Best Portable Launch Monitors 2024

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)

There was a time not so long ago when the best golf launch monitors were something that only Tour Pros had regular access to. They were big, bulky and most of all they were extremely expensive. The huge advancements in technology over recent years has changed all of that and now even the casual golfer can easily afford a device that can provide valuable data.

Not only are portable 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. Some devices work with your smartphone, others are actually even smaller than your smartphone and can easily fit in your pocket. 

The best portable launch monitors need to be easy to set up and use - time spent faffing is valuable practice time lost, especially if you are paying by the hour - 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 even less expensive portable launch monitors from reputable companies tend to stack up very well. So 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, check out this handy guide below to the devices that will suit your needs as well as your budget. 

VIDEO: Joel Tadman tests and compares five of the best portable launch monitors under $600 

Why You'd Want To Buy A Launch Monitor

Launch monitors provide invaluable feedback on the shots we hit, enlightening us on the distances but also our strengths and weaknesses. Many average golfers have a completely false impression about how far they hit the ball, or why they keep missing to the right. 

When you have accurate club and ball data such as clubhead speed, carry distance, spin and much more that can be seen instantly on a screen, this is invaluable when it comes to helping 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 miss right or left, and you can then correct your swing to eliminate bad tendencies. You might think you slice the ball with your irons, only for the data to show there isn't too much side spin at all and your problem is something more basic, such s poor alignment for example.

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 portable launch monitor to hone their swings and many amateurs are now making the most of the technology to improve their games. 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 hugely 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 rangefinders or the best golf shot tracking apps and devices if the latest technology is of interest.

The Quick List

Best Portable Launch Monitors

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Tiger Woods' Model

full swing kit launch monitor reviewEditors Choice 2022

(Image credit: Future)
The model used by Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm

Specifications

Weight: N/A
Data: Club, ball, plus 16 data points

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Accurate
+
App experience is one of the best around

Reasons to avoid

-
Currently doesn't have a ball normalization feature

The most ringing endorsement any golf product can have is that it is used by Tiger Woods. If the GOAT is using it then it must be good, because Tiger is the ultimate golf nerd and few people on the planet are more knowledgeable about the game than him. Plus he's absolutely loaded so doesn't need to take endorsement money to plug inferior products.

Tiger's launch monitor of choice is Full Swing’s Kit, which uses Doppler radar to analyze your shots. You might think that something Tiger uses to analyze his game must be incredibly complex and difficult to use, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

The Full Swing Kit is extremely straightforward to use. You start by downloading the free Full Swing app to your phone or tablet and pair it to the launch monitor. Then you place it on the ground 10 feet behind the ball and that's it. You're good to go! There’s no need for stickers on the club face, alignment sticks or leveling calibration - you just set it down, line it up, pair it with your device and you’re good to go. 

Our testing revealed just how accurate and reliable the performance is and we feel that the app experience really sets this package apart. As well as being so efficient and accurate, it's important to also state that this portable launch monitor is a lot of fun to use and will greatly enhance your practice sessions. It’s uncomplicated and functions quickly and effectively. It comes with a carry case, which makes it easily portable, and you can even pair it with your bluetooth earphones to hear the data parameter you want after each shot.

Best set up process

Rapsodo MLM2PRO Launch Monitor Review

(Image credit: Mike Bailey)
One of the easiest models to set up, the MLM2PRO works well as a launch monitor and simulator

Specifications

Weight : N/A
Data: Multiple data points, including smash factor, club speed, launch angle and carry

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to set up
+
Can be used indoors or outdoors
+
Integrated video, including slow motion Impact Vision camera
+
Works well as a simulator

Reasons to avoid

-
Spin and rotation metrics aren't a given
-
Requires a membership after the first year to retain the best features

The Rapsodo MLM2PRO is easy to set up and use, measures most everything you need, shows both 3-D and 2-D views, and comes in at just $699 retail.

It comes with a protective case, which will easily fit inside a golf bag and it includes a cleverly designed tripod, a user manual, and a sleeve of specially-marked Callaway RPT Chrome X golf balls. The golf balls are meant mostly for indoor use in a net since they measure spin metric, but there is a setting on the device for range balls and premium balls which can be used when on the range.

Impact Vision is an extremely useful tool for anyone looking to analyze their own ball striking and make adjustments. That's one of two cameras, which is super easy to set up with its unique tripod that snaps into the place. The other wide angle "Shot-Vision'' camera will video your swing from behind and show the track of your shot, similar to what you see on TV during a tour event. And you can even add a third camera from your mobile device or tablet, giving you three different views.

In testing, we found that it doesn't track the ball all the way to the end but, with a combination of Doppler Radar and the cameras, it does track it for a large portion of its ball flight to come up with the curvature and height of the shot. In the data, you will find carry distance, clubhead speed, ball speed, and launch angle, from which it extrapolates total distance. 

The purchase of a Rapsodo MLM2PRO also includes a year of its Premium Membership, which provides access to 30,000 simulator courses and other special features like "Virtual Driving Range," as well as its unique "Impact Vision" camera, which is a major upgrade over the original Rapsodo Mobile launch monitor. The MLM2PRO also works with android mobile devices, too, now instead of just IOS devices. After the first year, Premium Membership is $199 annually.

Best sleek finish

Voice Caddie Swing Caddie SC4 Portable Launch Monitor on the ground

(Image credit: Future)
Can be used in and outdoors, with the SC4 providing all the basics you need

Specifications

Weight : 589g
Data: Measures carry/total distance, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, apex (max height), launch angle and spin rate

Reasons to buy

+
Audio plus nice visual display
+
Can be used indoors or outdoors
+
Doesn’t have to be paired with a smartphone
+
No subscription required for basic use
+
Has simulator capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-
Spin rates seem high

At $550 retail, the SC4 is certainly one of the value options amongst the best portable launch monitors on the market and, out of the box, it might be the easiest to use. You just simply charge it, turn it on (each full charge gives you 10-plus hours), place it five feet behind the ball, line up with your target line and away you go. 

You don’t even have to pair it with your mobile device (though we would highly recommend it) because it has its own display, as well as audio announcing your distances. You simply swing, listen and look. In addition, there’s an easy-to-use remote control that magnetically attaches to the unit itself and that remote makes it super easy to change modes, clubs, and adjust other settings while you’re hitting balls.

It comes with a charging cable and nice carrying case and, whilst this redesigned unit is a little bulkier and heavier than other models on this list, it easily fitted into our golf bag. This meant we could use it prior to our round or for a practice session.

As for what it measures, the SC4 pretty much has all the necessary metrics. It starts out with distance, which can be toggled between carry and total distance. It provides launch direction, as well as swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, apex, smash factor and spin.

Best ease of use

Flightscope Mevo+ launch monitor review

(Image credit: Future)
Radar-based unit that can be used indoors and out

Specifications

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

This mid-range offering from Flightscope provides golfers with all the data they would ever need (and then some) via a device that is very easy to set up and an app interface that even the least tech-savvy golfer out there should be able to grasp. It isn't the smallest device on this list but it is portable thanks to the included carry case that clips on to your bag and the fact it is very lightweight.

This portable launch monitor works outdoors but it is best suited towards golfers that have an indoor hitting space and screen available, as it also doubles as an impressive simulator that allows you to play some amazing courses from the comfort of your home.

We also liked how it works with the FS Skills app, which provides a multitude of skills challenges to test different areas of the game and provide points based on your performance for you to then try and beat next time. You can even create your own challenges and see how you compare to a PGA Tour player.

Best handheld

PRGR Portable Launch Monitor

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

Specifications

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 is so handy that it will fit neatly in your pocket, providing you with the ultimate in portability as well as all the data metrics needed to help you understand your game, such as 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.

While there is no connectivity to an app or other device to record all your data, the device will log your last 500 shots allowing to go back and record the data manually if you want to note it down. For golfers who have new clubs or have never properly recorded their yardages, the PRGR is a great tool to help accurately gather this sort of information.

Best battery life

Swing Caddie SC300i Launch MonitorEditors Choice 2022

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