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Pros: Portable, battery powered, uses all types of balls
Cons: Fastballs & changeups only, recharging required often
Bottom line: The Zooka ZS740 is highly recommended for beginners and advanced players alike. Air powered launching system is unique among pitching machines and extremely safe.
ZS740 Zooka Pitching Machine Review
Spring is just around the corner and you know what that means? Baseball is back in session. With the beginning of a new little/big league season approaching, let’s take a look at one of the up-and-coming pitching machines from Zooka.
The ZS740 Zooka pitching machine is a fantastic addition to any ball players practice regimen. Not only does it look like some type of alien sniper rifle out of Halo, it packs a interstellar punch when it comes to slinging baseballs as well.
The Zooka pitching machine boasts that it does not include any exposed moving parts making it one of the safest options to have around children. Other spinning wheel machines such as the First Pitch Baseline pitching machine include barriers to help protect from accidents, but the reality is there will always be a chance of a finger getting caught in a machine with moving parts.
Analysis and Findings
Let’s get down and dirty with the Zooka pitching machine and see how it stacks up in with our five key aspects to pitching machines.
As we mentioned, this things looks like it could be straight out of the next alien film. I’m guessing the name Zooka isn’t just a coincidence. The problem is that when I think extra terrestrial weapon, it doesn’t bring about thoughts of a tough, long-lasting machine. Well even though this Zooka pitching machine comes with a plastic shell, you are getting something built for the long haul. Inside the high impact polycarbonate housing is a 1/8 inch thick steel inner chassis which uses high-strength aluminum alloys for the lightweight structural elements.
It can take a few shots and keep on ticking just as long as you don’t take down it’s optical sensor. Even if you do end up damaging one of the key electrical components, Zooka is known for it’s quality and quick acting customer service and 12 month warranty. Those of you who are in the market for an absolute mechanical beast try your luck with a machine like the Sports Attack Junior Attack.
The ZS740 Zooka pitching machine is battery powered and thus the limiting factor on how many seasons it can withstand. The manufacturer states that with normal activity the battery should last anywhere from 4-6 years, which is not bad if you think about this purchase as a long term investment. In that time, you can surely get out more satisfaction out of the machine than what you financially put in. Or you could always take advantage of an extra external battery to prolong your purchase’s lifetime.
As we all know, top speed is super important for adjusting to the level of pitching you’ll be facing. The ZS740 has an adjustable range from 10 to 70 mph. That’s good enough for all beginner levels of players. It can even help your upper level players make tiny swing adjustments. This would not be a good machine for those looking to get timing down for 90 mph heaters. If you’re looking for something with a little more jump take a look at Mound Yeti 2. With that said, the ZS740 is perfect for repetition work or any little leaguer honing their swings.
The velocity is manually selected as a percentage of top speed. There is an easy to use digital screen readout on the side of the machine which is activated by a special code. With the simple push of a button you can adjust the speed as needed. The machine will also let you know when the pitch is ready to fly with a beeping sound just before launching.
Unfortunately, pitch variance is where the Zooka pitching machine comes up lacking. As the machine is basically a huge air gun, it is almost impossible to put any type of directional spin on the balls as they leave the machine. You’re not going to be able taking cuts at curveballs, sliders or screwballs like you can with the Sports Attack Junior Attack.
This machine does have the ability to mix up a bp session with changeups. It has five levels of “changeup mode” as stated on their website. Within each level the computer will randomly vary three pitch speeds which in turn will move the pitch location up and down within the strike zone. This provides a bit more “game realistic” pitching. For many hitters, the ZS740 will more than suffice for their batting practice needs.
The Zooka pitching machine is advertised as lightweight and extremely portable. It weighs in at under 30 lbs with its tripod included.At this weight anyone could carry it from the trunk of the car out to the diamond. The ZS740 has a internal 12 volt sealed rechargeable battery which fully charges in 10 hours. On a full charge it can launch 800 pitches at 40 mph, 700 pitches at 50 mph and 500 pitches at 70 mph. It can be setup in minutes out of the box and no extra tools are required for assembly. This machine is suitable for use on grass, dirt, asphalt and any other surface you can think of. You have your choice of two different types of tripods which correspond to pitch release height. For baseball, we suggest going with the tall tripod which gives a 43 inch release point.
Real baseballs, dimple balls, safety balls and tennis balls are all reasonable options for the Zooka pitching machine. It can fire off any ball that will fit down it’s barrel. Unfortunately, this means that larger softball sized balls are a no go for the ZS740. Not all machines can accept an assortment of balls like this without damaging them so this is a real selling point. If you’ve already got a bucket of balls you won’t have to worry about having to buy a new set of specifically tailored synthetics like for the JUGS Lite-Flite Pitching Machine.
For beginner and advanced children. Beginner adults. Hitters looking to improve timing up to 70 mph. Good for groundballs and flyballs for all ages.
This Zooka pitching machine does not come in at the low end on price. It is a high quality, well engineered, unique machine. As the only machine that performs as it does (battery powered up to 70mph) in its class the price tag is expected. Buyers can expect to fork out over $1000 if they opt for the extra external battery and auto ball loader along with their brand new shiny machine. Even at this price it is not the most expensive machine on the market. It will consistently outperform some more expensive models in many areas.
Conclusion & Recommendation
If you’re looking for a portable, ultra safe pitching machine that can still pack a punch, the Zooka ZS740 is the machine you want. If daily charging doesn’t bother you, and you want a cordless machine that can last up to 800 pitches feel free to take the dive and purchase this laser canon. You will not be disappointed with the power it provides solely from it’s rechargeable battery. Pitch variance can be an issue, but it can throw random changeups if the proper programmable setting is selected.