Golf launch monitors contain highly effective technology designed to analyze the performance of every shot.
These devices measure speed, spin, apex, and distance to help you learn from your mistakes and improve your next shot. Unfortunately, their price tags deter many golfers.However, in this post, I unveil the 10 best launch monitors for under $500.
For golfers that just need a quick recommendation, here are our top choices:
Table of Contents
- 1. Voice Caddie SC300i – Best Overall Launch Monitor Under $500
- 2. SwingLogic SLX MicroSim – Best Indoor Launch Monitor
- 3. Rapsodo Launch Monitor – Most Accurate Launch Monitor Under $500
- 4. PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor – Best Budget Launch Monitor
- 5. Garmin Approach G80 – Most Versatile Golf Launch Monitor Under $500
- 6. Blast Golf – Best Affordable Launch Monitor For Short Game
- 7. Ernest Sports B1 – Best Launch Monitor For Convenience
- 8. Swing Caddie SC200 Plus – Best Portable Launch Monitor
- 9. Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors – The Best For Data Nerds
- 10. Garmin R10 – The Best Launch Monitor For Slightly More Than $500
1. Voice Caddie SC300i – Best Overall Launch Monitor Under $500
The Voice Caddie SC300i claims the top prize among our best launch monitors under $500, thanks to its data points, voice output, and portability. It measures 5 factors in your swing using doppler radar technology for a fairly accurate read.
You will find that the device records ball and clubhead speed, smash factor, apex height and carry distance. In addition, it enables you to manually select the vertical launch angle of each club for more accurate measurements.
I noticed that the reads were relatively accurate for an affordable device. For instance, ball speed was 2 to 3% off my standard reading on a GCQuad, but that is acceptable for an average golfer.
Furthermore, the SC300i contains voice output to call out your yardage on shots between 15 and 370 yards. You probably won’t get close to the 370 yards mark, but it is a nice touch. In addition, I enjoyed instant feedback after each shot, as the data appeared on my screen instantly after each strike.
You will find that this launch monitor allows you to adjust the lofts of each club to improve the accuracy of reports. The SC300i syncs with the manufacturer’s iOS and Android mobile application to display historical shot data relating to distance, smash factor, ball and swing speed, spin rate, and vertical launch angle.
- Measures six data points
- Stores historical data on the mobile application to analyze your performance
- Voice output
- Instant feedback
- Ball speed data is inaccurate compared to premium devices
- Spin rate data is not displayed on the device
- 6 to 8 feet of space behind the impact zone
- Android tablet products and smartphones
- iOS devices
- Wifi or data
2. SwingLogic SLX MicroSim – Best Indoor Launch Monitor
I first learned about this golf simulator when it carried the Tittle X label, now, it is produced by SwingLogic, but its functionality remains. This is an ideal option for golfers looking to practice indoors. The SLX MicroSim is an entry-level simulator allowing you to enjoy the E6 Connect simulator software.
You’ll find that the package includes a swing stick and a micro clip packed with sensors to track your swing. This model records 7 data points, including carry and total distance, club speed, backspin, side spin, swing tempo, and club face angle.
The main attraction of the set is the swing stick, which allows you to generate data metrics without striking a golf ball. Therefore, you can practice in your living room, bedroom or office.
However, you can attach the micro simulator to your actual golf clubs, but you must use foam golf balls. The impact of striking urethane or surlyn can cause the device to come loose. Finally, this affordable device allows you to enjoy the features of a golf simulator, such as playing virtual courses and taking on challenges.
- The setup includes a 6-month subscription to E6 Connect
- Light and easy to setup
- Measures 7 data points
- Offers an affordable home golf simulator option
- It does not record any ball data
- You can’t strike actual golf balls when the clip is connected to your golf club
- Windows PC
- iOS device
- Wifi or data
3. Rapsodo Launch Monitor – Most Accurate Launch Monitor Under $500
Awarded 2021 best personal launch monitor by My Golf Spy. Distance accuracy is within 2% of Trackman at just 2% of the price. The real-time video feedback comes with a shot trace and data overlay making it easier than ever to understand cause and effect. Access your stat history to view averages, dispersion, trajectory and standard deviation for each club.
Rapsodo takes a different approach to golf launch monitors by including video functionality to better analyze each swing. Its robust features shot tracer, and five data points make it the most accurate of the best golf launch monitors under $500.
For starters, the Rapsodo is equipped with a camera enabling video recording to record each swing for you to review later. You will also notice that it features shot tracer capabilities to show you where your golf ball lands. This is handy to show your buddies proof of your mega drive when they weren’t around to witness it.
I liked the addition of the GPS shot dispersion map, which gave me a clearer idea of my consistency with each club. This allows me to see what side I was missing to the most, so I can adjust my club path.
Furthermore, the club gapping feature is handy because it allows you to see where the distance gaps exist in your bag. You may find that you need to strengthen the loft of one club while weakening the other to close the gap.
Before we look at data, the final add-on is a shot library where you can review results from past practice sessions. I find this helpful for determining my progress over a period. The accurate device measures distance, ball, and club head-speed, launch angle, launch direction, and smash factor.
- Video capability
- Shot tracer technology
- GPS shot dispersion map
- Improved accuracy
- Measures 6 data points
- It is only compatible with iPhone and iPad devices
- More expensive than most personal launch monitors on this list
- 6 feet of space behind the impact zone
- iPhone or iPad
- Wifi or data
4. PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor – Best Budget Launch Monitor
Uses Doppler Radar and precise algorithms to show your swing speed, ball speed, carry distance, total distance and smash factor for each club. Turn it on, put it down, and hit. No WiFi, no downloads, no apps needed. Captures nearly 100% of shots without "fiddling" with placement.
If you are satisfied with a no-frills device that records the basic points, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars with the PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor. It records a modest four data points and does not link with a mobile application. Although PRGR may be an unfamiliar name, it is a brand of the Yokohama tire company.
The pocket size of this device makes it a breeze to transport from home to the range, and it is simple to set up.
You will notice that the PRGR records 4 simple metrics to give the average golfer some insight into each shot. Clubhead and ball speed, along with smash factor, and carry distance, are the only measurements this entry-level launch monitor records.
- Measures 4 data points
- Easy to set up
- Minimal distractions
- Works for baseball and tennis as well
- It measures fewer data points than most launch monitors under $500
- You cannot review historical data.
- 6 feet behind the impact zone
5. Garmin Approach G80 – Most Versatile Golf Launch Monitor Under $500
Garmin is renowned for its GPS products that give you access to hole yardage on 41,000 golf courses globally. While the G80 includes this feature, Garmin took it one step further and added launch monitor functionality, making it the most versatile model on the market.
The G80 measures clubhead and ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo, and your estimated distance. Plus, I admired their swing tempo training feature that helps you produce a smoother swing for consistently clean strikes.
You will also enjoy the standard GPS and digital scorecard functions. The GPS provides yardage to hazards, landing zones, and the front, middle, and back of the green, while the scoring feature leaves no need to carry a card and pencil around.
Furthermore, I noticed that the engineers employed Plays Like distance to adapt the reading based on the slope angle for greater accuracy.
The final feature worthy of mentioning is the device’s compatibility with the Garmin Golf App. This enables you to post scores and engage with other golfers. In addition, you can store and analyze stats to gain deeper insight into your golf game.
- Measures five data metrics
- GPS yardage on 41,000 golf courses
- Possesses Plays Like Distance
- Offers swing tempo training
- Stores historical data on the app
- It is light on data points
- More expensive than the other options on this list
- 10 to 12 inches of space parallel to the golf ball
- iOS or Android device
- Wifi or data
6. Blast Golf – Best Affordable Launch Monitor For Short Game
Blast Golf does not offer a launch monitor in its truest form. However, for the price, you receive impressive insight into your swing. Although it works for all swings, I found it most effective with short-game swing analysis.
The sensor that tracks your swing links to a mobile application via Bluetooth. The app must remain open while training to review the analysis of your tempo on each shot.
Besides tracking your tempo, you can record each swing and then apply overlay metrics for a clearer understanding. You will notice that you do not need to strike a golf ball to enjoy the benefits of the analysis.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the Blast Golf sensors. However, they only focus on your attack angle and swing tempo to encourage a fluid swing.
- An excellent option for short game analysis
- Super affordable
- Allows you to video capture every swing
- Apply overlay metrics to your video for a clearer picture of your swing
- You do not need to hit a golf ball to receive the analysis
- It only measures attack angle and your swing tempo
- It is not compatible with iPhones older than the 8th generation
- iPhone 8 and older
- Wifi or data
7. Ernest Sports B1 – Best Launch Monitor For Convenience
The ESB1 personal launch monitor bags the prize of the most convenient device under $500, thanks to its voice control feature and clear data display. Ernest Sports ensured the B1 was compatible with their Range app to enhance your practice experience.
For a simple setup, you can look at the launch monitor after each shot to see 6 data points displayed on the screen. Alternatively, you can add the mobile app to the equation and record and save your swing to analyze later. I noticed that the app also offers games and challenges to make practice more enjoyable.
You’ll see that the app allows voice control, where you can command your phone to start recording your swing without touching a thing.
The doppler radar technology enables the device to record 6 factors in your swing, including ball and club speed, smash factor, distance, launch angle, and spin rate.
Despite carrying a higher price tag than many products on the list, the ESB1 is an ideal launch monitor for the average golfer. It is a quality device that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- It measures 6 points in your shot
- Voice control
- Record your shots to analyze after training
- The app gives you access to games and challenges
- Convenient setup
- More expensive than most launch monitors on this list
- The data is moderately inaccurate compared to a premium device.
- 5 feet of space behind the impact zone
- iOS and Android devices
- Wifi or data
8. Swing Caddie SC200 Plus – Best Portable Launch Monitor
The Swing Caddie SC200 Plus is the predecessor to the SC300i that topped our list as the best launch monitor under $500. Besides apex, it offers all the data points of its successor. Plus, you will also find voice distance output and a remote control. The SC200 Plus is a compact device that is easy to transport to the range.
You will see that this launch monitor measures 4 data points, giving you insight into your carry distance, ball and club head speed, and smash factor. While this is limited compared to other devices, it is sufficient for the average golfer looking for simple insight.
Like the SC300, I found the Voice Distance Output feature convenient, as it saved me from walking over to the device and checking the yardage of each shot. Added to the convenience of the SC200 Plus is a remote control that allows you to adjust settings without touching the launch monitor.
- Compact and portable
- More affordable than the SC300i
- Records 4 metrics
- Voice distance output
- The remote control allows you to adjust settings from a distance
- It measures fewer data points than other devices on this list
- It does not sync with an app to store historical data
- 6 to 8 feet of space behind the impact zone
9. Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors – The Best For Data Nerds
Arccos Caddie automatically tracks every shot and provides you with a digital replay of every round + a first-ever rangefinder that adjusts in real-time for wind (including gusts), slope, temperature, humidity and altitude giving you the Arccos Caddie Number.
Technically the Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors are not launch monitors. However, they offer impeccable insight into our performance with each golf club in the bag. In addition to the typical hindsight data, Arccos sensors impress me with their forward thinking.
The sensors measure your distances with each club, then use A.I. to provide club selection suggestions based on past performance. You’ll notice that the sensors pair via Bluetooth with the Arccos app, which is where the magic happens. When you purchase the sensors, you receive a complimentary 12-month subscription.
Another neat feature is the strokes gained analysis, which helps you understand which clubs are weak links. You can take this information and approach your coach to work on these areas to improve your scores.
Finally, the Arccos golf app acts as an A.I.-powered rangefinder giving you distances and club selection tips for your next shot.
- Provides club selection suggestions
- Automatically tracks the distance of each shot
- Allows you to view your strokes gained with each club
- The app features GPS functionality
- Affordable setup
- It is not a rangefinder
- It does not provide data on ball and club speed, apex, and spin rate.
- iOS or Android devices
- Wifi or data
10. Garmin R10 – The Best Launch Monitor For Slightly More Than $500
I am acutely aware that this launch monitor exceeds the $500 threshold, but not by much. I wanted to give you an idea of the quality you can acquire if you extend your budget to the $600 mark. I find that the R10 covers ample metrics to provide a detailed analysis of each shot.
You’ll notice that the device is paired with a phone mount that elevates its position for a clear view of the impact zone. The R10 is equipped to measure ball and club head speed, spin, launch direction and angle, and smash factor, which I found sufficient to provide accurate results.
Furthermore, I liked its versatility, as the Garmin app gave me access to hole data on 42,000 golf courses. Therefore, I received yardage to hazards and the front, middle, and back of the green.
Finally, the R10 also acts as an enabler for a home golf simulator, as it is compatible with E6 Connect software. You will enjoy access to virtual golf courses, challenges, and games if you wish to go the extra mile for the complete simulator.
- Measures 6 metrics
- Provides yardage on 42,000 golf courses
- Portable and lightweight
- Compatible with E6 Connect golf simulator software
- The package includes a phone mount to elevate the device
- Exceeds our $500 threshold
- You only receive a 30-day free membership to the Garmin Golf app
- 6 to 8 feet of space behind the contact zone
- Android or iOS device
- Data or wifi
Is it worth it to buy a launch monitor?
Yes, it is worth buying a launch monitor because it helps you understand your shots and golf swing. Without a launch monitor, it is impossible to monitor swing and ball speed, distance, apex, and spin rate.
Using a launch monitor highlights whether you are improving or regressing during your practice.
How accurate are launch monitors?
Premium golf launch monitors are highly accurate and produce minimal discrepancies, thanks to their robust measurement of club and ball data. However, affordable launch monitors that record fewer data points are less accurate. I find the reduced accuracy is insufficient to impact the average golfer.
When is it worth it to invest more than $500 for a launch monitor?
It is worth investing more than $500 on a launch monitor if you are serious about improving your game and are dedicated to the cause for the long term. An accurate launch monitor with detailed insight will give you a deeper understanding of your swing to slowly tweak and improve your swing.