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For golfers who are serious about improving their game, knowing their club and ball data is a very valuable asset.
This is where launch monitors come in. As the core of most golf simulators, a launch monitor allows you to measure and analyze ball flight data and track your shots so that you can understand how your game needs to improve.
Not everyone can afford professional launch monitors that cost five figures or more. Fortunately, as launch monitor technology has advanced, many very affordable solutions have appeared on the market, so there are options that can accommodate a range of budgets.
There are several things that make a great launch monitor: the amount of data points, accuracy, technology and size are among them.
The majority of launch monitors can be used to their full potential both at home and on the range. With some decent software, a projector and a screen, you can even build a full-on golf simulator that you can enjoy at any time of the year.
In this article, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best golf launch monitors across a wide range of different budgets.
We at Golfstead have tested and/or conducted in-depth research into all of these launch monitors. Some have less capability than others, but they all give excellent results for the cost.
Our Top Launch Monitor Picks
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, the following are our top selections for the best golf launch monitors:
- FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
- SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- Uneekor EYE XO Launch Monitor
- Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
- Foresight Sports GC3 Launch Monitor
- FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor
- Full Swing KIT Launch Monitor
- Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor
- PRGR HS-130A Launch Monitor
- Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS Launch Monitor
- Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- Garmin Approach G80 GPS & Launch Monitor
- TrackMan 4 Launch Monitor
- Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor
1. FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
The Mevo Plus is a champ. There are many reasons why it earns the #1 spot on our list: it’s relatively affordable, it performs well both indoors and outdoors, it comes with apps and software out-of-the-box, and it’s compatible with a slew of great simulator software providers.
What’s more, the Mevo Plus is now being offered in a new 2023 Edition which has an improved battery life, upgraded kickstand, and expanded features in the bundled E6 CONNECT software including PC compatibility.
The Mevo Plus has a sharp white/red colour scheme that stands out nicely. It works great outdoors due to the Doppler radar, but if you want to use it indoors, your space will require at least 16 feet of depth.
As long as you have enough space behind and in front of you, we think that in almost all cases, you shouldn’t get any other launch monitor in the $2000-$3000 price range.
The radar technology of the Mevo Plus measures an impressive 16 ball and swing parameters, which include essentials like distance, ball speed and club head speed, as well as spin loft, spin axis, roll distance, lateral landing, and shot shape.
This is bolstered by Fusion Tracking which adds synchronized image processing for enhanced accuracy and consistency.
On top of this, a new, optional Pro Package upgrade unlocks 11 additional advanced club and ball data parameters. The optional Face Impact Location add-on for the Pro Package allows you to view the precise impact location on the clubface with heatmaps.
The purchase of a Mevo Plus 2023 Edition launch monitor comes with a trimmed version of E6 CONNECT software for iOS and PC. This software package includes ten golf courses, seventeen practice ranges, and a darts minigame.
You can also get a great driving range practice experience with 3D trajectory views, video recording and more through the FS Golf app for Android and iOS. Other FlightScope apps and the FS Golf PC software can be paired with the Mevo Plus.
The launch monitor is compatible with the full PC version of E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, Awesome Golf, Creative Golf 3D, and GSPro.
The little brother of the Mevo Plus is the original Mevo. It has very high user ratings and is the only launch monitor we know about to directly measure spin data for $500 or less, so if you’re interested in that, go here.
The Mevo Plus should be placed 8 feet behind the ball on your target line for best results. A minimum of 8 feet of ball flight is needed to accurately record data parameters.
Mevo Plus users love the value you get for the money: a lot of versatility, plenty of software to choose from, convenience, and superb customer support. For more information on device compatibility, available add-ons (including the Pro Package), and software options, visit this page.
2. SkyTrak Launch Monitor
The SkyTrak Launch Monitor has been around for a while and is one of the most popular launch monitors on the market. It was named the best value golf simulator twice by Golf Digest.
This game-improvement tool records your ball flight data at a precision comparable to commercial systems that cost $10,000 or more, but yet it costs just a fraction of that price.
Like the Mevo Plus, it comes with an out-of-the-box driving range so you can get a visual of your shot and view your data in detail. It’s also compatible with a wide range of softwares.
The SkyTrak is more powerful than the typical cheap pocket launch monitor. But unlike the radar-based Mevo Plus, it uses photometric (camera-based) technology to measure data. Many argue that it’s better than the Mevo Plus in certain respects, and people find that it has an edge over the Mevo Plus indoors.
How It Works
When you hit a shot, photometric technology is used to take several high-speed photos of the first few inches of ball flight.
The SkyTrak directly measures five metrics: ball speed, launch angle, side spin, side angle, and back spin. Through advanced algorithms, the photos taken are used to calculate six additional parameters: distance, flight path, club head speed, angle of descent, offline, and roll.
The SkyTrak Launch Monitor comes with a Basic Practice Plan by default which allows you to view your ball flight and data parameters on a 3D driving range. Upgrades are available to the following:
- Game Improvement Plan: adds challenges, game improvement features, more camera views, custom environment settings, and more.
- Play & Improve Plan: adds integration with World Golf Tour (WGT), with full course play on 15 famous golf courses and closest-to-the-pin challenges.
Beyond the in-house software, the SkyTrak is compatible with an array of third-party solutions including E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, Fitness Golf, ProTee Play, and Golfisimo.
Because the SkyTrak unit sits in front of you, all you need to use it is enough space to swing your longest club. We love it because it’s well-made, trusted by pros and top golf swing coaches, and offers outstanding performance for the money.
3. Uneekor EYE XO Launch Monitor
This terrific launch monitor is almost as good as the top dogs on the market while being considerably less expensive. However, it’s meant to be mounted overhead as part of a golf simulator setup, so it can’t be taken to the range or anywhere else.
Since its release, the EYE XO has been received exceptionally well by golfers. It’s an upgrade from Uneekor’s QED launch monitor, giving you additional data and eliminating the need to play specially marked golf balls among other things.
Two high-speed cameras record at over 3000 fps, and with the help of advanced sensors, detailed parameters related to club path and ball impact are tracked. Full performance is delivered on shots from 10 cm to 435 yards.
This is an ideal launch monitor for the home. The use of software is required in order to read data measurements.
The EYE XO measures over 20 ball and club parameters. In addition to the obvious parameters like distance, ball speed and club head speed, some other parameters measured are:
- club path
- face angle
- back spin
- side spin
- launch angle
- side angle
- angle of attack
- lie & loft angles
Note that club stickers are required for the EYE XO to measure club data.
What’s great about Uneekor EYE XO is that it comes with quality simulator software out of the box. Called View, this software allows you to view real-time video playback of your shots, play world-class golf courses, practice on the range, access the PowerU Cloud Service, and much more.
In addition to the default software, the EYE XO is also compatible with The Golf Club 2019, E6 CONNECT, Creative Golf 3D, and GSPro. There are plenty of options to turn simple launch monitor data viewing into a full-blown golf simulator experience.
Several software upgrades and add-ons are available. For more information, including PC system requirements, visit this page. Uneekor launch monitors are available as part of golf simulator packages here.
Uneekor has also just recently rolled out the EYE XO2 launch monitor which contains an extra high-speed camera and offers a number of other benefits.
4. Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
The Approach R10 by Garmin, the company behind many of the best golf GPS units on the market, has already made big waves in the industry. Many people consider it to have revolutionized golf tech like the SkyTrak did back in 2014.
The R10, at just $600, is the first launch monitor to measure detailed club path parameters that you could previously only get in $1800+ units. It’s also the first launch monitor in its price range to have golf simulation capabilities.
People are raving about the R10. It has gotten top marks from critics across the board, who are just blown away that something this compact and affordable can do so much.
The Approach R10 can work great both indoors and outdoors, but its radar technology is naturally better suited for outdoor use.
The R10 rests on a tripod mount and is placed 6-8 feet behind the ball. It’s considered a portable launch monitor and can easily be moved from the home to the driving range or wherever else you want to set up.
The R10 does three main things. First, it directly measures four data parameters and derives many other parameters (10+) including spin and face angle. The directly measured metrics are:
- ball speed
- club head speed
- launch angle
- launch direction
Spin measurement accuracy can be greatly improved indoors by using Titleist Pro V1 and V1x RCT golf balls.
Second, the Approach R10 supports golf simulation. Through the updated Garmin Golf app, you can either practice and analyze your sessions on a virtual driving range or play courses around the world on Home Tee Hero, which requires a subscription. You can also play the world-renowned E6 CONNECT software, Awesome Golf, TGC 2019, or PinSeeker app tournaments.
Third, you can capture video of your shots by setting up your phone’s camera behind the hitting area. Your stats including ball speed, carry distance and total distance, as well as the club you hit with, are overlaid on top of each clip, and you can use it to spot flaws in your swing.
The Garmin Golf app, which is required to use the R10, has been around for a while; it enjoys a high average rating that is rare for these kinds of apps. Through the app, you can view club performance data, participate in weekly tournaments, share your results, and more.
The R10 puts up a really impressive fight against launch monitors at the $2000 level and above, and Garmin continues to update, improve, and build on it over time. If you don’t have the budget for something like the SkyTrak or Mevo+, you should seriously consider grabbing one.
5. Foresight Sports GC3 Launch Monitor
The GC3 by Foresight Sports is a professional-grade golf launch monitor that is designed to fill the gap in the GC line between the old stereoscopic GC2 system and cutting-edge GCQuad.
Its main draw is being able to provide accuracy, versatility and portability that rivals the GCQuad while being significantly more affordable, at well under $10,000 with software included.
The GC3 has a sleek, portable design with a touchscreen display and direct-to-screen data output. The launch monitor can be used equally well indoors or outdoors.
The GC3 launch monitor measures an array of club and ball data parameters using a combination of infrared object tracking and high-speed cameras. Three cameras are used as part of a triscopic photometric camera system.
A total of ten club and ball data parameters can be measured including ball speed, club head speed, launch angle, side spin, side angle, smash factor, and angle of attack.
The GC3 runs on a lithium-ion battery and contains an accelerometer for auto-leveling as well as a barometric sensor that adjusts data readings based on atmospheric conditions.
One of the really nice benefits of the GC3 launch monitor is that it comes in bundles that include FSX 2020 and FSX Play software, which provides an ultra-realistic golf simulation experience with support for up to 5K resolution. E6 CONNECT is another possible integration.
The GC3 is also available under the Bushnell Golf brand as the Bushnell Launch Pro, which allows you to pay for certain features through a subscription model instead of paying the full cost up-front.
Because of the GC3’s power, portability, and value for money, we think it’s a game-changer in the launch monitor space and one of the best choices to integrate into a golf simulator setup.
For more information on bundles, software, and more, go here. For more information on the Bushnell Launch Pro, go here.
6. FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor
If you’re serious about your launch monitor experience and want premium, high-end performance, you should consider the FlightScope X3. This launch monitor has been used by pro golfers such as Bryson DeChambeau to prepare for tournaments.
The powerful X3 launch monitor is packed with features. It can handle the most intense and demanding applications including practice sessions, golf lessons, and club fitting. Usable both indoors and outdoors with full golf simulation capability, it also has some of the best chipping and putting tracking on the market.
The X3 is a dream if you can handle the cost, but it’s worth noting that its performance is essentially the same as the TrackMan 4 while being significantly less expensive.
The X3 is capable of measuring over 50 full-swing, chipping and putting data parameters.
We won’t even bother listing them here, but you get a list of them on this page. Let’s put it this way: if you want to quantify every meaningful aspect of your swing, you won’t be left disappointed.
To measure this data, the X3 uses patented Fusion Tracking technology, which combines 3D radar and image processing for extremely high accuracy.
Most of the features of the X3 are accessed through the FlightScope VX app, which you can download for free on iOS and Android devices. Some FlightScope apps that are compatible with the X3 are also usable on Windows 10.
With the X3, you can set up multiple camera feeds and then sync the multi-angle video with radar data on every shot.
The X3 has a powerful feature called the Environmental Optimizer, which allows you to modify factors like altitude, wind speed, humidity, and air temperature. This helps you understand how weather and climate variables affect your shots.
The X3 also provides wedge D-Plane data, which includes angle of attack, face angle, club path, and dynamic loft. This enables you to get valuable insights into your wedge play and improve weaknesses in your wedge game.
Other features of the X3 with the VX app include (but are not limited to):
- data margins (min and max values for smarter practice)
- customizable interfaces
- club & ball tracing
- lesson recordings
- putter face & path tracking
- customized challenges
Purchases of a FlightScope X3 launch monitor include an E6 CONNECT software bundle. E6 CONNECT is one of the best golf simulation softwares on the market, with 4K graphics, practice ranges, full course play, and various online games.
The X3 is also compatible with other software that includes TGC 2019, Creative Golf 3D, Awesome Golf, and GSPro.
16 feet of space (8 feet of ball flight and 8 feet behind you) is required to properly use the X3. Note that metallic stickers are needed when using the X3 indoors in order to accurately measure spin. For requirements and other info, visit this page.
7. Full Swing KIT Launch Monitor
Have you ever wanted to know which launch monitor Tiger Woods uses? That would be the Full Swing KIT, an advanced radar-based launch monitor built at Woods’ request and according to his standards.
Full Swing developed the KIT over the course of many years in collaboration with Woods, who sought a launch monitor that he could take to the range and that he could count on as much as his indoor Full Swing Pro Series simulator.
The KIT is a radar-based launch monitor that provides an array of club and ball parameters, with no stickers or alignment aids required. Its accuracy is comparable to higher-end launch monitors while being thousands of dollars less expensive.
The Full Swing KIT uses machine-learned Doppler radar and dedicated processors to measure sixteen data parameters. These include ball speed, distance, club head speed, smash factor, spin axis, face to path, launch angle, apex height and club path.
Its portable, compact design has direct-to-screen output, and it’s the only launch monitor with a customizable OLED full-colour screen.
Other features of the KIT are:
- separate processors for radar and media
- an onboard 4K camera with 1080p output for swing capture and analysis
- data customization and viewing on multiple devices including iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
- ability for data measurements to be spoken to you through headphones
- ability to view normalized data in the absence of environmental factors
- five hours of battery life
A dedicated companion app (iOS only) is available for the KIT which allows you to view your historical shot data, store video, track trends, and manage your clubs and bag. In addition, the KIT is now usable for indoor golf, integrating with the iOS version of E6 CONNECT.
The app and E6 CONNECT are not required to use the KIT; you can customize the data view format using buttons on the right side of the unit and view data on the KIT display after each shot.
What we love about the KIT is its easy setup, ease of use, intuitive app, and large amount of data parameters. And if it’s endorsed by arguably the best golfer to play the game (as well as top pros like Jon Rahm), you know it’s the real deal.
8. Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor
The GCQuad Launch Monitor is a three-time Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award Winner and one of Foresight Sports’ most advanced and powerful launch monitor offerings.
In terms of price, it’s in the ballpark of the X3 and TrackMan, depending on which add-ons you get with it. We’d argue that at the moment, it provides the most accurate and reliable indoor performance on the market.
The GCQuad builds on the GC2 and outclasses the GC3 to deliver unique quadrascopic imaging, direct measurements of club head data, and an extremely fast processor.
It has a compact, ergonomic design at 7 x 12.5 x 4 inches, weighs just 7.5 lbs, runs on a 6-8 hour lithium ion battery, and works equally well indoors and outdoors.
The GCQuad uses a quadrascopic high-speed camera system, which is a first in the launch monitor industry and a step up from the triscopic system of the GC3.
A combination of high-resolution, high-speed camera-based technology and infrared object tracking build a virtual 3D model of your swing and precisely measure club head and ball performance. Results are delivered nearly in real time.
The technology is different from radar-based technologies that measure performance from behind the clubhead and derive various parameters. The GCQuad gets a clear, direct view of impact and takes exact photometric measurements.
The end result is apparently much more precise results. Our tests and the experiences of other GCQuad users seem to confirm the extreme accuracy, but whether or not it’s the most accurate launch monitor on the market is up for debate.
Key parameters measured include ball speed, launch angle, azimuth, spin-tilt axis, and total spin. With the Clubhead Measurement add-on, you get a large amount of additional club head data as well.
Other available add-ons are:
- Essential Putting Analysis: gives you detailed insight into every aspect of your putting.
- FSX 2020 and FSX Play software, which allow you to set up a top-tier golf simulator experience.
- E6 CONNECT and Creative Golf 3D software integrations.
The GCQuad is a serious launch monitor for serious golfers. For more information on software, add-ons, and simulation options that come with the unit, as well as price, check out our review.
9. PRGR HS-130A Launch Monitor
PRGR is an established Japanese company that makes a range of golf equipment. Their launch monitor offering updated for 2021 is the PRGR HS-130A, and it has received very high ratings from users.
In our view, there are two main reasons why the PRGR HS-130A is so great. First, it’s only a couple hundred dollars and thus is within the budget of practically every golfer out there.
Second, it’s dead simple to use, with no battery-draining external apps or software to complicate the experience. It features a direct-to-screen output for quickly viewing data right on the device. It measures five essential parameters: club head speed, ball speed, total distance, carry distance, and smash factor.
The PRGR HS-130A is a true pocket launch monitor that takes portability to the extreme. It uses a Doppler radar sensor for measuring.
The upgraded 2021 model of the PRGR Launch Monitor features a number of improvements over previous models. These include:
- a toggle between metric and imperial units
- ability to be used indoors with a net
- improved ability to read high-lofted wedges
- ability to keep shot data for up to 500 shots at one time
- an extended, higher-resolution display
The accuracy of the PRGR HS-130A is impressive considering its very low price. Just make sure the device is positioned correctly 3.5ft – 5ft behind the ball as per the user manual, or else you will greatly increase the chances of inconsistent or inaccurate readings.
10. Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS Launch Monitor
The Swing Caddie SC200 Plus by Voice Caddie is a portable launch monitor that has the shape and size of a smartphone and weighs less than one pound. You can easily put it in your pocket or store it in your bag and take it wherever you want: to the range, to the golf course, or indoors with a hitting net.
It has received extremely good ratings. Compared to the regular SC200, the PLUS version adds an additional Swing Speed Mode that allows you to measure your swing speed without actually hitting a ball.
What we really like about the SC200 PLUS is that, like the PRGR Launch Monitor, you don’t need an app to display the information or get extra features — everything is on the device itself.
How It Works
The Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS launch monitor uses Doppler Radar technology, along with a barometric pressure sensor that automatically calibrates itself to provide accurate readings.
Parameters include carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, and loft angle.
An included remote allows you to conveniently change the mode, club, or target distance. Features include:
- Voice Distance Output – automatically tells you your distances after each shot.
- Practice Mode – display key ball parameters after each shot.
- Target Mode – set a target distance and test your distance control.
- Approach Mode – set random targets and test your accuracy.
- Practice Swing Mode (new for the PLUS version) – swing your club without a ball and obtain swing speed measurements.
The SC200 PLUS is packed with nice features. Watch this video to get an overview:
Customers are impressed with the quality and accuracy of this launch monitor relative to much more expensive units.
11. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) is a unique new launch monitor that is run through your mobile device. Developed by the same company behind the SkyTrak, it’s the first launch monitor on the market to take advantage of your phone’s camera.
The MLM is currently only available for iOS. It originally could only be used outdoors and had to be taken to the range or the course. Rapsodo has since come out with a new feature that allows you to practice anywhere with a net.
This launch monitor analyzes your shot and provides data on clubhead speed, distance, ball speed, launch angle, launch direction, and smash factor. It also records your shot for playback and provides an active tracer so you can see your exact ball flight.
What differentiates this launch monitor from others in its price range are cool features like an active tracer, GPS maps that show your shot dispersion, interactive games, and a virtual coaching platform.
How It Works
Setting up the MLM is fairly simple. Just charge the device, install the Rapsodo Golf app on your phone, calibrate it to the device, choose a mode, and start hitting.
Not only can you view your shot data and shot trace, but using GPS, you can see exactly where your shots land.
You can also view trends and shot averages by club, which will help you understand what club to hit in different situations. You can store your video clips in a library, and easily post them to social media.
With a Premium Subscription to the Rapsodo MLM, you can store up to 10,000 shots in the library and access Insights, Combines and Coach Connect, which are features that were added post-launch.
Coach Connect allows MLM users to receive virtual (paid) lessons from coaches that have signed up to the platform. Coaches can take advantage of the playback and tracer features and view your shot data to inform their critiques of your swing.
This launch monitor has very high ratings; people love its mobility and nifty features. What’s great about it is that Rapsodo is continually coming out with updates, improvements, and new features.
12. Garmin Approach G80 GPS & Launch Monitor
The highly rated Garmin Approach G80, from the same company behind the Garmin Approach R10, is a unique product.
It’s essentially an all-in-one handheld golf GPS with an integrated launch monitor, which means that not only can you obtain the essential data metrics for your shot, but you can also view top-down colour maps and get GPS yardages to any point on the golf course.
The G80 works well if you want to view your metrics as you’re playing a round of golf, but it also works great as a standard launch monitor or golf GPS.
By pressing the quick-access radar button, you can set up the Approach G80 to measure club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, tempo and estimated carry after each shot. These numbers are easily viewable on the 3.5″ sunlight-readable touchscreen.
Enhancing the launch monitor experience are:
- a practice mode which evaluates your swing and provides feedback to help improve your accuracy and consistency
- the ability to play virtual rounds on any course against friends or other players around the world
- a tempo training mode which helps you determine the backswing and downswing times that are best for you
In addition, the G80 is a full-featured golf GPS. Preloaded with over 41,000 courses, you can get distances to the front, back and middle of the green, hazards and layups, and you can touch any point on the map to get the yardage to that. You also have access to:
- Green View which gives you a closeup look of the green’s true shape, along with a drag-and-drop pin for precise yardages into greens
- information on the direction of the pin for blind shots
- PlaysLike Distances which account for elevation changes
- green contour data on select courses (with a Garmin Golf app membership)
Furthermore, it can be used as a digital scorecard and can be paired with the powerful Garmin Golf app. The battery life is up to 15 hours in GPS mode.
If you’re content with just being able to measure a few basic parameters and appreciate golf GPS functionality, the Approach G80 is a must-have device.
13. TrackMan 4 Launch Monitor
Turn on the Golf Channel, and you’ll see that TrackMan is considered to be the gold standard in launch monitor and swing analysis technology. It’s used by the best of the best: top pros, equipment manufacturers, coaches, and club fitters.
TrackMan 4, in particular, is the latest and greatest release in the TrackMan lineup. Intended to be the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever made, it’s the end result of three years of intense development.
Given this, you might be wondering why TrackMan 4 is near the bottom of our list. The simple reason is that the GCQuad (indoors) and FlightScope X3 (outdoors) are at least as good but cost thousands of dollars less. With TrackMan, you’re paying a premium for the brand name.
TrackMan 4 is marked by the use of two radar systems, superior to the single radar found in previous TrackMan models. The dual-radar system is revolutionary in the industry. It not only increases the accuracy of data measurement, but it also allows even more data to be captured.
The unit is surprisingly compact considering its power: 300 x 300 x 45 mm dimensions and only 6.2 lbs in weight, making it very portable and easy to bring anywhere.
It’s quite simple: one of TrackMan 4’s radar systems tracks everything to do with the club (club path, swing direction, face angle, etc.) and the other tracks everything to do with the ball (speed, spin rate, curvature, etc).
Every detail in the swing is captured with the highest precision, including the location of impact on the clubface. A total of 27 parameters can be delivered in real time, including all the ones you’ve come to expect from a launch monitor.
Other features of TrackMan 4 include:
- Performance Putting: the ability to track the full ball roll of a putt (unique to TrackMan 4)
- a thinner and lighter design than previous models
- the ability to display the full trajectory of any shot, from short to long clubs
- compatibility with a versatile app that allows integration of video, screencasting, and other features
- the ability to connect up to six external cameras for additional recording angles
- automatic leveling and built-in WiFi
You can be sure you’re getting quality with TrackMan 4, but as you might expect, it comes at a steep price. Financing may be available depending on your location.
14. Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor
If launch monitors like the Mevo Plus are too much for you to handle, take a look at this. Ernest Sports makes several launch monitors; the ESB1 is their best one that is under $1000.
The ESB1 replaces the older ES14 Pro model which we have featured here in the past. Unlike the ES14 Pro, it is positioned behind the golfer, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally hitting the unit.
This launch monitor, which uses Doppler-based radar technology, measures six critical data points: ball speed, club head speed, smash factor, spin rate, launch angle, and distance.
It can be taken to the range with no issues, but if you want to use it at home, we recommend setting up a hitting area with net or impact screen.
The ESB1 displays data measurements directly on the unit, which is a nice plus. By pairing the ESB1 with the ES Range app available for iOS and Android, you can access the following:
- Swing Video Record: live view with shot data overlaid on top.
- Shot Trace: traces the flight of the ball on the video clip, showing shot direction and the full set of data measurements.
- Games: capture the flag, 5-shot, and interactive skills challenges.
- Voice Control: change club selection, change shot direction, and start video recordings with simple voice commands.
- Session History: view data from previous recorded sessions.
Through the app, you can view detailed statistics and averages for each club. You can also compare your numbers to PGA/LPGA averages.
The ESB1 wouldn’t be our first choice for a launch monitor in this price range, which is why it’s at the bottom of this list. There have been a lot of complaints about the performance of the Android app, and the display is not very readable in sunlight.
However, it can still be a good option for those who can’t shell out the extra $100 for an Approach R10.
There are many launch monitors on the market, some cheap and some expensive, and we understand that choosing the right one for you can feel difficult and overwhelming.
It turns out that it’s not that difficult to find one that meets your needs once you know what to look for. You just need to consider all the factors that will affect your experience and match it with what your goals are.
In general, you should invest in a launch monitor that’s reliable, accurate, and that measures the shot parameters you’re interested in. A skilled golfer that needs precise accuracy will probably end up using a different model than a more casual golfer.
Here are the most important factors you need to consider when determining which launch monitor will suit you best:
What club and ball parameters does the launch monitor track, and what parameters do you want to see?
As you might suspect, smaller, less-expensive launch monitors will tend to produce less parameters, while more expensive and advanced models will usually measure more. Some launch monitors have add-on purchases that enable additional parameters.
Most golfers want key metrics like distance and ball speed, and almost all launch monitors offer this at a minimum. If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis with swing plane information, angle of attack, smash factor and the like, your choice of launch monitors will narrow a bit.
Bottom line: make sure that the launch monitor you’re buying has all the data points that you’re looking for.
It’s not strictly true that cheaper launch monitors are less accurate than more expensive ones. At the same time, you can’t expect a $400 launch monitor to be as precise as a $15,000 launch monitor.
Also, some launch monitors can have issues when it comes to their position and elevation relative to the hitting area.
For most golfers, accuracy on the level of the Mevo Plus will be plenty good enough, but those who demand the best will need to look at more expensive models.
3. Usage Type
Do you plan to use your launch monitor indoors, outdoors, or both?
Some launch monitors, like the Rapsodo MLM or Mevo Plus reviewed above, work best outdoors (e.g. on the range) where the ball can take its full flight. Others, like the SkyTrak or EYE XO, are better suited for indoor use because of camera-based technologies, simulation capabilities, or space requirements.
If you’re interested in a launch monitor that can be used while hitting into a net, you should verify that it can be used for this purpose and how much free ball flight and clearance it needs to work properly.
You don’t want to find out the bad news later that it can’t accommodate your intended use.
4. Features & Apps
Look at the features offered. How does the launch monitor display your data, and how can you store and organize it? Can you view your data directly on the unit itself or is software required? What devices (iOS or Android) are the apps and software compatible with?
The majority of modern launch monitors can be paired with a matching app that allows you flexibility in viewing your data, data trends, and data for each club in the bag. Some come with simulation software, sometimes at extra cost.
Launch monitors may be used with a wide range of different golf simulator softwares. The ones you’re most likely to come across are E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, Creative Golf 3D, FSX (only for Foresight Sports launch monitors), Awesome Golf, and GSPro.
Many launch monitors like the Approach R10, Full Swing KIT, and EYE XO have video recording and playback functionality, either within the device itself or through the companion app.
Some launch monitors like the Approach G80 may have GPS functionality so that you can get course yardage information and keep score digitally.
If there’s a particular feature that you want in your launch monitor, make sure that the model you’re interested in has it. Beyond that, any extra features are gravy.
Of course, your budget is very important when shopping for a golf launch monitor.
Not everyone can afford launch monitors that cost four figures, much less five. Fortunately, there are options that cost well below this amount. Golfers with large budgets have excellent options as well.
With that said, some launch monitors are cheaper for a reason: they may have inferior technology, less reliability, less ball flight parameters, a less convenient setup, or less added features.
In this guide, we’ve tried to include quality launch monitors over a range of budgets that golfers might have. But the great thing is that you don’t have to drop the full cost of it at once.
One of our recommended launch monitor sources here provides easy financing options that allow you to pay for something like the X3, GCQuad or Mevo Plus over the course of a year or longer. Don’t forget about this option.
Looking for a portable launch monitor? A professional one? One for the outdoors or for the home? Whatever your intended use is, there are several very good options available.
Finding a launch monitor that meets your needs is certainly possible with some research.
Each of the launch monitor options reviewed above offer excellent value for the cost. We’ve given you the information you need to make a decision; now it’s up to you to go the rest of the way.
If you plan to use a launch monitor for golf simulator purposes, you can start by looking at screen & enclosure setups here.
We highly recommend reading customer reviews of launch monitors, or getting the opinion of experts, to obtain useful insights as to how they actually perform. This can help you a great deal in the decision-making process.
Thanks for reading this guide. What kind of launch monitor are you interested in? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.
The SkyTrak monitor is pretty awesome. Way better than I expected it to be. Tons of data points and seems to be pretty accurate. If I hit a great one, it knows it. If I hit a worm burner, it knows. I’m looking forward to expanding the package and getting a sim to try out some courses.
Nice, Malek! Indeed, the SkyTrak is terrific for the price. We’ve actually written an article on the best simulators that go with the SkyTrak, which you can read here.
Ich hatte ganz am Anfang auch den Sky Trak im Auge. Aber der Ernest Sports ES16 Tour Launch Monitor soll noch mehr Daten liefern die genauer sind. Was ich noch nicht rausgefunden habe ob man sie Software auf Deutsch umstellen kann. Englisch geht auch, aber ich möchte nicht immer von Yard in Meter umrechnen müssen. Oder manche Fachbegriffe auf Englisch nachlesen müssen was es auf deutsch bedeutet. leider finde ich nur eine Seite wo man den Ernest Sports ES16 Tour Launch Monitor erwerben kann. Den gibt es leider nicht gebraucht bei e Bay oder Amazon.
Hi Michael. Software available with the ES16 (E6, The Golf Club, etc.) will normally have settings that allow you to change the language. I would contact the creator of the software you’re interested in and ask if a German language pack is available. You should also be able to change the measurement system from imperial to metric (meters) in the settings.
As for availability, if you can’t find any ES16 sellers domestically within Germany, you can always import. Shop Indoor Golf can ship internationally, but you may have to pay import and/or customs fees. You can contact them for a shipping quote here. Sorry that there isn’t a better solution for you.
I am interested in the durability of the product which routinely gets whacked with the ball or club. How do your recommendations compare in physical robustness?
If the launch monitor is positioned behind you at a safe, proper distance, you don’t really need to worry about hitting the unit. If the launch monitor is positioned to the side (like the SkyTrak), you still don’t really need to worry unless you’re just getting started with golf and barely know how to swing a club.
If you don’t trust that you won’t strike the launch monitor from where it sits, then I recommend learning how to make a decent swing and make decent contact with the golf ball before you use a launch monitor. With that said, a quality launch monitor should be able to handle a few accidental impacts.
I found the article I was looking for. Two years ago I came down with an Eye condition known as NAION (in layman’s terms I have Tunnel Vision, with the sun blurring my front sight). As you can imagine, I cannot follow the ball flight. Playing in the northeast in the past I have gotten in about 20-25 rounds of golf a year, but managed to get my game between 88-92 regularly, before my new eye condition. Practicing at the range is impossible (though I am looking forward to TOP GOLF coming to Long Island soon), and so is going out to play numerous balls on my own.
I have friends and brothers that say they are happy to watch my ball for me (and they have), but that was when they watched me hit a straight ball consistently. I now try to play my game thru feel. Its not working and my game is getting progressively worse. I haven’t broken 100 in the last 30 outings. Its difficult to remember a good shot from a ball being hit to another fairway, when my first reaction after I hit the ball is to ask if anyone saw where it went.
I can still play thanks to family & friends, but the days of competing with them appear to be going away. I believe what I need is not so much all the analytics, with numbers (I know my distances), but I need an inexpensive monitor that has immediate TRACER feedback. So I can go to the range or play by myself and see where the ball went. This way I can go back to my old way of practicing and learning that ‘feel’ for striking the ball, keeping it straight, and let my buddies keep talking while I hit and nobody is blaming anyone when another one of my balls just disappear.
I liked the Rapsodo MLM (but I haven’t looked at its cost yet). If you could Email me back with a relatively inexpensive TRACER option I would appreciate it.
Sorry to hear about your condition. The Rapsodo MLM is just under $500, and if you can have the budget, it’s definitely your best bet. It’s one of the only affordable launch monitors I know of that has shot tracer functionality.
Even better, Rain or Shine Golf will be having a sale on the MLM for just $425 from June 12-20, as a Father’s Day promotion. You can view that listing here.
Aside from the MLM, you can get something like the Ernest Sports ES14 Pro launch monitor and connect it to the Shot Tracer app through Bluetooth. The ES14 launch monitor is about the same price as the Rapsodo MLM.
If you don’t have an iOS device, you can also download and try the Shot Tracer App on Android or PC. The app costs around $6. Unless there’s no way you can afford the above options, I wouldn’t recommend using this app because it may be unreliable and users have complained about crashing and other issues.
Hope this helps, and best of luck.
Paul, Thank you. Rapsodo MLM will do just fine.
How did you get on with the Rapsodo? I have the same trouble and am looking for a similar solution. Does it cope with bright sunshine – I am farther south than you. Can it be used in competition? Thank you!
This is likely the most impressive, non-biased, and extensive “best” review article I’ve read about anything, ever! Excellent job. Thank you!
Thanks for reading!
Whoever created this list should be banned from golf… gcquad below skytrak and flightscope?
If this is best launch monitor bang for you buck to the consumer maybe this list is acceptable but come on boys…
Hey there. You’re on the right track; we don’t rank the launch monitors just based on power or accuracy but take into account price, affordability, popularity, and other factors.
First of all, thanks for such a great article.
I have a questions regrading used the launch monitor for kids. Are you aware of any issue with slow swing speed and short clubs? Have budget from around 3000 and like to use in door as well as outdoor. Again main focus it suitable for young kids.
If your budget is $3000 and you want indoor/outdoor use, you should definitely opt for the FlightScope Mevo+. I’m not aware of any common issues related to slow swing speeds. The Mevo+ can handle chipping and putting very well too, although the chances of a misread do appear to be a little higher at those speeds and swing lengths. One other thing I recommend doing is getting the Creative Golf 3D and Golfisimo software for the Mevo+ which offers many kid-friendly games to enjoy.
Hope this helps.
Awesome golf would be another option for software to run with the Mevo+
Thanks for the great UNBIASED launch monitor reviews. I’ve read many different reviews, but then you discover they are try to sell a specific brand. Now, all I have to do is decide between the MEVO Plus or the SkyTrak.
Hey, thanks for reading. To be brief, if you plan to ever use your launch monitor outdoors, definitely get the Mevo+. Indoors, the Mevo+ and SkyTrak are both great but the Mevo+ requires more space behind you. Another thing to consider is that the Mevo+ is much newer than the SkyTrak, and the E6 connect package it comes with is pretty nice. The SkyTrak can do a few things that the Mevo+ can’t such as measure angle of descent.
Great!! Thanks for the genuine launch monitor reviews. I think now I should consider buying one soon.
hi there. i just purchased a spornia swing net last spring and am looking for a launch monitor to add to go with it. the two that i am eyeing are the garmin and the swing caddie. i know there are personal preferences involved but i was wondering your thoughts on those 2. the swing net is outside for now, but would like to bring it inside at some point. i use garmin already. i am an average weekend golfer, but know my distances. my yard is very “bumpy”. any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Peter. If you have the budget, I would definitely go for the Garmin Approach R10. It’s not even a contest because it measures more parameters and it hooks up with golf simulator software. The R10 can be used indoors and outdoors.
However, if you’re not interested in golf simulation or your budget is not more than $500, the Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS (I assume that’s the model you’re talking about) is a great choice. It has some cool features including distance voice readout and measuring practice swing speeds, and it doesn’t require a phone app to access anything extra.
Regarding the R10 and an uneven surface, as long as you can put the unit 6 feet behind the ball and the bottom edge of the device sits above the level of the ball, you should be good to go.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.
Hi Paul, great article I have a budget of around $500 give or take either a little higher or lower. Which product is good for long distance and for dialing in your wedges. It would be used exclusively outside on the range. Thanks
Hi Ed. Based on that info, my top recommendation would probably be the FlightScope Mevo. It’s perfect for the range. Its normal price is $500 but there’s currently a promotion for $100 off. An alternative option would be the Rapsodo MLM if you have an iOS device.
Any concerns about the accuracy of the data with Full Swing? I have read other reviews that state the disparity is wide for most metrics and said a software update is needed. Thanks
Myself and others I know have found that the accuracy is pretty spot on these days. MyGolfSpy did a test that indicated disparities, but that’s a relatively old review; most other reviews that have come out since then indicate that the accuracy is comparable to high-end launch monitors.