How many times have you worn yourself out playing fetch with your dog? Your arm gets tired faster than the legs on your canine companion! Eventually, they will get tired too, but within a matter of minutes, they are re-charged and ready to go again!
To keep everyone happy and healthy, a dog launcher may be the answer to your dilemma. Now you just need to decide if a manual or an automatic is the best for your situation.
We put together a reviews list of the top 10 automatic and manual dog ball launchers so you can decide for yourself. Our buyer’s guide offers considerations and tips to remember when choosing a ball launcher, so you can find the perfect product that will last for many years of fetching fun.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Nerf Dog 3107|
(Best Manual Launcher)
|iFetch 01 |
(Best Automatic Launcher)
The 10 Best Dog Ball Launchers (Automatic & Manual)
1. Nerf Dog 3107 Ball Blaster – Best Manual Launcher
This is a great ball launcher, especially if you want to keep your hands free of dog slobber but still play fetch with your linkcanine buddy. When your dog retrieves the ball and drops it on the ground, all you need to do is place the barrel on the ball to pick it up, hands free.
We like that this nerf gun will launch a ball up to 50 feet and there are no exposed moving parts, so it is safer for your hands and it works with any standard-sized 2.5-inch tennis ball. The tennis ball blaster is 100% non-toxic, FDA approved, and BPA free, which are nice features to keep you and your dog safe.
The barrel is short, so it’s lightweight, easy to carry, and accurate when shooting the ball. On the downside, the balls that come with the blaster won’t hold up to a dog who likes to chew, but you can replace them with heavy-duty tennis balls if needed.
2. Chuckit! 6400 Dog Ball Thrower – Best Value
The Chuckit! is the best dog ball launcher (automatic and manual) for the money because it is easy to use while being affordable. Even though it is simple in design, it works well at throwing balls for your pet.
It is made from plastic and is 26 inches in length. It throws standard 2.5-inch balls, so it’s a great size for medium breeds for fetching. It comes with one ball that is quite bouncy, though it isn’t as durable as other balls available. We like that you can pick up the ball with the launcher so your hands stay nice and slobber-free.
The launcher can easily throw a ball 75 to 100 feet. It does take some time getting used to throwing from the launcher if you haven’t used one before, which is why this didn’t make the number-one spot on our list.
3. iFetch 01 Ball Launchers – Best Automatic Launcher
For a high-tech option that will automatically launch a ball for your pet, the iFetch is ideal for small dogs because it throws mini tennis balls that are 1.6 inches in diameter. It comes with three balls, though you can add any similar sized balls. The company recommends that you don’t allow the balls to become too wet or dirty since this will affect the iFetch’s performance.
What’s cool about this launcher is that you can teach your dog how to use it so they can play fetch on their own! Supervision is recommended, but it is perfect at keeping your dog occupied while you complete chores around the home. You can adjust how far the ball is launched, either 10, 20, or 30 feet, which makes it easy to use indoors.
Other features include a storage compartment on the bottom for the balls, and it can run on battery or electricity. On the negative side, this launcher is pricey and may not be in everyone’s budget, which is why the iFetch is not in the first two spots on the review list. But it does come with a one-year warranty.
4. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
The PetSafe is a great option for larger breed dogs because it launches 2.5-inch tennis balls from 8 to 30 feet within nine settings. It offers a motion sensor in the front of the launcher that protects anyone within 7 feet of the device. It also emits audible tones when a ball is detected and ready to launch, so your dog knows when to be ready.
We like the automatic pause timer that allows for 15 minutes of rest after 15 minutes of play. We found that it is easy to use both indoors and outdoors. It comes with a power cord, or you can use it with D batteries. You can also adjust the angle of the direction that the ball is thrown.
This launcher is pricey, but it is backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. It’s great that your dog can learn to use this on their own, but supervision is recommended when in use for safety reasons.
5. Chew King Toy Ball Launcher
This manual dog launcher is easy to use because it has adjustable throw settings. What this means is that if you have a weak throw, you can adjust the knob to accommodate the angle and the release of the ball so you get the perfect throw on the ball for your dog to catch.
It comes with five durable and chew-proof 2.5-inch balls, including one that glows in the dark. What’s nice is that the balls won’t get saturated with slobber since they’re made of rubber, and they are also dishwasher safe and will float in water for dogs who enjoy fetching while also getting in a swim.
On the downside, we found that this launcher is a little difficult to get used to, since the handle does not have a great deal of flexibility and it takes time to adjust so you can get the correct angle and length.
6. Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
This automatic launcher can throw a ball with three different settings, from 10 to 30 feet, making it an option to use either indoors or outdoors with supervision. A unique feature is a built-in compartment that holds treats so you can provide rewards to your dog when training. It is ideal for small to medium dogs because it shoots 2-inch balls. The size of this ball is smaller than the average tennis ball and isn’t suitable for larger dogs to fetch, since it can be a choking hazard.
It comes with a charging cord and instructions that are easy to follow. It can run on a battery charge, but we found that it doesn’t shoot the balls as far while running on battery. Also, keep in mind that the launcher won’t work as well if the balls become excessively wet or dirty, so you have to keep an eye on them if your dog tends to slobber.
When the balls wear out, you can use any type of ball with the same diameter.
7. Hyper Pet Kannon K2 Ball Launcher
The Kannon ball launcher is a nice manual option to get one-on-one time with your canine buddy who loves to fetch. It uses 2-inch regular-sized tennis balls and can store two extra balls on the gun. It is easy to operate with a quick finger trigger. You can also use this as a hands-free option, and we like the adjustable ball blasting range. By pulling back the lever, you can adjust the distance that the ball will be launched.
On the downside, this launcher comes with one ball that is not very durable, and the launcher itself is 24 inches long, which we found to be cumbersome at times. The Hyper Pet is lightweight and great to use with any breed of dog. When you pull back the lever, a clicking sound is made, which alerts your dog that a ball is getting ready to launch.
8. Franklin Pet Supply Tennis Ball Launcher
The Franklin Pet Supply automatic launcher works with all brands of 2.5-inch tennis balls. It comes with a power adaptor but has the option to use with eight D alkaline batteries (not included). The feet are adjustable so you can change the angle of the launch to three different positions.
We like the feature that when the launcher is preparing to fire, there is an audible beep, though it can be turned off if you prefer silence. It comes with one standard tennis ball, and the company does recommend not getting it too dirty or wet, since it will affect the performance of the launcher.
Unfortunately, we found that this launcher goes through battery power fairly fast, so for optimal throwing capacity, it works best when plugged in.
9. Hyper Dog 0001EA Ball Launcher
This dog ball launcher has the capability of shooting a ball up to 220 feet away with its slingshot design. It can be a fun toy for both the dog and the owner, though it is somewhat difficult to learn how to use. It comes with four balls that are stored on the launcher, and you can replace the balls with any standard tennis ball. It is made from rust-resistant steel and has a collapsible design for easy storage and transport.
We like that it allows for hands-free pickup, but you still have to handle the ball to fling it for your dog. We also found that many have had trouble with the band snapping after a short period of time. But it does prevent arm fatigue when constantly throwing a ball for your dog.
10. Felix & Fido Playball! Automatic Ball Launcher
Last on our reviews list is the Felix & Fido, which is an automatic launcher with three settings for the throw distance. It is ideal for small dogs, since the ball is only 1.5 inches in circumference and could be a choking hazard for larger dogs.
It comes with three balls that we found aren’t very durable, but you can at least buy replacements. It will run on power or on six C batteries. It has the best power when running on electricity, because otherwise, it won’t throw the ball very far. Even fully charged, the max distance is 10 feet, which is an adequate length when using indoors.
The company does offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee if you do not like the product. It’s nice that you can teach your dog to play fetch on their own, but there are no extra safety features built into this model. It also easily and has to be restarted frequently, making it a frustrating experience to use.
Purchasing a dog launcher is ideal for dogs who love to fetch. It can be hard to find the time to provide the needed exercise for your pet or it may be difficult for you to throw a ball for a consistent amount of time. There are plenty of ball launchers on the market that are manual or automatic. So, how do you decide which one is best for you?
This buyer’s guide will go over considerations to keep in mind when looking for a dog ball launcher, as well as tips and facts about launchers.
Manual or Automatic
With a manual dog launcher, you still have to throw the ball, but it removes some of the stress of having to throw the ball a long distance, especially if you have mobility issues or arm/shoulder pain. Manual launchers can help you throw the ball for longer periods of time, so your dog can release built-up energy.
Automatic dog launchers relieve the burden of having to throw the ball constantly, but they do require supervision. You will want to make sure that the device is working correctly and safely so you or your dog don’t get hurt. They can run on batteries and/or electrical power, making them an option to use indoors or outdoors. Batteries can become costly to replace, however, and most launchers aren’t as powerful when running on battery.
You can find manual and automatic launchers that use different sizes of balls. The size you need will depend upon your breed of dog. Large dogs should not be fetching small balls, as those can be a choking hazard, and large balls may be too difficult for your little dog to grab hold of. Also, keep in mind that if your dog likes to chew up balls, this can also pose a choking risk.
Manual launchers will cost considerably less than an automatic, but it depends on what you are willing to spend and what it is you need. If you have a dog who wants to fetch for hours at a time, an automatic might be worth the money so you can get other things done.
Location of Play
Think about where you will be playing fetch. Your large dog would probably rather be outside and run long distances, so you will want a launcher that can throw far. On the other hand, your little dog will be happy running 10 feet and back indoors, so an automatic launcher on the lowest setting would be just fine.
Automatic launchers usually can throw from 10 to 30 feet, while a manual launcher can potentially reach over 200 feet. Certain automatic launchers have the ability to change the angle that the ball is thrown.
If you purchase an automatic launcher, check if they come with a warranty, especially if you are spending a large amount of money on the product. Not all launchers come with warranties, though. Some companies will offer a money-back guarantee, which is a nice option if you are unsure that the launcher will be a hit with your dog.
Ease of Use
Of course, the manual launchers are typically the simplest to use, but some do require practice and may be difficult for some people. Automatic launchers should be easy for you and your dog to use. If your dog doesn’t like it, then it defeats the purpose of having an automatic launcher in the first place.
Tips and Facts:
- Dogs need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to stay healthy.
- Don’t let your dog pick up more than one ball at a time, to reduce the chance of choking.
- Rubber balls are ideal for fetch because they are more durable.
- The launcher should be fun for you and your dog to use.
- Teach your dog the benefit of bringing the ball back to you or the automatic launcher so they can have continuous play.
- Playing fetch has many benefits cognitively and physically for your dog.
Keeping your dog healthy and happy is important to pet owners, which is why you are looking for a dog launcher in the first place. You want a product that can provide physical exercise and stimulation to your dog that also fits within your lifestyle and budget.
Our top pick is the Nerf Dog Blaster, which can launch tennis balls up to 50 feet and is easy and fun to use. The best value is the Chuckit! because it is offered at an affordable price, is simple in design, and virtually anyone can use it to play fetch with their dog. The premium choice is the iFetch, which allows you to train your small dog to play fetch on their own and is created and operated by a family-owned company.
We hope that our reviews list helps you find the best dog launcher for you and your dog, one that will offer hours of fun and relaxation while staying within your budget and offering features that promote an active lifestyle.
Featured image credit: Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Toy, Amazon
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog Ball Launchers (Automatic & Manual)
- 1. Nerf Dog 3107 Ball Blaster – Best Manual Launcher
- 2. Chuckit! 6400 Dog Ball Thrower – Best Value
- 3. iFetch 01 Ball Launchers – Best Automatic Launcher
- 4. PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy
- 5. Chew King Toy Ball Launcher
- 6. Paws & Pals Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
- 7. Hyper Pet Kannon K2 Ball Launcher
- 8. Franklin Pet Supply Tennis Ball Launcher
- 9. Hyper Dog 0001EA Ball Launcher
- 10. Felix & Fido Playball! Automatic Ball Launcher
- Buyer’s Guide