Best Rangefinder: A Buyer’s Guide

By Larry Baron

Best Rangefinder

Rangefinders are a must have if you’re frequently going out for hunting or if you want to one up your golf gaming. Having one will aid you in getting a better accuracy with your bow, knowing where to aim with your rifle or which golf club to use.

I use the best rangefinders for my favorite sports, hunting and golfing. There are other applications for them but I can’t say I’m an expert in choosing a right rangefinder for other jobs.

Depending on the type of rangefinder you’re looking, you’ll want to take notice on different aspects, key points and features. With all of these concepts and modes of operation, choosing the best range finder might be stressful since there are specialized devices for very specific needs.

It should be relevant for you to know exactly where you’ll be using your device and what features you’d like it to have. I’ll show you here different types of rangefinders for your specific need as well as brands and features you might want to take a look at. I also did some reviews on the best rangefinders that are recommended by buyers and by me.

Best Rangefinder Comparison Table

Image

Model

Range

Magnification

Price

Rating

Nikon 8397 ACULON

550 yards

6x

$$

Bushnell Michael Waddell

600 yards

4x

$$

Bushnell Team Primos

850 yards

4x

$$

4 Best Rangefinder

Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Edition

1000 yards

5x

$$$

5 Best Rangefinder

TecTecTec VPRO500

540 yards

4x

$$

6 Best Rangefinder

Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT

500 yards

6x

$

Vortex Optics Ranger RRF-101

1000 yards

6x

$$$$

8 Best Rangefinder

Bushnell Scout DX 1000

1000 yards

6x

$$

9 Best Rangefinder

Simmons 801600 Volt 600

600 yards

4x

$

10-best-rangefinder

Breaking 80 IS800

880 yards

6x

$$

Different Types of Rangefinders

The top rangefinders you’ll find in the market right now will measure with laser. They’re very reliable for their method of measurement. The device will send a laser pulse that will reflect off your target into your rangefinder. It will measure the time it took for the pulse to get back and calculate distance based on that. This is true for all the commercial laser rangefinders and you’ll find them specialized for different sports. It is important for you to know the different types of rangefinders depending on their application.

Bow hunting rangefinders

A common problem, if you’re new to archery, is knowing the path your arrow will take. Seasoned bow hunters know that you should aim a little bit higher from your target for you to get accurate hits. This is because arrow don’t fly in a straight path. Another issue you might come up with is having clearance at the top-most path of your arrow’s flight.

There are rangefinders that will compensate your angle of shot if you’re aiming uphill or downhill, thus giving you a reading of true horizontal distance. This is very handy with bow hunting because you’ll have a feeling of where to aim. If you’re a complete newbie, don’t worry. There are very specialized rangefinders that given some calibration on your arrow’s speed, it’ll tell exactly where to aim for you to hit on target.

Rifle hunting rangefinders

Some of the issues that come up with bow ranging and accurately aiming are transferred and magnified on rifle hunting. Since shooting with a rifle usually consists of way more distance between you and your target, compared to bow hunting, you’ll want to have an accurate measurement.

Specialized rifle hunting rangefinders will give you long range readings, going up to 1000+ yards. In others you’ll get specific measurements on where to aim depending on ballistics. These usually need some calibration on your specific parameters, but I’m sure you know what you’re doing if you use specialized equipment such as rifles.

You’ll want to look for at least 6x zoom and 800+ yard range in a device for your rifle hunting. For anything further up in that range scale, look for rangefinder binoculars or more specialized long range rangefinders.

Golfing rangefinders

I do some golfing on the side and let me tell you that it can get hard knowing exactly which golf club will get you nearest to the green. Hopefully you’ll know how much power you can deliver to the golf ball with your biggest iron. Based on that, downscaling your range will be a far easier job. However, you’ll also need to know the distance your ball has to travel in order to get you under par.

Before golfing as frequently as I do today, I tried to use one of my rangefinders to know how long my shot will be to get it near the pin. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll do the job fine but there are far better ways to do it with a golfing rangefinder. They come with pin seeker technology that will tag rapidly to the flag. Others will let you know once it has found the pin with a subtle vibration. It’s pretty handy for your game and it will be improved.

Multi-purpose rangefinders

Rangefinders will work fine if you want to range an object at a distance. It doesn’t matter if it comes specifically equipped for golfing or hunting, you’ll get a good reading on the yardage. However, if you want a more modest approach, a good multi-purpose will be best suited for you.

These are usually good for up to 600 yards and don’t come with the extra features that I told you on the other types of rangefinders. You’ll get a cheaper price for just the raw yard measurement. Some might come integrated with angle measurement too, which is a nice feature to have.

Top 5 rangefinder picks

Yardage, extra features, accuracy and price are some of the most important factors that you should be looking for in a new rangefinder. These are also the same points that will put one of these devices on the top list for best sellers according to customers.

Keep in mind that the usual rangefinder requires CR2 batteries and in some occasions, they won’t come with them. Be sure to order a pack of batteries with your rangefinder.

Viewing some rangefinder reviews can trim down your options based on what type of rangefinder you want to use. The following are some of the best rangefinder reccomendations according to buyers.

1. Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder

1 Best Rangefinder

This multipurpose rangefinder will help you greatly. It won’t matter if you’re hunting or golfing, you can seamlessly use it for any purpose. This rangefinder doesn’t come with any of the specialized features for hunting or golfing but it is great for an all-around reliable device.

It has a single button operation that will deliver fast readings upon pressing it.

A big limitation in most rangefinders is their range limit. You’ll get a maximum distance of 550 yards, which should be more than perfect for a versatile device. Most rangefinders have a minimum measurement of 10 yards, but the Nikon 8397 ACULON gives out consistent 5 yard or more readings. As an extra, it has multilayer coatings that will help you have a clear look within your scope.

2. Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x21mm

2-best-rangefinder

This is another versatile rangefinder. It’s very handy for any situation you might find yourself in.

The camo design might dissuade you from buying this one if you want it for golf; it might appear that it’s features special hunting options. But the Bushnell Michael Waddell can aid you with anything, from measuring sand traps to getting a range on your next target.

A common issue I have with the stuff I buy is their flimsy design and lack of ruggedness. I tend to break these things because they don’t support my heavy duty use! You’ll see that the Bushnell Michael Waddell will keep up, even in the harshest environments. It is rainproof and has a very sturdy design that will support any situation.

3. Bushnell Team Primos – The Truth ARC 4x20mm

3 Best Rangefinder

Going into different options and types of rangefinders, you’ll find the Bushnell Team Primos very useful for your bow hunting. A recurrent theme on bow hunters is the need to shoot a little bit higher so you hit on target.

This pocket sized instrument comes with Angle Range Compensation (ARC) optimized for bow hunting. This feature will tell you the true horizontal distance. It packs a bow mode that will display in your scope the line of sight, angle between you and your target and the distance.

It has a nice ergonomic design and an anti-slip finish. The maximum range for the Bushnell Team Primos is anywhere from 7 to 850 yards.

Some useful extras that are included with your purchase are the carrying case, neck strap and battery.

4. Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Standard Edition

4 Best Rangefinder

If you ask me for the optimal rangefinder option for your golfing, look no further as the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt packs in a ton of excellent features on a cheap price.

Golf rangefinders are characterized for having pin seeker technology that will prioritize on measuring the distance between you and the flag. You can be sure that the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt comes packed with this and other great features. Once it closes in on the flag, you’ll get a small vibration from the device to tell you that pin seeker got triggered.

This mode can be turned off if that’s not what you want and prefer a scan mode in your display. It is good for up to 1000 yards and has 5x magnification.

5. TecTecTec VPRO500

5 Best Rangefinder

Although the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt is my go-to option for a golf rangefinder, you can have more choices if you’re on a budget. One of these options is the TecTecTec VPRO500.

It has the same pin sensor technology that will help you measure overlapping subjects: Flags, hazards and wooded areas. Featuring multilayered optics, the display will be very easy to read. The lens displays distance and a handy battery meter.

The main difference between this one and the Bushnell is the range. You’re good to go for up to 540 yards with the TecTecTec VPRO500.

Here are 5 more options in case none of the above where what you were looking for. These, along with the last 5 choices, have good range finder reviews and are the top sellers according to their customers.

5 more rangefinder picks

· Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT

· Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 RRF-101

· Bushnell Scout DX 1000

· Simmons 801600 Volt 600

· Breaking 80 Golf Rangefinder IS800

Features to look for in a rangefinder

What should you look for in a rangefinder? I’ll point you out the main concerns you should have at the time you’re choosing for a good rangefinder:

· What will be the maximum distance between you and your targets?

· What’s your budget?

· Are you inclined into having specialized features?

These 3 questions will aid you at the moment you’re choosing. Let’s start with the first one.

You’ll find that most rangefinders are capable of at least 500 yards readings. If your distance between your targets is less than that you should consider one of the cheaper options in the market. You’ll notice that the price will increase with the measured range capability and the features that are included with your device. In case you’re ranging objects at 1000 yards or above, I’d recommend getting some rangefinder binoculars. Sure, they are way more expensive than a pocket sized rangefinder, but the accuracy at those ranges tends to get flimsy and the binoculars compensate for that.

Next point is your budget. You can buy yourself something great for less than $200. But if even this is a major setback for you, take a look at our cheap rangefinder article for some suggestions on a reliable but inexpensive option.

Finally, would you like to have pin seeker technology or ARC for your bow/rifle? If that is true, look into some of the specialized rangefinders we recommend. Whether it’s a rangefinder for golf, for rifle hunting or for bow hunting, you can be sure you’ll find the correct rangefinder here.

This video will help you out with knowing a bit more of the principles of ranging with a laser rangefinder. It will make you more informed on which device to choose for your application.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you’re hunting or golfing, a rangefinder will always come in handy. It will one up your hunt, get you less points in your golfing and make you more accurate in your shots. Rangefinder technology has advanced a ton in the last 5 years. Inexpensive and feature-rich devices are readily available for you in the market.

Using old and outdated methods for ranging has become obsolete because rangefinders will do a way better job for you. With laser technology, you can rely on having consistent and reliable readings with less than +/-1 yard accuracy.

You’ll surely find that rangefinders might be a good addition for photoshooting too. They can aid you by getting great focus and sharp pictures. Leica cameras are known for their good quality for this job.

Before making your purchase, always keep in mind the use you’ll be giving your rangefinder. The right choice will be the one that fits entirely on your needs.

Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com

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