Having a rangefinder in your golfing kit gives you a substantial advantage against the competition. It gives you accurate yardage to the flag, which means you can select a club with confidence, knowing exactly how far you need the ball to travel.
There are a lot of golf rangefinders out on the market today, and the good news is that they’re not quite as expensive as they used to be. Now you can pick up a good rangefinder for under $100. However some brands still push for prices above $400. So it can seem like a bit of minefield.
But don’t worry, we’ve done the shopping around for you, and have identified some great rangefinders that offer real value for money. The product reviews are to follow, and then we’ve got a buying guide for you to walk you through some things you may like to think about before purchasing your budget golf rangefinder. We’ve even got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
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Best Budget Golf Rangefinder - Comparison Table
Best Budget Golf Rangefinder - Reviews
Here’s another bestselling rangefinder that customers can’t seem to get enough of - and after nearly a thousand ratings, it’s still almost 5 full stars!
It’s designed to provide accurate distances on both flat or sloped surfaces, up to an accuracy of plus or minus a yard. It has crystal clear optics, a 6x magnification, and has a range capacity of 400 yards. You can choose between meter or yard measurements.
It’s not as cheap as some of Precision Pro’s other models, but that is because it has Slope, a much coveted feature that can do a lot for your game. It gives you a measure of any changes in elevation between you and your target.
As we note in our buying guide later, the use of slope is illegal in tournaments. However this can be turned off when you’re competing if needs be.
With its advanced Target Acquisition Technology, it can hone in on the flag, even if your hands are shaking! When it’s locked onto the target, it gives off a pulse vibration so you know the number on the display is the right one.
It’s both fog and water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about a bit of rain, enough if it starts to get heavy.
It comes with a Premium Hard Carrying Case, and a lanyard - it couldn’t be more portable!
We love that it comes with free lifetime battery replacement!
Nikon is an industry leader in optics, and although they might be better known for their cameras, they happen to do some great rangefinders too, as you can see in this model.
It has a bigger range capacity than a lot of other rangefinders on the market, coming in at a whopping 800 yards. It doesn’t compromise on accuracy however, it’s accurate to 1-yard (under 100 yards), and 2-yard (over 100 yards).
You get a Nikon quality 6x magnification optical monocular, for crisp, clear images, and there’s also an Eyepiece Focus Diopter, so you can adjust the focus to your own exact vision, whether you’re shortsighted or long sighted. Or if you wanted to use it with your glasses on, that won’t be a problem either, thanks to it’s long 20mm eye relief.
We love it’s advanced pin identification and multitarget mapping, and when you have hazards or a wooded area, this can come in really handy. Another plus is that you can choose between Single or Continuous measurement, which lasts up to 8 seconds. To use this you simply press and hold the button.
The rangefinder automatically displays the range to the first or nearest target among the multiple measurements obtained. This means that you get the distance measurement for the pin, and not any other objects that might be in the background.
It’s rainproof, which can be a godsend sometimes.
You can either buy the rangefinder on its own, or you can buy it with a special case, or buy it with a spare battery.
This golf rangefinder from TecTecTec just flies off the shelves at Amazon, and customers can’t praise it highly enough. Even after over 4,500 customer ratings it still comes in at nearly 5 stars!
This rangefinder can accurately measure distance from a target to within plus or minus a meter (which is about plus or minus a yard). It can measure up to 540 yards altogether.
The magnification on it is 6 times, so you get a good close up of the flag. And you’ll be able to see it regardless of whether you’re near or far sighted, as it features diopter adjustment, to really get that flag into focus. The cross hairs are easily visible in the viewport.
It’s got not one, not two, but 3 different scanning modes. And it’s top notch Pin-Sensor lets you accurately measure overlapping targets, which is so useful when it comes to measuring the distance to pin location and wooded areas, or other hazards. It’s worth mentioning at this point that it can take multiple readings.
It’s tournament legal, which means you can use it in any USA competitions.
It has a durable build, and is both water and dust resistant.
And included in the price is not just the rangefinder, but a whole rangefinder kit, there’s a good quality carrying pouch which attaches to a strap on your wrist, there’s the battery, a special cleaning cloth, and little quick start manual.
TecTecTec is so confident in this product that they offer a 2 year warranty. They offer excellent after sales service too.
Callaway is a brand known for a range of golfing equipment, and they can be relied upon to provide gear that’s always top quality.
This particular model comes in at under $200, and has proved to be a big hit with customers.
It offers 6x magnification, has a range capacity of 300 yards, and is accurate up to +/- 1 yard. The measurements can be shown in yards or in meters.
But it doesn’t just give you distance, this model gives you slope too. It measures angle of incline or decline, then automatically calculates the slope-adjusted distance.
If you want to use it when competing in a tournament, you can simply turn the slope function off, to make it legal.
We love the audible “chirp” sound when the Pin Acquisition Technology locks onto the flag!
It’s both water and fog proof, so a bit of bad weather doesn’t have to spoil your game.
Bushnell are generally considered a high end brand for rangefinders. However this is a good budget buy, available at a more reasonable price, but with all the Bushnell functionality. This the brand that the Pros use.
It boasts a 5x magnification, enabling you to range up to 300 yards to the flag, with an accuracy of ±1 yard. It can measure in both yards and meters.
It comes equipped with PinSeeker technology which gives you pinpoint accuracy in your measurements, and it targets straight to the flag (or nearest object) without inadvertently capturing background targets.
It has a scan mode which enables you to pan across the landscape while viewing a continuous distance measurement. You can imagine that coming in handy.
It’s quite ergonomic, with a good grip, and has durable rubber amouring.
It’s very lightweight and comes with a nice carry case.
The battery indicator could potentially be handy, if you always take a spare battery on the course.
It’s tournament legal, so you can use it when competing.
Best Budget Golf Rangefinder - Buyers Guide
In our buying guide, first we focus on characteristics found in all rangefinders, including the budget ones, then we’ll take a look at some additional features you can get, so you can make your own mind up as to what sort of rangefinder is the right one for you.
For the purposes of this buying guide (and the rest of the article), we’re going to concentrate on laser rangefinders rather than GPS ones.
Let's look first of all at how a laser rangefinder works. The rangefinder sends out a short laser pulse of fixed speed to the area identified as the pin, which is where the hole (and flag) is. The rangefinder then measures the time it takes for the laser pulse to bounce back to the device. From this information, it can then calculate the distance from the pin, and the resulting distance is shown in the viewport almost immediately.
And when you know exactly how far away your target is, you can work out which club you need to use next.
What to look for in rangefinder
The idea that a golf rangefinder should be accurate should go without saying, but that said we would be amiss if we didn’t include it. ALL laser golf rangefinders are accurate to within a couple of yards. If you find one that isn’t you should really claim your money back.
Not all rangefinders feature magnification, but you can get ones ranging in magnification power up to 7 times. We feel this can be a real valuable aid to your game, and it doesn’t tend to have too much an impact on the rangefinder’s price.
Pin seeker or pin hunter
The large majority of rangefinders on the market today exhibit a feature that allows it to separate a foreground object from background objects. This is how the device identifies the flag, ready to ascertain exactly how far away it is. This feature is described in different ways by different brands, sometimes as a pin seeker or as a pin hunter etcetera.
Most rangefinder models have a Scan mode. What this does is it enables the rangefinder to scan the area for the targets you’re ranging to identify the right one. As with magnification, we feel that this feature is non negotiable.
The other thing to think about is slope. In addition to measuring the actual distance to the target or pin, a rangefinder with slope will also measure any changes in elevation between you and your target, and even estimates the distance that a shot will play.
This is a less common feature in rangefinders, most likely because it’s use is illegal in tournaments. But if you’re not planning on any real competing, then a rangefinder with slope can really help your game.
Using a rangefinder with slope, is a great way to learn to improve your game until you’re tournament ready.
If you do go for a rangefinder with slope, the slope function can usually be turned off to make it legal for use in a tournament.
If you’re specifically after a rangefinder with a slope feature, we would recommend either our Number 1 rangefinder, the Precision Pro Golf NX7 Pro, or our Number 4 rangefinder, the Callaway 300 Pro.
Your golf rangefinder should also be lightweight, small enough to hold in one hand, and able to take a knock or a drop, since you’ll be carrying it around with you in one way or another. We also recommend that you ensure your rangefinder is water resistant, in case you find yourself out in the rain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is better golf gps or rangefinder?
Some golfers like using GPS watches for their games, since you can often get whole golf courses pre-loaded onto the watch, mapping out all the relevant distances for you. Both GPS and rangefinders offer a combination of advantages and disadvantages.
With a laser rangefinder you can get the exact yardage to the pin, as opposed to just the distance to the front, middle and back of the green. You can also get distance readings for hazards and bunkers and trees. They tend to come in a handy little case which clips onto your golf bag.
The main drawback with the rangefinder is that it’s no use to you at all on a blind hole where you can’t see the flag, or the green, or the fairway.
That’s where GPS watches really come into their own, and they are especially handy when you’re on a course you’ve never played on before.
However some players just don’t like wearing a watch when they’re playing golf, and the constant stream of smart notifications can be annoying and incredibly distracting.
But that’s not their only drawback. They will need charging up before every single round, and on a cloudy day, you might not get a decent GPS signal.
On the other hand,some GPS rangefinders can also track the distance between shots as you walk to your ball. And this gives you important information on your yardage on each club.
At the end of the day, there’s no easy answer to this question, you just need to weigh up the pros and cons. I guess it mostly depends on whether you’re always playing on the same course or playing on several different courses.