Golf Rangefinder Buyer’s Guide

Golf Rangefinder Buyer's GuideOur Golf Rangefinder Buyer’s Guide tries to address the general factors you’ll want to consider when buying a laser rangefinder. For actual product recommendations, see our interactive Buyer’s Guide or see our Best Laser Rangefinder list. If you’re looking for GPS, take a look at our top golf GPS recommendations.

The first thing you need to know is that ALL laser golf rangefinders are accurate to within a couple of yards. If you get one that is not accurate, it’s defective and you should return it!

So what should you consider when buying a golf rangefinder?

The first thing to decide is whether or not you want a rangefinder with Slope. Slope measures change in elevation between you and your target and estimates the distance that a shot will play, as well as the actual distance to the target. It can be a really useful feature but is not allowed under the Rules of Golf. If you don’t ever plan to use it in competition, then it’s definitely worth considering.

Ease of Use
If you’re an experienced golf rangefinder user, then you will probably be able to use just about any of the current models. However, if you have any trouble hitting the right target with your laser or if you’ve never used one, the most important factor is ease of acquiring the distance to the right target. Your rangefinder won’t be any good to you if you can’t quickly get the right distance every time you use it. The factors below often affect ease of use.

PinSeeker, PinHunter, First Target Priority
Most models today come with the technology that allows the device to separate a foreground object from background objects. That means if you’re aiming at a flag with trees behind the green, your rangefinder will show you the closest object, which should be the flag. This feature is found on most current models. Bushnell calls it Pinseeker, Leupold calls it PinHunter and Callaway calls it First Target Priority Mode. Some models also give a sound, vibration or visual cue when the closest target is locked on the display.

Laser rangefinders vary from no magnification to 7x magnification. We believe higher magnification can make it easier to hit the right target.

A rangefinder that’s too small can be a problem for those who need to use two hands to keep it steady. Two hands definitely makes ranging easier. Several wider models fit two hands quite comfortably.

Scan Mode
Most models have a Scan mode. That means that either while you’re holding a button down or for a number of seconds after you press a button, the rangefinder will scan the targets you’re ranging, attempting to get the right one. In most cases, it’s easier to use a rangefinder with Scan mode turned on, so make sure you try it.

There is a difference in readability. We’ve found that units with Red numbers are much easier to see. Unfortunately, there is usually a price to be paid for that feature.

Additional Features

Some models have additional features, particularly slope models. These aren’t critical, but can be fun.

Maximum and Minimum range
For most users, this is not a factor. Most of these lasers can measure distances well beyond a point where we need information. If you’re within 15 yards of the flag, you can probably walk up and get your distance without the use of a rangefinder, so minimum distance is pretty irrelevant.

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