Best Rangefinder

BRANDstarlogoBALLOT
Best Rangefinder

Leica CRF 1000-R 40535 7x24 Laser Rangemaster

$499.00

Leica
CRF 1000-R
We compared rangefinders in the key metrics of accuracy, ranging capability, display quality, advanced features, price-to-performance ratio and reviews, and arrived at the Leica CRF 1000-R as the best rangefinder. With accuracy up to +- 1 yard, angle compensation and ballistic programming, you will find in the Leica CRF 1000-R a deadly companion to your rifle (or bow) and scope on every hunt.

Introduction

Although there are major industrial uses for rangefinders such as land surveying and 3D modeling, this discussion on the best rangefinder is about consumer rangefinders most commonly used in hunting, archery, and golf.

Nowadays, most consumer-grade rangefinders are laser rangefinders. A laser rangefinder emits a beam of laser and, since the speed of light is known, calculates the distance of an object by measuring the time it takes the laser to travel to an object and back (after reflection).

A rangefinder can be an extremely useful device. It is not our intention to limit its use to hunting, archery and golf, so we won’t. One can find numerous other uses for it. For example, if your dog ran away from the house, you can whip out the rangefinder and see how far away the dog is, and then you can better decide whether to yell at it or save your breath. For another example, let’s say you’re a huge fan of Taylor Swift and you’re going to one of her concerts, you can use a rangefinder so that you’ll be able to tell your friends the exact distance that separated you from her. You get the idea: a rangefinder can be quite handy.

Rangefinders were developed at about the same time as cameras because they both depend on optics. This is why most rangefinders are made by manufacturers that also make cameras, binoculars, and/or scopes. Of our selections of the best rangefinders below, we are certain that you have heard of at least a couple of these brands.

Nikon

Coolshot 20

Our pick

Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder (One Battery Included)

$196.95

“First rangefinder and I absolutely love it. It will help any serious golfer or any golfer looking to improve. It really is amazing how much more confident I am when I can trust the yardage and make a smooth swing.”

-Will Robinson

Our pick

Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder (One Battery Included)

$196.95

“First rangefinder and I absolutely love it. It will help any serious golfer or any golfer looking to improve. It really is amazing how much more confident I am when I can trust the yardage and make a smooth swing.”

-Will Robinson

The Coolshot 20 is Nikon’s most compact laser rangefinder for golf. It measures 3.6”L x 2.9”H x 1.5”D, small enough for even smaller hands to hold securely. The weight is 4.5oz, or the same as an iPhone 6S (it’s probably just a coincidence).

The accurate range is 6 to 550 yards. This rangefinder can be used in golf tournaments as it complies with USGA Local Rule 14-3. It can also be used for archery practice. The top range of 550yd may be enough for bow hunting. However, the Nikon Coolshot 20 operates in First Target Priority mode. It locks onto the first target, which is usually ideal for flagsticks on golf courses. For hunting, a lot of times the game would not be the first target in the woods.

The Nikon Coolshot 20 features 6x magnification so you can easily find everything on the golf course. Use it to practice distance shots, figure out which iron to use, and find the accurate distances to trees, mounds, bunkers, etc. With Nikon optics, you can be sure that the images are bright and clear.

We found the Nikon Coolshot 20 to be as accurate as much more expensive golf rangefinders. It is rainproof and can be used in almost any golfing weather. It comes with a 2-year factory warranty.

Leupold

RX-650

Our pick

Leupold RX-650 Micro Laser Rangefinder 120464

Too low to display

“Very happy with this purchase; compact & lightweight as well as the quality build one expects from Leupold. Simple to use and so far no issues at all. Super accurate range finder at a sensible price”

-P. Best

Our pick

Leupold RX-650 Micro Laser Rangefinder 120464

Too low to display

“Very happy with this purchase; compact & lightweight as well as the quality build one expects from Leupold. Simple to use and so far no issues at all. Super accurate range finder at a sensible price”

-P. Best

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. is an American optical instruments company that makes binoculars, rifle scopes, rangefinders, and spotting scopes.

The Leupold RX-650 is made in China. The build quality is good, so no worries there. It is totally weatherproof and works in the fog. We love the feel of the non-slip rubber on top. It is small at just 3.6” long, and light for a Leupold at 6.3lb.

The Leupold RX-650 is for archery and hunting. It will not pick up small objects like a flagstick from more than 100 yards away so this is not a golf rangefinder. The model number of RX-650 indicates that it is accurate up to 650 yards. However, 650-yard accuracy is for reflective objects. For a deer, the rated accurate range is 575 yards. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use the Leupold RX-650 to spot game at a farther distance – it just won’t be accurate.

The display is a black LCD with up to 6x magnification. It has no target priority. We found that it can be a challenge trying to range game more than 300 yards away. The Leupold RX-650 is best for archery and shorter-range hunters. However, it does not have angle compensation which can be an issue if you hunt on tree stands.

Leica

CRF 1000-R

Our pick

Leica CRF 1000-R 40535 7x24 Laser Rangemaster

$499.00

“Whoa! Very impressive! Probably among the best if not the best glass in the world; it has stunning clarity edge to edge, and very easy on the eyes as you can look all day without fatigue.”

-DRESSLB

Our pick

Leica CRF 1000-R 40535 7x24 Laser Rangemaster

$499.00

“Whoa! Very impressive! Probably among the best if not the best glass in the world; it has stunning clarity edge to edge, and very easy on the eyes as you can look all day without fatigue.”

-DRESSLB

The Leica CRF 1000-R is for hunting and archery. It is Leica’s entry-level model and the best bang for the buck.

There are so many rifle scopes with built-in rangefinder these days that do we really need the Leica CRF 1000-R? Yes, because the rangefinder in most rifle scopes is quite useful. You’d have to spend way over $1000 for a combo scope/rangefinder that is as good as the Leica CRF 1000-R and quality scope.

The Leica CRF 1000-R is made in Portugal. As with all Leicas, it is immaculately built. The optics is AquaDura-coated 7x24mm with integrated diopter compensation up to 600 yards. This rangefinder is accurate up to 1 yard from 10 to 400 yards, up to 2 yards from 400 to 800 yards, and with 0.5% accuracy beyond 800 yards. The field of view at 1000 yards is 125m. The game appears too small at beyond 1000 yards. We found the Leica CRF 1000-R to work best at 1000 yards and below, which is more than enough for most hunters.

The clarity of the LED display is amazing. The automatic brightness adjustment works beautifully every time, which can’t be said for all rangefinder displays. The Leica CRF 1000-R can also be used as a monocular so you can do away with your hunting binoculars.

This rangefinder measures both linear and horizontal distances. For angle compensation, it has a built-in inclinometer. Equivalent horizontal distances can be calculated from 10 to 874 yards. In addition, it has a ballistic program (works up to 600 yards) to help with your aim by taking into account distance, bullet caliber, muzzle velocity, wind and other conditions.

Conclusion

The best rangefinder in our book is the Leica CRF 1000-R (as if it’s not obvious right?). You can totally replace your binoculars by using the Leica CRF 1000-R as a monocular. The accuracy is as advertised and it works in any condition including snow. The clarity of the LED display is the best in the business, ditto the build quality.

However, if you would rather spend much less and still own a rangefinder of a top-pedigree brand, look no further than the Leupold RX-650. This no-frill rangefinder is great for archery practice but for hunting, it is better for those who hunt on level grounds and in shorter ranges.

Our best rangefinder for golf is the Nokia Coolshot 20. You can spend more on a golf rangefinder for additional features but the Nokia Coolshot 20 is as good as it gets in terms of accuracy and finding targets.

BRANDstarlogoBALLOT
Best Rangefinder

Leica CRF 1000-R 40535 7x24 Laser Rangemaster

$499.00

Leica
CRF 1000-R
We compared rangefinders in the key metrics of accuracy, ranging capability, display quality, advanced features, price-to-performance ratio and reviews, and arrived at the Leica CRF 1000-R as the best rangefinder. With accuracy up to +- 1 yard, angle compensation and ballistic programming, you will find in the Leica CRF 1000-R a deadly companion to your rifle (or bow) and scope on every hunt.

Comments on this entry are closed.