Best Launch Monitor Under $500 + Buyer’s Guide [2024]

Photo of author
Last Update:

Our website is supported by our readers. We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. For more details see our disclaimers page.

The best launch monitor under $500 list did not exist when I started covering golf products almost 10 years ago. The technology to manufacture the devices is more affordable, and the variety on offer is greater.

In this post, I reveal the top affordable launch monitors for golfers on a budget to consider. I will also discuss alternative technologies to launch monitors, which give you insight into every shot. Before I close out, I will provide a few tips for golfers to consider when shopping for a golf launch monitor.

Overall Best Launch Monitor Under $500

Flightscope Mevo

$349.00 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

Best Launch Monitor

FlightScope Mevo

The Flightscope Mevo is my best overall launch monitor under $500 for its portability, data analysis, accuracy, and usability. It does not display the metrics on the device, so I needed to download the Flightscope app, which was annoying. However, the app was easy to navigate, and my data metrics were clearly displayed.

I liked the petite design of the Mevo, making it easy to transport from my home to the range, and it functions indoors and outside. The Doppler radar technology demands it sit a minimum of 8’ behind the impact zone. If you intend on using it indoors, leave at least 8’ between the hitting mat and net for the device to register the ball flight.

Specs

  • Technology: 3D Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 8
  • Space Required: 8’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

The Flightscope Mevo measures 8 data parameters, more than most best golf launch monitors under $500 manage. I was satisfied with its accuracy for an affordable launch monitor but recognize it’s a little off the Trackman or Foresight Sports products.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Affordable, best launch monitor under 500
  • Measures 8 data parameters
  • Compatible with iOS and Android 
  • Access to skills challenges on the FS Golf App

CONS

  • Metrics not displayed on the screen
  • Not compatible with golf simulator software

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Affordable Launch Monitors

Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor

Price not available Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

💵 Best Budget

Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor,  best launch monitor under $500

The Swing Caddie SC200 Plus is the best affordable launch monitor under $500 for its portability, data parameters, and voice distance output. A single unit set me back less than $300. It got me a device with 3 modes and barometric pressure calibration.

In my experience, the SC200 Plus is super easy to use for less technically gifted individuals. Data parameters are displayed on the screen, and the voice output system calls your distance measurements out after every shot. I welcomed the presence of 6 data metrics but felt the accuracy of the device was off compared to premium units.

Golf Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 6
  • Space Required: 8’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

The Doppler radar-powered SC200 Plus is a delightful start-up launch monitor for high and mid handicap seniors. It is easy to navigate and understand, but the data metrics are inaccurate which is not a train smash for the average player.

PROS

  • Entry-level price tag
  • Measures 6 data points
  • Voice output
  • Features 3 modes 
  • Displays the data on the monitor screen

CONS

  • Does not register data on short shots
  • Inaccurate measurements

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Easy to Use Golf Launch Monitor

PRGR Black Pocket Launch Monitor HS-130A

$203.05 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

Easy Launch Monitor

PRGR Black Pocket Launch Monitor HS-130A, best launch monitor under 500

Large font and an entry-level, easy-to-use launch monitor best describe the PRGR. The no-frills launch captures 5 data metrics and even measures clubhead speed without needing to strike a golf ball. The launch monitor also eradicates the need to connect to a mobile device to view your data, like with the Flightscope Mevo.

A Doppler radar powers the PRGR launch monitor, requiring it to be set up 4.5’ behind the impact zone. Admittedly, the accuracy of the measurements was questionable, but it was to be expected given the limited parameters it measures.

Portability is another prime asset for the beginner launch monitor, with the device weighing less than a smartphone. Its compact frame fits into my pocket and is easy to carry between the course, range, and home.

Golf Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 5
  • Space Required: 4.5’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: N/A
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

PROS

  • User-friendly launch monitor functionality
  • Large font is ideal for seniors with visual impairments
  • Entry-level price tag
  • Pocket-sized 
  • Measures clubhead speed without striking a ball

CONS

  • Records limited data parameters
  • Inaccurate measurements

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Outdoor Launch Monitor for All Varied Weather Conditions

🌧 All Weather

Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor

The Ernest Sports ESB1 offers a simulator experience outdoors thanks to the Ernest Sports Range App. I enjoyed tackling the games and skills challenges and I appreciated the shot tracing and swing record features to play back my practice sessions. 

The Ernest Sports ESB1 is a robust device for under $500, but accessing the bonus features requires an air of tech savviness. I found the Range App performed best on a tablet or iPad compared to the phone, as the data was easier to see, and the app was simpler to navigate.

Golf Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: 3D Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 6
  • Space Required: 4’ – 6’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

However, if you’re simply interested in the data, it displays it on the LCD monitor without you having to connect to any mobile applications. I felt the data measurements were accurate for an affordable device, with 6 metrics factored in, from ball and club speed to distance and smash factor.

🏌️‍♂️ Read More: 7 Top Rated Outdoor Golf Simulators

PROS

  • Thrives outdoors
  • Provides access to the Ernest Sports Range App
  • Displays measurements on the device
  • Covers 6 data parameters
  • Lightweight device

CONS

  • Not compatible with golf simulator software like e6 Connect
  • The app can take some time to get used to

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Portable Launch Monitors

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

$271.69 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-29

Best Portability

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor, best launch monitors golf

The Rapsodo mobile launch monitor is the best portable launch monitor for its compact design, minimalist hardware, and affordable price tag. I found the Rapsodo a breeze to transport to the range, as the MLM is compact, and I always have my phone on me to power the mobile app.

Rapsodo fitted the MLM with a cell phone stand to hold your smartphone. The Rapsodo mobile application displays data metrics, traces the flight of your ball, and maps your shot dispersion on a chart. A significant downside is that the application only functions on Apple devices.

It measures basic metrics like distance, ball speed, and launch angle, but it is the added extras that win me over.  The only downside is that detailed insight and slow-motion video recording are only available to MLM Premium members.

Golf Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 3
  • Space Required: 6’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS 
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

I feel the model suits mid and high-handicappers who want insight into shots and a way to simultaneously review video footage of each swing.

PROS

  • Easily portable golf launch monitor
  • Entry-level price tag
  • Shot tracer technology
  • Video recording capability
  • Features a shot dispersion map

CONS

  • MLM App only works on iOS devices
  • Premium features cost $74.99 per year

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Launch Monitor with Voice Output

Swing Caddie SC300 Launch Monitor

$414.99 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

📣 Voice Output

swing caddie sc300i

Golfers with visual impairments may appreciate the assistance of its voice output function, which calls your distances after every shot. The SC300i is a step up from the SC200 Plus, with launch angle and apex parameters added to the fray.

The Doppler radar technology measures shots between 10 and 370 yards, but I noticed the accuracy was skewed on short strikes. The SC300i measures 8 parameters, and it proved inaccurate compared to premium monitors. However, I find it suitable for a mid or high handicap senior.

Golf Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: 3D Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 8
  • Space Required: 8’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

Another feature I appreciate is the display of measurements on the device screen, which simplifies the usability of the monitor. Swing Caddie enhanced my experience with their mobile app, which gave me access to video recording features and detailed shot analysis.

⛳️ Read More:Comprehensive Guide To Adaptive Golf

PROS

  • Voice output 
  • Displays metrics on the screen
  • Measures more parameters than the SC200 Plus
  • Video recording functionality on the mobile app
  • In-depth historical analysis

CONS

  • Not the most accurate launch monitor
  • Not compatible with golf simulator software

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Launch Monitor Under $1000

Garmin Approach R10 Portable Launch Monitor

$534.00 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

🤑 Splurge-Worthy

Garmin Approach R10 Portable Launch Monitor

I am aware that the R10 is not under $500, but I thought it is worth highlighting what a slightly higher budget gets you. The Garmin Approach R10 is the best launch monitor under $1000 for its versatility, data analysis, battery life, and golf simulator compatibility.

I noticed that it almost went 10 hours without a charge, in line with Garmin’s claim. The data analysis was relatively accurate for a lower-priced device, measuring 11 data points. You need the Garmin Golf mobile application to access your statistics using the free plan.

Launch Monitor Specs

  • Technology: Doppler Radar
  • Data Parameters: 11
  • Space Required: 8’ (device to ball)
  • Device Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Golf Simulator Software Compatibility: No

Where it gets interesting is the Membership Monthly Plan. It costs $9.99 per month and gives you access to 42,000 virtual courses, including your home links. I found the application simple to navigate, which will suit golfers with basic tech skills, like this writer.

PROS

  • Measures 11 data parameters
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Access to 42,000 virtual golf courses
  • Tracks multiple metrics, including club head speed, ball speed, spin, etc.
  • Shot dispersion chart
  • Video recording capabilities

CONS

  • Monthly fee to access virtual golf courses
  • The measurements were inaccurate on slower swings

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Alternative Options To Golf Launch Monitors

Few products will replace the detailed shot analysis provided by a launch monitor. However, club swing sensors are an affordable alternative that offers strokes gained analysis and distance insight. I have listed my two top sensors to consider as an alternative.

Arccos Smart Sensors

$159.99 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

🏆 Best Overall

Arccos Smart Sensors, best launch monitor under 500

Arccos arms you with 14 sensors to attach to the hole at the top of your grip. The metal woods, irons, and wedges measure the distance of each shot and identify how many yards are remaining to the flagstick. 

I found the Strokes Gained Analysis insightful, as it determined the strong and weak areas of my game. I was not surprised to see my approach shots letting me down. The Arccos Caddie App further impressed with its Smart Club Distances feature, which displayed an average of distances with each club in the bag.

Arccos were not done yet, as they also implemented a Caddie Advice feature offering club selection for your next shot. The biggest downside of Arccos sensors is the hefty annual fee to access the application features. When you combine the yearly fee with the cost of the sensors, the start-up price is higher than the Swing Caddie SC200 Plus

PROS

  • Measures strokes gained analysis
  • Includes 14 sensors
  • Auto shot tracking for distance averages
  • A.I. powered rangefinder
  • Provides club recommendations

CONS

  • Pricey annual subscription fee
  • Does not measure distance, ball, or swing speed

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Best Short Game Analyzer

Blast Golf Swing and Stroke Analyzer

$167.32 Amazon Prime

Updated on 2024-05-28

Short Game Tool

Blast Golf Swing and Stroke Analyzer

Blast Golf Analyzers analyze your tempo on all golf shots, but it delivered the most value to my short game. Measuring my backswing, transition, and downswing helped me develop a smoother putting stroke and wedge swing.

Blast Golf preloaded a selection of training content onto the application to guide me through the process, which was handy. However, I needed an Apple iPhone or iPad to run the application, which is annoying for Android users.

Despite the operating software limitations, I also enjoyed the video recording feature. It allowed me to capture each swing and analyze it to better understand my common swing mechanic flaws.

PROS

  • Improves short-game transition
  • Measures swing tempo
  • Video recording feature
  • Training tips
  • More affordable than other sensors

CONS

  • Only operates on iOS
  • It does not measure distance, speed, or launch angle

We may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Tips to Finding Your Best Launch Monitor Under 500

golf course in Florida, showing the green

Usability

Usability is a core factor for amateur golfers when searching for launch monitors. Although many senior golfers have the tech savviness of a millennial, others may struggle. If technology is not your strong point, that is fine. I suggest sticking to a no-frills option like the PRGR.

The PRGR displays your data metrics on the device, and there is no need to download any mobile applications. However, if you are unphased by technology, you will enjoy a more interactive experience when using your launch monitor.

Take the Garmin Approach R10 as an example. The mobile application gives you access to an abundance of insight and 42,000 virtual golf courses. Those are the features you miss out on when using a minimalist launch monitor.

Data Metrics

Launch monitors under $500 measure limited data points, leading to inaccurate results compared to premium launch monitors. Mid and high-handicappers can handle devices of this nature, as you typically only seek your speed, launch, smash factor, and distance measurements.

The Flightscope Mevo delivers the most for the least regarding metrics, measuring 8 parameters. If you are after more accurate measurements, you might consider increasing your budget to acquire the Garmin Approach R10, which covers 11 parameters.

Accuracy

Naturally, the aim of a golf launch monitor is to deliver accurate measurements. However, you have to manage your expectations with devices below $500. These models record fewer data parameters and are less likely to factor in sufficient details for an accurate estimation or calculation.

If accuracy is essential to your needs, consider raising your budget to a higher-end device. Our review of the best launch monitors under $10,000 features a healthy offering of precision items built for an accurate read.

Simulator Software Compatibility

If you are considering a launch monitor that displays insight on a mobile application, check what operating system the app runs on. Android and iOS are the dominant operating systems. Apple products are powered by iOS, and most other phones run on Android.

Ensure that your golf launch monitor pairs with your existing phone. For example, I recommend avoiding the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor, which only works on an iPad and iPhone if you have an Android-powered Samsung smartphone.

Final Thoughts

Our best launch monitor for under $500 list shows a diverse offering of devices suited to the wallets of most golfers. Obviously, one does need to sacrifice features and performance at this price point. However, I found nothing wrong with it for the average golfer.

Sure, these launch monitors are not as accurate as a Trackman or Foresight Sports model, but they are 20 times cheaper. In my experience, distance, speed, spin, and smash factor are sufficient parameters for the average golfer.

If I had to settle on one device for the best overall pick, I would take the Flightscope Mevo. I appreciated the additional data parameters measured and the access I received to the FS Skills App. Although inaccurate, I thought the measurements were satisfactory for an entry-level launch monitor.

Related Golf Articles to Read Next

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Matt Callcott-Stevens has lived and breathed golf since he was four. As a junior, he played competitively, until he discovered his talents were better suited to writing about the game. Matt holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing through the Johan Cruyff Institute in Barcelona and has provided golf game improvement tips to seniors and the average golfer for seven years.

LinkedIn

Leave a Comment