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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 launch monitors, some of which cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately, as launch monitor technology has advanced, many solutions have appeared on the market that measure key parameters and cost less than $1000.
These launch monitors are usually 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.
We have tested all of these launch monitors. Some have less capability than others, but they all give excellent results for the cost.
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
- Swing Caddie SC300i Launch Monitor
- Swing Caddie SC200 PLUS Launch Monitor
- Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- FlightScope Mevo Launch Monitor
- Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor
Oh, boy, this one is a real champ.
The new 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.
Where do we start? The R10 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 under $1000 to have golf simulation capabilities.
And 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 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 seven 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
- club path
- angle of attack
- backswing & downswing times
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.
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 also 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 is going to be updating, improving, and building on the R10 for years to come. Unless you can’t afford it or you want active shot tracing, it’s really a no-brainer to grab.
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 under $230 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 Swing Caddie SC300i is Voice Caddie’s best (and newest) launch monitor offering, and it’s well under $1000.
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.
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.
Just as the ES14 Pro has its own app, 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 SC200 PLUS from Voice Caddie is another sub-$1000 launch monitor that has received extremely good ratings.
It weighs less than a pound and has the shape and size of a smartphone. It’s highly portable, so 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.
Compared to the SC300i reviewed above, it has less features and measures less parameters, but it’s also less expensive.
One of the things we like most about the SC200 PLUS is the fact that you don’t need an app to display the information or get extra features — it’s all 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 Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) is a unique launch monitor that is run through your mobile device. It’s the first launch monitor on the market to take advantage of your phone’s camera, and it’s well under $1000.
Notes: MLM is currently only available for iOS, but the Android version is in the works. In addition, it recently got updated with a new feature that enables use with a net.
This launch monitor analyzes your shot and provides data on distance, clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, smash factor, and launch direction. 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 are cool features like an active tracer, GPS maps that show your shot dispersion, interactive games, and a virtual coaching platform. It’s backed by a reputable company (Rapsodo) that is constantly improving and updating the device.
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.
While you can use the MLM indoors with a net, hitting outdoors where the ball can take its full flight will allow you to realize the full potential of the device.
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.
See the Rapsodo MLM in action here:
Another feature that the Premium Subscription lets you access is Coach Connect.
This powerful feature 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 unique features. With that said, Android users make up a large portion of the mobile market, so it’s disappointing that they don’t yet have access to it. Once the MLM is available on Android, we will likely bump it up near the top of the list.
The FlightScope Mevo is lauded both by critics and consumers, and is used by high-profile Tour players 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 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.
Ernest Sports makes several launch monitors; the ESB1 is their best one that is under $1000.
At $500, the ESB1 replaces the older ES14 Pro model which we have featured 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 indoors, you should set up a hitting area with a 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, 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.
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:
When you’re shopping for a launch monitor, look at the features. How does the launch monitor display your data, how can you store and organize it, and what modes are available?
Some sub-$1000 launch monitors like the ESB1 and FlightScope Mevo come with a matching mobile app, while others, like the SC200 PLUS, don’t. These apps generally allow you flexibility in viewing your data, data trends, and data for each club in the bag.
Launch monitors can come with other unique features that are useful. A good example is the Rapsodo MLM’s integration with Coach Connect, which gives you the opportunity to get swing feedback from professional coaches in Golf Digest’s Top 50 Teachers list and elsewhere.
Another example is the Garmin Approach R10, which is the only launch monitor in the three-figure price range to offer golf simulation.
Consider features that you need, want, and could do without, and factor that into your decision.
2. Usage Type
Do you plan to use your launch monitor indoors, outdoors, or both? Some launch monitors, like the Rapsodo MLM reviewed above, work best outdoors (e.g. on the range) where the ball can take its full flight.
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, particularly 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 big 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 you.
What ball flight parameters does the launch monitor track, and what parameters do you want to see?
One of the things you 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 smash factor, 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. 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.
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 select launch monitors over the course of a year or longer.
For example, you could pay as little as $65/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 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 screen, 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 launch monitor are you considering? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.