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A launch monitor is one of the most valuable assets that any data-driven golfer can have.
It allows you to measure ball flight data and track your shots so that you can understand where your game is on a much deeper level.
Not everyone can afford professional or even mid-range launch monitors. Fortunately, as launch monitor technology has advanced, many solutions have appeared on the market that measure key parameters and even provide golf simulation for less than $1000.
Many of these launch monitors are small enough to fit in your hand and can be easily carried to the range, the golf course, or used at home.
There are many things that make a great launch monitor: the amount of data points, accuracy, technology and size are among them.
In this article, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best golf launch monitors under $1000, so you can start tracking your numbers without breaking the bank.
Note: Golfstead has tested and/or conducted in-depth research into all of the products featured in this guide. Our editorial process for these rankings takes into account a mix of many factors which may include performance, reliability, usability, value for money, cost, and the general consensus from other users of the product. The list that follows may be reassessed or updated over time.
Our Top Picks For Launch Monitors Under $1000
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections:
- Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
- PRGR HS-130A Launch Monitor
- Rapsodo MLM2PRO Launch Monitor
- Swing Caddie SC4 Launch Monitor
- Swing Caddie SC300i Launch Monitor
- Garmin Approach G80 GPS & Launch Monitor
- Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS Launch Monitor
- FlightScope Mevo 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, was the first launch monitor to measure detailed club path parameters that you could previously only get in $1800+ units. It was also the first launch monitor in its price range to have golf simulation capabilities.
It has gotten top marks from critics across the board, who are simply amazed that something this compact and affordable can do so much. It earns the #1 spot on our list because its accuracy is proven and it’s compatible with a range of third-party software solutions.
The Approach 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 can do three main things. First, it directly measures four data parameters using radar technology and derives many other parameters 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. You can also play the world-renowned E6 CONNECT software, Awesome Golf, The Golf Club 2019, Creative Golf, 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.
The Garmin Golf phone 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 Garmin Approach R10 launch monitor does a really impressive job competing with launch monitors at the $2000 level and above. What’s more, Garmin continues to update, improve, and build on the R10 over time.
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 positive 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 bucks and thus can meet even the tightest launch monitor budgets.
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.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO, created by the same company behind the massively successful SkyTrak launch monitor, is designed to improve on the best aspects of its predecessor, the Rapsodo MLM, while addressing the common pain points users had in the previous generation.
In particular, the MLM2PRO introduces Android compatibility and support for indoor golf simulation, giving it complete visibility into the games of golfers all around the world.
Apart from affordability and accuracy, the main attractions of the MLM2PRO and what sets it apart from other launch monitors in its class are its unique Impact Vision and Shot Vision views with active ball tracer.
The MLM2PRO launch monitor combines Doppler radar with two high-speed cameras. It measures 13 club and ball parameters, although Callaway RPT balls (included) must be used to obtain spin readings.
The cameras built into the MLM2PRO pave the way for:
- Impact Vision: provides a slow-motion closeup of the club swinging through the ball
- Shot Vision: gives a down-the-line video of your shot with a ball tracer
Because the MLM2PRO has no onboard display, its features must be accessed through the companion MLM2PRO app. This well-made app provides powerful analysis features including Rapsodo Combines and Session Insights.
From dispersion circles to performance tests to club gapping details and shot shape trends, the MLM2PRO app will help you understand your game on a much deeper level.
In addition, you can enjoy golf simulation with the MLM2PRO through Rapsodo Range, Rapsodo Courses, E6 CONNECT, and Awesome Golf.
While the MLM2PRO is considered a “budget” launch monitor at $700, a Premium Membership to the app ($200/year) is required to access many of its features. This will bother some people, but the accuracy of the unit is outstanding, and Rapsodo will continue to build on it with updates, improvements and new additions over time.
The Swing Caddie SC4 is the latest and most powerful launch monitor by Voice Caddie.
What makes the SC4 so unique and valuable is that while it has an onboard display that allows you to get your numbers without any software, it also supports golf simulation.
This is a combination that you really only see in the expensive high-end units like the GC3, so the fact that Voice Caddie was able to achieve this in a sub-$1000 device is really great.
The Swing Caddie SC4 is a Doppler radar device that measures eight data parameters: carry/total distance, apex height, spin rate, clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, smash factor, and launch direction.
- record your swing with your phone camera and play it back with data overlays
- save, review and analyze your shot data and stats
- get a top-down view of your shot dispersions
In our experience, the app is well-designed and runs smoothly.
The SC4 has two modes: outdoor and simulator. In outdoor mode, you can read all your data points on the onboard display after each shot without any smartphone or software required.
In simulator mode, the SC4 can be used with the world-renowned E6 CONNECT software as well as OptiShot Orion. A separate subscription is required for this.
In addition to the above, it also contains a barometric pressure sensor, remote control, and voice output that reads your distances out to you. The launch monitor runs on a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
An impressive amount of value is packed into the Swing Caddie SC4 for the cost. And although it initially had some launch hiccups like lack of simulation and messed up spin readings, Voice Caddie has addressed these issues and now its accuracy and reliability are comparable to the best budget units on the market.
The SC300i is the upgraded model to the successful SC300 launch monitor. Compared to the SC300, it has better Doppler hardware, an extended battery life, and a new app feature that allows you to view video playback of your swing with data overlay.
It’s considered a portable launch monitor, which means that it’s very easy to carry around, and it can be used at home, on the range or on the golf course.
This model by Voice Caddie isn’t as powerful as the SC4 reviewed above, but it’s $150 less expensive.
The SC300i has a black back with a stand, black edging (as opposed to the silver of the SC300), and an LCD display with an orange backlight. It has excellent accuracy and a relatively high average customer rating.
The SC300i Launch Monitor uses the latest in Doppler radar technology, along with calibrating atmospheric pressure sensors. Key parameters measured include:
- carry distance
- swing speed
- ball speed
- smash factor
- launch angle
- apex (max height)
Launch angle and apex are parameters that are normally limited to professional launch monitors, so you’re getting very good value here.
As with the SC4, the SC300i can be paired with the MySwingCaddie app (iOS or Android) for real-time, integrated shot data and statistics for each club.
You don’t need the app to use the SC300i, but we recommend installing it because it provides extra benefits including spin data and a video playback feature. It can be connected to the launch monitor via Bluetooth.
Using the camera of your phone (which has the app installed and is connected to the SC300i unit), you can record each one of your shots, and the app will store them and overlay the data parameters associated with it. You can draw lines frame-by-frame and loop sections to really get down into the granular.
Keep in mind that users have reported issues with the app not recording certain shots. If you have this problem, try adjusting the trigger duration in the settings or contact support.
The highly rated Garmin Approach G80 is a unique product, made by the same company behind the Garmin Approach R10.
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 on the range or at home.
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. The accuracy is quite good, and the 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
- PinPointer which gives 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 would like to take advantage of golf GPS functionality at the same time, the Approach G80 is a must-have.
The SC200 PLUS is yet another quality and highly-rated launch monitor under $1000 developed by Voice Caddie.
It weighs less than a pound and has the shape and size of a smartphone. 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.
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.
One of the things we like most about the SC200 PLUS is the fact that there’s no app involved. All the information and features are on the device itself.
How It Works
The SC200 PLUS launch monitor uses Doppler Radar technology, along with a barometric pressure sensor that automatically calibrates itself to provide exceptionally accurate readings.
Parameters include carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, loft angle, and smash factor. An included remote allows you to conveniently change the mode, target distance, or club. Features include:
- Practice Mode – display key ball parameters after each shot.
- Target Mode – set a target distance and test your distance control.
- Voice Distance Output – automatically tells you your distances after each shot.
- 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.
Customers are impressed with the quality and accuracy of this launch monitor relative to much more expensive units.
The FlightScope Mevo is lauded both by critics and consumers, and has been used by high-profile pro golfers like Bryson DeChambeau. It has some of the highest ratings for a launch monitor under $1000 that we’ve seen.
It can be used anywhere: on the range, on the course, or at home, but you’ll need an Android or iOS device to display the data. To practice at home with real balls, you’ll need to set up a hitting net or impact screen.
The Mevo provides real-time performance data, and it also has a video capture feature that you can use to spot flaws in your swing. It’s small enough that it can fit in the palm of your hand.
How It Works
The Mevo uses 3D Doppler radar technology to measure carry distance, ball and club head speed, spin rate, flight time, vertical launch angle, apex height, and smash factor.
To effectively use the Mevo, you’ll need to download the Mevo app on your mobile device. Once everything is set up, you can view data in real time for every club, record and view video with data overlay, and track your progress over time.
If you want to use the Mevo indoors, you’ll need to allow at least 8 feet of ball flight and 4 feet of space behind the impact zone.
The Mevo is one of the most accurate launch monitors and provides some of the most detailed ball flight parameters you can find on the market. It also directly measures spin for $500 or less, which is a huge plus.
Investing in a launch monitor under $1000 isn’t as big of a step as if you were considering higher end models like the SkyTrak+ or GCQuad, but it’s still important to consider factors that affect the experience and match it with what your goals are.
Here are the most important factors you need to consider when figuring out which launch monitor will best meet your needs:
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 today’s 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 in-house simulation software.
Launch monitors may be used with a wide range of third-party software solutions. The ones you’re most likely to come across are E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, Creative Golf, FSX (only for Foresight Sports launch monitors), Awesome Golf, and GSPro.
Many launch monitors like the Approach R10, MLM2PRO and SC4 have video recording and playback functionality. Others like the Approach G80 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.
2. Usage Type
If you intend to use your launch monitor indoors, you should verify that it can be used for this purpose and how much free ball flight and clearance it needs to work properly.
Some launch monitors under $1000, specifically the really cheap ones, may have trouble accurately recording data when hitting into a net.
3. Size & Weight
Do you want to be able to carry your launch monitor in your pocket, or just be able to easily stow it away in your bag?
The good thing about launch monitors under $1000 is that they’re often very small and lightweight. Some of the launch monitors on this page are a bit too large to fit in a regular-sized pocket, but all of them can be quickly and easily stored in a golf bag.
Take a look at the weight and dimensions of each launch monitor you consider, and decide whether or not they are acceptable for your own situation.
What ball flight parameters does the launch monitor track, and what parameters do you want to see?
One of the things you tend to sacrifice with less expensive launch monitors are the number of parameters that are measured.
Most golfers want key metrics like distance (total, carry) and ball speed, and pretty much all launch monitors under $1000 offer this at a minimum. If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis with information like angle of attack and face to path, your choice of launch monitors will narrow a bit.
Not surprisingly, the more expensive and advanced the launch monitor, the more parameters it will tend to measure. However, for many recent budget models like the MLM2PRO and Approach R10, data for advanced metrics may be calculated (derived) and displayed in the app.
Make sure that the launch monitor you’re buying has all the data points that you’re looking for.
You may not want to spend more than $1000, but would you be willing to spend less than $300 on what are considered “bottom-of-the-barrel” launch monitors?
The less you spend, the less features you’ll get. The cheapest launch monitors might measure only a few essential parameters or have lackluster accuracy.
In this guide, we’ve tried to include launch monitors over a range of prices under the $1000 mark. But the great thing is that, in many cases, you don’t have to drop the full cost at once.
Our recommended launch monitor source here provides easy financing options that allow you to pay for a given launch monitor over the course of a year or longer.
For example, you could pay as little as $97/month over three years for the SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor, which is superior to the launch monitors featured on this page.
It used to be that you had to pay up the nose for a golf launch monitor. But over the years, launch monitors have become a lot more accessible and affordable, and now there are plenty of value-packed options under $1000.
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 want to be able to do more than just view your numbers on a display or mobile device, check out some great mid-range golf simulators here.
We highly recommend reading customer reviews of launch monitors 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. Which budget launch monitor are you considering? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.