Best Cheap Golf Launch Monitors 2022

We collate some of our favorite launch monitors that are ideal for the more budget-conscious golfer.

Best Cheap Golf Launch Monitors
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Best Cheap Golf Launch Monitors

Golf has become enveloped in technology of late. When you see the top professionals going about their practice you will regularly see launch monitors and bits of golf tech around them to give them as much information as possible. This has filtered down to amateur golfers like us as well. 

However, as much as we want to be able to get Trackman or Foresight Sports GCQuad (opens in new tab) devices, they cost thousands. But do not fret because we have found from our testing that there are actually a number of launch monitors out there that can help you learn and practice, without breaking the bank. Of course when we say that, the cost of many of the models below is still in the hundreds of dollars so it is all relative. The monitors we selected are cheap when compared to the premium designs on the market, not if you compare them to bags, balls (opens in new tab) or shoes (opens in new tab)!

Before we get to the list, the final question we want to answer is why would you want a launch monitor? Well they give us an outstanding amount of data, which can therefore inform us on our strengths and weaknesses. Accurate club and ball data allows numbers like clubhead speed, carry distance, spin and much more to be seen instantly for incredible feedback. Then as soon as we know these things, we can go about getting lessons to fix them. 

So let's get to our favorite cheap launch monitors, and for those of you after a less expensive laser, we also have a guide on the best budget rangefinders (opens in new tab) as well. 

Best Cheap Golf Launch Monitors

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)
Our favorite budget monitor

Specifications

Data: Club/ball speed, launch angle/direction, distance
Weight: 256g

Reasons to buy

+
Turns yours smartphone into a launch monitor with accurate, quick data feedback
+
Very easy to set up

Reasons to avoid

-
Currently not available on Android devices

First up in this cheap launch monitor guide is the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor, which literally turns your smartphone into a launch monitor. It gives you a wide range of numbers like carry distance, ball speed, club speed, smash factor, launch angle, and launch direction. It also films your swing and stores up to 100 videos for free (you can get more storage with a subscription) and offers video playback with shot tracer.

It works in conjunction with the free Rapsodo app on your iOS smartphone indoors or outdoors. After setting up an account and logging in, rest your phone in the front slot and position it approximately six feet behind the ball.

The lines on the screen and the GPS overhead view help you align it correctly and select your hitting direction for enhanced accuracy. We should also mention the portability because its small size and lightness means it can easily go in your bag all the time. 

We've named this our favorite budget launch monitor in our list and - compared to some ultra-premium models in our best launch monitors (opens in new tab) guide - the Rapsodo's $500 price represents incredible value for this accurate, easy to use and fun launch monitor.

The SC300i has a large display and speaker.Editors Choice 2022

(Image credit: Mike Bailey)
A compact, versatile radar-based option that can be used indoor and out

Specifications

Data: Swing/Ball speed, launch, apex, smash, carry
Weight: 437g

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate, especially outdoors
+
Large display
+
Fairly easy to set up
+
Video feature with stats overlay on app

Reasons to avoid

-
A little larger and heavier than the competition, so not quite as convenient to put in a golf bag

This ultra-portable, doppler radar launch monitor is a new model that improves on what we saw with the SC300 by using atmospheric pressure sensors to provide more accurate data. It connects directly to the free MySwingCaddie V2 app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth so users can track their performance in real-time. There's a voice output option of distance and a remote control that enhances the user convenience. It even includes video playback and analysis as well as increased battery life of up to 20 hours.

PRGR

(Image credit: Dan Parker)
Arguably the slimmest and simplest units to use

Specifications

Data: Swing/Ball speed, carry distance, smash
Weight: 125g

Reasons to buy

+
Accuracy impressive for price point
+
Perfect amount of data on offer
+
Portable and long lasting battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Display is super-simplistic

Perhaps the cheapest model on this list comes from PRGR. This doppler radar option will fit neatly in your pocket for the ultimate in portability while providing all the data metrics to help you understand your game, like speed, distance and smash factor. The graphics and buttons are fairly basic but you get all the information you need on a screen that is easy to read. 

The latest version has a higher-quality dual radar sensor, an improved processor and algorithm to increase accuracy, a larger, high-resolution display and improved wedge measurement (especially on higher-lofted shots) to capture more shots, as well as the ability to switch between yards and meters. Whilst many of the models in this guide come around the $500 mark, this model can be found for around half that so it is definitely a model to consider.

Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor, swingcaddie launch monitor, portable launch monitor

Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor

Great value option

Specifications

Data: Carry Distance, Swing Speed, Ball Speed, Smash Factor
Weight: 227g

Reasons to buy

+
Even more portable than its SC300 sister product
+
Doesn’t overwhelm you with too much data

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited functionality

Another model from Swing Caddie to make it in is the SC200. It comes in at around $150 cheaper than the SC300 but it will still measure data like carry yardage, swing speed and ball speed. It's also significantly smaller than the larger SC300. It is said to be within 1-3% in terms of accuracy versus the premium launch monitors. Like the SC300, just place the device 11-12ft behind the ball and away you go. A great, cheaper alternative to the sister SC300 product.

Garmin Approach G80 GPS, golf gps device, garmin launch monitor

(Image credit: Future)
Best GPS and launch monitor combination

Specifications

Data: Club/ball speed, smash, tempo and estimated carry distance
Weight: 119g

Reasons to buy

+
An excellent GPS in its own right with accurate distances and full hole maps
+
A solid launch monitor built in and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Launch monitor information isn’t as detailed as some

Garmin (opens in new tab)'s G80 is one of the best GPS devices on the market, offering up plenty of helpful features in a slim device with a 3.5″, sunlight-readable, colour, touchscreen display. This device works fantastically in its own right as one of the best golf GPS (opens in new tab), but its also an excellent launch monitor too - making this an extremely competitive package. It comes in at around the $500 mark as well which, given the range in functionality here, means you can get more for your money.

The GPS is clear and crisp, giving you yardages to the front, middle and back of greens as well as carry distances over hazards thanks to the 2D full hole display. Amazingly, this little device also has a slope function which gives you accurate yardages for shots up or downhill.

The launch monitor - that uses a built in Doppler radar - tracks clubhead speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo and estimated distance. A really versatile piece of kit. Garmin also makes some of the best golf watches (opens in new tab) too so check that guide out as well if you are a fan of the brand, or if you want to go down a different route, see our guide on the best laser rangefinders (opens in new tab) as well.

Flightscope Mevo launch monitor

(Image credit: Flightscope)

Flightscope Mevo Launch Monitor

Radar-based unit that can be used indoors and out

Specifications

Data: Ball data plus 7 other parameters
Weight: 227g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Easy and intuitive to set up
+
Wide range of features and data points

Reasons to avoid

-
No putting analysis

When we tested the Flightscope Mevo+ we enjoyed the performance on offer but the more appropriate option for this guide is the Mevo, which costs around $500 - around one quarter the price of the Mevo+. Despite this, it still offers a comprehensive user experience for golfers that want access to data that quantifies their performance.

Flightscope's lighter offering provides golfers with all the data they would ever need (and then some more) via a device that is easy to set up and an app interface that even the least tech-savvy golfer out there should be able to grasp. The difference compared to the Mevo+ is that it doesn't have such a wide range of data parameters, such as face to path, club path and dynamic loft. So if you want extra detail, especially around what the club is doing, the Mevo+ might be a better option. The Mevo is easily portable thanks to the included carry case that clips on to your bag and the fact it is very lightweight.

You're also able to automatically record, clip, and store video of every swing without interruption for easy review and test your skills with friends in fun-to-play challenges for any skill level.

Ernest Sports ESB1 launch monitor

(Image credit: Ernest Sports)

Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor

An excellent all-rounder for under $500

Specifications

Data: Club/Ball Speed, Distance, Smash Factor, Spin Rate, Launch Angle
Weight: 850g

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Offers skills challenges
+
Video playback option and voice control

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky compared to the competition

Our final pick is from Ernest Sports and the ESB1 Launch Monitor. It gives six data points in all (Ball Speed, Club Speed, Distance, Smash Factor, Spin Rate and Launch Angle) while also offering voice control capabilities for club selection, a video swing record feature and interactive games to make your practice more effective. To get these data points you can pair the monitor with an app on your phone which is very easy to navigate. 

It also provides user assisted shot trace technology so you can analyze your shot pattern and fine tune your game accordingly. Similar to several other models above, it usually costs around $500. 

Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor Review

(Image credit: Future)
Best Compact Launch Monitor

Specifications

Data: Wide mix of club and ball data plus distances
Weight: 221g

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful device in a compact package
+
Can play 42,000 courses worldwide when linked with Garmin Golf App

Reasons to avoid

-
Compatible smartphone required to use

The Garmin Approach R10 is one of the most compact launch monitors out there and, with a retail price of $599, packs a formidable punch at a low price. It gathers an enormous amount of real time data which is then displayed on the accompanying Garmin Golf App. Metrics such as club speed, ball speed, smash factor, ball spin, club path and club face angle provide a clear picture of how you strike the ball and are great data points to help you improve your swing or get an idea of how far you hit each club in the bag.

When paired with the Garmin Golf app, players can also use Driving Range Mode to help recognize areas of strength and areas for improvement; automatically record video clips to analyze their swing and utilize the entertaining Home Tee Hero golf simulator to master and enjoy over 42,000 golf course worldwide.

How we test golf technology

We test all golf technology as comprehensively as possible (opens in new tab) to gauge performance over time and whether it can actually help your golf game. As you would expect, this involves using different models regularly, and in different situations to see how the technology performs. A good example is using a monitor inside/outside, or in different types of weather. 

As the entire team are regular golfers, golf technology usually gets a thorough test and often get compared to one another side by side to test for things like accuracy, waterproofing, durability and other features. That way we can give honest and insightful feedback to you, the reader. The final thing we wanted to mention in this section is no manufacturer can buy a good review. Our testing team reviews golf equipment and makes its own opinion on how good or bad the product is.

What to consider when buying a launch monitor

When discussing the best golf launch monitors there are a number of factors to consider. Let's take a look at them.

Accuracy - This is the most important factor to consider because if a launch monitor isn't accurate then it is useless. Obviously the top of the range models from Trackman and Foresight Sports are the best in this regard but as we have shown above, from our testing we have found more budget-friendly monitors which are accurate as well, such as the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor.

Metrics - Most devices these days give insight into metrics like ball speed, club head speed and carry distance however if you are looking for more specific club head data, and metrics like dispersion, then the cheaper models are more limited here. That being said we think several models above give more than enough data points for most people. 

Features -  Linking with the above point, there are models with more features compared to others. Of course for most of the models we tested, measuring the golf ball's flight was the main purpose but some units offered the opportunity for simulator play, GPS functionality, or the ability to record your swing. Be aware of some of these features and what you would like your monitor to do and then choose accordingly.

Camera/Radar - There are usually two main technologies in launch monitors these days.

Camera-based monitors use high-definition cameras to capture data at, and following, impact. Because of this they tend to be better for indoor use as some models may struggle in changing light conditions.

Radar designs use Doppler radar to follow the flight of the golf ball. These waves bounce off the golf ball to track the flight and this therefore makes them better for outdoor use. That being said there are models which have the best of both worlds, like the TrackMan 4.

Ease of use - This is a big factor because when we have the time to practice, we don't want to waste any of it trying to work out technological issues. This makes the smaller devices like the Swing Caddie SC300 and Rapsodo particularly appealing.

Indoor/Outdoor Use - Are you going to be using the monitor inside or outside? If you look to focus on the former then investing in a proper setup may be the way to go whilst if you want to use a monitor outside then something convenient and portable is a better call.

Portability - Speaking of which portability is an important factor in itself. You don't want to have to be lugging something heavy around or something that takes too long to fold away. Therefore take a look at the weight and product dimensions of certain models, and whether they come with a carry case as well because this is very convenient. 

Price - We have to mention price when discussing launch monitors because that is a key factor in the making of this guide. For those of you who want, and can afford the top models, our best launch monitors guide has top of the range models for you, however this guide has lots of monitors that do an excellent job without breaking the bank. 

Understanding - Not only does the launch monitor have to be clear in displaying data, but you the player needs to have some understanding of what those numbers mean. Therefore we would recommend doing your research on data points first. 

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.


During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. 


One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.


Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58° 

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x

With contributions from