***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2021 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Golf Launch Monitor You Can Afford in 2020, then we recommend the Flight Scope Mevo.
A launch monitor is either a stationary or portable device that can measure things like launch angle, ball speed, overall distance, carry distance, and even ball spin rates. These are all terrific things to know and things that could help you to improve your game if you had this type of feedback on a consistent basis. The problem with launch monitors is almost always the price. In the past launch monitors were reserved for coaches, professionals, and club fitting companies. With advances in technology, however, even some of the best golf launch monitors are more accessible and available.
In this article, we’re going to review the following golf launch monitors:
- Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- Voice Caddie SC300
- Flight Scope Mevo
- Voice Caddie SC200
- Ernest Sports ES14
- PRGR Black Portable Launch Monitor
The Benefits of a Launch Monitor
The main benefit of a launch monitor is that it produces analytics about your swing. You will learn things like the spin rate of the ball, the launch angle at contact, the speed of the ball coming off of the club, and even how far your ball carried down to the yard. This type of information (even for beginners), if used correctly, can really help you to improve your swing.
I remember when I first started playing, I had a tremendous slice with my driver. I took the phrase “Grip it and Rip it” very seriously and swung like Happy Gilmore minus the approach. Had I known some of the details like how much side spin my swing was producing or how little ball speed I was producing even swinging the club as hard as I could, I would have definitely started to improve more quickly than I did. I also had friends who were great golfers and a Grandfather who, on a couple of occasions, shot his age who could give me advice and help me to know what to do differently. The data from a launch monitor could easily save you from the beginner’s tendency to over swing.
Other than knowing the “numbers” of a swing, a portable launch monitor can also allow you to improve your game at any time of the day no matter the outside conditions. A good launch monitor can give you the freedom to setup an area in your own home where you can take full swings at a golf ball and give you feedback just like you were playing on the course. Depending on the climate where you live, this could open up huge opportunities for year long playing and learning and definitely put you ahead of the curve.
A launch monitor can give you great feedback that could improve your game, give you the option to play in the comfort of your own home, and many of them will even record your swing and show it back on video so that you can see what needs to be improved. Launch monitors do not take the place of a real golf course or a good swing coach, but they can make you better and give you options that you did not have before.
How to Choose the Best Golf Launch Monitor
The first thing you have to do when choosing a portable golf launch monitor is to set your price. Similar to a car purchase, a launch monitor can range in price from $500 for the lowest end product to over $25,000 for some of the higher end models. Understanding how much you are comfortable spending and then finding out what features are available at that price point is the first step.
After figuring out how much you can spend, you have to figure out what you want your launch monitor to do. If you want to be able to set it up in your home where your driving net is located and be able to play entire simulated rounds of golf, then you have to find a higher end product. If you are content taking it along with you on the course and setting it on the tee box next to you before each shot, then your options open up considerably.
Finally, and this is very important, you have to decide if this purchase is really worth it both for you and for your golf game. Just having an analysis of your swing and knowing how the ball comes off of the club is good, but you must also know what to do with that information. On top of that, you have to make sure that this is not a purchase that you will use for the next 10 months and then will begin to collect dust in your garage. Do you really want to improve your golf game, or have you just played a lot over the last few months and think you are not getting better quickly enough.
If you are serious about learning more about your swing, how the ball spins off of the face, exactly how far your shot carried, and other analytics then this will be a good purchase for you. Just make sure you know that there will be added time reviewing the data and research needed to be done to help you correct any mistakes. A good launch monitor can help you improve your game immensely, you just have to know going in that it will take some work on your part.
Do I Need to Spend a Fortune
This has been discussed some, but it is probably the most important question that most people will ask about this product. The short answer is “no” but with some important caveats. If you want something that will give you relevant feedback but is less thorough than some of the more expensive options, then you can find options for less than $500. If you only want one that will give you in depth analysis and allow you to play in your own home, then you will need to spend a little more.
With anything in life, you pay for what you get. But as technology continues to increase, at least you can pay a little bit less than what was required in the past. Just make sure to figure out which features are the most important to you, and find an option that suits your game.
Best Golf Launch Monitor Reviewed
The following is a review of some of the launch monitors that are currently on the market. The launch monitors that will be reviewed here are all less than $500 which, in the world of golf launch monitors, is a really good price. There are some options that have significantly more features but also significantly higher prices so we will focus on finding the best launch monitor at the best price.
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor uses your phone’s camera to product all of the data of your hits.
Along with the stats you get instant video feedback for each swing that can help you figure out what you are doing right and wrong. It cannot be used hitting into a net because it uses the GPS and camera on your phone to produce relevant data.
- The Rapsodo uses your phone to do the majority of the work so that the actual machine can be sold less expensively than most. Since we take our phones everywhere we go, it is very little trouble.
- Your camera is the Launch Monitor so that you get your data right after each shot.
- You get each of the following data:
- Ball Speed
- Club Head Speed
- Smash Factor
- Launch Angle
- Launch Direction
- The videos are very high quality and you can watch your balls actual flight on the video.
- Along with shot analytics, you can view your own swing and make improvements where needed.
- For outdoor use only, it cannot be used hitting into a net.
- If you want more than your last 100 shots, you have to subscribe to the premium version of the Rapsodo.
- It is one of the most expensive on this list.
The Voice Caddie SC300 uses Doppler radar technology to provide instant feedback with LCD display.
This allows you to see how far and high your shot went along with the carry distance and total distance before you even get to your next shot. It is compatible with and quickly connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to offer next level analysis of each shot and voice output of the distance. It even comes with a portable phone charger so that you do not lose charge out on the course.
- Portable and user friendly even for those who struggle with technology.
- Offers similar data and delivery techniques to the higher priced models.
- You receive the following data for each swing:
- Carry Distance
- Total Distance
- Launch Angle
- Apex Data
- Flight Metrics
- Swing Metrics
- Voice Output of Distance
- Doppler Radar Technology for precise data
- Works best when connected to a smart phone.
- Does not work well into a net.
- Does not synch with or use the phone camera even though it is connected to and uses a smart phone.
- Single user device so that it is difficult to share.
The Flight Scope Mevo is perfect for the range, the course, and even the comfort of your own home.
You capture data and video on your mobile device and use both to improve your swing. It is a 3D Doppler Radar based device that is very precise and offers 3 Dimensional viewing of flight paths and swing paths.
- Easy to setup and simple to use.
- Provides video and numeric feedback immediately after each swing.
- Uses Doppler Radar Technology for precision and consistency.
- Provides the following data points for each swing:
- Carry distance
- Club head speed
- Ball speed
- Spin rate
- Launch angle
- Smash factor
- Apex height
- Flight time
- Video Clips from any angle of your swing with corresponding data.
- Relatively expensive for what it provides.
- Needs a metal strip on each ball when playing inside.
- Calculates rather than measures like GPS systems do.
Similar to the SC300 with a few downgrades from that model but also with a lower price.
It can be used indoors and out, but is limited in scope compared to many of the other options on this list. There is no video feedback and it does not connect to a mobile device.
- A very good price and one of the less expensive options.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Voice Distance Output.
- A measuring range of between 30 and 320 yards.
- Measures the following data:
- Carry Distance
- Swing Speed
- Ball Speed
- Smash Factor
- For the price, it is worth bumping up to the 300.
- Static displays with very few visuals.
The Ernest Sports ES14 is a launch monitor that connects to your smart phone through an app and provides data instantly for each swing.
It can be used indoors and outdoors as long as you can set it up a decent distance away from the ball. While it connects via app to your smart phone, does not use the phone camera for deeper analytics.
- Provides immediate and accurate information for each shot.
- Can be used on the range, course, or in your home.
- Stores average distances and shot success for each club in your bag which can help you choose the right club every time.
- Measures and provides the following data:
- Club Speed
- Launch Angle
- Ball Speed
- Smash Factor
- Spin Rate
- The app is probably the most well developed of any on this list.
- Is limited compared to other models and does not use video which can come in handy.
- The visuals provided are very low tech.
- It is not as accurate as some of the other models.
The PRGR Black Portable Launch Monitor is an easy to use, affordable, and accurate doppler radar-based launch monitor.
The PRGR provides you with Swing Speed, Ball Speed, Carry Distance, Total Distance, and Smash Factor for each club. It may not have the same features as some higher end models, but its ease of use and portability combined with the information that it does give make this a strong option.
- Very easy to setup and use.
- One of the least expensive options.
- Very portable, it actually fits in your pocket.
- Works with other sports such as soccer, baseball, tennis, and hockey.
- Does not detect shots from high lofted irons as well.
- Sometimes comes up a little short on distance readings.
The Flight Scope Mevo is my choice for a launch monitor at a great price. It offers many of the same advantages of the upper end launch monitors including the ability to practice with it indoors.
While you cannot play a simulated course, you can get direct and immediate feedback from the comfort of your home. On top of that, the ability to take and store video and data within an app are both very important features in today’s world. The Mevo is not going to give you everything that the high end monitors and simulators do, but it comes very close and the visuals associated with this model are top notch.