***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2021 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Golf Rangefinder in 2020, then we recommend the Bushnell Tour V5 Shift.
In case you weren’t aware, prior to 2019, golfers were not allowed to use any type of distance measuring device such as a GPS or rangefinder. However, in 2019, the USGA changed course and now allows them (a committee can still disallow them through a local rule though).
With this reversal by the USGA, having a good performing rangefinder can make a huge difference in shooting lower scores and lowering your handicap. Some stats have shown that the difference between a 15 handicap and a 9 handicap is 2 more greens hit per round.
If a rangefinder can help us shave 6 strokes off our scores by providing accurate information, than in our mind, that makes a solid case for investing in these devices.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following rangefinders:
- Bushnell Pro XE
- Bushnell Tour V5 Shift
- Golf Buddy Aim L10
- Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized
- Garmin Approach Z82
- Precision Pro NX7 Pro Slope
- Nikon Coolshot 20i G2
- TecTecTec VPRO500
- Leupold GX-5i3
- Peak Pulse 6Pro
So before we dive into the reviews, we’ve created some useful content to help you determine what is the best golf rangefinder for your game.
The Great Debate
GPS or Rangefinder or Both?
Some people say you should go one way or the other but we will feel it really depends on what you’re looking for.Do you just want a rough idea of your distances or do you want exact numbers? Are you a beginner golfer that just enjoys being on the course or are you someone really looking to improve and shoot your best score?If you’re not too concerned about what score you shoot and just enjoy being on the course, then we suggest an app you can download on your smartphone. There’s a bunch of FREE good ones available!
Now if you’re like us and you really want to give yourself the best advantage to shoot your lowest score, then we feel going with both a GPS and a rangefinder is the best way to go.Reason being, a GPS can allow you to see hidden features of a hole, like a ravine or a hazard, that aren’t seen with the naked eye.
These 2 devices when combined will allow you to get the most comprehensive layout for a course.
So this now leads to the second part of the debate…
Slope or No Slope?
For those that don’t know, not all 150 yard shots are the same. For example, a 150 yard approach shot with 15 feet of elevation change up hill will really require a distance of about 160 yards to reach the flag. On the flipside, a 150 yard shot with 15 feet of elevation change down hill will require a distance of about 140 yards to reach the flag.
So should you buy a device that has slope? Absolutely!
The whole goal of using a rangefinder is to get the most accurate distance possible. If you want just a rough idea, then you should just opt for a GPS device.
There is one more catch though, you’re not allowed to use rangefinders that factor in slope if you’re playing in a tournament or if you’re posting a round to calculate your handicap.
The good news is that many of the devices have the ability to turn the slope feature on or off and as long as it’s turned off, you can still use the device.
What Should I Consider When Choosing The Best Golf Rangefinder?
When selecting a rangefinder this is the single most important feature and without it, it’s nothing but a useless piece of hardware. The last thing you want, is to think your approach shot is 150 yards when it’s actually 170. The good news is that the technology today is pretty dialed in and the rangefinders we’re reviewing all fall within a 5 yard margin of error.
Ease Of Use
If you know how to push a button, you can definitely operate a rangefinder, they’re simple. However, there are few things we look at when determining how easy they are to use:
Easy To Read Display
When you look through the viewfinder, the display images such as target alignment guides, the yardage, and the battery life should be clearly legible and large enough to read.
Ability To Identify Target
This feature is more an aspect of the quality of the viewfinder. The overall image needs to be crisp and clear and should not be blurry at all.
Verification Of Acquiring Target
Once you’re able to identify the target, are you notified if the rangefinder has locked onto it? A good one will usually send some sort of vibration letting you know that the rangefinder has acquired the target.
Speed To Return Distance
After the target is acquired, how long does it take for a measurement to appear on the display? A good rangefinder shouldn’t take more than a few seconds for the distance number to pop-up.
Modern rangefinders are pretty durable since they have a plastic case which should absorb a good amount of shock if you dropped it. What we’re really looking at here is water resistant vs waterproof and most rangefinders are at least water resistant. As long as you don’t plan on jumping into a water hazard chasing down a ProV1, there isn’t a need to spend the extra money on a waterproof rangefinder.
Unless you’re a long drive champion like these guys below, the max range you’ll really need is 350 yards.
The good thing is that most rangefinders can identify a target around 1,000 yards.
Most rangefinders use a CR2 replaceable battery and will last you about 6 months. The one thing to keep in mind are the rangefinders that come with a built in GPS. These usually come with a rechargeable battery and should last you at least a couple rounds before they need to be recharged.
Most rangefinders come with at least a 1 year warranty and some come with a 2 year. Keep in mind this warranty will only cover basic manufacturing issues and not cover damage from human fault (excessive dropping, submerging in water, etc.)
Price can vary pretty widely on the type of rangefinder you go with. The ones without slope are definitely much cheaper. For rangefinders with slope, you should expect to spend at least a $200 on a good quality one and may even go up to $500. Rest assured that once you purchase a quality rangefinder, you shouldn’t need to replace it anytime soon as long as you take care of it.
Best Rangefinders Reviewed
The most advanced rangefinder on the market goes beyond just factoring in slope but also comes with the ability to measure temperature and barometric pressure to provide the most accurate distance ever. Bushnell’s JOLT Technology provides a vibration when the target is acquired and is combined with a red visual ring to let you know that you’ve locked onto the flag.
With the ability to identify a flag at 500+ yards and 7x magnification, this rangefinder provides superior clarity so you can easily focus on the target. Finally a clever magnetic mount allows you to secure the rangefinder directly to the cart bar.
- Outstanding accuracy
- Superior optics
- Quickly acquires target
- Great feedback when target is acquired
- Easy activation/deactivation of slope and elements technology
- Easy mount magnet allows for quick access
- 2 Year Warranty
- Significantly more expensive than other rangefinders
- Uncertain of how much added benefit with temperature and barometric pressure measurements
- High priced rangefinder
Bushnell has established itself at the top of the Distance Measuring Device market over the past few years and that is especially true for golf range finders. The Tour V series of laser rangefinders from Bushnell has been around for a while and is a great mid price value for laser rangefinders.
- The PinSeeker with visual jolt technology gives you the confidence of knowing when your target is acquired.
- The BITE magnetic mount, previously reserved for the XE model is now available in the V5.
- The screen and optics are 2x clearer than previous models.
- A range of over 400 yards to a flag.
- Slope switch technology easily switches in and out of slope mode.
- On the upper end of the middle price.
- The font and graphics can be difficult to read in direct sunlight.
A lightweight rangefinder that comes with 3 different targeting modes; standard, scan, and pin with vibration mode.
The Scan mode allows you 10 seconds to measure multiple targets, while the pin technology allows you to dial into a flag when there are obstacles/objects behind it. The slope on/off switch provides adjusted distances for elevation and make it USGA / R&A compliant for handicap & tournament play
- Slightly mid-low price point
- Good accuracy
- Quick to provide distance
- Multiple modes to adjust for usage
- Automatic shut off after 20 seconds of non-use prolongs battery life
- Optics and display can sometimes make it difficult to acquire a target
- 1 Year Warranty
- Lacks advanced features
Featuring awesome technology that stabilizes slight hand movements that happen when acquiring a target, the Coolshot Pro Stabilized enables you to acquire small objects such as flagsticks quickly and confidently.
Their next-gen Hyper Read technology consistently displays your measurement results, regardless of distance in less than .5 seconds. With one of the best displays on the market, the red and green OLED provides automatic brightness adjustment for ideal visibility. A scan mode allows the rangefinder to continuously measure distances for eight seconds
The Coolshot Pro Stabilized is designed to withstand the worst conditions by being waterproof, not just water resistant and also fog proof to eliminate internal condensation.
- Great accuracy
- Highest quality OLED display
- Quick to provide distance
- Green circle feedback lets you know that the target was acquired
- Multiple modes to adjust for usage
- 5 Year warranty
- Mid-high price point
Garmin has combined a GPS and laser rangefinder into one machine and the result is a very accurate machine with lots of great features. It is small but durable and comes with a protective case for portability.
It is small but durable and comes with a protective case for portability. The Garmin app is easy to use and very informational and you can get it on your phone or watch. It is one of the most technologically advanced range finders/GPS on the market and will give you plenty of information to make a good golf shot.
- The small size makes it a perfect addition to the rest of your gear.
- Simple and intuitive to use.
- 15 hours of continuous run time with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- A wind speed and direction graphic that is easy to see and understand.
- Pairs with a powerful Garmin app that you can use on your phone or watch.
- One of the most expensive options out there.
- More features than many of us will ever use so they become white noise.
This is a solid rangefinder with many of the features you find on higher end models. It comes with slope technology to help you find true distance and can be easily turned off.
The Pulse Vibration Technology provides a quick jolt to let you know that you’ve acquired the flag and not some random target close by. For those with slightly shaky hands, Target Acquisition Technology makes it simple to lock on to a target.
Finally, their industry leading Precision Care Package provides you free battery replacements, a 2 year warranty and a trade in allowance for future product upgrades
- Has many of the features found in higher priced models
- Precision care package provides outstanding support
- Midrange cost
- Simple, no frills device
- Can be a bit slow in returning yardages compared to other models
- Optics and display are good, not bad and not amazing
With supreme accuracy and a range of up to 800 yards, the Nikon Coolshot 20i GII gives you confidence before every shot.
Nikon has been around for over 100 years in the optics and technology sector, and they put that experience to use in this range finder.
- One of the least expensive range finders on the list.
- Extremely accurate.
- High quality glass and materials are used throughout.
- Nikon’s ID technology measures the slope-adjusted distance which is the approximate distance taking height into account. This type of technology is usually reserved for the higher end models.
- Works very quickly.
- Easy to set up and operate right out of the box.
- Battery is not rechargeable.
- Not as easy to tell when it is locked onto a target.
Excellent clarity along with 6x magnification make it easy to read and quickly process the information from the TecTecTec VPRO500.
You can also change the sharpness of the focus by turning the eyepiece so that the contrast is sharp no matter the distance. It is accurate and full of features, but the clarity of the optics really set this range finder apart.
- A low cost option.
- A durable, water-resistant body.
- Measures up to 540 yards.
- Small, lightweight, and very portable which make it perfect for a day on the course.
- Does not seem to be as accurate as some of the higher end options.
- Is not as intuitive to use and takes some time to figure out.
With accuracy to 1/10 of a yard thanks to the DNA engine, and advance infrared laser technology that provides almost immediate results, the Leupold is one of the most technologically advanced rangefinders. It boasts a range of up to 800 yards for reflective targets and the ability to compensate for angles when needed.
Even with these advanced features, it is compact enough and light enough to make it the perfect companion for a round of 18 walking or riding.
- Accurate to 1/10 of a yard.
- Can be made “tournament legal” with the push of a button.
- Has the ability to read and adjust for angles, declines, and inclines.
- Has a club selector option available as well.
- The price tag may put it out of the reach of the majority of golfers.
- So small that the size almost does not match the capabilities.
Peak Pulse offers a great combination of accuracy, size, speed, durability and price. While it is not as feature-rich as some of the other options, it gets the job done and at a great price.
- One of the least expensive options on our list.
- 6x magnification.
- Has great optical clarity even at longer distances.
- Pulse vibration technology allows you to feel when your target is locked.
- Does not feel as sturdy as some of the other options.
- Not as feature rich as the more expensive products.
The Bushnell Tour V5 Shift is our choice for top golf range finder. It is accurate, full of features, and very clear and all of that for a very “middle of the road” price. Bushnell continues to stand heads and shoulders above other manufacturers in the range finder category, and this is just another example of their dominance in this product market.