Best Golf Rangefinder For The Money – Comprehensive Guide & Top Rated Products Reviewed
Golf rangefinders can seriously change the way you interact with the playing field, your clubs or the ball. They can improve your game by providing specific measurements to the next hole. Practically, they can tell you which club to use and how hard to hit. But then, finding the best golf rangefinder for the money might prove more challenging than it seems.
Not only do you have a few different options, but each of them comes with a plethora of features. Some of them will add to the game, while others will simply add to the price only – just fancy bells and whistles. Now, what should you know before spending money on a rangefinder? More importantly, what are the top rated products in this segment?
Why do you need rangefinders?
There are more reasons wherefore more and more players try to find the best golf rangefinder for the money.
Whether you get the best rangefinder under 200 or a random model under 50, you will find it excellent when it comes to tough shots. You might need to go over water or in front of a forest. Estimating the distance can be tough with so many elements around. Using a rangefinder can help you decide on the right club, as well as your swing.
Golf course knowledge
A rangefinder is a helpful tool that tells you what to expect once you step on the course. Without such a device, a golf game would be based on nothing but your experience and instinct – quite challenging if you have never been on that course. Knowing the yardage and identifying hazards will most likely add to your result, as you no longer go in blindly.
The new wave of laser rangefinders adds to the overall accuracy. While a golf rangefinder can tell you how far the hole is, a laser device will give you the distance to nearby hazards or obstacles too. Even the best rangefinder under 100 can answer the most common question in this sport – how far away are is an obstacle?
The USGA understands golfers face certain difficulties when estimating distances. One of its newest rules – the 14-3 rule – allows the use of such devices on the field. However, there are certain restrictions – no wind speed checks or ground slope estimates. At the same time, while most rangefinders are accepted, it is worth double checking upfront.
Easy to use
Finding the best golf rangefinder for the money will give you a great tool that you can master with no experience at all. There are other devices that can provide course mapping, but a golf rangefinder will set everything up without too much hassle. GPS options are preset, while laser alternatives are easy to use even if you are not a big fan of technology.
Golf rangefinders come in a range of prices. You can find the best rangefinder under 300 for a more professional experience, but you can also find lots of good devices under 100.
Slope versus no slope
Finding the best golf rangefinder with a slope will give you access to the elevation variations as well. In other words, it will adjust the distance based on the slope and various obstacles, so it eliminates the necessity of math.
Can it improve your score? Absolutely, but it still depends on your skills. Just because you use a rangefinder with this function, it does not mean that you will become a top player in no time. You still need to know clubs, have a good swing and make some calculations.
From many points of view, a rangefinder with slope is great for newbies. They are still learning, so they need to get used to the game. They can tell the difference between hitting without slope, then using the rangefinder to do it again with slope. It is just useful training.
The slope function is not allowed in official tournaments though. Therefore, if you plan to start competing high or you want to join some competitions, you should invest in a rangefinder that does not have this function.
Moreover, some rangefinders allow you to switch it off when playing officially.
Top 5 rangefinders on the market
Here are the top rated rangefinders on the market.
Precision Pro Golf’s Best Golf Rangefinder For The Money is a laser based model – no slope and accuracy down to a yard. It comes with a case battery, lanyard, cleaning close and manual. It scans other objects while keeping focused on the target – 6X magnification and the TAG technology. It comes with a pulse vibration and a maximum range of 400 yards. It is also water resistant – great for rainy days.
- Easy to use
- Water resistant
- Full package
- TAG technology
- Good accuracy
- A little inconsistent when measuring objects with no reflectors
- Easy to accidentally hit the yard/meter button due to its location
Simply put, this rangefinder makes a good choice for anyone who has just started playing golf and needs a rangefinder. It is also a convenient option for more experienced golfers – allowed in tournaments due to the lack of slope features. However, this could also be inconvenient for newbies who need this function in training.
TecTecTec has come up with a great upgrade for an older rangefinder. The recent upgrade makes this unit a premium solution – 540 yards in range, a continuous scan mode, superior pin sensor technology and water resistance. Accuracy is down to a yard, while the display guarantees for a clear view, regardless of the weather conditions. The package is full and includes anything you might need.
- Lightweight and compact
- Comes with a full package
- Great accuracy
- Perfect for obstacles and hazards
- Can switch between yards and meters
- Might provide inconsistent readings occasionally
- Takes too long to shutdown automatically, draining the battery
This might be the Best Golf Rangefinder For The Money if you want cost efficiency. The unit is designed to provide accurate results and can be used in tournaments. It makes a good choice for amateurs, as well as experienced players going on tournaments. It also comes in a full package, meaning you do not have to buy anything else separately.
Bushnell has brought in one of the leading golf rangefinders if you want accuracy and the jolt technology. You get vibrating pulses when the flag is locked in, so you know precisely that you are ready to go – no more doubt. It is accurate to a yard and comes with access to Bushnell’s golf application, which features lots of extras. It has a 5X magnification and it can measure distances up to 400 yards in all weather conditions.
- Comes with a case, battery and protective skin
- Good accuracy down to a yard
- Free access to Bushnell’s proprietary application
- Pulsating notifications when the flag is locked
- Great durability
- Does not feature the slope technology
- Might provide inconsistent readings at times, but still quite accurate
Generally speaking, Bushnell’s rangefinder is suitable for both newbies and more advanced players. Not having the slope technology can be a minus for a complete beginner, but it is certainly a plus for someone who competes in official tournaments. Moreover, the full package clears the necessity of further investments.
Designed with a slope feature to help newbies, Callaway’s best golf rangefinder for the money comes in a full package, as well as a solid construction to keep you playing on harsh weather – both water and fog proof. It has a 6X magnification and can measure distances up to 1,000 yards with a great one yard accuracy. Its scanning feature allows getting distances to more than one target at the same time.
- Compact and lightweight
- Good magnification and measuring range
- Audible chirp when you get the right distance
- Comes with a slope function
- Can provide distances to lots of targets simultaneously
- Buttons are too close one to another, so you can easily hit the wrong one
- Takes a while to get used to it
Generally speaking, the slope function makes this rangefinder ideal for newbies. However, this function is not allowed on official tournaments, so it might be an inconvenient. In terms of features and performance, you cannot go wrong with it. Its distance measurements and accuracy will literally impress even the more advanced golfers.
Garmin’s best golf GPS under 200 is practically a convenient watch you can wear on the golf course. Not only does it calculate distances according to your location, but it also looks stylish and feels comfortable. It also works as a fitness tracker, counting calories, distances, sleep hours and steps. It features ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity and features over 40,000 all across the world.
- Lots of preloaded courses
- Stylish and comfortable
- Counts fitness elements like calories or steps
- Multiple connectivity options
- Accurate results
- Too many confusing features for a newbie
- No touchscreen
This might be the best golf rangefinder for the money if you want accuracy and lots of technical features. It is a high end product that boosts with functions, yet it is still basic. It has a couple of buttons and no touchscreen, only to feel more accessible to those who dislike technology. Other than that, its fitness functions make it quite useful to those whose outdoor activities are more than just about golf.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Gold Rangefinders
Whether you are trying to find the best golf rangefinder under 100 or you need a more expensive unit, you will first have to decide between GPS and laser rangefinders. GPS rangefinders come with thousands of preloaded courses and they calculate distances based on your location. On the other hand, rangefinders are more diversified and can calculate distances to more things, such as game during the hunting session or obstacles on the golf course.
GPS rangefinders have the added benefit of calculating distances even if obstacles are in the way, while their laser alternatives are more versatile with their measurements.
Now, what else should you pay attention to?
Accuracy is a must when buying a rangefinder. In fact, this is the main thing to pay attention to. It is the actual purpose of this device. Without accuracy, you might as well try to make estimations yourself. The good news is that many quality rangefinders offer a solid range – down to one yard only. They are quite accurate, yet they do not always raise to the expectations. You may still get an error of up to a few yards.
Estimating distances costs intermediate golfers around two strokes per round. With an accurate device, chances are you will improve your game.
Once they get their accuracy in place, most newbies forget about other elements in choosing the right golf rangefinders. The magnification is one of these elements. The higher the magnification, the better. You can get a decent view from the distance, but magnifying the target a few times can give you a close look from hundreds of yards away.
Many top devices come with a 5X or 6X magnification, which is quite helpful in making a decision. Sure, the measured distance will be the same, but you get a bigger image and can make more informed decisions.
Stabilization is a must if the target is too far away. You can lose valuable time while trying to hit a target that is hundreds of yards away. If your hands also shake a bit, you can forget about it. Fortunately, many golf rangefinders come with stabilization features. Basically, they help the laser connect with your target.
Some others have an alternative feature – continuous scanning. The laser is not stabilized, but at least you can move it around until it hits the actual target, rather than taking 17 random shots.
How bad can a display screen get in a golf rangefinder? No one really thinks about it because it cannot go too bad, yet it can always get better. Apart from checking your target through a lens in a laser unit, you will also have to keep an eye on the actual display screen. That is where lots of relevant information goes.
You need just enough details to keep an eye on your activity, but not too much on the screen will feel overcrowded. Graphics should be clear, rather than blurry. Also, some of the basic things to check include distance numbers and battery left.
How frustrating can it get? You are in the middle of a game and your rangefinder runs out of battery. Your game will go terrible right away. Even if you charge them upfront, some rangefinders will still quit on you in the middle of a long game.
A long battery life is a great feature to consider. You can go through a game without worrying about it, not to mention carrying extra batteries or perhaps a spare rangefinder just in case. Many top units have around 10 hours of battery life. If you find a device with a poor quality battery that lasts less than that, you should reconsider your options.
The slope function is not always a necessity, yet it depends on your game, style and future plans. Practically, this feature adjusts the distance measurement based on land elevation and obstacles, so it gives you a more precise result. The feature is excellent for newbies trying to get used to the game. It does all the math for you.
On a negative note, while rangefinders are now allowed in official tournaments, the slope function is not. Some tournaments allow playing with such a rangefinder, but the setting must be turned off. It is worth double checking upfront. If you play recreational golf with friends, you are free to use it.
The same rule applies to wind measurements – you could find the best rangefinder under 150. If it has a wind measuring function and you want to go to a tournament, you should get a different one.
Are distance measuring devices fully allowed in official tournaments?
Yes and no. Officially, the USGA has accepted basic golf rangefinders, with some restrictions, such as wind measurements or slope features. With all these, some competitions may have internal rules, hence the necessity of double checking upfront. Some competitions, for instance, allow slope rangefinders if the function is off, while others have banned them completely. When it comes to training, anyone is allowed to use the slope function – it is a matter of personal preferences.
What kind of features are allowed in official competitions?
It is more about features that are not allowed. Many rangefinders come with fitness functions – especially the GPS ones. They can track the calories you burn, steps, distance and so on. They are allowed. At the same time, notifications regarding the weather (thunderstorms, rain and others), calendars, clock or scorecards are also allowed.
Things that can influence the hit are banned though – wind measurements, gradient, temperature, slope and so on. The result is quite simple if you get caught – in most tournaments, you will be disqualified.
Can you get a feature that recommends which club to use?
You can find rangefinders that will measure the distance, then tell you what club to use. It feels like it gets too easy then – no thinking involved. The device will tell you everything, so you just need to swing. While playing against friends or training does not involve too many rules, most competitions have banned such features.
You can, however, keep a chart with all clubs and the distances they can achieve. This is perfectly alright, as long as you make the decision yourself. The device can measure, but this is it – no recommendations or extra measurements.
What kind of features are banned in distance measuring devices?
You can use a multifunction device for your training and tournament games, but keep an eye on features that may not be allowed. If a certain function can measure conditions to assist you in the game, it is not allowed. You are not allowed to measure pressure or humidity. You cannot use an anemometer, a thermometer and other similar tools.
At the same time, you cannot use applications meant to analyze and improve your golf swing. Again, playing for fun against friends involves no official rules, so you can use whatever you want.
Why do laser rangefinders have such cost discrepancies if settings are similar?
Many settings are similar. The laser power output is also similar. The secret is in the build, quality standards and accuracy. There is an old saying that applies to every industry – you get what you pay for. While a $50 rangefinder may share similar features with a $250 laser, it will be slower, less accurate, more confusing, harder to use and overall, likely to help you on the course.
On another note, the most expensive golf rangefinder is not necessarily the best one. Sometimes, you get to pay for the brand and its popularity. Other times, you might end up paying for bells and whistles that you will never find a use for.
As a short final conclusion, deciding on the best golf rangefinder for the money is not as hard as it seems. Just like for most things in life, it is a matter of doing your homework and researching your options. Knowing what to look for will go a long way, but becoming familiar with the top rated products on the market might be even better. When thousands of users recommend one product or another, there must be something good about it. All in all, no matter what others say, keep in mind that you have to make this decision with your personal needs and expectations in mind.
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