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. Some only work outdoors.
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:
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 works as well outdoors as it does indoors (in the right conditions), but because of its compatibility with simulator software, we feel that you can get the most out of it indoors in a dedicated hitting area.
Once you set up the unit, you can practice on a virtual range and view key ball flight parameters.
How The SkyTrak Launch Monitor Works
When you hit a shot, photometric technology is used to take several high-speed photos of the first few inches of ball flight.
Through advanced algorithms, the pictures are used to calculate various parameters such as distance, ball speed, launch angle, back spin, side spin, and side angle (there are many more derived parameters).
How To Set It Up
Another reason why SkyTrak is so popular is that it’s easy to set up, even for the technically-challenged.
You’re going to need a phone, tablet, laptop or computer for this.
- Charge the SkyTrak device and turn it on.
- Download the SkyTrak app on your computer.
- Register your account and connect the software to your SkyTrak device.
- Once your hitting area is set up, position the SkyTrak device about a foot away from the ball, on the opposite side that you’ll be standing to make your swing.
- Once you hit your shot, you’ll see the shot data on your device.
If you want more than just a shot trace and ball flight data, you can get access to different challenges, golf courses, and other simulation features by subscribing to either the Game-Improvement or Play & Improve Plans. You can find out more information about that here.
Depending on the package you get, you can play rounds on the world’s top courses or play different challenges like closest-to-the-pin. You can play golf with your family or friends, whatever the weather is outside.
We love the SkyTrak Launch Monitor because it’s affordable, well-made, and trusted by pros and top golf swing coaches.
Looking for a serious high-quality launch monitor for indoor use? The ES16 Tour by Ernest Sports might just fit the bill.
The ES16 Tour is the best launch monitor in its class and the first to combine Doppler radar and dual photometric cameras.
It not only provides full ball and club data, but it also has full golf simulation capability, being compatible with various simulator software solutions. And unlike most of its competitors, the ES16 has no annual support fees.
The unit is fairly small, quite portable, and weighs just 3 pounds.
Because of infrared light boards that don’t work so well in sunlight, the ES16 Tour is best used indoors.
It 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.
The ES16 measures a ton of parameters: 14 ball readings and 8 club readings. You can get a full list of the parameters here.
The ES16 is compatible with software solutions that include E6, The Golf Club, Perfect Parallel, Boditrak, and Swinguru. You can hit shots from tee to green, chip, putt, play skills challenges, and more.
ES GOLF App
Another key aspect of the ES16 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 ES16 unit, you can (not limited to):
- 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 ES16 Tour comes with detailed and clear setup information. We love it because it’s very reliable and is used by swing coaches and PGA pros.
Looking for a launch monitor that’s more affordable than the above two? Check out the ES14 Pro by Ernest Sports.
The ES14 Pro is an exceptional no-frills launch monitor that works beautifully indoors.
It’s used by golfers, club fitters, and teaching pros. In fact, it’s PGA Tour player Ben Crane’s launch monitor of choice, and it’s also used by the likes of LPGA Tour professional Deb Vangellow.
It’s available in two colours: white and black. If you want to use it at home, you’ll need to set up a hitting area (net, screen, etc.) or at the very least use foam or plastic balls.
This launch monitor made our list because its accurate, measures a good number of parameters, is very affordable, and has very high average ratings.
The ES14 Pro uses Doppler radar technology to accurately measure key parameters including distance, ball speed, spin rate, launch angle, clubhead speed and smash factor.
To get the most out of the launch monitor, we recommend using it with the ES14 app on your smartphone. This can be installed for free, and it acts as your own personal caddie, giving you:
- detailed shot analysis information
- four different ways to display your data
- the ability to organize your data and observe trends
- club averages
- audible feedback
- a skills challenge
It can do much more than this. There’s also a feature that gives you club recommendations into greens based on your previous logged data. You can connect the app directly to the ES14 device via Bluetooth.
Customers love how easy it is to set up and understand the information, the accuracy, real-time data, and options for storing data.
Our Top Picks For Outdoor Launch Monitors
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections for outdoor launch monitors:
- Voice Caddie SC300 Launch Monitor
- Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- Ernest Sports ES15 Range Launch Monitor
- Foresight Sports GC2 Launch Monitor
The Swing Caddie SC300 is Voice Caddie’s best (and newest) launch monitor offering.
It’s considered a portable launch monitor, which means that it’s very easy to carry around. Combined with its affordability, this makes it our top choice for outdoor use.
The SC300 has a black back with a stand, silver edging, and an LCD display with an orange backlight. It has excellent accuracy and a relatively high average customer rating.
The SC300 Launch Monitor uses the latest in Doppler radar technology, along with calibrating atmospheric pressure sensors. Key parameters measured include:
- swing speed
- carry & total distance
- 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 many of the launch monitors featured on this page have a companion app, the SC300 can be paired with the SC300 Swing Caddie app (Android or iOS) for real-time, integrated shot data and statistics for each club.
You don’t need the app to use the SC300, but we recommend installing it because it provides extra benefits including spin data. It can be connected to the launch monitor via Bluetooth.
A couple of things to note: while most customers praise the SC300, some have complained about the device overheating and inaccurate readings. If you notice any issues, we advise contacting support to work it out.
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) isn’t just good for outdoor use: it’s made for the outdoors where the ball can take its full flight.
It’s a new 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. In addition, it has to be taken to the range or the course; it can’t be used when hitting into a net.
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, and interactive games.
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.
Finally, you can store your video clips in a library, and easily post them to social media.
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.
The ES15 Range is the ultimate outdoor launch monitor. It has a rugged design, can be used on grass or mats, and acts as a sleek bay divider, perfect for the driving range.
The graphics panels on the ES15 are fully customizable to suit the brand image of golf clubs and driving range businesses, who can use the ES15 to increase their customer base and revenue. However, individuals can enjoy the unit as well.
Regardless of your skill level, the ES15 will make your range sessions much more productive and informative, and it’ll turn a lot of heads too.
As we touched on above, the ES15 resembles a driving range hitting bay divider. In features a Dual LCD display that provides the following data for each shot:
- total carry distance
- launch angle (with app only)
- clubhead speed
- spin rate
- smash factor
You just need to glance over after your shot to see your data. It’s easy to use, and the battery lasts an impressive 140 hours. This video explores the ES15:
If you want more in-depth statistics, you can easily pair the ES15 with the free ES15 app.
Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the app offers many additional benefits including immediate audio feedback on every shot. For outdoor use, we suggest wearing wireless headphones so that you can hear the feedback clearly.
With the Ernest Sports app, you can also:
- get visible shot feedback
- use the Course Caddy feature, which recommends clubs based on past performance
- track key data points of your practice sessions
- analyze shot data by club
- analyze shot data on the golf course
- play skills challenges to test your improvement
Ernest Sports has recently added new features to the ES15 app, allowing you to:
- compare your statistics to those of top PGA and LPGA players
- tune your ES15 to special environmental factors if necessary
- view an animated simulation of your ball flight
The ES15 Range comes with detailed assembly and installation instructions, and has a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
If you’ve heard about the GC2 by Foresight Sports, you might be thinking, “It costs five figures. I can’t afford that!”
You’re right. Because of its extreme accuracy and pro-grade capabilities, it’s very expensive.
However, the great thing about the GC2 is that it’s available certified pre-owned (refurbished by Foresight Sports) at a fraction of the normal price. This means that golfers with modest budgets can own it and enjoy all of its benefits.
The GC2 Launch Montior is under 4 lbs, less than 10 inches long, and is considered to be one of the most powerful launch monitors on the market. It’s trusted by top coaches, teaching pros, and Tour pros.
The image processing of the GC2 is state-of-the-art. The unit takes less than a minute to set up — no marked balls or calibration is necessary.
The GC2 uses a stereoscopic camera system that emulates “human eye” spatial recognition. With high-resolution, high-speed cameras that capture up to 10,000 frames per second, the lens arrangement precisely measures ball parameters at the moment of impact.
There are two main reasons that the GC2 is ideal for outdoor use:
- An internal accelerometer provides self-leveling capabilities, making it suitable outdoors on any surface and on any shot. You don’t have to worry about the GC2 not finding or locking onto your ball.
- The LCD display is large and readable even in sunlight.
Just some of the ball parameters measured are carry, total distance, ball speed, launch angle, total spin, side spin, and push-pull. Ball performance data is delivered in real-time.
HMT (Head Measurement Technology)
HMT is an optional add-on to the GC2 Launch Monitor. It measures club head data with extreme accuracy and provides the most comprehensive analysis of your swing available.
With HMT, you can view additional parameters including angle of attack, power, club head speed, smash factor, strike point, dynamic loft, and lie angle.
HMT takes the same approach as the GC2 with stereoscopic cameras, ensuring that all data points are captured regardless of the club or hitting surface used.
HMT is a beast, but it’s also very expensive. Fortunately, it’s also available certified pre-owned at a steeply reduced price.
Foresight Sports is also offering optional software called FSX that allows you to create a full golf simulator experience with the GC2.
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.
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.
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 GC2 (which has its 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 monitor models.
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. But some, like the ES15 Range, are large and not very portable.
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.