Dog Ball Launcher – Buying Guide

dog automatic ball launcher buying guide
dog automatic ball launcher buying guide

Dog Ball Launcher is an interactive toy that keeps your dogs entertained, healthy and happy. The launcher automatically fetch the ball for your dog and when the dog returns it, it fetches it again. This way, the launcher keeps your dog entertained and busy.

This buying guide is about helping you make an informed decision. You will find in this guide all the necessary information about the dog ball launcher. Here is what is most important when considering buying the launcher.

We have reviewed iFetch Too, PetSafe Dog Ball Launcher, Paws & Pals and iDogMate Midi. We recommend you to read best Dog Ball Launcher product review.

1Balls Size and Type of Dog Ball Launcher

Dogs like chewing off and attempting to eat balls in general and specifically the ones covered with fuzz. So, make sure the ball is durable whether it is a mini ball, tennis balls or any other. Sooner or later your dog will chew the included balls off. Therefore, you should consider buying a launcher that could work with a low cost, yet durable replacement balls. Buying a dog ball launcher that works with one type of a ball, or only made by the manufacturer will cost you a fortune in the future when it’s the time to replace the original balls.

An automatic ball launcher could include mini balls or standard tennis size balls or other size. Balls could be too small or too big for your dog to pick up. Midsize and large dogs won’t play with small balls that could be choking hazard for them. The perfect size for midsize and large dogs is 2.5″ balls.

Comparing the size of a ball in Ad to a regular tennis ball is not so easy looking at an ad picture. Ads tend to show balls bigger than the actual size. So make sure you know the ball size that fits your dog best.

2Your Dog Size

Manufacturers design dog ball launcher for different sizes of dogs. So, if your dog is small and can’t pick up a standard tennis size ball, then a tennis size ball launcher is not a fit for your dog. If the launcher has mini balls then this product does not fit your midsize or large dog. The ball will be a chocking hazard for the dogs. We recommend you to read the specification first and ensure that it is a fit for your dog.

3Indoor or outdoor use

To enjoy this interactive toy you should determine where you are going to use it. Will you be using it inside your house or outside in the backyard? Make sure you can adjust the throwing distance to short distance for indoor use and long distance for outdoor use. Do not miss this point.

While reviewing the launcher uses, we found out that most people use the automatic ball launcher inside their house where dogs spend most of their time.

4Throwing Distance

Throwing distance is an important factor when considering buying an automatic ball launcher. You should be able to adjust the throwing distance to 9 to 10 feet when using it inside the house. The dog ball launcher that do not have launching ball Some launchers has ‘random’ distance settings that keeps the dog guessing.

Some tips for you: If you are working with a small space, you should be able to adjust the throwing distance that the ball goes far enough for your dog to run and get it, but not too far or high that it will knock over things in the house.

If you intend to use it outdoor, you should look for launcher with long throwing distance, yet adjustable. Dog love chasing the ball for distance.

The condition of the ball determine the throwing distance. Some launchers will throw the ball to a shorter distance or not throw it at all. So keep the ball dry when possible.

5Noise level

As these toys are electrical based that moves internally mechanical parts to launch the ball, they make sound. Some call it ‘noise’. Anyway, the machine usually scares dogs in the beginning. Dogs learn to play with the toy after some training them for a while. Some dogs will not like this noise no matter what you do. We recommended you to spend some time training your dog before start playing with it.


To power the dog ball launcher, you plug it to the wall or alternatively use batteries. When using batteries, launchers do not have the same power to throw the ball for a long time. You don’t have to drag an extension cord out into the yard when it has a built-in rechargeable batteries. Some launchers use standard batteries like the D Cell ones. If the deal does not include the batteries then you should find out the cost of the batteries. It might be better to pay additional few bucks to get a launcher with built-in rechargeable batteries.

Anyway, to enjoy the best of your launcher, consider using it with an extension cord if you want to use it out in the yard. Oh, and make sure the batteries are standard ones and are rechargeable or replaceable with low cost, yet powerful batteries.

7Wireless Remote Control

To switch the device on and off or set up the distance, you press the buttons on the toy controller. Having a launcher with a wireless remote control is more convenient. Using the controller you could set up the desired distance and operate the machine from a distance. If you are not planning to get off your coach to turn on/off then you should consider launchers with a wireless remote control.

8Speaking Launcher

We’ve seen automatic ball launcher that speaks. Yes, it speaks. Did you hear that? It speak to the dog like ‘go get it’ and when the dog returns the ball, it says ‘good dog’. Wow, I like the speaking to dog feature but would not have it as a decision factor. It is a nice to have but not a must to have feature. None of the launchers we reviewed had this feature. The one that we did see in the market is for small dogs and had bad reviews so we decided not to review it.

9Treat Dispenser

Dogs like getting treats. right ? A dog ball launcher that dispenses treats will be helping you training the dog. Dogs will get their treat when they return the ball.. Nice feature right ? well if the the launcher dispenses the treat immediately after the ball is returned then dog will eat the treat and wont be running to get the ball when it is launched. It the launcher dispenses the treat immediately after launching the ball then the dog will eat the treat and won’t be running to get the ball. so its a tricky. Nice addition but could not work with all dogs.

10Device size and weight

Dogs play with the automatic ball launcher inside their house or outside in the back yard. We recommend launchers that are portable and is not heavy as you’ll have to move inside and outside when needed.

Manufacturers design very small launcher for light use and for a very small dog. These launchers might not throw the ball as far/high as the big launchers.

11Safety features

There are two safety features that we came across when reviewing the automatic ball launchers and they are the motion detector and the auto-rest.

In order for the ball not to hit your dog in the head, the motion sensor will not launch the ball when the dog is close enough to the device. However the detection distance could be an issue as you might not get your dog to stay that far back. Dogs get too excited and want to stand right in front of it to catch it mid-air. If your dog stands close to the launcher and causing the launcher not to fetch the ball, then disable this feature.

When the launcher includes the Auto-rest feature, the launcher will automatically got into a standby mode every 15 minutes after the launcher throws the ball. The intention is that the dogs would play with it continually for 15 minutes, then take a 15-minute break before they resume. Dogs typically don’t play with it continuously. They will play with it couple of minutes and then lay down to chew on the balls and by the time they are ready to use it again the 15 minutes are up and they cannot figure out why it won’t throw the ball. The intent of having the Auto-rest feature is clear, especially if the dog is outside on a hot day and the owner is not monitoring him.


We recommend to read the warranty terms carefully before buying the dog ball launcher. Mechanical and electronic parts could stop working in extensive use. Warranty comes typically with a one year warranty covering manufacturer’s defects, assuming normal use. Manufacturers will repair the defective product or replace the defective product with a new or refurbished unit. The warranty is void if you misused it or not purchased from an authorized seller. Owners of the devices can returned the defective product to the manufacturer either shipping prepaid or, if manufacturer pre-approves it with shipping paid by manufacturer.






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