Rangefinders have revolutionized many sports where distance and accuracy play a big role and where it is difficult to accurately judge distance with the naked eye.
In golf, the accurate determination of the distance is a crucial part of determining which club will be utilized. To date caddies, yardage books and the not-so-trusted yardage markers have been the go-to information sources. The rangefinder has become as much of a must-have piece of equipment as your clubs and ball.
A rangefinder has a button that shoots a laser beam at your target which rebounds to a sensor and accurately determines the distance to the target. Accuracy varies between models but any model with accuracy less than a yard should be sufficient for most golfers.
Accuracy of picking out the flag from surrounds should also form a major part of your purchasing decision
Rangefinders are more accurate than the popular GPS units. GPS units are accurate to approximately 5 yards as opposed to the 1 yard from range finders.
The use of rangefinders should be allowed via a “local rule” but almost every non-PGA Tour tournament will allow the use of rangefinders.
- The Best Rangefinders 2020 Comparison Table
- Rangefinder Reviews & Ratings
The Best Rangefinders 2020 Comparison Table
Distance control is a major part of reducing your score and a range finder will surely assist you in achieving your goal. Range finders come in various price ranges and functionality. Chose the right rangefinder that suits your price range, distances, and ability.
Some criteria to keep in mind when selecting the right rangefinder for you.
The number one requirement for a rangefinder is pinpoint accuracy. The purpose of the rangefinder is to take the guesswork out of the game. The difference in accuracy in a GPS device and a rangefinder could easy be the difference between a birdie and a par putt.
Accuracy to the target is important and that includes targets other than the pin. You want to be able to measure the distance to a hazard accurately to ensure you have the correct club to either paly short or be able to cross the hazard with sufficient yardage.
The use of a rangefinder on the practice range will enable you to fine-tune your distances for every club as well as the different swing lengths for your shorter clubs.
When you consistently reach a distance with a club you can use the rangefinder to find the distances for ¾, ½, and ¼ swing shots.
After the ball, the rangefinder is possibly the most utilized piece of equipment in your bag. On average a golfer uses the rangefinder between 30 and 40 times per round of golf.
Protect your investment in your rangefinders by making sure it is protected in a case that can handle the conditions that you use it in. Every time it is taken out of its case it is at risk. They are sometimes left out on the seat of the cart, often dropped and used in rainy conditions.
Make sure that you chose a rangefinder that can handle all of this and continue to perform to the original standards. After all the investment you make is to have an assistant for a long time.
When selecting a rangefinder the battery life should be a major part of the selection process. Although battery life is very important, most range finders have a battery that lasts between 6 months to a year.
Firstly you want to be sure the battery will last long enough if you are caught in a slow field. There is nothing more frustrating feeling than spending a fortune on an assistant and not being able to use it for the full round as it ran out of steam.
The most often used CR2 batteries in rangefinders are quite expensive and to have a backup pack is another unnecessary expense.
Your battery life is much affected by the many extra features on top of a selection of bright displays found on most rangefinders. If you are a frequent player that plays in the region of 30 rounds per annum, this will be a very important part of your decision-making process.
There is a huge variety of range finders available to suit every course and player. It is important that you look at the value add that you will receive from the rangefinder.
Don’t spend a fortune on a rangefinder if you have no idea what distance you hit specific clubs. Invest in a cheaper model that will provide you with the basics.
However, if you are dialed in and have toned your game where accuracy is of utmost importance, make sure that you do not skimp on features and buy a lower-cost model as you will not reap the benefits available from more advanced rangefinders.
It is important that the rangefinders optics are of good quality. It will be extremely frustrating having spent a fortune on a rangefinder and you cannot see the target or the distance readout when you need it most.
The images must be crystal clear with no blurred lines. Look for a minimum of 5X magnification and focus adjustable options.
Furthermore, ensure that the yardage readouts stand out and are clearly visible in all conditions especially in bright sunshine.
Rangefinders claim to be able to accurately identify targets at many hundreds of yards. However, if your long game is not that long, it is not important to identify the distance to the target from more than 200 yards.
Chose a rangefinder that has a 5X or 6X magnification setting to enable you to see those far away targets clearly.
Make sure that the rangefinder you chose has the options available that you are comfortable to use and that suits your golf game and capability. There is no benefit in spending $400 when a $100 rangefinder will provide you with the features that you require.
If most of your golf is played in a rainy area it will be beneficial to invest in a waterproof model. You are investing in an assistant, make sure that your assistant is protected from the environment that you use it in.
Slope Measurement Capabilities
Rangefinders come with slope measuring capability although it’s not available on all models. If you play most of your golf on rolling hills and dales, it would be beneficial to invest in a model with the slope measurement capability.
On the contrary, if most of your golf is played on flat courses you will not benefit from having this option available. The slope compensation feature comes at a price and is not legal for tournament play.
Rangefinder Reviews & Ratings
The differentiator between a good product and a great product is in the way that the producer implements features that stand out. Bushnell has achieved that expertly in the Pro X2.
The slope mode can be activated and deactivated by the flip of a switch rather than via the change menu. This is important as the slope mode is not allowed in competitive play. It will be very easy for administrators to verify whether the slope functionality is activated as the words “Slope Edition” will be visible.
The display can just as easily be toggled between black and red by the push of the Mode button.
Activating the menu selection by holding down the Mode button which is neatly limited to necessary functions only and not cluttered with options. It allows you to change brightness, toggle between yards or meters, and select the precision by selecting up to a tenth of a yard.
The X2 Pro locks on to the target quickly and has no problem with accuracy and with the JOLT technology that will vibrate in your hand when locking in on a flag. Measurements are accurate up to 2 feet.
The slope functionality will allow even more accurate measurements on sloping courses. Identifying the target against a backdrop of other targets is very accurate and you should have no problem.
The Bushnell X2 comes in a sturdy case to protect it from the environmental challenges it will experience. The case has a dual closure system. One for easy access via an elastic band for quick and easy access during your round and a zip-up option for protective custody when not in play.
You will be pleasantly taken with the build quality of the X2 Pro as it feels solid yet comfortable in your hand. Even though the X2 Pro is solidly built the expected lifetime of a rangefinder is approximately two to three years.
The battery life is sufficient for most golfers and will not disappoint you during a round.
There is no question that this is the best product on the market and provides the functionality that you require efficiently, quickly and clearly. The optional use of the slope calculation adds to the value obtained from the X2. The X2 Pro is top value but could be too expensive for some golfers to rate it top value for money.
The optics on the X2 pro are top quality and will enable you to see your distance reading in all light conditions. The ability to toggle between red and black readouts will take this readout to a new level.
In bright sunshine, the black readout will be most readable and when you encounter some inclement weather the red readout will be the go-to setting. The display sets standards for manufacturers to aspire to.
The range is set to read flags up to 450 yards providing feedback via the JOLT technology. This should be sufficient for most golfers and very few golfers will be able to use it to its full capability.
The Pro X2 is on the top of the price scale as can be expected from this premium model. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and want all the features it is a worthwhile purchase at any price.
The Pro X2 is waterproof and you should not have too much trouble using it in inclement weather. It’s not advisable to test the level of waterproofing at the bottom of the lake when your mishit did not travel the distance provided by the readout.
The Slope vs Non-Slope is an ever ongoing debate and both sides claim to have the right viewpoint. The interchangeable faceplates permitted by the USGA could engage or disengage the slope feature.
This was awkward for practical application. Not enough can be said for the ease of use of the slope calculation option on the X2 Pro. It is extremely easy to toggle between slope and non-slop functionality. Sliding the switch up it will display the word “slope edition” and sliding it down it becomes tournament ready.
The Bushnell Pro X2 is one of the best rangefinders in golf.
It comes at a premium price for a premium product. You cannot go wrong to put the X2 pro in your bag if your financial advisor allows you to invest in your golf game.
The price is the only category that the X2 Pro will not find its way to the top of the list in most reviews. The toggle between slope / non-slope and red/black screens on their own makes it the go-to product.
The LR7 has 4 targeting modes available which differentiates it from competitors.
First, the Standard mode returns a quick distance to the selected target. Secondly, the Scan mode continuously scans for 10 seconds and will return the distances to varying objects in the scanned area. Thirdly Pin mode returns distances to varying targets in view. Lastly, Pin Finder returns the distance to the nearest target and supplies feedback wit vibrations.
The Golfbuddy LR7 provides a state-of-the-art feature-packed package yet retains simplicity and achieves a balance between price and performance.
The LR7 is accurate up to 1 yard and with 6x magnification can locate any target or targets accurately depending on the mode selected.
The LR7 comes in compact housing weighing 218g and fits comfortably in your hand.
The LR7 is provided with a Panasonic CR2 Photo Lithium Battery with a battery life of up to 5000 activations before the battery needs to be replaced. In addition, the LR7 shuts down after 10 seconds extending the battery life and lessening the probability that you will run out of battery life.
The LR7 has an adjustable eyepiece allowing you to focus in on the target. The LR7 lens is multi-coated to protect and provide you with a bright display through the 23 mm lens and 6x magnification. Distances are displayed in black making it readable in bright light. It does lack the red display found in major competitors that is so crucial in inclement weather.
The range is up to 880 yards with 6X magnification. This should keep the most optimistic golfer in a good mood.
The LR7 is water-resistant and protected in the housing that it arrives in.
The LR7 is competition ready and for that purpose, it does not provide slope measurement capability.
The LR7 is feature-laden without impacting on its ease of use. The 4 modes makes it a versatile competition-ready rangefinder.
Callaway has entered the very competitive rangefinder market with its PRO 300 laser rangefinder. Although their first attempt, it is a very good product.
Golfers with bigger hands will appreciate the 300 Pro ease of use and easier to control. Golfers with smaller hands may find it a bit more uncomfortable to hold and aim.
The PRO 300 is accurate to 1 Yard as with many of its competitors. However, it has an innovative P.A.T. (Pin Acquisition Technology) to increase accuracy and locking the pin up to 300 yards away.
It has a sleek yet robust design that fits nicely in the hand.
The Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder is definitely in the upper bracket for measuring value for money. The various additional features in true Callaway style is aimed at improving your skillset and overall enjoyment of the game.
It has a very clear LCD but it is not the best rangefinder when it comes to focusing in on targets on par 5 and extended par 3’s. However, on the mid and shorter irons you will have no problem with focus and pin seeker technology.
This rangefinder has an extended range of 1000 yards and a unique feature when locking in on a pin you will hear a chirping sound. This audible sound may be distracting for fellow golfers lining up for their shots.
The 300 PRO is priced very competitively and should have many followers looking at placing it in the bag. It is waterproof and fog-proof and very few of its competitors can compete with this.
The 300 PRO offers slope measurement and the basis of calculation on the 300 PRO differs slightly from competitors by applying 2 degrees in the calculation where most others use 3 degrees or more in the calculation.
This has not had any negative effect on the calculations and there are no complaints about the resulting distances provided.
Golfers with bigger hands requiring a total package will not be disappointed. You will not go wrong in putting the 300 PRO in your bag.
TecTecTec has developed its product and is fast making inroads into the features and users of the Bushnell product range.
There is still some work to be done to ensure that this ULT-X can compete as a serious contender to the major manufacturers when it comes to distance calculation.
Although the errors are marginal and will not have a major impact on the majority of golfers it is a concern for some. The lock-in time to identify the pin is also longer than most other rangefinders.
The display is clear and the graphics and menu options are clearly visible and easy to read. Distance is displayed in metric (meters) as well as yards. The crosshairs to the center of the display make identifying the pin easy.
The TecTecTec ULT-X Rangefinder uses a 6x magnification with the top end of the XLT-R is 1000 yards which is more than any golfer will ever require. It is accurate up to 1/3 of a yard up to 300 yards which in turn would cater to the vast majority of golfers.
The ULT-X is not at the top of the price range but doesn’t come cheap either. Despite its relatively high price and despite the shortcomings identified it has quite a substantial following among golfers.
The ULT-X is waterproof and encased in a protective shell and is capable of supplying slope measurements as well as non-slope measurements. By pulling the faceplate at the front of the rangefinder forward it exposes a yellow strip to indicate that the slope calculation is activated disqualifying it from tournament use. Push the faceplate back and it is all legal again.
The TecTecTec ULT-X is reasonable value for money but has tough competitors in the market.
5. Leupold Gx-4ia2 Rangefinder
- High Accuracy due to use of modern technology
- Club Selector option
- Highly durable and waterproof
- Red OLED display assist in readability
- Loaded with features
- Too many features can lead to information overload
- Distracting Blinking Display
- Expensive price
- Struggle to lock onto a flagstick if there are too many similar objects in the background
The Leupold brand originated in 1907 and in 1947 built its first fog proof scope. From there the company expanded into industrial scopes, rangefinder and other types of sports optics.
The Leupold Gx-4ia2 rangefinder has a fog-resistant system which is beneficial for golfers that have to venture out in all different weather conditions and especially those early morning rounds.
Another great feature available on the Gx-4ia2 is the club selector system. The DNA engine and external weather conditions are combined to provide you with a recommendation for the club you should use. The Gx-4ia2 will always recommend a club when slope adjustment is selected.
The accuracy of the Gx04ia2 is enhanced by the use of Leupold’s technology in their Digitally Enhanced Accuracy (DNA) engine and Pinhunter 2 Software. It is quick to lock into a target and to calculate the distance.
With 6X magnification up to 450 yards and accuracy to the pin is up to 1/10 of a yard calculated through the use of their Prism lock technology.
Leupold produces excellent products and there is no concern with the durability of the Gx-4ia. The rangefinder is sturdy and lightweight and many users have been using their Leupold rangefinders for many more than the average lifespan of 2 years for rangefinders.
The Leupold GX-4i comes with one CR-2 Lithium battery and the battery life is quite acceptable and unlikely to falter during a round of golf. You will find your remaining battery life in the viewfinder to warn you if the battery life is running low.
The Red OED with its slight green-tinted display is not easy to read when attempting to take distance measurements against either dark or bright backgrounds. It is difficult to lock onto the flagstick and distances blink rapidly as they are updated.
The Gx-4ia is waterproof and could be used during inclement rounds with no problem, and is capable of providing distances taking the slope into consideration.
The Leupold Gx-4ia is a reliable product without being at the top of the price range. There are some concerns with the display and the blinking distances as well as locking in on a target.
Final Verdict and Advice
Rangefinders have become part and parcel of the golf game and have become a piece of the equipment that every golfer can benefit from. Accurate distance measurement plays a big role in club selection and bringing the handicap down.
There is a multitude of options available and your requirements will play a big role in making your ultimate selection. The type, of course, you play on a regular basis will also help determine whether a slope calculation or non-slop option is more applicable.
Summary of Ratings and Reviews
The Bushnell Pro X2is the best overall rangefinder if money is not a problem. It has excellent features and stands out as one of the best rangefinders in 2020.
The Leupold Gx-4ia2 Rangefinder is our runner-up and will not disappoint any top golfer.
The TecTecTec! ULT-X is rated as the best budget slope calculating rangefinder.
The GolfBuddy LR7 is our runner-up in the budget category.
The Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder is our most durable on a lower budget winner.