To become better at baseball, you need to monitor your progress over the long run. And perhaps the easiest tool to do so with is a sports radar gun.
With a sports radar gun, you will be able to accurately measure your pitch or off-bat speed, adjust your form to make your shots faster, and track your progress over time. Whether you are a coach who is looking to make their players better or an athlete who wants to tweak their form, a radar gun could be insanely helpful for you.
If you’ve been looking for a baseball radar gun but haven’t been quite able to find the right one, we may be able to help you. Below, we’ll introduce you to what we think are the best baseball radar guns out there.
To hopefully meet the needs of as many people as we can, we’ve picked very different models of radar guns. Along the way, we’ll have an in-depth look at the picked radar guns, as well as will talk about the things that you should be looking for when shopping for one.
5 Best Baseball Radar Guns
The Pocket Radar Ball Coach radar gun is a very solid middle-end radar gun. While this thing certainly isn’t the most accurate and capable radar gun in the world, it should suffice for most people.
The Ball Coach radar gun boasts pretty good accuracy and speed detection – Pocket Radar claims that it measures speeds from 25 to 130 mph and shows error within 1 mph. The Ball Coach radar gun also has an up to 125 feet range which, depending on where you are, should be enough for speed measurement.
This radar gun should make ball speed measurement fairly easy even for less experienced users. To measure the speed of the ball, you do not need to time the radar gun for the shot – instead, you can trigger it before the ball is launched, and since the Ball Coach measures the fastest detected speed, you will get the reading automatically.
Remarkably, this radar gun also has onboard memory that can store up to 25 previous speed readings.
The Ball Coach radar gun has a Constant-On mode which keeps the device on to allow you to take measurements faster. With that said, keep in mind that the radar gun doesn’t constantly read speed in this mode – it just stays on so that you don’t have to waste time on powering it on.
If the radar gun isn’t used to take speed readings, it powers off after 5 minutes in Constant-On mode and 30 seconds in user-triggered mode.
Pocket Radar also includes a 57-inch tripod for the radar gun as well, so instead of holding the radar gun in your hands, you may just set the thing in a spot with good visibility and let it do its thing.
As a little bonus, Pocket Radar includes a smartphone tripod mount, as well as 4 rechargeable AAA batteries, a charger, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Pocket Radar’s website claims that a single charge of the rechargeable batteries allows for 4,000 readings in manual mode and over 2 hours of operation in the Constant-On mode.
All in all, the Ball Coach radar gun is a very decent option for baseball ball speed measurement. With that said, this particular variant of the radar gun can be cumbersome in use due to the need to carry and set up the tripod.
- Fast and accurate tracking.
- Stable and hands-free thanks to the included tripod.
- Stores up to 25 speed readings in memory.
- Comes with a smartphone tripod mount, rechargeable batteries, and a few other goodies.
- A little cumbersome in use.
This is the exact same radar gun that you are getting with the Pocket Radar Ball Coach & tripod combo. But this radar gun doesn’t include any tripods, so you won’t be getting the same hands-free experience.
Aside from that, this Ball Coach radar gun does not come with rechargeable batteries – it comes with regular AAA alkaline batteries that you’ll need to replace every once in a while.
Feature-wise, this Ball Coach radar gun is identical to its tripod-equipped counterpart – this thing has the Constant-On mode, auto max speed detection, error within 1 mph, 25-130mph speed range, memory for 25 readings, and a few other things.
One thing to keep in mind with this radar gun is that the included batteries have a shorter runtime than the ones in the tripod combo. The non-rechargeable battery allows for around 2,000 readings in manual mode and around 1 hour in Constant-On mode.
In the end, if you think that you don’t need the benefits of the tripod combo, then this variant of the Ball Coach may be a better option for you.
- Fast and accurate speed tracking.
- Memory space for up to 25 recorded speeds.
- The included batteries are not rechargeable.
Bushnell’s Velocity Speed Gun is a more general-purpose radar gun than the Ball Coach, but it’s made with baseball in mind as well.
When it comes to sports like baseball, softball, or tennis, the Velocity Speed Gun can measure the ball speed at up to 90 feet, which is decent. The speed range of 10-110 mph is good as well, but this radar gun may have trouble with registering faster balls.
The measurement error here is claimed to be 1 mph as well, which, if consistent, makes this a very accurate baseball radar gun.
What may also interest you is that you can use the Velocity Speed Gun to measure the speed of cars at up to 1,500 feet at speeds between 10 and 200 mph. Thus, this radar gun should be a decent choice for racing fans as well.
No matter whose speed you are measuring, the Velocity Speed Gun works like the Radar Pocket Ball Coach – you push the trigger, wait for the ball to be thrown, and release the trigger to see the reading on the LCD display.
All in all, the Velocity Speed Gun isn’t as capable as the Ball Coach, but given the price difference, this radar gun should be a solid option for many people.
- Easy speed tracking.
- Convenient pistol grip.
- Can be used in a wide range of sports.
- Relatively weak performance in baseball.
The Ball Coach was a very good baseball radar gun, but the Smart Coach is even better.
The Smart Coach differs from the Ball Coach radar gun in only one feature – it supports the Pocket Radar mobile app. Even though this is just one difference, it has huge implications.
The mobile app makes speed measurement and display much more convenient than in the Ball Coach. Among the things that you could do with the Smart Coach is data export in CSV format, unlimited memory, video recording via your smartphone with embedded speeds, results, video & result sharing, and instant speed showing.
Keep in mind that the mobile app relies on Bluetooth 4.0 and requires iOS 10 or above or Android 6.0 or above. Older smartphones may not work with the mobile app.
In terms of specs, the Smart Coach seems to be identical to the Ball Coach – you have the same 1mph error, 25-130mph speed range, 120 feet tracking distance, and onboard memory for 25 records (if you’re not using the app).
The one thing we wish this radar gun had is rechargeable batteries. Even though there are such batteries available for the Smart Coach, the unit we based our review on comes with non-rechargeable AAA alkaline batteries. Their runtime is shorter in the Smart Coach than in the Ball Coach – around 1,500 readings in manual mode and 1 hour in Constant-On mode.
- Fast and accurate tracking.
- Compatible with the Pocket Radar mobile app.
- Vast data export, recording, and sharing capabilities via the app.
- The included batteries aren’t rechargeable.
If you are ready to pay the money for an accurate and reliable baseball radar gun, then have a look at the Sport 2 radar gun by Stalker Radar. Built specifically for baseball, this radar gun promises reliable and accurate speed measurement.
Perhaps the first thing to catch the eye in this radar gun is that it can capture and display both the release and plate speeds of the ball. Not only that, but this radar gun can capture speeds at distances up to 300 feet, and its speed range is a whopping 5-150mph, which should allow you to measure the speed of any ball.
The Sport 2 radar gun also has a wide range of measurement settings, such as speed units, auto display clear-out time, measurement distance, trigger mode, or whatnot.
Like the Pocket Radar Ball Coach, this radar gun stores several readings in its onboard memory, but their number is limited to only 5.
Remarkably, if you have a stopwatch cable, then the Sport 2 radar gun may also be used to display times.
The Scout Package of the Sport 2 radar gun comes with rechargeable batteries and a wall charger for them. Notably, this radar gun has a low battery indicator to let you know when it’s time to recharge.
Aside from the Scout Package, the Starter Package (comes with non-rechargeable batteries) or the Deluxe Package (comes with rechargeable batteries and a hard carrying case) are also available, so you may get them instead. We think that the Scout Package is the sweet spot, though it’s a little pricey.
In the end, although expensive, the Sport 2 radar gun is a highly accurate radar gun that promises to dramatically outperform cheaper, “toy” radar guns.
- Tracks speed at up to 300 feet.
- Very accurate speed measurement.
- Captures both release and plate speed.
- Includes rechargeable batteries with charger.
- Pretty expensive.
Choosing The Best Baseball Radar Gun
We’ve seen pretty different baseball radar guns on our list. But we’ve only scratched the surface – you can find much more advanced radar guns on the market.
So given the vast differences between expensive and cheap radar guns, which one to go for? And if you’ve got a few models in mind, which one would work the best for you?
To try to answer these questions, let’s take a look at the most important things to consider when shopping for that best baseball radar gun.
Radar guns will only work up to a certain distance. Usually, higher-end radar guns have a measurement range up to 200-300 feet, which should be more than enough for baseball.
Shorter measurement distances like 150 or even 100 feet may work as well, but radar guns with such short range will force you to be closer to the player. With a long-range radar gun, you’ll have many more positions to choose from.
Sports radar guns have a certain speed range in which they will measure the speed more or less accurately. Beyond that range, they may not be able to ensure accurate readings, or they may be unable to measure speed at all.
In most cases, even cheaper radar guns like the Bushnell Velocity Gun are enough to measure the speed of any ball. So far, the fastest pitched balls recorded have had a speed of around 100-105 mph. Batted balls also tend to reach the 100mph mark, though exceptionally skilled and strong hitters may be able to accelerate the ball up to 120 mph.
Some radar guns can measure well over these numbers (like up to 200 mph or even more), but such radar guns probably are designed with uses other than baseball in mind.
Aside from the maximum speed, you may want to take the minimum measurable speed into account as well.
Typically, radar guns have minimum measurable speeds somewhere around the 20-25mph mark. For baseball, this should be good enough since the ball rarely goes that slowly. But you may want to go lower if you have some specific needs.
Ah, accuracy, the most important yet the most difficult to determine characteristic in radar guns.
Radar gun manufacturers will tell you plenty of things to convince you that their guns are perfectly accurate and consistent. However, even claims of 1mph error do not tell you anything about the actual accuracy of a radar gun. Until you take the radar gun in your hands and use it for some time, you will not know how accurate it actually is.
Well, there still are two things you could do to roughly estimate the accuracy and consistency of your radar gun.
First of all, if you want accuracy, you should go for a more expensive radar gun. For $100, you may get a pretty decent radar gun, but do not expect it to measure speed easily and deliver reliable readings.
And overall, unless you’ve got a radar gun that costs a few thousand dollars, you cannot be sure of your radar gun’s accuracy.
Another thing you could do to somehow assess the accuracy of the desired radar gun is to read its buyer reviews. If you notice that people are mostly satisfied, then that radar gun probably delivers good accuracy and consistency at its price point. Otherwise, if something seems wrong about the radar gun, you may want to look for another option.
What does the desired radar gun measure exactly?
At the very least, radar guns measure the release speed of the ball. The maximum speed is measured exactly at release, which is why measuring only the release speed makes sense.
More advanced radar guns will also measure speed at other points along the ball’s trajectory – most often, this will be the plate speed like in the Stalker Sport 2 radar gun. The most sophisticated radar guns are also able to measure the spin of the ball.
Aside from that, some baseball radar guns measure only the peak speed, while others can measure the speed of the ball continuously.
For most people, release speed measurement should be more than enough. But if you think that you will benefit from more in-depth speed readings, then you may want to look for a more advanced radar gun.
If you are looking to record and monitor your progress, then you should buy a baseball radar gun that has onboard memory to store measurements. We’ve reviewed a few radar guns with onboard memory, so have a look at them if you need to be able to record your speed.
From our review of the Pocket Radar Smart Coach radar gun, you already have an idea of the benefits that you can get from a smartphone-connected radar gun.
Just to recap, a radar gun with smartphone connectivity can:
- Store as many measurements as your phone storage or the app’s cloud storage allows.
- Monitor your progress over time.
- Record video with embedded speed measurements for real-time form assessment.
- Easily share your results with others.
You don’t really need such features to keep long-term records of your performance – you may do so with paper and pen. However, an app would allow you to do so much more conveniently.
If you will be using your radar gun often, then we recommend that you get a radar gun with rechargeable batteries. Or after you buy a radar gun, get rechargeable batteries for it. This will allow you to save plenty of money in the long run since you won’t have to buy batteries every time the old ones run out of charge.
But if you will be using your radar gun only occasionally, then it could be reasonable to get a radar gun with non-rechargeable batteries.
With that said, rechargeable batteries are convenient no matter how often you will be using your radar gun, so unless getting a unit with non-rechargeable batteries will save you plenty of money, rechargeable batteries are preferable.
Get The Most Functional Radar Gun You Can
If you are serious about baseball, then you should buy the very best baseball radar gun you can, even if it costs a few thousand dollars. For competitive play, every single bit of additional information can immensely help you progress.
You may still make progress with a simpler radar gun that only measures off-bat speed. But if you gain additional metrics like spin or plate speed, you might be able to progress even faster.
For recreational use though, any radar gun may suffice. Just be sure that the radar gun does what you want and that it has had positive feedback from buyers.
Use Your Radar Gun Properly
It’s important that you use your radar gun properly – otherwise, even the most sophisticated baseball radar gun on the market will disappoint you.
Here are a few tips for proper baseball radar gun use:
- Face the player directly or stand right behind them. This will ensure the most accurate readings. More expensive radar guns may be able to measure speed even if you’re slightly off-center, but they’ll do best when the ball moves right at the gun or away from it.
- Stand at least 25-30 feet away from the moving object. Depending on how the radar gun reads speed, 25-30 feet may be too short for accurate speed measurement.
- Make sure that your radar gun is set to proper measurement settings for your situation.
- Carefully review the instruction manual provided with your radar gun – there may be some things that apply to your radar gun model specifically.
That’s it for our overview of the 5 best baseball radar guns!
Hopefully, you’ve found what you’ve been looking for. If still unsure, then look through the available options again, read our buyer’s guide a few times, and do some more research to understand everything you need about radar guns.
And most importantly, do not scrimp on your baseball radar gun – if you want to become better, then the more functional your radar gun is, the easier it will be for you.