An active dog is a happy dog. Just like with people, exercise improves both your dog’s mental and physical well being. An automatic dog ball thrower can help you do this! (Now about your unused gym membership…)
Whether you just want to get more exercise for your dog, you’re not able to throw a ball for your pet, or you just get tired of repeating the same motion again and again, why-doesn’t-he-ever-get-sick-of-this?— a toy helping your dog enjoy fetch might be for you.
Dogs are great but playing fetch with slobbery balls can be a gross! You pick up the ball with slobber on it and watch grass and mud stuck to the ball slowly make it’s way to the ground on a sting of spittle and think “there must be a better way“!
In all of these cases you should try an automatic dog ball thrower. According to petmd exercising your dog regularly prevents joint issues and increases lifespan by keeping your dog at a healthy weight.
One caveat we have to mention about fetching products is some dogs are not naturally fetching dogs. If your dog does not like to play fetch, then this is probably not the best product for your dog. For everyone else, read on!
Our Top Pick
The automatic dog ball launchers are 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. This is our top pick for many reasons including safety, features, durability and popularity!
There are also manual throwers that help you throw a ball farther giving your dog more exercise. Read below to find the fetch toy that best for you!
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dog Ball Launcher
Size of your pet
Have a big dog? Small dog? Whatever you’re answer is, it’s important when considering the right dog ball launcher. The iFetch shoots smaller balls (1.5 inches in diameter), so it works best with small- to medium-sized dogs, while the iFetch Too, PetSafe, and Go Dog Go shoot tennis ball-sized balls and would make a better choice for large dogs. The iFetch Too is basically an iFetch for big dogs since it operates in the same fashion as the original smaller model.
Whether you live in a New York City studio apartment or a grand country estate, you also want to consider how much space you have available. (And if you live in a country estate, you may want to consider inviting your favorite dog ball launcher reviewer for brunch.)
There are several dog ball launchers on the market that allow you to choose different Launch Distances. Many allow you to choose from 10 to 30 ft.
Types of balls the toy uses
There are many different types of dog ball launchers on the market. Some take normal sized balls and some do not. Yes, we’re talking about ball size here. You should take this into consideration when selecting the product for you. Buying standard sized tennis balls from the store verses special balls from a manufacturer can make life easier when the inevitable happens and your dog has worked it’s way through all of the balls.
Indoor and Outdoor Use
The original iFetch is generally more affordable than the Go Dog Go however the Go Dog Go is more affordable then the iFetch Too. 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.
There are cheaper Dog Ball Launchers but the old adage holds true, you pay for what you get. They may not be worth the savings. Fight dog boredom with these great products!
The GoDogGo G4 – Top Rated for Medium to Large Dogs
If you have a medium to larger sized dogs that love playing fetch then your dogs are going to love you when you bring home the DogDogGo G4 because they are going to enjoy hours of fun!
The GoDogGo has been around since the 1990s. It has lasted the test of time by improving the product and understanding what makes a great dog ball launcher.
We think this dog ball launcher is the best Automatic Dog Ball Thrower in general because of the quality and refined design.
The large Bucket Design makes it easier for the dog to reload the machine. The different features allow more options to have fun with your pet. With a Remote and battery operated it’s easy to take it outdoors to have fun with your dog or dogs.
How Far Does the GoDogGo G4 Launch?
This launcher can launch balls anywhere from from 20 – 60 ft (6-18m) which makes it better for outdoor use.
What Features Does the GoDogGo G4 Offer?
- Remote – The G4 offers a remote that can control all functions. Enjoy your dog exercising from the comfort of your porch!
- Safety Features – Your Dog will stay safe with the built in sensors in the G4. There are too many to list here but some include ergonomic design and timing between load and launch.
- Manual or Automatic Play – Enjoy manually launching the ball or your dog can reload and keep going!
- Ergonimic Design – Because of the ergonomic design it’s easy for your dog to load. The bucket can also be filled with many balls at once!
What Size Dog Is the GoDogGo G4 Good For?
The GoDogGo G4 is good for Medium to Large Dogs or a mix of dogs.
Is the GoDogGo G4 Best For Indoors or Outdoors?
The GoDogGo is Best for Outdoors because of the height and distance it launches balls.
iFetch Too – Runner Up for Medium to Large Dogs
For medium to large-sized dog breeds, there’s the iFetch Too, a bigger, more powerful machine than the original iFetch.
The iFetch Too uses balls that are the size of regulation tennis balls, which is convenient because you can easily replace them when the original balls wear out.
And by that we mean, your little dog tears them to shreds.
The iFetch Too was tested with large breeds like Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, and Italian Mastiffs, and they all loved it. In our own field tests, we observed that both a Viszla Beagle and even a smaller Jackrat Terrier both learned how to use the machine very quickly and couldn’t get enough. Did one teach the other how to use it? That would be adorable, but likely they learned on their own.
How Far Does The iFetch Too Launch Balls?
There are three distance settings on the iFetch Too. The shortest setting is appropriate for a small backyard or indoor use, while the two longer settings make more sense when you have more space available for fetching. Ahh … sweet, sweet fetching space.
- 10 ft
- 25 ft
- 40 ft
What Size Dog is the iFetch Too Dog Ball Thrower Good For?
The iFetch Too is good for Medium to Large Dogs or a mix of dogs.
What Features Does The iFetch Too Have?
- Rechargeable Batteries – The ifetch Too doesn’t require store batteries of any sort; instead, you charge the internal battery by plugging it into a wall outlet, and then you’ll have a fully charged machine ready to take out to the park.
- Durability – The ifetch Too is one of the most durable high quality dog ball launchers on the market. There are many poorly made dog ball launchers out there. You don’t want to be stuck with.
The iFetch is a great automatic dog ball launcher for small to medium sized dogs. One reason the iFetch works great for small to medium sized dogs is the ball size. Because this launcher requires smaller balls, larger dogs tend to chew through them faster. Also smaller balls can be a choking hazard for larger dogs. The second reason this dog ball launcher is better for smaller dogs is it does not launch as long of a distance or as high. Larger dogs need longer distances for better exersize.
The iFetch uses small, soft blue balls. Some 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 never-ending game of fetch that you don’t even have to be involved in! Machines really are taking all our jobs.
How Far Does The iFetch Too Launch Balls?
The iFetch Launches Balls 10, 20, or 30 ft.
What Size Dog is the iFetch Too Dog Ball Thrower Good For?
The iFetch works best for medium and small dogs due to the smaller ball sizes and the launch distance.
What Features Does The iFetch Too Have?
- Multiple Power Options – The iFetch runs on AC adapter power, or from six C batteries, which can provide about 300 throws of use. The adapter works for 110 or 220 volts. Batteries are not included.
- Adjustable Distance – Launch distance is adjustable between 10, 20, or 30ft.
PetSafe Ball Launcher
With its modern, almost regal gray and purple design, the PetSafe ball launcher stands out visually. But we know that appearance is way down on the list of important factors for a ball shooter. Higher up? How it, you know, actually works. This launcher does have several other safety features that you might enjoy. More importantly: How does it function?
How Far Does the PetSafe Dog Ball Launcher Shoot Balls?
- 9 Distance Settings up to 30 ft.
The PetSafe even includes different angle settings so you can shoot balls in various directions. This is a fantastic feature that most ball launchers do not have.
Usually, if you want to find a ball shooter with angle settings, you have to buy a giant, expensive tennis ball machine! Or as we like to call it, the original automatic dog ball launcher.
What Size Balls Does the Petsafe use?
Normal Size Tennis Balls or Smaller
What Size Dog is the Petsafe Dog Ball Thrower Good For?
The Petsafe dog ball launcher is good for dogs of many different sizes. Larger dogs may not get the distance they need however based on longest distance of 30 ft.
What Features Does the Petsafe Dog Ball Thrower Have?
- Adjustable Height – One feature is the launch angle is adjustable with 6 different angle adjustments.
- Adjustable Distance – The Petsafe offers 9 adjustable distances up to 30 ft.
- Sleep Timer – The Petsafe dog ball launcher has a 15 minute timer which makes the unit go to sleep after 15 minutes allowing your dog to rest.
On the con side, some users are reporting that the PetSafe isn’t as durable as they’d hoped. So while the PetSafe may cost less than the iFetch Too, whether it will last as long is questionable.
We like what we’re seeing from the product’s specifications. The PetSafe includes a whopping nine distance settings, more than most other shooters. Is there such a thing as too much choice? You’ll find out with this one. Just turn the distance knob on the side of the machine to adjust how far you want the balls to travel. The PetSafe uses standard tennis balls.
The iDogmate mini is a dog ball launcher introduced into the market which is both colorful and full of features.
What Size Dog is this Dog Ball Thrower Good For?
- This Machine is better for smaller dogs under 11 lbs or 5 kgs.
This is specifically manufactured for dogs smaller than 33 lbs or 15 Kgs.
How Far Does This Launch Tennis Balls?
- 10ft, 20ft or 30ft
The distance is adjustable with the remote.
What Size Tennis Balls Can I Use in the iDogmate Mini?
- 1.5 inch non standard tennis balls
You will have to order more online if you need more from the manufacturer.
Is the Price Reasonable For What You Get?
At a relatively affordable price, this product comes in an iDogmate branded box instead of the same old traditional plain shipping box. Like all other iDogmate products the package is excellently designed and well concealed to ensure the product is well protected. Inside this box you should expect to find;
- iDogmate ball launcher Remote control
- 5 iDogmate tennis balls
- AC power supply
- 3 extra screws
- A simple and easy to understand user manual
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the iDogmates design is also user friendly. The bright green and white color palette matched with the solid frame and sleek curves make this automatic ball launcher attractive to dogs. A little bit below the unit is a bright green ball chute that helps to funnel the ball into the machine in readiness for launch.
The power switch that helps to easily turn this device on and off is located on the back of the device together with the AC adapter port. Right next to the power switch is the on/off button in case you are using rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Although the 2 power buttons are confusing there is a simple way to distinguish them; the bottom switch will turn the power on from a wall outlet while the top switch turns the launcher on and off from the internal lithium batteries. A science degree is not required.
This is one of the coolest and most fun parts of this device! The iDogmate Mini ball launcher comes with a mini remote control that helps adjust distance settings, helps reset the device and also helps turn the power on and off. Once you have trained your dog how to return the ball to the device, controlling this device using the remote is a convenient and easy way to change up the distance so your dog doesn’t get ahead of the game. I mean, Who doesn’t love a remote control?
Most of the automatic ball launchers in the current market only use 6 C batteries which as you probably know are quite expensive especially when used frequently. The device uses fully rechargeable lithium ion batteries which according to the manufacturer can shoot a maximum of 1700 balls with just one single full charge!
Paws and Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
How Far Does the Paws and Pals Dog Ball Launcher Shoot Balls?
- 10, 20, or 30 feet (3, 6, and 9 meters)
Like other tennis ball launchers this has adjustable distances which can be set on the unit itself.
What Size Balls Does the Paws and Pals Use?
- 2 inch size balls and cannot use normal sized tennis balls.
It does not have a remote with it but does have features the other dog ball launchers do not have. Another advantage is it’s also rechargeable and does not require batteries.
Automatic Ball Throwers for Dogs: Summary
Like skinny jeans and disco before it, automatic dog ball throwers are the rage these days, as pet owners try to relieve some of their own burden while ensuring that their dogs still get plenty of playtime fun. Based on our personal experience, we highly recommend the GoDogGo G4 for larger dogs if you’re looking for an electronic ball launcher. You also won’t go wrong with the iFetch Too.
For smaller dogs we recommend the iFetch due to the smaller ball size and shorter launch distance. This dog ball launcher can also be use indoors if needed which makes it a great product for apartment living!
The other dog ball launchers are OK products but in general we would recommend sticking with the GoDogGo Inc or iFetch products. There are many other automatic dog ball launchers on the market. However if it’s not listed here, it’s not worth buying.
Teaching Your Dog to Use A Ball Fetch Machine
An automatic ball thrower for dogs only works when your canine buddy knows how to use it. In order to maximize the benefits of a machine like the iFetch you’ll need to train your pooch to respond to certain commands and teach them how to drop the balls into the slot. iFetch has conveniently created a video that helps pet owners work through this process.
The video uses shaping and positive reinforcement techniques to help doggies learn that good things happen when they fetch balls and return them to the machine. Give this clip a look for more details!
Handheld Dog Ball Throwers
ChuckIt Ball Launcher
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. It’s a little like have a cyborg arm, but in a not scary way! 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.
Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Ball Launcher
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.
If only other guns were converted into dog ball launcers. 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.
Hyper Pet Ball Launcher Interactive Dog Toy, 4 Tennis Balls
This dog ball launcher can shoot up to 200 ft (60.96 m). Dang, that’s far. It uses a slingshot style mechanism to launch the balls. This launcher can use standard size tennis balls which is a bonus. This dog ball launcher also boasts you can pick up the balls with the mechanism without touching the ball and your dogs slobber! Um, yes please!
Sportime Stomp-N-Launch Ball Launcher
This one is not an “automatic” ball launcher. You have to do the work yourself, by inserting a ball into the slot, then stomping on the base with your foot. The ball then shoots 15 feet or so.
While the Sportime is not specifically designed for dogs, pet owners report that it works just fine as a fetch toy. It’s also priced well below the other launchers, so if you need a budget launcher and you’re willing to pretend you’re in Blue Man Group, this one might make sense for you.
This is an innovative dog toy. It adds the new feature of being able to adjust the distance. Dealer’s delight.
The Distance is adjustable and if your able you can throw a Chew King Ball 50 ft!
The adjustable distance
The Balls are very durable.
You have to use Chew Kings Balls
- Easy-to-use, adjustable launcher fits balls and toys up to 3″ diameter
- Comfortable grip and variable throw settings – great for men, women, plus kids through grandparents!
- Less shoulder and elbow stress than throwing by hand
- No more holding chewed, wet fetch balls. Designed in USA, easy to clean, top-rack dishwasher safe
- Includes 5 durable 2.5” rubber balls, 1 glowing in the dark 2.5” fetch ball, 1 ball launcher
Chuckit! Max Glow Pro Launchers
This product can be fun in the dark! It’s the great Chuckit! ball launcher.
- Up to 150 ft.
- All medium 2.5-inch Chuckit! balls, including the Ultra Ball and Tennis Ball. One included with the product.