Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews 2017

Looking for the best golf rangefinder on the market today? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a newbie to the game of golf, or an old hand, I’m sure we can all agree that there are few things which can instil greater confidence before you step up to hit the ball than knowing the exact distance to your target.

Sure, there are ways and means of doing it, such as pacing out yardages from on-course markers, or relying on guesswork from the naked eye.

But, not only is there hassle involved with such practices, there’s margin for error too. And that, my friends, is where golf rangefinders come in. With each passing day, they’re getting better and better: more accurate, more features, and easier to use.

Best Golf Rangefinder – Top Choices

Editor’s Choice: Bushnell Tour Z6 Laser Golf Rangefinder with JOLT

The Bushnell Z6 is the ultimate rangefinder! It has unbelievable magnification and was by far the most accurate out of all the rangefinders we tested. The Jolt feature is second to none.

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Best Value: TecTecTec Rangefinder

The TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder is by far the best value offer on the market. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but as far as doing the basics well at a really affordable price, you can’t go wrong with this rangefinder.

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Top 5 Laser Golf Rangefinders – Comparison Chart

  • Magnification - 6X
  • Accurace +/-1 yard
  • Tour Approved (Slope mode must be disabled for tournament play)
  • Coverage 5-600 Yards
  • Warranty - 1 year

Top Golf Laser Rangefinder – Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Bushnell Tour Z6 Laser Golf Rangefinder with JOLT

Until recently, one of our favourite rangefinders in the game of golf was the Bushnell Tour Z6 original. A simple, solid product which ticked all the right boxes. And then, one day, Bushnell decided to go one better: the Tour Z6 Laser Rangefinder with JOLT technology. There’s some stiff competition out there, but, all things considered, this one simply blew us away.

The magnification levels are excellent, while the coverage is almost unnecessarily outstanding. Yet the display remains vivid, and the accuracy unerring. It all happens quickly and easily too, with easily-decipherable readings that require minimal effort. And all of this is cleverly augmented by the brilliant new JOLT feature – underpinned by the Pin Seeker technology – which, as the name suggests, gives an unmistakable ‘jolt’ once you’ve locked in the target. There are similar knock-offs to this on the market today, but none as efficient and effective as this trailblazer.

To top it off, it comes in a petite little size, but one which still grips perfectly in the hand. There just isn’t a weak link to this rangefinder, which is why we had no hesitation in declaring it as our Editor’s Choice.

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Features and Benefits

Technology: The Tour Z6 Jolt Rangefinder incorporates Pin Seeker technology which helps you to lock onto flags and targets quickly, easily and reliably. In conjunction with the JOLT feature, you’ll be left in no doubt when the target is locked in.

Accuracy: With its high-quality optics, you get a clearer view of the terrain and surroundings. Bushnell’s signature E.S.P. II (Extreme Sports Precision) technology also facilitates faster and more accurate yardages. Accurate to within half a yard, in fact.

Range: This laser golf rangefinder ranges from 5 to 1,300 yards in terms of full coverage, and 450+ yards to flags. The half-a-yard accuracy we alluded to above pertains to distances ranging from 5 to 125 yards, although we found it to be very accurate from further away too. The Tour Z6 Jolt also makes viewing and picking up targets easier with its 6X magnification.

Display: The Tour Z6 utilizes advanced optical technology (known as Vivid Display Technology) to provide clearer and brighter images. With accurate contrast and increased light transmission, you will never miss out on important information and readings – even in less-than-perfect conditions.

Additional Features

  • It comes in a highly portable and ergonomic design
  • The Tour Z6 Jolt rangefinder is waterproof
  • The rubber-armoured, textured finish provides a solid grip in the hand
PROS:
  • The JOLT feature provides a accurate, real-time feedback
  • The numbers, crosshairs and other information are displayed clearly thanks to the VDT technology
  • Compact size, high-quality design
  • It comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, along with a carry case
CONS:
  • At just over $300, we think it’s great value for what you get. But for some beginners, it may be a bit pricey

Final Verdict

In terms of overall performance and usability of the Bushnell Tour Z6 Jolt rangefinder, you cannot find fault with it. Its compact design and accurate readings alone are solid reasons to choose this as your next rangefinder. Add Bushnell’s advanced optics, Jolt technology and a faster-than-ever PinSeeker into the mix, and you really do have a winner in your hands! A convenient carry case and vibrant LED display serve to enhance its value further too. Readings are swift, and almost always spot-on. This durable, waterproof rangefinder can also handle all weather and elements, whether you’re practicing or playing. If you’re comfortable with the price, then we think this is the purchase that will go a long way to improving your game, and help you take things to the next level.

Best Value: TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder

There isn’t exactly a dearth of options when it comes to golf rangefinders. That said, value for money isn’t always a given. While some devices require a serious outlay, there are others which still provide the basics of accuracy and usability at an affordable price, and that’s one of the great strengths of the TecTecTec VPRO500.

This rangefinder encompasses user-friendly features, reliable readings and leading technology – all for a snip at only $150. Added to that, it is light and easily portable, weighing in at just 185 grams. It comes in a durable, water resistant body, has a microfiber cleaning cloth, and offers a hugely-comforting 2-year guarantee. The TecTecTec VPRO500 is thus a long-term investment, and a good one at that, too.

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Features and Benefits

Range and Accuracy: The TecTecTec VPRO500 covers distances of up to 540 yards (or 500 metres), with an accuracy to within roughly a yard. From ranges less than 100 yards, the VPRO500 narrows the margin for error even further.

Multiple Modes: The TecTecTec VPRO500 offers a triple-mode system, led by its advanced ‘Pinsensor technology’. The various modes lock in the flagstick, provide a reference against the backdrop and also give distances to intervening objects and hazards, while the ‘ProScan’ mode gives you continuous readings as you pan the rangefinder across the landscape.

State-of-the-Art Optics: With its advanced, multi-layered optics and through-the-lens display, the TecTecTec VPRO500 delivers sharp, crisp and clear images and readings using its 6X magnification.

Portability: Measuring a mere 1.6 X 2.8 X 4.1 inches, and weighing just 6.6 ounces, the TecTecTec VPRO500 comes in a compact package ensuring ease of use, portability and storage. You can also attach this golf rangefinder to your belt or bag as it comes with straps.

Weatherproof: The TecTecTec VPRO500 boasts durable materials along with a padded case to protect it against any damage. This golf rangefinder is also rain and splash resistant, and the glossy surface helps to keep dust particles at bay.

Additional Features

  • It comes with a carrying case, CR2 battery, microfiber cleaning cloth and quick start guide
  • It comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, along with a 60-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product
  • Laser is classed as ‘Eye safe’ (Class 1 laser with <0.5mW average power output)
PROS:
  • Advanced optical technology and display, with easily-discernible measurements
  • Ample range with good zoom, and readings are profoundly accurate
  • Easy to operate, and easier still to carry, as it weighs just 185 grams
  • Very, very good value at under 150 bucks.
CONS:
  • Features and modes could be overwhelming for some beginners
  • Some concerns over its durability have been raised. It isn’t completely water resistant either

Final Verdict

The TecTecTec VPRO500 should definitely be on your radar if you’re in the hunt for a quality, good-value rangefinder. It strikes the balance between competence in essential functions, and providing meaningful and useful features to give you that extra benefit. Although the different modes can take a bit of getting used to, they contribute to what is effectively the complete package. The display, and advanced optical technology, are up there with the best of them, and the fast and accurate readings will give you all the information you need. And to put the cherry on top, this rangefinder’s ultra compact profile, and simple setup and operation, combine to give you one of the most convenient measurement devices in the game. We harbour some concerns about the long-term durability of the V500PRO – and, more specifically, its lack of protection against the rain. But, on balance, there is no doubt in our minds that, as value-for-money options go, this one is hard to beat – especially if you’re a newbie looking to take things to a new level.

Best Beginner Rangefinder: Scoreband Vibe SL600 Rangefinder

We think this is one of the finds of 2017, particularly for beginners and/or those who don’t want to spend a fortune. Scoreband isn’t a brand name that’s widely synonymous with golf rangefinders, but with the new Vibe SL600, we think they are well on their way to making a name for themselves.

They claim on their website that this rangefinder has “all the features you need. At the right price”. Having given it a proper test, we wouldn’t call them liars either. The standout features are the slope and vibration technologies. The latter is not-too dissimilar from the Jolt technology you associate with Bushnell products, and this flag-lock vibration works very effectively.

But it is the slope technology which is particularly cool, as it factors in contours and undulations to make your readings more realistic, and accurate in a relative sense. Maybe this won’t be beneficial for everyone, but if you’re starting to get a good handle on your distance control, this could help give you that extra bit of precision you need.

But, aside from the bells and whistles, it’s a great product at ground level too. Acquiring targets is quick. It’s accurate to within a yard. Magnification and range are ample. And it’s a simple, straightforward product to use.

All of this, I might add, for just over $200! Hard to argue with that, isn’t it?

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Features and Benefits

Technology: It has slope compensation to account for gradient discrepancies. Flag lock and vibration work in tandem to fix targets for you, and give you a clear idea of when these have been acquired. There are also a variety of scan functions to get an idea of distances to multiple objects and hazards in your periphery.

Range: It has a range of up to 600 yards, with clear optics and a vivid display – in part owing to the 6X magnification.

Operation: Insert the battery, give the button at the top a push, and you’re good to go. It really is that easy.

Accuracy: What’s the use of a rangefinder if it isn’t accurate? The Scoreband Vibe SL600 has a +/- 1 yard rating, and our tests concurred with that – even from as far away as 150-200 yards.

Practicality: Although it is slightly bigger than some other rangefinders on the market, it sits very comfortably in front of the eye, and comes in very durable casing.

Additional Features

  • Split Second Target Acquisition (around 0.5 seconds on average)
  • CR2 3 Volt battery
  • It costs around $220, which is very competitive
PROS:
  • Tremendous range (600 yards), with proficient accuracy
  • Slope compensation is a great addition to the flag-lock and vibration technologies
  • Readings are instant, and Scan Mode lets you pick up multiple distances
  • Very good value at this price, given what it has to offer.
CONS:
  • Slightly hefty in build. Not by much though!

Final Verdict

The Scoreband Vibe SL600 isn’t just a good value-for-money laser rangefinder – it’s the whole package! Looking at the rest of the market, anytime there is slope technology, jolts or vibrations involved, it invariably has the effect of bumping up the price. Yet Scoreband have kept the tag on this bad boy very competitive, which is impressive given how well all these features work.

But even if you’re not all that concerned about slope compensation, or other cutting-edge features, this rangefinder still has plenty to offer. It’s easy to set up, even easier to use, and you’ll be able to lock in targets quickly and easily. It’s accurate to a tee, and with high-level magnification and range, you can be confident of any readings you get – even from very far away! The display maybe isn’t quite as clear as some competitors. Also, it’s a tad bulky (although very comfortable in hand!). But these are fine margins we’re talking about here.

All in all, this is a superb rangefinder, which is already being picked up off the shelves at a rate of knots. If these benefits we’ve highlighted above resonate with you, then we suggest you get in there quickly – you won’t be disappointed.

Pro Choice: Bushnell Tour V4 Slope Rangefinder

For technology to continually reach new heights of sophistication, it requires brave pioneers, and it’s fair to say that Bushnell are exactly that. As one of the early adopters of the slope technology, the Tour V4 underpins their commitment to raising the bar.

But while the impressive slope feature is perhaps the one to grab the headlines, one mustn’t lose sight of how impressive this rangefinder is at ground level. Accuracy? Check. Ease of locking in targets, and gleaning measurements? Check. High-quality, cutting-edge design, characteristic of most Bushnell products? Check!

It doesn’t come cheap, but if you’ve got the budget, and are seeking steady improvement in your game over an extended period of time, then there are a lot of reasons why this could be the perfect investment to help the cause.

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Features and Benefits

Slope: As the name suggests, the slope feature epitomises the quality and innovation of this rangefinder. Measurements compensate inclines and declines up ahead, thus giving you more meaningful and relevant distances and readings. And if you’re in a tournament, being compliant is as simple as turning this feature off. If you’ve got a decent handle on how far your normally hit each club, this cutting-edge feature could be of great benefit.

Other technology: The Pin seeker with jolt technology form the other key technology of this state-of-the-art rangefinder. The former helps you lock in flags or other targets, and, once you do, some short, sharp vibrations will pulse through the device to confirm ‘target lockdown’.

Range and Accuracy: The Bushnell Tour V4 Slope has a range of 5 to 1,000 yards, and can lock in flags from up to 400 yards away. Nearer than that, you can bank on distances being accurate to within 1 yard. Readings are instant too – genuinely!

Durability: Not only does the design embody the quality you’d expect from a Bushnell rangefinder, but it also comes in a premium carry case. The fact that there is a 2-year warranty in place should serve to further strengthen your confidence that this rangefinder will last you a very long time.

Portability: Although there are smaller rangefinders on the market, the trim, ergonomic and lightweight design ensures that this device is easy to handle. It also stores handily, and is very easy to carry around, too.

Additional Features

  • Class 1 laser is completely safe for use
  • 5X magnification, with Fast Focus System
  • Dimensions are 1.3 X 2.8 X 4.1 inches; weight is 5.6 ounces
PROS:
  • Slope technology is a winner for those playing on undulating courses
  • Pin seeker with Jolt is a fine piece of technology – makes for great ease of use
  • Superb range and accuracy
  • Classy, quality and lightweight ergonomic design makes for a compact unit.
CONS:
  • Price may be beyond most golfers
  • 5X magnification leaves a bit to be desired

Final Verdict

Perhaps there are only two glaring weakness with the Bushnell Tour V4 Slope. The first is price, and certainly you wouldn’t class this as an ‘entry level’ rangefinder. Also, 5X magnification doesn’t always cut the mustard these days. Yet at least with regard to the former, I’d counter it by saying it still represents great value, given the quality of the rangefinder itself. The slope technology is obviously a headline-grabbing feature, but for us, it was all the other nuts and bolts which really impressed us. It’s one of the best we’ve tried in terms of locking in targets, and scanning other distances in quick time. It’s easy to operate, and the sleek, slender design is also cutting-edge. And as soon as you grip this rangefinder in your palms, you’ll sense the quality it oozes. So, if you can stomach the initial cost, you can rest assured that you’ll be making an enduring investment, which will go a long way to enhancing your game.

Worthy Options: Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder

Nikon is a company who know their way around optics and lenses, so golf rangefinders were a natural fit for this well-renowned brand. Unsurprisingly, they have an unmistakable edge when it comes to technology, and they have a number of rangefinders within their umbrella which could have made the cut. But, all things considered, we were most taken by the Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11, whose slimfit size, easy setup and remarkable price make it an excellent choice as an entry-level rangefinder.

It is also very simple to use, requiring you to master just a single button. It has good little features too, such as an automatic shutdown after eight seconds of inactivity, and continuous measurements as you pan the lens. The uncluttered, easy display adds to the sense of ease too, while the multilayer coated optics ensure you can easily infer readings across the entire light spectrum.

And although it lends itself to hunting too, there is no doubt that this is an invaluable piece of golfing merchandise too.

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Features and Benefits

Portability: The Nikon 8397 ACULON A11 is highly portable, given its dimensions of 3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches, and diminutive weight of 4.4 ounces. Pocket, bag, belt – it can go anywhere you like!

Design & Ease of Use: The slender, sleek design of this rangefinder is very unique, but classy with it too. More importantly, it could hardly be simpler to operate, given that there is just one button involved. Firing it up is as simple as putting in the battery and pushing the button, and once you’re up and running, you can enjoy a clear, obstruction-free display as you absorb the measurements.

Efficient: Distant Target Priority Mode really helps to lock in flagsticks in particular, as it focuses on the object furthest away. Readings will appear within a second or so, and this mode also ensures there is no interference from objects that may be obscuring your view of the flag.

Accuracy: It is accurate to within just one yard, and we found this to hold true even from 150+ yards away.

Optical Supremacy: The Nikon ACULON Rangefinder has 6X magnification; which, coupled with an objective lens of 20mm, gives you a heck of a clear focus. The multilayer coated optics and LCD display simply enhance this further, making it feel as though you are looking at something just in front of you, even when it is hundreds of yards away.

Additional Features

  • Rainproof/Water resistant
  • Range from 6 to 550 yards
  • Ultra small size and weight of only 4.4 ounces
  • Clear screen display with measurements in meters and/or yards
  • Automatically powers down if not used for eight seconds
PROS:
  • A market leader in portability due to its compact size
  • Easy to operate from start to finish
  • Provides high-quality optics and clear readings which can be easily deciphered on bright or dull days
  • Such a good price!.
CONS:
  • Occasionally difficult to lock in flagsticks. Aim for the base of the flag if you have any troubles
  • If you have big hands, this may actually be too small/fiddly for you to operate

Final Verdict

The Nikon 8397 ACULON A11 Laser Rangefinder has arguably made its greatest waves within the realm of hunting, but golfers should definitely be taking note of it too. It provides highly accurate readings, while the pulse action and Distant Target Priority Mode make it easy to hone in on your target. We also thought there were some good features on offer, not least the steady flow of measurements as you scoured the landscape for the various objects en route to the flag. It’s easy to set up, easier still to operate and has the clearest of displays. Throw in a classy, compact design, and a price tag of 150-odd bucks, and you know you’ve got a rangefinder which is doing a lot more things right than wrong. Especially for those still getting to grips with the game of golf, this is an investment which will make your life on the course a lot easier, and fill you with confidence when it comes to club selection, and how hard to hit the ball.

Worthy Options: Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder

The new Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder is the complete package in terms of design, feel and performance. JOLT vibration is activated with the use of Pin Seeker Technology, as with the Tour V6 model above. However, the big difference between the two products is that the V4 comes in over $100 lower, which makes it excellent value for money.

And, in addition to the JOLT technology, the measurements are accurate to within a solitary yard, while the LCD display not only provides a clear picture of the various objects in your line of sight, but also updated readings as you pan across the landscape, courtesy of SCAN mode. The ergonomic design also makes for a small unit, while a solid carry case, potent 3-volt battery and comfortable gripping point put the finishing touches to what is undoubtedly a world-class rangefinder.

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Features and Benefits

Technology: The quality of the Bushnell Tour V3 is underlined by the excellent Pin Seeker Technology, which generates infrared pulses (don’t worry: they’re invisible, and are safe for human use). This, in collaboration with the JOLT, makes locking in targets a piece of cake.

Accuracy: This rangefinder provides accurate measurements (to within one yard). Even large distances are easily calculated, and with reliable accuracy.

Performance: As mentioned above, this rangefinder is accurate to within just 12 inches, and has a massive range of 10 to 1,000 yards (300 yards to flags). Combine such performance with a professional, first-class design, and you clearly have a very compelling piece of merchandise in the offing here.

Warranty: The rangefinder comes with a two-year warranty, thus giving you complete peace of mind with this purchase. It also comes with a premium carry case, making it easily portable – and stylish too!

Optical Performance: The optical lens of the rangefinder has a 24mm objective, and the magnification is 5 times. Thus all objects look clear as day, especially with the modern, updated LCD Display to help the cause.

Additional Features

  • Measurements in meters and yards
  • It is a tournament-legal rangefinder
  • Includes SCAN mode, with a constantly-updating LCD display as you browse the terrain in front of you
  • Dimensions of the rangefinder are 4.3 X 2.8 X 1.6 inches
  • Weight of the rangefinder is 7.4 ounces (10.4 ounces with carry case)
PROS:
  • Compact size and ergonomic design make it easy to carry and handle
  • Easy to operate, while SCAN mode is a very impressive feature
  • Very accurate readings, with an enormous range
  • Price has really come down in the last few years – very decent value.
CONS:
  • Nowadays, 5X magnification is probably a bit below average (although still very clear display!)
  • Pin Seeker Technology not quite as sharp as with newer Bushnell models

Final Verdict

The Bushnell Tour V3 exudes quality from the first time you pick it up, and the attractive, but efficient, ergonomic design lays the groundwork. The performance emanates from that though. With good magnification, the Pin Seeker Technology, and the JOLT to act as that reaffirmation, locking in your target is as simple as holding your hand steady for less than a second, and you can put your faith in the readings you see on the display. We had no accuracy issues whatsoever. The SCAN mode is also a personal favourite of ours in terms of features, and it goes hand in hand with the LCD Display, which gives you fast, real-time readings of various hazards, trees, bunkers and more as you move the rangefinder across the landscape. Even though the level of magnification perhaps falls short of some of the newer versions, the Tour V4 offers tremendous clarity and contrast when it comes to taking readings, regardless of the ambient light. Even as the bar gets raised by some new additions to the world of rangefinders, this particular package continues to offer appealing value, and it’s little wonder that Bushnell continue to push this product as part of their offering.

Choosing The Best Golf Rangefinder

There are plenty of important factors to consider when trying to make the challenging decision of picking out the best rangefinder from the crowd – particularly when it comes to laser rangefinders. Below we outline which of these should be foremost in your mind, and what they all entail.

Accuracy What’s the point of spending money on a device that’s meant to give you more accurate distances if the measurements it provides are, in fact, not accurate? You need to be a little bit careful here. A lot of products will boast about being accurate to within half a yard. But these can often be flattering, and only true of select distances. That’s why we’ve rigorously tested a whole bunch of rangefinders, and from various distances, to find the ones that are genuine all-rounders in this regard. If you have the opportunity, you should do the same – or at least do some research in order to ensure that you find something that ticks this important box.
Magnification All laser rangefinders come in different magnifications, and they can, theoretically, be anywhere between zero or 7 times magnification (at present). Higher magnification of a golf range finder obviously helps to locate the target more easily; in less time, and also provide a clearer panoramic view of objects in the distance. These days, if it doesn’t have at least 5 times magnification, it’s not really worth considering.

Ease of Use For amateur golfers – and particularly newbies – it’s imperative that a rangefinder is easy to set up, and even easier to use. For example, if your rangefinder is giving you trouble with hitting the right target, or makes it difficult for you to easily ascertain measurements, then the time for change is upon you. Nowadays, if your rangefinder doesn’t enable you to hit the target, lock and go within no time, then it really has fallen behind industry standard.
Size Size is an interesting matter when it comes to rangefinders. Even though the way of the world is for technological instruments to get smaller by the day, a rangefinder that’s too small can be fiddly to handle, hard to grip, and a nuisance to extract distances from. That said, a big old lump of lard – particularly one that weighs a lot – is no good either, so a sleek design should always be a priority. Ultimately this criterion is fairly subjective. Does it fit nicely in your hand? Sit comfortably in front of your eye? And is it good for storage? We’ll do our best to advise you, but there is a bit of personal preference involved with this one.

Price Price is one of the most important factors of all. Obviously. Why would anyone want to pay a penny more than they have to? What is crucial though is to not confuse price with value. Yes, if a rangefinder is well beyond your budget, then that’s a deal-breaker. But if you have some flexibility, it’s all about factoring in what the device can offer you, how long it will last (and the warranty), whether it will still be a good fit as your game improves, accuracy etc. And for the same token, while there are some good entry-level rangefinders out there, be careful of being seduced by a low price. It’s all a bit of a balancing act – but it’s fun!
Range There is some crossover with hunting and golf with some brands of rangefinder, hence you’ll often see devices with ranges bordering on the ridiculous. On a golf course, there isn’t much benefit of knowing the exact distance of an object 1,000 yards away! That said, when you consider that par fives average around 500 yards, that’s a pretty good benchmark for the maximum. But you also want to make sure that minimum distances are user-friendly too. For many players, knowing exact yardages for pitches, and even long chips, is beneficial, so you wouldn’t want a minimum range of much more than 20 yards. All in all, we wouldn’t describe this as the most critical of features. But it’s a base you’ll want to make sure is covered.

Scan Mode Most modern rangefinder models worth their salt have a scan button, or some variety thereof. With these you need to hold the button for a few seconds, and then as soon as you press it, the rangefinder automatically scans the targets and objects that are in view. It is a great feature, which gives you a good idea of distances to hazards, bunkers and the rest – but it’s fair to say that some brands do this better than others.
Display We’ve touched on this above under the Ease of Use category, but it’s vital that the units being displayed on a rangefinder are easily readable. LCD displays are the gold standard these days, and should be a prerequisite for you. Also be sure to try it in different ambient lights, and against varying backdrops, as this is where inferior rangefinders can come unstuck. Chances are though that, if you can clearly discern measurements at all times, you’re onto a good thing.

Weather Proof A good rangefinder needs to be able to handle the elements, although there are different ways of assessing this. Is it waterproof, or just water resistant? Rainproof? Fogproof? Splash or dustproof? Remember, this is a long-term purchase – an investment, in every sense of the word – so you want to have that peace of mind that the rangefinder of your choice is an enduring, weatherproof one which will stand the test of time.

Weight Again, we have mentioned this above, bit it goes without saying that a cumbersome, heavy rangefinder is never going to be ideal. It needs to be pleasantly light to hold in your hand, and also to transport around the course (and in storage). Rangefinder evolution has come quite far in this respect – it’s amazing the technology that can be packed into devices which are as light as a feather. Make sure that you’re one of the beneficiaries of these technological advancements.

Slope One of the cutting-edge new features to emerge in the last couple of years is that of slope technology. Not all of them have it, and, frankly, not every golfer needs it. But it is pretty cool, if you like a gimmick! Slope aids you by compensating for elevation changes between yourself and the target. It estimates the approximate, revised distance that, when there is significant undulation, provides a more relevant reference than the actual distance itself. Bear in mind, USGA rules state that this feature is banned for use in tournaments, so you would need to turn it off (which can usually be done quite easily). For the rest of the time, if you often find yourself playing on hilly courses, it can be a handy extra. On balance though, we’d say slope technology is not a necessity, particularly if you’re still in the game improvement stages of your development.

Core purpose of using golf rangefinders

Let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to hit a good shot in this complex old game of golf that we all love – especially if you’re wet behind the ears. So can there be anything more maddening than hitting the ball exactly as planned, but not reaping the rewards because you misjudged the yardage? We all do our best to pace distances out using on-course markers. But wouldn’t it be better if you could get distances (not only to the pin, but other points of reference too) instantly and more accurately? That’s where golf rangefinders come in, and it is thus little surprise that they have grown so rapidly in terms of popularity – regardless of the handicap of prospective buyers.

Types of Golf Range Finders

With an ever-changing digital world, you’d have probably expected a new revelation with regards to measuring distances on golf courses by now. But rangefinders continue to develop, improve, and reinvent themselves, and it’s why they remain the best bet for their sheer ease of use. As a new golfer, you’ll come across a common question: which is the better choice, a laser rangefinder or GPS rangefinder? To ease you out of this unrelenting dilemma, here is a guide to help you weigh up the pros and cons of each, and decide which is the best road to go down.

Laser rangefinders

A laser rangefinder emits pulses between your existing position, and your target(s) of choice. Given that the speed of these pulses are constant, the rangefinder gauges distances by calculating the rebound time from the target back to you. And it all happens incredibly quickly!

Benefits:

1. There is usually very little difficulty setting this sort of device up, configuring it, and using it

2. The battery life is long lasting

3. Its design tends to be similar to binoculars, and most have a compact size which makes it easily portable

4. The accuracy level of this type of rangefinder is unparalleled

5. It has a high magnification power that will aid you in picking up targets quickly

Drawbacks:

1. It is less effective when it comes to picking up targets and objects when the backdrop is characterised by trees and hills. There are actually some hybrid versions to get around this problem

2. Following on from the above, distances to greens – and different parts of the green – can be a bit troublesome to ascertain, as these specialise more in locking in flagsticks

3. They tend to cost more than their GPS counterparts

GPS rangefinders

Global positioning system (GPS) technology has been around for a while now, and it’s understandable why they’ve become a natural fit for golf rangefinders. GPS rangefinders use satellite data; specifically latitude and longitude coordinates of a series of fixed points between your ball and the target. GPS rangefinders typically come with corresponding apps, allowing you to pick up yardages on your phone or watch (in addition to the readings on the actual handset itself).

Benefits:

1. Unlike laser ones, GPS rangefinders can provide accurate distances to the front, middle and back of the greens

2. As it uses the GPS technology, you need not focus the device to locate the target

3. It quickly generates the layout of a hole and the entire course, thus giving you a full picture of what’s in front of you

4. Decent ones usually cost as little as $100. Or less

5. You can supplement the app with additional features and statistics. Information overload, if you want it!

Drawbacks:

1. In terms of precision and accuracy, they lag behind laser rangefinders

2. It won’t work on every course, as the manufacturer will need to have mapped it out

3. The battery needs to be charged quite regularly

4. You do need to be a bit internet savvy to get the most from these rangefinders

GPS rangefinders vs Laser rangefinders

On the face of it, laser rangefinders are considerably more accurate than GPS rangefinders when it comes to picking out exact distances to more-specific targets like flagsticks. Scan modes also help to pick out measurements to other objects such as bunkers, hazards and the like.

But the one big weakness of laser rangefinders in terms of accuracy is that they aren’t much good when it comes to determining the depths of greens, and the differences between yardages to the front, middle and back. GPS rangefinders take the lead in this respect, not to mention that they provide a better overall picture of distances across the entire hole/course.

GPS devices do require a bit of know-how when it comes to using the technology, and also with regard to updates and the use of apps. But if you’re internet savvy, and are less concerned about finer accuracies to specific targets, then the GPS option may be a good one to consider. What’s more, they are almost always cheaper than their laser counterparts too.

That said, we are big proponents of laser rangefinders, and not solely due to their refined accuracy. You can use them anywhere, and they are as easy to set up as they are to operate. With a minimum of fuss, you can pick up readings within split seconds; simply by pushing a button, and having a peek through a lens.

Furthermore, significant advancements mean that designs and builds are not only slender and aesthetically-pleasing, but also durable, meaning you’ll get many years of use out of them. Negotiating fair price tags and good value can be a bit tricky, but, with some shopping around, you can find something cutting-edge, which won’t break the bank.

Other factors to consider when buying a Laser Rangefinder

In order to choose the best laser rangefinder, it is important to know about the different available options, their attributes, and the overall pros and cons. Based on their application, and how they work, the functionality of the laser rangefinder can be broadly categorized into two types:

First Target Priority: First target priority involves instantly learning the distance between the flag and you – nothing in between. For example, if your target is a flag which may be 100 yards away, then it will only read as 100, and not 120 for the tree which may be behind the flag.

Second Target Priority: To borrow the example above as a reference, second target priority rangefinders would aim at the trees and overlook the flag which is 20 yards closer. It is perfectly suited for hunters because, when hunting, the first object – say, for instance, trees or bushes – are ignored. That said, it can be useful on a golf course when it comes to getting readings for other objects within the realm of your target area.

Both of these types of rangefinder can be used on a golf course or on hunting grounds. But, having said that, the product whose natural function is to serve your intended purpose is always likely to be more user-friendly. There are thus few laser rangefinders which give you the chance to switch over from second priority to first, and vice versa.

Conclusion

Laser rangefinders can give very accurate measurements to targets, even hundreds of yards away. Laser rangefinders also work on any golf course, and in any conditions. But there are some key criteria you should consider when trying to find the one that suits you best:

  • Range
  • Magnification
  • Slope
  • Battery life
  • Optimal size and weight
  • Display quality and readability

If you’re looking further afield for golf equipment, be sure to check out the best golf push cart reviews for 2017, and other equipment reviews on our site. As long as you’ve got the right tools, you’ll be able to enjoy your golf like never before. After all, technology is there to work for you – it’s just a case of zeroing in on the piece of merchandise which best embodies these advancements and properties.

Now, the time is right for you to do justice to your favorite sport by adopting the best – and best-value – technology out there. The above six are the best selling golf rangefinders online, have a proven track record among users, and ticked the most boxes for us.

You may also like: Best Golf Clubs for Beginners, Best Golf Swing Analyzer, Best Golf Drivers, Best Golf Push Carts.

Hi, I'm Tom! I run the show here at the #GGFB. Golf is my absolute passion and given the choice I would be on the course all the time. Alas, my day job and lovely wife help moderate my enthusiasm for the game. I hope you have a blast browsing the site and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line. Current handicap: 12!

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