This guide will tell you about TOP-6 best fetch machines — ball launchers and peculiarities of their application. While all the models can be used not only indoors but also outdoors, some of them recommended just for small dogs while others are designed specifically for moderate to large one. Some machines are sophisticated enough and have several settings while others are simple but quite entertaining toys for dogs. Now, let’s consider them more closely.

Nothing gives us more joy than playing with our best canine friend. Of course, there are times when our perky pups need to burn off more energy than we can spare. Fortunately, there are automated products that allow dogs hours of fun on their own and leave us free for household chores or relaxing.

Dog Fetch machines — also known as automatic ball launchers — are an excellent way for your dog to get as much exercise as they need without taking away your afternoon. The machine will launch the tennis balls for the dog to chase, allowing for endless entertainment for your favorite pet.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

How Do Fetch Machines for Dogs Work?

Dog Fetch machines can be powered by a hand-crank, a burst of air, or electricity used to launch a tennis ball a certain distance. It works by either preloading the machine with a set number of tennis balls to be launched, or by dropping one ball in at a time which also allows your dog to place the ball in the machine on their own.

Next the machine will launch the ball across the room or yard depending on where you choose to operate your ball thrower. Your dog will run off to fetch the ball and either return the ball or wait for the next tennis ball to be launched. Many dogs eventually learn how to use the launcher themselves and are able to retrieve the tennis ball and place it back into the machine for another round of fetch!

What to Look for When Buying a Product?

Fetching machines offer a variety of options between brands and models. Some machines are meant for smaller dogs, some work specifically indoors while others work better outdoors, and some are automated while others require you to press a button to launch the ball. There is also price differences to consider. Assess your personal needs for a ball launching machine before deciding what make and model will work best for you.

Top 6 Fetch Machines for Dogs

Take a look at a review of TOP-6 products within the price range from $20 to $200 to choose the best item for you. All these models can be used both indoors and outdoors, however, they are designed for dogs of different sizes — some are better for small dogs while others are intended for medium to large ones. There are both devices powered by electricity and automated games and toys.

Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs | iFecth Too

Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs iFecth Too: photo

This is a portable indoor/outdoor fetch machine with three distance settings to switch between short indoor throws and longer launches outside. The machine is rechargeable and comes with three regular-sized tennis balls which can be launched one at a time.

This machine uses regulation sized tennis balls making it easy to buy extra or replacement balls. Its sleek design and packaging provide everything you need to get started using the fetcher immediately and easily. This machine would make a good fit for a family with medium to large sized dogs.

iFetch Too: Check the current price

Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs with Mini Tennis Balls | iFetch

Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs with Mini Tennis Balls: photo

Like the iFetch Too, the original iFetch ball launcher works similarly but with smaller tennis balls and is intended to work best for smaller dogs. There is still three distance options and the machine works indoors as well as outdoors. Unlike the iFetch Too, this product does not have a charging port with rechargeable batteries.

This model works with 6 C-batteries or a power cord. The manufacturer recommends not getting the tennis balls too wet or muddy as this may affect the performance of the machine. This machine has the same clean white-and-blue design as the iFetch Too and would work well indoors with smaller dogs.

Original iFetch: Check the current price

Automated Puzzle Game for Dogs | iFetch Frenzy

Automated Puzzle Game for Dogs: photo

This product is an automated puzzle game that drops a smaller tennis ball out of one of three holes for your dog to guess where it will drop. This machine has the same glossy white finish as most of the iFetch products and will provide hours of mental stimulation and exercise for your pet. The iFetch Frenzy works best with smaller dogs though it can also be used with larger dogs and cats as well.

iFetch Frenzy: Check the current price

Small Dog Ball Launcher | IDOGMATE

Small Dog Ball Launcher IDOGMATE: photo

The iDogmate is a square shaped launcher that uses smaller tennis balls and a wireless remote control to control the machine. It runs on either a power cord or rechargeable Lithium ion batteries.

Like the original iFetch it is meant for smaller dogs and puppies and the manufacturer boasts that it even works with wet or slobbery balls without ruining the machine mechanism. Overall this design is similar to the original iFetch machine with the advantage that the iDogmate can hold multiple tennis balls at a time.

iDogmate: Check the current price

Budget Tennis Ball Stomper | Nerf Dog

Budget Tennis Ball Stomper: photo

This ball launcher requires more human interaction than the rest. This Tennis Ball Stomper is used by placing the tennis ball in the launcher and stomping on the rubber pad with your foot. The ball launches farther the faster you stomp which makes this the only ball launcher on the list that does not require electricity. While this launcher requires more interaction, it is also the least expensive on the list, which makes it a good choice for those concerned with cost.

Nerf Dog: Check the current price

Digging Toy | iFetch iDig

Digging Toy from iFetch iDig: photo

The iDig toy would be a good choice if your pup is into digging holes. This circular pad has plenty of hidden pockets and mesh areas to hide treats in. You simply hide the treats, place the mat and let your dog dig around for the treats. This toy does not require electricity and may be used indoors or outdoors to give your dog both exercise and mental stimulation.

iDig by iFetch: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Fetch Machine Effectiveness

Product Features

iFetch Too

Pros:
  • Can be used with a power cord or rechargeable battery.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 
  • Good for medium to large dogs. 
Cons:
  • May require regular cleaning and maintenance.
Effectiveness: 10

Original iFetch

Pros:
  • Can be used with a power cord or with C-cell batteries.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 
  • Good for small dogs. 

Cons:

  • No rechargeable battery.
  • May require regular cleaning and maintenance.

Effectiveness: 9

iFetch Frenzy

Pros:
  • Does not require electricity.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 
  • Good for small dogs and cats. 

Cons:

  • No motor so the balls roll out fairly slowly.
  • May not work in the grass.

Effectiveness: 8

iDogmate

Small Dog Ball Launcher IDOGMATE min: photo

Pros:
  • Can be used with power cord or batteries.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 

Cons:

  • May require regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Best used with small dogs to avoid choking hazards.

Effectiveness: 9

Nerf Dog

Pros:
  • Does not require electricity.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 

Cons:

  • Not as automated, human interaction required.

Effectiveness: 8

iDig by iFetch

Pros:
  • Does not require electricity.
  • Indoor/outdoor use. 

Cons:

  • May not get a dog to stop digging in the yard.

Effectiveness: 7

FAQ

What is the best automatic dog ball thrower for dogs?
My hound dog prefers the iFetch Too but of course the best dog ball launcher depends on your particular needs and price range.

Where to buy it?
Most modern fetching machine can be purchased on Amazon though you may also find one or two brands in your local pet store.

How to make an automatic ball launcher for dogs?
It is possible to build your own ball launcher for your dog as well! If you are feeling adventurous enough, there are many sites that offer step by step instructions and videos on how to make your own dog ball thrower.

Can it be plugged into a wall outlet?
Of the toys listed above the iFetch and the iDogmate, can be plugged into a wall outlet to be used. The iFetch Too has a specifically rechargeable battery and it can be used while unplugged as long as the batter is sufficiently charged.

The iFetch and the iDogmate can be battery powered as well though the batteries are not necessarily rechargeable. The Frenzy, Nerf Dog Ball Launcher and the iDig require no electricity.

Who invented this device?
Rene LaCoste invented the first hand-cranked ball launcher in 1920 for tennis practice. By 1950 electric versions of ball launchers had sprung up in tennis courts. In 1999 the GoDogGo fetch machine for dogs was the first automated ball launcher intended for dogs that was introduced on the market.

Conclusion

Pet entertainment technology is advancing every day and proud pet parents want the best for their best friend. When it comes to picking the right fetching machine for you and your dog you want to consider the size of your dog, whether you will use the product indoors or outdoors, how much interaction you’d like with the machine and your dog and how much you would like to spend on the product.

Each different launching machine will come with a list of pros and cons so find what works best for you. It is possible to build your own fetching machine with instructions and videos from the web, but if you are not very handy or just don’t want to go through the hassle, there are many pre-made options out there and you can find one with just a quick Amazon search.

While we always enjoying playing with our pups, it can become exhausting and time consuming. If you are a busy person with a highly energetic dog who needs lots of stimulation, then a fetching machine may be right for you!

Read also our guide: 6 Best Bark Collars. Train Your Dog to Stop Barking with a Variety of Effective Devices.