If you’re even a little bit serious about your golf game, a launch monitor is one of the most valuable assets you can have at your disposal.
It allows you to measure ball flight data and track your shots so that you can understand the state of your game on a much deeper level.
Many golfers want to get a launch monitor for a specific purpose, whether it’s practicing on the range, seeing their numbers while they play a round, or practicing indoors at home.
While many launch monitors work well both indoors and outdoors, different launch monitor models can be more suitable for each of these purposes. In this article, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best indoor & outdoor golf launch monitors.
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 Indoor Launch Monitors
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections for indoor launch monitors:
- SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- Uneekor QED Launch Monitor
- Ernest Sports ES Tour Plus Launch Monitor
- Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor
- Uneekor EYE XO Launch Monitor
The SkyTrak Launch Monitor is one of the most popular launch monitors on the market, and there’s a reason for that.
It’s a game-improvement tool used by both regular golfers and professionals. It 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. At the same time, it’s more powerful than the typical inexpensive pocket-sized launch monitor.
And it’s more than just a launch monitor: it also comes with out-of-the-box simulator software that is easy to set up, so you can get a visual of your shot on the range or your favourite golf course.
The SkyTrak is best suited for indoor use because sunlight can interfere with the camera’s tracking. Once you set up the unit, you can practice on a virtual range and view key ball flight parameters.
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. Five metrics are directly measured: 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 twelve 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 provides fantastic value for the money.
If you don’t mind breaking out the big bucks for not just a serious indoor launch monitor, but a serious golf simulator as well, have a look at this.
The Uneekor QED is a relatively new launch monitor to hit the market, and it has been received exceptionally well by golfers. In fact, it is considered a step above SkyTrak and nearly on par with top professional launch monitors like GCQuad and even TrackMan.
Uneekor QED uses two high-speed cameras that record at over 3000 fps, along with advanced sensors, to track detailed parameters related to club path and ball impact. It delivers full performance on shots from 10 cm to 435 yards.
This is the perfect indoor launch monitor and simulator system because it can be mounted on the ceiling, allowing you to swing freely.
In addition to the obvious data parameters like distance, ball speed and club head speed, some other parameters that the Uneekor QED measures are:
- club path
- face angle
- back spin
- side spin
- launch angle
- side angle
What’s great about Uneekor QED is that it comes with quality simulator software out of the box. Called QED Ignite, this software allows you to view real-time video playback of your shots, play world-class golf courses, practice on the range, and much more.
In addition to the default software, Uneekor QED is also compatible with TGC 2019, E6 CONNECT, and Creative Golf 3D. 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. The Uneekor QED launch monitor is also available as part of a full golf simulator package here.
The ES Tour Plus by Ernest Sports is considered one of the best “bang-for-your-buck” indoor launch monitors on the market. You can think of it as bridging the gap between the SkyTrak and “top-level” launch monitors like the GC2.
The ES Tour Plus uses quad Doppler radar and dual high-speed photometric cameras. Made in the United States, it not only provides 26 ball and club data metrics, but it also has full golf simulation capability, being compatible with various simulator software solutions.
The ES Tour Plus has no annual support fees. It’s fairly small, quite portable, and weighs just 3 pounds.
The top digital display of the ES Tour Plus has dimensions of 1.5 inches x 4.5 inches.
Because of infrared light boards that don’t work so well in sunlight, the unit is best used indoors. Club data is often lost outdoors because the cameras lose ball rotation in the reflection of sunlight.
The ES Tour Plus combines the spin and directional measurements of Photometric technology with the club speed and ball measurements of Doppler radar technology to produce some of the most accurate readings on the market. You can get a list of many of the ball and club data points that are provided here.
The ES Tour Plus is compatible with E6 CONNECT and The Golf Club 2019 software. You can hit shots from tee to green, chip, putt, play skills challenges, and more.
ES GOLF App
Another key aspect of the ES Tour Plus is the free ES GOLF companion app. This app has been received very well at PGA shows.
The app acts as your own digital golf assistant. With it, you can track and analyze your practice sessions in detail. Once you connect your app device with the ES Tour Plus unit, you can:
- view club averages, shot shapes, shot dispersion, and individual shot statistics
- see live ball flight from multiple perspectives
- save range sessions by user
- get visual and audio feedback on each shot
- analyze shot data by course
- view side-by-side video analysis
The app also allows you to take advantage of colour-coded club fitting and club comparison tools.
The ES Tour Plus Tour comes with detailed and clear setup information. We give it a thumbs up because it’s very reliable and has been used on Tour by professional golfers.
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.
It’s also very expensive, possibly running $20,000 or more depending on the add-ons you get with it. However, 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, its predecessor, 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 and runs on a 6-8 hour lithium ion battery. Even though it’s perfect for indoor use, it performs beautifully outdoors and isn’t affected by sunlight the way the SkyTrak is.
We start with the quadrascopic high-speed camera system, which is a first in the launch monitor industry.
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.
- the latest FSX software, which allows you to set up a top-tier golf simulator experience.
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.
A little ways up the page, I discussed the Uneekor QED launch monitor, which measures a slew of data parameters as a traditional launch monitor would.
The more expensive EYE XO is a step up from the QED. It:
- measures additional metrics including attack angle, vertical and horizontal impact points, and club lie and loft angles
- offers higher-resolution club path video
- measures ball spin using dimples rather than ball markings
- includes VIEW software which supports cloud service and offers more features
Through Uneekor’s proprietary OPTIX technology, you can understand where exactly the club face makes contact with the ball. You’ll be given visual examples of adjustments you can make to improve the consistency of your contact.
Like the QED, this is an excellent indoor launch monitor and simulator option because it can be mounted on the ceiling, allowing you to swing freely.
If you’re looking for a top ball and club data measuring system and have a large enough budget, the EYE XO launch monitor and simulator system is something to seriously consider.
In addition to the VIEW software, Uneekor EYE XO is also compatible with TruGolf’s E6 CONNECT, TGC 2019, and Creative Golf 3D — great if you want to move to the next level with a full-on simulator experience.
Several software upgrades and add-ons are available. For more information including PC system requirements, visit this page. The EYE XO is also available as part of a full golf simulator package here.
Our Top Picks For Outdoor Launch Monitors
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections for outdoor launch monitors:
- FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
- Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
- FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor
- Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor
The Mevo Plus (or Mevo+) was announced at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show as the newest addition to FlightScope’s launch monitor lineup, and it’s a champ.
The Mevo Plus is generally regarded as being ideal for outdoor use because of its special 3D Doppler radar system, although it can also be used indoors as well. It requires at least 16 feet of depth which can be easily achieved outdoors.
The Mevo Plus has a sharp white/red colour scheme that stands out nicely. If possible, we recommend using it on the range, but it can also be used in the yard with a net with practically no issue.
To start, the radar technology of the Mevo Plus measures an impressive 16 ball and swing parameters — 8 more than the original Mevo. These parameters include the essentials like distance, ball speed, club head speed, and (not limited to):
- spin axis
- spin loft
- angle of attack
- apex height
- shot shape
- flight time
Software & Apps
FlightScope offers several apps compatible with the Mevo Plus launch monitor that enhance your experience. With the free FS Golf app, for example, you get a practice range, 3D trajectory views and video recording.
You can benefit from real-time performance data, automated video capture with trimming, and recorded training sessions.
As for software, the Mevo Plus is compatible with E6 CONNECT (full PC version), The Golf Club 2019, Awesome Golf, and Creative Golf 3D. Depending on the software you choose, you can play up to 100,000 courses, multiplayer, mini-games, and more.
For best results, the Mevo Plus unit should be placed 8 feet behind the ball on your target line. A minimum of 8 feet of ball flight is needed to accurately record data parameters.
As we mention above, you need a minimum of 16 feet of depth in whatever space you plan to play. If you can’t achieve this with an outdoor net setup, try the driving range.
Mevo Plus users love the value you get for the money: excellent accuracy, great software, quality customer support, and convenience. For more information on device compatibility, available add-ons, and software options, visit this page.
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.
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 in its price range to have golf simulation capabilities.
Since the R10 uses a three-receiver radar to measure data, it’s best suited for outdoor use, although it can also work great indoors.
People are raving about the R10. It has gotten top marks from critics across the board, who are just amazed 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 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
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 or Awesome Golf.
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 R10 does a really impressive job competing with 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 Mevo+, you should seriously consider grabbing one.
If you’re serious about your outdoor 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. Sporting full golf simulation capability, it also has some of the best chipping and putting tracking on the market.
The X3, with its 3D radar system (with image processing) that truly shines outdoors, is a dream if you can handle the cost.
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 can 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, and Awesome Golf.
16 feet of space (8 feet of ball flight and 8 feet behind you) is required to properly use the X3. Metallic stickers are not needed to accurately measure spin outdoors. For requirements and other info, visit this page.
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) was originally designed for the outdoors where the ball can take its full flight, and it still works best when used that way.
It’s 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.
The main drawback of the MLM currently is the fact that it’s only available for iOS; however, the Android version is in the works. An update was recently rolled out that allows use with a net, so it can be used anywhere.
This launch monitor analyzes your shot and provides data on ball speed, clubhead speed, distance, 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 things like an active tracer, GPS maps that show your shot dispersion, interactive games, and the ability to receive virtual instruction from coaches. Rapsodo 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.
- 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 Coach Connect.
Coach Connect allows MLM users to receive virtual 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 is quite unique and has very high ratings. People love the mobility and usefulness of it, how easily you can change clubs in the middle of a session, and how you can look at video of your swing without having to back out of a session.
If you don’t want to spend more than $500 for your launch monitor, 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 in the yard or even indoors, 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, 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, many of which can work both indoors and outdoors. We understand that making a decision on which model to get can feel difficult.
It turns out that it’s not that difficult to find the best one for you once you consider all the factors that will affect your experience and match it with what your goals are.
In general, whether you’re interested in a launch monitor for indoor or outdoor use, we recommend staying within the category options on this page for best results.
Here are the most important factors you need to consider when determining which launch monitor will serve you best:
Many launch monitors are quite particular when it comes to the lighting conditions that they require to perform at their best. This is important, because your ambient lighting conditions will differ depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
For example, the SkyTrak tends to not be as accurate outside on sunny days, particularly when light is shining directly onto the unit or into the camera.
This is why golfers who are using the SkyTrak outdoors may wait for a cloudy day, play in a shady area, or use an object such as an umbrella to block direct sunlight. Even then, performance still might not be optimal.
Many other launch monitors perform worse in direct sunlight. If you plan to use your launch monitor outdoors, verify that it actually supports outdoor use, and be prepared to possibly make adjustments to prevent performance loss resulting from direct sunlight.
In contrast, radar technology doesn’t depend on light to function and hence can work optimally outdoors regardless of the weather conditions.
Do you have an iOS or Android device? If so, you can take advantage of free companion apps that are offered with most of the launch monitors on today’s market.
All of the launch monitors reviewed on this page except for the Uneekor QED/EYE XO and GCQuad (which have their own simulator software) have matching apps that you can download for free.
These apps typically unlock an array of additional features such as advanced tracking, skills challenges, and even new data parameters.
Not every launch monitor has a companion app, but if you’re interested in more than just the standard measurements, you should look at launch monitors that do have apps.
Just be aware that some apps can experience occasional glitches or be out-of-date, especially apps for older launch monitors.
What ball flight parameters does the launch monitor track, and what parameters do you want to see?
As you might expect, less-expensive portable models will tend to measure less parameters, while more expensive models will provide a more detailed picture of your ball and club data. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however.
Most golfers at a minimum want key metrics like distance (total, carry) and ball speed, and pretty much all launch monitors offer this. If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis with information like dispersion, club path and angle of attack, your choice of launch monitors will narrow a bit.
Make sure that the launch monitor you’re buying has all the data points that you’re looking for.
4. Size & Weight
If you’re looking for an outdoor launch monitor, you might want to be able to carry the unit in your pocket, or at the very least be able to easily stow it away in your bag.
While the launch monitors on this page can’t generally fit in your pocket, many of them can be quickly and easily stored in a golf bag. Some like the GCQuad are quite large and should be carried by hand. Units like the EYE XO are not portable at all.
Size and weight is less of a concern indoors because the unit will normally be stationary.
In any case, you should take a look at the weight and dimensions of each launch monitor you consider, and decide whether or not they are acceptable for you.
Of course, your budget is very important when shopping for indoor and outdoor launch monitors.
Not everyone can afford launch monitors that cost $1800+, and fortunately, there are options that cost well below this amount. It’s worth noting that cheaper launch monitors also tend to be more portable, which makes them great outdoors on the golf course or driving range.
With that said, it’s pretty obvious that that the less you spend, the less you’ll usually get — this could be in the form of worse accuracy, 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.
Our recommended launch monitor source here provides easy financing options that allow you to pay for more expensive models over the course of a year or longer. Don’t forget about this option.
Whether you want to use your launch monitor indoors or outdoors, there are several excellent options for you to look at.
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 your launch monitor indoors and you’d like to turn it into an awesome simulator experience, you can check out our article on the best projectors.
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. Are you looking for a launch monitor for indoor or outdoor use? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.