Golf is and always will be a game of skill but why not use every possible advantage before you start counting strokes. The best golf rangefinder is one of the surest methods of improving your score through a number of different features that are specifically aimed at the golfer. You will still need to read they lay of the land but at least you can remove a few variables between you and the green.
Table of Contents
- Choosing a Golf Rangefinder
- Rangefinders VS GPS
- Effective Tips & Tricks for Using Golf Rangefinders
- Top 10 Best Golf Rangefinder on the Market Review
- 1 Bushnell Pro X2 Golf Laser Rangefinder
- 2 Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT Golf Laser Rangefinder
- 3 Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder (US Version)
- 4 Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder
- 5 Precision Pro Golf - Nexus Golf Rangefinder
- 6 Saybien Rechargeable Golf Rangefinder with Slope
- 7 TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder
- 8 SUAOKI Digital Laser Rangefinder Scope
- 9 Wosports W600
- 10 SereneLife Premium Golf Laser Rangefinder with Pinsensor
- Final Verdict
Choosing a Golf Rangefinder
There is a huge difference between an entry-level rangefinder and one of the solid, pro units. Sure, you can get by with a cheap golf rangefinder if your budget is tight but you should aim to spend as much as you need to get the tool that performs best. This requires a little up-front knowledge of the rangefinder market and the features you can expect to see.
Just a few years ago, Rangefinders were a little less common and often only manufactured by the better-known optics companies. Many of them including Nikon and Bushnell are still leading producers of rangefinders across all sports. They may have a focus in the hunting market but do manufacture some of the best golf specific rangefinders on the market. They even have a few models that can be used for both golf and hunting if you want a little diversity.
It shouldn’t be surprising with the growth of rangefinders for golf that many less well-known companies have jumped on the bandwagon. These range from those producing inexpensive units all the way up to some of the best optics manufacturers in the world such as Swarovski.
Most rangefinder brands are fairly close in most respects. As you move up in quality to a mid range or better model, you will get more features and probably more accuracy. Whether that is worth the additional cost is purely up to you but generally, you won’t pay a significant amount more until you get into the pro grade units.
One of the latest and most exciting advancements in rangefinder technology is the ability to lock on to the flag for perfect ranging. The name of the technology varies between brands monikers like PinSeeker, Pin-Lock, and Pin Acquisition Technology (P.A.T). Regardless of what they call it, the purpose and use are the same.
This technology recognizes the flag and gives you some sort of notification that it is aimed at the right location. This can be a visual cue inside the optic, a beep or audio signal, or vibration. A perpetual problem with rangefinders is making sure you have them aimed at the right thing. This little addition ensures you won’t have issues.
This feature is often left off of budget model rangefinders and may not be available on all high-end rangefinders. You will have to shop around but it’s worth it. You don’t know how good a rangefinder can be until you have tried one with pin sensor technology.
Almost as amazing as the pin sensor is the ability to read distances on a slope. I am pretty sure this came out of use in the forestry service for finding tree heights but has served many sports very well. Bow hunters use it for shooting from a tree stand. Golfers use it when the elevation change to the green warrants the need.
You should be aware that using a rangefinder that can read slope is not permitted to be used in any USGA sanctioned event. This says two things about rangefinders with slope mode. The first is that they must be able to drastically improve accuracy to warrant a ban. Second, that rangefinder use by professionals is common enough to have established rules.
With any outdoor product, durability is an issue. This is doubly so for handheld electronic devices. A rangefinder may not be your most expensive piece of kit but even a budget rangefinder isn’t exactly a throwaway item. Always check any features that your rangefinder has that will make it more likely to survive every outing you take it on.
At a minimum, a rangefinder needs to be resistant to any wet conditions or extreme temperatures it may have to endure. Golf is generally a fair weather sport but you never know when Mother Nature may throw a curve ball and you want to be ready. Most rangefinders, especially the good ones, will be water resistant or waterproof.
Most decent rangefinders are somewhat drop resistant and may have a rubberized armor to deal with any smaller accidents. This is also a necessity for any piece of gear you may be using in the field, whether that is golf, hunting, or anywhere else. It is likely to be dropped and you want something that will last.
Most rangefinders come with a lanyard that can be strapped around the neck. While this is very convenient for quick access, it won’t play well with your golf swing. Consider one of the many holsters or other storage options that exist. These are worth their weight in gold when it comes to keeping your investment safe while still allowing for quick access.
Rangefinders VS GPS
There are two types of golfers, at least where technology is concerned. Those that swear by a GPS and those that swear by a rangefinder. In truth, the rangefinder will always be superior with accuracy as long as it is used correctly. There is nothing wrong with using GPS, especially to check your rangefinder, but the two just don’t compare.
Any consumer grade GPS, including those in cell phones, are not as accurate as you would believe. They can be off as much as 20 feet under a clear sky and even farther in poor conditions. This may be accurate enough for some people but not for me. I want better!
Any decent rangefinder will be accurate within about 6 feet. If you have modes like a pin sensor, you can get much more accurate. It does take a little knowledge to work a rangefinder but with practice, you can get very accurate, some down to less than a yard.
As with any device, use what is effective and comfortable for you. If you haven’t tried a rangefinder, they are highly recommended by many golfers at shortening your game. It’s worth it to take one for a test run to see how you feel about them.
If you do go with a GPS rangefinder purpose-built for golf, be aware that you will have to have the current map, hazards, and pin location preloaded for it to be effective. This isn’t difficult but does require you to set up and prep the device before you play.
Effective Tips & Tricks for Using Golf Rangefinders
Use a Golf Specific Rangefinder
While any rangefinder is probably better than no rangefinder, you will be much better off getting one designed for your sport. The modes, controls, and features will be better designed to serve you. You won’t have to deal with issues related to another sport that could cause inaccurate readings.
Keep it Handy
While not having a rangefinder isn’t a good situation on today’s golf courses but it is better than having one and not keeping it with you. Why waste time and money for a device that stays at home or in your car. It’s bad enough to leave your rangefinder in your golf cart. It will never do its job unless it is with you at all times.
Learn Your Device
There are a ton of resources available to figure out the best practices and normal functions of your rangefinder. There are hundreds of websites, dozens of YouTube videos, and even your lowly product manual that can help you navigate your device for the best application. Make use of these resources.
It will take much less time to master the use of a rangefinder than it did your golf swing but it won’t happen overnight. Get used to the modes, features, setup, and how the device works first and then take it outside and use it. Practice on something of a known range and about the size of the pins on your favorite course. Getting an inaccurate reading can be costly and frustrating but the use of a rangefinder will become natural over time.
Range More than Once
Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how much you practice. When you are ranging, take more than one reading. Most people recommend three but there is no reason to do a third if your first two are fairly consistent. Think of it as best two of three and you should be fine. You can also check your accuracy by ranging things around the pin and comparing them with a course map or GPS.
Use the Correct Modes
Most golf specific rangefinders will have a pin mode and many have slope calculations. Learn how these work and their limitations. This can make a huge difference to the success you will see from a rangefinder. Pin mode can be finicky on cheaper devices so make sure that one is nailed down! You will use it more than any other.
Learn to Play Without It
You probably know how to play without a rangefinder unless you are new to golf as a whole. The idea is to use the rangefinder to be more accurate but you never want your game to depend on having to use it. You never know when batteries will die or the device will fall short of your expectations. Some holes are harder than others. You still need the basic skills of estimating distance, even with technology helping you. Besides, this is another way to check your readings.
Top 10 Best Golf Rangefinder on the Market Review
1 Bushnell Pro X2 Golf Laser Rangefinder
Let’s be frank, if you want to pull out all the stops and get the best rangefinder on the market, you want the Bushnell Pro. Hands down, this is the best quality, best rated laser rangefinder for golf on the market. And it should be from a company as well known in the optics community as Bushnell!
The list of standards on this rangefinder encompasses everything you could need a rangefinder to have. It has rubberized armor to keep it safe and is water resistant for those times that things turn bad. It has plenty of power with 6x magnification and can range a flag out to 450 yards with a max potential of up to 1300 yards. It is accurate to about half a yard which is simply astonishing. Even the highest dollar brands on the market can’t boast any better stats than that.
When it comes to extras, you get all of those too. It has slope calculations for when the course turns rough so you are spot on, no matter the angle. It also has PinSeeker with JOLT which means when it finds the pin, and it will, it will give you a little vibration warning so you know you have what you need. For the money, this is the best setup possible when you want to take the guesswork out of your play.
To top it off, you also get access to Bushnell’s Golf app for iPhone or for Android. This will help you maximize your game, with or without the rangefinder. When you have played with a course with these toys, you will be sold forever. There is not greater rangefinder for the hardcore golfer than the Bushnell PRO X2!
2 Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT Golf Laser Rangefinder
Yes, we have two Bushnell rangefinders in a row but with good reason! Maybe the price of the PRO was a little too much so instead, we offer this as the best rangefinder under 300 bucks on the planet! For the most part, you will get the features you really want out of this rangefinder but not to the level of the PRO.
As far as standard features, you will get all of the necessary goodies but at a somewhat lower level. It is still water resistant for bad weather and can take a little abuse just like its brother. You get 5x magnification that can reach pins out to 400 yards and a max range of about 1000 yards. The accuracy is a little less but at 1 yard accurate, you are never likely to notice a difference nor will it matter that much. This is still a top of the line rangefinder.
You do still get the same PinSeeker technology with JOLT to help you get a good, solid reading on the range you need. However, you will miss out on slope calculations. If the courses you play are mostly to completely flat, this is still a great option. Having a rangefinder with slope is preferable but hardly necessary for most golfers.
You will still get Bushnell’s awesome Golf app and all of the features that come with it. For beginners, this is a great rangefinder but if you can get the upgraded one, you should strongly consider it. While this is an amazing product in its own right, it simply does not compare to Bushnell’s best.
3 Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder (US Version)
Nikon is synonymous with quality in every optical market out there. From their cameras to their rifle scopes, they are world famous for amazing products. This compact rangefinder, and it is very compact, stands out for the amazing functionality alone though it falls short when it comes to having any additional features.
There is one thing about the Nikon Coolshot that really sets the bar high and that is the crystal clear optics. Even in low-light conditions, everything will pop into focus with this 6x power rangefinder. You max out general distance measurements when you hit 550 yards which is a solid distance. It may not stack up to some of the more full-featured models but it is far past what most people need.
If you want pin sensors and slope modes, you need to look elsewhere. That is a blow to this rangefinder in an all-out competition. Where it steps up its game is the size and weight. At only 4 ounces and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this fits in a pocket and is always ready when you need it.
All of this is, of course, backed by Nikon’s warranty and they even ship it with a spare battery if you opt for the 2 battery package. This is very recommended! Spare batteries can be hard to find elsewhere and you will probably need one eventually. If you don’t need a lot of features, this is an amazing rangefinder for under 200 bucks.
4 Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder
If you want a rangefinder purpose-built from the ground up for golf, look no further than the Calloway. This little rangefinder has pretty much everything you need and for a price that should fit most people’s budgets. This is definitely one of the best value rangefinders on the market and you won’t have to sacrifice much in the way of quality to get it.
With all optical devices, it starts with the glass and if Calloway had a low point, this would be it. However, at 6x power, glass is pretty forgiving and you probably won’t notice much change in usability because it’s a little foggy. When it comes to ranging though, this thing is excellent with ranging up to 1000 yards and pin recognition to around 400.
It does have advanced slope calculations, some of the best around, and Calloway’s on Pin Acquisition Technology. Both of these features are simply amazing and take much of the guess work out of longer shots. The P.A.T system is definitely worthy of note with its audible chirp to tell you that you have everything locked in and you are on target.
The Calloway 300 does have a thinner rubberized armor that should keep it safe in transport but dropping on a hard surface would likely do it in. It is water and fog proof for those off days with the weather. All in all, this is an amazing and highly usable rangefinder. It even has longer eye relief for glasses, be they prescription or sunglasses.
5 Precision Pro Golf - Nexus Golf Rangefinder
Precision is one of those companies that looks cheaply made at first glance but this is far from the truth of this amazing, small rangefinder. It may not pack in the features as some other rangefinders do, but it is 100% tournament legal and quite effective if used well. More than anything, it is simple to use, small to carry, and very accurate for the price.
Starting with the basics, this is a 6x magnification rangefinder that is accurate down to a 1-yard increment which should be more than adequate for most golfers. It measures down to 1/10th of a yard and can accurately reach out to better than 400 yards. You can set this to read in meters if you are a fan of metric but either way, you get solid data that you can use.
The Nexus is somewhat armored in rubber but mostly this serves as texture for added grip rather than any form of drop protection. However, it is water resistant for those days of dreary weather. Depending on where you play, that can happen more often than not.
If you order the whole kit, which is probably the best budget option, you will get the rangefinder, lithium battery, case, lanyard, and some other general goodies. This all adds to the value of an already decent rangefinder. If you have the money, I would spring for a full-featured model unless you plan on using this in competitions. Then, I would probably stick with this one.
6 Saybien Rechargeable Golf Rangefinder with Slope
When it comes to newer brands, it can sometimes be hard to put your faith into them to actually spend the money. That is understandable but the Saybien seems to be an astoundingly good rangefinder that works well and has about every feature you could ever want. Its small, lightweight, simple to use and very affordable.
Like most golf rangefinders, this Saybien is 6 power and can range out to 1300 yards, the same as many high-end rangefinders. However, when ranging a pin you are looking at closer to 200 yards which shows the difference between this and one of the better sights. Realistically, this doesn’t make the sight less usable but does require some understanding of a rangefinder to use effectively.
Where this budget rangefinder really begins to shine is with the additional functions it offers. For quite the bargain price you get a digital slope measure much like those on the Bushnell and Flag Lock which is the same as a pin finder mode. Both can be turned off to keep this tournament legal but for everyday use, they are an amazing example of smart engineering.
With plenty of power and a large readout in a small size, this is one of the better value model rangefinders out there. Sure, there are better overall rangefinders but none for the price of the Saybien. Get the best you can afford but when the budget runs short, get this one!
7 TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder
TecTecTec is a strange little company that started out with a very cheaply made but decent rangefinder. With the 2018 version, they decided to step it up and make a proper rangefinder that was really worth the money. The cost went up with the quality but still falls well below some of the higher-end models out there. It may not have everything but in the right hands, this is a rangefinder that will definitely do its job!
This is a 6x rangefinder and can accurately get you distances out to 500+ yards. This would be general distances and not to the pin. I am not sure any rangefinder has achieved a way to do that just yet. Still, it measures down to 1 meter accurate and uses a continuous scan to help you get right on target of what you are wanting a distance for.
This rangefinder does not have a slope mode if that is important to you. You can easily do without that if you live in a flatter area or want to take the time to learn to shoot elevation changes without technology. It does have a pin finder mode just like the rangefinder above and I that tends to work great out to about 300 yards or so, depending on weather and light.
As a part of the bundled package, you will also get a carry case, cleaning supplies, battery, and a quick start guide to get you going! It even comes with a 2-year warranty and lifetime customer support should have any issues at all. For the most part, you are never likely to use either but having them is a great show of faith in their products from Tectectec.
8 SUAOKI Digital Laser Rangefinder Scope
One of the great things about being a small company working to market affordable goods is that you can be forward-thinking and quite innovative. The pressure for each sell is less and because you get a lower price point, you are guaranteed some sells. Right in this niche is where you find the Suaoki Rangefinder which has many common features with other rangefinders but some you haven’t seen before.
On the surface, this rangefinder performs much like any other with 6x magnification and the ability to range accurately out to about 650 yards. Accuracy is about 1 yard which is very good for a rangefinder this affordable. Where the Suaoki begins to differentiate itself is in how it displays your range. It has the normal hut but also uses an external LCD screen for larger readouts and detailed information.
You also get slope calculations in the form of distance correction along with angle, height, and point to point measurements. It also has flag lock out to about 300 yards with good accuracy. This works as well as any on the market with the exception of range. You also get a fog mode for those extra tough days on the green.
All in all, there is a lot of high-end value in this mid-range rangefinder. It has stepped away from the tried and true in an effort to set itself apart from the competition. It has done this very well and ended up being one of the easiest to use rangefinders on the market. You should have little issue out of this product but if you do, Suaoki offers a full year warranty on this device.
9 Wosports W600
As we get closer to that magical under 100 dollar price, you do run the risk of getting cheap trash rather than a usable tool. Extra care needs to be taken because not all rangefinders are created equal. They are a precision tool that can’t be cobbled together and still work correctly. This is the realm of brands like Wosports.
The W600 is their flagship rangefinder and despite the price, is a very decent 6x rangefinder that can accurately measure down to 1 meter as far away as 600 meters. If you are looking for fine distance on a flag pole, you may get closer to 300 meters but that is still a solid distance that most rangefinders can’t provide.
You will get a slope mode that works as well as any other rangefinder on the market and pin lock technology that is among the easiest to use and helps with stabilization. Additionally, you also get a rubberized exterior that is water resistant and can handle some lighter abuse. Past that, it comes with a carry case to help keep it safe.
The remainder of the extras are mostly cleaning supplies but you will get a battery, strap, case, and quick start guide. In minutes you should have this up and running and ready to go. For the price, this is easily one of the better rangefinders at any given price.
10 SereneLife Premium Golf Laser Rangefinder with Pinsensor
And here, at the bottom of the run on 10 quality rangefinders, we have the SereneLife. This little rangefinder does fall into the cheap category without a doubt. It does not have the pedigree or prestige of some larger companies but has still manage to pull off a reasonable product. For the most part, this is a clone of the Wosports and for about the same money. Which you choose will probably not make much overall difference.
This is the same 6x magnification but in all honesty, the SereneLife has got better glass than the Wosports. Enough that you can make out the pin better through this rangefinder. However, the range is slightly less at only 550 meters and about 200 for picking up smaller targets. This is generally enough if that is what you need.
The SereneLife does have pin seeker mode but does not come with any method of reading slope. While the pin detection is amazingly nice, not having slope is a little bit of a headache. If you play flatter courses, you may never miss it but if you play some of the most beautiful courses in the hills and mountains, you are going to want to opt for a model that can read slope. That will always be your best choice.
While people went without this technology for over a century, never doubt that they would have used the best golf rangefinder if they had one. If you are a pro, this is a great way to shave a few points off your game. If you are new to the game, this is a great way to take your learning to the next level. It eliminates the guesswork that hangs up so many neophyte golfers. Just make sure if you are looking to compete, you get a model that is competition legal.