Home The Top 6 Dog Ball Launcher Review and Buying Guide 2019

The Top 6 Dog Ball Launcher Review and Buying Guide 2019

All dogs love a game of fetch. They can play it for hours if you would let them. Not only does this game present an opportunity for exercise but also critical thinking and independence building for your dog. However, you may not always have time for a game of fetch. This is why you need to buy a dog ball launcher.  It keeps your dog entertained with no supervision required.

iFetch Too – The Best Overall Automatic Ball Launcher

If you’re need a great ball launcher right now, we’ll make some recommendations:

iFetch Too is the best option on the market in our choice. It can work from batteries or You may use electricity and wall plug when the dog wants to play longer. It’s a great choice for large and medium dogs. and with changeable distance and angle, You can use it indoor and outdoor.

Types of Ball Launchers for Dogs

A dog laying with the orange ball on the grass

There are three types of ball launchers for dogs. The type that suits you is determined by your physical abilities as well as that of your dog. The cost of the specific launcher will also influence your purchase.

  • Manual dog ball thrower— these require you to be involved in your dog’s play time. They are most appropriate for outdoor play. They are also cheaper than all other types of throwers. Manual launchers can either be wand-shaped or built like slingshots. With some practice, you can throw balls far enough for your dog to fetch. You must be in good physical condition to use manual launchers. Physical disabilities or age-related incapacitation will exempt you from using this type of launcher.
  • Semi-automatic dog toy thrower— if you do not want to put in as much work as you should when using a manual launcher, but cannot afford an auto dog ball thrower, this will be the best option for you. Shaped like guns, with a lever to propel the ball forward, semis require you to be quite engaged in your dog’s playtime.
  • Automatic dog ball thrower—these are the least involving dog throwers. They only require you to set the launch distance and angle. Your pet will be engaged for hours. Some auto launchers have additional capabilities such as dispensing treats. This type of machines is more expensive than manual and semis. They also require you to train your dog before use.

Comparison Table

Editor's Picks:
Features:
Our Rating:
Buy from:
Ball Launchers
Best Overall
iFetch Too
  • Rechargeable Batteries Last 200 Throws
  • Uses Standard Size Balls For Large Dogs
  • Has Random Setting For More Fun
  • Changable Distance And Angle
  • Sturdy Plastic
5
Our Top Pick
PetSafe Auto Ball Launcher
  • Large Chute At The Top Makes It Easy For Dog To Drop The Ball In
  • Motion Sensor Ensures Safe Play
  • Adjustable Launching Angles Makes The Game More Engaging
4.8
Best Ball Launcher For Small Dogs
Felix and Fido Playball
  • Contrasting Color Chute Makes It Easy To Train Your Dog
  • Can Be Used With Batteries And Electric Plug In
  • Perfect For Small Dog Breeds And Puppies
4.5
Best Indoor Ball Dispencer
AUOKER Dog Ball Launcher Reward Machine
  • Does Not Require Power To Dispense The Ball
  • Encourages Slow Feeding
  • Detachable Parts Make It Easy To Clean
4
Best For Big Dogs
iDogmate Ball Launcher
  • Has Brand Name Balls That Are Safe For Dog Teeth
  • Designed With Anti-jamming Technology For Uninterrupted Fun
  • Launches For Long Distances In The Outdoors
4.5
Great Launch Distance
All for Paws Interactive Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
  • Easily Portable
  • Simple Design
  • Durable
4.0
Balls
Best Standard Size Balls for Auto Launcher
Tourna Tennis Balls
  • Cheap Compared To Other Brands
  • Does Not Have The Unpleasant Smell Associated With Most Tennis Balls
  • Do Not Lose The Bounce
5
Best Balls for Small Dogs
Midlee Mini Dog Balls
  • Felt Is Pet Friendly In Case Of Peeling
  • Durable Due To Tough Rubber Interior
  • Affordable
4.8
Small Balls Runner Up
Felix & Fido Tennis Balls
  • Are Less Likely To Jam Your Launcher
  • Brightly Colored And Attractive For Pets
  • Great For Small Ball Launchers
4.8

How to Choose the Best Ball Launcher for Your Dog

Photo of the dog chewing green tennis ball.

There are several factors to consider when buying a dog tennis ball launcher:

  • Type of launcher
    Manual launchers are great for people who are physically active and have enough time to play with their dogs. Semis are preferred by kids due to their shape and relative ease of use. Autos are for all people but are rather pricy. Furthermore, if you are unable to train your dog to use it, you might want to go for a cheaper option.You should a launcher that you can buy and use with ease.
  • Design of the launcher
    Some launchers have the chute on the sides, while others have it at the top. The latter is easier to train your dog with. Other design features include treat dispensers, auto shut off features, LED displays, remote controls and anti-jamming capabilities. You should choose a design that makes playtime fun, without inconveniencing you.
  • Dog breed
    Since dog breed is directly related to dog size, you must consider it while making your purchase. Large dogs should not play with small launchers that use small balls. They can easily destroy these balls and create choking hazards. On the other hand, small dogs would struggle with large balls from large launchers. Play time would not be enjoyable. Choose a launcher that matches your dog’s size.
  • Play area and types of gamesIf you have an extensive outdoor area that is pet-friendly, you can buy a launcher that throws balls 30 feet away. However, if you live in an area with little or no outdoor play area, you should consider launchers that throw the ball for a safe distance. You do not want to damage furniture or important items while playing with your dog.The type of game you play with your pet also matters. If your dog enjoys running far for the ball, you should consider buying a launcher that throws far distances. The opposite applies for pets that would get bored of fetching the ball from far away.
  • Warranty and return policyHow long does the manufacturer’s warranty cover the launcher? Ideally, you want warranty that lasts at least a year. This allows for a replacement in case the launcher does not perform as expected. Furthermore, a 30-day return policy covers you in case of faulty items that do not work well from the get-go.

6 Top Rated Ball Launchers And Balls Worth Buying

Here You can find in-depth reviews with pros and cons for ball launchers for all sizes of dogs.

Our Favorite

Best Overall: iFetch Too

iFetch is a brand that has dog throwers for all dog sizes. The iFetch Too is the latest addition that caters for large dogs. This launcher tops the list due to its efficiency, good throwing range and ease of use both indoors and outdoors.

Features

  • Automatic – launches balls at set distances without supervision;
  • Built in rechargeable battery – you do not have to change batteries every so often, as the iFetch Too’s batteries are rechargeable. It also has a wall plug that allows you to use electricity instead of the batteries while playing indoors;
  • 40 feet maximum launching distance – launching distance ranges from 10 feet to 40 feet. It can be adjusted using a flip switch on the side of the machine. Shorter distances are ideal for indoor games while long distances are for the outdoors;
  • An added “random” option lets the machine vary the launching distance with each throw to surprise your dog and keep things fun;
  • Standard size balls – this dog toy launcher fits tennis balls that have up to 2.5-inch diameter. This is great for large dogs that would chew and destroy small balls. 

Pros

  • Rechargeable batteries last 200 throws
  • Uses standard size balls for large dogs
  • Has random setting for more fun
  • Changable distance and angle
  • Sturdy plastic

Cons

  • More expensive than most launchers

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy, Tennis Ball Throwing Machine for Dogs in Easy-Open Packaging

Looking to teach your dog how to play safely? Worried about your pet getting hit by balls whenever he stands in front of the launcher? PetSafe, a leading pet product brand in the US, has a solution for this. The launcher has a motion sensor which can detect people or animals in front of it. It will not fire balls if it detects movement up to seven feet in front of it. This automatic tennis ball launcher dog toy has several great features which make it one of our top picks.

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy, Tennis Ball Throwing Machine for Dogs in Easy-Open PackagingFeatures

  • Motion sensor – this keeps your dogs safe by failing to launch balls whenever motion is detected in front of the machine. It also trains dogs to play safe;
  • Adjustable launching distance and angle – it has multiple distance settings for indoor and outdoor play. You can also adjust the throwing angle for your dog to make big leaps and enjoy the game;
  • Auto reset – the launcher goes into standby mode 15 minutes after launching to give your dog enough time to play with the ball.

Pros

  • Large chute at the top makes it easy for dog to drop the ball in
  • Motion sensor ensures safe play
  • Adjustable launching angles makes the game more engaging

Cons

  • Auto reset feature shuts off the machine after 15 minutes, requiring constant supervision to keep the game going

Best Ball Launcher For Small Dogs: Felix and Fido Playball

Felix & Fido Playball! Automatic Ball Launcher for Dogs. 3 Throwing Distance Settings

Small dogs cannot fetch standard size balls with ease. The Felix and Fido Playball launcher is a great machine that fits small balls that are 1.5 inches in diameter. It is well built and sturdy with both battery and plug-in capabilities for power. It can be used indoors and outdoors, with the latter having two distance settings.

Features

  • Uses both battery and electric plug in – You can use 6 size C batteries for outdoor play, or plug the machine to your power source while indoors;
  • Medium and long-distance settings – multiple throw settings give your pet some variation during a game of fetch. Long distance settings are appropriate for play outdoors;
  • Contrasting color chute – the brightly colored machine has a chute in white color. This makes training your dog much easier;
  • LED indicator – displays which distance setting you have chosen, preventing accidents by choosing the wrong settings while indoors.

Pros

  • Contrasting color chute makes it easy to train your dog
  • Can be used with batteries and electric plug in
  • Perfect for small dog breeds and puppies

Cons

  • Balls are easily destroyed by a heavy chewer

Best Indoor Ball Dispencer: AUOKER Dog Ball Launcher Reward Machine

AUOKER Dog Ball Launcher Reward Machine, Interactive Dog Toys Ball Thrower

If you live in an area with no designated are for pets to play outdoors, this ball dispenser will be a great fit for you. It is an easy way of training your dog to drop the ball in the chute, as it dispenses a treat with each ball. Your dog will figure out how to get the ball, put it back in the indoor dog ball launcher and get a few treats out.

Features

  • Works without batteries and electricity – this dispenser does not need any external forces to dispense the ball. It lets the ball roll out once the treat has been dispensed;
  • Chute for dispensing food and treats – helps train your dog to eat slowly and have healthy treats. This also adds fun to the game;
  • Detachable plate for mobility and easy cleaning – the plate can be detached to clean and carry;

Pros

  • Does not require power to dispense the ball
  • Encourages slow feeding
  • Detachable parts make it easy to clean

Cons

  • Can only be used indoors
  • Does not launch the ball to long distances

Best For Big Dogs: iDogmate Ball Launcher

IDOGMATE Big Dog Ball Launcher, Tennis Ball Thrower

This plastic, electronic dog ball thrower can engage your big dog for hours. It comes with its own balls that are safe for dog teeth. The chute can also fit standard sized tennis balls. It has a unique design that reduces the possibility of balls jamming. The chutes are on the sides, which makes it a little tricky for some dogs to use. iDogmate is a household brand when it comes to dog throwers, and there is a version of this machine available for small dogs.

Features

  • 4 distance launch settings – the ball can be thrown in 10 feet intervals ranging from 10IDOGMATE Big Dog Ball Launcher, Tennis Ball Thrower for Big Dogs and mid Sized Dogs to 40 feet;
  • Remote controlled – the launcher comes with a remote that lets you change different settings from a distance;
  • Unique design – a wide funnel and arch ensures the balls do not get stuck while being placed inside. This allows your dog to play for long, even with wet and dirty balls;
  • Powered by AC Adapter or rechargeable batteries – power save mode turns on when the adapter is suddenly pulled to prevent the machine from going off immediately.

Pros

  • Has brand name balls that are safe for dog teeth
  • Designed with anti-jamming technology for uninterrupted fun
  • Launches for long distances in the outdoors

Cons

  • Dog may have difficulty learning how to launch the ball from the side

All for Paws Interactive Automatic Dog Ball Launcher

This robotic ball thrower for dog by Paws & Pals is a high-powered machine that can launch balls quite far. It is great for outdoor play but also works well indoors. It has a treat dispenser that adds to the fun and motivates your dog to play for longer.

Features

  • Multiple distance settings – this machine can launch balls as near as 10 feet and as far as 40 feet. A dry, clean ball will be launched further than a wet, slobbery ball;
  • Great 3-year warranty.

Watch funny video about dogs playing with the automatic ball launcher:

Pros

  • Easily portable
  • Simple design
  • Durable

Cons

  • Does not launch wet balls far enough

Best Balls to Buy for Your Auto Ball Launcher

If your dog loves to chew, the balls that come with your launcher may not last long. Here are a few alternatives that work well.

Our Favorite

Best Standard Size Balls for Auto Launcher: Tourna Tennis Balls

These pressureless balls are great for a launcher that takes standard size balls. They are 2.5 inches in diameter and strong enough to withstand the chewing from your dog.Tourna Mesh Carry Bag of 18 Tennis Balls

Pros

  • Cheap compared to other brands
  • Does not have the unpleasant smell associated with most tennis balls
  • Do not lose the bounce

Cons

  • Felt may peel off after a while

Best Balls for Small Dogs: Midlee Mini Dog Balls

These balls fit in launchers meant for small dogs. With 1.5-inch diameter, they are great for a game of fetchMidlee Mini Dog Tennis Balls 1.5" 12-Pack.

Pros

  • Felt is pet friendly in case of peeling
  • Durable due to tough rubber interior
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Pose a choking hazard when they break

Small Balls Runner Up: Felix & Fido Tennis Balls

These balls that come in a pack of 10 are for use with a small ball launcher. They have a great fabric on the exterior which prevents balls from becoming slobbery and jamming the launcherFelix & Fido 5 Pack Extra Balls for thePlayball.

Pros

  • Are less likely to jam your launcher
  • Brightly colored and attractive for pets
  • Great for small ball launchers

Cons

  • Can be dangerous for large dogs and power chewers

How to Use Ball Launchers

First, you should be able to safely set up the unit in your home. While indoors, always start with the lowest launching distance to avoid any accidents. You should have cleared everything out of the ball’s path. Once you determine the machine’s launching power, you can adjust the distance as needed. While outdoors, you can start with any distance provided the ball has a clear path.

You will have to dismantle your launcher to clean it after a while. This is especially necessary for launchers used outdoors. While using it, you should ensure the balls stay dry to avoid jamming it.

How to Train Your Dog to Use the Ball Launcher

At first, your dog will be confused by the launcher. This is normal. You should begin the training process by demonstrating what you expect him to do. Start a game of fetch in which you drop the ball in the launcher instead of throwing it yourself. Use treats to motivate him. Repeat this several times and encourage your dog to explore the machine. Stop whenever you realize your dog has lost interest, and start the process over another day. Soon enough, he will get the hang of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do launchers work with regular tennis balls?
    Yes, they do. However, the size of the tennis ball you choose must be compatible with the size of your ball launcher. Launchers for big dogs can work with standard size 2.5-inch tennis balls. Launchers for small dogs can only take 1.5-inch tennis balls.
  • Can I leave my dog to play with this unsupervised?
    Yes, you can leave your dog to play with an automatic dog ball thrower machine unsupervised. You should set the appropriate distance and launching handle beforehand.
  • How loud is the machine when running?
    Some throwers have loud sound and would be best suited for outdoor play. Others are fairly quiet and do not cause a nuisance when used indoors. The loudness varies from one machine to the other.
  • Will this work for cats?
    It may work for some cats. However, the ideal distance for launching balls for cats would not be as far as that for dogs. You can entertain your feline with a 10-foot throw.
  • How easy is it to train your dog to put the ball back in?
    It is fairly easy for your dog to learn how to play with the electric dog ball launcher. All you have to do is put the ball back in for him a couple of times. You can use treats to motivate him to put the ball back in himself.

Final Take

iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers for DogsYou have the choice of a manual, semi-automatic and an automatic tennis ball thrower for dog. However, it is quite obvious that there is no better alternative for a serious game of fetch than the electric dog ball thrower. It requires very little effort from you to keep your dog active and entertained. All you have to do is train your dog and buy the best launcher that suits your needs.

Settling on the best dog ball launcher can be a tedious task, with all the options out there. However, once you consider your physical and financial limitations, you should be able to pick one of the 7 top rated launchers in this review.

Author

Jeremy Spencer

Jeremy has been with the site since shortly after it’s founding. An outdoorsman at heart, he often finds himself on long hikes camping and hiking with his friend’s dogs.