A golf launch monitor is one of the most valuable game improvement tools a golfer can own. The invaluable data received after every swing guides technique adjustments and adds an entirely new dimension of fun and feedback to golf practicing.
That being said, there are a lot of different devices out there, with each one offering its own list of pros and cons. It can feel a little like buying a new computer, BUT it doesn't have to be as miserable!
This best golf launch monitor review will break it down for you and make it easy to pick the best device for your needs.
Our Best Portable Golf Launch Monitors in 2021
- FlightScope Mevo (Best Overall)
"Since it's release, this rockstar product has set a new standard for the launch monitor industry. It has proven to be a professional golfers monitor, shrunk down in both size and price, and absolutely devoured by the golfing community."
- Voice Caddie SC 100 (Best on a Budget)
- Voice Caddie SC 300 (2nd Best Overall)
- Ernest Sports ES12 (Best for Ease of Use)
- Ernest Sports ES14 (Best for Indoor Use)
- Skytrak Launch Monitor (Best High End Model)
- Our Best Portable Golf Launch Monitors in 2021
- Golf Launch Monitors
- The Full Setup
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Testing Criteria used for evaluation
Golf Launch Monitors
The FlightScope Mevo is the most small but mighty piece of technology you will ever own. It's unbeatable portability means you'll have no more excuses to set this little baby up and start working on some serious game improvement.
The original FlightScope lineup of products are larger tv-looking boxes that have immense popularity with professional golfers due to their ultra accurate data and oodles of features.
Unfortunately, most golfers don't have a professional team to set up the full system, not to mention the 5-figure price tag, ouch! (more on how much a FlightScope launch monitor costs below under FAQs)
So you can imagine the celebration in the golfing community when just recently the makers at FlightScope introduced the Mevo (pronounced "ME-voh"), an ultra compact launch monitor with all the key features and unbeatable accuracy of the original model at a fraction of the cost.
The Mevo uses 3D Doppler radar for ultra-accurate measurements of just about every feature you could ask for including:
- Ball speed
- Club speed
- Spin rate
- Vertical launch angle
- Flight time
- Apex height
- Smash factor
- Carry distance
It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and is super compact, almost the exact same size and weight as this bar of soap!
The Mevo comes with a FREE app to download for Apple or Android so that all data picked up by the monitor is instantly available on your smartphone. It will even read out your numbers to you for hands-free use. You can also record video of your swing from your smartphone that will AUTOMATICALLY sync to the data obtained for that specific swing.
We love this unbeatable convenience as you will be able to record a video of your swing with all measurements automatically synced up and overlaying the video as seen in this image.
Within the Mevo app golfers can easily look back on previous videos and data sets (saved by date) to share with coaches, friends, or simply to watch to analyze your own game improvement over time!
If your smartphone is smart enough to have a slow motion video feature, then within the app you can also record your swing in slow motion. Best of all the videos need not be recorded from any specific angle, just whichever angle you find most helpful!
The super simple setup from opening the box to looking at your measurements can be completed in about 3 minutes. What we love about the Mevo app is that you can dive into it as much or as little as you want. If you aren't big on technology don't worry, with a few simple taps your measurements will be ready and waiting in a quick and easy layout.
But from there the sky is the limit as to how far you want to analyze and track your numbers and customize the user interface. We also love that the app is free and DOESN'T REQUIRE A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION as many monitors do.
The box comes with the Mevo device, USB charging cable, metal stickers for indoor ball tracking, carrying pouch, and instruction manual. The battery takes about two hours to charge and lasts a more-than-ample four hours. And don't even think about worrying about light conditions because the Mevo uses RADAR technology which is not affected by low light conditions!
Pro tip - although you can record your video from any angle, unless you always practice with a partner we recommend you pick up a SelfieGolf smartphone holder. Just about any smartphone easily clips in and then either clips to your golf bag or to your club for easy self-recording. Click here to learn more!
In conclusion, the reputation of the FlightScope brand has more than held up with the Mevo. This ultra-compact, ultra-accurate, ultra-affordable, ultra-easy to use monitor was the obvious choice for us as our top pic for the best golf launch monitors.
Voice Caddie SC 100
Best on a Budget
COMPARE PRICES AT:
If you are interested in re-energizing your game but don't have the budget or the need for a top-of-the-line all the bells-and-whistles type of model then we highly recommend the Voice Caddie SC 100 as our Best on a Budget monitor.
The VoiceCaddie SC100 portable launch monitor is easy to use as no phone app is required! You simply set it on the ground at the level of your ball about four feet away, select your club from a remote control, then swing away!
The highly accurate device will automatically record the following:
- Carry Distance
- Swing Speed (aka Club Speed)
- Ball Speed
- Smash factor
- Which club you used
Data will display automatically after each swing. Plus at the end of a session you can review your stats for the day including your average smash factor and distance speed. You can also check out your overall data for the previous 100 shots (clubhead speed, ball flight, etc).
We love the convenience of the small remote control that is easily carried in your pocket. Rather than walking back and forth or hunching down to squint at the device screen in the sunlight, you can simply point and click. The compact remote is essentially unnoticeable and will not affect your swing as it rides in your pocket. It uses a CR 2025 battery should you find you need to replace it.
Another great feature of this product is that it comes with 3 modes: Practice Mode, Target Mode, and Random Mode. Think of Practice Mode as the standard mode of use. The easy to read display will show you how long you've been playing and your total shot count in addition to your shot distance, swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor for every swing.
If you find you're getting bored at the driving range, just see how this new dimension of data will reinvigorate your practice, not to mention the fun you can have with your buddies!
Target Mode is designed to help you work on your consistency. Simply choose a goal carry distance and make a club selection using your remote control, then hit ten shots. After each shot the device will display an accuracy score out of 10 for reaching your goal distance. It will also display ball data such as shot distance, swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor. This instant and invaluable feedback will help any golfer to see how switching up different variables can affect and improve consistency.
Random Mode is meant to help you improve your accuracy. Rather than hitting the same distance ten times as in Target Mode, in Random Mode the VoiceCaddy will display random distances for you to try and hit to see how accurate you can be. After each swing the device will display one accuracy score out of 10 for that particular target distance in addition to the standard parameters.
After a few seconds a new target distance will be displayed and the play can continue! With this mode in just a few practice sessions you'll see how the indispensable data after each swing will allow you to analyze and improve your accuracy, and all while having fun!
The VoiceCaddy S100 uses Doppler Radar technology which works in any light conditions. It is about the same size and shape as a typical smartphone with an LCD display (no touch screen) and an exceptional battery life of 20 hours. It is accurate for shot distances between 30 and 320 yards and golfers like that it can be used outdoors or inside with a hitting mat or golf simulator setup.
Because of these features, we also have declared the Voice Caddie SC100 the Best Launch Monitor for Seniors. There is no touch screen to fiddle around with, no app to download on your smartphone, and the remote uses REAL buttons - no more fumbling with a touch screen to select your club as there is a button for every club! The Amber-Black display and large numbers provide high contrast and are easy to read no matter what your vision level is at!
For those of you who like to play with an accurate product, we think you'll be very happy with the SC100. Although you may find some discrepancies in the carry distance as compared to markers at the driving range or numbers from your range finder, we still found this product tested to be highly accurate. Most importantly, we think you'll agree that a 1-2% reduction in accuracy is more than made up for with the price difference between this product and the more high end portable launch monitors.
Interestingly, in spite of the name the Voice Caddie SC100 does not have any voice ability to tell you your stats. Also, not surprisingly given the price point, this model does not provide more fancy measurements such as ball speed launch angle or spin rate. But if you are looking for a basic, simple, and reliable personal launch monitor we think the SC100 measures all of the important markers to give you plenty of valuable feedback.
In conclusion, golfers looking to get valuable feedback about their play in a straightforward and affordable way will be extremely pleased with the Voice Caddie SC100. We can't recommend this product highly enough for golfers looking to add a new dimension of fun and feedback to their game.
Voice Caddie SC 300
2nd Best Overall
For those golfers who are fans of the SC100 but want to dive a little further into the numbers, look no further than the Voice Caddie SC 300. With the upgraded ability to use an app and the choice to look at your numbers either on the device's display or your phone, the SC300 has increased convenience and feedback all while staying at a price point golfers love.
Voice Caddie managed to convince us to have two products included on our list of excellent products. And with both the SC 100 and Voice Caddie SC 300, you will be sure to get a quality launch monitor.
The data you will see on impact of your club head to the ball includes smash factor as well as speed ball data. Ball flight won't be a mystery anymore based on the performance we saw during our testing and it will leave your play more confident as a result.
The Voice Caddie SC 300 is also no problem to adjust on the fly as well, as the monitor comes with a remote control for easy operation that doesn't require you to constantly bend over whenever you need to change something on the monitor.
Unlike the Voice Caddie SC 100 (see above) the SC 300 additionally has the option to analyze spin data via an app. However, the launch monitors can still be used as a closed standalone system with no app required when on the golf course. This is a question of personal player preference, whether you prefer a standalone system or are so used to your phone in daily life that you prefer reading out data on your smartphone. We think either option is great!
Two very helpful qualities that make the SC 300 special are its ability to store loft angle selection, barometric pressure calibration, and many others that make the 300 one of the most technologically advanced launch monitors on the market. There is also a Swing Caddie SC200, however, we feel that the Swing Caddie SC200 has neither the basic low cost appeal of the SC 100, nor the higher features and conveniences that golfers like in the higher end SC300.
What it all boils down to at the end of the day is your budget and specific needs for features are going to determine which of the best golf launch monitors is best for you. If you want a great mid-range device that can break down several aspects of your game, then the Voice Caddie SC 300 is a great way to go. It will give you a premium experience that gives you everything amateur golfers could want at a reasonable cost. The bottom line is this: Whichever of the two Voice Caddie products you buy, you are going to be satisfied.
Ernest Sports ES 12
Best for Ease of Use
Golfers looking for a highly portable and easy to use golf launch monitor need not look further than the ES12. With an easy to read screen and free app to download, this handy device will get you on the road to game improvement in no time!
With an emphasis on ease of use, this brand brings us an affordable yet powerful launch monitor with the ES 12. And just like the Voice Caddie products reviewed today, both the ES12 and the ES14 (see below) are so similar, and yet so different.
The ES12 is particularly easy to set up and use, being ready for use in a matter of minutes. How easy? Well easy enough that it caught the attention of the PGA when it was named "Best New Product of the Year."
Adding to the simplicity is how quickly you will see results, as the ES 12 is able to give you instant feedback on your swings, letting you analyze your shots immediately and at a glance.
We love the durable rubber case that the ES12 monitor comes in and that you can pair it with a smart phone through a free app. This launch monitor will tell you ball speed and total distance, and it does so while looking great, as both monitors are beautifully designed with a cool, stylish, and clean look.
You may notice that more fancy measurements such as spin rate, clubhead speed, or ball speed launch angle are not included, but that is intentional as the makers were trying to design an easy to use device that only tells you what you need to know to have an effective practice session while staying within a budget. Best of all we found the readings to be accurate and units easy to read on one screen.
If you are a golfer on a budget and want to be able to connect your launch monitor to a smartphone, the ES 12 is a great choice for improving play. When linked to a smart device, the ES 12 provides an interesting way to improve your golf game, featuring a variety of golf challenges to increase your skill while having fun.
Ernest Sports ES 14
Best for Indoor Use
The ES14 brings the same convenience and accuracy as the ES12 listed above, but this time with an included app which allows you to further analyze and track your game. The "Course Caddie" feature is a favorite as it gives golfers club recommendations based on past performance. Simply input the distance to the flagstick using your range finder and the app will provide a club recommendation based on your logged range sessions and past performance of each club in your golf bag!
The slightly newer and sleeker ES 14 made our list as the second product from this company after the ES 12 above.
The ES14 is also pretty straightforward to set up and benefit from, being ready to go in just a few minutes. It's also fascinating to see how instant the feedback can be, particularly when connecting to your smartphone, available both for Apple's iOS and Android.
The compact size makes it great for travel for golf in new states! Some of the data you can analyze from it's sensors are club speed, ball speed, club smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, and distance.
This launch monitor works well both outside, and indoors for home use. In our experience it was slightly trickier to get to work accurately indoors, but it still caught 90 - 95% of shots with only a few feet of distance. The fact it works well indoors and on short distances is a very handy feature so you're not limited to the practice at the driving range.
The ES 14 is one of the more high cost monitors on the list, but for that money you get a wide array of features, including audio feedback, which is great for golfers who play with optical problems and on sunny days when displays tend to glare.
It is also a good choice for golfers who like more game feedback or need something other than visual feedback on their shots, such as reaching their best launch for months of improvement. This is via the free app included with purchase. But if money is an issue, then you can get great speed and distance feedback and some fun challenges more affordably with the ES 12 or the Voice Caddie SC 100. This brand definitely proves itself with the two products featured on this list, that they can provide golfers with amazing technology.
SkyTrak Launch Monitor
Best Upgraded Pick
It’s no surprise that the SkyTrak is found in so many happy golfer’s homes across the country. Its hardware provides ultra-accurate readings which allows it to produce an incredibly realistic golf simulation experience as well! This means it can serve two incredible purposes - accurate launch monitor readings at the driving range, and simulation fun at home when the weather turns sour.
Perhaps you've read through this list and are still feeling uninspired. If you're a seasoned golfer who has been through a few portable launch monitors, or a beginner looking for the very best monitor on the market, then we highly recommend the Skytrak Launch Monitor.
We dare you to come up with a measurement that isn't recorded by this monitor. With every shot you will get highly accurate readings of launch angle, back spin, ball speed, side spin, club speed, and side angle.
On top of that the display will show carry distance, offline, and total distance, WOW that's a lot! If you can't improve your game with these numbers as feedback we aren't sure what will.
Another great benefit is that you can play simulation golf. Once paired with your personal device, every hit will be displayed in 3D along with data of your choosing. This 3D display will give you invaluable visualization of what your shot would look like, bringing a whole new dimension to your measurements.
If you are a visual learning this product is a must! And unlike any other device in this list, the Skytrak Launch Monitor uses high speed photography to obtain your ball measurements. The rechargeable battery will provide 5 hours of continuous use, plenty for even the most rigorous practice session.
So if you are ready to move on from your 2-measurement monitor or simply want the best for your precious golf practice sessions, we believe the Skytrak Launch Monitor is absolutely your best bet! If you want to read our comprehensive dedicated review click here.
The Full Setup
Once you have determined the perfect launch monitor for you, you'll want to consider the final two pieces for a complete setup at home - a golf hitting mat and a golf practice net, as well as a projector & impact screen. Luckily for you, our team of researchers have already found the best of each! Click each link to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do Portable Launch Monitors work?
These small portable devices are set on the ground at the level of the ball and typically use Doppler radar, the same kind of radar used to predict weather, to measure various parameters of the golf swing and hit. The information is either displayed on the device itself, or sent to a personal device for review and storage. Most devices allow golfers to control for which clubs they use.
What does a launch monitor tell you?
Depending on the model, launch monitors tell between 2-20 factors related to the golfer's swing and hit. The device is placed on the ground at the level of the ball and picks up measurements with each swing. The most common measurements are clubhead speed, ball speed, and total distance. But from there the sky is the limit. More advanced models will display and analyze spin rate, vertical launch angle, flight time, apex height, carry distance, and more.
How much does a launch monitor cost?
As is with most technology, what you pay for is what you get. The basic models cost around $200 and will give you a few measurements with varying degrees of accuracy. These are not a bad choice for beginners looking for some basic numbers to spice up practice sessions. From there the price can get all the way up to 10k, however, there are plenty of excellent golf launch monitors with many parameters measured, high accuracy, and oodles of features in the $500 - $1,000 range. Our favorite model, as features in this article, is the Flightscope Mevo.
How much does a professional launch monitor cost?
Professional launch monitors are a world in their own and typically require either payment plans or a Nike sponsorship before purchase. That being said, for the golfers that use them, they are absolutely worth every penny as the accuracy of data and value of the feedback are indispensable.
Typical high end & professional home golf simulator systems cost between $2,000-$15,000. Two examples are the ES15 Launch Monitor & Golf Swing System and the ES16 Tour Launch Monitor. Foresight sports also sells professional grade products. Due to the price point, we did not provide reviews on these products in more detail, instead place these beauties in your year-end-bonus wish list category. But for now, it never hurts to look and drool a little.
Ernest Sports ES15
Ernest Sports ES16
How Much Is a FlightScope launch monitor?
It's never a good sign when "contact our sales team for more information" is listed instead of a price, which is exactly what you'll find when you look through the FlightScope website. There are several professional-level monitors available, each with it's own focus, features, and price tag.
You can expect to pay $5,000 - $12,000 depending on which model you go for. But hey, financing is available! If you are looking for something more in the range of hundreds rather than thousands, their immensely popular Flightscope Mevo is the easy choice! You can check out our dedicated Flightscope Mevo Plus review here and our Flightscope Mevo review here.
What does a golf launch monitor do?
This is a frequently asked question among golfers looking for products to improve their game. A golf launch monitor is a small device placed on the ground near a golfer that measures various factors from the golfer's swing and hit including club head speed, ball speed, vertical launch angle, and so on. The device either displays data itself or sends it to an app on a personal device for further analysis.
Golfers use portable launch monitors to add a new dimension to practicing. Instead of just whacking balls at the driving range to see how far they go, suddenly there is instant feedback! You'll be amazed at how reassuring and reinforcing it is to see actual numbers during practice. You also might be surprised to see how revealing and helpful the numbers can be for identifying your personal technical flaws. Do you think you have a fast swing speed yet your ball isn't flying far? Maybe your smash factor is terrible and you don't even know. A launch monitor will tell you these things, instantly and will make it possible for you to work on any issues that you might become aware of.
Because we find these devices invaluable for the golfer looking to add some fun and improvement to practicing, we've found the best golf launch monitors on the market in today's review. From beginner golfers to pro golfers, these systems bring new life to practice by providing the data needed to analyze, track and improve scores! Read on to learn more about the criteria that make the difference between a launch monitor and a great launch monitor.
Testing Criteria used for evaluation
For starters, one should look at the price of these items when buying them. They are not cheap, ranging anywhere from $200 to close to $1000 dollars (for the most accurate ones) and beyond, with more expensive "professional" monitors being available as well. So you will want to buy one in a range you are comfortable with.
Seeing as this usually is an expensive item, they may not be for everyone. If you don't see these items as something you need, or if you don't head out to the course enough to use one, you may well want to save your cash and pass on a device or give it a rain check like a Foresight sports.
Ease of Use
Should you find after a practice session that these products are right up your alley, then you will want to find one that is simple enough to set up and use from day 1. Some of these devices have many functions that can become overwhelming and confusing, so you will want one that makes use simple enough for you.
And finally, as with any electronic device these days, you will want something that has a good battery life. Seeing as a lot of them run on 9-Volt batteries, they can become quite pricey if they quickly suck the life out of said batteries, so you will want a tool that can last a while. And the Doppler radar is energy hungry. Some models have rechargeable batteries built-in which affects cost, but might be preferable compared to a high rate of battery changes.
And with that we conclude today's reviews. Much like the world of golf, the world of technology is constantly changing, and with these products in your cart, you can make sure that you are at the forefront of both. Other models not mentioned include Foresight Sports, Trackman, and Rapsodo. You can read our dedicated Foresight Sports review here. We will see you next time!
Last update on 2021-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API