How to Select a Golf Rangefinder

There are many benefits to having a rangefinder on the course with you, and because knowing the exact distance to the hole is crucial for a good score, you need to make sure that you have the best rangefinder for the job. Read on to learn how to select the best golf rangefinder for your game.

The quality of a golf rangefinder and the features it has directly affect the pricing of the unit. The main features to look for when purchasing a rangefinder are the magnification; lens diameter; maximum range; and scan mode.

Why you need a golf rangefinderRangefinder Basics

A golf rangefinder works by shooting a laser pulse at a target. At the same time, the optics inside the unit aligns to be able to receive the pulse. Once the laser bounces back, the flight time is measured and the unit calibrated. The calculation and output is shown on an LCD screen on the rangefinder.

Magnification Matters

Simply explained, the higher the magnification the higher the quality of image that comes through. If you are looking for a precise spot on the green to aim for, a higher magnification is better. Too high of a magnification can cause eye strain, and also increases the weight of the unit, because magnification is accomplished through the use of secondary lenses. The greater the magnification, the more lenses, or heavier the lenses that will need to be used in the rangefinder.

Lens Diameter

Another trait to consider when selecting the best golf rangefinder is the lens diameter. Similar to magnification, this trait is concerned with the optics of the device. Higher quality rangefinder, and therefore more expensive units, have a higher lens diameter, which affects the sharpness of the image. It is a good sign when a golf rangefinder has a high magnification, and a corresponding large lens diameter, otherwise you are only paying for a feature you can’t use.

Golf Rangefinder in actionMaximum Range

The maximum range is based on the strength of the laser, the stronger the laser is, the further the range that can be measured. Unless it is a nightmare, most golfers will be on a course where the longest holes are less than 600 yards. You will find maximum ranges upwards of 1500 yards, this is because the rangefinders can often be used in a hunting environment as well. This is overkill for most golfers, so if given a choice of comparable units, don’t base the decision on the maximum range, just ensure it is over 400 yards.


Measurement resolution will determined how accurately the reangefinder measurement of distance is. Most units on the market will have a measurement resolution of 1 feet which is more than enough even for the most experienced golfer.

Scan Mode

Showing multiple ranges with scan modeScan mode is a nice feature to have when using a golf rangefinder. Essentially scan mode allows a golfer to site through the rangefinder, and then as they move the unit, the distances are updated in real time. This can allow for faster and easier shot planning, instead of having to site the rangefinder at a new target each time, which is nice when there are players trying to play through on you.


When there are elevation differences between the position of the golfer and the target hole simply knowing the distance is not enough when you plan your stroke. Knowing the elevation difference (and whether the stroke is upward or downward) is important for selecting the club to use and planing the stroke itself.


GPS Golf RangefinderSome rangfinders incorporate a GPS device and a set of maps for popular golf courses. This feature enables you to measure distances even if you do not have a line of sight to the target. With this type of device, you do not need expensive optics as you simply select the target hole on the map and the rangefinder, based on your location as discovered using the built in GPS, will know the distance.

These are the best traits to look for when figuring out how to select the best golf rangefinder, and remember that the more features it has, the higher the price  will be.

We have looked at the best golf rangefinders on the market today and hand picked those we are recommending. For each model you will find a detailed review both written and in video form. You will also find real users ranking and reviews for each of the units.

Use the navigation on the right to chose a model or simply browse through all the reviews to select the one that best fits your needs and budget. We hope you will find our site useful and invite you to add your own comments.

Leave a Reply