The 7 Best Automatic Dog Ball Launchers of 2023

by PetCare
Fable The Game

When it comes to finding a great dog ball launcher, it’s important to consider both your dog’s entertainment and your own convenience. After conducting extensive research and evaluating various models, we have identified the best ball launchers for dogs based on key features such as range, ball capacity, and portability.

Our top recommendation is the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher. This exceptional device stands out with its impressive array of features. It offers nine different distance settings, allowing you to customize the play experience to suit your dog’s preferences and exercise needs. Additionally, the launcher provides six angle options, ensuring versatile and engaging play sessions.

Safety is a top priority, and the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher incorporates a motion sensor. This feature prevents balls from accidentally hitting anyone during the launching process, providing peace of mind for both you and those around you. Furthermore, the launcher includes training sounds that announce when a ball is about to be launched, helping your dog anticipate and engage with the activity.

While the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher is our top pick, it’s worth noting that there are several other noteworthy options available on the market. Each launcher offers its own set of features that may better suit the specific needs of you and your dog.

By considering factors such as durability, ease of use, and additional functionalities, you can make an informed decision and choose the ideal ball launcher that will keep your dog happily entertained while minimizing strain on your arm and shoulder.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher at Amazon
Best Hand-Held: Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster at Amazon
Best Outdoor: Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine at Amazon
Best Indoor: iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher at Amazon
Best Dog-Loaded: Franklin Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher Dog Toy at Amazon
Best for Small Dogs: Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Mini K2 Dog Toy at Amazon
Most Versatile: IDOGMATE Automatic Pet Ball Launcher at Amazon

Best Overall PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

Amazon : View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Setting for nine distances and six angles
  • Training sounds to announce launch is happening
  • Safety motion sensor
  • Sleep mode after 15 minutes

What We Don’t Like

  • Automatic Rest Mode doesn’t have a visible timer

The PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher offers a wide range of variability to cater to your dog’s play preferences. With nine distance settings and six angle options, you have control over how far and high the ball is launched. The launcher also includes training sounds to signal to your pup that a ball is about to be thrown, allowing them to be ready and excited for the chase.

One standout feature is the front motion sensor, which ensures the safety of people or pets standing up to 7 feet in front of the launch area. This provides peace of mind and prevents any accidental hits or injuries.

The launcher has a ball capacity of up to three balls, although it initially comes with two. It is compatible with most standard-sized tennis balls, as well as some smaller ones. To prevent your dog from overexertion, the launcher includes a sleep mode that activates after about 15 minutes of continuous play. It rests for an additional 15 minutes before resuming ball throwing. This feature is particularly useful for puppies or dogs prone to overstimulation. However, it would be beneficial if the launcher had a clearer indicator for when Rest Mode is active and when it will end, as the current two-tone sound might be insufficient.

In terms of power options, the PetSafe Launcher can be conveniently plugged into a wall outlet or operated using batteries, providing flexibility for different environments or situations.

Price at time of publish: $170

Power: AC power or six D batteries | Range: 8-30 feet | Size: 12 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches, 8.96 pounds | Ball Capacity: Three

Best Hand-Held Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster

Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster

Amazon: View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Can pick up dropped balls with the end of the blaster
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Any tennis ball fits in medium and large sizes
  • Less expensive than most
  • Comes in three sizes

What We Don’t Like

  • Only holds one ball at at time
  • Makes loud popping noise

The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster is a manual ball launcher that provides a fun and interactive way to play fetch with your dog. With a simple flick of the trigger finger, it pops out one ball at a time. While the advertised range is 50 feet, it’s important to note that actual distances may vary, as is typical with Nerf blaster toys.

One of the notable advantages of this ball launcher is its lightweight design, making it easy to carry in a backpack or store in your trunk when you’re on the go. Unlike other ball launchers, it doesn’t require a charger or batteries to operate, offering convenience and eliminating the need for constant power supply.

When your dog retrieves the ball (hopefully!), you can easily pick it up from the ground using the end of the blaster, avoiding any slobbery messes. It’s important to keep in mind that this toy can hold only one ball at a time. So, you either need to have a few extra balls stashed somewhere nearby or pick up the ball after each throw.

The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster comes in three different sizes, allowing you to choose the one that best suits the size of your dog. This ensures a comfortable and enjoyable playing experience for both you and your furry friend.

Price at time of publish: $20

Power: Manual | Range: Up to 50 feet | Size: 3.5 x 7.5 x 12 inches, 1.25 pounds (small); 4 x 9.25 x 17.72 inches, 2 pounds (medium), 20 x 10 x 5 inches, 1.5 pounds (large) | Ball Capacity: One

Best Outdoor Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine

Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine

Amazon : View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Releases balls in arc pattern for safety
  • Three time settings
  • Uses AC adaptor or batteries
  • Large capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Very loud

When it comes to fun and safety, the GoDogGo ball launcher is designed with both aspects in mind. To prioritize safety, the launcher releases balls in an arc pattern, ensuring that they don’t shoot straight at your dog. However, it is still recommended to train both your dog and any people present to stand at least three feet away or off to the side to further minimize any potential risks.

The GoDogGo launcher includes five balls in the package, and depending on their size, it has the capacity to hold up to 23 balls. This allows for extended play sessions without constant reloading. The distance at which the balls are launched can vary between 10 to 60 feet, depending on the size and condition of the balls being used.

In addition to adjusting the launch distance, the GoDogGo launcher also offers the flexibility to alternate the ball launch intervals. You can choose between intervals of 4, 7, and 15 seconds, allowing for variation in play and keeping your dog engaged and excited.

With its combination of safety features, ball capacity, adjustable launch distance, and interval settings, the GoDogGo ball launcher offers an enjoyable and customizable experience for both you and your canine companion.

Price at time of publish: $150

Power: AC adaptor or six D batteries | Range: 10-60 feet, depending on ball size and condition | Size: 13.8 x 12.6 x 16.7 inches, 8.6 pounds | Ball Capacity: 17 2.5-inch dog tennis balls or 23 1.5-inch dog tennis balls.

Best Indoor iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher

iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher

Amazon : View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Very quiet
  • Two sizes
  • Pet can load ball in launcher
  • Has “random” distance feature

What We Don’t Like

  • Balls can get wet and stuck

The iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher is an excellent option for interactive play that allows your dog to entertain themselves. Once your pet understands the concept, they can drop a ball into the launcher, and off it goes! Your dog can then retrieve the ball, drop it back into the launcher, and eagerly wait for it to be tossed again. This means you don’t have to actively participate once your dog learns how to use it.

The launcher offers the flexibility to set the distance at which the ball is launched, with ranges of up to 30 or 40 feet depending on the size of the launcher. Alternatively, you can choose the “random” setting to keep your dog guessing and add an element of surprise to their playtime.

The iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher comes in two sizes: small and large. The small version includes three ping-pong-sized balls, making it ideal for indoor use. However, it is important to note that the small balls can pose a choking hazard for larger dogs. Therefore, the small version should primarily be reserved for use by smaller breeds. The large version of the launcher includes three tennis balls, which are more suitable for larger dogs.

Overall, the iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher offers a self-entertaining play experience for your dog, with size options to cater to different breeds and environments.

Price at time of publish (Small): $130

Power: AC adaptor or 2 AAA batteries (small), 1 A battery (large) | Range: 10-30 feet (small); 10-40 feet (large) | Size: 11.02 x 7.87 x 7.87 inches, 3 pounds (small), 14 x 13 x 12 inches, 12.35 pounds | Ball Capacity: One

Best Dog-Loaded Franklin Pet Supply Ready Set Fetch Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher Dog Toy

Franklin Pet Supply Ready Set Fetch Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher Dog Toy

Amazon: View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Fits standard tennis balls
  • Three angles to launch balls
  • Hopper for dog to return ball

What We Don’t Like

  • Very loud
  • Wet or dirty balls don’t work as well

The Franklin Ready Set Fetch ball launcher offers a range of features that make it an attractive choice. With three adjustable angles, it allows you to launch balls in different directions, adding variety to playtime. It has a maximum launching distance of 40 feet, providing a good range for active dogs to chase and retrieve.

The hopper located at the top of the launcher allows your dog to return the ball and eagerly wait for it to launch again. This feature makes it particularly suitable for training dogs to load the launcher themselves, enhancing their independence and engagement during play sessions.

The Franklin Ready Set Fetch comes with one ball included, and it is compatible with standard tennis balls, which are readily available for replacement or additional use.

It’s important to note that this launcher emits a loud warning noise, which may startle or scare some pets. However, the noise can be turned off if desired. Additionally, even without the warning noise, the launcher operates somewhat noisily, which may not be ideal for skittish dogs. If you have a dog that is easily frightened by loud sounds, it might be worth considering other options. It’s also worth mentioning that the performance of the launcher may be slightly affected when using soiled or wet balls.

Taking into account its features and considerations, the Franklin Ready Set Fetch ball launcher can be a great choice for dogs who enjoy active play and owners looking for a launcher that allows for independent ball loading.

Price at time of publish: $107

Power: AC adaptor or eight D batteries | Range: up to 40 feet | Size: 15.05 x 14.7 x 9.3 inches, 5.85 pounds | Ball Capacity: One

Best for Small Dogs Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Mini K2 Dog Toy

Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Mini K2 Dog Toy

Amazon: View On Amazon

  • Can pick up balls without touching them
  • Full-size model fits regular tennis balls
  • Smaller size blaster for smaller dogs

What We Don’t Like

  • Uses a rubber band that will wear out over time

The Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Mini Launcher is a manual ball blaster that operates using finger-triggered power. To use it, simply load a ball and pull back the lever to set the desired distance. The pull-back plunger can be ratcheted back to different notches, allowing you to adjust the firing distance of the ball. Additionally, the muzzle of the blaster can be used to pick up balls, eliminating the need to handle them directly and avoiding any slimy mess from dog drool.

The K9 Kannon Mini Launcher is specifically designed for smaller breed dog sizes, using small balls that are suitable for their mouth size. However, there is also a larger version available for big dogs. The launcher launches one ball at a time, but it features storage space for two additional balls along the bottom of the toy, ensuring convenient access during play sessions.

One consideration to keep in mind with the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon is its durability. The launcher uses a thick rubber band mechanism to propel the balls, and over time, this rubber band may wear down, affecting the launcher’s functionality and usability. It’s important to be aware of this potential issue and monitor the launcher’s condition to ensure optimal performance.

Despite the durability concern, the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Mini Launcher offers a manual and interactive way to play fetch with your dog, particularly suitable for smaller breed sizes.

Price at time of publish: $16

Power: Manual | Range: Variable | Size: 15.5 x 2.5 x 7.5 inches, 1.05 pounds (mini); 22.75 x 2.5 x 7.5 inches, 1.65 pounds (full) | Ball Capacity: One

Most Versatile IDOGMATE Automatic Pet Ball Launcher


IDOGMATE Dog Ball Launcher

Amazon: View On Amazon

What We Like

  • Internal ball storage
  • Works with slobbery balls
  • Many programmable settings
  • Wide hopper for returning balls

What We Don’t Like

  • Complicated remote control

The remote-controlled ball launcher provides a unique and interactive playing experience for your dog, although it may take some time to become familiar with operating the remote. With this launcher, you have the option to select from four different distances at which the balls are hurled, allowing you to customize the play experience. For added excitement and unpredictability, the variable setting launches the balls to different distances, keeping both you and your dog guessing where the ball will go next.

To ensure your canine companion doesn’t overexert themselves, the launcher includes a rest feature that automatically gives your dog a 15-minute break every hour. This helps prevent fatigue and promotes healthy playtime habits.

The small version of the launcher can accommodate balls up to 1.75 inches in diameter, while the large version can launch balls up to 2.5 inches, including standard tennis balls. The toy is designed with an arced mechanism inside, preventing slobbery balls from getting stuck during play. It comes with three balls, and the launcher itself has storage space for two additional balls, allowing for easy access and quick reloading.

Overall, the remote-controlled ball launcher offers versatility in distance selection, a rest feature for controlled play, and the ability to accommodate different ball sizes. It provides an engaging and entertaining play experience for your dog while ensuring their safety and convenience.

Price at time of publish: $210

Power: AC adaptor or rechargeable batteries | Range: up to 40 feet | Size: 7.48 x 7.87 x 6.3 inches, 3.05 pounds (small); 11.81 x 10.83 x 8.78 inches, 6.06 pounds (large) | Ball Capacity: Three

What to Look for in an Automatic Dog Ball Launcher

The power source of a ball launcher is an important consideration. Some launchers are operated with a simple finger trigger, similar to squirt guns, making them easy to use with just a press and launch motion. These typically require batteries for power. While batteries offer convenience, reviewers have noted that they may not provide the same level of power as when the launcher is plugged into an AC adaptor.

Portability is another factor to keep in mind, especially if you plan on using the launcher outdoors. Heavier machines weighing around 8-10 pounds or more may not be ideal for carrying around, fitting into a backpack, or taking up too much space in your trunk. In such cases, opting for a lighter and more compact manual blaster can be a better choice.

The range of the launcher is also crucial, depending on your dog’s athleticism and the size of the play area. You can select a launcher with a shorter range, catapulting the ball just a few feet, or go for one that can launch the ball as far as 50 or 60 feet. However, it’s important to note that few launchers consistently reach their maximum distance, and factors such as the condition of the ball, whether wet or dirty, can impact the flying distance.

Consider the ball capacity of the launcher as well. While most blasters hold only one or two balls, if your dog is particularly obsessed with fetching, you may want to choose a launcher with a larger capacity. Some models can be loaded with nearly two dozen balls, providing non-stop play for your pup.

Taking into account the power source, portability, range, and ball capacity will help you choose a ball launcher that suits your specific needs and preferences.


  • How do I train my dog to use the ball launcher?Work backwards, suggests Susie Aga, certified trainer and behaviorist and owner of Atlanta Dog Trainer. “It’s harder to teach a dog to drop a ball than to fetch one,” she says, “and sometimes they don’t bring it all the way back.” She suggests throwing a ball, and as they are running back to you, walk backwards. “Dogs follow what’s leaving them.”As they get close, teach them to “drop it” and reward with a treat or praise. It’s easiest to use a clicker that marks the exact moment they do what you’re asking. If you want to teach them to drop it in a launcher hopper, reward first as they get close to the launcher and then as they put it in.

    If your dog isn’t sure about chasing a ball, start by throwing it against a wall and catching it. That can kick in your dog’s prey drive so they want to chase and catch it too. Throw it to them and let them catch it. Then throw it past and let them chase it, she says.

  • Why do dogs like to play fetch?Sometimes it’s breed characteristics, what they’re bred for, or sometimes it’s prey drive or play drive, says Aga. “It’s very instinctual for some breeds to chase and follow. Retrievers were bred to do that,” she says. “In dock spaning, we have to have dogs with high chase, play, and prey drive for them to jump off a dock to chase after a ball.” A lot of working breeds and retrieving breeds have that drive.

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