A hunting rangefinder is one tool that hunters would need to bring every time they go on a hunting expedition. The best hunting rangefinder enables hunters to determine their distance from a target, like a deer or an elk.
By knowing the distance of their target, hunters can then make adjustments on their bow or rifle. This, in turn, significantly increases the chances of them taking down their targets.
Best hunting rangefinders usually come in three types— laser, infrared, and optical. In shopping for a rangefinder, hunters will have to factor in things such as size/weight, power/magnification, and picture quality, among others.
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What to Look for in a Rangefinder
Rangefinders have a lot of uses, especially in golf, but they are becoming more and more popular in hunting. While hunting, you will require a laser rangefinder to measure the distance from where you are to the target. This device can come in handy for long-range shooters and rifle hunters who need to take accurate shots.
Rangefinders also help in measuring windiness, gauge slope, and other parameters. Having a rangefinder while hunting makes measurements easier and guarantees better success.
Finding the best rangefinder for your needs can sometimes confuse the different shapes, sizes, prices, ranging capabilities and specifications. However, no matter your needs, there is a rangefinder in the market for you.
To choose the ideal rangefinder, you must pay attention to specific details. These details will be discussed extensively in this article to help you when buying the best hunting rangefinder for you.
One important consideration is the battery life of the rangefinder you want to buy. On many occasions, you can be out hunting or golfing for long hours, and you don’t want your rangefinder to go off on you while at it. Many rangefinders have rechargeable batteries, while those that don’t can be easily replaced or charged when it goes low.
However, in many cases, most rangefinders last for many rounds before needing a change or charging, but you must ensure the battery life is good enough before buying.
The right laser rangefinder for your hunting or golfing expeditions should have slope technology. This enables you to measure the distance between you and the target and the change in elevation between you and your target. The slope technology can come in handy for bow hunting and hunters who take accurate shots.
While this is a necessity for most hunters, if you require a laser rangefinder for golfing purposes, you may want to go for one that does not have this feature. This is because the rules of golf do not allow rangefinders with slope technology to be used in competitions or tournaments, but if you only need one for practice, you’re good to go.
Laser rangefinders come in varying levels of magnification. When buying a rangefinder for hunting, ensure you go for the one with high magnification. The higher the magnification, the easier it is to hit targets accurately. On the other hand, if you’re a long, long-range shooter, ensure you go for a rangefinder with at least 5x magnification and an objective lens.
At maximum range, rangefinders with pin seeking technology and 6x objective lens make it easy for you to pick out targets while ignoring every other object around the mark. With a 6x objective lens, you should have no problems correctly locking onto targets.
Ease of Use
Another important consideration if you’re looking for the best hunting rangefinder is how easy to use it is. Every rangefinder model comes with its unique manual and instruction leaflet on how it should be used. These instructions must be easy to understand and straightforward.
The primary reason you want a rangefinder in the first place is to ascertain the maximum distance and elevation between you and a target with ease. If your rangefinder makes it challenging to acquire space quickly, you don’t need that rangefinder.
This difficulty could be the size, magnification, readability, or other factors. Whatever the case is, be sure that your choice laser rangefinder makes measurements as easy as possible for you before paying for it.
There are different ranges in the price of laser rangefinders, and in many cases, it depends on the features innate in the device. Most of the best rangefinders with advanced features are pretty expensive, but this does not mean that cheap rangefinders are useless.
Depending on your need for it, you can either go for the cheap and basic rangefinders if you do not need them for complex hunting expenditions or go for the most sophisticated ones in the market if you so desire.
Once you have ascertained why you need a rangefinder in the first place, you can purchase the cheap or expensive ones based on what they offer and if they meet your specific needs.
The importance of buying a rangefinder with angle compensation cannot be overemphasized. It helps you to avoid guessing when hunting. It does not matter if you’re shooting uphill or downhill. A rangefinder with angle compensation will show you the exact angle compensated distance to shoot the shot for instead of just the linear distance. Long-range shooting has never been easier till this quality rangefinder.
Rangefinders with angle compensation are ideal for archery hunters, bowhunters and rifle hunters alike, and it is a must-have if you intend to achieve optimum success on your rifle hunting.
Many people ignore the material used in making their rangefinder, but this is a very important point of consideration as well because it determines whether your device will be durable or not. Sturdy materials on many occasions offer longer-lasting protection for your device, while the rugged build rangefinders can prevent it from easily slipping off your hands.
Also, consider buying a waterproof rangefinder for your hunting. Because of the unpredictability of nature sometimes, you cannot always be sure when it’ll rain. It is also vital if your rangefinder falls into water when you’re setting targets on prey.
How to Use a Rangefinder for Hunting
No matter how much of a professional hunter you are, a laser rangefinder may be the difference between hitting your target or going home empty-handed. Owning a rangefinder for hunting is not a guarantee for success when you’re out on a hunt. You need to pay attention to certain tricks and ways to get the best out of your device.
These tips will inform you how best to use your hunting rangefinder for the most effective results while hunting, whether you’re one of the rifle or bow hunters.
- Always have a spare battery handy
- Go for a rangefinder with angle compensation
- Use the scan mode
- Buy a waterproof rangefinder
- Get familiar with the rangefinder
- Start by ranging landmarks first
- Use trees to pre-mark yardages
- Don’t range your target at the last minute
- Pay attention to your optics
At a glance
1. Bushnell Laser Rangefinder Bone Collector Cam
This rangefinder from Bushnell isn’t the most affordable on this list, but I can assure you that you will be getting your money’s worth if and when you buy this unit.
The unit looks weighty when you see it in pictures. But I was surprised that it is very light when I was able to use it once.
With a weight of fewer than 10 ounces, this rangefinder won’t slow you down when you are out in the wild. It may be light, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a plastic toy. I also like that it is compact enough to be tuck into a shirt.
Ease of Use
This unit is designed for easy, one-handed operation with its vertical configuration. Operation is rather straightforward. You only have to tap a single button to measure your target. The button is placed under your index finger.
The only thing I didn’t like is that the 9-volt battery can be quite confusing to swap out when you are outdoors.
This rangefinder has a range of 10 to 1600 yards, with an accuracy of plus and under one yard. The 600-yard range is ideal for targeting large or reflective objects. I have no complaints whatsoever with the optics—I found it to be quite good.
Moreover, the LCD of the rangefinder makes use of illuminated indicators so you can read in low light conditions.
Aside from the battery being a bit tricky to replace, I also found that it lacks features found in more high-end rangefinder models. It also cannot measure slopes.
2. Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinde
The Nikon Aculon laser rangefinder is one of the top choices in the budget rangefinder class.
It continues Nikon’s tradition of coming out with affordable but good quality rangefinders.
I highly recommend this entry-level rangefinder to hunters who don’t have a large budget for a hunting accessory.
Measuring 3.6 inches x 1.5 inches x 2.9 inches, the Nikon 8397 is one of the smallest rangefinders today. It is powered by a CR 2 lithium battery, which has become a standard in most rangefinders. The battery enables the Aculon to keep its weight to less than 5 ounces.
This rangefinder features 6x magnification which means you can keep your eye on the deer or whatever animal you are targeting.
I also like that it has bright and clear optics. Some reviewers on Amazon.com say that the rangefinder can match up with more high-end units in terms of magnification.
I also have to mention the distant target priority function of the rangefinder, which allows it to display measurements of the furthest target. It comes in handy if the target is hiding behind the grass.
But because it is an affordable rangefinder, the Acuolon doesn’t have the features you would likely find in more high-end models.
For one, it lacks the ID angle compensation feature that is found in most Nikon models. It also has a black LCD display screen, bereft of LED backlighting you will find in other Nikon rangefinders. And it isn’t waterproof.
See more – full review
3. Halo XRT6 Laser Rangefinder
This is another budget-friendly rangefinder that I can highly recommend. It has a 600-yard range with an accuracy of plus or minus one yard.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this rangefinder and many Amazon.com reviewers seem pretty satisfied with it.
Ease of Use
This unit has a two-button operation, which makes it all the easier to use. The main button is for selecting your scan mode, while the other is for laser ranging. It also has a scan mode that enables range finders to constantly take readings.
The LCD display is also very easy to read, although there should be enough ambient light for you to do so. I found it to be difficult to read in low light conditions.
The rangefinder is relatively lightweight at around 10 ounces. I like how it looks—a modern-looking unit that fits perfectly in your hands.
The rubber trim in the area where you hold the device also prevents slipping. I have read reviews complaining that it is a bit small for guys with big hands, though.
Like the Nikon rangefinder, this one makes use of CR-2 batteries. The manufacturer throws one in the box, but I recommend that you shop for a replacement.
The last thing you want to happen is to have a dead battery while in the woods. In terms of battery life, you can expect this to last for at least a year.
The only problem I have with CR-2 batteries is that these are difficult to find particularly in rural areas.
4. Halo Best Rangefinders for Hunting Rifle Hunting RangeFinder
This is a relatively new rangefinder from Halo. It has a limited range of 450 yards compared to the other Halo rangefinder but is also a lot cheaper than its older cousin.
It is very lightweight and compact. This is a rangefinder that I recommend to the budget-conscious hunter.
Despite being an entry-level rangefinder, there are plenty of features offered in this unit. It has a scan mode that allows the unit to take consecutive readings—no need for you to reactivate the laser.
It is also equipped with Angle Intelligence Technology which can detect slopes and compensate for more accurate readings. The rangefinder also has 6x magnification, an internal LCD display, and backed by a one-year warranty.
Like its Halo cousin, the Halo XL450 has an accuracy of plus or minus one yard. According to most reviews on Amazon.com, the rangefinder is quite accurate.
Reviewers said the XL450 is as accurate as those of other more expensive rangefinders. It also has a slope function, so hunters will be able to use this well while they are in the wild.
Other hunters are also happy that this unit is very easy to use. They say all you have to do is to point and press for yardage reading. You can also easily change the setting from yards to meters.
This waterproof rangefinder is really a good unit for the budget-conscious shopper.
5. Visionking 6×25 Rangefinder Hunting Golf 600m Camo
This rangefinder isn’t just designed for hunting. It can also be used for golf, with a specific mode for it so that it can measure the golf flag a lot faster.
As a hunting rangefinder, a lot of reviews on Amazon.com indicate that this is a very solid choice for first-time hunters.
Like most of the rangefinders in this list, this is a compact and lightweight unit. It has dimensions of 125x73x40mm and weighs 250 grams. Suffice to say, it is unlikely that your hands will get tired when you use this even for an extended period.
The camouflage design also adds to the appeal of the hunting rangefinder, and obviously very helpful when you are out in the wild hunting for deer.
Ease of Use
Many reviewers also find the rangefinder very easy to use among the many options in the good rangefinder market. For instance, it can easily change the readings from yards to meters. This can be done by pressing and holding the “mode” button for more than 3 seconds. Others were also impressed with the hunting optics, saying it delivers crystal clear images.
In terms of accuracy, the reviewers say they’re pretty much satisfied with the readings. Some of them even compared the measurement readings of this rangefinder with laser rangefinders, and they say that there’s not much of a difference.
This unit also uses CR2 V batteries, which can last for a long time. But as I have mentioned earlier, the problem with this battery is that you can’t get one in a convenience store. You should stock up on one should you buy this rangefinder.
Do I Need a Rangefinder for Hunting?
Sure you do. Rangefinders have become integral and essential devices for many hunters. Due to its features and ranging capabilities, hunting rangefinders make it easier to aim at targets and successfully land such targets due to its features and range capabilities. Leopold rangefinders, for instance, come with laser beams, convenient control options and a long-range capable of ranging distances up to 650 yards. In addition, hunting rangefinders are inexpensive substitutes for binoculars, and they offer better features and capabilities.
How Do I Select a Rangefinder?
Choosing the best hunting rangefinder will require paying attention to what you need the rangefinder for. Whether for long-range, short-range, bow hunting, rifle hunting, or whatever the case may be, you will also need to focus on the technical capabilities of the rangefinder. Some important areas to note are the magnification, battery life, accuracy of targeting, ease of use, slope technology, and other basic requirements.
What is the Best Cheap Rangefinder?
While many budget-friendly rangefinders also promise efficiency and effectiveness, the Bushnell Laserfinder Bone Collector Cam or the Nikon Aculon Laser rangefinder are good choices for the best cheap rangefinders. The Bushnell has beneficial characteristics, is affordable, and is built with good material. However, if you want a more lightweight rangefinder that is yet affordable, you can go for the Nikon.
How Does a Laser Rangefinder Work?
Rangefinders, whether for hunting, shooting or golfing, work by sending a beam of infrared light towards the intended target. This light returns to your device once it reaches the target, and it helps the rangefinder measure the distance between you and the target. The distance will be measured by calculating the time it took for the light to hit the target and return to your rangefinder. How well the rangefinder detects the returned light beam depends on certain factors like the size of the target, weather conditions, divergence of the light energy, and so on.
Is a GPS Device better than a Laser Rangefinder?
A GPS device uses a satellite to measure yardage while a laser rangefinder casts infrared laser light on a target to determine the distance accurately. Most golfers and hunters prefer using a laser rangefinder while measuring because of its more accurate capabilities when compared to a GPS device like a watch. In addition, laser rangefinders provide straightforward measurements because of the light. The light hits the target precisely, and at the click of a button, you can read the distance and take your shot. While GPS devices can be efficient to certain levels, most hunters still prefer laser rangefinders, especially long-distance measurements. This is because it locks onto targets without interference from other objects.
There you have it—five of the top-rated hunting rangefinders of 2021. I can assure you that these rangefinders are all built to withstand extreme weather conditions in the wild.
You will also have no problems using them while looking for a deer. Plus, these are lightweight and compact rangefinders that would not occupy a lot of space in your bag.
It’s up to you to determine the best hunting rangefinder. Read more reviews and compare prices of these rangefinders for hunting so you’ll know which model is best suited for you.