Welcome to the wonderful world of automatic ball throwers for dogs! If you’re a pet owner, you are probably familiar with these products. They’re battery- or AC-operated machines which shoot balls across the yard or the house (generally 10-30 feet) so that your dog can chase and fetch them.
If your dog is smart enough to be trained to return the balls to the funnel-shaped opening in the machine, the pooch can enjoy hours of entertainment fetching balls without any involvement from you whatsoever!
Which is the best automatic ball thrower for dogs? The iFetch, PetSafe, and Go Dog Go are the primary ball launchers on the market today. They are sturdy, well-built machines that have been proven to work with dogs of all types. A number of companies make smaller hand launchers as well. These aren’t electronic or automated, so you’ll have to use your own hand power to make them work.
Whether you’re an experienced pet owner, or you’re a newbie researching the latest dog toys, we’ve got a ton of information here for you to help decide which type and brand of dog ball launcher might be best for you and your best friend.
Ball Throwers for Dogs: Buyers Guide
|Picture||Item||Cost||Description||Our rating (1-10)|
|iFetch||$$$||Extremely popular and sturdy automated ball fetch machine.||9.7|
|iFetch Too||$$$$||Larger version of the iFetch designed for bigger dogs.||9.6|
|PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher||$$$||Attractive ball launcher with numerous distance setting options.||9.2|
|GoDogGo||$$$$||Automated ball fetch machine with bright green design.||7.6|
|ChuckIt Ball Launcher||$||Simple hand grip with the ability to toss tennis balls up to 140 feet.||9.1|
|BazooK-9 Tennis Ball Launcher Gun||$$||Tennis ball bazooka launcher with various distance settings.||8.7|
|Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Ball Launcher||$$||Gun launcher that shoots balls 30 feet when trigger is squeezed.||8.3|
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dog Ball Launcher
Size of your pet. The iFetch shoots smaller balls (1.5 inches in diameter), so it works best with small- to medium-sized dogs, while the Go Dog Go shoots tennis ball-sized balls and is a good choice for very large dogs. Recently, the iFetch for big dogs (the “iFetch Too”) was finally released, so larger pets can have an iFetch of their very own.
Here’s one user’s YouTube video showing how their doggie plays with the iFetch:
You also want to consider how much space you have available. The iFetch has three different settings allowing you to launch the balls distances of 10, 20, or 30 feet. The GoDogGo fetch machine shoots balls farther, but for that reason it is not as ideal for indoor use as the iFetch.
Cost. The iFetch is generally more affordable than the Go Dog Go. Either way, it’s a significant investment, but in our experience, the price is worth it, because you’re getting an automatic ball thrower for dogs that you can use for years to come.
If your budget is much smaller, stick with one of the non-automated products by companies like ChuckIt or Hyper Pet.
Reviews of Some of the Best Automatic Ball Throwers for Dogs
In our opinion, the king of the automatic ball thrower for dogs market is the iFetch, which only hit the marketplace in 2014 and has already built up a rabid fan base. Dog owners love the fact that the iFetch shoots balls far, the device looks cool, and the machine itself is sturdy. It’s also flexible enough to be either an indoor or outdoor product.
The iFetch can either be plugged into the wall or operated on battery power. The C batteries (not included) will provide up to 30 hours of machine life, which means you can potentially go several months without needing to replace the batteries.
The iFetch uses small, soft blue balls that won’t hurt your dog. They are easy for any small to medium dog to fetch. Best of all, smart dogs can be trained to retrieve the balls and drop them into the funnel, which causes the machine to shoot them out again. It’s a neverending game of fetch that you don’t even have to be involved in! Read our full iFetch review
Though not as popular as the iFetch, the GoDogGo has a few advantages. With a bright green ball bucket and sharp black body, the GDG is more eye-catching than the white iFetch. It’s also versatile enough to shoot different kinds of balls, from smaller mini balls to regulation tennis balls. The launcher is very powerful and can shoot balls several feet into the air, which means you probably don’t want to use this product indoors. It’s strictly an outdoor ball launcher.
At most retailers, the GoDogGo is more expensive than the iFetch, but it does boast a nice color and appearance. We personally prefer the iFetch instead of this product, but some dog owners love this one, so do your research to make an informed decision. Read our full GoDogGo review
ChuckIt makes several different dog fetch toys, from basic hand launchers to the more sophisticated fetch wheel. The ball launchers are simple – instead of tossing a ball with your hand, you grip the ball with the launcher, then fling it forward. ChuckIt balls can travel up to 140 feet with this technique, which is a lot farther than the other throwers on this list. It’s a guaranteed way to wear out your pup in just minutes.
ChuckIt products are affordable, but their biggest strength is that they are durable. ChuckIt has a reputation for producing quality products that stand up to a ton of wear and abuse from excited dogs. The launchers come in several different sizes, from mini versions to the biggest “Pro 26” model. Read out ChuckIt ball launcher review
Here’s a product that is a nice compromise between the expensive electronic models and the cheap hand version. The Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Ball Launcher is a plastic gun that shoots tennis balls around 30 feet or so. Some users have complained that the range isn’t big enough, but if you wanted to heave balls by hand, you could do that without a machine. The Hyper Pet is for folks that want to avoid tiring out their arms and prefer to simply squeeze a trigger instead.
Plus, it’s cool and kind of empowering to walk around with a pretend weapon in your hand. As you might expect from a product that is sort of a compromise hybrid of the other types of ball throwers, the Hyper Pet Kannon Ball Launcher price is between the iFetch and ChuckIt brands, making the Hyper Pet a nice value in our estimation.
Automatic Ball Throwers for Dogs: Summary
Automatic dog ball throwers are becoming more and more popular these days, as pet owners try to relieve some of their own burden while ensuring that their pooches still get plenty of playtime fun. Based on our personal experience, we highly recommend the iFetch if you’re looking for an electronic ball launcher, and the Hyper Pet and ChuckIt if you’re seeking a simple hand launcher.