Finding the best golf rangefinders can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve put together a list of our favourite options for accuracy and price. If you’re in the market for one, this article is perfect for you.
Use the links below to jump to the full review of each rangefinder. Or read the short buyers guide below to learn more about what to look for in a golf rangefinder.
The best golf rangefinder
- Bushnell Pro XE (most accurate)
- Bushnell V5 (best all-round)
- GolfBuddy Laser Lite (best value)
- Precision Pro NX9
- TecTecTec VPro 500
- GolfBuddy L10V
- Bushnell V4
- Precision Pro Golf NX7
- Nikon Coolshot Pro
- Garmin Approach Z80
What To Look For in a Rangefinder?
There are a few factors to consider when looking for a golf rangefinder. The most important factors are accuracy, easy of use and price, which should be your primary considerations when choosing one of these devices. Where you’ll have to make a judgement call is weighing up price with the features you want and the ease of use.
Most rangefinders are accurate to within 1%, even the budget options. There are some high-end models that have ranges accurate to within half a yard up to a 500-yard distance or more.
Ease of Use
Easy of use is a key factor that separates high and low-end rangefinders. With an easy-to-use device, you’ll have no problem quickly finding your distances before each shot and locking onto targets without having to manually reset anything or spend time squinting at screens for readings.
Usability does tend to come with the higher end models, but if you play lots of golf it sure will be worth the extra money.
Most rangefinders have a distance range of between 10 and 500 yards. The best golf rangefinder for you will depend on what factors matter most to your game – will you be using this off the tee to scan for hazards, or as you approach the green, dialling in on the flagstick?
There are some higher-end models that offer a better ability to scan through tree cover or brush and find your distance even if you’re not getting off a clean shot. Whereas cheaper models are more likely to pick up small branches and leaves that are in your way.
Laser rangefinder will set you back anywhere from $60 to over $500. The price you pay will depend on the features that are important to your game, as well as how accurate it needs to be (the more precise, the higher-priced). However, as stated above, our testing has found usability is one of the biggest factors that vary with the price of golf laser rangefinders.
Most rangefinders come with a small lithium-ion battery that lasts for many months or over a year depending on how much you play. Some models will charge via a USB cable, but this isn’t too common.
If you play golf in the rain, you’ll want to find a rangefinder that is waterproof. Waterproofing your device will give it an extra layer of protection against being dropped into puddles or drenched in heavy rain. More expensive rangefinders are fully waterproof, whereas budget models will have some water resistance but are more likely to be damaged.
There are a few different display technologies that are used in rangefinders. The main ones to be aware of include LCD screens and OLED displays, which is the most expensive but also gives you the sharpest contrast.
Some models have built-in lens systems for easy viewing over long distances. The magnification in lenses vary from 3x to 10x. The greater the magnification the more control you will have over clearly picking out targets in the distance.
Slope Measurement Capabilities
Some rangefinders have the ability to measure your slope, which is a great feature when you’re playing on courses that have differing elevations. Slope measurements will depend on the rangefinder and are usually displayed as an adjusted distance when taking into account the level of elevation.
Some models will make a noise or vibrate when you are locked onto your target, this is very handy if you struggle to pick out the flagstick from the background.
You’ll find most companies have all coined their own term – Pin-seeker, Jolt, target lock…they all essentially aim to do the same task – use the frequency and shape of light reflecting from the flag to detect when it has found the pin and not the background.
Storage and Looks
Slightly less important, but still worth considering are the holders that come with a rangefinder. Some will be very rugged and shock-resistant, whereas others are more stylish but can’t take too much of a knock. Another consideration is how easy the cases are to open and close, which can be a pain when you’re using gloves or in cold conditions.
Ps – You can click on the titles or buttons to check prices on Amazon. These are affiliate links. If you click and purchase the product it does not cost you any extra, but I do earn a small commission. Please feel free not to use the links if you wish. Thanks and happy golfing, Will.
Our rangefinder review
The Bushnell Pro XE is easy to use and includes a variety of features that make it easy for golfers at all levels. The rangefinder has slope technology, which calculates the distance based on the variance in elevation between two points. However, the XE takes this a level further by measuring pressure and air temperature, meaning you can get a more accurate ‘plays like’ distance than ever before!
The Bushnell Pro XE is the fastest and most accurate laser rangefinder, thanks to its high-frequency laser, quick target detection and bright, clear readings. The Bushnell Pro XE rangefinder also has a new magnet feature, which can attach to anything from carts and irons – handy if you are a regular cart user.
The Bushnell Pro XE rangefinder packs in a lot of tech but doesn’t come cheap, costing ~$100 more than a standard ‘V’ models. On the flip side, this laser rangefinder should last you a very long time and is super sturdy!
The Bushnell Tour V5 isn’t as feature-heavy at the XE, but it just works! If you’re after a well made, quick, accurate rangefinder you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better golf rangefinder.
The Tour V5 has the advantage of a lower price point, but it does lack some features that are found on the XE model such as temperature and pressure senses. However, you can opt for the standard V5 (no slope mode) or the V5 shift which allows you to switch slope functionality on or off depending on the course/competition you are playing.
The Jolt mode is Bushnell’s patented vibration system when the flagstick has been located. After testing a heap of rangefinders this is still the quickest most reliable system on the market. Yes, you pay a little more than other brands, but the Tour V5 is worth every penny.
The Tour V5 comes with a carrying case and strap, handy for those who are regularly on-the-go. It also includes a battery so you can get zapping straight away!
The V5 Tour Rangefinder fits comfortably in your hand. It comes with BITE Technology which allows you to place it magnetically onto your trolley/cart for easy placement. You also get 6X magnification and a visual jolt when the flag is captured.
With this best-in-class device, you can take all the guesswork out of your game at a decent price. It’s the perfect blend of size, speed, and accuracy so you can focus on executing the shot at hand.
GolfBuddy are a less well-known brand in the golfing community, but their rangefinders are of better value to some more well-known brands. The Laser Lite is one example that will still hold up against much pricier options.
The GolfBuddy GPS Rangefinder sells for just under $200 and in our testing was still 99.5% accurate for distances up to 200 yards. Incredibly, the Laser Lite also comes with slope function, which is a value-added feature that often costs far more!
The GolfBuddy Laser Lite rangefinder also includes many features from the higher priced models, such as Scan mode for scanning longer distances; Pin seeker mode for flag detection and has 6x levels of magnification; meaning you can see far away targets in the distance.
The value offered by this rangefinder is unbeatable, are there any draw backs? Yes, I must note the pin seeker mode doesn’t function as well as other models, but this is still an excellent laser rangefinder for the price.
It’s no wonder GolfBuddy are one of the fastest-growing brands in golfing equipment. You can check out our full review of the GB Laser Lite here.
The Precison Pro NX9 HD see this small company go toe to toe with the industry leaders. This is their highest cost rangefinder to date. It comes packed with features that will allow you to make the most out of your game.
The NX-9 HD has a powerful laser that is accurate to within 1 yard up to 400 yards. The images are clear and sharp with its high definition optics lens system. The Precision Pro NX9 HD Rangefinder features high definition options and brighter resolution.
The built-in magnet can keep the rangefinder secured to a golf cart and the laser rangefinder is built with a shock-proof design for enhanced durability and strength. It also features 7X magnification, ensuring a clear view of the flag.
The Precison Pro NX9 HD also comes with free lifetime battery replacement with product registration, meaning there will be no more hassle of replacing the battery. The care package also includes a 2-year warranty, trade-in allowance and support.
It also features Adaptive Slope Technology, which allows you to toggle quickly between elevation measuring the slope and USGA-legal tournament non-slope modes. The Precison Pro NX9 HD rangefinder scans objects in your field of view while focusing on the desired target with its Target Acquisition Technology for improved accuracy.
The TecTecTec VPRO500 Rangefinder is a value-priced rangefinder with top ratings. This device is great for golfers who just need to know the yardage and don’t want to pay a hefty price.
The VPRO500 offers +/- one yard accuracy up to 540 yards – good enough for any mere mortal. You can also easily switch between pin seeker and scan mode, which is great for when you want to get a general idea of the distance off the tee this quick switch to find the flag as you approach the green.
The TecTecTec VPRO500 Rangefinder comes in two models – the standard VPRO 500 or the VPRO500S, the latter including a slope function.
Just like the Bushnell, this product also comes with Pin-sensor technology and 6x optical zoom. If I’m being picky, it isn’t quite as quick or as precise when locking onto the flag as the Bushnell laser rangefinders, however the money you’ll save will be worth it.
– value for money
– great ratings
– +/- one yard accuracy up to 540 yards good enough for any mere mortal
– you can easily switch between pin seeker and scan mode
What seals the TecTecTec V-Pro 500 is their 60-day money back guarantee. It’s quite tough to argue with a product that is half the price of the industry’s leader, does almost the same job and will offer a free return and money back guarantee up to 8-weeks after purchasing.
Pros – The major role of any rangefinder is to tell you how far it is to the flag. The TecTecTec produces the results for less than 50% of the cost of the Bushnell Pro V4.
Cons – The pin-sensor technology isn’t quite as refined as the Bushnell. It may take a couple more waves over the flag stick in certain light conditions.
The GolfBuddy Rangefinder Aim L10V is unique because it can call out your yardage. All you have to do is press the button and it will tell you what distance you have left. to the pin, once locked on to your target. This technology is not found in other rangefinders which may be why GolfBuddy rates this one as the best golf rangefinder for accuracy and price.
Personally, it isn’t a must-have feature, however, if you struggle to read the small displays on many laser rangefinders, this feature may be very appealing to you.
The GolfBuddy L10V comes with three modes – standard, scan and pin. For most golfers, you’ll flip between scan mode off the tee and pin mode as you approach the green. The pin mode also comes with a handy vibrate function once the rangefinder has the pin locked in.
The GolfBuddy L10 comes with 6x magnification, which can be controlled by rotating the eyepiece. The magnification and overlaid graphics offer an entirely clear view of your target area. In my opinion, the display is possibly the best on the market.
This product has a sleek design, with its ergonomic grip and lightweight body making it easy to carry around while you’re on the course. This high-end experience includes the following accessories – a rangefinder holder, clip and cleaning towel.
However, in my humble opinion, the pin-seeker technology just falls short of rivals like the Bushnell rangefinder collection. Where the Bushnell will instantly lock on, the GolfBuddy requires a little more hovering over the target to lock on. Both display the correct yardage, but the GolfBuddy requires a little more thinking time to locate the pin.
The GolfBuddy LV10 is well priced and a great option for golfers who want call out yardages when they play.
The Bushnell V4 is a previous model of Bushnell’s latest V5, but is still an excellent golf rangefinder. It took all of the best previous Bushnell features and put them into one product. These come in and out of stock online, but if you can find one they’re usually a great price for such a great laser rangefinder.
This rangefinder was the preferred choice by most caddies and players on the US and European Tours. The reason is likely due to Bushnell guaranteeing the V4 laser finder has only 1/2 yard of error between 5 – 450 yards. Whereas most other products advertise ±1 yard tolerance. But it also offers the easiest and quickest pin-seeker technology on the market.
It offers 5x magnification meaning it will really help you pick out the flag from a distance. This clear view combined with its jolt technology, which vibrates when it has picked up the flag, make this rangefinder possibly the easiest to use on the market.
As much as you pay a premium for Bushnell’s pin-seeker technology, it is still the easiest rangefinder to use, particularly if you have reduced vision, or are concerned with how still you have to keep the device.
Additional features include: switching between red or black visual display and the ability to toggle between pin-seeker and scanning mode at the press of a button. You also have the option to turn slope on/off to make your rangefinder compliant for any tournament. It is also water-proof and comes with a 2-year warranty.
Pros – Still one of the most accurate ranger finder on the market, clear display, zoom and jolt technology. The use of slope technology can be toggled on/off and it has an excellent build quality.
Cons – The only fault I can find is with the case. I loved the magnetic case of the Bushnell V4. This rangefinder case more modern, but I’m a sticker for the old magnetic, snap cases.
Next, we have the Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro. It offers all the tech in a very compact device. It offers adaptive slope technology (which can be toggled on / off) and a pin-seeker mode that vibrates the device when it is locked on.
The device is Water Resistant, shockproof and comes in a robust carry case. It also offers a two-year warranty. All of this comes to you with a considerable saving on the cost of a Bushnell.
What is the difference between a Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro and the Bushnell? Well, at first glance 1/2 a yard in accuracy and a brand name. However, I would also note that the usability of this product doesn’t quite match the Bushnell. It takes a little longer to lock onto targets and the visuals are not quite as clear on the display unit and can take some time getting used to.
I would say that the Bushnell is still more reliable, but you will save around $100 with this product. If you’ve never had a rangefinder before, this is a great product. If you need to replace a worn-out Bushnell rangefinder then, be warned this doesn’t quite hit Bushnell’s top spec, but it really isn’t far off.
Pros – Offers all of the tech for less. If you don’t mind having a lesser brand, and a slight loss on precision (1/2 yard), this will save you some extra cash to spend elsewhere.
Cons – This device doesn’t quite feel as classy at the Bushnell’s, but I can’t really fault it for the price.
The Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized Golf Rangefinder is a great choice for golfers who are looking for something to help them improve their game. The Pro version of the Coolshot has a variety of features and benefits, including accurate distances to any point on the course, slope-adjusted yardages for more precise calculations, and multiple modes so you can find your distance in different ways.
NIKON’S EXCLUSIVE STABILIZATION TECHNOLOGY stabilizes not only the viewfinder but the objective lens as well, so you can be confident that your readings are precise.
The Nikon Coolshot Pro is waterproof and fog-proof, with a water-resistant housing to keep it safe in any conditions.
ADVANCED PIN IDENTIFICATION AND QUICK MULTI-TARGET MAPPING features let you find your target quickly and easily.
The Nikon coolshot is a great rangefinder for the price. The smaller size than the Bushnell makes it a little easier to handle. It also offers a stabilised display through some fancy tech shown above. These two factors make it simple and easy to use.
It also offers pin-lock technology, scan modes and gives you the ability to turn on and off slope mode. For accuracy and tech, it matches the Bushnell, or possibly even surpasses it (due to its clear display).
If you’re in the market for a golf rangefinder and GPS system, then the Garmin Approach Z80 has got your back. As the image above shows this incredible device merges the two technologies of ranger finder and GPS.
The result is a futuristic over-lay. This rangefinder gives you the distance to the flag, front and back of the green. It also provides a visual on the left of your display showing how far onto the green the flag is located.
Garmin boast that this rangefinder offers unparalleled accuracy with less than one-foot of error to the flag from inside 350-yards (320 metres). This technology offers full colour 2-D CourseView mapping on the viewfinder for more than 41,000 courses worldwide.
It also includes slope technology and a whole host of other tech options to help you out on the golf course. There is so much going on you are best to watch the video below to explain it all.
All in all this rangefinder has some great tech. Why hasn’t it made it as the best golf rangefinder in this review?
Two reasons – price and faff (and some report of glitches from customers).
It costs less than buying a separate GPS and rangefinder, but not by a lot. Secondly there are a few extra issues with software updates. Some customers have reported issues with updating the software, but this is not an issue we have experienced.
There is no on-going fee for updating your course information. Garmin update their data-base at least twice a year, and even have course requesting options and manual indexing. This is a heck of a device and probably the future of golf rangefinders.
Pros – If you really can’t decide between a laser rangefinder or GPS unit get this. If you are a keen tournament player, who is on the road, this will also serve you well. The distances to flag, front, back all combined will really help your strategy.
Cons – The Garmin Approach Z80 does require a little extra maintenance, mainly software updates. The additional computing does mean you will be charging it more than a traditional rangefinder.
Alternatives to laser rangefinders
A golf rangefinder is one of the most useful tools a golf player can have in their bag. In today’s age, golfers are turning to GPS watches for accurate distances. The best golf laser rangefinders give you a yardage specifically to the pin, whereas GPS golf watches only tell you the distance to the from and the back of the green. This can be up to 30-yards away from where the flag is located.
GPS watches are also better when it comes to golf tracking and statistics, as a golfer’s faults can be logged there. They also require no zapping the flagstick, your yardage will appear on the golf watch.
However, golfers who still prefer laser rangefinders will need one of the best golf rangefinder models for accuracy and price. The top golf rangefinders have been reviewed above.
What’s the best golf rangefinder for the money?
When you need a laser rangefinder that will get the job done with accuracy and precision, go for Bushnell Pro XE. It provides accurate yardages by taking into account pressure, altitude and temperature, alongside the usual slope function to provide an amazing experience on course.
This level of detail isn’t for every golfer, but for this reason, it wins our best golf rangefinders title.
What is the best budget golf rangefinder?
The two best laser rangefinders on a budget are the TecTecTec VPro 500 and the GolfBuddy Laser Lite. Both offer laser rangefinder technology that competes with the top products in terms of accuracy but are at the lower end of cost on the golf rangefinder market.
The GB Laser Lite also features slope switch technology, allowing you to quickly swap between slope and non-slope modes. Making it the perfect laser rangefinder if you are shopping on a budget.
How can I find the best golf rangefinders for my level of play?
Choosing a golf rangefinder can be hard because there are different ones with different features. To choose the right one, you should look at what you want to do with it and how much you want to spend.
What do you want to use the rangefinder for? If you are an avid golfer, probably the best laser golf rangefinders will measure distances up to 300+ yards accurately, be easy to use, be reliable and affordable.
If you are more of a recreational golfer the, best golf rangefinders will be accurate within a yard and you may sacrifice some fancy features like slope compensation technology.
What rangefinder do pro golfers use?
Bushnell is the most used make on both the PGA and LPGA Tours. Historically, Bushnell produced the most accurate golf rangefinders. However, it is fair to say that all top brands now offer similar levels of accuracy.
Some of the top manufacturers out there are Bushnell Golf, Callaway Golf, TaylorMade, and Garmin. Golf pros are not allowed to use rangefinders during tournament play but do use them when preparing for tournaments.
Golf rangefinders can be used in two ways – to optimise your practice and to help you shoot the lowest scores possible on the golf course. Many golfers over-look the use of golf rangefinders in practice. However a good golf rangefinder allows you to master your pitching, work out your club distances and provide more detailed feedback on your long game.
When playing I find golf rangefinders have two main uses:
- Scan distance to trees, bunkers and hazards off the tee.
- Dial in on the distance to the flag from 30- 270 yards.
The first use requires a rough guess – I want to know if it’s 220 or 240 yards to the trees at the far or near side of a dog-leg. Or a gauge of how far it is to a menacing bunker off the tee. In this instance, golf rangefinders won’t give you a perfect number, but personally I don’t feel this matters as much as point two.
The second use is where a great golf range laser finder comes into its own. When I’m 200 – 60 yards away I find a great rangefinder invaluable. From this distance I really want to know the difference between 138 or 142 yards.
I know that may sound trivial, but that 4-yard difference leads to an additional 12-feet on any putt I leave myself. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer an 8-footer than a 20-footer for birdie 😉
Golf rangefinder versus GPS tools
This brings us onto the next question – should you buy a golf rangefinder or a GPS system. If you are more after use one then I’d suggest a GPS rangefinder. However, if you’re in between uses, you favour use two, or you are really keen to become a great golfer I would sincerely suggest you buy a golf rangefinder. Want both? Check out the Garmin Approach Z80.
Before making the choice on the best rangefinder for your needs, check the ‘best uses for a rangefinder’ section.
Then decide the range and accuracy, shape, size and weight, and magnification that best suits you. Ideally, you want a rangefinder with a long-range, a high accuracy level, and high magnification; the trade-off tends to be cost.
How do rangefinders work?
All rangefinders work in the same way. They project a laser beam out and wait to see how long it takes to bounce back onto the receiver. This is a surprisingly accurate way to measure distance (the speed of light is quite constant 😉 ).
No rangefinder is perfectly accurate. The standard level of accuracy ranges from half a yard to a couple of yards. If you find a rangefinder with more than 3 yards of accuracy, don’t buy it.
The slope function is used to measure any elevation change between you and your target. Slope estimates the actual distance to a target and the distance a shot will play – It accounts for playing up and down hills.
This feature can be useful when you are practicing or playing. But remember, this feature is not allowed in (most) competitions. All rangefinders featured in this review that have slope technology feature a ‘slope off’ setting. Make sure the slope function is disabled when using your rangefinder in competitions.
Ease of use
If you’ve never used a laser before you may need a round of golf to get used to using them. There are two components that take a little work.
- Getting use to the eye-viewer. Some work best with your eye place onto the optic. Others require your eye to be a small distance away (1/4 inch). This varies a little between model, but all rangefinders featured here are very easy to use.
- The second issue is picking up your target. If you’re new to rangefinders this may seem tricky, however in practice it is simple. No need for steady hands, just wave the cross-hair around the flagstick and it will do its best to find your target. This is covered more in-depth in the next section.
Target finder, Pinhunter & Pinseeker technology
The majority of models today have the ability to separate background objects from forefront objects.
This means the rangefinder will show you the closest object should you be aiming for a flag located behind trees in the course. The technology is designed to enable the device to effectively differentiate flags and pins from other objects on the green.
Different manufacturers will have different names for this technology including first target-tracker, pinhunter, and pinseeker. When the closest target has been locked on the display, some models will give a visual cue, vibration or sound.
Rangefinders will vary in magnification. Generally, the range is between zero magnification and 7X magnification.
Higher levels of magnification allows you to lock on to your target easier. As such, devices with high magnifications are easier to use as they are able to hit a target faster and more effectively. Aim to buy a rangefinder with the highest magnification. This will ensure they are easy to use.
All products featured here are designed to be used with one hand. If you feel two hands may help you keep the device more stable then buy a slightly bigger model.
All models featured in this review are big enough to fit two hands. However, the Bushnell or a Garmin and the largest two if you are looking for such a device.
Take note that a large rangefinder is likely to be heavier. Make sure you balance the size with weight to get the best fit for your needs.
Scan mode is available in most models. It allows you to get the distance of targets as you hold down the laser and scan across the landscape. The feature is useful when trying to locate targets such as bunker or trees off the tee. It is less useful as you approach the green.
This refers to the ability to get readings clearly on your screen. The Garmin Z-80 certainly has the best visual view, with the GPS and rangefinder combo (shown below).
However, all products featured have very good clarity. The Bushnell V4 also provides the option to change the numerical display from black to red, which may prove useful when there is a lot of sun glare.
Price is a big factor when choosing a laser finder. In humble opinion, the TecTecTec V PRO 500 is the cheapest on the market that works. It still provides accurate data and robust casing.
As you go up in price you gain a few extra snazzy features and a little bit of usability. The Bushnell in particular is very easy to use. If money isn’t an issue, and you’re a golfing geek, grab a Garmin. The only factor to consider is the shortened battery life with it operating GPS and laser tech – so make sure you keep a battery spare.
Most rangefinders need a new battery around every 6 – 12 months. This mainly depends of use (how many rounds do you play a week), length of time between playing (batteries degrade over time without use) and weather conditions. In England, I tend to notice them die a little quicker during cold patches.
More rangefinder articles
Best rangefinder – Summary
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Happy Golfing – Will @ Golf Insider
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