Since the GoDogGo and the iFetch hit the market, a number of other tennis ball launchers have popped up. Some appear to be inferior imitations, but others are outstanding new products that provide legitimate competition for the existing brands.
PetSafe, DoggyFun, All for Paws, and Sportime are among the brands currently offering ball shooters on Amazon. What are these ball launchers like? Which ones are worth the price? Read on as we examine the features and specs for these machines.
Note that we have not personally had the opportunity to test out all of these automatic dog ball launchers, so be sure to do your research, read the reviews, compare prices, and decide which machine is best for you. We still highly recommend the iFetch for small dogs and the iFetch Too for medium and large dogs, but if one of these newer products is a better fit for you, go for it!
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. More importantly: How does it function?
We like what we’re seeing from the product’s specifications. The PetSafe includes a whopping nine distance settings, more than most other shooters. 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 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!
One caution: Some users have been reporting issues with their devices not lasting as long as they expected. We’ve also noticed a good number of our own readers who have purchased PetSafe launchers via Amazon and then ended up returning them. Durability is always a concern when you’re spending big money, so take that into account when you make your purchasing decision.
PetSafe did put together this cool instructional video teaching pet owners how to train their dogs to use the machines. If you’re wondering what an automatic ball thrower looks like in action, take a look!
The DoggyFun fetch toy launches mini-sized balls rather than regular tennis balls, so it is appropriate for smaller pets. It operates using batteries or a wall plug, and it has three different distance settings.
We love the white and orange color scheme of the DoggyFun. The machine doesn’t necessarily come with any bells or whistles that the iFetch doesn’t have. But the DoggyFun does come with 5 mini orange balls. That’s more balls than any other product offers. It also comes with a training manual, which is great because you will have to train your dog to drop the balls into the slot so he can fetch on his own.
The All for Paws model is a bit different from the other devices in that it shoots not only tennis balls, but also dog treats! It’s a brilliant idea to make a product that rewards puppies for fetching balls, but its ball-launching distance is suspect, so read through the reviews before making a final decision on this model.
It’s an eye-catching white machine with bright accents that appear to be either lime green or neon yellow. No batteries or power are needed. That’s good because it means you won’t have to worry about charging or buying batteries, but it’s bad because that means it doesn’t have enough power to shoot the balls as far as some of these other machines.
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 do some stomping, this one might make sense for you.
Conclusion: New Dog Fetch Machines
Time will tell whether any of these devices end up rivaling the iFetch, but as we’ve noted, some are quite promising.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, a few of these products are currently out of stock on Amazon. Dog fetch machines are so popular these days that often, it seems, companies are unable to keep up with demand. So if you see one you like, don’t hesitate. Make the purchase before they’re out of stock and you have to wait a few months for the next round of production.