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iFetch started out as an idea while a kid was trying to do his homework and the family pet would not stop badgering him for some play time. The pet was picked up by the kid’s grandfather and this gave birth to a fun family project that debuted on Kickstarter in June 2013.
With $88,000 in pledges and more than 1,000 people backing the project, iFetch was born. The idea is simple: create a device that would throw a ball for your pet to fetch, allowing you to continue working while keeping your furry family member preoccupied.
The first iFetch became a success with pet owners and earned several awards to boot. These included “Best New Product” and “Best in Show” at the 2013 Superzoo. Since then, there have been two other iFetch products: iFetch Too and iFetch Frenzy.
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The original iFetch automatically launches miniature tennis balls measuring 1.6 inches into the hole you find on top of the device.
You can either put the ball in yourself, or have your dog put the ball back into the hole after fetching it. This will allow your dog to play by itself and not bother you. What’s more, the company has included a video that teaches you how to train your dog to put the ball into the hole.
This will help your dog learn about fetch and recall.
You can take iFetch indoors or outdoors. Depending on how big your play area is, you can set iFetch to throw the balls anywhere from 10 feet, 20 feet or 30 feet. That means you can play indoors without the tennis balls hitting walls and bouncing all over the place.
If you are playing indoors, you can plug it into any wall outlet. Meanwhile, you can use six C batteries if you plan to take the fun outside.
You would appreciate how this device was conceptualized and designed by a family of dog lovers.
Once you try it with your dogs, you’ll see how everything just works, from the way it throws the ball, to pandering to your dog’s inherent love of unlimited fetching, to that gurgling sound when the machine is about to release the ball which gives your dog some sort of signal.
Nothing about the device should be scary to your dogs.
What you would love about the original iFetch
iFetch is clearly designed by dog lovers for dogs. It has smooth edges and follows a rounded theme all throughout. It looks modern yet playful. The device is made with quality materials guaranteed to last a long time. Also, the design is one-of-a-kind and unmistakable.
If you lose the tuft ball provided, you can get extra balls for only $12.50 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) for a pack of five balls.
And if you do not like tennis balls for fear they might damage your dog’s teeth when picking it up or chewing on it, you will surely love the fact that you can replace the tennis balls with any lightweight rubber ball measuring 1.6 inches in diameter. You can also use squash balls.
This might result in some jamming, where the iFetch might not throw the squash balls out for some reason. If this happens, you just need to unplug the device and fish the ball out.
Jamming does not happen when you use the official iFetch ball, so it is probably good news that the company is planning to come out with a smooth rubber ball for iFetch in the future.
iFetch would throw the ball even if you or your dog is standing right in front of it. Some dog owners might think that this could hurt their dogs and could keep their pets from interacting with the device in the future.
However, most dog owners notice that their dogs do not mind this. This does not seem to hurt the dogs and some even try to get the ball as soon as it shoots out of the machine.
Still, for some dogs, it would have been better if the iFetch has sensors that would detect if something is in front of it and if it has the ability to wait until the coast is clear before throwing out the ball.
However, this has been discussed by the people behind iFetch on their Kickstarter page, and they explained that they since they want to keep the price low for the device, they decided to forego on the sensor.
If you live in an area where you get a lot of rain or if you find yourself cooped up indoors a lot, you and your dog can still have fun with iFetch. You do not even have to go to the park for this.
For busy dog lovers, having iFetch means they no longer have to feel guilty about neglecting their furry friends, or having to choose work over playtime.
This is also a great help for dog owners who have limited movement, or those who have problems throwing things such as those suffering from arthritis. They can still give their dogs quality playtime.
iFetch in a nutshell:
- Uses balls that measure 1.6” in diameter. Three balls are included in the box.
- Launches the balls out to 10 feet, 20 feet and 30 feet.
- Great for small and medium-sized dogs.
- Price: $115.00 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
- Dimensions: 9″ diameter x 8″ tall
- Weighs 2.5 pounds with batteries
iFetch Too works similarly to the original iFetch, but it is ideal for big dogs. The original iFetch can throw balls that are only 1.6 inches in diameter and this can be too small for big dogs.
iFetch Too can throw standard sized tennis balls with a diameter of 2.5 inches. It can launch a ball 10 feet, 25 feet or 40 feet out. You can flip a switch to vary the distance so that your dog will have more fun guessing how far the ball would be thrown.
The felted ball is also friendly for your dog’s teeth, but you could use the Planet Dog Glow Ball that iFetch is also selling, for only $12.95 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
iFetch Too is also ideal for outdoor play as it can throw balls up to 40 feet out. Other than that, iFetch Too works pretty much like the original iFetch. You can also train your dog to leave the ball on the device so that they could play on their own.
In this case, you can set your iFetch Too to throw the ball out for random distances.
Another difference is that iFetch Too uses a rechargeable battery, so you do not have to waste money buying the 6 C batteries that you need to make the original device portable. The package comes with an AC charger that you can use using any power source.
iFetch in a nutshell:
- Uses balls that measure 2.5” in diameter. Three balls are included in the box.
- Launches the balls out to 10 feet, 25 feet and 40 feet.
- Great for medium-sized and big dogs.
- Price: $199.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
iFetch Frenzy, the third device from the same company, is for small to medium-sized dogs. Unlike the first two iFetches, Frenzy does not need to be plugged in and has no need for batteries. It does not really launch the ball; you only need to place it on a flat surface, put in the ball and start playing.
There are three chutes on the base of the iFetch Frenzy. The ball can come out of any one of these chutes at random, so that your dog would have to guess which chute the ball is going to come out of.
As such, iFetch Frenzy is not only a great physical exercise but is also a test of your dog’s mental faculties. Your dog would surely enjoy the guessing game and you can see it actively engaged when playing with iFetch Frenzy.
You can observe your dog trying to guess where the ball would roll out of next.
The iFetch Frenzy may work differently from the other iFetch devices, but your dog can still have lots of fun with it. You can also train your dog to put the ball back into the hole so that it could play on its own.
Instead of attending to your dog, you are free to help your kids with their homework, clean the house, or do other stuff.
The iFetch Frenzy is ideal for those who live in smaller apartments because it uses less force and launches the balls to roll on the floor.
It uses the same-sized balls as the original iFetch and, after playing, you can hide away these balls in a built-in storage compartment so that you do not lose any of them.
iFetch Frenzy in a nutshell:
- Non-electronic, does not need batteries, does not need to be plugged in.
- Uses balls that measure 1.6” in diameter.
- Three balls are included in the box, and have a hidden storage for these balls.
- Great for small and medium-sized dogs.
- Price: $39.95 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
How to choose
What’s the perfect iFetch for you and your dog? If you have a small or medium-sized dog, you can choose between the iFetch Frenzy or the original iFetch. The original iFetch is great for both indoor and outdoor playtime and can provide great physical exercise for your furry friends.
However, if you and your dog like to stay mostly indoors and you would like to challenge your dog with a simple puzzle figuring out where the ball would come out next, then go for the iFetch Frenzy. Meanwhile, the iFetch Too is great for big dogs who like playing outdoors.
The Final Word
iFetch has designed a range of automatic ball launchers for dogs of different sizes. All of these devices are fun and engaging for your dogs and can help you make sure that your dog gets all the play time it wants while also giving you the freedom to do other things.
All iFetch products have everything you need, but the company also provides extra balls for sale and even other accessories such as the AC charger for the iFetch Too and the adaptor for the original iFetch. These devices are also very easy to clean and the balls are not going to harm your dog’s teeth.
It is easy to see that the people behind iFetch are dog lovers themselves and they saw a need and came up with a solution to help fellow dog-lovers keep their pets happy.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!