HUNTING

The Best Hunting Rangefinder: What to Get When Precision Matters

Best Hunting Rangefinder
Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

Did it ever happen to you that, while hunting, you miscalculated the distance between you and your target and missed? The prey got away and you had to pack your things and call it quits for the day. A great solution for instantly determining the distance to your next trophy is getting yourself the best hunting rangefinder you can find on the market.

You might think that all rangefinders on the market can easily do what they were designed for, that is, telling how far away your target is. Conversely, only the best models can be used proficiently for all hunting purposes, but you’ll have to know how to decipher its technical details. So, to make it easier for you, we created this guide, so you don’t have to research endlessly.

You will find some important features that will help you find your way through all these technicalities in order to pick a product that’s right for you. Afterwards, we’ll take you through a selection of our favorite items, so that you can find something you really like here.But, before all that, here’s a list of products that are currently the finest on the market.

Our Top Picks

ProductWeightSpecific featuresBest usePrice
Simmons LRF 6006.4 ouncesCarrying case includedClose range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell Bone Collector8 ouncesCarrying case includedClose range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Nikon Aculon AL115.6 ouncesMultilayer coatingClose range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell G-Force DX8 ouncesBow and rifle modesLong range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Carl Zeiss Optical Victory PRF10.9 ouncesBallistic Information SystemLong range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Leupold RX-1200i13.6 ouncesTrue Ballistic Range (TBR) modeLong range huntingCheck price on Amazon
Nikon Riflehunter 10006.9 ouncesInterchangeable first and second target priority modesRifle huntingCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Below are some of the factors to take into account when picking the right rangefinder for your needs.

Quality

Since price and quality are unavoidably related, you can assume that a rangefinder that costs a bit more is a better product. That’s generally true if you’re talking about the extremes of the spectrum when comparing a very cheap and a very expensive item.

Rangefinder on the Rocks

However, the products that can be found in the middle range are of similar quality, which is why it’s better to save up and invest in a durable, reliable item. The best option for you may be a rangefinder that, albeit manufactured from top materials, doesn’t have a lot of extras, but can help you get your job done fast.

Range and Distance

Although we’re talking here about rangefinders for hunting purposes, you might be into target practice or golfing as well. But even if that’s the case, you shouldn’t settle for a product that has a lower maximum range. Or you may be more interested in shooting at lower ranges, but having a maximum range of at least 1000 yards is the way to go.

Keep in mind though that this measurement is done in perfect weather and otherwise perfect conditions. The reflective surface used for getting the maximum range out of your rangefinder works differently when the weather’s less than perfect, which is usually the case.

Rangefinder

If you’re choosing a more qualitative, hence a more expensive item, you have more chances of its measurements being more reliable in the field. Otherwise, you can even subtract up to 50% or more out of the maximum range stated in the official description, especially if you’re hunting medium to big animals.

Precision

Angle compensation is one of the most important features you’ll have to check for in the rangefinder you consider acquiring. Although you might find this measurement under a different name, you should know it regards the level difference between you and your quarry.

Since you’ll never shoot an animal that’s exactly at the same ground level with you, you’ll get an inclination between your positions. This incline will affect the way in which your bullets or your arrows move and finally reach their target.

Rangefinder for Bow Hunting

So either you adjust your shooting by doing the math for yourself or by following your instincts if you’re a good shot, either you get a rangefinder that has a good angle compensation feature. This will let you know how far you can shoot, getting you a more precise shot.

Size

Size is directly related to portability, which is why you need to clearly have in mind the specific purpose for which you need the rangefinder, as well as the type of hunting trip you’re taking.

The bigger rangefinders

  • Require a tripod to be set up on;
  • Need a carrying case for transportation reasons;
  • Are more difficult to handle and to hold;
  • Have more options;
  • Their buttons are bigger and therefore easier to operate.

The smaller rangefinders

  • Are extremely portable;
  • Can easily be used without any tripod;
  • Are easier to handle on the field;
  • May have fewer options and extra features;
  • Their buttons may sometimes be too small, therefore, require more time to operate.

User-friendliness

You obviously need a gadget that does its job fast, that means telling you the yardage in no time and with extreme precision, while also having some sort of angle compensation feature.

Rangefinder Range

That means you should ignore the glamorous extra features if your product doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Moreover, ensure that readability is something your rangefinder offers, as you don’t want to squint whilst hunting to understand what it displays.

Type

When it comes to laser rangefinders, you’ll have to choose between:

First priority rangefinders

  • Gets you the read on the closest object in has in view, and discounts objects farther apart;
  • Work better on shorter distances;
  • Are better suited for activities like golf.

Second priority rangefinders

  • Get you the reading on the farthest object in view, disregarding the one that’s closest to it;
  • Are better for activities like hunting, especially tree standing, when the trees and bush that are closer to you get ignored, while the machine focuses on the game that’s usually further away;
  • Work better for longer distances.

However, you can use both these types of rangefinders interchangeably, although that would mean more hassle. And you have to concentrate on fast, accurate use, particularly when you’re out hunting because otherwise, you would have to get more than one reading and constantly changing the modes.

Cheap Rangefinder

Pro tip: if you want a good rangefinder to use for both types of outdoor activities, get one that can switch between modes easily, at the simple push of a button. You can either choose one that effects the change temporarily or on a semi-permanent basis.

Reticle

The reticle is basically defined as your aiming point that you place over your target, and you can choose between different sorts of aims:

The black line aims

  • Aren’t illuminated;
  • Work well when it’s light, but don’t help much at dusk, dawn or when it’s really dark because they blend with the environment;
  • Are influenced by shadows.

The LED aims

  • Are illuminated;
  • You can adjust how brightly they shine for most products on the market.
  • Work better when it’s dark, but can’t really be distinguished from the environment when it’s light out;
  • May even cause some problems at dusk, because they mess with your night vision mode, making you unable to see what’s beyond the bright aiming point.

So what can you do? Either you know perfectly well the time of day when you’re hunting and pick a rangefinder that can accommodate that, either get a product with the backlighting feature.

1500 Yards Rangefinder

That’s because it doesn’t shine as brightly as LED aims, and can help you regardless of the light level outside.

Best Products in Today’s Market

These factors are definitely not worth ignoring because that could jeopardize your purchase. Investing in a good, quality product means doing your research first, so we’re here with a few options to look at before making the final decision.

Simmons 4x20LRF 600 Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $120Simmons 4x20LRF 600 Rangefinder

Weight: 6.4 ounces

Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 5.5 inches

Specific features: 4x magnification, 10-600 yards range, vertical design, one-button operation, LCD display, weather-resistant, carrying case included

Best use: Close range hunting

This reasonably priced Simmons 4x20LRF 600 Rangefinder is a great gadget to provide you an accurate reading if you’re hunting at a close range. It’s even good for golfing or for other sorts of outdoor sports, considering it can measure the distance as close to 10 yards.

When you’re out hunting, the maximum range specified is 600 yards, and all that with a precision of just 1 yard more or less.

The 4x magnification is another good feature, considering that it will magnify your target up to four times for better visibility. Its vertical configuration is a compelling feature, especially if you’re on-field purposes include efficiency and compactness. Besides, the reduced weight and dimensions render this item extremely portable.

The handling of the Simmons rangefinder can easily be done with the simple push of a button, and you’ll get a very bright and pristine image especially if you’re hunting during darker conditions. That’s because it has an LCD display which will increase the luminosity of your aiming point.

The 9V batteries it works on aren’t included, which is actually not a tragedy considering they’re easy to find. The included extra is the carrying case, which is a nice plus for portability reasons.

PROS:

  • Great for close range hunting
  • Very accurate even at 600 yards
  • In-view LCD display
  • Compact and portable (case included)
  • 4x magnification
  • One-button operation
 CONS:

  • Limited range at 600 yards
  • Doesn’t include the batteries

Related: If you are a bow hunter, this range finder will definitely help you when you are tree standing. However, you will also need a good, protective case for you bow to make sure it lasts you a lifetime.We recommend the Plano Protector Compact Bow Case.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Bone Collector Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $200Bushnell Bone Collector Laser Rangefinder

Weight: 8 ounces

Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 5.5 inches

Specific features: 1-yard accuracy, 10-600 yards display, one-button operation, 4x magnification, 20 mm objective, weather-resistant, carrying case included

Best use: Close range hunting

Bushnell Bone Collector Laser Rangefinder is another good rangefinder to work with at a closer range hunting, or when you’re doing other outdoor sports that require measuring distance.That’s because it can offer you a good distance estimation of maximum 600 yards, under ideal conditions. The lowest point it can get to range-wise is 10 yards, so that’s pretty close too.

The 4x magnification and 20 mm objective contribute to an increased visibility and accuracy of your shots. The fact that it has bright and clear optics is another plus, especially when you’re working in poor lighting conditions.

We really like that this product has a number of user-friendly features, like its ability to render precise measurements considering its accuracy is about one yard more or less. Besides this, even if it’s a small, compact item, you can easily operate it by the mere push of a button.

Everyone likes to see their products made from quality materials, and this rangefinder is one of the good ones, considering its housing is resistant to rain and most on-field damages. The design is quite appealing too. Its camo design looks both stylish and professional, helping you stay stealth.

PROS:

  • 4x magnification
  • 1-yard accuracy
  • Compact and light (case included)
  • Resistant to water and other damages
  • Camouflage design
 CONS:

  • Limited range at 600 yards

Related: Now that you have a weapon, a rangefinder, you can make sure you don’t miss the target. But, you will need a target to have what to aim at, and that is why we recommend the Tink’s #69 Doe-in-Rut Buck Lure. Guaranteed to bring some bucks your way.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $150Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Dimensions: 3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches

Specific features: Multilayer coating, case included, clear screen display, 1-yard intervals, one-button operation, second priority rangefinder

Best use: Close range hunting

Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder comes with strong recommendations courtesy of the Nikon reputation, one of the best brands in the optics area.That’s why you can rest assured you’ll get a quality item, which is very efficient seeing as it will do its job in practically no time with increased accuracy. Besides that, it’s also rainproof so it even withstands bad on-field weather.

This particular item is especially good since it’s very compact and weighs less than most of its competitors.It can easily fit in your palm, which means it can easily be carried even in your pocket or on your belt without adding too much bulk to your equipment.

The user-friendly design can be noted in its intuitive operation, considering you only need to push a button to make it work. Once you get your reading, it will automatically shut down a few seconds later, without you having to do anything.

You’ll get the accurate distance measurement instantly, but if you keep the button pushed, you can get more measurements while scanning your environment. That means you can use this gadget both for hunting as well as for golfing.

Since it’s a second priority rangefinder though it’s better to use it for hunting because it will focus on a further away object. That is of great help when you’re hunting and you have a lot of branches or leaves around that cloud your vision.The optics are great too as you’ll get a 6x magnification and a 20 mm objective, with long eye relief.

All these features work together to offer you a pristine image, very clear and natural because light reflection is drastically reduced. It works in a bit narrower array of distances between 6 and 550 yards, in 1-yard intervals.

PROS:

  • 6x magnification
  • One-button operation
  • 1-yard accuracy
  • Compact and light (case included)
  • Resistant to water and other damages
 CONS:

  • Shorter operating distance (550 yards)

Related: Make sure you also buy the batteries if you decide to go with this product. For about $7 you can get Viridian CR2 3v Lithium Battery (3-pack). One of those batteries should last you for approximately 8000 range scans.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $350Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder

Weight: 8 ounces

Dimensions: 5.7 x 5 x 2.9 inches

Specific features: 6x magnification, 21 mm objective, 5-1300 yards range, angle compensation, bow and rifle modes

Best use: Long range hunting

This Bushnell G-Force DX Laser Rangefinder is one of the longer ranged rangefinders on the market. And also one of the most portable. Its dimensions are quite small, so you can easily pack it and carry it with no trouble regarding it becoming too voluminous.

The fact that it has a 6x magnification is great in regards to visibility, seeing as you’ll be able to magnify your target up to six times, getting a very detailed picture of your surroundings.

And you’ll get a good, accurate reading between 5 to 1300 yards, meaning you’ll be able to hunt even medium to large animals at a bigger distance. Conversely, you can focus on closer distances too.

We appreciate the included angle compensation arc too, because it will account for differences in distance that come with the variations in level between you and your target.

The fast speed of its measurements, along with this sort of precision are great features, but what we love most about this item is that you can change between a bow and a rifle mode. Basically, you can use it with any sort of weapon, which is indeed a user-friendly characteristic.

PROS:

  • Very user-friendly with multiple modes
  • Very compact and light
  • Great range (5-1300 yards)
  • Durable materials and build
  • Available in camo colors
  • Included angle compensation
 CONS:

  • Higher price range

Related: You will definitely need strong and reliable batteries for this rangefinder. Therefore, we recommend the Duracell Cr2 Ultra Lithium Battery. It comes as a 6 pack and offers great value for money.

Check the price on Amazon

Carl Zeiss Optical Victory PRF Monocular

Price: Approx. $700Carl Zeiss Optical Victory PRF Monocular

Weight: 10.9 ounces

Dimensions: 1.9 x 3.9 inches

Specific features: 2 elements achromatic lens, multi-coating, Lotutec coating, Carl Zeiss monoculars, LED display, 1300-yard range, Ballistic Information System

Best use: Long range hunting

This rangefinder is the real deal! Carl Zeiss Optical Victory PRF Monocular takes the cake when it comes to quality of design and manufacturing. That’s because it renders a very clear image, that catches amazing details at a very long distance. You can count on its 8x magnification to get your game in the limelight, and a long eye relief that gets you a wide field of view.

Apart from this, the objective has a 26 mm diameter and lens that is 2-element achromatic, meaning there’s a good color contrast.

The multi-coating feature minimizes light reflection, therefore helping you get a clearer image, with no glare or flare whatsoever. The LED display will also work great during dark when you want a brighter aiming point.

Great manufacturing can also be noticed in its exterior, which has a Lotutec coating. This makes the Carl Zeiss rangefinder repellant to water, dirt, and grease so it can withstand even the toughest on-field conditions without getting damaged too fast.

The 1300-yard maximum range is a pretty decent one if you’re out hunting bigger animals like deer on a longer range, and you can count on its effective measurements thanks to the Carl Zeiss lifetime warranties on all its optical components.

PROS:

  • LED display
  • Compact
  • Maximum range at 1300 yards
  • 8x magnification
  • Very durable thanks to special coating
  • Carl Zeiss warranty
 CONS:

  • Higher price range

Related: Defining the range is one thing that will help you make the perfect shot, but knowing the wind speed and direction are also extremely important parameters.With the Kestrel 5200 Professional Meter, you can incorporate that data in account as well. With great accuracy and 1760-yard range this is a great pick for anyone that wants to do long range hunting.

Check the price on Amazon

Leupold RX-1200i TBR Rangefinder

Price: $350 – $400Leupold RX-1200i Tbr Rangefinder

Weight: 13.6 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 3 inches

Specific features: 6x magnification, 22 mm objective, 320 feet FOV, 1200 yards maximum range, included inclinometer, rubber eyecups,True Ballistic Range (TBR) mode for rifles and bows

Best use: Long range hunting

This Leupold RX-1200i TBR Rangefinder is great for most hunting trips, especially tree standing. That’s because it can easily distinguish between various colors and movements you’ll find in your background. Apart from that, its True Ballistic Range is amazing because you’ll get all the necessary details regarding how far your target is, the inclination angle and the adjustments.

The optics are another feature that is really great about this product, seeing as it offers a 6x magnification and a 22 mm objective that helps you achieve a clear picture at a wide enough field of view of about 320 feet. Its multi-coating reduces flare and glare, rendering light transmission easier for a better image.

The maximum range in ideal conditions is 1200 yards, but the official description states it’s big enough even for on-field conditions. As such, you’ll get 800 yards max for deer hunting and 900 yards for trees, which is more than other similar products can offer.

The Digitally Enhanced Accuracy feature makes this product very reliable when it comes to the precision of its shots. It also offers options for fast focus and scan mode, meaning you can get different calculations for various distances.

The included inclinometer, will help you measure the distance by accounting for the angle variations, and you get other user-friendly features like the quick set menu and the rubber eyecups that can be folded down.

PROS:

  • OLED display
  • Quick set menu
  • Maximum range of 1200 yards
  • Fast focus and scanning
  • True Ballistic Range mode
  • 6x magnification
 CONS:

  • Higher price range

 Related: Keep your lenses clean with compact and quite cheap Leupold Lens Pen. It has a natural hairbrush which is fully retractable when not in use.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Riflehunter 1000 Rangefinder

Price: Approx. $370Nikon Riflehunter 1000 Rangefinder

Weight: 6.9 ounces

Dimensions: 2.9 x 1.6 x 4.6 inches

Specific features: Interchangeable first and second target priority modes, ocular contrast, adjustable LCD display, +/- 89° angle compensation, 1000 yards maximum range, 0.1 yard increments reading

Best use: Rifle hunting

Nikon Riflehunter 1000 Rangefinder is another one of Nikon’s great models, especially since it has amazing features like the ocular contrast. This will allow for automatic adjustment depending on the light conditions, so you can hunt in broad daylight or at night.The Active Brightness Control feature is a great system in that regard because the LCD display will either turn gray when it’s light out, or orange when dark.

We particularly have a weakness for versatile items, and this is definitely one of them for other reasons. For instance, the large ocular, wide field of view and +/- 89° angle compensation enable you to take more accurate shots, at a maximum range of 1000 yards.Plus, you can easily change between the two modes of first and second target priority, meaning you can use this rangefinder either for golfing or for hunting.

The optics and display are great because they include multi-coating for better light transmission and reduced flare, as well as a 6x magnification for rendering more details. The 0.1-yard increments regarding reading and measurement are the proof of outstanding precision too.

But this rangefinder is likewise sturdy and durable, very appropriate for extended on-field use. That’s because it’s both waterproof and fog proof, and it can withstand plenty of damages and scratches.

Not to mention that it’s small and compact enough to easily be carried around even when you’re constantly on the go.

PROS:

  • Adjustable LCD display
  • Angle compensation
  • Maximum range of 1000 yards
  • Waterproof and damage resistant
  • Reads 0.1-yard increments
  • 6x magnification
 CONS:

  • Higher price range

 Related: If you specialize in rifle hunting and you want to learn more about longer distance shooting, you should check out Long-Range Precision Rifle, Expanded Edition: The Complete Guide to Hitting Targets at Distance. The paperback version will set you back for about $25, but we are sure it’s worth a read.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap up

We have reached the end of our article. We hope we made your decision a lot easier and your new rangefinder just might be only a click away.

Hunting with Rangefinder

With knowledge about different types of ranges that are suitable for different hunting conditions, you should be able to pick just the right product that will serve you well. Getting precise information about how far is your target away from you, is crucial to getting a hit. That’s why having the finest rangefinder is a must, so rest assured that all the models we reviewed are high-quality.

So, now it’s your turn to share experiences.Let us know what your choice is, and tell us more about yourself. What are you planning to use this gadget for? What are your usual hunting trips like? What are the most important/ least important rangefinder features in your opinion? Plus, if we’ve missed anything in this article, the comment section awaits below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.