Looking for a new golf launch monitor, but not sure which one is right for you? We’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ve picked out the 4 best golf launch monitors this year, with options for all budgets.
Let’s get started.
Which launch monitor is right for you? An overview
Before digging into the detail, let’s summarize.
In terms of the best overall golf launch monitor this year, there were two choices: TrackMan or Foresight’s GCQuad. And while TrackMan continues to be the industry leader, it’s not widely available to purchase for consumers, and is also coming in around $6K more.
Don’t get us wrong, GCQuad is still going to cost you a huge chunk of change ($11K-$14K), but the widely available finance from online retailers does help to soften the blow. And we felt GCQuad’s stats were close enough to TrackMan’s to pip it to the post.
So GCQuad is the best overall launch monitor, how about the mid-range?
Well, there was only one choice here: SkyTrak. Coming in at just under $2K, the SkyTrak launch monitor is a big jump down in price from Foresight’s GCQuad, but retains impressive accuracy (up to 98% compared to TrackMan). There’s just no competition at this price point, it’s SkyTrak all the way.
At the budget end there’s a lot more choice. But while there are plenty of “cheap” launch monitors available, there’s also a lot of snake oil around. A launch monitor is a considerable bit of tech, so if you’re looking at one under $200, then bear in mind you’ll get what you pay for. And we’re sorry to say, that’s probably going to be a cool looking toy, rather than a proper launch monitor that’s going to give you reliable feedback on the state of your game.
But the good news is, there are two affordable launch monitors that we’ve found do give acceptable stats. They’re never going to be as accurate as SkyTrak (and some way off GCQuad), but for many golfers they’ll do the trick.
There’s not a huge difference in price between them. But for the sake of categorization (we like things neat here at Golfer Logic) we’re going to say that FlightScope’s Mevo is the best launch monitor under $1,000 (in fact, you’ll probably pick it up for around $500), and Voice Caddy’s SC200+ is the best affordable launch monitor this year (expect to pay around $350).
Reviews: this year’s best golf launch monitors
Here’s the full lowdown on our picks for the 4 best golf launch monitors in 2021.
- Foresight GCQuad – best overall launch monitor
- SkyTrak – best mid-range launch monitor under $2,000
- FlightScope Mevo – best launch monitor under $1,000
- Voice Caddy SC200+ – best affordable launch monitor
1. Foresight GCQuad – best overall launch monitor
So as mentioned above, the choice for the best overall launch monitor came down to a straight shoot-out between TrackMan and Foresight’s GCQuad. Let’s expand a bit on why GCQuad came out on top.
There’s no point ignoring it, price was a factor. TrackMan is going to cost you (at least) 25% more than GCQuad. Which poses the question, is TrackMan 25% better? Or rather, 25% more accurate than GCQuad?
The answer is, probably not.
There’s no doubt that TrackMan has the edge on GCQuad when it comes to distance. And that’s because TrackMan uses radar to track the golf ball through full flight — it’s literally measuring an exact yardage. GCQuad on the other hand takes high speed photos of the club and golf ball through impact to calculate launch conditions, allowing it to estimate (to a high degree of accuracy) total yardage. So TrackMan wins the distance war.
But on the flipside, many tests (such as this one from National Club Golfer) have found that GCQuad beats TrackMan when it comes to club data (think path, strike location etc). Why? Because TrackMan can’t actually see the clubface at impact, whereas GCQuad (due to it’s 4 camera setup) can. This battle goes to GCQuad.
So at the moment, we’re looking at a score draw. The question becomes, what are you losing on distance accuracy? And is it a deal breaker?
Well, in National Club Golfer’s testing, GCQuad was within 2 yards of TrackMan on a 6 iron, and within 5 yards (max) with driver. For illustration purposes, let’s go with a driver swing speed of 110mph.
That would give us a 284 yard total with driver, and 180 yards of carry with a 6 iron (see our golf club distance guide here).
And on those figures, 5 yards of difference with the driver is around 1.75% (remember, that was the max difference), and 2 yards of difference with a 6 iron is 1.1%.
Let’s split the difference and say that GCQuad is within 1.5% of TrackMan when it comes to accuracy distance, but beats it on club tracking. Is that extra 1.5% of distance accuracy worth $6K? Unless you’re planning on joining the tour, we say no.
Which is why we picked Foresight’s GCQuad as our top golf launch monitor this year.
Note: we’re not going to list features here. This guide is about the specifics on why we picked each launch monitor. Suffice to say, the Foresight GCQuad tracks everything you’ll ever need to know about your golf swing. But if you really need to read specs, you can read our full GCQuad review.
2. SkyTrak – best launch monitor under $2,000
If you’re in the market for a mid range launch monitor, your choice is simple: you want to buy a SkyTrak.
In fact, SkyTrak kind of sits in its own category. Sure, if you’re nitpicking OptiShot offer a couple of mid-range alternatives, but they’re just not in the same league. In our view, you’ve got the choice between GCQuad/Trackman at the top, a big jump down in price to SkyTrak, then, a further jump to the budget launch monitors.
And at around the $2K mark, SkyTrak is about a tenth of the price of TrackMan and a sixth the price of GCQuad. It’s a huge saving.
So you might expect a big drop off in accuracy. But you would (mainly) be wrong.
SkyTrak claim that their launch monitor is around 98% as accurate as TrackMan. A bold claim, but one that’s backed up by multiple tests. And certainly in terms of overall distance, SkyTrak appears to hit that range consistently.
So where does it lag behind? Well, several tests found that there was a 5% variation in ball speed data. This does seem a little odd, as we would expect ball speed to be a big part of how SkyTrak calculates total distance. But nevertheless, results are results, and while distance is generally within 2% as claimed, ball speed may have a higher degree of variance.
At the end of the day though, SkyTrak is a mid range launch monitor, built with consumers in mind. It’s not designed for truly professional use. And those that need the highest degree of accuracy should bite the bullet, dig round the back of the sofa for change, and fork out for a GCQuad.
But if you can live with data that’s slightly less accurate (which most of us can), then SkyTrak is going to be a great choice. And one that’s going to save you a TON of money.
3. FlightScope Mevo – best launch monitor under $1,000
So now we’re moving into the affordable launch monitor range. And there’s not much in it between our two picks: FlightScope Mevo and Voice Caddy SC200+. But we’re giving a slight edge to the Mevo.
What might surprise you is that the Mevo actually uses Doppler radar technology to track the golf ball through flight (similar to TrackMan). But of course, at less than 5% of the price, that Doppler radar tech is a lot less accurate.
Most tests have concluded that there is around a 10% drop in accuracy when comparing data from Mevo with TrackMan. And while higher end launch monitors will tend to give consistent results, you’re definitely going to see a lot more variation from swing-to-swing.
But like everything in life, you get what you pay for. And while they may be less accurate, the Mevo will give you the key stats you would expect from a launch monitor (carry, club speed, smash factor, launch angle spin etc).
So if you’re not too concerned about accuracy, and just need a launch monitor that will give you an indication on your key stats, then the FlightScope Mevo is a wallet friendly choice.
4. Voice Caddy SC200+ – best affordable launch monitor
Finally, we’ve got another affordable launch monitor: the Voice Caddy SC200+.
This is by no means the cheapest launch monitor on the market. But it’s as low as we would go budget wise, before you’ll start to hit launch monitors that don’t give you anything remotely useable in terms of stats. Below this, you’d be better keeping your cash, filming your swing to get an idea on path and attack angle, and pacing out your yardages.
Like the Mevo, the Voice Caddy SC200+ uses doppler radar tech to track ball flight. And a nice touch is that the SC200+ has built in barometric pressure calculation, which will adjust distances based on weather conditions. It will also speak your distances back to you after each shot if you like that sort of thing…
But at under $400, it is what it is. A cheap launch monitor. It’s certainly useable, and comparable with Mevo in terms of accuracy.
Bottom line: it’s not the greatest launch monitor in the world. But it’s certainly not the worst. And listen, we’re being a little harsh here generally. We’re comparing affordable launch monitors with TrackMan/GCQuad, and for a number of reasons, that’s not really a fair comparison to make.
So if the Voice Caddy SC200+ fits your budget and requirements, then go for it.
Let’s quickly recap.
If you’re not concerned about budget, and are looking for highly accurate data, then GCQuad should be the launch monitor for you.
Those with a budget of $2K, should opt for SkyTrak.
And at the budget end, you’ll want to go for either FlightScope Mevo or Voice Caddy SC200+. There’s not a huge amount of difference between these two launch monitors, but you’ll save a bit of cash by going for the Voice Caddy.
But as we mentioned above, we’re really looking at 3 different classes of launch monitor here. GCQuad is pro, SkyTrak is semi-pro, and Mevo/Voice Caddy are consumer. And it’s not really fair comparing them against each other.
We would say though, that while GCQuad is a big spend (although finance is generally available) if you’re swithering between the affordable launch monitors and SkyTrak, then we’d recommend pushing your budget for the SkyTrak. The additional accuracy and features are certainly worth it.
How we picked the top launch monitors
We wanted to make sure this guide had a launch monitor recommendation for all budgets.
So our first consideration was cost.
And once we had grouped all current launch monitors into budget categories, we considered:
- Accuracy (benchmark vs TrackMan)
- Stats (what stats are included)
- Customer reviews
- Real world testing data
To make our final decision on which launch monitor was best in each category.
And while we may make a small commission if you choose to buy a launch monitor by clicking on one of the links in this guide, we did not allow this to influence our decision. We’re confident in saying that each of the launch monitors we chose is the best in its class.
Launch monitor FAQs
How much is a launch monitor?
A launch monitor can cost anywhere from $400 (budget end) to upwards of $20K for a professional launch monitor such as TrackMan. A semi-pro launch monitor, such as SkyTrak, will cost around $2,000.
What is the best portable launch monitor?
In 2021, the best portable launch monitor is Foresight’s GCQuad, which is comparable with industry leading TrackMan in terms of distance accuracy, and according to several tests, surpasses TrackMan in terms of club data.
Is a launch monitor worth it?
To improve your golf game, it’s important to know your stats. A launch monitor will give you accurate feedback on important metrics, including distance, ball speed, club path, spin, launch angle, and strike location. Knowing these metrics will allow you to make informed decisions on the best approach/plan to improving your swing.
How does a golf launch monitor work?
Some golf launch monitors (such as SkyTrak and GCQuad) use high speed cameras to capture the golf club and ball through the impact zone. Others, such as industry leading TrackMan, use doppler radar technology to track ball flight. Camera setups tend to give more accurate club data, while doppler radar will give more accurate distance measurements.
Do I need a launch monitor for a golf simulator setup?
Yes. A launch monitor is the brains behind a golf simulator. Check out our guide to the best golf simulators in 2021 here.