Are Portable Launch Monitors Worth It?

Last Updated on November 18, 2021

Whether you’re new to the world of golf or consider yourself to be quite an expert at the game, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to able to benefit from buying a launch monitor but they are not cheap. So, are portable launch monitors worth it?

If you do your research on some of the different golf launch monitor models out there, you’re likely to find that they’re excellent simply because of the invaluable information they can provide.

However, if you’re not tech-savvy or aren’t sure if these gadgets are worth the money, it’s well worth taking a closer look into what they could do for you.

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What you need to know before you buy a golf launch monitor

How it works

If you don’t know too much about golf launch monitors, it might be worth starting with how they function. Typically, they’ll either use a radar-based system or a photometric one. The former uses radar technology, sensors, and a scientific principle known as the Doppler Effect to gather data on the golf ball. The latter utilizes HD cameras instead.

Despite the differences in how they work, they can provide the same results and plenty of info on each swing, from the launch angle to ball speed-smash factor.

If you want to know more in-depth information on this, it’s expanded in our other post, how do launch monitors work.

Reliability indoors and outdoors

While both of these can be a great option, it is worth noting that Doppler launch monitors tend to do better in outdoor settings. In an indoor environment, especially when hitting into a golf net, the information the device receives will be limited. On the other hand, photometric ones don’t do well in poor lighting conditions and aren’t always ideal for every outdoor situation.

On the plus side, both of them can still be fairly precise on speed and swing data even with their limitations; it’s just worth keeping your golfing environment in mind before setting up the monitor.  


Whether you want to measure your distance or find out the strength of the impact on your shots, there’s no doubt that one of the most important factors for you will be the device’s precision. After all, this is essential to the data provided. Moreover, with how technology has advanced, even smaller personal launch monitors can analyze each swing.

A bonus is that most companies will aim to create products that offer accuracy, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much when shopping around.  

How accurate are launch monitors?

As mentioned above, there can be certain situations where the precision isn’t ideal – but whether you’re indoors using golf simulation software or you’re out on a golf course, there will be a product that’s best suited to your situation.

Another aspect that you might want to consider about the precision of a particular device is that you’ll get more precise results from better brands. While this can come with a higher cost, it can be well worth it if you want to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth (and, of course, accurate readings).

Fortunately, most modern launch monitors are exceptionally precise, and even a budget option could provide you with fairly accurate data. 

How you can benefit from using a launch monitor

Are Portable Launch Monitors Worth it? when having golf lessones

There are many reasons why both casual and professional players use these machines, and with so many advantages, it’s well worth picking up one for yourself.

One of the most notable benefits is the potential to improve. With all the data that these devices can provide, it’s not hard to see why so many individuals use professional and personal ones for the sole purpose of getting better. You could learn more about any aspect of your game, from the ideal club heads for your play style to carry distance and measurements.

Generally speaking, there are several ways that you can hone your skills when you have the correct info, so if you’re looking for game improvement, a good quality golf launch monitor could be an excellent investment.

Tips for using a launch monitor to your advantage

While these can be excellent for essentially any golfer, it’s essential that you know how to use one and the data that it can provide. From factors like clubhead speed to driving range, there’s a lot to learn if you’re not already acquainted with these statistics.

Remember, everyone needs to start somewhere, and if you have any issues with your game, it can be worth making use of a golf launch monitor and even an instructor to boost your potential. With one of these and the expertise that a professional golfer can offer, there’s no doubt that you’ll see improvement.

Which launch monitor should I buy?

If you start shopping around, you’re likely to find that there are quite a few different golf simulator systems to choose from – but how can you tell which one will be best for you?

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much expertise to figure it out. All you’ll have to know is how much you’re willing to spend and what products are in your price range. Always remember to research any particular golf simulation technology before you make a commitment and buy.

Many people will agree that some of the best gear on the market are the Flightscope Mevo, TrackMan, and Skytrak golf simulators, from professionals to instructors. However, there are plenty more pieces of game improvement equipment that you could check out too.

Whether you’re dealing with rain or shine golf situations, you need to have a decent launch monitor by your side.

most popular launch monitors - Are Portable Launch Monitors Worth It?
A selection of the most popular portable launch monitors

Tips for buying a golf launch monitor

When buying, be sure to consider the features that are on offer. For example, does the technology have an easy-to-read interface screen? Does the golf simulator have good battery life? And what about setup, is the piece of equipment easy to get ready before a game? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself during your search.

If you read through the comments, are most users satisfied, or do they complain about problems?

Outside of these few points, be sure to find ones from good golf brands, too. Again, the number of happy customers is likely to be higher, and if you want to improve as a player, it’s best to go with something you can rely on.

FAQ section

Why do I need a launch monitor?

Golf launch monitors are incredible devices purely because of the stats they have to offer, from spin rate to clubhead speed, and how they can improve your performance. So if you’re interested in stepping up your golf game, they’re essential. They’re not just for beginners, though. Even experienced players have them on the PGA Tour for warm-up sessions, and many experts use them to gather data on different clubs, the impact of their strike, and much more.

A golf simulator is a valuable tool for both experts and novices alike, which is why you could probably make use of one.  

How do I use launch monitor statistics?

If you don’t know the difference between smash factor and swing speed and what the numbers mean, it’s well worth taking the time to learn more.

Essentially, the data points you get will relate to different aspects of the strike, from the impact you have on golf balls when hit to ball speed and spin rate. All of these can allow you to see where you’re lacking and work on your skills.

How can a launch monitor help my golf game?

There’s no doubt that golf isn’t exactly an easy sport, and golfers will often need to keep their heads in the game if they want to win.

You’ll need to consider so many different things every time you hit the golf ball, all of which can be essential to your success. By taking a look at the info provided, you’ll be able to break down each shot. Just take some time to play golf at a practice area with your launch monitor, and you’re likely to find out a couple of things that you could be doing better.

Man taking a golf shot with an iron

Why are launch monitors so expensive?

It’s a no-brainer that these machines can be excellent for golfers of any skill level, but the somewhat high price point may turn off some golfers.

Even when looking into more affordable options like the Flightscope Mevo, you might still find the costs of some golf simulator models to be a little too much.

For a good quality golf simulator, though, it’s often worth a higher amount. So if you’re on a budget, it’s well worth considering which models have an affordable price tag and deciding where to go from there.

What about launch monitor smartphone apps?

Typically, those who want to get accurate data from a practice session or the games they play will want to invest in a reliable, portable launch monitor system. However, some mobile and tablet applications aim to offer the same feedback as a decent monitor.

For example, an app on a phone may not track all the different elements involved in a strike, which could leave you with incomplete data. n 

An app won’t usually be as effective as a personal launch monitor, but if you’re not a pro and you’re just starting, it may not be too bad of an idea.

Do Launch monitors show slice?

Those who want to stop slicing in golf might also find a golf simulator to be helpful in these scenarios. With the data they can provide on several aspects of your game, it shouldn’t be too hard to spot your bad habits and find the right attack angle.

Remember that an off-face angle at its core causes a slice, so be sure to keep this in mind and make the right swing path if you want to make the maximum distance on your strikes. To become a better golfer, you’ll want to know where you’re falling short and work on your skills.

Whether you’re on the golf courses or just having a few practice shots with a golf simulator package, it can be worth using a launch monitor to assist you.

Final Thoughts

Are portable launch monitors worth it? Well, if you’re one of the many golf players who want to make the most out of their game, improve as a golfer and have the data points they need on any particular strike right there, you’re likely to find that it’s a good purchase.  

With everything they have to offer, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to step up your game and impress your golfing buddies (and any golfers you come across).

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