Most dogs just love to play fetch and throw-and-fetch is probably the most popular activity for canines (and even some felines). It provides an excellent workout for your dog and promotes an active lifestyle. If you are someone who is looking for a relatively effortless way to enjoy playing fetch with your pet, have a physical limitation or throw like a wimp (like one of our authors!) then a dog ball launcher or thrower is what you need to get.
But which are the best dog ball launchers and throwers available in the market?
In this article, we look at answering specifically the same question and share our list of the best dog ball launchers and throwers available in the market. We will look at all the three categories of dog ball launchers – manual, semi-automatic and automatic dog ball launchers. We will also look at some of the factors to consider while picking the best dog ball launcher for your pet and also share our top picks in each category.
Best dog ball launchers and throwers listSome of the best dog tennis ball launchers and throwers available in the market are listed below:
|Chuckit! Sport Launcher||Type: Manual Wand|
Range: 20-120+ feet
|- Best-selling manual dog ball launcher that allows you to throw the ball farther and faster. Comes with a fetch ball.|
- Made with lightweight flexible plastic that grasps the ball and releases it as you swing. Features an ergonomic rubber handle for comfort and control.
- Supports hands-free pickup. Firmly grasps a ball, so you do not have to bend down to pick the ball.
- Available in different sizes ranging from a 12-inch handle to 26-inch handle. S, M and L in the size refers to the size of ball supported by the launcher.
- For the nighttime play, get the Chuckit! Max Glow Pro Launcher that features a glowing rubber grip.
|Franklin Pets Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Manual Wand|
Range: 60-120 feet
|- Smartly-designed manual dog ball launcher featuring a durable plastic body and an ergonomic rubber handle. |
- The long 25-inches curved handle with flex joint provides better range and control.
- Unique triple-clutch cup supports hands-free ball pickup without bending down.
- Comes with a standard-sized squeaking tennis ball.
|Hyper Pet Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Manual Slingshot|
Range: 30-200 feet
|- Manual dog tennis ball launcher with an intelligent slingshot design that can launch a ball over long distances.|
- Features high-quality, rust-free steel handles for durability. Offers hand free picking of sloppy balls.
- Has a collapsible arm brace for easy transportation, though not as compact as other launchers.
- Comes with four HyperPet dog tennis balls.
- A smaller and cheaper one-ball launcher is also available.
|Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster||Type: Semi-Automatic|
Range: 20-50 feet
|- A pet-oriented twist to the popular Nerf guns with a dog tennis ball launcher having a 20-inch barrel|
- Features a pump-action lever without any exposed moving parts. Gentle on hands and no shoulder push-back.
- Provides adjustable pull-back to adjust the power and distance of the shots.
- Supports hands-free pickup by placing the barrel over the ball.
- The gift set comes with four standard-sized tennis balls. Supports smaller balls as well.
- A smaller, 16-inch, compact launcher is also available.
|Hyper Pet K9 Kannon K2 Ball Launcher||Type: Semi-Automatic|
Range: 20-75 feet
|- Innovative blaster-type dog ball launcher with a high-quality plastic body and a pullback handle.|
- Allows storage for two extra balls and a hands-free ball pick up through the barrel.
- Offers about four different levels of pull-back for adjustable launching distances, maximum up to 75 feet.
- Available in two sizes – Mini and Full Size. Includes one K-9 Kannon & one Hyper Pet Tennis Ball.
|Max Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Semi-Automatic|
Range: 30-90 feet
|- A unique dog ball thrower and launcher that is designed to work with tennis balls as well as mini-frisbees.|
- Features a unique plastic body and an adjustable pull-back lever. Can propel balls to as long as 90 feet.
- Supports hands-free pickup of balls.
- For stability, requires two-hands holding.
- Comes with a tennis ball included in the package. Compatible Max Mini Frisbee is sold separately.
|iFetch Too Interactive Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Automatic|
Range: 10, 25, 40 feet
|- Innovative automatic dog ball launcher designed to launch standard tennis balls (2.5-inch diameter) with the touch of a button. US, family-owned manufacturer. |
- Comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that can last for 200+ throws with a single full re-charge.
- Features three preset ranges and even a random distance setting for different ranges. Has a distance lock setting which allows it to be used in enclosed spaces and even indoors with a 10-feet setting. For indoor-specific gravity launcher, check out iFetch Frenzy.
- Comes with a set of three balls and backed by a one-year warranty.
- For smaller dog breeds, check out the standard iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher that supports 1.6-inch balls.
|Franklin Pet Supply Automatic Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Automatic|
Range: 10-40 feet
|- Newly-released automatic tennis ball launcher with a range of 10 to 40 feet. Full ABS plastic construction.|
- The motor dial allows seamless range configuration, while adjustable feet support three launch adjustment angles. Also has a on/off alert system to make a sound before launching.
- Runs on an AC Adapter (included) or 8 D-type alkaline batteries (not included), which can support up to 800 launches.
- Comes with one non-abrasive dog ball and the power adapter.
- Supports standard 2.57-inch tennis balls and best suited for medium to large dogs.
|PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher||Type: Automatic|
Range: 8-30 feet
|- A premium automatic dog tennis ball launcher that offers lot of a flexibility with nine distance settings and six angle settings. Supports standard and smaller tennis balls.|
- Can work with direct power supply or six D-type batteries.
- Features a front-motion sensor to prevent accidental ball launching in the front. Also has a two-second motion detection delay and audible tone alerts before launching.
- Has a timer for 15 minutes play followed by a 15 min. rest time for un-monitored play. The rest time can only be curtailed by turning off the device.
- Has a carry handle on the top for easy transportation. Comes with two standard tennis balls.
|iDogmate Rechargeable Dog Ball Launcher||Type: Automatic|
Range: 10-50 feet
|- Another popular rechargeable dog ball launcher that can hold three balls at a time and launch them to 10, 20, 40 or 50 feet. Full ABS plastic construction.|
- Runs on an AC Adapter (included) or rechargeable Li-ion batteries (included) , which support up to 1000 launches when fully charged.
- Comes with a remote control for operating the launcher from a distance.
- Also included with the package are three iDogmate Midi balls and a carrying tote bag.
- Supports standard 2.5-inch tennis balls and best suited for large dogs.
- A small iDogmate ball launcher for dogs weighing less than 7.5 lbs. is also available.
|AKL Automatic Interactive Dog Tennis Ball Launcher||Type: Automatic|
Range: 10, 20, 30 feet
|- Interactive auto dog ball thrower that is designed to throw a standard 2" tennis ball over a pre-set distance of 10, 20 or 30 feet. Short distance setting can be used for indoor/backyard fetch play.|
- Runs on an A/C adapter or 6 C-type batteries. Easy operation with a on/off button.
- Comes with a set of three balls, which are non-abrasive and smaller than standard tennis balls.
- Suitable only for small and medium sized dogs.
- Backed by a 3-year manufacturer warranty.
How to pick the best dog ball launcher and thrower for your pet?
With so many options available in the market with so many variations, picking the best dog ball launcher or thrower can be a challenging task. Nothing to worry! In our list, we have listed out only the best, most durable options available in the market.
Still, if you want to explore further before zeroing in on the best dog ball launcher for your beloved furry friend, you can consider the following major considerations to keep in mind before picking the best one for your pooch:
- Type of dog ball launcher
- Dog breed and size
- Type of play
- Construction material and design
- Additional features and considerations
Type of dog ball launcher
The best dog ball launcher is one which allows you to throw or launch the ball to the desired distance effortlessly. Depending on your preference, physical condition, and budget, you can pick a manual, semi-automatic or a fully-automatic dog ball launcher. The major characteristics of each of these types are summarized below:
- Manual Dog Ball Launchers: Manual dog ball launchers are the most-budget friendly type of launchers and work extremely well for outdoor play. Of course, they require some effort on your part, but with a little bit of practice, you can throw a ball as far as 130 feet. The wand type of manual launchers are most popular though slingshot types such as the Hyper Pet Slingshot launcher are also gaining popularity. Such launchers are an excellent choice if you have no physical limitations (injury or age-related) and want a dog tennis ball launcher for your active canine friend, but do not want to spend a lot of money.
- Semi-automatic Dog Ball Launchers: Semi-automatic dog tennis ball launchers are essentially ball blaster guns, with or without the recoil lever. They may not be as durable as manual launchers, but provide decent launching capability with limited effort. They are most popular with kids because of their design and features.
- Automatic Dog Ball Launchers: The latest type of ball launchers and throwers – the automatic dog ball launchers(sometimes also known as auto dog ball thrower) are designed to provide your dog with hours of entertainment fetching balls with only a limited involvement from you. Popular automatic dog ball launchers and throwers such as the iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers have excellent features that make playing fetch comfortable for you and enjoyable for your pet. They can also be used for playing fetch indoors or in enclosed spaces. They are however many times costlier than other dog ball launchers and you need some additional time to train the dog to use them comfortably.
So depending upon your physical condition, budget and preferences, you can decide on the type of launcher you would like to go with.
Dog breed, age and size
Irrespective of the type of launcher you opt for, the breed of your dog and its age is another important consideration. A small ball can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s mouth or throat. If you have a small breed dog, a bigger ball may be difficult for it to handle and can harm its teeth and jaws. So make sure you get a launcher which is suitable for your dog’s breed and jaw size.
All ball launchers support a specific size of fetch or tennis ball with the standard size of 2.5-2.6 inch being the most common. Such launchers are most suitable for medium to large dog breeds such as Retriever, Labrador, German Shepherd, Mastiff and Great Danes. Small launchers such as Chuckit! Junior among manual ball launchers and iFetch Standard Launcher among automatic ball launchers support smaller sized balls (1.6-2.0 inch diameter).
In addition to the size of the ball, the dog’s breed and size also govern the range of the launcher you need to look at. After all, you would not want to get a launcher which throws the ball only 20-30 feet if you are looking for something for a large dog.
Make sure you get a dog ball launcher that supports balls which are of the appropriate size as per your dog’s breed, age and size.
Type of play
The type of ball-fetch play that you would like to have with your furry friend is also a factor to consider while picking the best dog ball launcher for your needs. This includes – indoor and backyard play vs outdoor play, floating fetch vs dry fetch and multi-pet vs single pet fetch.
Manual launchers are most suitable for single pet, outdoor play. Moreover, since manual launchers do not have springs, gear or electronic parts, you can use them to play fetch in wet conditions as well (they may not work as well, but would still be functional).
Semi-automatic and automatic launchers are strictly meant for dry-land play, though they are designed to survive exposure to some moisture. High-quality blaster launchers offer more control on the range, while the automatic launchers such as iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher offers the most control on the range of throw – making them suitable for indoor play as well. Moreover, automatic launchers can launch multiple balls quickly, so they are quite suitable for playing fetch with multiple pets.
Construction and design of the launcher
Once you have zeroed in on the type of launcher and its size, the construction and design of the launcher is the next most important factors. All the different types of launchers that we have listed are made from high-quality durable plastic and are designed to last.
In terms of design, the things to check for manual wand launchers in the flexibility and length of the launcher and its weight. Generally, the longer the launcher, further can it throw the ball. Similarly, heavier launchers can throw the balls farther. For slingshot launchers, this generally translates to the quality of the rubber sling.
For semi-automatic blaster type launchers, it is important to check the quality of the spring and design of the recoil lever. If the recoil lever is drawn back, as is the case with the Hyper Pet K-9 K2 Kannon Ball Launcher, you can expect some pushback on the shoulder while firing the launcher. The best design for this type of launcher is with the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster, which has a pump action without any exposed lever/firing mechanism.
In case of automatic launchers, you need to look at the reliability of the auto-shooting parts and precision of the different settings they provide. The iFetch series of launchers are probably the best in these terms because of their reliable launching and precise control of the settings. Having a ball-sensor is also important to prevent motor heat up when there is no ball to launch.
Additional features and considerations
In addition to the major factors discussed above, there are a couple of other considerations that can make a purchase more attractive than others.
One such factor is the number of balls that come with the launcher. Most launchers come with at least one fetch ball, though most options that we listed (except the Chuckit! Launchers) come with two or more balls. This means that you would not need to get a set of balls to get started.
In addition, the color combination of launchers is also something you may be interested in, though it may not really affect the functionality of the launchers. Most of the options that we listed come in a single standard color combination, though the ChuckIt! line of dog ball launchers is available in multiple color combinations – both standard and glowing dog ball launchers.
Another important factor to check out is the warranty and service support provided by the manufacturer. Almost all the options that we listed support the 30-day satisfaction guarantee service. Automatic launchers are generally backed by an additional six-month to one-year warranty. Popular manufacturers such as iFetch, Hyper Pet, PetSafe and ChuckIt! also have a strong customer service support that would help in addressing any issues that you might have with your purchase. This is especially important in case of automatic ball launchers because of their relatively high price.
Keep these other small considerations in mind while picking the best dog ball launcher for your pet.
Which are the best dog ball launchers and what our picks are?
Over the years, Chuckit! has revolutionized the classic game of fetch for dogs and their owners both, through its innovative line of products. The Chuckit! Sport Launcher is indeed a worthy torch-bearer of this line.
This best-selling sports launcher features a lightweight flexible plastic body which is extremely sturdy. The flexibility of the launching wand means that it produces less stress on the wrists and shoulders while throwing the ball. It has a relatively long ergonomic handle with a comfortable rubberized grip for superior control. With a smart overhead throw, you can easily get a distance of 120+ feet.
The Chuckit! Launcher is available in multiple sizes, giving you an option to pick the most suitable one for your needs. The most popular size is the Classic 26M which refers to a 26-inch launcher and medium -sized balls (standard 2.5-inch diameter tennis balls). Some other popular sizes are 25S for small dog breeds (2-inch balls) and 26L (large 3-inch balls).
Probably one of the best advantages of this launcher is the ability to pick up the slimy, slobbery ball without having to bend down. And you can do this without a lot of fuss. Simply place the ball-holding claw over the ball and press down to lock the ball. This is especially beneficial for people with back problems.
Each launcher comes with a supported fetch ball and you can always get the most suitable ones from the range of balls supported by the launcher. The Sports Launcher is designed mainly for outdoor, daytime play. For indoor play, you can check out the Chuckit! Indoor Launcher. And if you want a launcher for evenings, check the Chuckit! Max Glow Pro Launcher that features a glowing rubber grip.
The NERF line of blasters by Hasbro has long been synonymous with the best toy guns for kids, so it is obvious that we were extremely interested in evaluating their tennis ball blaster for dogs! And we were not disappointed.
The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Launcher is a semi-automatic ball blaster that is as fun to you or your kids as it is for the dogs. This high-power blaster is made of high-quality, sturdy plastic. With dimensions of 29 in. x 4.5 in. x 9 in. and a 20-inch barrel, it is definitely bigger than other semi-automatic ball throwers. But it is still pretty light and easy to handle. If you are looking for a smaller, compact launcher, check out the Nerf Compact Launcher which has a 16-inch barrel.
It has a smartly built pump-action lever without any exposed moving parts. The fact that you do not have protruding lever means that you can expect longer life and less recoil on your hands. It has a smart full-length trigger, which makes it safe for children to operate. It can shoot a ball up to 50 feet in normal weather conditions. You can easily manage the distance setting by pulling the lever to as much as you want. This makes this launcher suitable for backyard play as well. The only issue with its ball launching is the launching sound it produces when the ball is launched. Your dog may need some getting used to.
Another great feature of the Nerf Dog Blaster is that it supports hands-free pickup by simply placing the barrel over the ball. This means no longer bending backs or handling slobbery balls. Just remember to shake up the launcher after use and air dry to prevent mud and slime from jamming up the blasting mechanism.
The Nerf blaster comes with four Nerf dog tennis balls included. The blaster has an extra-ball holder. These balls are lighter than the regular tennis balls but are saliva resistant and easier on the gums of dogs.
If you are too busy to play fetch with your dog or are limited by a physical condition, then an automatic dog ball launcher is what you need. And the first automatic dog ball launcher you should consider is the iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher.
This award-winning, US-family owned innovative ball launcher has all the features that you would want from an automatic ball launcher. And the experts at Superzoo and Global Pet Expo agree with us and have awarded it for best dog product.
The iFetch Too Launcher is the bigger version of the standard iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher and designed for medium to large dog breeds. It is designed to throw regular sized tennis balls (2.5-2.6 inch diameter) to a distance of 10, 25 or 40 feet. It features a big bowl to put the ball in. It has a ball sensor which activates the launching motor only when there is a ball in the bowl. The ball is launched immediately, so you would need to train your dog to put in the ball from the rear to avoid being hit by the launched ball. Wouldn’t it be great to have a front motion sensor as well? Maybe something for the next version!
It even has a distance lock, so you can lock the launch setting irrespective of the option selected. This is a major design enhancement, making the iFetch launcher a suitable choice for backyard and enclosed spaces as well. You can even set it up to throw at a random range and keep your dog interactively engaged. All the settings can be managed from the touch of a button.
The iFetch Too features a rechargeable internal battery, which is a major improvement over the earlier models which relied on A/C power or simple batteries. Once fully recharged, it can continue to launch more than 200 times. There is a distinctive launch sound when the ball is thrown, but it is not too loud to startle your pet.
The iFetch Too launcher comes with three standard tennis balls. You can get the replacement balls easily online.
Because of the focused engagement by the manufacturers, iFetch has one of the best customer support services. You can expect a representative to address any issues you have with your machine within the warranty period (and even outside it). And each iFetch Launcher is backed by a one year warranty.
Balls for dog tennis ball launchers and throwers
Now that we have looked at some of the best dog ball launchers and throwers for dogs, the next obvious item to consider is the balls that can be used with these launchers. While most of the manufacturers we listed have their own preferred brand of balls, some of the best standard dog balls to get for these launchers are listed below. These balls are more durable and softer than the standard tennis balls and are saliva resistant, so should be preferred:
- Chuckit! Ultra Ball: The best-selling standard canine fetch balls. Made of non-toxic natural rubber, these balls are designed to travel long and bounce high. They also float and hence are suitable for pool and pond play as well. Available in three sizes to work with all types of Chuckit! and other ball launchers.
- KONG Squeakair Dog Toy Tennis Balls: Smartly designed tennis balls that also squeak. Made with a rubber base covered with high-quality, rugged synthetic felt. They are also designed to float and hence work well for playing fetch in pools and ponds. Available in multiple sizes and quantity.
- Snug Rubber Dog Balls: Popular dog balls that are made of 100% natural rubber. Multi-colored and easy to clean. Designed to float on water so great for pools, ponds and the outdoors. Available in two sizes.
If you are looking for some specialty fetch balls, you can check out the following two options by Chuckit!. Moreover, if you want a combination of balls in a single package, check out the Chuckit! Fetch Medley Ball set which has a Whistler, Max Glow and Re-bounce ball in the set.
- Chuckit! Max Glow Ball: A fetch ball designed specifically for evening and night play. Glows in the dark when charged under any bright light. 5 minutes generates 20 to 30 minutes of play.
- Chuckit! The Whistler Balls: Another unique dog fetch ball. Four holes in this high-bouncing rubber ball produce a whistling sound as the ball soars through the air and helps in keeping the dog interested and focused.
Additional Launch Toys for Dogs
Looking for some innovative launcher toys to play fetch with your dog? If so, check out these three latest launchers which we offer a variation on tennis ball launchers:
HurriK9 Ring Launcher For Dogs: An innovative sling-shot type dog ring launcher that can launch soft EVA-foam/spandex rings over a long distance. Suitable for mild chewers. The package comes with one launcher and 3 rings. Foam rings can travel up to 100 feet, extra tough spandex rings can travel up to 50-60 feet.
Chuckit! Indoor Launcher: If you are stuck indoors and still want to play fetch with your dog, then check out this Indoor ball and roller launcher by ChuckIt!. This fully functional ball launcher can launch up to 5-25 feet and provides hands-free pick up of the ball. The ChuckIt! indoor ball launcher works best with the ChuckIt Indoor Ball or Roller. Also suitable for cats.
Real Innovators Fetchbee Frisbee Launcher: The Fetchbee disc launcher is an innovative manual flying disc launcher. Once you get used to it, you can use the launcher to throw the frisbee farther and straighter with minimal effort. And that is not all! The Fetchbee allows you to pick the disc without having to bend down by clipping the disc in the launcher arm. Comes with a launcher and a hard rubber frisbee.
Things to remember while using dog ball launcher
There are some things to keep in mind while using ball launchers to play fetch with your beloved pet. These major factors to remember are listed below:
- Ensure that your pet is already trained to follow the basic commands. After all, you do not want your dog to get the ball and wander off. Before starting with ball launchers, teach the dog to play fetch in your backyard. You can also check out some beginner dog training books available in the market that cover how to train your pet to play fetch.
- Always pick a ball that is of suitable diameter and size. Getting a ball that is too small or too big can make playing fetch uncomfortable for your pet. You can consult some trainers or fellow dog owners about their experiences.
- Start slow and be patient while training your pet to play fetch with you. First, launch the ball to a short distance and encourage your dog to fetch it. If required, start in an enclosed space such as indoors and yard to start with. Use positive reinforcement techniques.
- Always get a soft rubber ball or mini-frisbee to start with (you can even consider starting with cheap stress balls). Such a toy would be gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums. Prefer balls that are designed specifically for dogs. Your dog can accidentally ingest the synthetic felt on the standard tennis balls. Moreover, normal tennis balls can absorb the dog’s saliva and even cause damage to the launchers, especially automatic ones.
- Always engage in launch-and-fetch play in wide spaces or dog parks where there is enough space for you and your dog to play around without bothering others. If you want to play with your dog indoors or in limited space, look at getting a semi-automatic or automatic launcher and use minimum distance setting.
- Clean-up the ball periodically with soap and water. If it shows signs of damage, discard it and get new ones. Also, avoid sharing of balls as it can cause infection from one dog to be transferred to the other.
- Manual launchers are washable and can be air-dried. Semi-automatic and automatic launchers, on the other hand, cannot be washed. The best way to ensure that the mud and saliva moisture is removed is to shake them down after use and let them air-dry. You can also use a moist cloth to wipe them down.
Following these basic guidelines would help in making fetch-play more enjoyable for you and your beloved canine companion.
Final thoughts on the best dog ball launchers and throwers
Playing throw-and-fetch is one of the most popular outdoor activity for dog lovers. You can find many local dog parks and backyards filled with canine companions engaging in playing fetch with their owners. And this fun can be amplified by getting a dog tennis ball thrower which can launch the ball over long distances without too much strain on yourself.
In this article, we looked at some of the best dog tennis ball launchers and throwers to get for your pet. We looked at all the three major categories of dog tennis ball launchers – manual dog ball launchers, semi-automatic tennis ball blasters and auto dog ball throwers. We also shared our top picks and listed out the major factors to consider while picking the best dog ball launcher for your canine companion.
We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best dog ball launcher as per your requirements and preferences. Do let us know your feedback and questions by commenting below. Until next time, have a playful time with your beloved furry friend!