Avoid the imitators and stick with one of the reputable dog ball launcher brands
When something gets popular, everyone tries to get in on the action. When we started this website a few years ago, there were only two main brands of automatic dog ball launchers on the market: the iFetch and GoDogGo. Now, there are more than a dozen different ball shooters listed on Amazon.
Unfortunately, many are of such poor quality that they’re not even worth considering. Yet, because they are priced competitively, people are buying them and then being disappointed when they don’t live up to their promise.
If you go to Amazon these days, you’ll find a bunch of cheap launchers costing less than $100. The problem is that most are poor quality products, built cheaply overseas without any real testing or product research.
How to identify the poorly-made dog ball launchers
It’s easy to spot the poorly-made launchers on Amazon. You’ll see they either have no reviews at all, or have mostly negative reviews because the devices are breaking down not long after purchase. Often, the product descriptions are written in broken English because the product creators couldn’t be bothered to hire a native English speaker to write their copy. These mostly unknown companies are solely interested in profit margins, not customer satisfaction or establishing a relationship or building a brand.
Contrast that with the story of the Hamills, who were inspired to create the iFetch because they wanted a way for their young son to play with their dog while doing homework. They spent months designing, producing, and testing the iFetch. This is a product that had far more love and care put into its creation than the ones created by these opportunistic newcomers.
Now, price does not always equal quality. It’s entirely possible someone could come out with a ball launcher that is super-affordable and works great. When that happens, we’ll proudly review it and give it our highest recommendation. But it hasn’t happened yet. And I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.
It’s disappointing every time I hear that one of our readers has purchased one of these knock-off products, because I know it’s going to crap out and they will either end up returning it or just eating the cost and leaving a bad review.
Stick with these reliable ball launcher brands
As someone who has used multiple ball launching devices and sees the huge difference in quality, I strongly advise: Do not waste your money on these cheapo knock-off launchers! Save up the extra cash and go for one of the reliable models.
The iFetch and iFetch Too earn our highest recommendations, while the GoDogGo is a good option as well, the PetSafe is acceptable. These products will last a lot longer than the shoddy cheap devices, which means you’ll end up getting better value for the money. And your dog will get much more enjoyment from an automatic ball launcher that works as expected. Check out our homepage for the current comparison chart of the best launchers on the market!