Best Automatic Ball Launchers For Dogs

Struggling to give your dog as much exercise as he truly needs? Introducing one of the most fun solutions you’ll ever find – the automatic ball launcher!

A great backyard addition for the exuberant dog, or the lazy pooch who needs some encouragement to shed those excess pounds! Read on for our top four picks for automatic ball launchers, and get the inside scoop on what makes them such a good investment!

ProductDetails

Best Automatic Ball Launcher

Featured Best Automatic Ball Launcher

iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher

  • Fits Standard Tennis Ball
  • Launches Up To 40ft
  • Built-In Rechargeable Battery

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Runner Up

Featured Runner Up Automatic Ball Launcher

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

  • Fits Standard Tennis Ball
  • 9 Distance And 6 Angle Settings
  • Front Safety Sensor

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Best For Large Dogs

Featured Best For Large Dogs Automatic-Ball-Launcher

IDOGMATE Dog Ball Launcher

  • Remote Controlled
  • Up To 1000 Launches Per Charge
  • Durable Launch System

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Best For Small Dogs

Featured Best For Small Dogs Automatic Ball Launcher

iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher

  • Launches Up To 30ft
  • 1.6" Small Balls
  • Balls Store Away Inside Machine

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

Best On A Budget

Featured Most Affordable Automatic Ball Launcher

Playball Automatic Ball Launcher

  • 3 Range Settings
  • Small Yet Powerful
  • Indoor And Outdoor Use

See on Amazon

Read Full Review

WHAT IS AN AUTOMATIC BALL LAUNCHER?

Have you ever been down to the local Baseball field and seen kids practicing in the batting cage? You know the ones I’m talking about! With a ball launcher that shoots out the baseball for them, ready to practice that game-winning swing!

I don’t know about you, but every time I walk my dog past one, she’s clamoring to get in on the action! Well, the automatic ball launcher for dogs finally offers a solution for our beloved pals, and not only is it safer – but it sets up right in your backyard too.

Although it doesn’t come with the adoring little leaguers — which I not so secretly think is the biggest draw for my old gal.

An automatic ball launcher is essentially a reverse vacuum – it shoots out balls, therefore, allowing your dog to play a fun game of fetch, even when you’re busy working.

Best Automatic Ball Launcher CATEGORIES

Best Overall: Finding an automatic ball launcher that’s versatile enough for a multi-dog household can be tricky, you want to find something that’s not too big, and not too small – with the priority on not buying something too small for any of your dogs as this can be a choking hazard.

Best for Large Dogs: Big dogs need big toys – and with the horror stories that we’ve all heard about dogs choking, it’s absolutely crucial that you buy a large setup if you own a larger breed of dog.

Best for Small Dogs: Oh those small pups, they’re adorable, and even more so when they’re trying but failing to pick up their bigger pals toy at the dog park! But when they’re at home, you want to make sure that their toys fit them perfectly.

Best on a Budget: Want to get the most bang for your buck? Try and look for an automatic ball launcher that comes with plenty of durable balls – this can be the hidden cost, replacing broken balls.

MULTIPLE VS. SINGLE BALL

There are two common types of automatic ball launcher; there isn’t a huge difference between them, other than the fact that one can be filled with multiple balls, and the other needs replenishing after each launch. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each!

Multiple Ball Launcher (Also known as bucket style!)

The bucket style launcher is an easy addition to your home as you don’t even have to train your dog how to refill it, it comes equipped with a ball tank which can be filled with numerous balls to keep the fun going!

PROS: Doesn’t require any additional training of your dog to use.

CONS: The fun runs out when all of the balls have been launched.

Single Ball Launcher

With a single ball launcher, there is room for one ball within the machine – this is then shot out at varying distances depending on the machine you choose. In order to refill, you need to either be on hand or train your dog to retrieve the ball and deposit in the launch bucket!

PROS: Can be used by your dog for hours on end – even when you’re not available to play!

CONS: Takes time to train your dog to use.

WHAT To Look FOR In A Ball Launcher

Different angle settings: Being able to adjust the angle of your automatic ball launcher is super duper fun, it makes it so that you can mix up your dogs exercise much more – and really ups the ante at playtime!

Ball size: When buying a ball launcher, you want to check what ball size the machine takes – and where possible – buy one that will be easy to replace the balls for. After all, you know what dogs are like for losing their favorite toys, or chewing them to pieces!

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use: During the summer it’s great to be able to take the fun and games outdoors, but all too often dog owners buy toys or accessories for their pooches without doing their due diligence and checking that the item is suitable for use outdoors – don’t be one of those people, check before you buy!

Multi-distance: Just like us, dogs can get bored or lose interest easily when partaking in the same game day in and day out – but one great way to mix up games of fetch with a trusty ball launcher – is if you can alter the distance that it’s thrown and keep your pup on his toes. Will it go here? Will it go there? Who knows!

The Right Size: Some ball launchers can be downright huge – but not all of us have masses of room to spare in the house for yet another gadget. So finding one that’s both compact and lightweight can be essential.

Power supply: Some ball launchers are powered by mains electricity, and others are battery powered. With a few having both charging options making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Depending on where you plan on using the ball launcher, you should consider which will work best for you.

Safety Sensor: Worried about the ball hitting your dog? Fear not! Because many ball launchers come with a built-in safety feature that causes throwing to halt when your dog (or anything) is in the way of the sensor, or for a certain number of seconds after the sensor has been triggered.

Ball detection: Don’t want your ball launcher to be using up power when there aren’t any balls to shoot out? Some launchers have ball detection built-in so that your gizmo will go into standby mode when your dog.

Can be used for multiple dogs: Buying a ball launcher that comes with multiple balls, and has ball detection makes for a great choice for owners with multiple dogs in the house! Keep them both busy while avoiding any fights over whose turn it is to play ball.

Warranty: With any electrical item, we recommend choosing a product with a warranty whenever available. There could be faulty wiring or a whole host of other mechanical difficulties, and as these machines cost more than just pocket change – you don’t want all of that money to go to waste.

Remote controlled: Ah, the old remote control ball launch! For the dog owner, this is akin to cat owners messing with their cats using laser pointers. Keep Fido guessing – will the ball shoot now? Will it not? He’ll have to wait and see!

Easy to clean: As with anything that you buy for your dog, hygiene is vital. Our furry friends manage to get into all sorts of mischief, from running through the forest to wading through the local pond – and when your dog is filthy, you can bet his belongings will be too!

Product Reviews

1. iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher:

iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher

iFetch is a small, family-run company situated in the buzzing city of Austin, Texas. A family of animal lovers, they turned that into a passion for making interactive dog toys that will have your pooch going giddy with fun!

The iFetch Too is the second in their line of automatic ball launchers, and boy oh boy does it have a whole heaping of handy features! A single ball machine, you can choose between different throwing distances of 10, 25, and 40ft – or if you think that Fido is getting too big for his boots – why not challenge him with the random setting that alternates between them?!

Designed for the medium to large dog, it comes with three tennis balls that are so brightly colored that they should be pretty difficult to lose! But, if they do end up disappearing, worry not you fetch fiend, because you can just pick up a can of tennis balls at the local store, and they too will fit the machine perfectly.

Suitable to use indoor or outdoors – and there’s no need to worry about finding an extension cable to power this beast – it comes with a rechargeable battery making it easy to charge up overnight and then bring out to the backyard for some fun in the sun come morning!

Features

  • Best For: Overall
  • Warranty: YES – One year warranty
  • Power Source: Rechargeable battery or mains power
  • Remote Control: NO
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor

PROS:

  • Throws the ball, 10, 25, or 40ft!
  • Fits a standard sized tennis ball.
  • Safety lock on distance setting so your dog can’t accidentally change it.
  • Includes “random” setting which automatically adjusts the distance to keep your dog guessing!
  • Comes with three vividly colored tennis balls!

CONS:

  • You have to change a setting, or the machine will automatically turn itself off after 60 seconds of inactivity.
  • Doesn’t throw as well when the ball has been chewed on.

2. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher:

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

You may be familiar with the Petsafe brand already, they have been a staple in the dog gadget arena for many years now and are a fairly reputable brand. They have a knack for adding additional safety features to already existing products on the market, and the ball launcher is no exception.

Of the launchers in this list it is on the only one that employs a sensor to reduce the risk of the balls launching when something is in the way, predominantly your dog however we also like this feature to protect children who may also wander in front of it.

This launcher also incorporates a maximum working time of 15 minutes from the moment it launches its first ball, before taking a 15-minute rest. This is designed to stop your dog from overworking itself and is particularly handy in hot temperatures. The launcher will beep twice notifying and training your dog that it is now in rest mode, and beep twice more when it can return to playing.

It has a maximum throwing distance of 30ft, which is shorter than we would like for larger dogs but the nine distance and six height settings make customizing the launch area very accurate.

The multi-ball hopper hold a maximum of 3 balls and 2 standard tennis balls are included. It can be run out of the box with the included power cord, however, if you want to go mobile, the 6 D cell batteries required for you to do so are not included.

Features

  • Best For: Overall – Runner Up
  • Warranty: YES – One year warranty
  • Power Source: Mains power or 6 x D cell batteries
  • Remote Control: NO
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor

PROS:

  • Front safety sensor stops ball launching directly into dog
  • Launch distance of between 8-30 feet
  • Nine distance settings
  • Six angle settings
  • Works with standard size tennis balls

CONS:

  • A bit noisy for some
  • Need to train dog to stay out of the sensors range.

3. IDOGMATE Dog Ball Launcher:

IDOGMATE Dog Ball Launcher

This brightly colored ball launcher comes with not just one or two distance settings, but a whopping four! Set at 10, 20, 40, and 50ft, you can use the handy-dandy remote control to go from one to another – or save yourself some button pushing and just set it to random!

With enough room for multiple balls in the launch bucket, training your dog to drop his ball into the bucket will be a breeze! And speaking of balls, these ones just so happen to be made with a special material that won’t harm your dog’s teeth, and are the perfect size for your medium-sized dog!

Use indoors while plugged into mains power or charge up that long life lithium-ion battery so that you can take it out into the backyard – or heck, why not take to your next doggie playdate? Your dog’s fluffy friend will sure be glad that you did!

A problem you can find with ball launchers is that the launching mechanism has a hard time with wet, or chewed up balls – but not this bad boy, it has a special patent-pending technology that ensures a consistent throwing distance with new and old balls.

Features

  • Best For: Large Dogs
  • Warranty: YES – One year warranty
  • Power Source: Runs on AC power or rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Remote Control: YES
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor

PROS:

  • Four distance settings, plus a randomized setting!
  • Runs on battery or mains power.
  • Comes with balls designed to be gentle on your dog’s teeth.
  • Bucket style for multiple balls.
  • A clever mechanism that works with damaged and wet balls.

CONS:

  • Will not work with regular sized tennis balls.
  • No safety sensor.

4. iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher:

iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher

The original iFetch, an award-winning dog toy for a reason. This easy to use ball launcher is ideal for small dogs, with perfectly designed balls that will fit into their smaller mouths, but without being so small as to pose a choking risk.

Take outside into the backyard — as it’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use — and set up in a matter of minutes! Fido will adore this new and exciting game of fetch, and with most small dogs, they pick up the trick of depositing the ball back into the machine with just a few attempts.

After you’ve tired out your tiny bundle of energy, pack up the three miniature tennis balls into the hidden storage compartment in the base of the unit, wipe clean, and bring back inside.
One of the handy things about this interactive toy is the fact that it’s just so light and compact – making it a possibly ideal choice for dog owners who live in apartments or smaller spaces!

It is worth pointing out that this might not be a good choice for multi-size dog homes, as a much larger breed could choke on the small tennis balls.

Features

  • Best For: Small Dogs
  • Warranty: YES – One year warranty
  • Power Source: Mains power or 6 x C cell batteries
  • Remote Control: NO
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor

PROS:

  • Adjustable launch distance.
  • The ideal size for small dogs.
  • Hidden ball compartment for easy storage!
  • Comes with three mini tennis balls.
  • Award-winning dog toy gadget!

CONS:

  • The balls aren’t the most durable.
  • Loses throwing power over time.

5. Playball Automatic Ball Launcher:

Playball Automatic Ball Launcher

This sleek and stylish ball launcher from Playball is a great addition to the dog owners toy box! Give your beloved pooch a fun treat, and you’ll both be in for endless hours of fun; whether you help him to refill the ball bucket – or let him drop them in himself!

Coming with three different settings for the distance of launch, you can adjust the settings with just the click of a button – and it’s easy to see what the range is set to, thanks to the light-up display.

Not only will you receive the ball launcher, but it also comes with three saliva-resistant balls — finally, someone else realized how gross it feels to pick up slobber balls! — and a training guide that will cover every step of teaching your dog how to use the launcher by himself.

Features

  • Best For: Being Most Affordable
  • Warranty: NO
  • Power Source: Mains power OR 6 x C cell batteries
  • Remote Control: NO
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor

PROS:

  • Designed to be power efficient.
  • Three range settings.
  • Comes with three saliva-resistant balls.
  • Sleek and stylish to fit in with any homes decor.
  • Comes with a free training guide for teaching your dog to use it!

CONS:

  • Not suitable for large dog breeds as they could choke on the smaller sized balls.
  • The ball can get jammed sometimes.

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY ONE

Mental Stimulation: If you’re the proud owner of a smart canine, it can be hard to keep them stimulated, and adequately entertained. An automatic ball launcher could be the solution to this, as not only is it great fun – but it works even when you’re busy, and let’s be honest, a machine has far more energy for playing fetch than we do!

Relieves Boredom: Does your dog get bored easily? Many dogs suffer from boredom, and often this leads to unwanted behaviors such as chewing on furniture, scratching at the doors, or howling like a wolf – let’s redirect that energy shall we?!

Physical Exercise: You would be surprised by just how many dogs are given far too little exercise. Not only is this bad for their general happiness, but it can be massively detrimental to their health too. Try to incorporate a little time with the ball launcher every day, and you’ll likely see an uptick in your dog’s fitness and mood!

Let Them Use Their Natural Instincts: Most dogs are bred to hunt or retrieve – so, of course, they just love to run after things! Don’t fight this behavior thinking that it will lead to them going after the neighbor’s cat – quite the opposite, if they’re allowed to get it out of their system – you should find that they’re not quite so interested in Garfield next door!

Teach Your Dog Something New: The best dog owners never stop training their dogs. And if you think about it, we humans never stop learning, so why should we treat our dogs differently? Learning new tricks, like depositing a ball into their ball launcher is fun, handy, and keeps those synapses firing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do these work with regular tennis balls?

Each machine can be different – some do work with regular tennis balls, but it varies by the size of dog that the machine is intended for, after all, you don’t want to be using a ball that poses a choking risk to your dog.

Can I leave my dog to play with this unsupervised?

Unless stated on the packaging, the rule of thumb is never to leave a dog unsupervised with a toy, But if you work from home, and want to leave the office door open while Fido’s playing in the other room, that’s A-OK!

How loud is the machine when running?

Again, this varies – but they go from pretty much silent to only making a small amount of noise.

Will this work for cats?

Well, I sure hope it will! I guess it all depends on how keen your cat is on playing fetch. Some breeds are more likely to enjoy this, including Siamese, as they tend to be more playful than your run of the mill “I think I’m a god” house cat.

Won’t this break stuff in my house?

That all depends on where you put it! Realistically it shouldn’t be powerful enough to do any serious damage – but if you have some precious ornaments in your home, think about setting this up in the empty hallway, or out on the porch.

How easy is it to train your dog to put the ball back in?

Surprisingly easy! You should be able to train any dog, all it takes is time, patience, and some cool training exercises. In fact, show us some love in the comments section below, and we might just write up a short step by step training guide for it!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Buying your dog an automatic ball launcher is a great investment in their health and happiness. For the busy dog owner who is constantly juggling work, kids, and everything else in life – save yourself some of the hassle and guilt of dog ownership by picking up one of these handy gizmos.

And hey – it might come in handy in other areas too. Want the kids to eat more fruit? Aim an orange at them. Want them to put their fresh laundry away, shoot a pair of socks into their bedroom! We’re joking of course – you shouldn’t do that, but that doesn’t make the automatic ball launcher any less fun!

Leave a Comment