Best Speed Radars For Ball Sports
As tennis technology has evolved in recent years, many accessories and pieces of tennis equipment have become accessible to the masses. Technology that was previously reserved for the professionals can now be bought for a few hundred dollars.
One of the most exciting spaces in ball sports technology is speed radars, as they give you a realistic measure of your performance against your favourite players. So, if you are in the market for a speed radar for ball sports and want to make sure you make the right choice, you’ve come to the right place!
What to Look for in a Speed Radar
As with most ball sport related technologies, there is a lot of variability in terms of quality and as the old adage goes, what you get is what you pay for.
With that in mind, there is more that goes into making a high quality speed radar than simply having a high price tag. Accuracy, distance, ease of use and battery life as well as price need to be considered in order to get the right radar for you.
The first question you’ll need answering however, is which type of ball speed radar should you actually go for. You only need to do a quick Google search or scroll through Amazon to realise that there are two distinct types of radars to choose from.
You have portable, hand held radars that you point towards the target, and floor mounted radars that aim to measure the speed of a ball coming past them.
Hand held radars are derived from traffic radar guns so are incredibly accurate and are able to record speed accurately 100 yards away. On the other hand, floor mounted radars tend not to be as accurate as they don’t read speed directly from the device.
These are a lot cheaper to produce and are therefore very popular for recreational players looking for a cheap and simple device to record their serve speed, but they are far from the most accurate speed radars out there.
When it comes to accuracy with speed radars, you really do get what you pay for. The more accurate radars do come with a heftier price tag, but some of the cheaper radars are so inaccurate that they are not even worth wasting your money on.
Naturally, an expensive, professional level ball tracking system like Playsight or Hawkeye measures ball speed using cameras that track your ball from the moment it leaves the strings of your racket.
This makes them very costly and time consuming to set up, but once they are they can record with almost perfect accuracy. However, a cheaper speed radar, particularly one that is simply mounted on the floor near the net, can only track the speed of the ball once it approaches the device itself.
This means the ball may have already slowed down by around 15% by the time it actually passes the radar, meaning these devices are inherently flawed. Sure, they give you a round idea of your serve speed for example, but they are far from perfect.
That said, there are a number of ball speed radars that are actually living up to the hype nowadays. Whilst they are never going to be quite as accurate as a multi million dollar professional system, some promise incredible levels of accuracy for a fraction of the price.
If a hand held radar can get within around 1.5MPH of the true speed of a ball, I’d say it’s pretty accurate.
The distance you can measure the speed of a ball from is of course important, so you know how far away you can stand to make a recording.
Some cheaper radars will be thrown off by the racket speed if you stand too close however, meaning the device will pick up the speed of your racket travelling through the air rather than the ball leaving your strings.
This of course completely messes up your readings and limits the usefulness of the radar altogether!
Whilst this may not be so much of an issue in tennis, in other ball sports like baseball you may want a radar that can cover a long distance!
Ultimately, the main area of concern for a lot of recreational tennis players will be the price of a speed radar. Just because something is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best product for you.
So, not only will how much you can afford to spend on a speed radar determine which one you choose, but your playing level and how high you need the speed recording of the device to go will also influence your decision.
You don’t need to break the bank, but it is also worth investing in a more sophisticated and well engineered speed radar if you are actually going to make use of it.
Of course we all don’t have access to high quality, multi camera facilities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get good results!
Ease of Use
A factor that a lot of consumers may overlook when looking for a speed radar is how easy it is to use.
Whilst higher level players that are experienced at using these devices may not need to worry about this, the recreational or casual tennis player that simply wants to get a rough idea of how fast their serve is compared to some of the top professionals would be grateful for a simple system that is easy to understand.
Think about the size of the display screen, how many buttons the radar has, how many modes you may have to scroll through and how long the initial setup process takes. These are all important things to consider if you aren’t familiar with one of these devices.
Another element of speed radars that some people may not think about is their battery life or charge time.
Of course some devices are powered by standard AA batteries whereas others need to be charged up, but either way you need to think about how much you’ll be using your radar and how much charge it can take.
Additional battery packs or higher capacity devices may be worth considering if you intend on using your radar for extended periods of time.
The Best Speed Radars for Ball Sports
Now, we have discussed the main things you need to consider when looking for the perfect speed radar for ball sports, and there are a lot of factors to take into account! So, let’s dive into our top picks for the best speed radars on the market today!
Pocket Radar Ball Coach
- TheTennisBros No.1 Choice
- Insanely Accurate
- Exceptional Value For Money
The Pocket Radar Ball Coach is one of our favourite portable speed radars as it is incredibly accurate yet very portable.
One of the best features about the Pocket Radar Ball Coach is its ability to distinguish between ball speed and racket speed, even when it is set up close to you.
What’s more, this device also picks up your ball exit speed, so you don’t have to worry about it giving an inaccurate reading due to the slowing effects of air resistance. This is quite an incredible achievement for such an inexpensive, pocket sized speed radar!
The readings you get are very accurate, although the only real downside we can see with the Pocket Radar Ball Coach is that you need to line it up pretty much in line with your ball flight path in order to get the most accurate results.
This is fine if you are doing some target practice on your serve (assuming you can control the ball well enough), but if you just want to see the speed of your ball crossing the net in a rally, the readings may not be quite as accurate.
This is also a very competitively priced speed radar at $300, making it a great value for money proposition!
Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun
- Accurate to Within 1mph
- LCD Screen
- Measures Speeds up to 110mph
If you’re looking for a well priced but accurate, traditional looking speed radar gun, the Bushnell Velocity could be the best choice for you. This is a classic point and shoot style of radar that utilises a lard LCD screen to make it as user friendly as possible.
The Bushnell velocity is accurate to within around 1MPH making it a very well primed device.
It can measure speeds as low as 10MPH and up to 110MPH, which should be enough for most club players, although it may be a little on the low end for performance players with big serves.
Bushnell have built up a reputation for offering some of the best made and most accurate speed radars on the market for a competitive price, and at $150 for their velocity speed gun, it is clear to see why!
Stalker Sport Pro 2
- Used in Major League Baseball
- Measures Any Moving Object
- Highly Versatile
On the higher end of the spectrum we have the Stalker Sport Pro 2. This is an expensive but very sophisticated speed radar at around $1300 that uses 4 different modes to make it the most versatile and accurate device in its class.
The Stalker Sport Pro 2 is used in major league baseball and can measure any moving object on land, sea or in the air up to 500ft away! It has an easy quick function that allows you to get recording straight away, along with a reading accuracy within 3%.
It can measure speeds of up to 900MPH and can be bought with add ons like a tripod, wireless LED big screen to display speeds remotely and a hard carry case to keep the radar secure.
You can also buy a high capacity battery handle and high capacity charger to extend the life of your Stalker Sport Pro 2 beyond its already generous 2.5 hours.
PRGR Black Portable Launch Monitor
- Highly Accurate
- LCD Display Screen
- 500 Shot Memory
Another good value speed radar comes from PRGR with their black portable launch monitor. Although it is mainly designed for golf, it is also useful for tennis and other ball sports as it offers a highly accurate reading capability on an easy to read LCD display screen.
It has 4 simple buttons making it one of the most user friendly speed radars out there and it can also store up to 500 shots in its memory, so you can easily track your progress. At just over $300 is is pretty reasonable and an ideal companion on the golf course.
Jugs Gun Sports Radar
- Accuracy to Within 0.5mph
- Digital Signal Processing
- Measures Speeds up to 140mph
As one of the best quality ball sports radar brands out there, Jugs have a reputation for putting out high performing, robust and trustworth speed guns. Their famous Jugs Gun has stood the test of time and certainly justifies its high price tag of $1200.
It is equipped with state of the art technology such as digital signal processing that is accurate to within 0.5MPH, making it one of the most hand held speed radars you’ll ever get your hands on!
It can also measure speeds of up to 140MPH, making it ideal for both tennis and baseball.
Sports Radar Speed Gun SR3800
- Tracks Speeds Up To 250mph!
- Range of 120ft
- "Continuous Mode" For Enhanced Analysis
The Sports Radar Speed Gun SR3800 has a striking design that sets it apart from the crowd. This device is not all face and no trousers though, as it can track speeds of up to 250MPH and has a range of 120ft.
It also has a continuous mode which tracks the faster point of a ball’s flight, allowing for more detailed analysis. It comes with a tripod, data port and can be used for 12 hours straight on continuous mode! It is also reasonably priced at just $400.
There are a wide range of speed radar guns to choose from on the market today, which is great for customers who want to shop around and get the best deal possible.
However, so many options can make it difficult to decide which radar is best for you, which is why we have put together this guide to help you understand the key factors that go into great speed radars and some recommendations for the best devices at different price points.
We hope you have found this useful and good luck with your search!
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