We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
A big challenge for young baseball pitchers and fielders is that it takes another person to practice. Well, not entirely, because there are tight-nets-on-metal-frames contraptions called pitchbacks or “rebounders” to hone skills alone. These pitchback nets do what the name implies: it sends thrown balls right back at you for throwing and catching repetitions.
When any baseball season approaches — whether regular season, or summer or winter ball — it’s a solid time to look into the best baseball pitchback net to buy in 2021. Hopefully beyond this year, too, as durability with ball rebounder products is a key consideration for purchases.
The sheer number of sports practice net products indicates a real demand for these skills-enhancers. Parents with great interest in their little one getting enough repetitions to improve, or those who don’t always have the time to play catch with their child, should look carefully at the baseball pitchback net options.
- 1 Quick Summary
- 2 Who Should Get a Pitchback Net?
- 3 What to Consider When Choosing a Baseball Rebounder Net
- 4 Top Baseball Pitchbacks: Our Choices
- 4.1 1. Best Baseball Pitchback Overall: Rukket Rebounder PRO
- 4.2 What We Like:
- 4.3 Not So Much:
- 4.4 2. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Affordability: Hit Run Steal Pitchback
- 4.5 What We Like:
- 4.6 Not So Much:
- 4.7 3. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Multi-Use: Rukket Lacrosse Rebounder
- 4.8 What We Like:
- 4.9 Not So Much:
- 4.10 4. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Creative Coaches: Champion Sports BN 4272 Rebound Pitchback Net
- 4.11 What We Like:
- 4.12 Not So Much:
- 4.13 5. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Youth: Goplus Rebounder
- 4.14 What We Like:
- 4.15 Not So Much:
- 4.16 6. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Useful Features: Easton Playback Elite Practice Net
- 4.17 What We Like:
- 4.18 Not So Much:
- 5 Care Tips for Baseball Pitchback Nets
- 6 Final Words on Baseball Rebounder Nets
- Rukket offers 2 excellent practice nets, including its Rebounder PRO with lots of features at an affordable price, and the multi-sport potential of its Lacrosse Rebounder.
- For very young players just starting out, parents should look closely at the Hit Run Steal Pitchback, and the Goplus Rebounder.
- Coaches looking for flexibility and options can consider the BN 4272 Rebound Pitchback Net by Champion Sports.
- Easton shows it pays attention to important details with its Playback Elite practice net.
Who Should Get a Pitchback Net?
Any young baseball or fastpitch softball player could improve skills markedly by using a ball rebounder consistently. Most of these pitchback nets come with an upright rectangle taped into the netting to resemble a strike zone — but these practice nets are not just for pitchers. Repetition is key in baseball practicing, and any fielder can benefit from better accuracy throwing.
Typically these pitchback nets are for younger players, say up to age 10 or 12. While some ball rebounders can continue to be used by older players, their throwing velocities reach a point that really stresses out the connectors for the net with the metal frames; plus, rebounders must be anchored firmly to prevent tipping over when a hard-thrown ball strikes the very top.
Aside from throwing accuracy, young players can improve their ground-ball and fly-ball fielding skills by adjusting or angling the net to shoot balls up or down. Again, these nets allow for serious repetitions of a lot of motions needed for baseball-playing excellence. These nets let that happen — without the presence of another person.
What to Consider When Choosing a Baseball Rebounder Net
Net Surface Size
The size of the net surface is extremely important, because rebounders are typically for younger players, and the very young are prone to miss the net entirely on throws. Missing means stopping to go retrieve a ball, and if this disruption occurs too much a player could become frustrated and move on. Not to mention the potential for property damages behind the pitchback from errant tosses.
The type of material and thickness of the netting is key because of the sheer number of balls that will strike the netting, over and over. Look for thicker net strings that are “weather resistant,” and those specially knotted. A hole in the net causes problems mentioned above — chasing balls and broken windows.
Probably the first part of a baseball pitchback to fail are the connectors. Most are little rubber bungee-like pieces that connect the net with the metal frame. Some come with S-shaped metal hooks, which might not break but can become very annoying if they are not designed right and fall off often. The rubber bungees need to be watched because of constant wear, especially if the rebounder is left in the sun or rain too much, and having extra connectors handy is advisable.
Look closely at the pitchback frames, and go with thicker sizes, or metal over aluminum. Powdered metal could be better than painted to prevent rust. Also, do frames come apart for storage? It’s nice to be able to take them apart and store, but some of them can be flimsy at the connector points. Some frames are rigid, e.g. always a flat net surface, while others might be adjustable, usually in the middle. Adjusting changes net angles to produce fly balls or grounders to practice with.
Many ball-rebounder nets come in a rigid format, meaning what you see is what you get: a flat surface always. Maybe these can be adjusted by leaning them forward or backward, for different types of bounce-backs, but they cannot be adjusted in the middle with a simple knob twist. Some players prefer the adjustable type, to make the ball react unpredictably depending on the pitch — much like in a game — instead of the exact same bounce-back every time. Some pitchback nets also are double-sided.
Top Baseball Pitchbacks: Our Choices
We reviewed a number of baseball rebounders based on several factors including sizes, features, price, and general popularity. Here are our 6 best baseball pitchbacks, per those parameters:
1. Best Baseball Pitchback Overall: Rukket Rebounder PRO
Rukket produces some quality rebounder nets for several sports, and for baseball the Rebounder PRO has the features you’d want at a reasonable price. Right off the bat notice if any competing product offers the Rukket 100% Lifetime Warranty and satisfaction guarantee, which includes lifetime replacement parts and customer service. This is vital for a product that takes a consistent beating.
Perhaps the most attractive part of this product is the 7-foot by 4-foot netting surface area — a huge net. The bungees are what Rukket calls “industrial strength,” which is good to avoid wasting time replacing them, but with a lifetime warranty having super-strong connectors might be overkill!
With the PRO, Rukket added a paracord pull handle with a plunger-bolt system, to make changing the net surface among four angles as easy as possible, to switch between pop-ups and grounders without pinching your fingers or skin. The top and bottom edges now are curved so balls striking there make for different-angled returns.
What We Like:
- Huge net surface.
- Paracord-plunger-bolt system to adjust angles.
- Lifetime warranty and satisfaction guarantee.
- Mid-range pricing for the features.
Not So Much:
- Not much to dislike with this product and the pricing.
2. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Affordability: Hit Run Steal Pitchback
That the Pitchback by Hit Run Steal (see Amazon) is popular is a statement that a lot of parents look into pitchback nets for very young players — meaning they go with the lowest-priced options, because they don’t know if the child will like the sport and continue to use it. Parents are wary of filling garages or back yards with hardly used sporting equipment, especially large and awkward pieces like these practice nets.
Not that the low price means a bad thing with this particular pitch rebounder. The netting is plenty thick enough and the bungee connectors strong especially for smaller players. The netting surface is pretty typical, at 71 inches by 43.5 inches (almost 6 feet by 3.6 feet), and a membrane covering the gap between the net and frame is a nice touch.
At almost 19 lbs., it’s light enough to carry around, but users reported it is heavy enough to not require too much anchoring to keep it from moving or toppling.
What We Like:
- Adjustable, with easy-to-turn knobs on either side, centered.
- Steel frame and strong netting.
- Low-priced, safe investment for parents of very young players.
Not So Much:
- No warranty, but U.S.-based customer service available.
3. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Multi-Use: Rukket Lacrosse Rebounder
This pitchback net could have topped our list of recommendations, if not for the price — which in reality is not terribly higher than other quality ball rebounder nets — and the name Rukket applied to this model. While indeed this ball rebounder is excellent for lacrosse players, to sling balls at a higher target, this net is very solid and well-built for repeated baseball usage.
This ball rebounder has the industrial-strength bungees just like with Rukket’s PRO net noted above — plus extra bungees! Something of note, which was also on the Hit Run Steal Pitchback net outlined above, is the mesh around the border between the netting and frame. This protects the bungees from balls striking them and causing damage, and also from balls squirting through the gap which is annoying.
The netting surface is massive at 7-feet by 4-feet, and we really like the thick powder-coated metal frame. This net-frame also comes with Rukket’s lifetime warranty, once again a super feature considering the abuse these units take.
What We Like:
- Netting surface size.
- Thick (1.25”) metal frame pipes.
- Lifetime warranty.
Not So Much:
- Moderately high price tag.
4. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Creative Coaches: Champion Sports BN 4272 Rebound Pitchback Net
At first glance one might wonder why Champion had to use so much text to describe the attributes of the BN 4272 Rebound Pitchback Net, as if the well-established sporting goods company had to flex its branding muscle for the ever-increasing competition. But upon closer inspection, this training net does offer quite a bit for everyone.
It’s biggest attribute may be how it can be rotated, and used on both sides, to allow the most possible uses for a variety of sports, baseball and beyond. Though we’re kind of wary that single 6-foot by 3.5-foot nets would be effective for football, soccer or tennis practices, except maybe for something to aim at.
The adjustability to a number of angles, including with netting even on the rear bracing legs, gives this pitchback net a lot of options for repetitions, especially for coaches with a creative flair.
What We Like:
- Very lightweight.
- Plenty of rubber bungee connectors.
- Thick (1.25” circumference) powder-coated steel frame pipes.
- Double-side for practice options.
- Mid-range pricing.
Not So Much:
- Does not fold for easy storage.
5. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Youth: Goplus Rebounder
Parents looking at the pricing range of the Hit Run Steal pitchback net might take a peek at this rebounder by Goplus. At this affordable price, little players get multiple options including the ability to use either side of the net surface for active practice play.
As with many other options in the sports rebounder net market, the Goplus Rebounder (learn more) is marketed to allow use for multiple sports, namely soccer. These types of multi-use practice nets are designed with strong frames and framing connectors, and their manufacturers are aware of how many connection parts are needed for long-lasting use.
Because if a practice net fails, and fails early during usage, users let everyone know in online reviews. So far, the Goplus Rebounder is holding up well for the most part with those who bought and used it repeatedly.
What We Like:
- Double-sided to increase options.
- Multi-sport trainer.
- Low-priced, good for very young beginning players.
Not So Much:
- Marketing point as a “hitting net” — rebounder nets are not for hitting drills.
6. Best Baseball Pitchback Net for Useful Features: Easton Playback Elite Practice Net
Deep into any research for a baseball pitchback net, potential buyers’ eyes might glaze from seeing phrases like “heavy duty” and “weather resistant” repeated so often. That said, let’s give Easton props for a few features on its Playback Elite Practice Net.
Let’s start with the metal ground stakes, which Easton chose to include in its marketing verbiage, where other manufacturers skip this important element over. Sports practice nets take beatings, and either fall over backward, or move along the ground often if not secured well. Having big metal stakes come with the product is a great idea for use on grass or dirt.
Also, Easton emphases “durable rubberized net attachment bands,” and “knotted” netting. These might seem like just marketing words, but compare those extras with the competition. Easton seems to understand important little things, which could move its products toward the front of the line of the many practice net products available.
What We Like:
- Heavy duty steel frame, knotted netting.
- Metal ground stakes included.
- Multi-sport potential.
Not So Much:
- Rather heavy.
Care Tips for Baseball Pitchback Nets
It is very important to note that durability for baseball rebounder nets depends on how carefully owners store them. These are the last pieces of sports equipment you want to leave outside overnight very often — they depend on the (mostly) rubber connectors, which can easily deteriorate after too much sun or moisture.
Nothing is worse for a young player than watching his or her favorite sports toy slowly disintegrate before their eyes. This also can happen with cheap netting, as holes develop and eventually the kid just abandons the pitchback net altogether.
Remember that these practice nets can be a bit awkward size-wise, with the large flat net surfaces and, sometimes, foldable rear legs. Those with limited garage or storage space should carefully consider those nets with frames that fold in the middle or otherwise can be compacted in overall size.
Final Words on Baseball Rebounder Nets
Baseball pitchback or rebounder nets are wonderful sports equipment tools for kids to use on their own to repeat and improve throwing and fielding motions. The bounce-back, automatic returning of the balls can become attractive with young players immediately. It lets them try new things, and just be kids out there enjoying a game.
All the while they get more reps to bolster reflexes, hand-eye coordination, reactions, and muscle memory — all good things to improve a little player’s overall game.