Tennis ball pickup tubes are designed to solve the same problem as ball hoppers. They help tennis players quickly and easily corral loads of balls sitting around the court during practice sessions. Assuming you don’t have your own personal ball boy, a hopper or tube is the next best thing for quick ball retrieval. It also works great as a storage container between visits to the court.
What’s the advantage of a pickup tube over a ball hopper? Well, they’re more lightweight for one thing. If you play tennis a lot, eventually you may feel the strain of lugging around 75 balls in a metal hopper. That won’t happen with these plastic tubes.
Price is another consideration. While there are some very affordable hoppers, pickup tubes tend to be cheaper. Of course, tubes don’t hold as many balls as hoppers, so that’s the tradeoff.
If you’re considering investing in a tennis ball pickup tube, take a look at our impressions of the three best tubes on the market as of late 2016 and early 2017.
Best Tennis Ball Pickup Tubes
When it comes to retrieving tennis balls, nobody does it better than Gamma. The company makes our top-rated tennis ball basket cart and ball mower, and now they appear on our list of the best pickup tubes. You could call Gamma the kings of ball retrieval!
This tube holds 18 balls and comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying. It also features a fence clip, allowing you to secure it to a chain link fence and dispense the balls conveniently. That’s a unique feature that sets the Gamma apart.
The Gamma pickup tube is lightweight and sharp-looking. It comes it three colors: clear, red, and a “clear red” that is sort of a transparent red hue. The red one looks cool, but the clear ones are a little more practical, as you can more easily see how many balls are inside.
From tennis balls and racquets to overgrips and storage bags, Dunlop Sports is a brand that has seemingly been around the tennis world forever. Their tennis tube has been listed on Amazon since 2009, so it’s one of the most proven products available in this niche.
The brand name alone tells you that this is a quality product. In terms of features, this one comes with a useful fence clip as well.
Are there any drawbacks? The Dunlop tube is lacking a shoulder strap, so you may want to consider the Gamma if that is important to you. Also worth noting: this tube holds roughly 15 balls, so it’s not quite as spacious as some of the other models. That said, it’s still a solid purchase at its price point.
This model by Tourna Kids is designed to pickup tennis balls of all weights and sizes, including the larger red kids’ balls that are sometimes used by beginners due to their low compression. Users report that this ball pickup does grab those red balls, but does so with some difficulty, so it may not be as universal as some buyers would expect.
That said, it works just fine to pickup regular tennis balls. Though the brand name is Tourna Kids, there’s no reason adults couldn’t use it as well – as long as you’re not bothered by the word “KIDS” is in bright letters across the side. This pickup holds 21 balls.
Here’s the Tourna model for adults. Does the Tourna Tennis have anything the other pickup tubes don’t? Well, color, for one. This one comes in orange and yellow shades, in addition to the typical clear model. It has a fence clip, but no shoulder strap.
Like the Gamma, the Tourna Tennis ball pickup tube is simple, basic, and effective. This one holds up to 21 balls, making it one of the largest tubes on the market. That probably explains why it’s one of the top sellers online.
Choosing a Tennis Ball Pickup Tube
The pickup tube is one product where there’s not a ton of difference between the options. Some hold a few more balls than others, some come in groovier colors, and some have shoulder straps. Those are the chief differences we’ve found.
They are all priced in roughly the same range (click any of the product links in this article to see what the item is currently selling for on Amazon.) So ultimately, it’s the small details that will determine which product you end up buying. If you’ve never used tennis ball pickup tubes, you may be surprised just how much effort they can save you. Since they’re not very expensive, take the plunge and choose one you like!
Top image: gammasports.com