Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews for 2021 to Slash Your Scores!

Best Golf Rangefinder Reviews for 2021 to Slash Your Scores!


It’s never the distance that you think it is, is it?

You pace it out, you check the sprinkler head and you don't know if it's to the middle or front of the green. Your GPS watch is WAY off when your buddy shoots with the Bushnell and you're doubting your shot which never ends well.

Having one of the best golf rangefinders is going to be the best investment you make and is the one piece of equipment in your bag you can depend on, every shot.

It’s become an almost essential part of any golfers bag and certainly part of mine. 

Below, I’ve identified the best golf rangefinders so that you too can hit shots with confidence, knowing you have the carry covered and that the club you have is the right one. This is so important to committing to a shot!

When the caddies don't realize they're becoming obsolete!

WARNING: These rangefinders may not all be the cheapest on the market but this is the best rangefinder list. The rangefinders below are the cream of the crop.

 For budget options check out my guide here. 


Best Golf Rangefinders 2021



Bushnell Tour V4 Shift Golf Rangefinder

Best Compact Size Rangefinder

I have owned both the Tour V3 and the Tour V4 Shift and it’s easy to see the V4 Shift is much smaller. Picking up the pin is much quicker in the new model. It’s a well-made, sturdy laser rangefinder like all the Bushnells, just much smaller which is good for me because I have small hands (size 23).

*I don't have this rangefinder anymore because I gave both the Tour V3 and V4 Shift away to two pro's who lost theirs here in Thailand (pros don't make a lot of money on Tour) and now I am using the Inesis Tour 900 just because I can't keep giving away rangefinders!

Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell V4 Shift?

In a word, yes. It’s difficult to explain just how different a Bushnell functions to other models unless you’ve used one. If you have the money and see yourself playing for the next 10 years, it's a good buy. Divide that price up by the number of years, then by the number of rounds you play and you're looking at a very low cost per use. 

The V4 Shift is so compact, even if you have smaller hands like mine (size 23), you’ll be able to use it very easily.It's easy to put the rangefinder into slope mode by sliding the little badge on the side of the device up or down. 

No other brand can find pins as quickly as a Bushnell. They’re super quick and it’s rare to need to shoot a target 4 or 5 times like other models.

The V4 Shift is water resistant.


How simple is it to use?

There is only one button on the top of the device. You put the rangefinder up to your eye, point at the target, click that button once to switch it on. Then center your target and hold the button down until the distance is displayed. Put it back into your carry case and it will auto-off in half a minute.

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

No problems for color-blind golfers. The numbers on the display are black. You can also use either the left and right hand to operate the device, totally unhindered.

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.

Battery

Running on a CR-2 Lithium battery, the Bushnell V4 Shift lasts between 40 and 50 rounds.

Verdict

For a small rangefinder that has slope and without all the extra bells and whistles, this is the one. If you demand extreme accuracy and speed, there is no better rangefinder on the market. If you're on a budget, of course, you may want to skip it, but if you're a serious golfer who wants to get better, or compete, this is the best rangefinder for straight up distance shooting.



Bushnell Hybrid Golf Rangefinder + GPS

Blending everything into one for best certainty

How smart is this design?

Of course, the number one thing you want is the distance to the pin. You may want the distance to the edge of a bunker or a stake in the ground. That's where the laser rangefinder is the boss. 

BUT THEN! Sometimes you want to know the back edge of the green or the front edge of the green. Honestly, I shoot the rangefinder sometimes if I can see the back edge, but it's never really certain. Sometimes you're behind a tree, or there's a hill between you and the flag.

That's where the smart little GPS unit in the side can help you decide if you should go back edge, front edge, or how far it is to just get it on the center on a blind shot. I love it. 

Technology included

JOLT & Pinseeker

As with all the newer Bushnells, the Hybrid features JOLT technology which sends a ‘jolt’ of vibration into your hand once it has locked onto the target and calculated the distance. Coupled with the Pin Seeker technology to scan for a flag, it’s really easy to get your distance.

Slope Tech

There is no slope on this model.

Dual Display and buttons

You can look through the rangefinder for the laser distances but on the side of the unit is the numbers for front middle and back of the green. The unit comes loaded with well over 36,000 golf courses so you can be sure you will always have a GPS reading basically anywhere in the world.

Because there is a rangefinder and a GPS unit, they need two batteries. One to power each unit. So you have a rechargeable battery for the GPS and the CR2 for the rangefinder as usual.

GPS and laser

For ultimate certainty anywhere on the golf course.

How about those lefties and color-blind guys?

Leftiesmay have an issue covering the GPS unit on the side and pressing buttons on it by mistake if they hold the rangefinder with their left hand.

Color blindness is no problem here. 

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

I wear prescription sunglasses on the golf course and the viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to my lenses.



Top Value Golf Rangefinder

Precision Golf NX9 Slope

Precision Golf is making rangefinders packed with value at a fraction of the cost of the big boys.

Feel and appearance

The NX9 Slope is a solid piece of equipment. The colors are attractive and the construction is quality. It also has a magnet built in much like the expensive Bushnells so you can apply it to the cart like a fridge magnet to store between shots. Incredibly convenient. 

best golf rangefinders on the market

Lifetime Battery replacement

They'll replace your battery for free when it starts running low. 

Slope functionality

The NX9 comes complete with slope functionality. This is a feature that will become standard and despite not being able to be used in tournaments, it's valuable and is a good teaching aid for you to use so that you understand more about how the slope and elevation affects your shots so when you can't use it, you have some basic knowledge to make guesstimates. 

Pulse Vibration Technology

You merely press the green button once without holding it in to switch it on. The cross-hairs come up onto the display and once you line them up to your target, press the button again until you see a ‘+’ sign whereupon you release it and the device vibrates with the distance on display. This is one of the most surprising things about the NX7 Pro - it includes a feature like the vibration which is generally not found at this price point.

But what about the performance?

With a 6x magnification, the NX9 definitely meets expectations at the upper end. Shooting the pin from 330 yards is easy enough and at the realistic ranges of inside 200 yards, it’s a piece of cake. 

Is the viewfinder suitable for eye glass wearers?

The viewfinder works perfectly pressed up to lenses.

Verdict

The NX9 from Precision Pro is everything you need in a rangefinder and for the price, you get a good bang for your buck. I would rate it similar to the Inesis model below. 



Bushnell Pro EX Rangefinder

Ultimate Golf Rangefinder ever made


Is it worth spending the money on a Bushnell Pro EX?

It’s an expensive piece of equipment but if you play a lot of golf or golf at a high level and want distances lightning fast then this rangefinder is top of the crop. It's trusted by the tour pros who work in fractions of a yard. There are so many new features that yes, if you are a serious golfer, use a cart, need full info in split seconds, you can rest easy with one of these.

What’s the big deal about the Bushnell Pro XE?

It's just easy to shoot your target instantaneously - Bushnell optics are so good that the bulls eye is small and able to pick up a flag from a farther distance. 

The button on the top side is easy to press with either hand and within a split second you have your distance - It’s the quickest rangefinder I’ve ever tried.

It has a new feature which is astounding - it considers barometric and temperature elements for increased accuracy in slope function readings!

JOLT is the technology for vibrating when the rangefinder finds its target. In this new XE model, a red ring flashes as the device vibrates to give you feedback that it has found the target, in addition to the vibrating.

There's a magnet in the device so you can just put it on the metal part of the golf cart if you're a rider. You just snap it on and snap it off like a fridge magnet - this is MUCH better than it flying off the cart or being left on the seat, or the basket where it blends in and you forget it. That's an expensive mistake.

The Pro XE is fully waterproof.

What else makes the Pro XE special?

  • Waterproof: The device is totally waterproof
  • Magnification: 7x is the highest I’ve encountered with an eyepiece that extends and retracts like binoculars by turning the eyepiece
  • Accuracy: Quick and reliable distances to the yard perfect
  • Display: Bright red display and includes so much info to make a decision. The pulsing red ring also ensures you know when it's locked onto the target.
  • Storage is easy: The rubber case makes it waterproof and with the magnet inside, you can just put it on a piece of metal on the cart for storage.
  • JOLT: It will send a jolt of vibration into your hand once it captures the distance
  • Slope function: It has slope function you can easily switch between.
  • Barometric pressure and temperature slope readings: It accounts for these when calculating the reading for the slope function!


What about lefties or color blind golfers?

Left handed golfers can easily click the button with their dominant hand to get a reading. Color-blind golfers might have a problem because the display uses bright red text and cross hairs. The red is really bright and glows like an electric alarm clock but if you’re color-blind, I’d stay away from this one.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

The Pro XE is the easiest rangefinder to keep stable and the quickest I’ve used to shoot the distance. I love holding it with two hands without swaying or needing to shoot the target 3 times to triple check. My major gripe which stopped me purchasing it though, was that using it with prescription lenses was a pain in the ass. If you don’t wear prescription lenses, you’re not color-blind and you are a serious golfer, this is the best golf rangefinder on the market.


Inesis Tour 900 Rangefinder

Runner-up Budget Rangefinder

Is the Inesis any good?

I have used this rangefinder for more than 18 months now and I use it every single round, every single shot shot over 60 yards. It's good and the distances are identical to the Bushnell rangefinders. 

But it costs so little

To get slope function at this price is also a phenomenal deal. Disabling the slope function is easy - just pull the yellow eye piece out for slope and push it back in for no slope.

But what makes it so good is that it takes no more than a couple seconds to pick up the rangefinder, lock on the flag and have the vibration function buzz in your hand to let you know it locked the pin.

This little golf rangefinder is packed with value. When shooting multiple readings from the same spot, the distances are always identical. 

The little micro adjuster on the eye-piece works really well to clarify the image when looking through the peephole. There is one drawback and that is the circle or bulls-eye is a little too large for my liking so from a distance greater than 200, the rangefinder needs 2 zaps to get the distance instead of the backdrop, and a 3rd zap to confirm. Not a big deal, and nothing overly frustrating to deal with for that price. 

What about lefties or color blind golfers?

The digits on the digital display are black and are easy to see against the green background of the course. No problems for lefties here.

What about if I wear glasses?

The eye relief is very small which means there are no problems with glasses-wearers.

Battery

Runs on a CR-2 Lithium battery

Verdict

Considering you get slope functionality at such a low price, as well as the vibration function and accurate distances, there is very very little wrong and so much to love about this rangefinder which I was it's my current rangefinder of choice.

Where the rangefinder loses minor marks comparing to the expensive models is picking up flags over 200 yards, where the Bushnells are really much more proficient. But are these minor things worth the extra money for an expensive model? If I were on a budget, I would say...NO, the Inesis is worth every cent. If I weren't on a budget, I would still buy it. 


Why the TecTecTec and Mileseey models are JUNK

These things get rave reviews but I’m really not sure why - it's a bit suspicious to be honest. 

The construction is cheap and very difficult to keep stable to shoot the distance to a pin over 150 yards away. When getting a reading at whatever distance, multiple readings need to be taken to ensure an accurate number but the distances can vary wildly from the same spot - sometimes 10 yards difference from the same spot.

I have tried both of these models and was not able to even put them on my channel because they are so bad. Steve also has a Mileseey, so that's two out of two Mileseeys being crap. He had to dump it, because he was always around 7 to 11 yards different to my readings from the same spot when I used my Bushnell or Inesis. Every single time. With the shorter reading he was always taking one club too little. 

I don't know who is buying these things and thinking they are good...because they are not. 

It’s very well-priced and with so many people online saying it’s fantastic, it might be tempting to get one but I can’t in good conscience recommend this product. For similar money, the Precision Golf Nexus golf rangefinder is much better value.



How to use a rangefinder

The most common reason people use golf rangefinders is to calculate the distance to pins but they can perform a few more useful functions to take your game to the next level.

The greatest benefits of a golf rangefinder is the ability to measure distances accurately from one point to another.

Measure your drives: So instead of only measuring distances to the pin, you can also use the rangefinder to determine how long your drives are. What I like to do is pick a tree, or marker or bench in line with the tee box and then once I reach my drive, measure the distance from where my ball is back to the preselected bench, tree, ball washer, concrete marker.

This will help you when you measure a distance to a hazard from the tee and know exactly which club to use. You’ll be able to swing with total confidence knowing that you’ll be safe.

Learn your carry distances at the range: Measure the distances to pins and distance markers on the driving range and then go through your clubs until you find the club that carries to the pin or distance board. We want to know the carry distance and not the roll-out distance.

This will help you when approaching a green when you need to carry a bunker or water. It’s also ESSENTIAL to know your exact distances you hit the ball to achieve lower scores.


What do you see through a rangefinder?

When looking through the rangefinder, you’ll see your target, magnified so it’s similar to looking through a monocular. There’s usually a crosshair in the middle of the display that you point onto the target and generally when you press a button on the top of the device, a distance will pop up on the display once the rangefinder has settled on how far you are.

The tricky part comes when you have a pin in front of a row of trees because it can be difficult for the rangefinder to pick up the pin. That's why when looking for a rangefinder it’s always good to find one with a technology that finds the pin and puts the priority on the closer object. That’s why I always recommend rangefinders made exclusively for golf - like all the devices in this list.

This is the big difference between hunting and golf rangefinders. Hunting rangefinders will put the priority on the moving object which is very often behind trees and bushes whereas in golf, the priority is on the item in front of the bushes - the pin.

The view through a rangefinder


How accurate is a rangefinder?

Rangefinders are incredibly accurate and most of the top professionals use them during their practice rounds to calculate the distances so if it's good enough for guys earning millions per shot it's definitely good enough for us.

The only time it’s difficult to use a rangefinder will be when you can’t see the pin because you’re behind trees in the deep trouble.

The very cheap models that copy their design and accessories to look similar to the top brands...avoid avoid avoid. They usually are very inaccurate. 


What’s the difference between GPS watches and rangefinders?

GPS watches use satellites to pick up your location in relation to the middle, front or back of the green. You’ll generally only you get a reading to those three points and in some of the higher end models, you’ll get readings to a selection of hazards.

A rangefinder shoots a laser directly toward your target and once it hits the target it sends back the message to give you the exact distance. These distances are accurate to 1 yard and you can select the target yourself, while GPS gives you distances to spots on the course that you have no control over.

So while a GPS will tell you how far it is to a bunker, it doesn’t tell you how far it is to carry the bunker. A rangefinder allows you the freedom to select the target and get multiple customized targets for distances.


Should I get a rangefinder with slope or no slope?

How slope adjustment works - uphill shots are longer, downhill shorter

Some rangefinders come with a “slope” function which calculates the true distance to the pin taking into account the elevation changes up or down. So an uphill shot might be 170 yards in distance but factoring in the angle of elevation, the true distance might 183 yards. That can make a massive difference to your score if you’re choosing the wrong clubs.

During tournaments, you’re not allowed to use the slope function though. But in general play you may use it so it depends on your goals and what you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re a really good amateur player who plays in national or regional competitions, you can use the slope function during practice rounds to calculate the actual distances based on elevation and take down some notes for your competition rounds.

If you’re a casual golfer who doesn’t play tournaments, the slope function is something you can use all the time. If you play weekend competitions, you can use the slope function in the week and switch it off on weekends. That’s the best part, all golf rangefinders with the slope function give you the ability to switch off the function at any time.

The slope models are a bit more expensive, so there is that to consider.


Rangefinders to avoid - hunting

The next couple of models are designed for hunting and should be avoided. When buying a rangefinder, there’s no need to complicate your life when the equipment is actually meant to make it more convenient.

A golf rangefinder has been designed specifically for golf to pick up targets in front of trees and bushes while hunting rangefinders are designed to pick up targets behind the trees - this is very much not ideal for use on a golf course. Please don’t make yourself struggle unnecessarily.

Nikon 8397 Aculon

You might find some sites telling you this is a good option for golf but I disagree and or the same amount of money, a budget golf rangefinder will perform exactly how you need it to.

Halo XL450-7

Great for bow-hunting, bad for pin-hunting. Yes they're cheap but you'll tear your hair out trying to shoot pins with this thing.

Rangefinders used for hunting are often very well priced and may seem appealing at first but once you see the difference between a hunting and a golf rangefinder you'll realize how much better a golf rangefinder works.

As mentioned above hunting range finders give preference to the object in the background such as a deer or a wild boar walking behind bushes and trees while a golf rangefinder gives preference to the object closer in the foreground. That's how they can pick up pins with a row of trees behind them.



Who should buy a golf rangefinder?


Golf rangefinders a suitable for every level of player and there's not a single golfer who won’t benefit from a golf rangefinder.

  • Learn the distance you carry every club in your bag
  • Calculate true distances in practice rounds before competitions
  • Calculate your real driver and fairway wood distances off the tee
  • Never be short on an approach again
  • Have confidence you know the distance to a hazard and select a club to avoid it
  • Essential equipment for breaking 90 and 80
  • If you follow a strategy like my breaking 90 or 100 guides and want to calculate distances to split your shots.


Myths about golf rangefinders


“I’m not good enough to get one yet”

Some people think you should only get a rangefinder when you hit your clubs consistent distances. I think that’s unfair on the golfer. 

No matter what skill level you are, having a range of distances you hit your clubs will help you become a better player. Keeping track in a notebook is helpful over the long term to show you how tight the range between good and bad strikes is.

The key is to understand how far you hit your club MOST OF THE TIME. A lot of golfers will use the distance they hit one ball one time as their benchmark. For example, someone might hit a 7 iron 175 yards once and use that as their 7 iron distance when in reality, they hit the 7 iron 165 yards 80% of the time.

“It slows down play”

Some people think that shooting distances is a laborious process. It’s really not and is very quick and easy.

It takes no more than 5 or 6 seconds to get it out the pouch, shoot the distance and put it back. I usually find the distance while the other guys are still playing. Before arriving at my ball I’ve already looked at the target to select what I want to find distances to.


Top manufacturers

Bushnell

Most of the rangefinders you see on Tour will be Bushnells. They’re some of the pricier ones on the market in a similar way Titleist is the most expensive golf ball because the pros all use them. 

Nikon

A famous camera and binocular company that have expanded into the golf market. They make really nice rangefinders for golf in the form of the COOLSHOT 20 and 40 models. 

TecTecTec

You’ll see this name often when looking for a rangefinder but I don’t recommend them. Quality is not as high as other rangefinders on the list above. Mileseey is another brand to avoid like the plague.

Leupold

Leupold are a very famous optics company for hunting but in terms of golf rangefinders, their products are very high quality but also with a very high price. I haven’t met a single golfer on the course who uses one.

Callaway

Callaway have dipped their toe into the rangefinder realm and from what I’ve heard, they’re actually made by Nikon.

Verdict

Undoubtedly the single best purchase you can make for your game is a great golf rangefinder to help you learn more about your game as well as be more accurate on the course for lower and lower scores. Good luck!