robot suited for intermediate and advanced players. With its robust build quality, continuous support and wide array of features, I feel confident to recommend this product.

Butterfly Amicus Expert Table Tennis Robot

{The very best table tennis robot, you can lay your hands on}

Suitable for: Intermediate, Advance


butterfly amicus expert table tennis robot

Product Specification:

  • three wheel system
  • Ball frequency - 30 to 120 balls/min
  • Ball speed - 10m to 60m/sec
  • Ball capacity - 120+
  • Spin - All varieties
  • Oscillation - All possible locations
  • 20 pre-programmed drills designed by Coach Richard Prause
  • Ability to store 99 custom drills
  • Each drill can be programmed with 7 different types of shots
  • Ball Placement/Speed/Spin: Random
  • Auto collect and returns balls
  • Wired remote control
  • A/C supply powered
  • Warranty: 4 years

Pros
+ Precise control over speed, spin and trajectory
+ Can produce side spin (no other bot does it automatically)
+ Can imitate real match like situations
+ Pre-programmed drills are very well thought of and would surely keep you on your feets
+ Each parameter - speed, spin and location is adjustable
+ Due to three wheel drive spins are very realistic
+ State of art ball feeding mechanism
+ Patent pending deflector plate system places the ball accurately and very fast.

Cons
- Not exactly a con, but as the head does not move, so you would not be able to clearly see in which direction the ball is going to come.

Butterfly Amicus Expert Table Tennis Robot Review

Amicus table tennis robot is the flagship product of Butterfly. These robots are state of art and currently, no other competitor comes close to this.

Unlike other robots, Butterfly Amicus uses a deflector plate system to change the direction and placement of the ball. This system is faster and more efficient than the head rotating mechanism. The other major differentiator is the use of three wheels compared to two wheels which are commonly used in other robots. The third wheel gives the robot capability to impart side spin, slow spin and no spin ball with ease. 

The height of the robot can be manually adjustable to four different levels. This helps in changing height from which the ball is released. The ball follows a realistic trajectory after leaving the bot. This greatly helps in imitating game like situation accurately. 

Each of the ball parameters (spin, speed and placement) can be controlled with a high degree of accuracy. It comes with 20 professional pre-programmed drills which are designed by Butterfly Coach Richard Prause. You can also program and store upto 99 different drills each of maximum 7 ball sequence. The automatic frequency control dynamically adjusts the time of the next ball throw based on the previous shot. It means if the robot is throwing slow balls then the time interval of the next ball would also be slower compared to the faster balls. 

The robot comes with a wired control box which shows real-time information such as speed, spin, location etc. It can also be used to adjust the ball parameters on the fly. Additionally, a wireless RF remote can be used to start/stop/pause the sequence. The random setting can vary speed, spin and location. Additionally the scatter functionality varies the ball placement by +- 20 cm.

There are three variants in the Amicus range- Start, Expert and Prime. I personally feel, Butterfly Amicus Expert is the best product in the lineup combining top features of both the low and high end version.

If you're looking for a professional robot and look no further than Butterfly Amicus Expert. 

Ping Pong Robot: Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Let’s break down exactly what each type of player should be looking for in a table tennis robot, and what they can expect from their purchase. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert ping pong player, rest assured there is a specific table tennis robot out there for you.

It’s all about matching your needs up to the machine.

Beginners


Who- Let’s start with beginners, and this term can range from anyone just taking up the sport in a serious capacity, to families looking to have a bit of fun down time.

Price- For a beginner piece of equipment you can expect to pay something in the region of $80 to $150, but as long as you’re sure you will get good use out of it, that isn’t too bad an investment.

Positives- These table tennis robots are great for beginners of all kind as they are simple to set up and to use. The simpler the machine, the smaller it often is too, so you’ll find it far easier to pack away and store compared to a more expert piece of kit. The robot will help you work on your return game, both forehand and backhand, as well as the consistency of your shots, and the style of your play.

Negatives- The cheaper machines on the market are limited in what they can do. Once you get past that beginner stage, there is a brick wall that these robots can’t go beyond. They have a limited ball holding capacity, can often be inconsistent with their ball throw and accuracy, are not programmed with specific drills, and can only produce one spin at a time.

Basic features- They can change ball frequency, speed, and spin (top and back only).

Recommendations- Ipong Original and Ipong V300

Intermediates


Who- These machines are for players looking to take their game to the next level. You have been playing the sport for a while now, have mastered the basics and have your own playing style and now want to hone these skills, as well as improving your overall game.

Price- For these intermediate machines, you can expect it to cost between $200 and $500. This may seem like a lot, but for the intermediate player looking to become an expert and play serious tournament table tennis, you know you’ll get your money’s worth in practice hours.

Positives- Intermediate machines are often programmed with set training drills to really test your game. They also feature ball collection and recycling features for longer sessions of uninterrupted practice.

Negatives- These are often a bit larger than the beginner machines and can be harder to transport and store. They can produce either top spin, back and no spin. But for side-spin manual adjustment of the head is required. The ball placement, spin and speed is very accurate on these robots.

Basic features- These more advanced machines can change ball frequency, offer higher speeds, different types of spins - side, top, and back, as well as random placement to keep you on your toes.

Recommendations- Huipang Hp-07 and Huipang JT-A

Professional


Who- These top of the range table tennis robots are designed for the most serious of players. We are talking about advanced athletes looking to make a real name for themselves on the ping pong scene. You shouldn’t really be shelling out for one of these if you’re just a casual player.

Price- With all their added features, the top of the range machines can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000. This is a figure that many will rub their eyes at, but if you’re a professional, or a player looking to go pro, you will get hundreds and thousands of hours of use out of this kit.

Positives- These machines come with advanced pre-programmed training drills set to challenge even the top players. These programmes can be customized to challenge yourself, test your weak points, or even mimic the style of an upcoming opponent. They produce all types of spin imaginable, and work with pinpoint accuracy.

Negatives- Obviously they are far more expensive than some more beginner pieces of kit. They are also harder to set up, transport, and store.

Basic features- Can change ball frequency, speed, and placement, as well as spin.

Recommendations- Butterfly Start Amicus Expert Table Tennis Robot and Newgy Robo-Pong 2050

What To Look For while Purchasing a Ping Pong Robot


When looking for a table tennis robot, you should always delve into the specs in order to find the one exactly suited to your game. You don’t want to end up with something that won’t challenge you at all, and you also don’t want to overpay for a piece of kit with the features you’ll never use.

Features to look for:

Variation that the machine can produce:

  • Spin- There are 3 types of spin - top, back-spin and side. Beginners robots can generally produce only top and back-spin which are not that strong as well. By strong I mean there is not enough spin in the balls due to the low power of the motor used. In higher model, multiple motors are used to impart the spin. Side spins are generally available in intermediate to advanced systems.
  • Speed- The speed at which the ball is pushed out to the player. Beginners bots cannot throw the ball at great speed.
  • Oscillation (Random Placement)- The bot can throw the ball at the pre-programmed position or random location with varying amount of spin and speed.
  • Random spin- The beginner bots can throw only with one type of spin at a time. It cannot throw one topspin and the next ball backspin. While intermediate to advance bots you can throw the ball with random spin.
  • Frequency- Means the number of balls the robot can throw at you per minute.
  • Ball Holding Capacity- Most of the beginner and mid-range have a holding capacity of 100. Advanced bots can hold up to 200 balls at a time.
  • Ball Recycling/Net Collection System- Ball recycling system is basically a net system which funnels the returned ball back into the robot. This means you can continue playing without stopping.

Some of the intermediate and all the advanced bots have this system:

  • Programmable Drills- Beginners robot do not have any programmable drills. Intermediate robots come with pre-programmed drills and some even let you program. Advanced bots come with competitive pre-programmed drills. And can also be programmed.
  • Power Supply- All the intermediate and advanced system require an AC point (110v or 200v) to work. Some of the beginner bots are battery powered.
  • Portability- Beginners bots are very portable and mobile. While the intermediate machines are still portable and the advanced bots require quite a bit of time to setup.
To Wrap it Up

When weighing up your table tennis robot choice, you need to decide which features are important for you and based on that, make a call. Often you may have to compromise, as you’re unlikely to find something that includes every single thing you’re looking for, all at the price you’re willing to pay.

As long as you put the time into research, you shouldn’t be disappointed, as these machines really are great for improving your game, as well as just being great fun to use.

Help Us Improve

While writing the review, we analyzed the top ping pong robots in the market. But we may have missed some. If you would like to suggest a robot which you've personally tried and tested, we're all ears.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Kevin James
 

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