Best Automatic Dog Ball Launchers – Top 5 Ranked & Compared

This is our official list in search of the best adjustable measuring cups on the market today. Scroll further down or click “More Info” for full details on each product.

#1 PetSafe-Automatic-Ball-LauncherPetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher
#2 Playball-Automatic-Ball-Launcher-&-Thrower-For-DogsPlayball Launcher & Thrower For Dogs
#3 iDogmate-Ball-LauncheriDogmate Ball Launcher
#4 Gotcha-Talking-Dog-Fetch-Toy-by-EtnaGotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy by Etna
#5iDog-Midi-Rechargeable-Dog-Ball-LauncheriDog Midi Rechargeable Dog Ball Launcher

Automatic ball launchers are a great way to keep dogs active and entertained while their owners are occupied elsewhere. These launchers have the ability to throw a ball at varying distances so that the dog can stretch his or her legs and get some exercise.

5 Highest Reviewed Automatic Dog Ball Launchers

The best automatic ball launchers for every size and breed of dog are featured in this article. This review will detail the features of each model as well as giving some pros and cons to consider when shopping for an automatic ball launcher.

After reading this article, you as a shopper should feel more confident in choosing the best automatic ball launcher for their pets.

1.) PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

The PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher has a full set of features. It works best with standard size tennis balls, but can be loaded with smaller balls as well. Large and small dogs alike can enjoy this launcher.

The throwing distance and angle are both adjustable. The launcher throws between 8 and 30 feet with 9 variable settings. The unit will play a tone to indicate that a ball is about to be thrown, giving the dog and the owner some warning.

A unique feature of this launcher is the full suite of safety features. A front motion sensor detects pets or dogs standing within 7 feet of the front of the unit, and delays the launching by two seconds. The unit also has a built-in sleep mode so that your dog doesn’t exhaust himself. The unit will play for 15 minutes, shut down for 15 minutes, and continue this cycle while the power is on.

Pros

  • Safety sensors
  • AC or battery power for indoor and outdoor use
  • Adjustable throwing distance and angle
  • Uses standard tennis balls

Cons

  • Loud noise when ball is thrown, may frighten nervous dogs

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2.) Playball Automatic Ball Launcher & Thrower For Dogs

The Playball Automatic Ball Launcher is a streamlined model and very easy to use. This model is appropriate for small dogs only, and uses its own smooth-sided balls for best results. Refill balls are easy to buy.

Any 1.5” diameter tennis ball can be used, but the unit may jam more easily if the ball is not smooth-sided. This launcher has three distance settings to throw the ball up to 15-20 feet, with an LED indicator to mark the distance it is set for.

This launcher is very easy for dogs to use indoors or outdoors and uses C batteries or an AC adapter. Even 4 or 5 pound dogs should be able to load the ball back into the launcher with a little training.

Pros

  • AC cord or batteries
  • Easy for small dogs to use
  • Variable throwing settings for indoor or outdoor use

Cons

  • Balls that come with the unit are soft and not long-lasting

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3.) iDogmate Ball Launcher – Midi

The iDogmate Midi Rechargeable Dog Ball Launcher is a full-featured product. It comes with tennis-style balls that are made to be non-abrasive to a dog’s teeth, but regular tennis balls also work well in the unit.

The launcher throws balls 10, 20, 40, or 50 feet, and also has a random feature. The unit comes with a multi-function remote control which can turn the power on and off and adjust the throwing distance. The ball loading funnel at the top of the unit is large, making it easier for dogs to learn to load it themselves.

Any dog large enough to play with a standard size tennis ball can use this launcher. See it in action here. This launcher is rechargeable with a lithium-ion battery and also runs on AC power. It automatically goes into power save mode after 15 minutes with no use. Another model (the iDog Mini) is available which launches smaller balls for smaller dogs.

Pros

  • Rechargeable or uses AC power
  • Large funnel makes it easy for dogs to load
  • Audible beep sound lets your dog know when the ball is coming
  • Uses standard size tennis balls

Cons

  • No forward sensors so dogs are occasionally hit by balls

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4.) Gotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy by Etna

The Gotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy throws mini tennis balls and is appropriate for small dogs. The unique feature of this launcher is the voice feedback. The voice feedback can be turned off with a switch on the bottom. The unit throws balls at one distance of up to 12 feet. This makes the launcher especially appropriate for indoor play. Place one ball in the launcher at a time and wait for the unit to spin up.

When the ball is thrown, the unit says “Get the ball!” and when the dog drops the ball back into the unit, it says “Good boy!” This motivates the dog to play. Dogs should be trained to stand behind or beside the unit so they are not hit or frightened by balls.

The unit is powered by 4 C batteries or an AC adapter which is not included.

Pros

  • Voice feedback motivates dogs
  • Works well for small dogs
  • Good indoor play for wintertime use
  • Uses mini tennis balls

Cons

  • No AC adapter included

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5.) iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs

The iFetch Too comes with its own dog-friendly balls, but it also throws regular size tennis balls. The launcher sends balls 10, 25, or 40 feet, making a challenging game of fetch for any dog. The launcher can also be set to a random distance. This model is rechargeable with an included battery and charging cord, making it usable indoors or outdoors.

This model is missing some of the features included on other models in its class, including any sensors to detect dogs who are too close to the launcher. With some training, it is easy to teach your dog to use the iFetch Too. iFetch also makes a smaller model for small dogs.

Pros

  • Uses regular tennis balls
  • Variable throw setting
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons

  • Enters battery saving mode after 60 seconds, may be too fast to allow dogs time to get the ball back in the launcher

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Brief Guide to Buying an Automatic Dog Ball Launcher

What are they?

An automatic dog ball launcher is a machine that automatically throws balls. They are generally made of durable plastic, and look like small containers. They have a hole on the side to project the balls from. They  have a larger funnel type of hole in the top, where the dog can bring the balls and put them in. They then go back into the machine to be launched.

Each one allows the dog to return the ball to the launcher independently so they can play without help from an owner. Using these devices requires a little training, but most dogs will catch on quickly and will be able to amuse themselves.

These models have a variety of features including variable throwing distance, remote control, safety sensors, and recorded voices to encourage a dog during playtime. They usually have a few different distance settings, so that you can set how far you want the balls to go. Some have motion detectors too, so that a human or dog that is close won’t get caught off guard and hit by a ball.

There are varying sizes of balls that are used, but most tend to be either tennis sized or smaller. Some of these models are best for large dogs while others are intended for small dogs. This article will also detail what kind of ball should be used in each launcher for the best results.

Most automatic dog ball launchers have the option of running off batteries so that they can be taken outside. Some also have a power cord for if you are inside or near an outdoor socket.

There may also be the option of a rest period, so that your dog doesn’t wear himself out. Or audible tones so that you hear when a ball is about to launch, or lights that show the distance selected.

Who Can Benefit?

So why would you want an automatic dog ball launcher? You might be thinking, ‘Can’t I just throw the ball myself?’ These devices are for when you’re tired of throwing the ball yourself, yet you still want your dog to have fun and get more exercise.

If you can train your dog to use one then he can burn a lot of his energy off without you needing to spend the extra time to be there. It is recommended that dogs spend 30 minutes to 2 hours exercising a day.

Letting your dog play fetch on a regular basis will help his brain stay sharp. It can also help him to grow muscle mass and boost his blood flow. It will train him to be independent, so he doesn’t have to rely on you for entertainment.

If you have a dog that is obsessed with playing fetch, then definitely consider this. It will keep you sane, and keep him happy at the same time, removing most of the work for you. It is especially great for puppies who have a lot of energy.

If you have a toddler or grandchildren as well as dogs, then they may well be interested in playing as well. The kids will love to play fetch along with your dogs, and you can keep them all active at the same time.

What To Look For?

The first thing you probably want to look for is the right size launcher for your dog. For a large dog, then the kind that launches tennis balls is probably best. For a smaller dog then you would want the smaller size of balls. If you have different sized dogs then you may want to look for one that does several different sizes.

Also think about where you want to use it. If it’s going to be mainly inside the house then you might prefer one that has a power cord so that you can run it off your electricity. If you’re going to be taking it to the park a lot, then you might want to look for one with a rechargeable battery. Or you might be happy with the kind where you just replace batteries.

Look for a sturdy and durable model. Your dog may knock it over, run into it and try to chew it – so you want it to be able to withstand some wear and tear.

An adjustable distance setting might be good for you too, if you want to keep your dog guessing, or are not sure which distance would work best. Look at how much distance you are likely to need. If you plan to use it indoors then you will want a smaller distance than if you’re going to use it in a large yard.

Some models also have different angles, so the ball can go higher or lower, depending on the setting.

Some dog launchers are designed with safety issues in mind. If safety is your concern then look for a model that has a motion sensor and won’t project balls when it can sense that a dog or human is near. That way nobody gets hit unawares.

Also some have a helpful feature where they make a noise that alerts your dog when it is about to push the ball out. That way he can get ready to run after it.

What To Avoid?

Avoid getting a cheap automatic dog ball launcher. The good ones are durable and reliable, but have a higher price tag. If it’s cheap it probably won’t last very long or not work very well. Just make sure you read the reviews and check that it’s good quality.

Also avoid leaving tennis balls around as a chew toy for your dog. They can be bad for their teeth if chewed on too much, and also can obstruct their airways. So keep them for the ball launcher, but not lying around.

FAQ

How can I train my dog to drop the balls in by herself?

One way that users have done this is to balance a small treat on the rim of the launcher when their dog is running to catch a ball. Then when she comes back she sees the treat and drops the ball in.

Why do dogs love to play fetch?

For many dogs, playing fetch is ingrained into their DNA. They are made to hunt, and also selected, bred and trained for their ability to bring back what is hunted by their owners.

Can I use a ball launcher indoors and outdoors?

Yes generally you should be able to use them both ways. However do check the distance setting, as you don’t want the ball to launch to 30 feet away if your room is only 15 feet long.

Play time!

Automatic ball launchers for dogs are a fun way for owners to play new games with their pets. With these products, owners can provide a fun environment for their dog while they are busy doing something else. The wide variety of features available with these automatic ball launchers mean that every dog owner can find something that their dog will love.

Written by Rhoda Jane Pickens

Rhoda has been fascinated with product development for the majority of her life. Her expertise is in home and garden products, but her curiosity and vast experience allow her to cross category lines. Maintaining a detective like critical eye, she cares about the end user of gadgets.

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