A golf range finder or rangefinder calculates the distance by measuring the time it takes for a laser beam to travel from the device to the target and back or the distance by GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) a la that contraption you use to not get lost while driving. This golf rangefinder buyer’s guide attempts to address the factors you should take into consideration when purchasing a laser rangefinder. As for actual product recommendations, the guide also contains them too in the “The Different Golf Range Finders to Choose From” category. The two types of range finder in the market are GPS golf range finders and laser golf ranger finders.
These finders are what you need when golfing because they cover a crucial aspect of the sport, which is to understand the target point’s yardage measurement. Whether it’s experienced pro golfers or amateurs, players are more and more using laser or GPS range finders for golf to improve their game, lower their handicap, and become golfing masters of their own right. It’s not going to turn you into Tiger Woods overnight, but the golf range finder is becoming the type of technology that’s so ubiquitous, it’s become as indispensable to golfers as their golf clubs. Both the laser and GPS golf rangefinder work by measuring distances between the target point and the player. With that said, they differ in terms of the way they operate.
|Picture||Model||Editor Ratings||Our Review|
|Bushnell Tour V3 Golf Laser Rangefinder|| (4.7 / 5) |
|Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder|| (4.4 / 5) |
|Wildgame Innovations Halo X Laser Range Finder|| (4.1 / 5) |
|TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder|| (4.5 / 5) |
|Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder|| (4.8 / 5) |
Best Golf Range Finders Reviews
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Golf Range Finders Reviews
- 1.1 Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Standard Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder
- 1.2 Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder
- 1.3 Wildgame Innovations Halo X Ray Z6X 600 Laser Range Finder
- 1.4 Laser Range Finder with Flagseeker VPRO500® – Laser Binoculars
- 1.5 Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder with JOLT
- 1.6 Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder
- 1.7 Bushnell Pro X7 Slope Golf Laser Rangefinder with JOLT
- 2 Laser Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide
- 3 The Bottom Line
Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Standard Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder
The Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Standard Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder is a great bargain of a rangefinder because it has a 24-millimeter objective lens, 5x magnification, and single-hand vertical operation capabilities. What’s more, it has a stupendous rangefinder performance of 10 to 10,000 yards. You can also get +/- one yard of accuracy with 300 yards to flag. Golfers particularly love the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt’s Pin Seeker Technology (which also activates Jolt Vibration whenever the mode is triggered) because it’s a mode that separates the foreground object—the flag—from background objects. As you pan across the greens and knolls of the course, you can use SCAN mode to regularly update your LCD display.
After much research, it’s this reviewer’s opinion that this golf laser rangefinder is one of the best in the business. It’s a tremendous machine when it comes to improving your game the same way a scope can assist a sniper’s shot accuracy by leaps and bounds. TheBushnell Tour V3 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder is actually perfectly legal for tournament play and has been used in countless tournaments and even by professional pro-golfers to improve their game or increase their accuracy with pinpoint rangefinder action. Just make sure you’re getting the unit that doesn’t have slope capability (which is actually illegal in tournament play). What’s more, the unit is completely ergonomically sound with its easy grip that doesn’t tire your palms out. It also includes a two-year warranty, a three-volt battery, and a carrying case to boot.
Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder
As for the Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder, you know you’re getting a quality cost-effective rangefinder since the maker of the ACULON (or Aculon) is none other than Nikon, a brand known for its quality camera scopes and gun scopes galore. You will get the maximum amount of value for every penny and dime you invest into the Nikon 8397 ACULON while still enjoying a price that’s much more affordable than the leading golf rangefinder brands out there. The best of both worlds, in short. The Aculon Laser Rangefinder has a petite size of 3.6 inches by 2.9 inches by 1.5 inches, for one thing. For another thing, it’s one of the most compact rangefinders Nikon has to offer.
It’s as mobile as a smartphone, you can take it anywhere you go, and it has a screen display that’s perfectly readable. Its interface isn’t cluttered or hard to understand at all, whether you’re a novice golfer or a pro golfer who wishes to try out the whole collection of rangefinders out there. Many customers particularly love how the Aculon can be operated with only a single button (as opposed to a single hand) for fast and easy measurements of your target. It’s a simple to use kind of device that’s programmed to display the range of the furthest target you’re attempting to scan (Target Priority Mode). Indeed, the Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder is one of the best ones out there; it certainly deserves its spot on this list.
Wildgame Innovations Halo X Ray Z6X 600 Laser Range Finder
The is the kind of range finder that gets to the point real quick. Instead of flashing customers with all sorts of bells and whistles, the Halo X Ray Z6X instead gives you the bare necessities in order to get to the point and find the range of whatever it is you’re targeting. It’s blessed with +/- one yard precision, the ability to account for slope (although this feature is banned from tournaments), scan mode so that you’d constantly find the range, 6x magnification, and 600 yards to reflective target. This rangefinder cuts to the chase and gets to the meat of why you got a rangefinder in the first place.
In fact, this isn’t exclusively a golfing rangefinder. It’s such a useful distance measuring device that it’s regularly used by hunters with rifles and bows as well. It makes sense; golf and hunting is all about aiming at a target and firing a projectile at it while taking into account distance, elevation, gravity, and wind resistance. Try it out and range anything across your golf course or even down the street. You’ll quickly see that this rangefinder is advanced enough to tell you the angle and the distance of what you’re ranging for, plus it includes several different modes (like the mode with angle technology and the one without it). You can even shift from yards to meters if needed.
Laser Range Finder with Flagseeker VPRO500® – Laser Binoculars
This laser rangefinder model is a great alternative to cheap and low-grade rangefinders that, ironically enough, don’t have a lot of range when it comes to measuring worthwhile golfing distances where they count the most. Instead of buying something expensive like a GPS rangefinder that you have to get updates for as well, you should definitely give the Laser Range Finder with Flagseeker VPRO500® a shot. As its name shows, it’s full of bargain deals like a free battery, binocular capabilities, and other worthwhile features that make it the cost-effective choice. This premium-grade product can measure up to 540 yards with its continuous scan mode.
It also has cutting-edge Pin Sensor technology and a durable, water resistant body in case accidents happen and you unintentionally drop it on a puddle or there’s a lot of rain at the golf course when you got there. The VPRO500 Laser Rangefinder specifically allows you to quickly get measurements with one yard accuracy, even when dealing with overlapping objects. This is the perfect machine for measuring wooded areas, hazards, and golf flags because it’s able to tell foreground and background objects with amazing, almost surgical precision. In addition, you’re getting the information through a lens that’s premium, ultra clear, and multilayered. Its optics is easy to read and its display is made for beginners in mind (although pros can use this too).
Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder with JOLT
Golfers everywhere speak highly of Bushnell for good reason. It truly is the golfer’s choice when it comes to rangefinders, even when faced with stiff riflescope and camera scope competition from Nikon, Flagseeker, and Wildgame. The Bushnell brand dominates this list so much that its own models are competing against each other for golf rangefinder supremacy. In the case of the Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder with JOLT, its main claim to fame is its Pin Seeker technology that allows the rangefinder to find your target on the foreground and not mistake it for the background trees or any obstructions and hazards littered across the golf course. This also ensures you know when you’ve hit the flag.
The range capabilities of the Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder include ½ yard accuracy from 5-125 yards, 450 or more yards to flags, and 5-1,300 yards of overall maximum range. Additionally, this fully waterproofed rangefinder machine is capable of 6x magnification when it comes to locating your target or hole (a la what you’d expect from a riflescope, since Bushnell is also a world-famous gun scope maker). As for its interface, it’s also one of the best in the business. You get to enjoy second generation ESP and Vivid Display Tech that dramatically improves light transmission, clarity, and contrast of your target prior to making your laser measurement. Most importantly, the features offered by theBushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder are perfectly legal for tournament play. It comes with a two-year warranty and a storage/carry case.
Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder
This Bushnell entry is able to stand out from its impressive brothers by offering the ability to check slope when not in a golf tournament and the option to turn it off when you’re in the middle of a tournament (since slope features on the rangefinder are banned in tournament play in the sport of golf). As a typical Bushnell range-finding machine, you’ll get your requisite Dual Display Technology from the Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder as well. This allows you to toggle between a crisp black display or a bright red display depending on the circumstances, your personal preferences, and the lighting conditions of your chosen golf course. It also has Pin Seeker capabilities.
As usual, you’re gifted with the ability to separate the foreground object from background objects (it’s the same JOLT technology feature you’d see in the Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder and the Bushnell Tour V3 Jolt Standard Edition Golf Laser Rangefinder). You can also get more accurate yardages every time with the ever-dependable second generation ESP. Finally, it also has 5-1,300 yards of range for its 6x magnification and accuracy of about +/- 0.5 yards. This makes it about ½ of a yard more accurate than the aforementioned Bushnell Tour Z6 Golf Laser Rangefinder, at the very least. In short, theBushnell Tour X Rangefinder is in many ways the upgrade or expansion pack of the Tour Z6.
Bushnell Pro X7 Slope Golf Laser Rangefinder with JOLT
Last but not least is the Bushnell Pro X7 Slope Golf Laser Rangefinder. It has everything you’d expect from the Bushnell line of pro golf rangefinders. It has Pin Seeker with JOLT and ESP technology that ensures you know when the flag is hit plus your rangefinder will never give out false readings due to it pinpointing background objects instead of your specific flag target. It also has slope technology found in Bushnell Tour X Rangefinder that you’ll have to turn off in order to make the machine acceptable for tournament usage (but you can turn on if you’re merely practicing golf or trying to improve your skills and handicap).
However, the Bushnell Pro X7 Slope Golf Laser Rangefinder has better range. It can go from 5 yards to a mile. For flags, it can go up to 550 or more yards. From 5-125 yards, it’s about ½ yard accurate (which is about the same as most of the Bushnell rangefinders on this list). The 7x magnifications makes all the difference because it makes the rangefinder double as a scope and give you premium HD optics when targeting flags and holes. It also makes it easier for its Pin Seeker tech to avoid mistaking the wrong targets and telling foreground from background objects. The ESP tech, on the other hand, ensures that the Vivid Display really does offer the most vivid, clear, and bright transmission possible.
Laser Golf Rangefinder Buying Guide
The Difference between a GPS and Laser Golf Range Finder
Laser finders came first and are less expensive than their GPS counterparts, but the latter are more advanced with their GPS technology usage. Lasers measure by laser technology and for a time it was the most advanced method of finding range for golfers. When GPS technology started to become ubiquitous, it became possible to calculate range distance by using GPS satellite signals (the same tech that allows you to know where you are and what routes you should best take when going to different places and whatnot). Since the ways they operate are so different, the factors you need to consider when choosing finders of either variety will vary.
Accuracy is more of an issue with laser range finders than GPS ones since the latter types of range finder are known to be extremely accurate by default. Meanwhile, a laser could be off by a few inches or so, which could skew the resulting distance estimation. Every last laser golf range finder is accurate within a couple of yards; if it can’t even showcase accuracy within that range, then it’s a defective copy that should be returned post-haste. As for GPS golf range finders, you should be more concerned of the strength of its antenna when capturing GPS satellite signals and the interface of the device itself.
Slope and Ease of Use
Your rangefinder should have the right slope. Slope refers to its ability to measure elevation changes between the target and yourself. It then estimates the actual distance to the target and the distance that a shot will play at the same time. Slope, however, is banned by golfing rules. With that said, as long as you use the slope feature outside of serious competition, then it’s an attribute that’s worth your consideration. In regards to ease of use, it’s all about intuitiveness. Is its interface something any golfer could use or only pro golfers could understand? If you’re a pro, you could use any of the current models.
If you’re an amateur, you might need to go out of your way to find a golf rangefinder that’s suited for your skill level. In particular, if you’ve never used a rangefinder and you have trouble hitting the right target with your laser range finder, then you should get a device that makes it easy to acquire the distance of the right target every time. Maybe a GPS rangefinder is more your speed. A rangefinder is only as useful as its ability to get the right distance for your shot or target every time.
Magnification, Size, and Special Tech
Your rangefinder of the laser variety might go from no magnification to 7x magnification depending on the model. The magnification makes it easier to find your laser target, thus ensuring the accuracy of your rangefinder. Just watch out for parallax problems. As for the size of your golf range finder, it should be the right size. That’s because a device that’s too small can present a problem for people who need to use too hands in order to keep it steady. You might even need a tripod to use these things. With the right amount of bigness and wideness, you can keep your rangefinder nice and steady.
A good rangefinder size is big enough to fit both of your hands comfortably. As for the PinSeeker, PinHunter, and First Target Priority, they’re crucial rangefinder tech that you should familiarize yourself with. They help separate the foreground object from background objects, thus ensuring better precision rangefinder action and less confusion on where your target should be. If you’re aiming at the flag behind the green, your device should show you the closest object or the flag instead of the trees or the knoll. Many current models have this First Target Priority kind of feature. It comes in many names. Callaway calls it the First Target Priority mode, Leupold calls it the PinHunter or Pin Hunter, and Bushnell calls it the PinSeeker or Pin Seeker.
Scan Mode, Readability, and Maximum to Minimum Range
Many models have a scan mode included. This feature either involves you holding down a button for a number of seconds in order to make the rangefinder scan the targets you want to get the range for in order to find the right target you intended to scan. For the majority of cases, a rangefinder with scan mode turned on makes life easier for you, and even if it makes a mistake on what your target is, you can always do a manual override and pinpoint the object you want to target specifically. In regards to readability, it’s all about how understandable a given user interface is.
Many reviewers have discovered that units with red numbers are much easier to deal with than numbers featuring other colors as far as readability, intuitiveness, and legibility are concerned. However, more often than not, you need to pay extra to get red numbers on a red interface. Finally, the minimum and maximum range of your rangefinder dictates the limits of your device. For many users, this is a nonfactor. Loads of lasers can measure distances well beyond the point of necessity. If you’re 15 yards away from your target, you can just walk and get the distance sans rangefinder, so it’s irrelevant to get the minimum distance when you think about it.
Specifics on Maximum Range and Warranty
Here are the things you should expect from a typical golf laser rangefinder’s maximum range and accuracy. They usually vary between 800 yards to 1,600 yards. This range of the rangefinder depends largely on the target’s reflectivity, which in turn is affected by other factors like shape, size, surface finish, and color. Under the best possible conditions, laser rangefinders usually have an accuracy of +/- 1 yard. There are manufacturers like Leupold and Bushnell who have devices with up to +/- 0.5 yard instead. In particular, the Leupold GX-3i and GX-4i as well as the Bushnell Tour V6 have precision specs of half a yard.
In regards to cost and warranty, the price of your laser rangefinder can range from $200 to $700. As for GPS devices, they can go from $99 to $500 (they become more expensive thanks to additional courses added). Meanwhile, the cost of the instrument specifically relies on how many features a given product has. The more basic its specs, the fewer dollars you’ll pay for it (which is only fair). If you’re using better technology, a more accurate laser rangefinder guidance system, or if you’re opting to buy a GPS device altogether, then that will cost you. As for warranties, laser rangefinders have 1-2 years while GPS rangefinders have 3 months to 1 year.
Course Availability and Updates
In regards to GPS golf rangefinders, it’s more about getting the right preloaded courses so that your range estimation is more relative to your positioning and your target’s positioning on the satellite-based map of the area. Your device should have these courses loaded in its databanks in order to offer you the most accurate distance estimates between you and the targets. If the golf course isn’t available in the device, it won’t be able to calculate and display how many yards away you are from the targets of your given course. In that point of view, the laser rangefinder outdoes the GPS rangefinder.
After all, the laser devices can estimate and calculate range from any golf course without having to load GPS satellite maps. You’re essentially limited by how many preloaded courses the GPS has. On the flipside, if you have a good GPS rangefinder, then chances are you’ll have your course loaded there no problem. Many rangefinders of the GPS variety offer more than 20,000 preloaded courses that you can add whenever needed. You just need to download the right updates to the device every time. The number of preloaded courses will vary from model to model, manufacturer to manufacturer.
The Bottom Line
There are limits to using GPS rangefinders and laser rangefinders. The ones you prefer will depend on your budget and how you want to calculate your range. Just keep in mind that the expensiveness of your rangefinder is more often than not worth it. GPS rangefinders in particular can measure and display distance from the back, middle, and front of the green, while with laser rangefinders you only really have the yardage of the front of the green as your range reference. That’s the advantage of using aerial satellite maps as your means of calculating and measuring distance versus laser technology.
There are also GPS devices that can give you aerial flyover maps of every hole, scorecards with analysis, and so forth. Every additional feature that you won’t see normally in other rangefinders you’ll have to pay extra for, which can ramp up their typical price range of $99 to $500. Just keep in mind that these rangefinders operate on batteries and are thusly limited by their battery life. The same thing can be said of laser rangefinders, but their lack of complex features is advantageous to them in terms of battery life. Those are essentially the things you have to keep in mind when choosing the right GPS or laser rangefinder for your golfing needs.