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Best Automatic Fetch Machines for Dogs Reviewed in 2020 (UK & US)

By Zoe,
9th April 2018 | Updated: 30th April 2020

What is the best automatic dog ball launcher? Browse reviews of the best automatic fetch machines we've tested below

Best Automatic Fetch Machines for Dogs Reviewed in 2020 (UK & US)

What is the best automatic dog ball launcher? Browse reviews of the best automatic fetch machines we've tested below

Last updated on 9th April 2018 by Zoe

Quick Comparison

Product reviews

Our testing team of dog-lovers purchased 15 dog fetching machines, tested them with different-sized tennis balls and different-sized dogs, taking them outdoors to compare their throwing distances, accuracy and battery timings, all with the mission to find the best automatic fetch machines.

Our team’s narrowed it down to their collective favourite five automatic dog fetching machines that they feel could suit the needs of most dogs.

Of those five machines, we recommend the iDogmate MIDI if you have a large sized dog because of its considerable throwing distance, remote-control operability, and rechargeable Li-ion batteries.

If you have a smaller dog, the GoDogGo Automatic Ball Launcher is out top pick, with its safety arc feature, multiple throwing modes, and remote control operation all getting a big thumbs – or paws – up!.

Check out our comparison table of key features below, and our more in-depth reviews of each of our favourite 5 best automatic fetch machines further down.

  1. 1
    86%
    86%

    GoDogGo Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Review

    The GoDogGo has an appealing green and black body to make it suitable for any garden. Running on 6AC batteries which provide a playtime of 25 hours when fully charged, this launcher throws the ball at a distance of 3 to 12.5 meters.

    However, if you want to save its battery for an upcoming trip, you could also run the GoDogGo on AC adapter power.

    One of the unique features of this machine is that it accommodates different size and shape balls.

    As long as you’re using a tennis ball – be it the miniaturized 1.75’’ or the standard 2.6’’ – this machine will accommodate it.

    To look after the safety of your pet it has a ‘Safety Arc’ feature which throws the ball up into the air, and not horizontally so that the ball doesn’t go directly into any object.

    To conserve battery, the launcher comes with an auto-shop feature which turns off the device if haven’t put a ball into it for a specific time period.

    That said, you can adjust the time after which it can go into standby mode, with the device offering three time settings in 4, 7, and 13 seconds.

    The Good
    • Safety arc features ensure safety of your pet
    • Balls cover long distances with three distance settings
    • Accommodates different size balls
    • Comes with a remote control
    The Bad
    • Is a little loud
    Check price on amazon

    We earn commission fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  2. 2
    84%
    84%

    Hundespielzeug Interactives Ballwurfmaschine Fetch

    Coming in the same colour as that of a tennis ball, this dog launcher is suitable for 5cm tennis balls. It doesn’t come with a battery though, only AC power that you can charge for specific periods.

    It offers three launching distances – 3m, 6m, and 9m – and there’s a gap of ten seconds between every ball throw to let your dog recuperate.

    Two throwing modes are on offer with this device: single ball throwing and multiple ball throwing, with the device being capable of shooting three balls at once in the latter mode.

    The chute (the area where you’d load the ball) has a bigger size than average machines, allowing you to load multiple balls at once.

    It also comes with a remote control which you can use to adjust its distance settings, change the throwing mode and turn the machine on/off.

    The Good
    • Multiple ball throwing mode
    • Has a remote control for extra convenience
    • Chute size is bigger, allowing your dog to recognize it easily and for more balls to be loaded at once
    The Bad
    • Only supports tennis balls from the same manufacturer
    Check price on amazon

    We earn commission fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  3. 3
    80%
    80%

    iFetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher Review

    In contrast to the above mentioned iFetch which only smaller and medium-sized dogs could use, the iFetch Too is made for larger dogs.

    While the standard iFetch uses 1.5’’ mini-tennis balls, the iFetch Too is compatible with standard-size 2.5’’ tennis balls.

    Similar differences arise regarding distance settings. While the iFetch’s largest distance setting is 30 feet, the iFetch Too can throw a ball up to 40 feet.

    To use this model, you don’t need any 6C battery as it comes with a built-in rechargeable battery.

    Inside the package and in addition to the thrower itself, three standard-size blue balls are included.

    These balls are a bit heavier than tennis balls available in the market, but you can still swap them with an ordinary tennis ball. However, swapping them with a lighter version of theirs won’t increase the throwing distance.

    The Good
    • Recommended for large size dogs
    • Large throwing distances
    • Uses standard size tennis balls
    The Bad
    • Doesn’t have a remote control for added convenience, unlike other models
    Check price on amazon

    We earn commission fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  4. 4
    78%
    78%

    iFetch Ball Launcher for Dogs, White Review

    The iFetch Ball Launcher contains three major components in its package: the thrower itself, an AC adapter and a set of three miniaturised tennis balls.

    The launcher itself features a blue-and-white colour scheme and has rounded edges which are complemented by rolling curves.

    On the back of the device is a button which can be pressed to adjust its throwing power to 10, 20, or 30 feet and, to help you remember which setting you’ve chosen, it has LED lights blinking next to the current setting.

    The iFetch Ball launcher uses mini tennis bells – those measuring less than 2’’, which means that it won’t be adequate for bigger dogs.

    It weighs 2.5lbs and apart from running on AC power it has the option of running on 6C batteries, although these aren’t included in the package.

    The Good
    • Operates on both battery and mains
    • Colourful and attractive
    • Three launch distances and LED indicator
    The Bad
    • Batteries aren’t included in the package
    Check price on amazon

    We earn commission fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  5. 5
    74%
    74%

    iDogmate MIDI Rechargeable Automatic Ball Thrower

    The iDogmate Midi uses standard size tennis balls for launching, which means that medium and large size dogs can use it. Its launching distance ranges from 10, 20, 40, and 50 feet, so great for dogs who like or need plenty of exercise.

    There is also a ‘’random’’ setting mode on the iDogmate to keep your furry friend on his toes – or paws – guessing the distance the ball will cover!

    This device is incredibly easy to operate and lets you control the throwing distance, selecting either Low, Medium, High, and Very High distances.

    To switch between distance settings, you can also use the remote control which comes in the package.

    The launcher itself has rechargeable Li-ion batteries which, when fully charged, will last for up to a whopping 1,000 throws!

    The Good
    • Rechargeable Li-ion batteries provide good battery timing
    • Considerable ball throwing distance
    • Has a remote control
    • Fits standard size tennis balls
    The Bad
    • Might be too big for small dogs to reach to drop the ball into the chute themselves
    Check price on amazon

    We earn commission fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

Side-by-side

GoDogGo Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Review

  • Safety arc features ensure safety of your pet
  • Balls cover long distances with three distance settings
  • Accommodates different size balls
  • Comes with a remote control
Check price  on amazon

Hundespielzeug Interactives Ballwurfmaschine Fetch

  • Multiple ball throwing mode
  • Has a remote control for extra convenience
  • Chute size is bigger, allowing your dog to recognize it easily and for more balls to be loaded at once
Check price  on amazon

iFetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher Review

  • Recommended for large size dogs
  • Large throwing distances
  • Uses standard size tennis balls
Check price  on amazon

iFetch Ball Launcher for Dogs, White Review

  • Operates on both battery and mains
  • Colourful and attractive
  • Three launch distances and LED indicator
Check price  on amazon

iDogmate MIDI Rechargeable Automatic Ball Thrower

  • Rechargeable Li-ion batteries provide good battery timing
  • Considerable ball throwing distance
  • Has a remote control
  • Fits standard size tennis balls
Check price  on amazon

Frequently asked questions

What is an Automatic Dog Fetch Machine?

Also known as automatic ball throwers, these machines are battery or AC operated and throw balls over a specific distance so that dogs can chase and fetch them back.

The distance the ball can cover generally ranges between 10 and 30 feet depending on the machine.

How do Automatic Dog Fetch Machines work?

Fetching machines involve a really easy two-step process.

First, you put the ball into the machine; while some machines have a bucket on top where you put the ball, others have a funnel on the back side for holding it.

Once you put the ball in, you can program your desired throwing distance into the machine using one of the buttons installed on its exterior.

After it’s thrown the ball, the machine returns to standby mode, and then you repeat the cycle all over again.

What’s the best auto dog fetcher for the elderly, or someone with a bad back?

Elderly or people with a bad back need to have a dog fetcher which requires them to bend down less, which means it should be as high as possible to put the ball in and allow a person to operate the machine from a standing position.

We recommend the iDogmate MIDI for anyone wanting to avoid bending over.

Do auto dog fetchers shoot tennis balls?

Yes, most dog fetchers shoot tennis balls. Manufacturers such as iFetch are known for creating ball launchers which toss out tennis balls.

How to train your dog to use an automatic ball launcher?

Training your dog to use an automatic ball launcher won’t be easy if you haven’t played ball with your dog before.

Still, here are some steps following which could help train your dog.

Firstly, just roll the ball in front of your pup and encourage them to fetch it. In this step, you DON’T need to turn the ball launcher on as you’re just trying to introduce your dog to the game.

Associate several commands with this play.

For instance, say ‘go’ when you throw the ball and ‘leave’ when your dog has fetched it and you want them to drop it.

Repeat this exercise for at least two to three days before you introduce the automatic ball launcher.

Reward your dog if they follow your commands with treats.

Once you’ve made sure that your dog has learned how to play ball, introduce the automatic ball launcher.

Set the launcher at its lowest distance setting, make your dog stand next to it, and once the ball is released, shout ‘Go’.

In this step, it might happen that your dog isn’t sure what to do and to tell them, you might have to play ball with the machine for two to three times to show your dog how it’s done.

Once you’re sure that your dog’s learned the game, launch the ball and ask them to fetch it using the ‘go’ command.

At first, you might need to reward their behaviour to keep them going, so prepare a treat in your hand, and give it to them every time they fetch the ball and drop it close to the machine.

Some dog owners want their dog to drop the ball into the machine after fetching it.

Remember, if your dog isn’t used to complex training instructions, it’s unlikely they’d do it at first.

You might have to wait a couple of weeks before they start loading the launcher on their own without your help.

What should I look for when choosing an Automatic Fetch Machines?

First, consider the size of your dog.

If your dog is a medium or small size, you could go for a machine that shoots smaller, 2.5’’ tennis balls as these balls won’t pose a choking hazard to your dog.

However, if you own, let’s say, a German shepherd, DO NOT purchase machines that shoot tennis balls as your dog’s mouth could contain the ball fully, hence rendering them a choking hazard.

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