If you’re a hunter, you know how important it is to accurately judge distance to your targets. Accuracy and distance will mean the difference between a successful hunt and a short camping trip. That said, hunting rangefinders are tools meant to help ensure you don’t go home from your next hunt empty-handed. Here at ScopesHQ, we’ve already looked at a fair number of hunting rangefinders which have “caught our eye,” and we reviewed quite a few. Today, we hope to provide you our best hunting rangefinder reviews so that you may find one you’ll enjoy using.
The best thing about a rangefinder is that they are usually easy to operate, compact, and will slide into a jacket or vest pocket with no struggle. Although they tend to be a little pricey, it is undoubtedly a necessity to have. Even if you hunt the same location time and time again, you will need to set up those initial distance locators with one.
4 reasons why do I need a hunting rangefinder?
- Measuring Distance – You want to make sure that whatever rangefinder you use, is applicable to whatever distance you will be shooting from. If you’re turkey hunting using a bow or turkey choke, your max distance is probably in the 40-50 yard range. And even that is a stretch. If you’re deer hunting, you will be able to stretch that distance considerably. So make sure whatever you choose is applicable for the hunt.
- Object Recognition– Many rangefinders come with built-in object recognition capability. Meaning that if your target is 75 yards away, but there is a tree at 50 yards in your field of view, it will not pick up the tree and instead focus on the the target. We wrote about this in our article here.
- HD Clarity/Focus – The next thing you will want to make sure of is that the clarity while looking through the lens is good. This is pretty easy since most rangefinders these days have HD quality optics. What some don’t have is easy focus. You need to be able to focus in on the object as well. I usually try and carry a pair of binoculars with me as well, but rangefinders can double as a pair of binoculars for shorter distances. So you’ll want to make sure you can see that gobbler or hen through the lens.
- Ease of use – The last factor should be ease of use. Let’s face it, I know what I like and like what I know. I don’t want to fiddle araound with something that I simply can’t use. These don’t need a bunch of features. Just measure distance accurately and give me a good view. Plain and simple.
- Laser Rangefinders – In large part, most of the popular and highly used rangefinders are based on laser technology. They measure the distance between you and an object by sending a laser/light beam and bouncing it off of the measured object. Then they figure out how long it took for that beam to travel and that gives you the distance.
- GPS based– This is really only practical for golf and other situations where you can pre-measure. For instance, at a golf course, the pin has a GPS indicator on it and satellites record where that location is. Then using the GPS in your phone, the satellites also record where you are at. Then they can easily calculate between the two known objects(the pin and yourself)
What to consider when buying
Truth be told, most rangefinders are not inexpensive. There are some under $100, but quality is always captured in price. Also you will most likely want to consider having a pair of binoculars with you. Rangefinders will set your initial target distance, but when you need to see a more in depth and up close image, binoculars are always nice to have. Often times binoculars are just much more powerful in terms of magnification. There are many different things to consider, but these are a few:
- Object Recognition
- Max distance
- Optics clarity
- color (camo?)
Best Hunting Rangefinder Reviews
Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x 21mm Laser Rangefinder, Realtree Xtra Camo
With a simple operation, low-light functionality, and high-quality optics, the Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition Rangefinger is a great find. It is accurate when distancing large targets up to 600 yards, it’s rainproof, and it looks good. Smaller objects at greater distances of course will prove more difficult to distance, though users have had consistent success ranging deer up to 250 yards. While it does not account for slope, it can still be used for either bow or rifle hunters; just note that distancing may be off from tree stands or hills. It was a shoe-in to our list of the best hunting rangefinder reviews.
- HD clarity optics to go with its good looks
- Single button for all your distancing needs
- 600 yard range with +/- 1 yard accuracy
- rugged, rainproof housing
- No incline/decline accommodations
Nikon PROSTAFF 3i Rangefinder
Offering great accuracy and ranging capabilities, the Nikon PROSTAFF Rangefinder is one of our favorites. It’s ranging system lets you select closest or farthest objects in groups. It’s rainproof and water-resistant, fast, compact, and accurate. And for those of you whom like hunting from tree stands, this rangefinder also accommodates inclines and declines in its calculations for distance. If you’re curious about Nikon’s Ballistic Match technology, you can go here. It’s everything we want in a rangefinder, so of course it has made it to our list of the best hunting rangefinder reviews! Unfortunately, the best features usually carry heavier price tags, as is the case with this rangefinder.
- 6x magnification
- Range of 650 yds, with accuracy of +/- 0.5 yd
- I/D, Ballistic Match technology
- Easy-view display
- Only one color option
Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT Laser Rangefinder (Hunting / Golf Rangefinder)
Affordable, accurate, and well-rated, the Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT offers range-finding on the cheap, while still offering solid performance. While we would have liked to see more appearance options, the overall value of this rangefinder make the small compromise more than worth it. Also, the comfort of this rangefinder in-hand is unmatched.
- 500 yard to reflective target
- 6x magnification
- Scan mode for constant ranging
- Precise to +/- 1 yard
- Water resistant
- Only one color; black.
- No incline/decline accommodation
- Difficult to use in low light
TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder – 6×24 Laser Range Finder for Hunting with Speed, Scan and Normal measurements (Camo)
The TecTecTec ProWild Hunting rangefinder is definitely for those whom love hunting. Its small, durable, water-resistant frame is easily carried on any hunting trip. It comes in camo, unlike several of our other favorites. It’s more affordable than the Nikon PROSTAFF we mentioned, but has a comparably shorter, less accurate distancing ability.
- Distance up to 540 yards with +/- 1 yard accuracy
- Includes carrying pouch, CR2 battery, strap, microfiber cleaning cloth
- Measures just 104 x 72 x 41 mm and weighs just 185g
- Relatively short range
- No incline/decline accommodation
- Strap is pretty small