BY James Brown, 7 Minutes
Choosing the best rangefinder can be tough task provided the number of options on the market.
In general, the two major categories for its usage is golf and hunting. For this article, we would like to focus on the latter.
There are three major types of rangefinder available today namely optical, infrared and laser rangefinder, out of which laser rangefinder is more accurate and reliable be it for bow hunting or rifle/gun hunting.
Some rangefinders are designed for short-range use that is why bow hunters prefer them.
While the others are intended for long range distance measurement and are popular amongst rifle hunters.
They also have a superior glass quality, a large objective lens for better light transmission and gives out remarkably clear pictures.
After immense research, we have put together a list of 5 best rangefinders you can buy without you having to break your piggy bank, and two bonus rangefinders each one for under the budget as well as one if you have the budget.
In-addition, we did not include rangefinder with price more than $1000 as it is not worth it for spending that much money on a device you use a few times a year or more.
Don’t forget to check out user reviews by clicking the links mentioned at the end of each product review.
Nikon is widely known for its quality products with good performance. The Nikon Aculon AL11 is no exception to that, despite being a budget rangefinder.
This rangefinder is great for variety of purpose including gold, hunting and target shooting. Good rangefinder at a reasonable price.
The Nikon Aculon AL11 is a relatively budget friendly scope packed with some of the high-end features designed to prioritize distant target which means while there are thick bushes and dense tree area between you and your trophy, you will be able to spot the game through the hindrance of thick bushes.
The Aculon AL11 is popular amongst bow hunters and gun hunters alike, which is not ideal for long range shooting. The distance priority feature helps in engaging typical shots while in the woods.
Nikon has slowly but surely up their game with this model of the rangefinder, becoming a trusted manufacturer of rangefinders on the market.
The device is 3.6 inches long and 2.9 inches high with a width of 1.5 inches, making it a compact device easily comparable to cell phones in terms of size.
Without batteries, the Aculon AL11 weights 4.4 ounces making it one of the lightest rangefinder available on the market. However, it can be a problem for you to hold it and get an accurate shot if you have large hands.
Aculon AL11 is designed to be not heavy or light, depending upon person to person. The lack of tripod mount makes this a bit less user friendly but me and my team still managed it with ease.
The Aculon AL11 has a magnification of 6X with a 20 mm objective lens which is great because it is rare to see such good magnification at this price point. A total win.
The lens is fully multi-coated, which is great for maximum light transmission as it reduces the loss of light during transmission result in crisp, sharp and bright images.
This rangefinder is not ideal for dusk until dawn because the display is not illuminated making it tough to read the display during the night.
Another great feature about this rangefinder is its eye relief of 18mm. This makes it long enough for everyone to have a clear field of view with glass or without it.
For a clear view, minimum eye relief required with glasses is 15 mm so having an 18mm eye-relief is more than enough.
Even though the Aculon AL11 has a range distance of 6 yards to 550 yards as marketed by Nikon but it is far from the truth as these measurements were taken in an ideal circumstance, while the range distance is affected by several factors including the weather, air pressure, wind, fog etc.
Therefore, in the real world, the range distance can vary depending upon the weather condition.This device is an excellent accessory for rifle hunting within budget.
Another great feature about this tool is that it can range 3D targets effectively. Trees, wall, large game you name it.
The device is not waterproof but water resistant, which means it will not survive a drop in the river or a lake but it will do just fine in the rain.
What we do not like about this rangefinder is that it does not calibrate itself for ranging slope of the ground or if you are shooting from a tree stand. Certainly its a hunting rangefinder and not ideal for golf as the main focus of this device is on ranging distant objects.
Nikon has released their lightest and most compact model without compromising with any of the features.
The rangefinder is equipped with variety of features including Nikon ID technology, Tru-target technology and variety of other.
Its an affordable rangefinder for golfers, bow hunters and shooters.
The Arrow ID is designed for bow hunters if you take a look at all the features, it is made for favorable for bow hunting.
The gadget is incredibly lightweight, affordable and compact in size making it suitable for hunting with a crossbow.
When it comes to size, this device is small, with dimensions of 3.6 X 1.5 X 2.9 inches. You will be able to carry this rangefinder without any effort, it weighs only 4.8 oz without a battery.
The gadget has an extended eye relief of 20.3mm ensuring no strain on eyes with or without glasses making it a great choice for your next new rangefinder.
Exclusive ID technology ensures the horizontal distance is compensated to your target to properly calibrate arrow drop at an increased range.
One of its great features is its ability to switch between different target modes depending on the topography and surroundings to read most accurate distances.
The Rangefinder is water resistant which makes it rain proof but do not try to submerge this gadget into the water as the device is not waterproof, it will destroy the gadget.
The reason for it being not waterproof is that the rangefinder is not sealed, so water can damage the internals of the gadget. Make sure you keep the device dry.
Arrow ID can be used as a rangefinder for rifle shooters as well; it’s only a matter of calibrating the gadget as per the weapon of choice.
In-addition, the Tru target technology further enhance its features for both types of hunters to use.
The Tru Target Technology authorize the rangefinder to toggle between target modes.
The first target priority mode and the distant target priority mode are two distinct modes where First target mode allows the rangefinder to ignore background object to acquire target acquisition of the nearest object whereas second target mode ignores foreground brush and objects to obtain target acquisition in the background.
The Arrow ID include a new CR 2 battery, which can provide up to 8000 actuation in its life span.
We like how the rangefinder automatically shuts-off, after 8 seconds of inactivity which increases the battery life. The scan mode is activated for about 8 consecutive seconds to scan the area for an updated distance.
Final thoughts: The accuracy of the range finder is on point no matter what the condition. Some added features only enhanced the capabilities of this gadget.
Overall it is a good gadget for the money for both bow hunters and gun hunters with decent capabilities.
The Vortex Ranger 1800 is a long rage rangefinder which can range up to 1800 yards without a hassle.
This rangefinder has everything a great mid-range rangefinder should have. from longer eye relief to good field of view to high reflective range.
The vortex ranger 1800 is the newest in the ranger series, released in 2018 fully upgraded from top to bottom making minor changes, the faster laser can acquire readings in less than a second.
The maximum range out for Ranger 1800 is 1800 yards with 900 yards to buck. Giving over a mile of range on reflective target making it one of the best, most high performance rangefinder in its class.
Especially designed for long-range hunters to take full advantage of long rage shots.
This device is a heavy duty built, designed to withstand tough weather conditions, due to its rubberized coating on the body as well as it can overcome the accidental damage.
The LED display is highly adjustable, you can change the intensity of brightness of the display as per the environment to ensure it does not affect your eyesight during hunting.
The O-ring seal makes sure the device is waterproof and fogproof.
The Horizontal component Distance allows the rangefinder for compensated distances when the target or the rangefinder setting at an inclined or declined angle.
The HCD also measures the bullet or bow drop compensation to help you make an accurate shot on your target. In the Line of Sight mode, you will be given the actual line of sight with no correlation for slope. There is an additional number below the yardage reading to read bullet drop for distance beyond 500.
Another great feature of this gadget is that it automatically consider the angle to calculate horizontal distance.
The ranger 1800 is ideal for both bow hunters and gun hunters, with HDC mode the rangefinder can accurately read up to 800 yards on a 14 degree or less scope and up to 400 yards for 30 degree scope or less.
Ranger 1800 comes with a CR2 battery, which can be used for at least 2000 actuation.
Overall, the battery performance is good though it depends on the use. Specific modes such as Scan, highest display brightness affects the overall battery life.
The advanced LOS(line of sight) mode provides you with the option to calculate long distance, high angle shots which is highly accurate.
The lens is fully multi coated which is great for maximum light transmission giving clear pictures even in low light conditions.
Due to its lightweight and compact size, the ranger 1800 is easy to carry, the included neck lanyard and removable utility clip make the Ranger even easier to carry.
Final thought: The Ranger 1800 is a simple and high performance gadget which is surprisingly user friendly considering how intuitive it is.
With angle compensation, the magnification of 7X, and Range distance of 3400 yards, this ranger finder practically over delivered for the price.
The Sig Sauer Kilo 2200mr is the latest latest generation laser rangefinder that never fell short from its promises. Providing high performance, extra durability and great features.
This rangefinder has one of the most advance technology in the market featuring LightWave DSPTM Technology for the most accurate, fastest and longest range.
The kilo 2200 is a 2017 released laser range finder, it is an updated version of Kilo 2000 suitable for both archery shooters and long range shooters.
The operation of Kilo2200 is extremely easy, it comes with three different reticle buttons featuring two buttons: range button on the top to activate laser and mode button on the side to switch between modes.
The LOS(Line of sight) and AMR modes tells you the sight distance and the angle providing true shooter distance.
The three reticles are circle dot reticle, horizontal milling reticle, and a vertical milling reticle.
A great thing about Kilo 2200 is its ability to quickly and accurately pick up the distance no matter what the condition is.
At four measurements per second, it is slow enough to read the target at rest whereas it is fast enough to read moving targets.
The rangefinder comes with an advertised distance of just over 2 miles to accurately read the range distance. Currently, it comes in two models.
The MR (milling reticle) and the LRH(Long range hunter).
The automatic display brightness is another great feature this rangefinder has.
The Kilo2200 is compact enough to easily fit in a single hand while its carry case can comfortably load on a belt.
As an added convenient, the Kilo2200 range lock feature displays the most recent ranging measurement for few seconds after releasing the range button.
The Kilo2200 is advertized to range a non reflective target like deer to up to 1300 yards while trees up to 1600 yards and reflective objective like cars and building out to about an impressive 3500 yards.
The accuracy of Kilo2200 is exceptional, at a maximum range of 3200 yards, the error in measurements for this rangefinder is less than one yard.
To ensure the measurement taken by kilo2200 is accurate, it takes four individual measurements every second which makes it accurate out to nearest one tenth of a yard.
In-addition, it also calculates for both incline and declines factoring it to horizontal measurements as well as true range measurement.
The laser works just fine while picking a target of any size up to 1000 yards. The laser begins to a bit picky on what object it will choose after around 1500 yards.
The ambient light plays a factor in this gadgets ability to generate measurements at a greater distance however it works flawlessly on a cloudy day or under shady areas.
Another great feature of this rangefinder is Sig’s unconditional lifetime warranty however the electronics have a five year warranty cover.
The only beef we have with this rangefinder is the 3 mil reticle which at long range looks very big and doesn’t appear to be precise. The battery life is very impressive.
The Sig Kilo2200 is an impressive rangefinder comes at an impressive price. We are thoroughly impressed by this gadget, highly recommended. Check the user reviews here:
TecTecTEc ProWild rangefinder is an affordable tool comes with less complicated design and user friendly features marks it as the best rangefinder for the money.
The strong point with this rangefinder is its ability to perform in conditions like snow and rain. It works exceptionally well in bad weather.
The TecTecTec ProWild is a lightweight, easy to use a range finder. Used by golfers, bow hunters and gun hunters alike.
The ProWIld rangefinder has a magnification of 6X with a ranging distance of up to 540 yards. The continuous scan mode makes it an interesting choice for the price it is available.
With it, built-in speed meter this rangefinder gives tough competition to other rangefinders in the same price category.
The optic lens is coated with multi-layered chemicals to reduce light loss and promote light transmission for better images.
The gadget is water resistant which means you cannot immerse it in water but it will do just fine in rain. You can wear it all day long without strain on the body due to it’s lightweight.
The customer service of TecTecTec is remarkable, they follow-up with a defective piece of gadget with are repaired one and the customer service of TecTecTec is very professional and they take the matter seriously.
For a close range of about 50 yards and less, the rangefinder is not as accurate as it should be but that is about the only hiccup we have found with multiple users.
You will get a warranty of one year with this rangefinder but if you register through their website for an extra 12-month warranty, you will get that too, just register on TecTecTec official website.
The display it is equipped with is an LCD display with black aiming reticle and readouts.
You will find it hard to read out the readings in dark and low light conditions, which is a major problem with LCD displays in general.
The ProWild is weather proof as well as water resistant so it will not fog up in bad weather and it will work just fine during rain.
However, make sure you do not accidentally droop the gadget in to water as it is not waterproof.
The Leica CRF 1600B is a premium rangefinder that comes with a number of advance features including extreme precision to highest lens quality making it one of the best rangefinder for bow hunting.
From Advance ballistic compensation technology to aqua dura coating on its lens, the device has it all. Without wasting any time lets jump on its features and specifications.
The Leica Rangemaster CRF-1600-B is a compact and lightweight device which feature everything from advanced ballistic Compensation Technology to Magnification of 7X with a wide field of view to 1600 yards readouts to Aqua dura coating.
Though you can get an accurate reading from 1000 yards on a tree and about 700 yards on a medium sized buck.
The Aqua dura coating protects the lens from dust and scratches. Even in harsh conditions, the coating protects the lens from wind, dust, rain or damage so that you can take the right readings anytime without a hiccup.
We like its automatic power-Off function. The smart sensors in CRF 1600-B notice the inactivity and turn the laser dot off to preserve the battery.
Similarly, the display in normal mode will stay up for a good 6 seconds while in scan mode it stays up for 3 seconds.
The CRF 1600-B has a magnification of 7X which means the target will appear 7 times bigger than it already is from the distance.
The gadget range out to 1600 yards but some unofficial reports claim it can range out to as much as 200 yards. To get clear and crisp images it works like gangbuster until 1600 yards.
Another great thing about this rangefinder is it has thermometer, barometer, as well as inclinometer, which makes it great for people who like to hunt in a different landscape.
The gadget is also waterproof up to 3.2 feet. And, the accuracy with this range finder is +, - 1m fro 500 m which is better than the average. If you are looking at an object further than 1000 yards, the accuracy is close to about +(-)0.5%.
The Leica 1600-B features 12 pre-programmed ballistic curves. Holdover values can be given from 100 yards to full 880 yards.
In-addition, this gadget calculates ballistic correction based on Line of sight distance, temperature, pressure, sight in distance, Inclination angle and a selected ballistic curve from 12 different presets.
One thing with this CRF 1600B is that it is a bit complex in its functionality and requires a bit of learning to access its features fully.
The rangefinder weight 8.1 oz. with battery with a dimension of 4.5 x 1.3 x 3 inches includes CR2 lithium ion battery with a 2-year warranty for the whole gadget. The power range with this rangefinder is impressive, you'll easily get around 2000 readings with a single pack of battery.
So overall, without a doubt, the Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-B is a perfection in rangefinders.
There is nothing that the Rangemaster leaves out when it comes to reliability, precision, and features to achieve what it is made of.
The tactical Elite ARC is a powerful tactical rangefinder designed especially for long-range shooting, equipped with 2nd generation extreme speed precision (E.S.P), V.S.I (variable sight-in) with its remarkable rifle mode, the magnetic attachment system, and a built-in tripod.
This rangefinder uses vivid display technology combine with diopter adjustments to give extreme clarity and sharpness even and 1700 plus yard makes it the best rangefinder for long range shooting.
We really feel that Bushnell over delivered with this rangefinder. You will find the same features in a rangefinder twice the size and price.
As the name suggests, the range distance of this rangefinder is one mile, which is roughly 1760 yards.
In-addition, Non-reflective objectives like elk and deer can be ranged at 500 yards.
The device comes with a 26 mm adjustable lens allowing you to focus at the target to get clear and crisp images.
In-addition, the powerful lens produces 7x magnification for even better close-ups at your target.
The Elite ARC is manufactured to withstand rugged weather condition like rain and snow as the device is equipped with built-in technology to minimize the effects of things like precipitation on the readings, although the rain and snow can affect the readings of the rangefinder.
One of the best features we like about this rangefinder is that it can be mounted on a tripod. In-addition, it is compatible with the magnetic attachment system.
Another great feature of Elite ARC is the accuracy of this device is remarkable, an accuracy within 0.5* yards (+,-) thanks to its 2nd generation extreme speed precision technology for the most accurate readings.
The rifle mode in this rangefinder calculates bullet drop and holdovers.
The variable sight-in (VSI) lets you utilize the pre-set sight-in distance of 100,150,200 and 300 yards, which makes the job easier.
We really like the automatic scan mode, which allows you to scan the area while maintaining up-to-date measurement between the target and the device.
Its exceptional vivid display technology feature allows it to work flawlessly during low light condition.
Significantly improving contrast ratio with light transmission, which improves brightness and clarity.
We like how light this gadget is weighing only 12.2 ounces with 1.7 X 5.1 X 3.7 length, breadth and height fit right in your hands comfortably.
Overall, it is a great rangefinder with the moderately high price but it is worth it if you look at all the feature it delivers. definitely the best hunting rangefinder for the money.
Don’t forget to check user review by clicking here.
When you spot your target, calculating the range distance with just your eyes is tough.
A rangefinder will not only increase the success rate but it will also give you important data so you do not have to assume the distance of your target.
In-addition to reading distance, a rangefinder also reads the elevation and angels, which will help hunters with the needed data for an accurate shot.
One of the most popular rangefinders amongst hunters is laser rangefinders.
It basically blasts a beam of Infra-Red light, which is invisible to the human eye, to the target which reflects back to land on the sensors in the rangefinders.
The sensors then calculate the time it took the light to travel the distance and accordingly measures the distance between the target and the device.
Generally, beginner friendly rangefinder has a range distance of up to 600 yards while advance rangefinders can accurately measure the distance of more than 1200 yards.
For hunting purposes, two weapons are mainly used, Crossbows and Rifles/Guns.
Rangefinders for Bow hunting: Rangefinders that are compact in size are mainly used for bow hunting, and they tend to be vertical.
In-addition, most rangefinders features angle compensation that helps in calculating the precise distance at an elevated angle.
Rangefinder for Rifle hunting: Rangefinder for hunting is vastly different from the ones for bow hunting.
Rifles hunters require reading distance from long range. They are larger as well as used horizontally.
Because they require reading long-range distance, they are advance and more precise than the ones used in bow hunting.
Always go for higher magnification if you are looking for a rangefinder for rifle/gun shooting.
Apart from hunting, the rangefinder is commonly used in golf, ballistic, surveying and photography.
This type of rangefinder is the cheapest type of rangefinder commonly used by hunters and golfers.
With an optical rangefinder, you do not need a battery or any source of power as it does not run of electricity. The device uses two lenses at the opposite end are used to focus on the target.
The focusing knob in this rangefinder superimpose the two produced images together and the measures the distance.
Even though its not as accurate as a laser rangefinder, it still manages to give an accuracy of 90% to 95%.
Infrared rangefinder uses triangulation to measure the range distance once the Infrared light hits the target.
When the light hits the target, it forms a triangular angle detector, emitter and point of reflection to evaluate the distance.
The IR rangefinder uses light, much like laser rangefinder to measure the distance.
Laser rangefinders are the expensive ones amongst the different types of the rangefinder. The more expensive it gets the better these rangefinders to perform.
With laser rangefinders, the distance is calculated by the time it took by the light to complete a path, typically from the emitter to the target then back to the detector in the rangefinder.
The only downside to the laser rangefinder is that its object must be reflective for it to work properly.
Moreover, during fog and rain, the older laser rangefinder gives inaccurate readings but that is not the case with modern, advance rangefinders.
It is a necessity for a rangefinder to magnify its target for a better and brighter view.
As you look beyond a 600-yard point, a magnification of at least 4X is needed for a better field of view. Typically, the magnification ranges from 4X to 10X.
At a far distance, the beam can divergence, which will limit the distance it, can cover. The more focused the laser beam the better it will read the target.
Modern Rangefinders equipped with multi-pulse technology that reads multiple readings off the target to accurately measure distance. It also works great in lowlight, small target, fog, and rain.
Multiple readings are registered because older rangefinders are in accurate at measuring distance due to their single reading capabilities. Multiple reading shed off any possibility of error.
The maximum range is the maximum distance at which the rangefinder can spot the target and measure the distance at the ideal condition.
For bow hunting, maximum range can be as low as 100 yards as the crossbows are used for short range shooting. Whereas for gun/rifle shunting the maximum range can be up to 1000 yards.
If you are a bowhunter, it is a common sense that lightweight rangefinder is preferred as you are already carrying a lot of weight as a bowhunter. On top of that, make sure that the device is at least weather proof.
A camouflage design works best in the terrains.
There are two types of reticles currently in the market today, illuminated and black reticle.
Illuminated light helps you see the dots in the dark or low light condition, however, it felt short sometime on a bright day.
Having a reticle with an option of the back light is what you should look for so that you don’t have to limit yourself by the environment.
If the rangefinder does not take an account of the angle the rangefinder is at, it directly affects how well you can fire projectile shots when at distinct angles.
Laser rangefinder gives out most accurate angle compensation between you and the target.
In hunting, the range finder is divided into first and second priority difference. First priority difference is majorly used in golf for field view.
However first priority settings can be used In hunting in an open ground.
The second priority determines the distance of the object behind the first object covered by your rangefinder.
This setting is ideal for hunting as the device can look through the obstacles like trees and bushes and spot the target behind. Laser rangefinder works more accurately for this kind of situations.
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