Rangefinders for golf are quite diversified these days, whether you count the types, operating principles or small bells and whistles. Choosing the right one can be hard, but not impossible. Get familiar with their types, find out what to look for and explore the best-rated rangefinders in this segment.
GPS Versus Laser Rangefinders for Golf
There are major differences between laser and GPS rangefinder for golf. GPS rangefinders require less time to measure the distance. The course must be charted though. In terms of accuracy, the measurement is excellent over any location, including perfectly green fields. Besides, you don’t need to focus the device to discover the target. Such units are usually handheld or come as watches.
In terms of accuracy, the best rangefinders for golf are actually laser-based. They require a battery and course updates need to be downloaded. It can be a bit challenging for the less Internet literate users, but the good news is that the course doesn’t have to be charted. In terms of usage, laser rangefinders are more sophisticated.
Despite their pros, laser rangefinders are bad at finding targets over hills or behind trees, but some hybrid models can overcome this disadvantage.
What to Look for in Top Rangefinders for Golf
Before making your choice you should know what to look for in a golf rangefinder. The actual size and weight are quite important in the top rangefinders for golf because you need to carry them around for hours. Make sure they are comfortable and don’t feel like a burden.
The features will determine its value. Some sophisticated units come with pin positioning or more vivid displays. Some units also feature the ESP (Extra Speed Precision) technology for better results.
The slope mode is handy when practicing or playing against friends mostly on an incline. In most official tournaments, this mode isn’t allowed, so you’ll have to switch it off.
To choose the best rangefinders for playing golf, you’re required to decide on the maximum distance they can measure. It depends on the game you play though. Some units go up to 100 yards, while others can exceed 400 yards.
Now, where do you want to play? If you play recreational golf, you don’t need any approval. If you want to join competitions, you should double-check the requirements first, as some competitions ban certain models.
Last, but not least, consider customers’ opinions. Look for rangefinders for golf reviews and opt for top-rated models, rather than brands that no one has ever heard of.
Benefits of Using Rangefinders for Golf
Rangefinders for golf have a clear main benefit – they provide precise measurements. Sure, you can make some estimates if you can see the flag, but they are less likely to be precise. Golf is a sport about precision – knowing exactly how many yards you are away will give you a competitive edge over your opponents. Furthermore, hazards are also considered. All these features will most likely give you all the answers you need during a game.
For a new golfer, such a device seems a bit sophisticated. After all, no one uses any technology when they start playing golf. But as you get into rangefinders for golf, you realize that experience is useless. You don’t need anything upfront. Most of them are intuitive, as they only come with a few buttons anyway. You’ll get used to the rangefinder within minutes only, regardless of which type it is – GPS or laser-based. The technology and user experience have improved over many years for our convenience already.
Finally, even if you’re experienced and you compete in official tournaments, you’ll still benefit from using a rangefinder. The good news is that most of them are approved on major tournaments, yet it’s essential to double-check upfront. Some units might be accepted, yet some of their features aren’t. For example, you may not be able to use a device that gives the ground slope or wind speed. When playing against friends, there are no rules then.
Top 10 Laser Rangefinders for Golf
This unit can measure up to 540 yards and features the modern Pinsensor technology. Its main role is to provide measurement with not more than one-yard accuracy. If you golf on a rainy day, it has a water-resistant construction.
The premium optics will provide a simple read – you can also check the battery level. Continuous measurement scanning is also available for convenience. On another note, the unit barely weighs 6.5 ounces.
- Free battery
- Slow shutoff function
Known as one of the most accurate laser rangefinders for golf, the Nexus model has a one-yard precision. It’s highly recommended to less experienced users too, as it can stabilize itself if your hands shake.
It’s water-resistant, has a 6x magnification, yard, and meter distance measurements and a 400-yard measuring range. It’s legal for most tournaments, but you should still double-check. The battery and cloth are included.
- Cleaning cloth
- Good magnification
- Tournament legal
- Case is too small
3. Callaway 300
With a 6x magnification and a range going up to 1,000 yards, Callaway’s model is among the top-rated rangefinders for golf. It also has a solid one-yard accuracy and will measure the distance even on inclined terrains.
The rangefinder comes with the pin acquisition technology to lock onto the pin, as well as a unique BIRDIE feature – an audio signal that confirms the target has been properly identified and measured. You can scan more distances at once too.
- Inclined terrain measurements
- Pin acquisition technology
- BIRDIE feature
- Multiple simultaneous measurements
- Buttons too close one to another
Bushnell has designed one of the best rangefinders for golf. It comes with professional one-yard accuracy and it features two solid technologies to up your game – PinSeeker and JOLT. The range goes between five and 1,000 yards.
Its range is over 400 yards. It has a 5x magnification capability and a fast focusing system. You don’t need to waste too much time waiting for the distance. The average power output is rated at <0.5mW.
- Huge range
- Class 1 laser
- Fast focus
- No slope technology
Looking for good value for money? This is one of the most recommended laser rangefinders for golf – a multifunction model with slope and angle distance measurements, as well as a flag locking feature and speed functions.
You may also like to read our guide on the 7 Best Rangefinders with Slope in 2019!
The range in slope mode goes to 650 yards. Flag locking goes to 180 yards. You can toggle between yards and meters, and also benefit from an ergonomic design and a comfortable grip. The package includes a cloth, strap, battery, and pouch.
- Full package
- Multiple modes
- Value for money
- Good range
- Battery screw might go loose
Great design and top-notch functionalities make this unit one of the best rangefinders for golf out there. It features a class 1 IR laser – safe for the eye. It’s stable and can provide accuracy even if you have shaky hands.
The measurement range goes between 8 and 1,000 yards. You can also swap to meters. You can measure continuously in real-time for eight seconds. As for the accuracy, it goes down to just over half a yard.
- Smooth design
- Good accuracy
- Eye safe laser
- Well put together
- Continuous measurement
- A bit slow
Coming with a full package including a case, battery, lanyard, and cleaning cloth, the NX7 rangefinder is a clear optical unit with precise technology and quick results even if your hands are a bit shaky. It’s also water-resistant, so rainy days shouldn’t be your worry.
It has a shockproof design and can be accurate to one yard. It has a 6x magnification and 400-yard maximum range. Whenever you get the target, you have a short pulse vibration to let you know for extra confidence.
- Pulse vibration
- Quick results
- Full package
- No slope
Having rechargeable batteries, this is one of the most reliable rangefinders for golf, as you no longer need to carry a bunch of batteries with you just in case. This is one of those rare rangefinders that work for both golf and hunting – accuracy to one yard and 1,200-yard range – 200 yards to a golf pin.
You have a continuous scanning mode that clears all the guesswork, not to mention the top-notch optics – 2mm lens, 6x magnification and proper adjustability for a clear image. The rangefinder comes with a hard case.
- Continuous scanning
- Long range
- Rechargeable batteries
- Good optics
- Feels flimsy
9. Gosky LE600G
The LE600G model can provide a 650-yard range, as well as an upgraded pin sensor technology. You can measure with a one-yard accuracy and can do overlapping objects as well – it works in yards and meters units.
The clear optics will allow clarity in measurements and vision, while the body is built to last. Weighing less than half a pound, the rangefinder is water and dust resistant. It comes with a battery, strap and carrying case.
- Full package
- Good display
- Pinsensor technology
- Good range
- Solid build
- Picks up random objects too
SUAOKI’s rangefinder can measure in yards and meters. It features a decent 656-yard range. The distance accuracy is one meter and comes with a 6x magnification – no need to worry about miscalculations.
It has a few adjustable modes, such as continuous scanning or golf distance correction, among others. It comes with an external LCD display to read measurements with no issues at all. Also, it shuts off automatically after 15 seconds of inactivity.
- Sturdy build
- Adjustable modes
- Automatic shutdown
- LCD display
- Not waterproof
Another Notable Candidate: Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11
Nikon’s rangefinder is the most compact laser unit from this manufacturer – ergonomic, easy to hold and lightweight. The display is simple to read – no eye strain. It allows you to swap between yards and meters.
The eye relief range is 18mm, while the class 1 laser model does not go over .0975mW. The lowest measuring range is six yards, while the maximum one goes up to 550 yards. It is suitable to both golfers and hunters.
- Easy to read
- Good range
- No slope
Top 10 Best GPS Rangefinders for Golf
GolfBuddy’s Voice 2 model is one of the best GPS rangefinders for golf in terms of ease of use. No experience is required. It can measure distances to center, back and front of the green – no worries about interferences.
It provides distance readings through a dynamic green view technology. Its battery can keep you going for up to 14 hours. The rangefinder is water-resistant and comes with a bit of diversity in terms of preferences and settings.
- More settings
- Simple to use
- Small learning curve
- Dynamic green view technology
- Does not keep score
Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, this rangefinder allows Wi-Fi updates of the course in real-time. You can normally play a couple of rounds when the battery is fully charged. As for its variety, it’s preloaded with 36,000 courses in about 30 countries.
The rangefinder is simple to use and comes with a maximum of 4 hazard distances for each hole. It’ll recognize the course you’re on by itself, but it’ll also advance from one hole to another without needing updates.
- Automatic course recognition
- Preloaded with 36,000 courses
- Proprietary application
- Long battery life
- Automatic hole advance
- Might lose connectivity at times
Designed like a smaller smartphone, this model has plenty of reviews and can be adjusted for downhill or uphill shots. It can provide real-time notifications by text, email or push notifications on iPhone.
You gain access to an online community as you play and see how others are doing, but it also remembers your distance hits and performance. The blind shot assistance points you in the right direction should you feel unable to see the pin.
- Plenty of modern technologies
- Can send smartphone notifications
- Access to an online community
- Blind shot pointing
- Automatic course update
- Does not always record score
The first version of GolfBuddy’s Voice rangefinder is worth some attention as well. It’s preloaded with more than 35,000 courses from all over the world and it has an audio feature which tells you the distance – no need to bother reading.
You can set it in eight languages and will measure the distance to the center, back, and front. You can also measure your own shot distance. The unit is basic, lightweight – 0.64 ounces – and comes with batteries – suitable to beginners too.
- Over 35,000 preloaded courses
- Audio distance information
- More languages
- Shot distance measurement
- Feels fragile
Despite the popularity of Garmin’s G6 and G8, the G10 model isn’t to be overlooked either, especially with its upgraded functions. It has a compact and sleek appearance, but it also clips to the belt. It can be kept in the bag or pocket too.
It considers hazards when measuring the distance. It can also get details in areas with less signal. It’ll keep track of your statistics and hole measurements. Despite feeling complicated, it has a small learning curve.
- Easy to use
- Multiple carrying options
- High sensitivity GPS
- Stat tracking
- Feels fragile
Available in more colors, this is one of the best GPS rangefinders for golf in terms of convenience – it’s designed as a watch. It’s lightweight and comfortable to carry, but it also comes with a good display that deflects sunlight.
It can measure the distance to the back, middle and front of the green, not to mention hazards. It comes with 41,000 preloaded courses and can keep the score. The battery is rechargeable and can go for up to 12 hours.
- Keeps score
- 41,000 preloaded courses
- Online statistics
- Takes a few minutes to find the course
Garmin can brag with a series of reviews and based on reputation, this is one of the most balanced ones. It’s water-resistant and features a contrasting touchscreen display – readable in sunlight too.
It comes with 27,000 preloaded courses and offers a course preview before starting the game. You can keep track of your hits and check your statistics as well. The distance is viewable to any point due to the touch targeting feature.
- 27,000 preloaded course
- Premium screen
- Course preview
- Water resistant
- Battery should last longer
The Voicex model is among the most basic rangefinders for golf – no fancy features, but just what you need it for. It has an ergonomic design, but it’s compact, lightweight and easy to carry around – weighs less than an ounce.
It can synchronize courses through Bluetooth with a smartphone application. It measures and tells you the distance, but it also takes hazards into consideration. The rangefinder is available in a few different colors.
- Audio feature
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Considers hazards
- Small and easy to lose
Garmin’s Approach S20 is among the premium rangefinders for golf. The unit works as a watch and features an AutoShot function for final statistics. It’s comfortable and looks good. The battery is rechargeable.
Apart from measuring distances, the unit also displays the distance you walked, steps and calories burned. It counts sleeping hours too. It keeps tracks of your hits and offers regular updates on your statistics.
- Comfortable silicone
- Autoshot function
- Fitness statistics
- Keeps score
- Manual is not too detailed
Garmin’s Approach G7 is excellent in terms of balance – does a great job with no fancy bells and whistles. It can be adjusted for downhill or uphill shots and it has a smart notification function for iPhone users.
It remembers how far you hit and even offers recommendations based on the distance. The numbers are large and easy to see on the screen – you can also adjust the font size. The devices come with connectivity to the Garmin golf community.
- Smartphone notifications
- Club recommendations
- Large numbers
- Basic manual
Deciding on the best GPS rangefinders for golf might seem tricky. You know that such devices are quite handy and will help in a game – be it a game against friends or an official one. As long as your unit is approved, there’s nothing to be worried about.
Choosing a good unit can be challenging because they all do the same thing. Sure, some products come with extras, bells and whistles – make sure you actually need them before making a final decision. Some others are basic and stick to what you truly need – the actual measurement.
The above-mentioned rangefinders for golf are among the top-rated units on the market. Make sure you know which one feels more comfortable to use – laser or GPS, then look into small details and analyze features. Have a clear view of your expectations too.