Looking for the Best Golf Rangefinder for your game? You’ve come to the right place!
In this comprehensive guide, we rank and provide detailed overviews on a wide selection of golf rangefinders on sale at the moment.
The guide separates rangefinders by price and features to help you find the right golf rangefinder for your game.
Top Golf Rangefinders
1. TecTecTec VPRO500 Rangefinder
TecTecTec have done one thing absolutely right – they’ve made rangefinders more accessible in terms of price, and the VPRO500 lays down the marker in this respect.
At $150, it undercuts almost all of the big players. Importantly though, it’s actually a really solid, reliable distance measuring device too. Yardages are returned instantly (thanks to the Pinsensor Technology), and accuracy was within 1 to 2 yards in our book.
We had a couple of problems locking in flags, and ended up getting multiple readings occasionally. But nothing too major.
It’s very light and trim, although we do have some concerns over durability. That said, it comes in a case that is both robust, and also pretty cool (has a belt loop). The display is also crystal clear, which underpins how easy it is to use.
It didn’t quite fit in my hand as comfortably as I’d have liked, but such things come down to personal preference. All in all, it’s a good rangefinder, at a more-than-decent price.
2. Bushnell Tour V4 Shift (Slope) Golf Laser Rangefinder
Bushnell are undoubtedly the market-leaders in rangefinders. Out of the seven assessors at Golf Assessor, five are Bushnell users.
With the Tour V4 Slope Rangefinder, Bushnell have produced an incredibly versatile and effective rangefinder. They describe the V4 as “the perfect combination of size, speed, accuracy, slope and jolt.”
We couldn’t agree more.
The V4 feels great in the hand. It’s lightweight, but still feels solid. Unlike it’s big daddy, the Pro X7, the V4 can be held and stabilised in one hand, and with it’s ergonomic design it is truly pocket-size.
In terms of performance we were super impressed with the speed and accuracy of the V4. The target focus is incredibly quick and the jolt when you lock the target gives one that additional confidence before taking one’s shot.
But our favorite feature on the V4 is the slope functionality. Seriously folks, the slope feature is a game-changer and what really separates the V4 from the competition.
If you are looking for a rangefinder that will last you years of great golfing, then we highly recommend the V4.
For our full review of the Bushnell Tour V4 Slope Rangefinder click here.
3. Precision Pro NX7 Rangefinder
This is a newcomer to the market, and although it isn’t a brand we’d associate with the top dogs, we were pleasantly surprised. For starters, it’s really nifty, slim and petite – but still big enough that it is easy to use.
What really impressed us was the accuracy of the Precision Pro rangefinder: it says it is to within a yard when you buy it, and our various on-course tests backed this up. The range is said to be 400 yards, although the Target Acquisition Technology is a bit ‘fumbly’ once you go past 200 yards.
That’s okay though, because it works a treat with lesser yardages. And there’s another figure of ‘200’ that you’ll find interesting – the price. That doesn’t necessarily make it the cheapest in the business. But it’s certainly at the right end of things! And for a rangefinder that does what it says on the tin, that’s about all you can ask for.
4. Nikon Coolshot 20 Rangefinder
“How on earth did they fit everything in there?” Those were our first utterances when we saw the Nikon Coolshot 20, and we daresay yours will be fairly similar.
It’s breathtakingly, fantastically… tiny! And so light too. After finally collecting ourselves, and moving on from putting as big a tick in the size and weight box, we found this to be a very impressive rangefinder all round.
It doesn’t have any jaw-dropping features such as slope measurements about it, but it does what it says on the tin – it locks in accurate distances swiftly and easily; has a more-than-sufficient range, and all for a very good price. Some may argue that it’s so lightweight to the point of instability, and that’s down to personal preference.
We think that there’s plenty of grip to be had though, and that this rangefinder will appeal to players of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
For our full review of the Nikon Coolshot 20 Rangefinder click here.
5. Callaway 200 Laser Rangefinder
They’ve been one of the pioneers in driver technology, so who would have thought Callaway would dare traverse into becoming a thought leader in the field of laser rangefinders?
Well, that’s exactly what they’ve attempted to do with the Callaway 200, and we think they’ve done a pretty impressive job.
In collaboration with their partner IZZO, they’ve put together something here which ticks plenty of boxes for not a lot of money.
6. Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT Golf Laser Rangefinder
One of the keys to developing a good product line – whether that’s rangefinders or bread – is to steer clear of reinventing the wheel, and that’s where the Bushnell V4 Jolt excels.
The V4 Jolt ticks a lot of boxes, not least in terms of magnification and eye-of-the-needle precision. The Jolt function is by far the best out of all the rangefinders we tested.
Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide
Remember the days of looking at the 150-yard marker, and then the 100-yard marker, and then making an educated estimate as to how far you had to the pin?
Or having to rifle through the fine-print of the scorecard to establish whether measurements were to the front or the centre of the green?
Times have moved on swiftly since those mathematically-trying days, and rangefinders – particularly the laser variety – are fast shedding their skin as a luxury of the elite in favour of becoming an essential for those looking to shed shots from their score.
Things like slope-adjusting measurements, LCD Displays, accuracy to within a yard and contrasts to adapt to ambient light have gone from being mind boggling to perfectly standard in a short space of time, and what’s striking is that as the quality and list of features increase, the size (and sometimes the price tag too) of these devices continues to contract.
Here are the key considerations we considered in our best golf rangefinder guide.
1. Build Quality and Features
There is a certain minimum you expect with rangefinders these days in terms of build quality. Never mind the best of the best golf rangefinders. You can often tell from the look and, perhaps more so, the feel of a device as to its long-term durability. It’s also important that it can deal with wet weather effectively.
But what other features? A range of less than 500 yards is fast becoming unacceptable, but the big challenge over the years has been to make it easy to lock in the flag – and not just from close range either.
After all, it’s not always just about this shot; leaving yourself in the optimum position for your approach is vital. So being able to lock this in quickly, and from 250+ yards away is essential. The question is, what additional features will win us over?
That’s what we explore below.
2. Size and Weight
If you’ve got a rangefinder which is less than 5 inches long, 3 inches tall and weighs half a pound or less, you really are winning and likely have one of the best golf rangefinders available. The big challenge for designers and manufacturers alike is marrying durability with compactness. Some get it right; some don’t. For those who drive around in a cart, size and weight may not be the most vital criterion of all, but we live in a world where more for less is the ambition of any consumer.
So a sleek, trim and light device that fits nicely into the palm of your hand will always put it on the front foot in the eyes of any potential buyer, and it’s a box that shouldn’t be left unticked.
3. Ease of Use
It’s one thing to throw a bucket load of features at us. It’s quite another to make them easy to navigate, and to ensure that those less tech-savvy folks aren’t intimidated when they switch the rangefinder on.
Every rangefinder needs to do its fundamental job, which is to pick up distances quickly and accurately, make them easy to decipher, and to use it without having to think about anything more complex than your next shot.
4. Value for Money
We bang the drum on this one a lot, I know. But do not equate “cheap” with “value for money” under any circumstances! That’s not to preach the contrary either.
But value for money is about assessing what you need, what you want, and a what is a nice-to-have, and then weighing it all up against the price tag.
Obviously keeping it under $300 should be the initial aim.
Yet, particularly if you are a pro or talented amateur, your appetite for greater precision, range and other features is likely to be more. This could mean you need to dig a little deeper into your pockets than you might have initially planned.
But for the perfect rangefinder, it may well be worth it, and with such a vast variance in pricing in this sector, stymying yourself with an inflexible budget limit can sometimes work against you.
Golf Rangefinder FAQ
What is a rangefinder?
Rangefinders, or distance-measuring devices, are instruments which enable you to focus on a specific target, and glean the precise distance. Although these can be used in many walks of life, many are geared specifically for golf courses, given their value and relevance to the game.
Rangefinders typically make use of two types of technology:
GPS: GPS rangefinders rely on satellite data to determine distances. They do so by locking in the longitude and latitude coordinates of both your position and a series of fixed targets, and calculate the distances in between. On a golf course, this usually means you can determine yardages to the front, middle and back of the green, while there is also usually scope to determine distances to other hazards or bunkers.
Laser rangefinders: The technology with laser rangefinders is altogether different, as the device emits pulses between position and target. Given that the velocity of these pulses is always constant, the device is able to calculate distances by virtue of the rebound time. And it all happens within the blink of an eye!
Are laser rangefinders better than GPS?
Ha, put us on the spot, why don’t you? Our personal opinion is yes, on balance. However, this comes with a MASSIVE caveat: it all comes down to personal preference.
As a rule of thumb, laser rangefinders tend to be more accurate. In fact, most decent devices on the market these days are accurate to within a yard. The other big plus is that they can be used anywhere.
The downside? They tend to cost more.
Conversely, GPS units tend to come in pretty cheap – often as little as 100 bucks. There is a myriad of free apps to go with them too. The other beauty of GPS devices is that they come in many different shapes or forms – you can pick up yardages on your phone, watch or even a hat clip, in addition to the standard handset. And you can supplement it all with a bunch of additional information and features, just to give you your statistical fill.
The downside(s)? They just aren’t as accurate. They also need the company/manufacturer to have mapped the course you’re playing on in order to use them. Additionally, they can be slightly more complex to set up/use.
What is the history of rangefinders?
Given that the game of golf is around seven centuries old, it’s fair to say that the history of golf rangefinders is a comparatively brief one. Laser technology itself has been around since the 1950s, used mostly by snipers. But Bushnell were the first to adapt the concept to golf, as they launched their first product way back in 1955, believe it or not.
Of course, it is only really in the last 15 years that rangefinders have soared to prominence, which gave Bushnell a heck of a head-start to establish themselves as the market leader. However, while they do command enormous share of voice, many brands have since come to the party to keep them on their toes – both existing golfing brands, and those from the wider world of optics.
Why do I need a rangefinder?
It is true that rangefinders will have varying value for different golfers, and the rule of thumb is that those with a more specific handle on how far they hit each club stand to gain more – given that they can get a more accurate distance than by relying on pacing it out manually from yardage markers.
But let’s not be too simplistic – for game improvers, rangefinders can still be very helpful, especially when it comes to distances to other features like hazards and bunkers. The bottom line is that there can be no downside to having an exact yardage. And many of the rangefinders on the market today have minimal margins for error – sometimes within inches!
Are there any drawbacks to buying a rangefinder?
Naturally, you as a buyer will need to reconcile the price tag with the value you think you will get out of it, and how much it will help your game. We’re not convinced by the “you’re not good enough to have a rangefinder” argument. For starters, some low-handicap golfers are “feel” players who seldom rely on distances anyway, while game improvers can really boost their game by being dialled into specific yardages – both to targets and surrounding features.
That said, it is true that better players are more likely to get the most out of a rangefinder as a basic rule of thumb. But it’s no more than that!
The other downside to rangefinders is that they can slow down play. Think about the process: fetch rangefinder from bag, spending time focusing on targets, comparing with yardages on the course, putting rangefinder back in bag, start pre-shot routine – you get the idea! But, with a bit of efficiency and planning before each shot, this need not be a problem for you.
Are rangefinders legal to use?
You’ve probably wondered why you never see pros using rangefinders on the course if they’re so amazing. That’s because the PGA Tour does not allow them to be used in professional tournament play. They do, however, allow players to use them on practice days in the lead up to events, while they have also allowed them to be trialled in some Web.com and Canadian Tour events.
Some USGA events do not permit the use of rangefinders, while golf courses also have the right to make a local rule which bans them.
But, realistically, none of that is likely to be a problem for you if you are an amateur. So you can buy one, if it is your will, with peace of mind, and start closing the gap to the pros!
Which are the leading rangefinder brands?
Bushnell – boasts 99 per cent of PGA Tour players as customers. Unquestionably a market leader in its field.
Callaway – a recent edition to the rangefinder game, but certainly making headway, leveraging off its well-established golfing brand.
Leupold – has its origins in outdoor optics, but has expanded into golf in recent years.
Lofthouse – not renowned for excessive gimmicks and features, but Lofthouse have built a solid reputation – their rangefinders do what they say on the box.
Nikon – a powerhouse in the world of optics! Golf was always likely to be a natural fit.
TecTecTec – a relative newcomer to the rangefinder game, but definitely some appealing products at entry-level prices.
Is slope calibration a good idea?
Slope calibration technology is fantastic, especially if you play on undulating courses a lot. The accuracy of slope tech has been called into question, but, having trialled some of the better ones, we definitely think it’s a force for good.
The biggest issue with it has been legality, notably during tournament play under USGA rules. However, the USGA recently clarified the rules on slope technology, whereby you can use a slope-tech rangefinder in tournament play, as long as the actual slope tech is turned off. And we’d bet money that the rules will become even more accommodating in the not-too-distant future.
So, really, if the slope tech tickles your fancy, and you aren’t a regular tournament player, rules aren’t really a blocker to buying a rangefinder which makes use of it.
What tips would you give when getting started with a rangefinder?
What, you mean other than reading our reviews? Ha, just kidding. Here are some things to do to help yourself get set up, and to get the most out of your new rangefinder:
Watch videos – What better way to get to grips with your new device than to see it in action? Even though we test them all ourselves, we like to see other examples of people using rangefinders, how it worked for them, and their thoughts on the setup. You should too! But be sure to choose videos from a well-established reviewer or website. The number of views, or the website’s domain authority, should help you separate the good from the bad.
Read the instructions – Always a natural starting point! But it isn’t just about setting yourself up with the basic fundamentals. You’ll want to get the most out of the features, and everything else the rangefinder has to offer. Hidden (hopefully not too deep) in the instructions, should lie the answers.
Use the tech cleverly – Pinseeker? Pinhunter? First target Priority? They all mean the same thing – these are the technologies which brands use to determine distances to flags, and all features in front and behind them. Using them is easy enough, but here’s a little trick (if you don’t have slope tech): Aim your rangefinder at the ground first, and engage the ranging button. You’ll see the reticle on the display. Then aim direct at your target and hit the button. This eliminates the chance of being obstructed/interfered with by hills, bunkers or hazards that may obscure your target, which in turn reduces margin for error.
Practice on shorter distances – Start by using your rangefinder with shorter distances, and aim for flags. They’re easier to lock into, and will help you get the hang of things quicker and easier. Build yourself up from there, and you’ll be an expert in no time.
Cross reference – Even if you think you are an expert, it’s still a good idea to have a look at the physical yardages on the course, just as a reference. Having that extra reaffirmation as you address the ball will only fill you with more confidence, which has to be a good thing.
Is there room for improvement with rangefinders?
In a world of AI, and exponential technological growth and development, we’d never say never. But, with slope technology, accuracy to within inches, 7X zoom, jolts and so many other wonderful gimmicks and features, it does feel as though we are approaching the plateau. I guess existing technologies can always be fine tuned and enhanced for accuracy. But it will need something really innovative and ‘out the box’ to take things to the next level. Bring it on…
Our Rangefinder Article
The rangefinders featured in this guide have been selected and assessed based on our personal experience and assessments, expert feedback, consumer reviews and feedback from the wider Golf Assessor community. We update this page regularly to ensure we keep up with new developments and releases in the golf rangefinder industry.
We put this article together to help players, like yourself, find a golf rangefinder that suits their specific game, level and budget. By keeping this guide updated and via feedback from the GA community, we hope this article becomes a great resource for anyone looking to get a new rangefinder.
Tags: Best Golf Rangefinder, Best Golf Rangefinder 2019, Best Golf Rangefinder 2017, Best Rangefinder for Golf