Laser rangefinders are used by everyone from Navy battleship captains to golfers. By definition they are, “an instrument for estimating the distance of an object, especially for use with a camera or gun.” These days, they are mainly used as golfing rangefinders and hunting rangefinders.
Golfers in all skill levels can utilize a rangefinder to their advantage as well as archery hunters. Rangefinders all operate on the same simple concept. When a button is pushed, a laser beam is emitted from one end and fired at the object, where it will bounce back. An internal clock measures the time it takes for the beam to return and uses this number to form its calculation on the distance.
Some of the best range finders will also be able to measure the incline of the target as well. These are best rangefinders for hunting because they allow you to incorporate the angle of the shot into your decision of whether or not to attempt the shot. A golf rangefinder can still be the best golf rangefinder without this feature however.
Difference between hunting and golf rangefinders
Hunting and golf rangefinders were made for two totally different purposes, however certain rangefinders are universal and can work for both sports. Cheaper golf rangefinders simply find the nearest object and marks that as the object to find the distance for. This is not a good idea for hunting as often times, the target is hidden behind trees, therefore the tree will be marked and the distance will be wrong.
The best hunting rangefinders are also not always the best golf rangefinders. Often times when trying to use a high end hunting rangefinder golfing, the rangefinder will pick up objects behind the flag thinking it is the target. This is because the makers of these hunting rangefinders have the rangefinder pick up the bigger object behind the trees. So it simply thinks the flag is a tree and picks up the brush behind it. As you can see, this gets very annoying in both situations.
We do have some rangefinder reviews on universal rangefinders. In all honesty most of them are a great product. These types generally do not cost that much more, so it all comes down personal preference.
It is a common myth that only the wealthy and the pros can afford the best rangefinders. Most rangefinders start at about $100 and can go up all the way about $750. Below is a table of the best golf rangefinders for the money.
Golf rangefinders are limited in tournament use to only distance measures. No tools that measure slope are allowed as it gives the golfer an unfair advantage. In all of our rangefinder reviews we will let you know if the rangefinder is allowed in tournament play or not.
Rangefinder technology has come a long way in the last couple of years. Rangefinders today provide much better quality at a much lower price. There is has also been the introduction of iPhone apps that incorporate the rangefinder distance into the app providing the ultimate golfing experience.
So this means that all of us normal players are usually left with the best golf rangefinder. However, it is considered common courtesy in the golf world to ask your competitors about how they feel using a device with such power.
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying your rangefinder for golf. Spending a lot of money doesn’t always mean you are going to get the best golf rangefinder. I recommend reading our reviews here and then keeping a few other key things in mind. You want your range finder to have a maximum distance greater than the longest hole you will be golfing on. Always take in to account other courses you could possibly play at. You never know when your wife is going to book you a golfing trip down in Florida.
I recommend buying a tournament approved golf rangefinder at first. Your friends will take you more seriously and you are preserving the game of golf at the same time.
Thanks to the recent improvement in laser technology, finding distances in the field has never been easier. However it does come for a price. While some of the best rangefinders for golf may be on the cheaper side, the same does not apply to the best hunting rangefinders. Besides archery rangefinders, if you are looking to purchase a decent rifle rangefinder, it’s going to run you some money.
Often times rifle rangefinders are a great deal better at finding the distance of long targets as compared to archery rangefinders. Archery rangefinders are more concerned about calculating the proper angles of the shot than the exact distance. Archery rangefinders are better for getting a rough estimate of the shot which allows the archer to quickly make up their mind on which distance pin to use. Where as the rifle rangefinder will give you a better estimate of the shot. It does however take a little longer to measure the shot, but there is usually no rush to hurry the shot when you are at these distances.
The technology is catching up to rifle scopes and many rifle scopes now incorporate range finder technology. This allows for the scope to automatically adjust to the distance and angle of the shot allowing for a quick and accurate shot. Read more about these brands in our rangefinder reviews to understand what is best for you. Allow us to go a little deeper into rifle and archery rangefinders.
Now you may still be wondering why you need a rangefinder for hunting, but once you get one you’ll never regret it. Nothing is worst than missing the dream buck because you used the wrong yardage pin on your bow. Once mistake that a lot of first time buyers make is to buy way too large of a rangefinder. It is often very temping to be lured into buying one of the larger range finders because of the higher quality glass they use.
I admit that the looking through the lens on one of these larger rangefinders can be better, but keep in mind if you plan on doing anything besides still hunting these things can become very annoying. So if you plan on doing archery hunting I recommend leaving these larger ones at home. However, if you are just rifle hunting then it is a great tool to bring into the field. The reason I am against larger range finders for archery hunting is because even the best rangefinders can become a nuisance in the field when you are trying to stealthy approach a buck while archery hunting.
If you want to get the precision that a larger rangefinders produces, than I recommend bring them along scouting. If you are seeing the same animals every time you go, then I suggest marking in your head the distances these animals are at from you. By the time hunting season comes around, you won’t even need your rangefinder.
I have had many friends fall into the trap of having the salesperson convince them the best rangefinders need to have insane maximum distances. There is honestly no need for you to spend another $500 because the rangefinder can go another 1,000 yards, unless you plan on doing some military grade stuff with it, in which case I recommend looking elsewhere for your equipment. In all reality you really only need a range finder that goes up to about 500 yards. Let’s be honest most of us aren’t capable of making shots over these distances, nor is it moral to attempt shots at these distances unless you are highly skilled.
Magnification also plays a huge roll in choosing the best rangefinder for you. Many people based their rangefinder reviews on this aspect which I think is not very smart. In all honesty, magnification is great but accuracy is more important. But it all depends on the quality of binoculars you are using or if you are even using binoculars at all. Some people rely on their rangefinders for scouting long distances. If you rely on your rangefinder for scouting then I recommend getting a rangefinder with a magnification of at least 6X this will allow for clear views up to about 1500 feet, which is pretty decent. However I do recommend eventually upgrading to binoculars or even binoculars with built in rangefinders. This upgrade allows for much more clear images at long distances and saves your eyes a lot of strain in the long run.
If you do not rely on your rangefinder for binoculars, then magnification should not really be an issue especially for archery. Most shots are only about 50 yards at the most which doesn’t require too much magnification.
Rangefinders have all sorts of uses. Buying the best rangefinder for you takes research and knowledge, all of which can be acquired through our site. When buying golf rangefinders keep in mind if is allowed for tournament play or not. Using non approved golf rangefinders in tournaments can result in instant disqualification. Nothing can be more embarrasing or disappointing.
Also keep in mind that highest price does not automatically mean its the best rangefinder. A lot of things go into making the best rangefinder and the only way is research and reading rangefinder reviews.
When it comes to choosing the best rangefinder for hunting, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Magnification, size, and distance.
Magnification is very important if you are going to be measuring long distances and also scouting with it. However, if you plan on using your hunting rangefinder only to get a quick measurement before you take the shot, then magnification should not be an issue.
Size is one of those things that you don’t really take in to account when purchasing. Often times you are overwhelmed with all it’s fancy statistics that you forget to realize you are going to be hauling around a tripod and 5 plus pound rangefinder. If you plan on doing long distance rifle hunting, size is not that important. In this case you could easily get around this situation by also purchasing a smaller hunting rangefinder which would be used right before the shot. However, I do not recommend these larger units to archery hunters. They simply serve no purpose. There is no point in knowing that the target is 1500 yards away when the furthest shot you could take is 80 yards. So save your money, and get a better quality archery rangefinder.
Distance is another one of those things that really only matter if you are rifle hunting. Most archers will not take any shot over 80 yards, and that is pushing it. So if you plan on taking long distance rifle shots then go for the longer distance rangefinders.
Keep in mind that if you want a small rangefinder with a long distance and huge magnification you are going to be paying a lot. It’s hard to get the best of both worlds. Some rangefinders do provide this however, and this information can be found in our rangefinder reviews section.
This is the main reason why there are different range finders for rifle hunting and archery hunting. Manufacturers want to provide the best product for the lowest price so that is why archery rangefinders aren’t meant to go out to long distances and also why your rifle rangefinder is not going to be that small.