Radar guns are one of the best and most important tools that a coach could have in sports. Whether it’s in baseball or softball, tennis, or another sport, radar guns can help the coach or scout evaluate a player in a much quicker time.
This is a sure-fire method of evaluation as the player is judged specifically by how fast the ball is going from a certain distance.
This helps scouts and coaches better compare one player to the next, and it then makes their decision much easier (or possibly more difficult if they have two similar players).
Radar guns, then, can be very important pieces of equipment. And they must be accurate in order for them to properly help you get the job done correctly.
Too Many Choices?
There is actually much more to buying a radar gun than many would imagine. As with anything in today’s world, there is a myriad of choices online.
The sheer amount of them adds up very quickly, and it can cause people to panic and be totally confused about what they should buy. This buying guide today will help ease your worries.
We’ll go over the factors that will determine what you need, and then you will be able to judge much more accurately just what you want to purchase.
After we have gone over what to look for, we will look at some of the best options that are currently out on the market this year. From there, you can definitely find a jumping-off point to search for the one that is right for you!
What is Radar? And How Does It Work?
Before we go too far, we should probably get into the nuts and bolts of radar guns just a little bit. RADAR is an acronym that stands for Radio Detection And Ranging. This is just a fancy way of saying that it can track and measure things’ speed.
A radar simply is a remote that sends out electromagnetic waves to measure reflections. This can be used for many, many purposes. It’s used by police, by airplanes, and by sports teams as well, among many other things.
Radar can be help determine motion, location, and presence of objects, so it’s a very versatile tool.
Radar works by measuring the waves, as we’ve said above. But it does so by using the “Doppler Principle.” The Doppler Principle is a measure of the frequency between the source of the sound and the listening body.
If the two are moving toward one another, a higher frequency will be recorded. The faster the speed of the movement, like a throw or a hit of the ball, the higher the speed will show because the frequency has been measured as such!
Determining Your Level
The level at which you are coaching, scouting, or playing is going to be very important when selecting what kind of radar you need and want. A Major League Baseball scout isn’t going to want the same radar gun that a Little League coach will want.
And most likely, you won’t need to pony up and buy something that Major Leaguers used if you are coaching down at the local YMCA, either.
So, the first thing you need to do is set a budget and stick to it. The higher the cost, the more features you will get. But, some of the features that we’re going to look at will be almost useless to you in certain settings!
So, picking out what features and the type of money you spend will help you find a great starting place that will not end up causing you headaches down the road.
Distance, price, and the level you are going to be using it at are all closely linked together. If you are someone that is going to be scouting sports from quite a distance away, you are going to have to pay more to get something that can measure that far.
This is why Major League scouts, tennis coaches, and softball coaches that are watching from far away will need to make sure that they have something that is a definite step up in quality. As a result, you’re going to have to pay a bit of a premium for it.
If you are a peewee level coach, you aren’t going to have these issues. More than likely, you will be standing right behind home plate during practice.
Or maybe it will during the games, but you’ll still be just outside the fence where you can easily take the numbers down. You will likely not want to spend as much for all of that distance when you know it’s likely to just be a waste!
So please keep this in mind as it’s just crazy to throw your money away if you’re not going to be using it for the correct purpose. There are some great machines out there for very good prices that will do the job you need them to do and more!
Scouts and coaches that are at a higher level will sometimes find themselves in situations where they cannot be as close to the action as they would like. So, in those cases, they will need something that can measure far distances. Remember, measuring a ball is much more difficult than measuring a car is.
A ball is much smaller, so just because these radars can measure cars from a mile away doesn’t mean they can do the same for a ball! However, a higher range for a car usually will equate to a longer one for balls of all types!
Like with distance, accuracy is generally going to relate to the cost of the item itself. The more accurate you find an item to be, the more expensive it’s likely to run. But that’s OK! There are some exceptions, of course.
Sometimes you get to a point where you’re paying too much.
But the higher-priced options you see below are going to be wildly more accurate than anything you can find for cheaper. The reason is that the mechanics are so much better, and they allow the radar to judge the ball- a small object- much better than a cheaper measurement device would ever be able to do.
One thing to always keep in mind is how you power the device. Some radars are going to require the use of batteries. When batteries are concerned, it’s always important to know how many, the size, and how well they do in power.
No one likes to buy dozens or batteries over and over again! So, it’s very important to know how something charges and for how long it lasts. Some of the models that you’ll see will have a rechargeable ion or lithium battery built-in.
Some will just need batteries from the store, and some of those will eat them easily. There are also sometimes issues with displays as well, so you just have to do your research and know what you are wanting and expecting from an item.
Portability and Use
Here is one that a lot of people overlook. What kind of radar do I need is a big question that sometimes goes overlooked. If you are someone that is coaching, actively on the field, you aren’t going to have as much time to be lugging one around.
In today’s market, there are options to combat this. In the reviews below, there are items that can help you tackle this problem.
There have been all kinds of answers to this problem, and there’s sure to be even more answers coming in the years to come as manufacturers continue to get better and better at what they do. Just remember, that a radar gun is going to have generally be held by someone, and they will have to point and then likely record the results.
This isn’t always desirable, so you need to know that there are additional options out there for you to look into!
Best Radar Gun and Sport Measurement Device Reviews
1. Stalker Sport 2 Radar Gun
If you want to get as close to being a scout as possible, then this is the best choice for you. This is a Major League-level radar gun, full of features that will be sure to make you happy for a long time to come.
This does come at a hefty price, but for the price, you will get some really cool things that set it apart. First of all, this radar gun has a 300-foot range.
You can measure incredible distances with it, and the 300 feet is the longest of anyone in this market. It will measure speeds from 5 to 150 mph, and it’s accurate to +/- 1. So it is a very accurate gun! It will also measure speeds of objects coming toward you and away from you, so you even have that to count on.
- An incredible range that you can measure
- Used by all MLB teams
- Very accurate
- Very pricey
- Might not be necessary for smaller teams
2. Pocket Radar Ball Coach
The Pocket Radar is a newer take on the radar gun, and it comes in at a moderate to slightly high price range. The Pocket Radar isn’t a radar “gun”, instead, it looks a lot more like a remote controller of something or even a cell phone from a distance.
This “phone” allows you to easily fit it into your pockets as you go to the field or court, which can make it much easier to lug around. Many people find issues with protecting their gun from the weather when they aren’t using it, but it’s very easy to do so with this model.
The beauty of this model is that it allows you to coach or scout without having to hold it all of the time. If you are in session, you can put it on a tripod or even on the fence, and you will be able to walk away from it and do what you need to do!
It’s great for use with all sports, not just baseball as well, so this is a very versatile tool that could be used for various school teams. It tracks the last 25 speeds by memory as well, so you don’t have to sit along and record them!
- Has a great memory
- Hands-free mode is great for coaching
- Very easy to carry
- Doesn’t look like a big “GUN”
- Slightly expensive
- Not quite as accurate as other radar ‘guns’
3. Stalker Radar Pro II Baseball Radar Speed Gun
If you are truly looking for all of the bells and whistles, and you don’t mind paying for them, then this is your best bet. The Stalker Pro 2 is a step above everything, and it would be a great addition to the highest level of scouts out there.
This model is different from the first Stalker we saw because this one has a rechargeable lithium battery. It also looks a lot more heavy-duty than the previous Stalker, as the gun itself has a hard shell and is fully black.
As well as being great for baseball, it’s perfect for tennis too! This is a good gun if you want a little bit of versatility for sure! For baseball, you can accurately clock speeds from as far as 500 feet away!
This is absolutely crazy, and it means you truly have a top-notch gun if you’re in the upper tier of coaching or scouting.
This gun also will measure the speed of the pitch and the speed of the ball as it’s been hit, so you can be sure you’re going to get your money’s worth if you do decide to pay such a high price.
Not that it’ll be the first priority on your list, but it can also clock speeds of an automobile from over 2 miles! Way cool!
- Very long-distance range
- Also great for automobiles
- Records multiple readings
- Extremely expensive
- Overkill for most people
4. Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun
At around 15 times less expensive than the #3 model on our list, the Bushnell is a great alternative if you want a good inexpensive, no-frills gun. The Bushnell is one of the most popular guns out there because it comes at a very low price, and it’s easy to find.
There isn’t much to this one, but there doesn’t have to be. This is an excellent option for anyone that coaches a small team or anyone that just wants a radar gun to toy around with as well.
It has a huge display that you can easily read, uses the simple point and shoot method, and it is fairly accurate.
The Bushnell won’t measure nearly as far as the Stalkers will, but it’s still accurate to +/- 1 mph. This means that no matter if the speed is between 5 or 100 mph, you can count on the gun to be decently accurate.
You must be at least 10 feet away from the object you are measuring, so you need to keep that in mind! This model will also measure auto racing speeds if you are up to 1500 feet away, so it is also versatile like the others that we have seen.
- Great, low price
- Good from short distances
- Still moderately versatile in use
- Not intended for use with higher-level coaches or professionals
- Accuracy is a bit off
5. Jugs Gun — Sports Radar Gun
The next entry on the list is from JUGS. It’s a very accurate and precise gun that is tailored to the baseball/softball industry specifically. With state-of-the-art technology (like Digital signal processing) the Jugs gun has an accuracy index of ±0.5 mph.
It measures in both MPH and KPH and captures speeds from 5 – 140 mph. It has a distance range of 300 feet.
It also features a data port for computer transfer.
A variety of operating modes (read about them HERE) are available to give you ultimate versatility and convenience, and the rechargeable batteries take about 2 hours to charge and they last up to a week of normal, daily usage.
The 2-year guarantee speaks to the quality and pro-level durability of this gun!
- Very accurate
- Has a great warranty on it
- Exceptional pro features and lots of versatility
- Incredible battery life
- Not affordable for many minor league coaches
6. Sports Sensors Glove Radar
Here is an option for someone who is playing a sport that requires the use of a glove to catch. Baseball and softball come to mind right off the top of the head, but a hockey goalie would also be able to use this.
Outside of that, the practicality of this glove radar will make it practically useless. This is a cool piece of technology, and it really shows how far things are coming. The sensor just has strings that you tie to the outside of the glove.
This is good for instant feedback and great for those that don’t have a lot of personnel around to help measure the speed.
It’s an excellent tool to help pitchers reduce the tension on their arms by making themselves more consistent pitch after pitch. And it would likely also do the same for hockey players as well!
It is said to be able to measure at +/-1 mph to other more accurate radars, and it comes at a very low and reasonable cost to you. You do wonder a little about its durability if it does happen to get hit or dropped, but for the money, you’re going to get what you pay for here!
- Very portable and easy to use when short on numbers
- Very good price once again
- Helps develop consistent habits and patterns
- Not great for anything other than use with gloves
- Not as accurate as hand-held devices are
7. Sports Radar Tracer SRA3000
OK, it’s got to be said: this one looks like a hairdryer! I mean REALLY… It’s IDENTICAL! Nevertheless, it’s a good option for someone that wants a radar gun, and that wants to pay a fairly moderate price for one.
This one does require a heck of a lot of batteries as it says it will need six AAA’s. That’s kind of crazy. Let’s hope they last a long time!
This is a gun that is going to be decently accurate, but it will not get you the same amount of accuracy that you will see with guns that cost much more.
Still, yet, this is a versatile option for those that are wannabee scouts, or maybe you would want fork out a little bit of extra money to use this one for Little League or tee ball practices.
Many users have said that they could record measurements at about 200 feet from a car, so that’s not a really great distance there if that’s your purpose…
You certainly wouldn’t be able to measure the speed of a ball from very far away if that is the case. Oh, and it does have an awful return policy, so buyer beware on this one.
- Decent price
- Great for parents and youth coaches
- Very light and easy to move around
- Uses a lot of batteries
- Not overly accurate, even against cheaper models
8. SKLZ Bullet Ball Speed Detection Training Ball
We go from one end of the spectrum to the other with SKLZ on this item. This detection device is specifically made just for baseball as it is a baseball with a radar built into it! This is a very interesting idea, and it just the kind of stuff that SKLZ likes to bring onto the market.
Even if the item doesn’t work as well as advertised, it’s still seen as a novelty item and people tend to flock to things like it.
The ball itself is at a very low price, compared to detection devices, but it’s quite expensive compared to the cost of a regular baseball that you would use on the field. So, depending on how you approach the question, you could be happy or a little disappointed.
This is a standard-sized baseball, so it is meant for use by players that have reached the age at which they will not have the size of the ball get any larger.
So this isn’t great for smaller kids or anything like that, and it won’t do for softball or any other sport. It simply has a built-in display in it and it will read speeds up to 120 mph.
The ball itself, when thrown, is said to be a bit off-putting and different from a regular baseball, so it may not be the greatest training tool a pitcher could ever have.
- Great price, unless you just want a regular baseball
- Built-in detection good for solo use
- Something cool to show friends or family
- The movement of the ball is very strange when thrown
- Tends to get stuck on one-speed measurement
9. Sports Radar Speed Gun SR3600
Here’s a gun that makes it on our list but barely. Why?
Well, it makes it because it won’t cost an arm and a leg (like some guns over the $1K mark might) and it’s touted to be quite accurate, and even users with some negative experiences, say it’s built well and has good accuracy for the price.
It can display mph and kph as most can, and it catches speeds between 10 and 250 miles per hour. It can work on balls at a distance of 60 feet and up to 1000 feet for larger objects like cars.
The 20-hour battery life is another good quality of this gun, and it only uses 2 9v batteries.
At 1.5 lbs, it’s not too obtrusive, and it’s designed to fit perfectly on the top of any photography tripod.
It features a data port that not only can be attached to a computer, but it can also be attached to an LED display so you can see your own speed data without needing someone else to hold the gun and relay information to you.
The accuracy variable is ±1 mph.
- Point and shoot technology
- Displays in MPH and KPH
- Trigger or continuous modes
- Option to use AC power
- Hands-free mode
- Data Port
- Audio indicator
- Not pro-quality durability (external housing and wiring)
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
There are a lot of different gimmicks out there on the market today that you can find to help you better measure your speed. Whether you’re using it for baseball, cars, or tennis, you can find something great without breaking the bank.
If you are looking for something that is discreet and can be used for multiple sports, the remote sensor by Pocket Radar is definitely the way you should go.
If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks for the very best in baseball technology, you can turn to the Stalkers!
And if you really just want something different, then you can look toward the bottom of the list for items that will turn the heads of others and give you some enjoyment. No matter what you’re looking for, it’ll definitely be much easier to find now!