Rangefinders are modern pieces of equipment that calculate the distance between the user and an intended target.
Used mostly in hunting and golf rangefinders sport now terrific technologies and many features.
It thus makes it difficult for many to choose the proper one that serves their needs without burning holes into their pockets.
Today, we will break down rangefinders for you as we aim to help you find the best product for your goals and activities!
How Do Rangefinders Work?
Then, they offer the user a measuring of the time it takes for the beam to return to the rangefinder, depending on the reflectivity of the said target.
As you can quickly figure out, many factors that can influence such readings. Some of them include the reflectiveness of the target itself, hazy weather, glares, and all other objects standing between the user and the target.
For this reason, it is vital to understand a rangefinder’s tech specs, features, and uses!
What Should You Look for in a Rangefinder?
Before we begin, we have to discuss the differences between optical rangefinders and laser ones briefly. The latter is the most popular because they employ advanced technologies that help hunters or golfers aim and hit their targets to levels of precision unmatched by optical ones.
For this reason, when you are looking for the best rangefinders on the market, you will most likely encounter laser ones.
They make excellent tools for crossbow and rifle hunting, sharpshooting, surveying, golfing, and more. Most hunters know that their specialized cameras or monocular come with built-in rangefinders. However, having a standalone one is not at all a bad idea. Add a tripod to the mix, and you will achieve some spectacular results!
1. Yardage (Maximum Distance)
At the lower end of the scale, you will find few rangefinders incapable of precisely calculating the distance to about 300 or 400 yards – more than enough even for big game hunters using hunting rifles. Bow hunters need rangefinders able to pinpoint the target at about 1,000 yards.
Golfers, on the other hand, do not need to hit targets at hundreds or thousands of yards away. The laser rangefinders for golfers have to allow them precision at shorter distances and in some specific conditions.
However, if the maximum distance of a product is 1,500 yards, you have to know you might reach that distance under ideal atmospheric conditions and on highly reflective large targets.
Always check the manufacturer’s specifications and discuss with other users about the accurate yardage you can rely on in different situations and on different targets.
2. Target Priority Differences
Now, things get interesting, as you have to know the differences between target and priority modes in rangefinders.
If you are shopping for golf rangefinders, you need one with First Priority Target. It means that the device focuses on the target (a flag at 100 yards distance, for instance), ignoring everything else in the background (trees, people, golf carts, etc.).
When you look for hunting rangefinders, you need to opt for Second Priority Target modes. When you want to aim and put down a deer at 400-500 yards distance, your rangefinder needs to ignore all the elements standing between you and your target: branches, trees, etc.
If you ever used a camera, binoculars, or even a telescope, you know that magnification is a calculated number that describes the apparent enlargement of an object in the distance.
Magnification is crucial, especially in hunting rangefinders, as some animals are so far away, hunters cannot even see them with the naked eye.
Modern laser rangefinders for golf, rifle hunting, or archery boast magnification capabilities ranging from 4X to 10X. You can choose a high-quality device with 6X-7X magnification, no matter the activity you engage in most frequently.
4. Reticles and Displays
The reticle or aiming point is the crosshair (circle or point) you see when you look through your rangefinder.
- Hunters do not do well with these types of reticles, because in the dark or low light conditions, the lines are tough to distinguish.
- This type of reticle works better for golfers, who usually play their favorite sport in the middle of the day.
Most rangefinders come with adjustable LED-illuminated reticles. Still, they can be problematic in bright light, as many people cannot even see them, let alone the other data displayed on the screen (yardage, modes, different settings, etc.).
For you to view your target and use the reticles at their maximum efficiency, you should look for a rangefinder that features an LCD screen with a backlight.
The devices will help you hit your target regardless of the light conditions. Moreover, you should go for a rangefinder with an eye relief of about 15mm to 17mm, because it can make a difference in how you see the target on the screen, especially if you wear glasses.
5. Angle Compensation
However, the gap between the line of sight and the horizontal distance changes (becoming larger) when you have to deal with an increased distance and angle. For this reason, rangefinders featuring angle compensation are invaluable because you don’t always hunt (or play golf for that matter) on flat surfaces.
Moreover, there is not always a tree there to give you an accurate reading of a horizontal distance to an object below or above you.
6. Other Features to Look For in Rangefinders
The following features you might enjoy in a rangefinder have plenty to do with your comfort and the efficiency of your target hits. So let’s see some of them!
- Size, weight, and compactness – essential elements to consider, especially for hunting rangefinders. Keep in mind that some devices are bulkier and heavier should they feature large objective lenses;
- Noise reduction – again, a significant feature for hunters who need to stand perfectly quiet when shooting animals. Some rangefinders for hunting come with a rubber armor that absorbs noise;
- Camouflage – for hunters, it is crucial that their target does not see a shiny object in the bushes 50 yards away. No matter what rangefinder you get, make sure it comes with a matte finish that does not reflect light off it.
- Waterproofing – an essential element for both hunters and golfers who are out there in the rain, during winter, or on hazy mornings doing what they do best.
- Specialized modes, menus, and specs – some golf rangefinders calculate curves and slopes, measure club swings, and even offer club suggestions for certain hits. Some hunting rangefinders allow you to pre-load them with ballistic data, choose magnification power, change the lenses, etc.
The idea is to factor in all the tech specs you need to make the best out of your rangefinder.
As we already said, while you can use a hybrid one for multiple activities, it is best to get a specialized one for either hunting, golfing, sharpshooting practice, surveying, or other activities.
5 Best Rangefinders to Consider this Year
While relatively new on the market, the Bone Collector rangefinder from Bushnell has quickly become a crowd favorite among rifle and crossbow hunters alike.
Otherwise, Bushnell is a legend in the production of rangefinders, and you will find many models suitable for your needs.
The Bone Collector comes with a camouflage design and a case made for endurance. It features vertical configuration, one-button operation, and an in-view LCD. It shows range in both yards and meters, fits into your pocket and offers quality optics with stunning HD clarity. But let’s see some of its other best features:
- Maximum Distance: 10-600 Yards
- Target Priority: Second;
- Accuracy: +1/-1 yard;
- Aiming reticle;
- Magnification: 4X
- Objective lens: 4x 21 mm
- Weight: 2 ounces
- Wear & tear-resistant.
One could use the TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder for various activities, including hunting, measuring, and surveying. However, the truth is that this is one of the best golf rangefinders you can find in its price range.
Do not let the price fool you, because it is a premium product, featuring a continuous scan mode and advanced Pin-Seeker technology. The latter allows golfers to measure accurately overlapping objects and subjects. In other words, this is the perfect rangefinder for measuring golf flags, hazards, and wooded areas.
In the package, you will also find a premium carrying pouch, the CR2 battery, a wrist strap, a microfiber cloth for cleaning, and the device’s quick start guide. Here are some other tech specs that might interest you!
- Maximum Distance: 540 yards;
- Target Priority: First;
- Accuracy: +/- 1 yard;
- Magnification: 6X
- Optics: multi-layered coating monocular lens;
- Through the lens display;
- 2-years warranty and lifetime customer support.
You can always rely on Nikon to change the game when it comes to optical instruments.
As rangefinders go, Nikon is an iconic brand that almost wrote the book on the high technologies needed for hitting targets at insanely long distances.
The Nikon Monarch 3000 is a beast of a rangefinder. It features image stabilization technology to provide single-handed operation even in the harshest conditions or challenging terrains. The branded ID (incline/decline) Nikon tech automatically adjusts for incline or decline shooting angles of up to +/- 89 degrees.
One more thing you need to know is that the device features 8-second sustained measurement single or across multiple targets.
This rangefinder also reduces the vibrations in your viewfinder caused by your hand movement to about 1/5 or less. Let’s see what this product is really about when it comes to serious hunting:
- Maximum Distance: 8 to 3000 yards;
- Target Priority: Tru-Target Technology enables you to switch between first and second priority targeting depending on your needs;
- Magnification: 6X;
- Display: variable intensity red OLED display with five selectable brightness levels for all lighting conditions;
- Waterproof & fog proof;
Vortex is another legendary brand when it comes to making optical instruments.
The Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 rangefinder does not fall far from the family tree. It made it to this shortlist of best rangefinders to consider this year because it features a primary HCD mode display with angle compensated distance. It, therefore, makes it ideal for hunters and target practice shooters.
The HCD mode is useful in the following situations:
- Rifle shooting on flat ground at any range;
- All crossbow hunting and archery shooting;
- Rifle shooting in landscapes with moderate slopes (15 to 30 degrees) out to ranges of 400 yards or rifle shooting in environments with mild slopes (less than 15 degrees) out to ranges of 800 yards.
It also comes with an advanced LOS mode that provides you the option to calculate long distance, high angle shots with increased precision. The scan feature offers continuous range readings across a landscape or while tracking a moving target.
Here are some other features you might enjoy:
- Maximum Distance: 1,800 yards;
- Accuracy: +/- 3 yards;
- Linear field of view: 1000 yards;
- Angular field of view: 6 degrees;
- Maximum angle readings: +/- 60 degrees;
- Magnification: 6X;
- Optics: fully multi-coated 22 mm lenses with 17 mm eye relief.
- Display: three brightness settings;
- Textured rubber armor for firm grip and noise reduction;
- Water and fog proof;
- Compatible with a tripod.
In our modern world, it is hard to imagine one does not have a bug out bag in case of a disaster, natural or otherwise.
If you want to add some modern tech to your prepper’s gear, then look no further than the Beaspire 1100 laser rangefinder with tree/flagpole lock function and USB charging.
This rangefinder works well for golf and hunting, but it is an incredible tool for other urban or outdoor activities, such as hiking, measuring, surveying, shooting, climbing, engineering, and more.
For survivalists and preppers, this device is a godsend due to its useful and exciting tech specs and features.
It comes with a continuous scanning mode and advanced distance and speed measurement technology.
You will find the adjustable diopter for accurate focus display handy; together with the 1500mAh rechargeable lithium battery, you can also charge in any USB port. Its unique bracket fixing screw hole allows you to mount it on any standard tripod. Now, let’s see more of its great features:
- Maximum Distance: 1100 yards;
- Accuracy: +/- 1 yard;
- Magnification: 7X;
- Convertible units of distance from yards to meters;
- Automatic power off after no operation in 20 seconds, which saves energy;
- Measurement Speed Range: 0-300 km/h;
- Low Battery Indicator;
- Temperature resistance: -10 to 60 degrees Celsius (14 to 140 Fahrenheit);
- No-risk 30 days refund.
As you can see, rangefinders serve numerous purposes and hobbies. You need to do thorough research and pick a rangefinder that falls into your budget range and tech specs needs.
If you have more questions about rangefinders, and other accessories for hunting, golfing, and even urban survival, don’t hesitate to use the comments section below!