A rangefinder is a nifty piece of tech that tells you the nose-to-nose distance between you and your target. While it has applications in various fields like hunting and archery, it has become a staple in almost every golfer’s kit. For serious golfers who have superior range control, a good rangefinder can allow them to accurately adjust their swing, while for beginners, it can serve as an essential training aid, helping them develop a sense of range.
With the increase in the usage of rangefinders and the consequent inundation of the market with products that claim to be the best for you, finding the best rangefinder for yourself can be a strenuous task. But fear not, for we have compiled this buying guide precisely for the purpose of helping you see through the unnecessary information and focus on the aspects of a rangefinder that actually matter.
In order to know which rangefinder suits you best, you will need to be familiar with the products that are currently leading the market. Therefore, I have compiled a list of the best rangefinders on the market to satisfy your golfing needs.
Best Golf Rangefinders
1. Best Overall
The TecTecTec returns yardage almost immediately as long as there are no obstacles in its way. Operating it is fairly straightforward; simply point in the required direction and press the power button. The through-the-lens display allows the user to take quick and efficient measurements. Also visible on display, are the distance and the battery meter. The results are vividly clear even up to 6x magnification, which is again better than most rangefinders at this price. The eyepiece can be turned to help focus it, resulting in very sharp images.
The pin sensor technology is ideal for measuring the distance from golf flags. In different circumstances, it can be used to measure the distance from hazards and wooded areas in either yards or meters. On top of all these remarkable features, also add a very sleek and durable casing. It is water and dust-resistant, which makes it an ideal tool to carry while playing golf or even hunting. The full package comes with a two-year guarantee and makes use of CR2 batteries. It is an excellent option for most outdoor activities.
2. Runner Up
Precision Pro Golf - NX7
The NX7 isn’t like most rangefinders which will give immediate feedback upon the push of a button. Instead, it must first be turned on, and then once the measurement has been registered, it will vibrate. This results in more precise readings, as you are able to lock the location and not the obstructions behind it. The Adaptive Slope Technology lets the user select either elevation measuring slope or the tournament-legal non-slope mode, a useful feature for anybody looking for precise distance measurement. Its Target Acquisition Technology (TAG) combined with an easy to understand interface, allows objects to be scanned in field view, again allowing for more accuracy.
Compared to other models, this handheld gadget has a more colorful appearance with its green rubber lining and hexagonal grooves, which add a lot of personality to the product. The complete package comes with a two-year warranty and battery replacement services. Based on a two-day-a-week average, the battery can last up to a year. Like most rangefinders, it runs on a single CR2 battery. This product is an ideal option for the smart golfer.
3. Dual Display Pick
Bushnell Tour X Laser
Bushnell is the leading brand in laser golf rangefinders, which should not come as a surprise since it has a range between 5 and 1300 yards with an accuracy of +/- .5 yards. It comes with two faceplates, red for the iconic slope technology and black for the tournament-legal settings. The overall casing of the gadget gives it a durable and sporty style, reinforced by the durable and waterproof materials used. It also has a rubber ring around the eyepiece for added comfort.
It also comes with dual display technology, which is great for all lighting conditions. It allows the user to toggle between either a bright red display or a sharp black display. One version also comes with a mirrored lens, which keeps the glare of the sun out. However, this model only works in the brightness of the sun; in any other case, the pins are not visible.
It also comes with JOLT technology, which gives feedback in the form of vibration to ensure that the target has been locked, making usage rather intuitive. Like most rangefinders, it also comes with a two-year warranty and a CR2 battery. This is a reliable brand and a great option for somebody who is just starting out.
4. Best Ergonomic Design
Tour Momentum – Tour X
This model is ideal for the competitive golf player. It can accurately measure distances up to 650 yards and is a delight to use in the process. It is on the heavier side, as it weighs almost double what its competitors weigh, which is a fair price to pay considering the high-quality, durable materials used. The casing is water-resistant, which means there will be no problems using it in the rain—it should be noted, however, that it is not waterproof.
This rangefinder also comes with a through-the-lens display and is complete with measurements in both meters and yards, and a battery display as well. The complete purchase includes the usual CR2 battery and also a durable sleeve case and lens cloth. Its ergonomic design allows for very comfortable use and has an accessible control button, all constantly keeping the user in mind. Its black and white body reduces the possibility of losing it on a golf bag with a dark lining, yet the colors look nice and sophisticated.
5. Best Comfort Grip
Wosports Golf Rangefinder
This rangefinder is a safe option for beginners. It is a multifunctional golf rangefinder which has four separate modes. Mode one is the standard setting for continuous measurements and targeting. Mode two, which is also common to most rangefinders, is the pin seeker, which will vibrate once the target has been locked. It can also measure the distance between two pins, and the reading will appear on the screen. Mode three is similar to mode two;, it is designed to take slope into account.
The fourth mode is the added unique feature, which can determine the speed of the object. This is a feature rarely used in golf itself, but it can be handy in other sports and even hunting. In mode three, it allows for a more accurate swing by showing a reading of the angle at +/- 20 degrees. Unlike most rangefinder brands, Wosports only offers a one-year warranty, but like most rangefinders, this model comes with a CR2 battery and a sleeve for protection. It is certainly a great option for people who have hobbies outside of golf.
6. Most Compact Design
Nikon Coolshot 20
The Nikon Coolshot comes with an interesting component of usability. It happens to be the most compact and lightweight rangefinder Nikon produces, one that is exceptionally easy to carry. The small size also allows you to easily store it in the pocket of your golf bag. Nikon ensures that you manage to measure distance accurately by introducing a first target lock technology. This means that the rangefinder is preset to consider only the closest object even in a cluster of objects. You do not have to worry about hitting the wrong target even when playing in a crowded setting.
One other feature that enhances the functionality of this product is the continuous measurement scanning feature. What this basically does is by simply pressing the power button once, the Coolshot goes into scanning mode for the next eight seconds. So if you want to quickly scale a crowded environment, instead of having to press a button each time you measure the distance from any point, you can press the power button once and point the rangefinder toward various points. The fact that the Coolshot also comes with two batteries instead of just one makes it even more reliable on the course.
7. Smallest Pick
Bushnell Tour Z6
This device comes in a rather retro casing almost similar to that of a cassette player. This visual style may appeal to a younger audience. It comes with the frequently talked-about pin seeker feature and JOLT technology, which gives feedback in the form of vibrations when a target is locked. Unlike most rangefinders, this one is not just rainproof but fully waterproof. This is a feature which is useful in other sports such as hunting.
It ranges from 5 to 1,300 yards with +/- 0.5 accuracy from 5 to 125 yards. This is a device for the professional who knows exactly what they need from a rangefinder, especially for tournaments.
This model makes use of second-generation E.S.P., which is so accurate that from 5 to 125 yards it gives a precision of one-tenth of a yard. This may not seem like the most useful feature for the casual golfer, but it greatly helps the professional improve. The Vivid Display Technology makes the readings easier to register and overall more comfortable to use.
8. Other Great Pick
Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT
The Bushnell Tour V4 brings a simple design and professional grade efficiency to the table. Like most other products on this list, it has the additional pin-seeker mode with JOLT technology. While this feature is reliable for the most part, some customers have reported having to make three to five tries before they receive the JOLT feedback. Even though it only comes with a range of 5 to 1000 yards, it boasts an accuracy of +/- 1 yard up to 400 yards. This model also allows for the standard 5x magnification of the display.
More importantly, with Bushnell’s technological backing, you have access to a highly reliable slope mode. It is worth noting that despite having this feature, the Bushnell Tour V4 has been made legal for tournaments provided that the slope feature is turned off. In addition to all this, you also get the rangefinder in a premium case which allows for ease of storage and transport. The whole package comes with a two-year warranty. Overall, the Bushnell is a decent starting option for serious players, but does not seem to compete well with other products in terms of features.
Golf Rangefinder: Complete Buying Guide
As you may have put together by now, a rangefinder, at its core, is a device for measuring distance, but what we are more interested in is its role in golf. A golf rangefinder is a special kind of rangefinder that has been adapted to use on the golf course. It is designed for players to mark yardage between themselves and their targets.
Types of Rangefinders
As of now, golf rangefinders primarily rely on two technologies: lasers and GPS. You will find three common types of rangefinders on the market.
- Golf laser Rangefinders
- Golf GPS handheld rangefinders
- Golf GPS watches
However, the question of which one is the best option out of the three largely depends on the player themselves. Numerous factors such as the player’s own personal style and preference, cost, prevalent climate, and playing conditions etc. determine many players’ choice of rangefinders.
Nevertheless, a general overview of each type of rangefinder shows that while a laser rangefinder is quick, accurate and versatile, it falls short in the weather resistance department. On the other hand, handheld GPS rangefinders can take longer to provide an accurate reading but are practically independent of whatever weather conditions you are in. So, more often than not, you will need to strike your own balance in this regard.
Why use a Golf Rangefinder?
In golf, the importance of knowing the exact distance between the flag and you cannot be overstated. It determines how much force you apply and which club you will use. A better idea of the distance means more accurate shots, and more accurate shots mean a better round of golf.
Therein lays the value of rangefinders. As devices that have assumed the responsibility to let you know the distance between yourself and the target, they eliminate the time-consuming process of manually estimating yardage. This will make for a more fruitful day on the course, where you will spend more time playing and less time thinking.
For newer players especially, rangefinders also work as confidence boosters. By offering the security of having an accurate estimate of distance, they allow players to confidently make a decision regarding what kind of shot they want to take.
If you are playing informally, you can even use the slope correction features in your rangefinder, since accounting for slopes and elevations is virtually impossible when making estimations manually. This too can help you save precious time and energy.
So all in all, the most important reason to buy a rangefinder is just so that you can simply have a more enjoyable and less tedious round of golf.
Essential Qualities of a TopGolf Rangefinder
This one is a no-brainer when you think about it. Remember that all rangefinders are accurate to within a range of one or two yards. The question here is not regarding how accurate the rangefinder is but rather how consistent this accuracy is. Here, once again, the type of rangefinder becomes relevant. With a GPS rangefinder, you are basically relying on a satellite to map out the distance for you, so it is essential to download the course onto your device in order to use it. This makes the process slower and more complicated, but at the same time, more reliable.
Similarly, you need to be mindful of the fact that the accuracy statistics that are advertised to us are those observed under optimal conditions. Range plays an important role here. Both a high-quality rangefinder and a substandard rangefinder will give you accurate readings for a target 50 yards away, but the same comparisons will yield very different results when the same target is 200 yards away.
The second important feature in a rangefinder is activity. This means how fast your rangefinder works, but it is important to remember that this goes beyond how fast the technology works. As far as technology is concerned, laser rangefinders obviously excel, but it also comes down to the build quality, and the on-course conditions.
One of the often-overlooked factors in most products is how they are designed and their ease of usage. This includes various parameters such as display, size, weight, and ergonomics.
Even the best of technologies and build qualities are no use if they do not translate into concrete results, which in this case means an improved playing experience. While purchasing a rangefinder, be sure to test the product out and assess it while keeping in mind that you will have to spend a considerable amount of time holding and carrying the product.
Also, remember that it is not enough that the display is attractive. Since the conditions on the course during an actual round are much different from when you are playing around with the device in the store, the display needs to be simple enough for you to be able to use the rangefinder without any hassle while you are on the course.
Other Features to look for When Buying a Rangefinder
Knowing the maximum possible range of your golf rangefinder is of paramount importance. It tells you what the limitations of your rangefinder are. Most rangefinders will perform accurately within a distance of 400 yards. Also, do not discount the possibility that the range claimed by the manufacturer may be exaggerated.
You can never be sure how well a rangefinder works unless you try it out. Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford to try every product out, so it helps to have access to feedback provided by people who actually have experience using the product. It always helps to know of reliable online resources where you can access authentic customer reviews of products you desire to purchase. The main benefit of reading customer reviews is that you can have an impartial evaluation of the product’s performance.
USGA or PGA approval is important when choosing golf rangefinders, especially if you intend to take part in tournaments. Make sure that the rangefinder you opt for is in the list of rangefinders approved by the USGA so that you can use it in competition.
On the topic of USGA approval, bear in mind that the USGA prohibits the use of rangefinders that are slope enabled in tournaments. But at the same time, if you are a casual golfer or want to keep one with slope mode just for personal use, it can definitely make for an enjoyable round.
Budget is one of the most important considerations one has to make when purchasing anything. When it comes to rangefinders, it is better to stay in the general price range where you can buy a rangefinder from a reliable manufacturer. Beyond that point, it is, more often than not a trade-off between affordability and features. Regardless, it is advisable to not go for something that is too low in quality.
The manufacturer of a rangefinder tells you a whole lot. There is a reason that companies like TecTecTec and Bushnell have the kind of place that they do in the rangefinder industry. It is because they have built a reputation for being reliable over the years, which is not something to ignore. It is best to opt for a well-reputed manufacturer’s product over others.
At the end of the day, the best rangefinder is the one that helps you get the most out of your golfing experience, and it is not necessary that the best product on paper will be the best product for you. However, with these guidelines in mind, you can at least make an informed decision regarding which rangefinder works best for you. That way, you will eventually make an informed buying decision and end with a rangefinder that fits your golfing needs.