The Best Automatic Ball Throwing & Launching Machines For Dogs

Does your dog have infinite reserves of energy? No matter how long a walk you take him on, how many times you throw a ball for him or how much running about in the garden he does is your dog still bouncing off the walls?

If this sounds like your dog then an automatic dog ball thrower would be a great solution. They give dogs plenty of exercises and mental stimulation while also giving you a bit of peace and quiet too!

What is an Automatic Dog Ball Thrower?

An Automatic Dog Ball Thrower is a machine which takes the effort out of playing fetch with your dog. Once your dog has been trained to use it you can simply turn it on and the machine will shoot tennis balls up to 30m (range will vary depending on the model and settings you use), your dog can then retrieve them and place them back in the ball bucket for it to be re-thrown a few seconds later.

Ball Throwing Machine Comparison Table

NameMaximum Ball Launching DistanceKey Features
iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers for Dogs40 Feet✔️Interactive ball launcher
✔️Rechargeable battery
✔️Suitable for medium to large dogs
PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher30 Feet✔️Multiple safety sensors
✔️Adjustable distance and angle
✔️Indoor and outdoor use
iDogmate ball launcher50 Feet✔️Large dog suitability
✔️Rechargeable and remote-controlled
✔️Anti-jamming and booster design
iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers for Dogs30 Feet✔️Small dog fetch launcher
✔️Mini tennis balls
✔️Adjustable launch distance
Playball by Couch Potato20 Feet✔️Adjustable throw distance
✔️For small dogs only
✔️Indoor and outdoor use
BALLREADY Interactive Automatic Dog Ball launcher20 Feet✔️Dispenses food during play
✔️Indoor and outdoor use
✔️Adjustable settings for play and feeding
ChuckIt! Sport 14S Dog Ball Launcher20 Feet✔️Extended throwing distance
✔️Convenient & slobber-free Fits
✔️2″ tennis balls
Hyper Pet K9 Kannon K2 Ball Launcher70 Feet✔️Launches up to 75 feet
✔️Easy, hands-free operation
✔️Includes dog toy and ball

Who Are Ball Launching Machines Useful For?

While some people may joke about how lazy someone who purchases a ball throwing device is there are actually many circumstances in which one of these machines can be invaluable.

Most ball throwing machines will be no match for a strong throwing arm so you may ask who would bother getting one.

Ball firing machines are fantastic for people who have lost limbs, suffer from paralysis, muscular weaknesses or extreme physical tiredness.

They are also great for both elderly dog owners who may otherwise struggle to give their dog adequate exercise for busy households where from time to time there is simply insufficient time to take the dog out.

If you know anyone who would fit into any of these groups then a ball shooter could make a great gift!

iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs

iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs

Key Features:

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Adjustable launch distance
  • Suitable for medium to large dogs
  • Comes with 3 tennis balls

iFetch Too Battery Life

The iFetch Too is powered by an inbuilt rechargeable battery which lasts up to 300 throws before requiring a recharge (more than enough to complete exhaust your dog!). To recharge it you simply plug it into the mains using the provided charging cable. It will take from 2-8 hours to recharge your iFetch (depending on how spent the batteries are)

Ball Size

The iFetch Too is designed to work with standard sized tennis balls which officially should have a diameter of 2.57–2.70 inches (according to the International Tennis Federation), however it will  work fine with any ball that has a diameter between 2.4-2.7 inches. This product comes with 3 standard sized iFetch branded tennis balls included.

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  • Keeps dogs active and entertained
  • Quiet operation
  • Can use regular-sized tennis balls
  • Adjustable launch distance
  • Rechargeable battery


  • Some dogs may not learn to use it
  • Occasional ball jamming issues

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

Key Features:

  • Safety sensors
  • Adjustable launch distance
  • 15-minute rest interval
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Compatible with standard tennis balls

The PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher is a well-designed ball throwing machine featuring adjustable launch angles and distances, a speaker and a dog motion sensor.

Measuring 12 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches and weighing 8.8lbs the PetSafe is easily portable and comes with two standard sized tennis balls.

Distance Adjustment

The PetSafe features nine different distance settings, significantly more settings than many other ball throwing machines. These settings can be adjusted using the ‘Tennis Ball Knob’ on the side of the launcher. It can launch the ball up to 30 feet (nine metres) depending on which setting is selected.

Angle Adjustment

The PetSafe also features six settings which allow you to adjust the angle at which the ball is thrown using the ‘paw dial knob’. This lets you adjust the angle up to 45 degrees making it ideal for dogs that like to jump and catch balls in the air.

Dog Motion Sensor

The PetSafe has a dog motion sensor on the front of it which can tell when your dog is within seven feet, it won’t fire the ball if it detects any motion in the firing range it will pause for around 5 seconds to allow time for your dog to move. This is a useful safety feature however for more excitable dogs it can be quite an irritating feature which will necessitate additional training to teach your dog not to excitedly dance around in front of the machine while waiting for the ball to fire.

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  • Interactive playtime
  • Easy operation
  • Battery-powered for portability
  • Compatible with standard tennis balls
  • Entertains and exercises dogs


  • Loud noise
  • Battery replacements may be needed

iDogmate Midi Tennis Ball Thrower

iDogmate Midi Tennis Ball Thrower

Key Features:

  • Suitable for medium to large dogs
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Remote control
  • 2.5-inch diameter balls
  • Indoor and outdoor use

As with most ball throwing machines the iDog allows you to specify the distance which you would like the ball to fire. There are five settings at 10ft, 20ft, 33ft and 50ft. The 10ft setting is ideal for playing fetch indoors.

The iDogmate comes with 3 standard sized tennis balls, a remote control and a handy bag to carry everything in on a walk.

iDog Midi Remote Control

The iDog remote control allows you to control the release of the balls, turn the ball throwing machine on and off and adjust the throwing distance so that your dog doesn’t anticipate where the ball is going to land each time.

The ability to adjust the launching distance using the remote control is a particularly handy one which, as far as we are aware, is unique to the iDog Midi.

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  • Great for active dogs
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Remote control for convenience
  • Works for medium to large dogs
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use


  • Balls may not be durable
  • Noise might be an issue

iFetch Original Dog Ball Thrower

iFetch Original Dog Ball Thrower

Key Features:

  • Mini tennis balls for small dogs.
  • Adjustable launch distance (10, 20, or 30 feet).
  • Operates on a plug or C-cell batteries.
  • Stimulates dogs physically and mentally.
  • Backed by a one-year warranty.

The iFetch Original comes with three balls included, it runs on 6 6 C-cell batteries and can also be powered by it’s AC adaptor.

While not packed with any particularly exciting or innovative features the iFetch Original is one of the best selling automatic ball throwing machines for good reason; it is simple and effective. It does its job effectively and well.

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  • Ideal for small dogs.
  • Customizable launch distance.
  • Battery or plug power options.
  • Engages dogs both mentally and physically.
  • Warranty for added peace of mind.


  • Some users reported issues with ball durability.
  • Requires supervision during the learning phase.

Playball Automatic Ball Launcher & Thrower

Playball Automatic Ball Launcher & Thrower

Key Features:

  • 3 distance settings (up to 20 feet)
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Can use electrical plug or batteries
  • Includes 3 small, durable tennis balls
  • Intended for small dogs

The Playball automatic ball launcher is an affordably priced machine made by Couch Potato. It features a wide opening which makes it easier for your dog to return its balls and it also comes with three yellow balls that all come branded and saliva resistant.

The Playball comes in a simple red design which can either be plugged into a wall for indoor use or can use 6 x rechargeable AA batteries when being used outdoors (these, unfortunately, need to be purchased separately).

It has three settings with which you can adjust the distance which the ball is launched. Compared to some of the other launchers on here the distance is fairly unremarkable with the ball going no more than 20 feet, the Playball Launcher is, therefore, most suitable for indoor use with small dogs.

When you purchase the Playball Launcher you will receive:

  • The Playball Launcher Machine
  • Three balls
  • A Power Adapter (110 or 240 volts)
  • The Manual


  • Exercise and fun for dogs
  • Adjustable launch distance
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Includes 3 durable balls
  • Great for small dogs


  • Small balls may not be suitable for all dogs
  • Balls can get stuck when wet

BallReady Interactive Dog Ball Thrower (& Treat Dispenser!)

BALLREADY Interactive Automatic Dog Ball launcher Ball Thrower Food Dispenser for lonely Dog / Dog toy

Key Features:

  • Combines play and treat rewards
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Adjustable settings for distance, treats, and timer
  • Size: 300mm(D) *200mm(H), 2.5kg
  • 1-year warranty

The BallReady is the result of a successful Indiegogo campaign, combining the two things your dog loves most: treats and balls, to create the ultimate canine entertainment machine.

The BallReady can be loaded with treats and set to dispense a few treats every time the ball is successfully returned. Dogs will grasp this concept quickly once they realize that treats are available!

The BallReady allows you to adjust the serving size and feeding schedule so that the amount of food dispensed is appropriate for your dog. You can even dispense a full meal from the BallReady if you wish, encouraging your dog to exercise to get fed, which is a beneficial feature.

The BallReady offers both indoor and outdoor modes. In outdoor mode, the ball can be launched up to 5 meters, which is a reasonable distance for small dogs but may be insufficient for larger dogs.

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  • Interactive and engaging
  • Supports dog exercise and mental stimulation
  • Can be programmed for different settings
  • Includes three tennis balls
  • Helps alleviate dog loneliness


  • Inconsistent ball throwing performance
  • Price may not match performance expectations

ChuckIt! Sport 14S Dog Ball Launcher

Key Features:

  • Extended throwing distance
  • Slobber-free pickup
  • Various sizes available
  • Compatible with Chuckit! balls
  • Promotes active play
ChuckIt! Sport 14S Dog Ball Launcher

The ChuckIt! Sport 14S Dog Ball Launcher is the ultimate playtime companion for your furry friend. Designed to elevate the classic game of fetch, this innovative toy brings a whole new level of excitement to your dog’s playtime.

With this ball launcher, you can send balls soaring farther and faster, providing your dog with an exhilarating challenge. The launcher’s extended reach means you can effortlessly pick up muddy, slobbery balls without the need to bend over, keeping playtime convenient and slobber-free.

The ChuckIt! Sport 14S is equipped with a comfortable grip handle for a smooth and efficient throwing experience, making fetch games enjoyable for both you and your dog. The launcher is compatible with 2″ diameter tennis balls or small Chuckit balls, perfect for dogs weighing 0-20 pounds. This ChuckIt! dog ball launcher is designed to enrich the human-animal bond and help dogs stay active.

Whether indoors or outdoors, it’s a versatile toy that provides endless hours of fun and promotes exercise, strengthening the bond between you and your furry companion. Make fetch happen with the ChuckIt! Sport 14S Dog Ball Launcher and take playtime to a whole new level!

Please note that the durability of the included ball may vary, so for dogs with strong chewing tendencies, you may want to consider using a more durable ball. Additionally, while some dogs may prefer the felt-covered ball, others may find it less appealing, so consider your dog’s preferences when choosing a ball for use with the launcher.

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  • Extended throwing distance
  • Comfortable grip handle
  • Durable construction
  • Suitable for various ball types
  • Enhances playtime


  • Ball durability varies
  • Felt-covered ball may be less appealing to some dogs.

Hyper K9 Kannon Ball Launcher

Hyper K9 Kannon Ball Launcher

Key Features:

  • Launches balls up to 75 feet
  • Easy and strain-free operation
  • Multiple launch distances
  • Hands-free ball pickup
  • Includes 2″ tennis ball

The design and way in which it functions is very similar to the BazooK-9 with nine spring power settings. However as with the BazooK-9 the amount of power you get out of it is fairly disappointing, you can throw a ball further by hand without much trouble.

The main difference is that it features hands-free ball pickup, simply place the nozzle over the ball on the floor and you will be able to pick it up from the floor and re-shoot it. This is a handy feature for anyone who isn’t keen on getting dog slobber all over their hands (who likes dog slobber right?!).

This is a nice low cost option for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of energy to repeatedly throw balls and wants something which is easily transportable.

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  • Extended throwing distance
  • Dogs love it
  • Easy to use
  • Hands-free pickup
  • Ideal for active dogs


  • Durability concerns
  • Limited ball size options

How To Teach Your Dog To Use An Automatic Ball Thrower

Getting your dog used to using a dog ball throwing machine independently is just a matter of time and patience. All dogs love to play fetch so they will be highly motivated to master the use of a machine which promises them unlimited games of fetch!

Before starting on any training plan ensure that you understand exactly how your automatic ball throwing machine works, different models will have different nuances and ways of operating which it is important that you understand so that you can train your dog to use it effectively.

To train your dog to use your ball launcher of choice simply follow the steps below (obviously you will need to keep repeating the cycle until your dog works it out and is comfortable with it’s new ball thrower):

  1. First teach your dog to stand to the side of the ball launcher before it fires (this is important as some machines have a safety feature which prevents them from firing if they detect the dog directly in front of their firing mechanism) this can easily be done using some treats.
  2. When you dog chases and retrieves the ball encourage them to drop the ball directly into your hand in exchange for a treat. Ensure that your hand is placed above the throwing machine for the exchange.
  3. After a few training sessions they should get the hang of dropping it directly into the ball thrower without help from you.
  4. Enjoy!

Automatic Ball Launcher Buying Guide

We conducted comprehensive reviews of nearly every dog ball launcher available in the market to provide you with a clear understanding of their primary features, benefits, and performance. Our objective is to simplify your purchasing decision by offering in-depth insights and reviews. Before making a purchase, we urge you to peruse our buying guide for automatic ball launchers, commencing with the key features to consider.

Key Features of Automatic Dog Ball Launchers

1. Training Capability and Mental Stimulation Witness the delightful video of a joyful dog playing solo fetch with the assistance of the PetSafe ball launcher. It showcases a remarkable feature of automatic ball launchers: the ability to teach your dogs to return the ball to the chute for reloading after each fetch. This not only provides dogs with excellent mental stimulation but also enables highly active dogs to keep playing independently even when their owners are occupied, away, or fatigued.

2. Adjustable Launch Distances The capacity to alter the distance the ball is launched is a valuable feature, as it allows you to accommodate both indoor and outdoor use. Most automatic ball throwers have an adjustable range, typically spanning 10 to 30 feet, with some models reaching up to 50 feet.

3. Indoor and Outdoor Versatility We’ve mentioned that distance adjustments are beneficial for indoor and outdoor play. Furthermore, most launchers offer battery-operated options, eliminating the need for extension cords.

4. Compatibility with Various Tennis Ball Sizes Many auto ball launchers are designed to work with standard tennis balls, ideal for medium to large dogs. However, manufacturers like iFetch have created ball launchers for small dogs, utilizing smaller tennis balls. If you have a small dog, we recommend considering models like the iFetch Too, designed for smaller tennis balls.

5. Varied Pricing: Options for Every Budget Automatic ball throwers come in a range of prices, typically falling between $100 and $200. However, there are more budget-friendly options priced below $100, perfect for those who want to try one without a substantial financial commitment.

Benefits of Automatic Ball Launchers

Automatic ball launchers represent a burgeoning trend in the pet industry, driven by technology aimed at prioritizing your pet’s well-being. From physical fitness to mental stimulation, the advantages of auto ball launchers are remarkable, providing your dog with unbeatable fun.

One of the significant advantages of auto ball launchers is the opportunity for interactive play, whether you want to engage with your dog by placing the ball in the device or let them enjoy independent play.

Considerations Before Purchasing a Ball Thrower

1. Dog Size The size of your dog is a pivotal factor when shopping for an automatic ball launcher, mainly due to the dimensions of the tennis balls used with these devices. Upon closer examination, you may discover that many launchers employ 1.5″ mini tennis balls, posing a choking hazard for larger dogs. Fortunately, brands like iFetch, iDogmate and PetSafe offer larger versions of their automatic ball launchers, compatible with standard 2.5″ tennis balls. Smaller and medium-sized dogs may find mini tennis balls, used in various ball launchers like the original iFetch, PetSafe, and idogmate more suitable.

2. Indoor or Outdoor Use Most ball throwers are versatile for both indoor and outdoor environments, offering the choice of battery operation or AC power. When contemplating indoor or outdoor usage, take note of the launch distance. If you intend to use the device primarily outdoors, consider the farthest launch setting to provide your dog with more running space. In contrast, if you have a compact yard or plan to use it indoors, lower-distance settings become more critical. Standard adjustments usually include 10ft, 20ft, and 30ft, but some models extend up to 50ft.

3. Training If your primary objective is to train your dog to deposit the ball into the launcher independently, look for a launcher featuring a spacious ball chute for easy use.

4. Cost The prices of automatic ball launchers exhibit significant variations. Reliable products typically range from $100 to $200, a price bracket that encompasses most of our recommendations. Automatic ball launchers under $100 often exhibit lower reliability.

By weighing these considerations, you can make an informed decision when investing in an automatic ball launcher for your beloved canine companion.

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