How often do you hit the fairway, walk with a skip in your step to your ball, it’s sat perfectly on the turf and you ask yourself, “is it an 8 iron or a 7 iron?” “I’m not sure.”
Maybe you ever ripped a delicious 6 iron, arrowing towards the flag, only to see it drop yards short of the green.
If you have looked at the 150-yard marker to guestimate a distance and then this has happened, what I suggest you do is invest in your golf by purchasing a rangefinder!
From the research conducted across the rangefinder market, we reviewed many products and found the Precision Pro Golf NX7 was the best budget golf rangefinder on the shelves. It offers all the convenience that the more expensive Bushnell Pro X2 Rangefinder offers, which was the highest performing laser from our reviews.
We have deliberately included Bushnell here. You gotta compare the affordable ones with the premium product if you really want a good bargain!
Here’s a quick list of all our picks,
- Bushnell Pro X2 Golf Laser Rangefinder
- Precision Pro Golf NX7 Golf Laser Rangefinder
- TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder
- TecTecTec ULT-X Golf Rangefinder
- Bozily Golf Rangefinder
Before we get into what you should be looking for in a best cheap golf rangefinder, here are some practical benefits of using a rangefinder, to help you get the most out of yours, while on the golf course.
Benefits of buying a Rangefinder
If you go onto any rangefinder or golf GPS website, you will be inundated with the tricks and technology stuffed inside these little things. Believe it or not, some of the expensive rangefinders will even tell you the wind speed or even how far up or downhill you are hitting!
However, if I am going to pay $300, $400 + then I would want mine to even hit my shot for me!
You can still gain the benefits of a rangefinder even on a budget. These advantages of a budget rangefinder are as follows.
- Using a rangefinder will allow you to make educated decisions when choosing a club since you will know the exact distance
- You can improve your score over a shorter period of time, by knowing your precise yardages
- With a rangefinder, you won’t have to walk the yardage to check your distance
- Not only can they speed up your game, but you also won’t have to depend on yardage markers
- It will tell you the precise distance to every pin, even on hilly or sloped terrain
- Super convenient, you can carry a rangefinder in your pocket without damaging it, and it is easy to use
However, Rangefinders are not just tools to be used for identifying distance to the pin. They become handy from off the Tee or on a Par 5!
The reason for this is from the Tee you often find a bunker on the right-hand side of the fairway, just in range for a typically right-handed fader of the golf ball. By using your rangefinder, you can identify how far away that bunker is and then make a logical decision as to whether you take the iron to lay up short, or the big dog to fly over it! (Don’t forget to check the wind first!)
Another good working example of using your rangefinder from the fairway, or from the tee, is hitting your golf ball to your “favorite yardage.” For me, I love 100 yards to the pin, the reason is, I know it’s a full punch shot with my pitching wedge.
Therefore, if I stand on a short par 4, say 300 yards. I know I need to hit my t-shot 200 yards to leave my favorite 100 yard shot to the flag. Out comes the Hybrid while the Driver takes some time off. This doesn’t just apply to short Par 4s, this is also something I consider when I am on a Par 5 with my second shot, just applying the same decision making.
Take a look at this video, for more information about how you can maximize the usage of your rangefinder.
Types of Rangefinders
Combining functionality with style, the GPS watch is also super convenient. While the clock tells you the time, it can also identify the course you are on and give you precise distances to the back, front, and center. Plus, it can work on rainy and foggy days, unlike the laser rangefinder.
Similar to other technological devices, the GPS Handheld device is easy to use and comes with an intuitive touch screen interface. This appealing screen is colored and is a great choice for its compatibility.
What we are talking about in this article. Lasers can work within a few hundred yards of your target offering precise measurements. Typically, a laser rangefinder can magnify objects and provide extensive coverage.
Equipped with a powerful battery, a laser rangefinder will only be able to last a few rounds. They are also limited when used on rainy and foggy days.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Golf Rangefinder
A good rangefinder helps you determine precise distances to your target and gets you on the green faster. Yet, not all are made equal. Here are some important factors to look for.
With the diverse variety of rangefinders, you will find that they cover different distances depending on the model. Some are able to cover only 400 yards while others can cover up to 900 yards or more. When choosing a rangefinder, always check to see what the maximum range is and determine how that will work with your golf game.
There is nothing more frustrating than being out with your mobile phone only to see that the battery is low. The same applies to your rangefinder. Be sure to check what guarantees the manufacturers provide about battery life. Precision offers many models with unlimited battery replacements however; it’s always worth keeping a spare in the golf bag, just in case!
The models we have discussed typically come with 6x magnification, this identifies how zoomed into the target the eyepiece of the device is, when you look through it.
If you are somebody that wears glasses and believes this could affect your ability to use the device, be sure to try before you buy. To put your mind at ease, if you cannot do that, most manufacturers will offer free returns within 21 days.
Also, some of the models discussed offer a rotating eyepiece, which changes the specification of the lens. This can be used to combat any potential short or long sightedness that you may have. Think like a Sniper!
Granted, most of us prefer to play on a sunny day, but you never know when you get stuck in bad weather during the game. Typically when you are in the middle of a competition.
Hence it makes sense to carry a durable product that can keep going with you irrespective of the weather. Specifically, you need a waterproof feature in your rangefinder.
Secondly, it should be sturdy enough to withstand small accidents on the ground or when you happen to drop it.
It’s important to have something you can easily move around with you, if you spend a lot of time on the golf course. Most rangefinders that are manufactured these days have a pretty lightweight design for that very reason.
Ease of Use
You will want to look for a golf rangefinder that is easy to use and doesn’t take a lot of time to figure out. Intuitive displays and straightforward designs are super important when choosing a golf rangefinder. Take a look through a couple and see which ones suit your eye best.
Finally, consider what the purpose is for your purchase. If it’s for social golf with friends, then some of the added features like slope and wind assistance may be of benefit. Typically, be mindful you will not find these features in a budget rangefinder purchase.
However, if you wish to purchase for the club stableford, medals or tournaments then a basic rangefinder with distance technology would be a wise selection. This is because legally you cannot use the additional features in a tournament, the USGA prohibits this, and you must use your rangefinder for distance purposes only. Let us take a look now at rangefinders that are applicable for both purposes.
Best Budget Golf Rangefinder Reviews
There was a time when you didn’t ask someone if they had a “rangefinder”, you asked them if they have a “BUSHNELL”. Such was the strength of the Bushnell brand when laser technology entered the golf market.
An industry leader, the Bushnell Pro X2 gives golfers the distance that is based on the hole’s decline and incline. Using JOLT technology, this rangefinder can eliminate the doubt you have when locked onto a flag. What this means is the device knows when you are locked onto a flag and it vibrates. Often with rangefinders you may pick up a tree behind the green and consider this to be the correct yardage. JOLT technology stops this happening!
It also features a fully waterproof metal housing which means you can use this whatever the weather.
But that is just for starters, features also include the Bushnell’s Slope-Switch Technology, golfers can easily toggle in and out of the slope function allowing them to conveniently use the up or downhill features when they need them. This USGA-conforming device is legal when in tournament play (but only when the “slope setting” is turned off), the dual-display technology lets the user toggle the slope setting on and off.
Equipped with a range of 1000 yards plus, the Bushnell Pro X2 is fully waterproof. It features a Class 1 laser and has under a .05 mW average power output.
- It’s completely waterproof, so you can use it in any type of weather conditions
- This rangefinder has a range of 1000 yards +
- It is tournament legal and easy to use for any level of golfer due to JOLT “lock on” technology.
- Strong brand name in the industry with high levels of trust from buyers.
- This rangefinder comes with up to 6x magnification, meaning finding your target is much easier.
- In bright sunlight, it doesn’t perform well
- It is on the expensive side
Precise and fast, the Precision Pro Golf NX7 rangefinder provides accurate distances on both downhill and uphill shots.
Featuring a clear display and fast measurements, golfers that have used this rangefinder experience most of the benefits as an expensive rangefinder, at half the price.
Similar to the previous, this tournament legal rangefinder also offers pulse vibration technology that sends a short vibration after measuring the distance successfully allowing you to be confident that the number on the display is correct. The Pro Golf NX7 is also water-resistant, so you can play golf in bad weather conditions.
If you struggle to pick up the pin when using these devices, Pro golf NX7 offers six-time magnification, this rangefinder also uses adaptive slope technology that makes club selection easier, because it takes into account whether you are hitting uphill or down towards the green.
Using crystal clear optics, the Precision Pro Golf NX7 Golf Rangefinder is equipped with precise technology that is easy to use, even when your hands shake.
It also displays oneyard measurements and can be set for either yards or meters. And it comes with free lifetime battery replacement and a two year warranty, when you register the product with the company.
- This affordable rangefinder is a great value
- The company has incredible customer service
- It vibrates well, which helps give confidence that the model is locked onto the pin, with the correct yardage
- Even though it is more affordable that the Bushnell Pro X2, the features aren’t as smooth in use
- It doesn’t always get the reading right
- The eye scope needs to be adjusted to get “locked on” to the pin
Ok, a real golf rangefinder for the money which offers some cool technology. This rangefinder is equipped with laser binoculars, the TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder uses state of the art optic along with laser technology which offers a “scanning set up.”
What this means is the rangefinder will search for hazards and bunkers that could affect your score, giving you a distance to those hazards, so you can lay-up or hit over!
Despite being a fraction of the price of previously mentioned devices, the VPRO500 features fully multi-coated lenses and competes with her more expensive competitors. This rangefinder offers you a six times magnification along with a seven degrees field of view.
The VPRO500Rangefinder includes an adjustable rotating eyepiece that will enhance your focus no matter if you are farsighted or nearsighted. Ideal for any level of experience, this rangefinder is super easy to use and will quickly deliver very accurate measurements down to the decimal.
Finally, it’s also one of the strongest and most durable, the VPRO500 Rangefinder is super lightweight, it only weighs 6.52 ounces. It has a rain-resistant and ergonomic design and comes with a protective, premium shock-resistant case (just in case we drop it!). It also includes a CR-2 lithium battery, and easy to understand manual.
- It is easy to use for any level golfer
- This is a lightweight and rain-resistant
- It comes with a nice, protective case
- Offers the same benefits of the Bushnell Pro X2 at a much more affordable price
- Comes with a two year warranty
- It isn’t very durable
- The eyepiece has been known to fall off in some user reviews.
- Requires a steady hand, because there isn’t the “lock on feature”
- The scan technology has mixed reviews, some golfers find it very helpful, others find it doesn’t always work.
Ok, so this ULT-X Golf Rangefinder is like the previously discussed VPRO500 but with a little more spinach.
Offering a 1,000-yard range, the TecTecTec ULT-X Golf Rangefinder is equipped with incredible options and crystal-clear lenses. Providing more accurately measured distances than the previous model. The specifications are the same, the sharpness and clarity of the fully multi-coated lenses include a seven-degree field of view and six times magnification. Again this comes with the rotating lens, so you can focus depending on your eyesight.
Easy to use, this is a great choice for beginner golfers or advanced. The TecTecTec ULT-X is water-resistant, compact, and pocket friendly, being one of the smaller models on the market. You also get clear and crisp images with readings available in just seconds.
The TecTecTec ULT-X provides the distance to the object closest to it, even when it detects multiple objects. This is an advantage for a golfer playing in a tree lined course, or any golf course where there are lots of trees potentially behind the green and pin.
It also comes with a quick start guide to make set up easy, a microfiber cleaning cloth, wrist strap, pouch, and a CR2-3V battery. This super accurate and fast rangefinder gives you precise measurement down to the decimal.
- It’s easy to set up
- Any level golfer can use it easily
- It’s incredibly sharp
- It takes a little effort to focus on a target to avoid a false reading
- Technical support isn’t as good as larger, competing brands.
- Compared to competing rangefinders, this device is marginally slower in loading up results when searching for distance.
Like the industry standard, Bozily have produced a rangefinder that features six times magnification, although this one can measure up to 1200 yards! (About a 6 iron?)
The Bozily Golf Rangefinder again comes with slope adjustment, flag-lock, and continuous scan support. This is a fog-resistant and waterproof rangefinder that uses the latest technology to make it more flexible and accurate than other rangefinders on the market.
Featuring accuracy within ±1 yard, the Bozily offers a diopter adjustment functionality that provides a clear view. So, no matter if you are farsighted or nearsighted, you will be able to clearly see the object you are measuring and fit its distance.
It offers many of the features and benefits of some of the other rangefinders mentioned in this review, however this model is much more affordable than the larger brands.
This easy-to-use rangefinder is compact and portable and features an ergonomic design. The Bozily Golf Rangefinder is a good choice for daily training and is also tournament approved.
Finally, I like how Bozily sends this laser to you with some little handouts. It comes with a manual, cleaning cloth, lanyard, carabiner, USB cable, and carrying case.
- It is approved for tournaments
- It’s very easy to use
- This rangefinder is very portable and has an ergonomic design
- The cross-hairs don’t always light up
- Distances are sometimes inaccurate
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a Rangefinder Improve Your Golf Game?
Whether you are using a laser or GPS rangefinder, a golf rangefinder has changed the way the game is played. Players can now interact with the surrounding environment and improve their game when they are on the course both leisurely and professionally. Polls have shown that using a golf rangefinder can make a huge difference in your game and improve your golfing skills.
How will a rangefinder make me a better golfer?
Simply put, it’s the fast knowledge that you have about the distances you need to hit the ball. Take hitting towards the pin for example. If you are using your rangefinder from 150 yards and your 6 iron is constantly coming up 10 yards short then you have identified an opportunity to improve your game by being educated towards making the right club selection from that yardage.
Also, as we have discussed, from the tee you will know how far certain hazards or bunkers may be, therefore making technically sound decisions about what club to select from the tee will help you stay out of trouble.
Finally, do not think the rangefinder is just for full shots. Take it to the driving range and use it for 50 yards, 60 yards, 70, 80, 90 and 100 yards. You can use it to identify how hard you need to hit your wedges to go a particular yardage when closer to the green.
Are rangefinders legal in tournaments?
It depends. The basic feature of using the laser for distance is legal.
Any other feature, like slope and wind speed is not legal in a club or professional tournament. This is prohibited by the USGA. We have touched on this in each review above to give you clarity.
Should I use a rangefinder or a golf GPS watch?
This is personal preference; a laser gives your exact yardages to whatever you point and aim at.
A GPS watch will give you an overview of yardages, typically to the front, middle and back of the green. Some of the more advanced watches will give you yardages to hazards and bunkers from the tee. A GPS watch will give you more data a lot quicker.
Another advantage of the GPS watch is you can use it to determine a yardage if you cannot see the flag, either because of the elevation or trees/ objects in the way.
There is also the upkeep of a Watch to consider, downloads and changes to golf courses will need to be re-downloaded to ensure you are up to date with the layout of the course. However, a laser is accurate every time you point it at the intended target.
Are there any other Rangefinder hacks?
There are a few I can think of, firstly be sure to invest in a good quality rangefinder case that you can attach to your golf bag. This way you can access it quickly and not hold up play going through your pockets.
Remember to consider your rangefinder off the tee! Is there a bunker in the fairway or a hazard that you could fly your golf ball over? By using your rangefinder to target the hazard, you will be able to select a club that you know will get over, or you know will lay up short of the hazard. Not only will this mathematically allow you to plot your way round the course, but you can also swing with more freedom because you will know the yardage that you are hitting.
A word of caution, if you are going to lay up short, consider external factors that can affect your ball flight, for example the wind direction, wind speed and the temperature. All of which will influence how far the ball will fly.
Just Double Check
If you use your rangefinder to a pin and you cannot believe the yardage it is telling you, be sure to use the laser again to confirm the yardage, I certainly have made that mistake before!
There we have it! I hope that you have found this information on the best golf rangefinders helpful and gained a good understanding of the current technology that might come in handy for you. We may have snuck a model in there that is a little more expensive than budget, but it is just to give you an understanding of what a little extra money can give you in terms of benefits and performance.
With this in mind, I would consider the Bushnell Pro X2 as the overall winner because it is easy to use for any level golfer, extremely quick at reading distances, and comes with awesome Slope Switch Technology. Meaning you have a model that can be used with all the gizmos and gadgets of a top performing rangefinder, but can switch to tournament legal mode instantly.
Yet from more affordable options (which is the objective of this post), I loved Precision Pro Golf NX7. Like the Bushnell, it boasts the vibration technology, which will buzz in your hand when you have “locked on” to the target! That’s a cool feature and very helpful if you play on a course which has trees and objects typically behind the green.
The final thing with Precision is if you fancy great customer service, 2 years of warranty on your model and free lifetime battery replacement then this one’s for you.