Best Golf Rangefinders 2021 [A Pro’s Guide]

In this guide, we’ve compiled a review of the best golf rangefinders on the market today. Deciding what is the best option depends on who you are and how to you plan to use a golf rangefinder.

To help you there are categories below, with each including our top picks, based on your needs. If you want to jump to a particular review just click on the quick links below – Enjoy.

The best golf rangefinder – our top 5

  1. Bushnell V4 with slope
  2. Precision Pro Golf NX7
  3. Nikon Coolshot Pro
  4. TecTecTec V PRO 500
  5. Garmin Approach Z80

Above is our top five list of golf rangefinders. Scroll down to read a full review of each.

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

Bushnell V5 with slope

Are you tired of lugging around heavy rangefinders?

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With this best-in-class device, you can take all the guesswork out of your game. It’s the perfect blend of size, speed, and ranging accuracy so you can focus on improving your game.

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Bushnell V4 with slope

best golf rangefinder bushnell V4

If money isn’t a deciding factor then, the Bushnell V4 is an excellent golf rangefinder. It has taken all of the best previous Bushnell features and put them into one product.

This is the rangefinder preferred by most caddies and players on the US and European Tours. The reason is probably due to Bushnell guaranteeing the V4 laser finder has only 1/2 yard of error between 5 – 450 yards. Whereas all 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, that 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.

Top tip: You don’t have to hold the cross-hares arrow straight on the flag. Instead, hold down the laser button and wave the cross-hares around the top of the flag – the tech will do the rest.

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 – 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.

#2 Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro

best golf rangefinder in second place is the Precision Pro Golf NX7 pictured here in black and green

In second place 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, shock proof and comes in a robust carry case. It also offers two-years warranty. All of this comes to you with a considerable saving on the cost of a Bushnell X-2. 

What is the difference between a Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro and the Bushnell? Well 1/2 a yard in accuracy and a brand name. If you’re fine with this trade-off this is a great choice. 

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. 

# 3 Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized

Nikon Coolshot Pro rated third in the overall range finder

The Nikon coolshot rangefinder comes in at 3rd place on our list. It’s 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 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).

However, the build quality of the case isn’t quite there. It doesn’t quite feel as robust as the Bushnell V4, and it would benefit from a rubber grippy surface to keep it stable.

Pros – Offers great tech and ease of use, for less than the Bushnell V4.

Cons – Build quality is a little lower and slightly trickier to lock onto pins.

Best (affordable) rangefinder – TecTecTec V PRO 500

TecTecTec V Pro rated as the most affordable rangefinder

TecTecTec are the new boys on the scene. I hadn’t come across them until recently (in the UK), but they sure have built an impressive rangefinder for the money. At the time of writing this review the TecTecTec V Pro 500 rangefinder has racked up over 1,800 5-star reviews on Amazon U.S. (total of 2,700 reviews) and is going a similar way in the U.K.

In tests with the Bushnell X2 (above) the TecTecTec V-Pro 500 produces identical results 60% of the time and is nearly always within 1 yard of the Bushnell. This minor difference may very well be down to the Bushnell’s 1/2 yard tolerance versus TecTecTec’s tolerance of one yard. The TecTecTec V-PRO 500 offers this one-yard tolerance up to a range of 540 yards (which I think is far enough for all of us…).

Just like the Bushnell, this product also comes with Pin-sensor technology and 6x optical zoom. However, I would say that this technology is not quite as refined as the Bushnell X2. Sometimes it does take a little more work to lock onto the flag.

What sealed the TecTecTec V-Pro 500 winning most affordable rangefinder 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.

Best compact rangefinder with slope

#1 Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro Laser

best compact laser range finder is the Precision Pro NX 7

The Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro rangefinder offers all the tech of a rangefinder into 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, shock proof and comes in a robust carry case. It also offers two-years warranty. All of this comes to you with a considerable saving on the cost of a Bushnell X-2. 

What is the difference between a Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro Laser Rangefinder and the Bushnell? Well 1/2 a yard in accuracy and a brand name. If you’re fine with this trade-off this is a great choice. 

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. 

# 2 Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized

The Nikon coolshot 20 pictures in white and blue

In second place for best compact rangefinder we have the Nikon rangefinder. This weighs in at 4.5 ounces (128g) and is 3.6″ (9.1 cm) long and 1.5″ wide (3.8 cm). The Nikon.

The Nikon offers a clear display and a range up to 550 yards, meaning unless you’re longer than Koepka you’re going to always be in range with your yardages. The Flag locking technology also means you only need to wave the crosshairs near the target and allow the tech to pick up the flag.

All in all this is a great rangefinder if you are in the market for something small, accurate and at a good price.

Best rangefinder with GPS unit  

#1 Garmin Approach Z80

Garmin Z80 gift set

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 golf 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.

Rangefinder FAQ

Practice use

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.

Playing uses

When playing I find golf rangefinders have two main uses:

  1. Scan distance to trees, bunkers and hazards off the tee.
  2. 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.

Buyer’s Guide

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, 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 😉 ).

Accuracy

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.

Slope

The slope function is used to measure any elevation change between you and your target. Slope estimates 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 a laser before you may need a round to get used to using them. There are two components that take a little work.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

Majority of models today have the ability to separate background objects from forefront objects.

This means the rangefinder will show you the closets 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.

This is one feature that tends to improve with cost. If you are keen on getting the best, spend a little more and grab a Bushnell or a Garmin

Rangefinder Magnification

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.

Size

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 than 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

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.

Readability

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).

garmin rangefinder review

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.  

Cost

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.

Battery life

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. 

Best rangefinder – Summary

That concludes our top picks of the best golf rangefinders on the market. If you would like more helpful articles to help lower your scores, sign up for the golf insider weekly post – An article sent straight to your inbox every Monday full of great advice to improve your golf game.

Happy Golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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A PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. I currently spend my time lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and working with elite athletes. In my spare time I build Golf Insider UK.

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