There are many golf launch monitors on the market. But which one is best for you? This article will help you decide what kind of monitor to get, and why. We will also talk about some affordable brands that are accurate and reliable so that your game doesn’t suffer!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best golf launch monitors
- 2 FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor
- 3 Flightscope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
- 4 Flightscope Mevo Launch Monitor
- 5 SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- 6 Swing Caddie Voice Caddie SC300 Launch Monitor
- 7 Trackman 4 Launch Monitor
- 8 Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor
- 9 Frequently asked questions when buying a launch monitor
- 10 What is a launch monitor and how does it work
- 11 What is doppler radar technology?
- 12 What is the best golf ball launch monitor?
- 13 What should I look for when purchasing my first golf ball launch monitor?
- 14 What else do I need to know when buying a launch monitor?
- 15 Why use one, and what are the benefits
- 16 How much does a golf launch monitor cost?
- 17 What is the best budget launch monitors?
- 18 What is the best launch monitor for accuracy?
- 19 I’m after a portable launch monitor, which one should I choose?
- 20 How to choose the best golf launch monitors for your needs
- 21 Is it worth buying a launch monitor?
- 22 What Launch Monitor do the pros use?
- 23 What is smash factor?
- 24 What about the Rapsodo mobile launch monitor?
- 25 Best golf launch monitor summary
Best golf launch monitors
- Winner for coaches & serious players – FlightScope X3
- Home golf simulator & casual golfers – FlightScope Mevo Plus
- Budget, swing speed & gapping – FlightScope Mevo
- Great for indoor use – SkyTrack
Below is our full review of the top golf launch monitors based on your needs. Below the reviews, we have a roundup of frequently asked questions when buying a launch monitor.
FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor
The FlightScope X3 Launch Monitor, the most advanced new offering from FlightScope, provides you with unmatched technology and features to take your game to the next level. Keep track of more than 50 golf-specific data parameters including full swing shots, chipping statistics, and putting analytics.
You can use this device’s video app to overlay swing data with video analysis or challenge yourself using its unique challenges. With Fusion Tracking technology Flightscope claim the X3 outperforms competitors in accuracy by over 10%*, the FlightScope X3 is for those who want an edge on their competition on the course or just off it in life.
In my opinion, the FlightScope X3 is the joint best on the market, along with TrackMan. They’re trusted by pros and amateurs alike because they can provide accurate data about your clubface, swing path, ball launch, club head velocity (speed at contact), backswing tempo – basically everything you need to know! The price is steep for a non-serious golfer, but if money isn’t an issue then go for it.
Why has the Flighscope X3 topped this list? It isn’t better than Trackman 4, but after using both on and off for many years in the biomechanics lab and when coaching I can’t see why you should spend the extra $5-7k on TrackMan. 10 years ago, my answer would have been different, Trackman had more accurate data and far better usability, however, this is no longer the case.
In my most recent testing with the FlightScope X3 I was blown away with the improvements they’ve made. It is a fully portable launch monitor with incredible data insight and a huge array of modes, from coaching, range challenges to playing courses with the E6 Connect iOS Bundle. The FlightScope x3 has too many features to mention in this roundup, but for data, insight and portability this golf launch monitor tops the list.
If money isn’t an issue, and you want the best, check out the FlightScope X3 to take your practice and play to the next level.
Flightscope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
The Flightscope Mevo plus is the best launch monitor for those who want to know detailed data about their golf shots, but have a budget of less than $5k. It offers the most comprehensive ball flight data of any launch monitor under $5k. We’re talking about all of the features that are in the FlightScope Mevo (featured below) but also lateral launch angle and spin axis data.
Spin axis and lateral launch are very handy in telling you why your ball starts and curves in a given direction, meaning you can refine your swing path and clubface to perfect your impact position and accuracy. In my opinion, this is the biggest performance and practice benefit of the Mevo Plus compared to other mid-price point devices on the market.
You can use your phone or iPad to see 3D ball flight data or key metrics for each shot. This data can even be linked to a home simulator to create your very own indoor practice facility. On top of this, the iOS app has video capture capabilities to help you analyze your swing during practice.
Indoors the Mevo Plus will track your shots into a net and calculate your ball flight with incredible accuracy. You can then pick it up, place it on the range, and with a press of a button (outdoor mode) with then track your ball for its 1st 100m metres of flight. The easy of use and adaptability makes it one of the top portable golf launch monitors out there.
The standard Mevo (featured below) gives you a great understanding of your distance control and the type of shot that is best suited for different situations. The Plus, takes this information to another level, giving even more insight into swing mechanics and accuracy by providing data on ball flight patterns as well as horizontal launch angle.
The Mevo Plus comes complete with 17 practice range setups and five golf course to play on (iOS only). Meaning you can practice your game in a realistic way even when you can’t get to the golf course.
Unlike some of the competing indoor simulator options, the courses are included in Mevo’s price and the subscription is free for life, with no reoccurring annual fees.
When you’re heading out for practice sessions the Mevo Plus can easily fit in your bag and give you instant data on each shot at the golf range or on the pitching area. To top things off, you can even import your local weather to help the Mevo Plus calculate your shot direction and distance in normalised weather conditions.
The FlightScope Mevo Plus is a top contender for golfers looking for a personal launch monitor to take their golf game to the next level.
Flightscope Mevo Launch Monitor
The Flightscope Mevo is one of the best golf launch monitors on the market at its price point. It is highly portable and gives you quick and accurate data on ball speed, club head speed, vertical launch angle, ball spin and smash factor.
It has a small, sleek design and it also attaches to your phone if you want to take photos or videos while using it. The display is easy to read with large numbers that are easy for anyone to understand.
Check out our full FlightScope Mevo review here
There are some things that the Mevo can’t do, including giving you club data relating to accuracy – swing path, face angle at impact. However, the ball flight data is accurate within a degree, ball speed within 1mph, and the launch angles are precise. The best part of this monitor is that you can set it up in seconds and it works with any iOS device inside or at the range, making it ideal if you’re looking for a portable launch monitor.
This golf launch monitor is a great option for those who can’t afford a more expensive brand but still want feedback on distance control and club gapping. If accuracy is what you’re looking for in these metrics, then the FlightScope Mevo is well worth the investment.
The Mevo does have some small drawbacks, as discussed above, it doesn’t give you accuracy data like the Mevo Plus or SkyTrak. Secondly, it can be used for pitching and chipping but isn’t always accurate when hitting at shorter distances (5 – 35 yards) with lower-lofted irons.
However, data on longer shots, such as ball speed and carry distance the Mevo will take your indoor and outdoor practice sessions to the next level. To top it off, all data can be saved in the app under sessions and separate clubs allowing you to track your progress as you improve.
SkyTrak Launch Monitor
The SkyTrak launch monitor is another affordable option in the golf launch monitor market. It is on par with the FlightScope Mevo Plus for the data it provides and around a similar price point. The SkyTrak can also be used to power your home simulator setup.
The SkyTrak launch monitor is quick to set up and will also give you ball flight data which can be helpful for those on a mid-sized budget who are looking to improve their game and practice at home.
|With this data, our software is also able to accurately provide:|
|Club Head Speed||√|
|Angle of Descent||√|
The SkyTrak ~$2,000 is a golf monitor worth considering. Though not the cheapest option out there, it does offer decent value for those in the middle of the market range. It records your club and ball speed, as well as launch angle and spin rate with accuracy akin to other mid-range monitors; you can use this unit indoors or outdoors.
However, outdoor use does come with some caveats. SkyTrak suggests hitting off a mat, not grass, as flying grass and dirt can affect accuracy. Also, where the sun is positioned in relation to the launch monitor can hinder its performance.
It is for these reasons we’d suggest the Mevo Plus if you are on the hunt for a portable launch monitor you can use indoors and outside. However, if indoor use if your key use and you want access to SkyTrak’s excellent suite of golf course then it is well worth buying.
The SkyTrak launch monitor is a superb mid-price point option for those wanting great data and indoor practice on SkyTrak’s suite of practice grounds and golf courses.
Swing Caddie Voice Caddie SC300 Launch Monitor
Swing Caddie has become a major player in the personal launch monitor market, and with their latest release, the Voice Caddie SC300 they have created an amazing product for the price. The radar and calibrating atmospheric pressure sensors give you great feedback on every golf shot.
With its easy set-up procedure, and no need for any linking device it is one of the simplest portable launch monitors out there! All you need to do is place it between 11 and 12 feet behind your ball on level ground at any time before or during play. It can easily be brought anywhere as well weighing only 436grams like most tablets today.
Once a shot has been struck the results are immediately available to view on screen, the data includes:
- Carry/Total distance
- Smash Factor
- Launch Angle
- Ball Speed
- Shot Apex
- Clubhead speed
|± 2% (ball speed)|
|± 3 yards (carry distance in target mode)|
|± 3% (carry distance in practice mode)|
|Measuring Range: 10 – 370 yards|
|Positioning: Placed approximately 1.5 meters (60″) directly behind the ball|
The Voice Caddie SC300 Swing Caddie Launch Golf Monitor is a technological breakthrough. In tests against launch monitors that cost upwards of $20,000.00 and produce results within 1% to 3%. With the price only being 45 times less than these expensive monitors this monitor would be an invaluable tool for any golfer looking for simple ball flight data to perfect their game!
Despite its impressive performance it doesn’t quite match the Mevo for amount of data it collects and, depending on set up conditions, the Mevo is likely to be slightly more accurate. However, it is a great alternative for golfers who don’t have an iOS device (iphone or ipad) which is required for the Mevo range.
Trackman 4 Launch Monitor
If you’re looking for incredible insight into your golf swing and ball flight and you have $20k handy, then this is going to your top choice alongside the FlightScope X3.
Trackman claim* this is the best golf launch monitor for those who are looking to have all of their club and golf ball data tracked. Trackman gives you detailed information on your ball flight and swing, including swing speed, swing path, face to path, ball launch, spin rate, spin axis, D-plane…and the list goes on.
The downside? It’s expensive! TrackMan 4 is the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever built by Trackman. The dual-radar system captures data with increased accuracy, giving you more information about your swing.
TrackMan 4 measures and displays a full trajectory of any shot from 6-foot pitches to 400-yard drives. Not only does it pinpoint landing position with an accuracy of 1½ feet at 160 yards, but also maps out in real-time every detail about the swing including Smash Factor, Spin Rate, Launch Angle/Carry distance…etc. If short game is more an area of focus Trackman has dedicated modes for chipping and putting
Alongside the wealth of data, you have access to a growing library of skills games, like the combine test, driving challenge and capture the flag. You can also play a list of famous course via Virtual Golf 2.
If money isn’t a concern and you want the same tech used by the best players in the world, then this is the best golf launch monitor for you.
Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor
The GCQuad features four cameras that catch 200 pictures during impact from four different perspectives. That combination allows features of the club and ball to be pinpointed like never before, providing millimetre accurate strike and shot data within seconds. It takes photographs of the face, so as well as ball data you get precise club information such as path, lie angle, angle of attack and strike location making it a unique teaching tool on its own!
The GCQuad sits in the $5-10k range, placing it just below the Flightscope X3. However, it doesn’t quite match the Flightscope for accuracy and has slightly less functionality.
Frequently asked questions when buying a launch monitor
Below we have some frequently asked questions when buying a personal launch monitor. Including considerations about space, portability and small, but handy information about the golf balls you use.
What is a launch monitor and how does it work
Launch monitors work similarly to radar guns. They measure the speed of your golf ball from launch to landing and provide you with an accurate calculation for club head speed (CHS). Most monitors can also calculate carry distance, total yards travelled by the ball in flight, and backspin rate.
The most common and most accurate launch monitors a radar-based. However, some like the SkyTrak launch monitor use high-speed imaging cameras to calculate impact and ball launch data.
What is doppler radar technology?
Doppler radar technology is used to measure the speed of an object based on frequency changes in its sound waves. In golf, it’s used by your launch monitor to calculate CHS and carry distance.
What is the best golf ball launch monitor?
The best golf ball launch monitor will depend on what you are looking for. If accuracy is your number one priority, a radar-based system would be the best choice. For those that want to get an inexpensive introduction to this technology, we recommend the Flightscope Mevo or Mevo Plus.
Powering a home golf simulator
Check out the FlightScope Mevo Plus and SkyTrack launch monitors if you wish to power up your home golf simulator. Both devices are affordable and accurate.
Tracking swing speed
The Flightscope Mevo and Swing caddie radar are affordable and accurate. They are also perfect for tracking your swing speed, to see if you’re making any improvements.
If you’re looking for something that will measure club gapping, the best option in our opinion is to get a Flightscope Mevo. It’s affordable and accurate, and also designed with easy setup in mind.
You can also save your data for each club and revisit it in the future.
What should I look for when purchasing my first golf ball launch monitor?
The most important factor is to consider when and how you plan to use the monitor. If you are looking for a golf ball launch monitor in order to track your game improvement, accuracy is key and therefore radar-based monitors would be best.
If on the other hand you want to use it primarily as part of swing speed training or an entertainment device, one that calculates CHS accurately but may have less accuracy when measuring start direction and spin axis will work well.
What else do I need to know when buying a launch monitor?
Here are some other factors you may wish to consider.
The FlightScope Mevo, Mevo Plus, X3 and TrackMan all require 8-14 feet of space behind the hitting area. They also need to track the golf ball for a minimum of 10 feet to ensure some level of accuracy.
Mobile device or tablet
The Voice Caddie is a stand-alone golf launch monitor. However, most launch monitors require connecting to a device via wifi or Bluetooth to give you data.
The FlightScope, TrackMan and SkyTrak range all favour iOS devices such as phones or iPad. So make sure you have such a device before you buy.
All launch monitors will work with any golf ball. However, it is worth noting that SkyTrak suggests not to use golf balls with logos or marked golf balls as these can affect its ability to measure data.
The Mevo range also suggests you attach small metal discs to your golf ball when using it indoors. These discs help improve the accuracy of spin rate data.
Why use one, and what are the benefits
More and more golfers are using a launch monitor during practice. They help you to improve your game:
– Find the best clubs for your swing type and course conditions.
– Correct any flaws in your technique.
– Track the progress of your practice sessions over time, so that they can be tailored accordingly.
How much does a golf launch monitor cost?
The costs of launch monitors vary from anywhere between $300 to over $20,000 depending on the features. In this review we class an affordable launch monitor as under $2,000 for powering home golf simulators. If you’re just after distance swing speed and ball speed then you should be able to find an affordable launch monitor for under $500.
What is the best budget launch monitors?
The best budget launch monitors are the FlightScope Mevo and Mevo Plus. If you are just after distance and swing speed data opt for the Mevo. If you are after lateral data too, and/or want to power a golf simulator the Mevo Plus will be best for you.
Affordable launch monitors fall into two brackets. Under $5k and under $500 – both are obviously still expensive, but we are talking about some serious technology.
What is the best launch monitor for accuracy?
We recommend launch monitors which are radar-based such as FlightScope X3 and TrackMan 4, because this type of setup provides you with a very accurate reading when it comes to club and ball launch data.
I’m after a portable launch monitor, which one should I choose?
All launch monitors featured in this review are portable. SkyTrak can be used indoors and outside, however, there can be some issues with outdoor use.
SkyTrak recommends hitting off a mat and when a mat isn’t available hitting off a tee from the grass. Irons and wedges create divots on the ground when hit directly, which can affect how ball flight is recorded.
How to choose the best golf launch monitors for your needs
The main factor when choosing your best golf launch monitors is the features and specs that you need.
If you’re a beginner, then an affordable monitor with basic features will be perfect for you.
However, if you are a more advanced player or have very specific needs, maybe it’s worth investing in a more expensive product to suit your requirements such as having detailed data.
Is it worth buying a launch monitor?
Launch monitors give you great data on your shot outcome and swing mechanics and are also a great way to track your improvement.
They’re not really for the casual golfer, but if you have an interest in improving and testing yourself then this is the perfect piece of kit to buy.
What Launch Monitor do the pros use?
TrackMan and FlightScope X3 are the most popular launch monitors among the pros.
Trackman is known for having excellent accuracy and data, but it’s expensive as well.
FlightScope X-series are cheaper than TrackMan, but still ~$10,000. The best golfers in the world use these monitors to track their results and see how they can improve. The granular data both provide on impact is the key reason for their popularity.
*Is TrackMan 4 or FlightScope 3 more accurate?
Both golf launch monitors give incredibly accurate golf ball and clubhead data. You may see in other golf launch monitor reviews that one has more error in testing.
However, the data points are not comparable. TrackMan measures impact as just after ball collision, whereas FlightScope X3 measures data at the moment of impact.
There is debate over which methods best describes impact and golf performance – the impact is actually a phase of time (milliseconds), rather than an instant. However, both are used and trusted by the world’s best players so I wouldn’t worry too much about the minute differences.
What is smash factor?
Smash factor is a calculation of energy transfer between the club head and ball. Smash factor is actually a ratio between club speed and ball speed.
A smash factor of 1.5 is optimal with the driver, but this figure cannot be reached with higher lofted clubs as energy transfer reduces with non-square collisions.
What about the Rapsodo mobile launch monitor?
We are currently planning a testing date for the Rapsodo mobile launch monitor and will add it to this review once tested. It offers a low-price, portable launch monitor for golfers wanting seed and distance data points to improve their golf game.
Best golf launch monitor summary
There we have a roundup of the best golf launch monitors currently on the market.
The best golf launch monitor is the FlightScope X3. If you are shopping under $5k the FlightScope Mevo Plus golf launch monitor is great for powering a home simulator and taking to the driving range. The SkyTrak is another great option if you are looking for mainly indoor use.
For more golf equipment review check out our round-up of the best golf training and golf swing analyzers. We also have our annual review of the best golf rangefinders.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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