Dogs love to play fetch – sometimes so much so that they want to continue playing long after their pet parent decides the game is over. But it’s no wonder they love it so much: fetch taps into your dog’s instincts and gives them plenty of quality time with you. Lucky for your pup, a dog ball launcher makes it easy to enjoy lots of fetching fun longer.

Ball launchers — both manual and automatic — can make the game of fetch easier for you and allow you to skip slobbery ball pickups. There’s plenty to choose from, with varying prices and features, so we’ve sifted through the options for you and narrowed it down to the best 6 ball launchers for dogs.

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Vetstreet may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Our List

6 Best Ball Launchers for Dogs

Overall Best Dog Ball Launcher

Our pick: ChuckIt! Ball Launcher

dog ball launcher Chuck-It

We chose this manual ball launcher as the number one pick because it lets you play fetch for longer with your dog, there’s no need to train your pup how to use it, and it comes in at a low price. The ChuckIt! Ball Launcher is also available in multiple ball sizes and lengths, which tell you what size dog they work best with and how far you can launch the ball. Longer lengths equal farther launches, so if you have a larger dog, try the 26” mega ball launcher if you really want them to go the distance. 

You’ll still need to use your arm to propel the ball launcher, however it’s gentler on the shoulder than throwing a ball by hand. Plus, you use the end of the device to pick up the ball (as opposed to your hands), so there’s less bending over and no need to keep touching a slobbery ball. It’s also easier to transport and will never run out of power.


  • Available in sizes x-small to x-large
  • Doesn’t require batteries or electricity to operate
  • Allows you to throw the ball farther with less effort
  • Lets you pick up the ball without touching it
  • Fantastic price point


  • Only comes with one ball, which corresponds with the size of the launcher
  • Not all ball sizes fit all launchers
  • While it makes throwing the ball easier, you’ll still need to be able to make a basic throwing motion to use

Best Automatic Ball Launcher for Dogs

Our pick: PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher

PetSafe automatic dog ball launcher

With an automatic dog ball thrower, the device will shoot out the ball itself, and keep going as long as your dog reinserts the ball (or until the automatic sleep timer turns it off). This one combines everything you need to keep your pet happy and healthy. It can launch balls at 6 different angles from 8’ to 30’, all of which is controlled by adjustable knobs. Safety features, like a motion detector that won’t launch balls if humans or pets are within 7’, keep everyone safe. And automatic turn-offs and pauses prevent your pet from overly exhausting themselves.

The device can be loaded with up to 3 tennis balls (or balls similar in diameter) at a time. You will need to train your pet to drop the ball into the loader in order for them to self-play, but the large feeder area makes this easy. This ball launcher runs on either electricity or battery power, allowing you to bring it along to parks or areas where there are no outlets. 


  • Shoots balls from 8’ to 30’ and at multiple customizable angles
  • Motion detector helps prevent accidentally launching the ball directly at a person or pet
  • Automatic shutoff gives your dog time to rest and avoid exhaustion
  • Battery or electric power
  • Can be used inside or out
  • Compatible with tennis balls or smaller-sized balls


  • Higher price point
  • Requires some training for your pet
  • Some customers said it is very loud

Best Tennis Ball Gun for Dogs

Our pick: Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster

Nerf dog tennis ball blaster

With a tennis ball launcher like this one, it won’t just be your dog who’s having fun. This ball gun might remind you of the Nerf guns from your youth, and it works similarly, too. Just load it up with the 4 included tennis balls, then pull the trigger to launch them up to 50’ away, depending on the distance setting you choose. No batteries or electricity required!

This ball launcher gun combines the ease of manual ball launchers with the distance and power of automatic dog ball throwers. There’s no need to train your dog beyond the basics of fetch, so you can get started playing right away. It also allows for hands-free pickup, so you’ll never have to touch the ball, and the price is much more affordable than completely automatic ball launchers.


  • Holds 4 standard-size (2.5”) tennis balls at a time
  • Allows for hands-free pickup
  • Customizable distance settings
  • Affordably priced


  • Some customers said that the included tennis balls didn’t last very long

Best Ball Launcher for Small Dogs

Our pick: PetPrime Dog Automatic Ball Launcher

PetPrime dog ball launcher

Small dogs love fetch, too! But instead of larger balls that might be difficult for them to pick up, this automatic dog ball launcher uses small balls that are under 2” in diameter. The adjustable distance can be set to launch 10’, 20’, or 30’. For added convenience, this ball launcher is battery/electricity powered and can be used inside or outside. 

Some training will be required to teach your dog to drop the ball back into the launcher, but once they get the hang of it, your pup can exercise and play without any need for you to throw. This is ideal for keeping your pup entertained while you’re busy, or for those who can’t pick up and throw the ball themselves. The convenience does come at a cost, though, as this launcher is one of the more expensive options on our list.


  • Compatible with small-sized balls that are ideal for smaller breeds
  • Can be used indoors when set on the shorter 10’ launch distance 
  • Powered by battery or electricity
  • Great option for those who are unable to throw a ball


  • For the maximum launch distance, you must use electric power
  • Only compatible with small, brand-specific balls (also a choking hazard for larger dogs)
  • Higher price point

Best Tennis Ball Launcher for Dogs

Our pick: Franklin Pet Ready Set Fetch Automatic Tennis Ball Launcher

Franklin automatic ball launcher for dogs

Some ball launchers require specialized balls, but with this one, all standard tennis balls will work. As an added bonus, it also includes a “weather ball,” which resists slobber and wet environments, and is easier to clean than most tennis balls.

This battery/electric-powered tennis ball launcher can shoot balls at various angles from 10’ to 40’. And in the right conditions, you can launch the “weather ball” more than 50’. Some training is required to teach your pet how to use the launcher on their own, but the large drop-in ball area makes it easier. 


  • Can be used with any brand of tennis ball
  • Specialized “weather ball” (included) resists dirt and slobber
  • Adjustable distance and angle
  • Safety mode alerts when a ball is going to be launched


  • Dogs will need some training to learn how to use
  • Higher price point
  • Some customers found it to be noisy

Best Remote Controlled Ball Launcher

Our pick: IDOGMATE Dog Ball Launcher

dog ball launch for playing

For more control over your dog’s playtime while using a ball launcher, consider this one from IDOGMATE, which comes with a remote control. The ball launcher is compatible with tennis ball-sized balls, and the distance it shoots depends on factors like the ball itself, whether the batteries are charged, or if it’s using electricity. The remote control (which works from up to 40’ away) allows you to adjust the speed to control the ball’s distance. You can also utilize the remote to pause the game, turn on 15 minutes of rest, select your own ball launch modes, or start “Trainer” mode, which automates the ball launching.

This dog ball launcher is available in 2 sizes — one ideal for small dogs and the other for larger pups (which is the one we’ve highlighted here). Just keep in mind that with the larger size comes a higher price point. 


  • Included remote control allows you to change settings from up to 40’ away
  • 2 sizes to choose from
  • Battery or electric power
  • “Big Pet” launcher uses standard-sized tennis balls (3 included)


  • Higher price point, especially the larger version
  • Dogs will need some training to use this launcher
  • Some customers noted the ball did not launch as far as they thought it would

What is a Dog Ball Launcher?

A dog ball launcher is a device that shoots out balls — usually tennis or rubber — so your pup can chase and then fetch them. Some are “people-powered” manual ball launchers, while others are automatic fetch machines. How you plan to use the ball launcher and how much you want to spend will help dictate which type is right for you.

Manual Ball Launchers

There are two main types of manual ball launchers. The first is a sling. It has a place at the end of a long stick to hold a ball, and the act of swinging back the ball launcher and slinging it forward releases the ball. This makes it easier to throw it farther than you would using just your arm itself. Plus, you never have to touch the ball. 

These are the most affordable types of ball throwers for dogs, and they’re also the easiest to use because no training is necessary if your pup is already familiar with the game of fetch.

Another common semi-manual ball launcher is a tennis ball gun, which is loaded with balls that are then launched out when you pull the trigger. Dog ball guns are great if you are unable to throw a ball or use a sling, but they are a bit more expensive than standard ball launchers. You do have to manually load the device, and most will allow you to insert around three balls at a time.

Automatic Dog Ball Launchers

Automatic ball launchers are electric or battery-powered devices that shoot a ball out to a predetermined distance for your dog to chase after. Then you or your pet drop the ball back into the device before it shoots out again. Once your pet learns how to put the ball back themselves, these require almost no work on the pet parent’s side. On the other hand, these automatic dog ball throwers also tend to be much more expensive than manual ball launchers and guns. 

Benefits of a Ball Launcher for Dogs

Fetch isn’t just a fun game, it’s actually incredibly beneficial to dogs. All that running and excitement gives them something to put energy into while providing a whole lot of exercise. But beyond that, playing fetch taps into your dog’s instincts and gives them a “job” to do – both of which can result in a happier, healthier pup.

Using a ball launcher makes it easier to play fetch with your dog for longer, and it can be a helpful tool for those who cannot throw a ball, or who can’t throw as far as their dog would like to run.

Just remember that playing with your dog is a bonding experience, so you don’t want to completely rely on an automatic fetch machine as a set-it-and-forget-it type of game. Use it sparingly, or stick around and watch your dog play. It’s also important to make sure your dog doesn’t overdo it, so remember to give them breaks and lots of water while they play.

Top Dog Ball Launchers: What Made the List & Why

In addition to my own experience using dog ball launchers and helpful reviews from other pet parents, we considered the following factors when choosing the top options as the best ball launchers of 2024:

Usability. When it comes to playtime tools like this one, we’ve found that ease of use is important. Otherwise, it’ll most likely sit unused in a corner or closet. That’s why we made sure that each of our top picks were easy enough for both you and your pet to get the hang of.

Quality. We know you want options that can stand up for the long haul, so we kept an eye on the quality of each ball launcher, confirming that they were up to our standards – and hopefully yours!

Price point. As you may have guessed, there are a few higher-priced picks on this list, especially when it comes to the automatic versions. We worked hard to find ball launchers that deliver the quality to back up the price.

Dog Ball Launcher Buyer’s Guide

When shopping for a ball thrower for dogs, there are a few different factors you want to consider.

How/where you’ll be playing. Much your decision will most likely depend on why you want a dog ball launcher. If you simply want to be able to throw a ball really far and not have to worry about getting slobber all over your hand when your dog brings it back, a simple sling launcher is an excellent choice. But if you’re unable to throw a ball or use a manual launcher, consider a completely automatic ball launcher. Some automatic ball launchers can be used inside, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to entertain your pet indoors as well.

Training/cost. The convenience of an automatic fetch machine is definitely appealing, but remember that these types of ball launchers will require that you spend time training your dog how to use them. Plus, they’re more costly. Standard sling launchers are typically cheaper and require little to no training.

Safety. For automatic dog ball launchers in particular, safety settings are important, like automatic rest periods or motion sensors that keep the device from hitting humans or pets.

Your dog. Ball launchers, both manual and automatic, come in a variety of sizes that are appropriate for certain dog sizes. When choosing a dog ball launcher, look at the ball size to make sure it’s the right choice for your pet. You also want to keep your dog’s activity level in mind. If they love to run and chase, a launcher that sends the ball farther is a great option, but if they’re not as interested in going the distance, you don’t need to worry about how far the ball needs to go.

Dog Ball Launcher FAQ

Are ball launchers safe for dogs?

Ball launchers are safe for dogs as long as you consider some safety measures. First, an automatic ball thrower can cause injuries if your pet is too close and the ball hits your pet. Some launchers are equipped with motion sensors that delay launch when they sense pets or humans in the way.

Another potential issue is a dog who overexerts themselves. Give your dog a break after 15 mins of play to catch their breath and cool down, especially on warm days. Make sure they have access to plenty of water, too.

Should you use a ball launcher with a puppy?

You can use ball launchers with puppies, but it’s important to keep an eye on them while doing so. Puppies are especially prone to playing past the point of exhaustion, so be sure to monitor them and give them lots of breaks. With puppies, teaching them the basics of fetch with a manual ball launcher might be a better idea than using automatic ball launchers. Plus, this gives you some much-needed bonding time.

How can you make a ball launcher for dogs?

With a little time and ingenuity, it’s possible to make a ball launcher for dogs at home. One of the easiest DIYs is to create a manual launcher or sling. These can look like catapults that use a pulley system to eject the ball. It’s even possible to create an automatic dog ball thrower at home — there are plenty of DIY videos and instructions online.

How do you train a dog to use a ball launcher? 

How you train a dog to use a ball launcher depends on the type you’re using. Dog ball launchers controlled by the pet parent, like manual slingers, just require your dog to know how to fetch and drop the ball. Automatic ball launchers require some training in order for your dog to place the ball back into the device on their own. One way to do so is by using the “drop it” command to instruct your dog to drop the ball into the feeder, and then mark and reward the behavior.