It’s a well-known fact that a good rangefinder is an invaluable asset when you’re hunting or playing golf. It helps a lot with your shot (whether rifle or golf) when you know the precise distance to your target. But that fact leads to a natural follow-up question: which rangefinder should you buy?
Criteria to Consider to Know Which Rangefinder to Buy
Of course, like many other consumer items you need to take your personal preferences into account. It doesn’t matter if hordes of other people like something that you don’t really care for.
At the same time, if you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth when you buy a rangefinder, you’ll want to take these factors into account.
Of course, this is always a prime factor for any consumer item. At least with laser rangefinders, you don’t really have to spend too much money to buy an exceptional model.
The really good ones can cost anywhere from $120 to $250. The point is that you shouldn’t really splurge on something if you’re planning to use the rangefinder only once or twice a year.
The more expensive a rangefinder is, the more features you usually get. While that’s usually a good thing, what you really need are features that suit the activity you plan on using the rangefinder for.
So for hunting, the most important feature is its usefulness in low light conditions because that’s when a lot of hunting activities occur. You’ll want to make sure that you can actually focus on your real target when you try to get the distance to it. You may also want features that let you use it in foggy conditions.
For golf, there are plenty of features that are specifically designed to help players. One nice feature is the ability to automatically focus on the pin.
That really makes it easy for you to approach the green. Another nice feature is being able to measure the slope.
However, for golf you have to take the rules into account. For the most part, you can only use the distance measurement feature when you’re playing a real game or tournament.
You can’t use the slope measurement and other prohibited features. You need to make sure that you can turn off these features when you play, so that your device is legal to bring with you on the golf course.
It’s not really a good idea to buy a fragile unit. These things can cost several hundreds of dollars, and they can all go down the drain if they break down simply because you drop it on the ground. You need something with a durable casing, and preferably one with water-resistance.
To gauge the durability of an item, you may want to check out various customer and expert reviews regarding their experiences when they drop it. You may also want to note the warranty—typically a longer warranty denotes a more durable rangefinder.
Ease of Use
Advanced features aren’t really much help if they’re too complicated for people to use. That’s why you should stick to models which are intuitive and easy to use.
Generally, they come with just a couple of buttons and a knob. The knob is to enable you to adjust the focus. One button is to toggle through modes (such as continuous scanning or fog mode) and the other button is to let you get the distance measurement.
Obviously it’s better if the rangefinder is compact and lightweight. It should be ergonomically shaped so it’s comfortable in your hand, and it helps if it has textured surfaces for a better grip.
A nice carrying case and a lanyard attachment can also make it easy for you to bring the rangefinder along.
The maximum range distance depends on the reflectiveness of the target, so you may have different ranges for different types of targets. For hunters, there’s a maximum range for reflective items, a maximum distance for tree lines, and then another one for deer.
While the maximum distance for reflective targets can be as great as 1000 yards or more, for deer it may only be for 200 yards. So you need a rangefinder that can offer a distance from which you normally shoot your targets.
For golf, it’s all about being able to cover the range of your shots. You usually don’t go for areas that are 400 yards away from you, so that’s the kind of maximum distance you need.
Magnification and Light Gathering
When you get a rangefinder with a 6x20mm designation, it means you get 6x magnification and 20mm objective lens diameter. You will want at least 6x magnification because you want to make sure that you’re focusing on your target and not on a tree branch. A larger objective lens diameter is also great because it means a clearer and brighter image.
Just remember to read the reviews and not just the product advertisements. Consider all these factors when you buy your own rangefinder, and you’ll be fine.