Launch monitors play a significant role in maintaining your golf swing during the freezing winter months, but to get the most out of a launch monitor can be quite expensive. However, there are some budget-friendly options available and we have taken the time to compile a list of the best budget launch monitors available.
As it stands in 2023, the best budget launch monitors are:
- Top all-rounder: FlightScope Mevo
- Best indoor/outdoor combo: Rapsodo R-Motion
- Best features: SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- Most affordable: Voice Caddie SC300i
- Fun competitions: Garmin Approach R10
- Longest battery life: PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor
- Most portable: Garmin Approach G80
To discover how each of these monitors earned their spot, read our reviews below. At the bottom of this article, you will also find a helpful buyer’s guide that details key features to look for when shopping for a golf launch monitor.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for 6 Best Budget Launch Monitor
|FlightScope Mevo Launch Monitor||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Rapsodo R-motion Golf Launch Monitor||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Skytrak||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Voice Caddie SC300||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Garmin approach R10||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Garmin Approach G80||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
1. FlightScope Mevo Launch Monitor — Top All-Rounder
- Technology: Doppler radar
- Data: Carry distance, spin rate, club speed, ball speed, vertical launch, smash factor, apex height, flight time
- Weight: 465 g
- Battery life: 8 hours
- Competitively priced
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Superior outdoor accuracy compared to units at this price
- Basic simulation software included
- Requires loads of space indoors
- Requires a smartphone
Flightscope’s Mevo is an extremely cheap launch monitor compared to the popular SkyTrak launch monitor.
Its Doppler radar technology makes it ideal for outdoor use.
In addition to being used as a launch monitor, I found it works well as a golf simulator with several options of courses and games to play including a driving range.
One of the negatives of the Mevo is that it requires a metallic sticker to be placed on the golf ball when used indoors to increase the accuracy of information.
Read more: The Best Golf Simulators
2. Rapsodo R-Motion Golf Launch Monitor — Best Indoor/Outdoor Combo
- Technology: Doppler radar
- Data: Carry distance, total distance, side carry, ball speed, smash factor, launch dir, club speed, launch angle, apex
- Weight: 256 g
- Battery life: 8 hours
- Compatible with any golf club
- Shot tracer and video replay
- Season insights
- Lifetime stats
- Initial setup can take a bit longer due to software downloads
- Only compatible with iOS devices
- You need to purchase MLM Premium to access the full range of features
The Rapsodo R-Motion launch monitor makes use of Doppler radar with either your iPhone or iPad’s camera. It’s the only launch monitor to track in this way. That being said, it is still very accurate, Rapsodo claims it is within 2% accuracy of the high-end launch monitors.
While I like the technology, it does feel very restrictive. Not only do you have to have an iPhone or iPad (which many of us don’t), but you also have to set your phone down with the device. Personally, I find this to be a bit of an inconvenience.
Straight out of the box, you get access to 100 videos worth of storage. However, you can push this up to 10,000 videos and watch them in slow motion by subscribing to MLM Premium. This subscription costs around $100, which could be well worth it if you play golf regularly. For most players, though, I think you’re fine going without.
Given that it works so well indoors and outdoors, I feel it’s one of the best budget golf launch monitors on the market.
3. SkyTrak Launch Monitor — Best Features
- Technology: Photometric
- Data: Clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin
- Weight: 771 g
- Battery life: 5 hours
- Requires little space
- Bag mapping
- Club compare
- Reliable indoor performance
- Excellent integration with top course software
- Not quite as accurate in an outdoor environment
- Lack of data points considering the cost
- Poor battery life
SkyTrak is one of the most desirable options but comes at a premium when compared to some of the other budget launch monitors. It is possible to purchase a SkyTrak launch monitor for just under $1,500. However, most of the models on this list are below the $500 mark, making them far more affordable launch monitor options.
It is a photometric launch monitor using high-speed cameras to calculate and provide accurate readings and data points such as ball speed, carry distance, total distance, launch angle, club speed, and spin rates. However, in my experience, the readings are only reliable indoors. This is even though it is advertised for outdoor use as well. When using it outdoors, figures are sometimes off or don’t register at all.
Yet I still think this unit is an excellent pickup as it has many cool features that you won’t find on many cheaper models. This includes the bag mapping feature. By hitting a specified number of balls with each of your clubs, SkyTrak visually represents performance, highlighting areas of concern.
Read More: Best Portable Golf Launch Monitors
4. Voice Caddie SC300i – Most Affordable
- Technology: Doppler
- Data: Total distance, carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, shot apex, launch angle, spin
- Weight: 436 g
- Battery life: 20 hours
- The screen is readable in any light
- Long battery life
- Instant verbal feedback on your shot if selected
- Synchronize to a mobile device for data review
- Spin rate is only available on the app
- No off-line measurement
- A little heavy
Voice Caddie provides a range of affordable launch monitors that operate on Doppler technology. In addition to the Doppler technology, Voice Caddie uses atmospheric calibrators for increased accuracy.
The app offers different modes to achieve a better user experience. Practice mode is used in general practice sessions and is ideal for bag mapping, whereas target mode aims to increase the consistency of distances with your irons. Distances can be set from 15 yards to 195 yards with 5-yard increments.
I found the app to be very clear and easy to navigate. I also like that you have the option to record your swing, which helps you to further analyze your form. While you can opt just to view the data points on the unit itself, you really should give the app a go. Not only is it more visually appealing, but you also get access to other data, such as your spin.
You’ll also be pleased to know that the Voice Caddie provides verbal feedback on the data points after every shot, so you don’t need to dive into your phone constantly. It measures eight data points in total, the same as the Flightscope Mevo. So, if you want an affordable golf launch monitor with a great app user interface and verbal feedback, the Voice Caddie SC300i is well worth considering.
5. Garmin Approach R10 — Fun Competitions
- Technology: Doppler
- Data: Spin rate, spin axis, clubface angle, total distance, carry distance, smash factor, apex height, swing tempo
- Weight: 148 g
- Battery life: 10 hours
- Lightweight, compact, portable
- Use indoors or outdoors
- Over 42,000 virtual courses
- Gaming options
- Accuracy can be better
- Requires a smartphone
- Subscription required
The latest release from Garmin is the Approach R10, which caused quite a stir in the personalized launch monitor space. The Approach R10 uses Doppler radar technology to bounce a microwave signal off the desired target and analyze the return signal.
Like the affordable Mevo launch monitor, it requires a smartphone as the device does not have its own display. While I don’t like the app’s user interface quite as much as some of the others, it is still pretty good. One of my favorite features is the ability to play on 42,000 virtual courses and compete in weekly competitions. However, this does require a subscription, which costs around $120 annually — a little more than MLM Premium for the Rapsodo launch monitor, which costs $100.
Another noteworthy quality of the R10 is its size and weight. This thing is tiny and very easy to carry around. It weighs just 148 g.
6. PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor — Longest Battery Life
- Technology: Doppler
- Data: Ball speed, club indicator, smash factor, club speed, carry distance, total distance
- Weight: 125 g
- Battery life: Disposable batteries (up to a year)
- The automatic shutoff feature preserves the battery
- Can be used to track tennis and baseball as well as golf
- No app
- 1-year warranty
- Plain design
The PRGR launch monitor may have a rather plain-looking design, but it’s simple to use, lightweight, and the cheapest golf launch monitor on this list, making it a great pickup. While some may miss the presence of an app, less tech-savvy users will certainly appreciate that all of the statistics are found on the unit itself.
The PRGR launch monitor uses Doppler radar technology and tracks all of the key statistics you would expect, such as ball speed, swing speed, smash factor and carry distance. It even stores your 500 most recent swings so that you can easily track your progress. In the next model, I hope to see the ability to transfer this data to a USB drive. This way it’s easier to track how your technique changes over a longer time span.
One handy feature you’ll appreciate is the automatic shutoff. This turns off the device after a short period of inactivity to preserve the battery life. While the other devices we have looked at are rechargeable, the PRGR launch monitor is not. It instead runs on disposable batteries. To some, this may be a turn-off, but given that a single round of batteries can last as long as a year, I consider it a plus! It’s the best cheap golf launch monitor in terms of battery life.
7. Garmin Approach G80 — Most Portable
- Technology: GPS & Doppler
- Data: Ball speed, club speed, smash factor, estimated distance, tempo
- Weight: 119 g
- Battery life: 15 hours
- Clear and bold display
- Includes over 41,000 colored maps of golf courses worldwide
- Practice and game modes
- Very lightweight at 119 g
- Long 15-hour battery life
- Limited data points
- Not as straightforward to use as some other models
- A little expensive
The Garmin Approach G80 is a superb all-in-one golf device that makes use of GPS and Doppler technology. There is no need to buy a range finder and a launch monitor, the Approach G80 takes on both roles. It includes over 41,000 colored maps of golf courses worldwide, and by touching any part of the course, it gives you a precise distance reading.
It also features plays like distance, so you get all of the info you need even if you are playing uphill or downhill. I’m particularly fond of the display. It is very bright and bold and is sunlight-readable. Garmin even offers Big Numbers Mode to make data even easier to read — great for players with poor eyesight.
In terms of data points, there’s no denying the Garmin Approach G80 is limited compared to the rest of the competition. However, it includes all of the main stats you want, and when you consider the rest of its features I think it’s well worth considering. It happens to be the lightest model at 119 g and is well above average in terms of battery life at 15 hours. For these reasons alone, it is in contention for being one of the best affordable launch monitors.
Read More: Best Golf Launch Monitors
Best Budget Launch Monitors Buyer’s Guide
Prices can vary between $220 to $600 for the most affordable launch monitors. However, if we look beyond the budget category, prices can skyrocket to more than $10,000 for the top-of-the-range launch monitors. These are generally used by professional golfers and in simulators.
The accuracy of information from the launch monitor is crucial in allowing you to become the best golfer your abilities allow. Inaccurate information could set you on a wild goose chase working on parts of your swing that are actually working well.
Accurate ball trajectory is important to determine whether you can draw or fade the ball and whether you can hit low and high shots. This will point you to your strengths and highlight weaknesses to work on.
Spin is just as important to know as trajectory as it determines whether you can stop the ball on the green or work the ball to get around obstacles.
Data Points Measured
As prices increase, the quality of data points and accuracy the launch monitor provides improve.
This does not indicate that inexpensive launch monitors cannot provide you with meaningful information.
It is like buying a budget vehicle and comparing it to a premium car. The budget car will get you from point A to B but won’t provide you with all the detailed information from a sophisticated onboard computer.
The minimum data points you should get from affordable launch monitors are clubhead speed, carry distance, and spin. Many golfers are under the impression that they hit the golf ball farther than they really do. Carry distance will help you understand how far you hit every club in your bag, thus giving you confidence when crossing an obstacle on the golf course.
Launch monitors generally track two types of data.
Clubhead data such as:
- Attack Angle
- Face Angle
- Clubhead Speed
- Club Path
- Swing Plane
- Swing Direction
- Dynamic Loft
- Spin Loft
Ball data such as:
- Launch Angle
- Launch Direction
- Ball Speed
- Ball flight
- Hang Time
- Smash Factor
- Spin Axis
- Spin Rate
- Carry distance
- Landing Angle
- Total distance
Since launch monitors can require a significant investment, you want a respectable brand with a history of durability that will get you through many a winter.
Test out the user interface and the usability of the launch monitor. It’s no use if it takes hours to set up every time you want to use it and the data points are provided in a manner that is difficult to interpret.
Launch Monitor Technology
Launch monitors use either radar or photometric technology to capture data at impact and provide you with the relevant data points.
Radar launch monitors make use of Doppler radar to monitor the golf ball in flight. This makes it preferable in an outdoor environment where the launch monitor can track the ball’s flight until it lands. Radar technology needs to be placed a moderate distance behind the ball, around 4 to 8 feet. As such, they require significantly more space than a photometric device when used indoors.
Photometric launch monitors use a series of high-speed cameras that concentrate on the impact area and then calculate many data points using sophisticated algorithms. As photometric launch monitors are placed perpendicular to the target line, they can be placed closer to your golf ball, therefore they use less space. This makes them ideal for indoor use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Invest in an Expensive Launch Monitor?
If you’re a keen player looking for more insight into your swing an expensive launch monitor is a great investment. However, a budget launch monitor is likely a better option if you are a more casual player.
Can an iPhone Be Used as a Launch Monitor?
Many apps on the iOS store convert your iPhone into a launch monitor. There are also golf launch monitors that use Doppler radar with your iPhone’s camera, with the Rapsodo R-Motion launch monitor as an example.
Should I Practice With a Launch Monitor?
If you’re serious about improving, you should use a launch monitor when practicing. It gives you reliable data that you can act upon to improve your swing. Without this information, it can be tough to identify flaws in your game, especially small ones that go easily unnoticed.
Which Launch Monitors Work With the Apple Watch?
There are many launch monitors whose apps are compatible with the Apple watch. Some of our favorites include the Garmin app and FlightScope Mevo app.
The best budget launch monitors allow the average golfer to enjoy golf anywhere at any time of day. While high-end golf launch monitors provide a more exhaustive range of features, the best budget launch monitors perform very well in their own right. Saving you a ton of cash in the process.
Although the competition is stiff, and some extremely exciting products are available, Mevo and SkyTrak remain the leaders in the launch monitor market. That being said, SkyTrak is notably more expensive, so we prefer the FlightScope Mevo for players on a limited budget.
If you’re really pressed for cash, we recommend further looking into the cheapest launch monitor on this list: the PRGR pocket launch monitor. Its performance far exceeds its price tag, and if you’re happy sticking with more basic features without an app, we think you’ll be very satisfied with it.
- How Do Golf Launch Monitors Work?
- FlightScope X2 Review
- GCQuad Review
- Trackman Review: Is This $20k Launch Monitor Worth Investing In?
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.