The Best Golf Rangefinder for Your Game
Knowing your exact distances on the golf course is crucial information that can help lower your scores through improved decision making. Distance measuring devices featuring GPS and laser technology have made this process much easier for golfers over the past decade. In this guide, we will explore which is the best golf rangefinder for your budget level and feature requirements.
The good news for all of you is that the market has changed considerably in recent years. Improvements in manufacturing processes and the ability for companies to sell directly to consumers online has made pricing more competitive than ever. Golfers used to spend upwards of $500 – $600 for a laser rangefinder. However, that is no longer the case.
There are plenty of models in the $150 – $250 range that will perform very well for you on the golf course. That’s not to say the premium models are not worth the money anymore, it just depends on what you are looking for.
We’ll clear all of that up for you in this article!
A Little Advice First
If you are in the market to purchase a rangefinder, your number one priority is to get an accurate reading of your distance to the pin. All of the models listed in this article are going to do that for you. They’re all well reviewed by real golfers, and will accomplish that task for you at the bare minimum.
Some might get that information to you a bit faster without as much hassle, but you’ll pay more.
Aside from that, I can tell you the other most important feature is whether or not your rangefinder will automatically calculate the slope of the golf course. Having this feature is a huge benefit. It will take out the guesswork of factoring in downhill or uphill slope when deciding what club to take. This can save you real shots on the course.
If you are planning to play in tournaments, this feature is not legal. You will want to purchase a rangefinder that will either let you disable the slope calculation, or doesn’t have it at all. If you do not plan on playing in tournaments you’ll be fine purchasing a unit that simply factors in slope without the ability to disable it.
Premium Versus Budget
The main consideration any golfer will face when choosing to purchase a laser rangefinder is whether or not to pay for the premium models from brands like Bushnell, Callaway, and Leupold.
If you spend $300 – $600 on their models, can you expect to get 2x – 3x time the performance of the budget brands like GolfBuddy, Precision Pro, TecTecTec, or Scoreband?
Based on my experience I would tell you no.
There’s no question that certain Bushnell models offer more features than rangefinders half its price. However, if you are willing to go with a lesser-known brand you can save some money.
Keep in mind that when you buy products from premier brands that claim #1 usage on Tour and have plenty of commercials on TV, that is usually baked into the price of the product.
I will cover the premium brands first, and give you a rundown of which ones I think could be worth your money. While they might be the best golf rangefinders on the market in terms of their overall features and reliability, it could be overkill for your needs.
Premium Golf Range Finders
In this section, I’ll discuss the models from premium manufacturers that most golfers are familiar with. There is no question that Bushnell owns this category, but there are a couple of other rangefinders worth knowing about as well.
Bushnell Pro X2
Bushnell is widely regarded as the premier brand for golf rangefinders. It is not by coincidence, they are making excellent products that golfers have trusted for years.
Their Pro X2 model is generally considered to be the best golf rangefinder out there. It’s jam-packed with features that set it apart from almost every other laser rangefinder on the market.
Aside from being incredibly accurate, quick, and working from over 450 yards, the Pro X2 also has:
- Dual display technology that can shift between a bright red or sharp black based on lighting conditions
- Pinseeker mode that “jolts” when the laser has locked onto the flag
- Slope compensation that automatically adjusts yardage depending on elevation change
- The only Bushnell model that is completely waterproof
The key feature that I believe sets this product apart from other models is the ability to enable or disable slope technology with the click of a button. If you are a golfer who regularly plays in tournaments this is very important. Currently, you are not able to use a rangefinder with slope compensation enabled.
At $499 this is one of the more expensive rangefinders out there. For the golfer who wants it all, this is likely your best bet.
Other Bushnell Models Worth Considering
If the Pro X2 model is out of your budget range, and you do want to stick with Bushnell, there are a couple of other models I would suggest.
If you want the ability to switch between slope modes for a tournament, their Tour V4 Shift model keeps that feature for $100 less.
If you aren’t going to be playing in tournaments, then you can save yourself some extra money with their Tour X model at just under $300. In my opinion, this is the best value in the entire Bushnell lineup.
Premium Rangefinders Not Named Bushnell
There are a couple of other companies who offer high-end laser golf rangefinders.
Garmin just released the Approach Z80, which in my opinion is a real game changer. It is the first rangefinder to combine laser yardages along with 2D images displaying yardages from GPS data. You can read my full review here. This product has it all and is arguably the best rangefinder on the market right now because of its combination of features.
Leupold would be my next recommendation. They are another well-respected name (especially in the hunting industry).
If you want a nicely crafted unit that will easily lock onto the pin and offer a crystal clear display then take a look at their Gx-3i2 model. It currently retails for $399, which certainly places it on the higher end of the market.
Callaway is also making an excellent rangefinder with their 300 Pro model. At $299 this is one of the better values in the premium category.
It features 6x magnification, pin acquisition technology, and best of all it calculates distances based on slope. This is one of the better deals available for this many features.
Budget Golf Rangefinders
OK, now that we’ve covered the premium options on the market, let’s talk about how you could potentially save more money. The following products I’ll discuss might not be household brands, but they have a very good track record at reasonable prices. The best golf rangefinder for your needs doesn’t have to be the most expensive one!
GolfBuddy LR Series
This is one of my personal favorite brands. I’ve reviewed a few of their products on the site. They have performed well for me over the last several years. Long story short – they offer solid products and reasonable prices without the marketing frills.
The GolfBuddy LR5 is one of the best overall budget rangefinders on the market. This is the model I use on the course, and it simply works.
It locks onto the pin quickly, offers plenty of magnification for long targets, and best of all it is light on the wallet. At under $150 this is easily one of the best deals out there.
If you want their rangefinder with slope technology then you can check out their LR7S model. This is another great bargain ($230), and it allows you to turn the slope functionality on and off like some of our premium options. Additionally, it will give you a jolt when it locks on, similar to the Bushnell Tour model.
Precision Pro is another company that has gained popularity over the last couple of years. Their Nexus Rangefinder has gotten great reviews for its mixture of performance and price. At $149, this is another budget offering that will accurately lock onto the pin distance without any issues. They also offer a 1-year warranty.
It is slightly larger, and a little slower than a product like Bushnell. If you are OK with that you can save some serious money.
If you are looking for slope technology then their NX7 Pro series offers it for $249 (it can be disabled for tournament play). You can read my full review here – I was very impressed by their flagship product.
A Few Other Options
If that wasn’t enough for you, here are a couple of other models you can consider if you are on a budget:
TecTecTec VPRO500 ($149)
Scoreband Vibe ($179)
What About GPS Devices?
I know you came to this article looking for the best golf rangefinder on the market. But let me give you an alternative viewpoint before you make a purchase.
One of the main goals of this site is to help you shoot lower scores by optimizing your strategy. Having your exact distance to the pin is extremely important, but it doesn’t tell the complete story.
Knowing your front, center, and back yardages to the green are arguably more important. Additionally, GPS devices can give you yardages to water hazards, bunkers, the end of fairways and other important targets on the course.
If you want to see some of the best GPS rangefinders on the market then you can read my complete guide.
Wrapping It Up: The Best Golf Rangefinder for Your Game
Hopefully, you have a much better understanding of the marketplace now. There are plenty of options available at varying price levels. I will continually update this guide as new models are released.
Just an important reminder, being a smart course manager is not only about having the right information but making smart decisions. If you want help, be sure to download my free guide here.
Best of luck out on the course!