SmartPult Programmable Ball Launcher Review
SmartPult is an innovative automatic ball launcher with unique features including app-compatibility, treat dispensing, and automatic or manual launching modes. The device was designed by PetVOQ, a company that solely focuses on creating innovative pet products.
We reviewed the SmartPult automatic ball thrower and put it to the test measuring everything from ease of use to noise levels and distances. Check out our full review below to see if SmartPult is the best automatic ball thrower for you and your dog.
Unboxing and Design
Inside the box you will find the SmartPult launcher itself, power cable, user manual, and 3 mini tennis balls. The box arrived a little beat up on the outside but the contents were packed really well; everything was perfectly fine inside.
Our first impression of the device is that SmartPult really created something completely new. Many of the auto ball throwers on the market have a similar resemblance but SmartPult completely designed a unique thrower from the ground up while also implementing creative features. Our second impression is that the device, including the box, almost resembles a standard tennis ball launcher and not necessarily a pet-specific product.
The top of the device contains a few basic controls including on/off, distance adjustments, and reset. The top also contains the ball chute which is easily removable for transport.
SmartPult Ball Size and Durability
SmartPult uses 2″ tennis balls for their launcher – regular tennis balls will not fit. These “mini” tennis balls are not recommended for large dogs since they can possibly swallow them. If you have a large dog, we recommend taking a look at the iFetch Too or GoDogGo launcher. With that said, our 55lb dog can still comfortably use the 2″ balls – in fact, she actually prefers them!
We also highly recommend purchasing a backup supply of the 2″ tennis balls which can be found online specifically made for pets. The balls are not very durable, but this is likely because they are made for small/medium dogs and our dog is on the larger end of that spectrum. Take a look at the photo below to see the durability. The ball on the left is brand new and the ball on the right is after 30 minutes of chewing on it.
Most automatic ball launchers do just that – throw balls. SmartPult stepped up the game by including impressive features that are completely new to the automatic fetch market. Let’s take a look at SmartPult’s main features before diving into performance:
SmartPult can be adjusted in three different increments: 3 meters, 6 meters, and 9 meters. These distances can be set by pressing the select button on top of the device until your preference is selected or by using the SmartPult app. These distances are how far the ball will travel before touching the ground; it’s important to note that the ball will obviously roll much further depending on terrain. Also, balls that are launched do not have much of an arch at all. Instead, they shoot straight out and a pretty fast pace. Consequently, using SmartPult indoors is great if you have a long hallway or open space for the ball to roll. However if you plan on using it for outdoor use and would like to get further range, we recommend setting the device up high, perhaps on a table or deck to increase the distance.
SmartPult is the only automatic ball thrower with a treat dispenser inside! Treats or kibble are placed inside the cylinder on the side of the device and locked in place. After a ball is launched, treats will be dispensed into the included food tray on the rear of the launcher. One of the largest benefits from this feature is that it trains your dog to return balls to the device after fetching. With a little help, you can quickly train your dog to place the ball back into the chute for automatic fetching.
App compatibility is very rare to come by in the dog toy industry, but SmartPult made it happen by connecting wirelessly to the ball launcher and allowing you to fully control it. Within the app you can adjust the distance, set the launching to automatic or manual (we’ll discuss this below), and adjust settings, among many others. Connecting was a bit confusing because they give you two options: connect directly to the device from its own wireless connection or connect via your own home wifi. Take a look at the video below to see how beneficial the app can be for training in combination with the treat dispenser.
Another great feature with the app is the ability to set SmartPult to automatic or manual. Automatic will launch balls whenever a ball is placed into the hopper; on the other hand, manual allows you to load balls into the device and then launch them with the touch of a button when your dog is ready. Automatic launching is an amazing way for your dog to exercise independently while also stimulating your dogs mind.
Indoor and Outdoor
SmartPult comes with an AC power adapter for indoor use but can also be used with 6 C cell batteries for outdoor use.
We put the SmartPult automatic dog ball launcher to the test by measuring the distances balls traveled after launching and by also measuring the sound (decibel) levels.
Overall, we were impressed with how the SmartPult performed! After running multiple tests, here’s the average distances we saw at each power setting –
- Low – 17.5 ft
- Medium – 26 ft
- High – 32.5 ft
This actually outperformed SmartPult’s claims of ~ 10, 20, and 26 feet.
Overall the SmartPult also ran pretty quiet similar to the iFetch, peaking at 74db.
Final Thoughts on the SmartPult Automatic Ball Launcher
SmartPult by PetVOQ is at the forefront of ball launching technology. The number of unique features packed into SmartPult is absolutely impressive, especially considering the price. The included treat dispenser aids in training your dog to use the device and the low-arch ball launcher makes great for indoor use (but also great for outdoor). The free smartphone app was a bit confusing to connect to the device but ultimately adds a wonderful new dimension to the game of fetch.
On the other hand, the area on the top of the device to return balls is a bit small. As a result, some dogs may have difficulty fully returning the ball into the device. In addition, SmartPult makes quite a bit of noise, so timid dogs or those who are afraid of noise may need to be slowly adjusted to it.
There’s also the cost to consider – the SmartPult packs a ton of awesome, unique features, but you’ll need to make sure they warrant the cost for your specific circumstances.
Overall, SmartPult is an amazing device that competes with the best in the business. There are other devices that can launch further than SmartPult, but no other device contains as many features as this.
We highly recommend SmartPult if you are interested in controlling the device with your smartphone or using a treat dispenser to train your dog.