Best Portable Launch Monitors

The best portable launch monitors allow you to monitor your distances and swing with ease and perhaps cost less than you might think

best portable launch monitors
(Image credit: Future)

Best Portable Launch Monitors

Not only are launch monitors becoming more affordable, but they’re also getting smaller - which makes them easier to transport to the various different locations golfers like to practice, be it the driving range, an indoor studio or even the golf course. The best portable launch monitors need to be easy to set up and use - time spent faffing is valuable practice time lost - and the models we’ve selected below have proven to be very user friendly.

Accuracy is also a key factor and while more expensive models guarantee this, we’ve found that less expensive launch monitors from reputable companies stack up very well - especially for the avid golfer that just wants basic feedback on the shots they hit, whether it’s to tune up on their yardages or testing one club against another. 

Why You'd Want To Buy A Launch Monitor

Launch monitors provide quantifiable feedback on the shots we hit, enlightening us on the distances but also our strengths and weaknesses. Accurate club and ball data allows numbers like clubhead speed, carry distance, spin and much more to be seen instantly on a screen and help golfers make decisions on clubs or swing changes that may or may not be working.

The numbers can explain why you might have a tendency to slice it or hook it, and you can then correct your swing to eliminate bad tendencies. Launch monitors can also give insight into things like swing path, and because distance numbers are so readily available, they allow you to dial in your bag setup too.

Nearly every touring professional uses a launch monitor to hone their swings and many amateurs are also making the most of the technology now to improve their games too. Launch monitors these days are also very convenient because they can often be folded up nicely, or they are handheld devices so are highly portable.

Some of the premium models that you'll see on tour or in high-tech fitting studios can be expensive, so our rundown of the best portable launch monitors focuses mostly on the more affordable options, although we've covered some of the most portable premium options too. Be sure to take a look at our guides on the best golf simulator, best golf laser rangefinders or the best golf shot tracking apps and devices if the latest technology is of interest.

Best Portable Launch Monitors

Flightscope Mevo+ launch monitor review

(Image credit: Future)

Radar-based unit that can be used indoors and out

Specifications
RRP: $1,999/£1,900
Weight: 465g
Data: Ball data plus clubhead speed and attack angle
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

Flightscope's mid-range 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. It's portable thanks to the included carry case that clips on to your bag and the fact it is very lightweight.

This launch monitor works outdoors, but it's suited more towards golfers that have an indoor hitting space and screen available as it also doubles as an impressive simulator where you can play some amazing courses from the comfort of your home.

PRGR

(Image credit: Dan Parker)

Arguably the slimmest and simplest units to use

Specifications
RRP: $229.99/£219
Weight: 125g
Data: Swing/Ball speed, carry distance, smash
Reasons to buy
+Provides basic info quickly+Very accurate+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Archaic display

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. You can also use it with any SuperSpeed swing training clubs to see if your exercises are increasing the amount of speed you can generate.

Foresight Sports GC3 launch monitor

(Image credit: Foresight Sports)

Foresight Sports GC3

Our Top Photometric Pick

Specifications
RRP: £6,600
Weight: 2.3kg
Data: Club and ball
Reasons to buy
+Tour level accuracy and analytics+Clear, built in display that provides accurate data fast
Reasons to avoid
-A little bit clunky to carry around

More than a decade after the debut of its GC2, Foresight Sports has announced the product’s successor, the GC3. The latest addition to the Game Changer (GC) family will provide more golfers than ever before with the unmatched data accuracy and true-to-life simulation experience guaranteed only with Foresight.

Built on the same advanced photometric technology found in the company’s flagship launch monitor, the GCQuad, the new GC3 features a three-camera system that measures ball and club performance data, both outdoors and indoors, with precision and accuracy. 

One of the things that makes the GC3 so accurate is its Barometric Sensor, which takes into account temperature, humidity and altitude and gives you accurate data based on these real time factors. 

There are lots of similarities with the GCQuad, which is no bad thing, in particular how easy it is to use and the speed at which it does its measurements for around a third of the price. Factor in the indoor and simulator experiences and the GC3 is an appealing prospect for the serious golfer.

skytrak launch monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Best Home Set Up Option

Specifications
RRP: $1,995/£1,995
Weight: 794g
Data: Ball speed, launch, spin, side angle, distance
Reasons to buy
+Instant 3D shot analysis+Portable
Reasons to avoid
-Home set up required a lot of space

SkyTrak offers launch monitors as well as a complete home setup for the golfer with space to dedicate to their game. The launch monitor uses photometric technology and delivers instant and real-time 3D shot analysis and ball-flight data, and the company offers a high-definition simulation package for the ultimate setup.

Additionally you can play lots of different golf courses and it offers various mini-games for engaging practice such as Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Targets. It's a very portable launch monitor that can be used anywhere once paired to a device through its inbuilt Wi-Fi.

Swing Caddie SC300i launch monitor

(Image credit: Swing Caddie)

Swing Caddie SC300i Launch Monitor

Specifications
RRP: $499/£469
Weight: 437g
Data: Swing/Ball speed, launch, apex, smash, carry
Reasons to buy
+Accurate and easy to use+Spin data provided via app+Works indoors and outside
Reasons to avoid
-Unit's graphics look dated

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.

Flightscope Mevo launch monitor

(Image credit: Flightscope)

Flightscope Mevo Launch Monitor

One of the most compact units on the market

Specifications
RRP: $499/£479
Weight: 438g
Data: Ball data including spin and club speed
Reasons to buy
+Lots of data for the price+Simple to use+Impressive partnering app
Reasons to avoid
-No internal camera or WiFi connection

The Flightscope Mevo is the little brother of the Mevo+, providing a more affordable alternative that still offers an impressive selection of data points, including clubhead speed, spin rate and carry distance.

It won't provide simulator functionality, video capture or skills challenges but as a more basic option for golfers that want accurate feedback on shots hit, it's one of the best around given how compact it is and how simple it is to set up and use on the range.

Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor, garmin launch monitor, garmin tripod

Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor

Best Compact Launch Monitor

Specifications
RRP: $599.99/£429.99
Weight: 221g
Data: Wide mix of club and ball data plus distances
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 £529, 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 recognise areas of strength and areas for improvement; automatically record video clips to analyse their swing and utilise the entertaining Home Tee Hero golf simulator to master and enjoy over 42,000 golf course worldwide.

garmin approach g80 gps

(Image credit: Future)

Best GPS and Launch Monitor Combination

Specifications
RRP: $499.99/£449.99
Weight: 119g
Data: Club/ball speed, smash, tempo and estimated carry distance
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'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, but its also an excellent launch monitor too - making this an extremely competitive package.

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.

Overall, the Approach G80 is a really versatile piece of kit. Garmin also makes some of the best golf GPS watches too so check that guide out as well if you are a fan of the brand.

rapsodo-mobile-launch-monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Partners with your phone to provide performance insights

Specifications
RRP: $499.99/£449.99
Weight: 256g
Data: Club/ball speed, launch angle/direction, distance
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

The Rapsodo mobile launch monitor literally turns your smartphone into a launch monitor to give 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 the best budget launch monitor in our list and - compared to some £20,000 models above - the Rapsodo's £549 price represents incredible value for this accurate, easy to use and fun launch monitor.

PRGR

(Image credit: Dan Parker)

Arguably the slimmest and simplest units to use

Specifications
RRP: $229.99/£219
Weight: 125g
Data: Swing/Ball speed, carry distance, smash
Reasons to buy
+Provides basic info quickly+Very accurate+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Archaic display

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. You can also use it with any SuperSpeed swing training clubs to see if your exercises are increasing the amount of speed you can generate.

Ernest Sports ESB1 launch monitor

(Image credit: Ernest Sports)

Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor

An excellent all-rounder for under $500

Specifications
RRP: $499/£499
Weight: 850g
Data: Club/Ball Speed, Distance, Smash Factor, Spin Rate, Launch Angle
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Offers skills challenges+Video playback option and voice control
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky compared to the competition

This smart looking launch monitor pairs with a free app on your phone to access more data points. 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. It also provides user assisted shot trace technology so you can analyse your shot pattern and fine tune your game accordingly. You're also able to add graphics to video playbacks of your swing and view data from previously recorded sessions.

What to look out for 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 premium models at the top of this page are the best in this regard but you can also get more budget-friendly models with good accuracy, like the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor for example.

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 models like the Foresight Sports GCQuad and Trackman are the way to go. They are more expensive but offer incredible detail.

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. Some also have games too.

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.

Price - We have to mention price when discussing launch monitors. There will be some who can afford the top-of-the-range designs but many more won't. However as we have shown above there are still some very good more affordable models too.

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.

If you enjoyed this guide on the best portable launch monitors, check out the Golf Monthly website.

Joel Tadman
Joel Tadman

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.


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