2020 LASER RANGEFINDER BUYERS GUIDE

Every golfer is looking for the next new, big thing that’s going to take their game to the next level. In modern golf, like modern life, technology is quickly changing the way we approach and conquer tasks. It’s been a number of years since golfers had to use landmarks or guesses to estimate yardage, but the field of available laser rangefinders continues to improve and evolve.

Our games have become more precise and strategic, thanks not only to the ability to digitally measure pin distance but also to see hole layovers and utilize GPS technology.

What’s impressive with this year’s group of laser rangefinders is that accuracy has dramatically improved across the field. Nearly every rangefinder in the test is accurate to the pin within five yards making the number of quality laser rangefinders available to you, vast.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new laser rangefinder today, looking for some buying advice, or just want a closer look at what’s on the market right now, this guide will help you find the right rangefinder to fit your needs.

How We Test

We're here to help you find the perfect laser rangefinder to fit your needs.

To do that, we employ a thorough and fully independent testing process that leaves no feature unexplored, no display unchecked, and no stone unturned.

Our Metrics

Rangefinders are tested head to head with rigorous protocols.

The metrics we consider when rating rangefinders include Accuracy, Speed, Optics, Display, and Additional Features.

FEATURES THAT MATTER TO YOU

Accuracy

A rangefinder is useless if it’s not accurate. By and large, the rangefinders we tested read within 5-yards of each other. Lasers that consistently read the same number every time give golfers confidence in knowing the number they see can be trusted. We test each laser vigorously to verify that the numbers provided are both accurate and consistent.

There is no more consistently accurate laser rangefinder than one made by Bushnell. In 2020, The Pro XE, Tour V5 Shift and the Tour V5 were decisively at the top of the accuracy list.

Optics and Display

When we talk about the optics of a rangefinder, we’re focused on the clarity of the viewfinder and the digital display. The simpler the display, the easier it is to understand. Ideally, you want to look for a display that provides clear and concise information so that you know you’ve got the correct yardage every time. Note that most units include a diopter adjustment to improve focus.

The clearest optics in the 2020 test belong to the Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized. The clarity of the lens allows you to easily lock on to a target and gain accurate yardage.

If you’re the type of golfer that prefers to have the most amount of information available to you on a single display, the Garmin Approach Z82 employs a GPS generated hole layover visual, yardage from front, middle and back, distances to fairway bunkers as well as slope.

Locking indicator

There are a number of different ways a laser rangefinder can use to lock on to a target. Some work better than others. Jolt technology, pulse and visual indicators are all examples of alerts that serve as notification that you’ve found your intended target. It’s personal preference, but in our experience a combination of these alerts, as well as a confident yardage read out tend to be the best.

The Bushnell Pro XE gives you a flashing red visual indicator in addition to a jolt technology alert.

Fastest Rangefinder - Sureshot Pinloc 5000iPS Laser

No time for BS? If not, get the fastest rangefinder on the market. The SureShot Pinloc 5000iPS Laser quickly locks on to your target. The highly ranked accuracy, optics and display features allow you to get a clear picture of what obstacle you need to overcome. This one is worth your consideration.

EXPERT TIP-Slope

If you play on a course with considerable elevation changes, a rangefinder that calculates slope will give you the most accurate yardage readout. It takes the elevation changes into consideration and generates both the actual yardage as well as adjusted yardage.

The Best Rangefinder 2020 - Features

 ProductMagnificationReticle ColorRangeLock IndicatorSlopeWarranty
Blue Tees Golf S2 Pro Slope

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6XBlack5-800PulseY2 Year
Blue Tees Golf Series 2 Tour

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6XBlack5-800PulseN2 Year
Bushnell Pro XE

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7XRed5-1300JoltY2 Year
Bushnell Tour V5

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6XBlack5-1300JoltN2 Year
Bushnell Tour V5 Shift

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6XBlack5-1300JoltY2 Year
Garmin Approach Z82

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6XRed5-450Laser Range ArcY1 Year
Golf Buddy Aim L10

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6XRed5-880Black SquareY1 Year
Inesis 900

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6XBlack5-1300Black CircleY2 Year
Leupold GX-5i

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6XRed5-450Red TriangleYLifetime
Nikon CoolShot 20 GII

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6XBlack6-800Black CrosshairsN5 Year
Nikon Coolshot 20i GII

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6XBlack6-800Black CrosshairsY5 Year
Nikon CoolShot Pro Stabilized

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6XRed8-1200Green CircleY5 Year
Precision NX7 Pro Slope

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6XBlack5-400PulseY2 Year
Presicion Pro NX2

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6XBlack4-400Black CrosshairsN2 Year
Precision Pro NX7

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6XBlack5-400PulseN2 Year
Sureshot Pinloc 5000iP Laser

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6XBlack5-1000PulseN1 Year
Sureshot Pinloc 5000iPS Laser

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6XBlack5-1000PulseY1 Year
Voice Caddie SL1

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6XBlack5-1000PulseY1 Year

BEST TECH - Garmin Approach Z82

The Garmin Approach Z82 is a step up from the Z80. The combo rangefinder/GPS device now includes additional features. The Approach Z82 gives you the wind direction, has improved laser range (now 450 yards instead of 350), it indicates you've locked onto your target with both a visual and vibration notification, and it calculates slope. You can also see a GPS generated visual hole layover for the best view of every hole. In addition, it alerts you to the location of bunkers and water hazards. Because it has both GPS and rangefinder technology, it comes at a price. $599.99 to be precise.

More Tips

  • You don’t need both a GPS and a laser rangefinder, the Garmin Approach Z82 combines both technologies into one device.
  • We’ve found that ease of use in laser rangefinders has to do with the individual golfer, or user error. For example, it’s easier to stabilize a larger device than a smaller one if you have large hands. We’re advocates of trying before buying to see what fits you.
  • Many rangefinders have additional features that make life easier. Magnetic mounts, sensors that integrate weather conditions into yardage numbers, vibration reduction, integrated GPS functionality…it’s a long list. Before buying, it’s essential that you decide what features you have to have and which you can do without.
  • Golfers with shaky hands will benefit from the Nikon CoolShot Pro Stabilized. Integrated Vibration Reduction technology helps you lock onto targets quickly and efficiently. Many golfers will find it’s the one feature they absolutely can’t do without.
  • Some laser rangefinders use standard disposable batteries, while others use charging ports and store power, much like a cell phone. Again, it’s personal preference. The battery life varies widely between each model. If you prefer models that uses disposable batteries, Precision Pro will provide you with an unlimited supply of free replacement batteries for life.

Most Accurate Rangefinder - Bushnell Pro XE

One of the primary reasons the Bushnell Pro XE is the Best Rangefinder of 2020 is it's ability to generate a consistent yardage readout. We put the Pro XE to the test and each time we attempted to lock in on a target, this rangefinder produced the same number. The Pro XE also takes altitude and temperature into consideration when providing a yardage number. Not only is the Pro XE the most accurate of the test, but the V5 Tour Shift and the Tour V5 (the second and third-tier Bushnell models) use the same technology and are equally as accurate. As you move down in tiers and price range, you sacrifice features but not accuracy.

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SEE MY RESULTS

The Best Rangefinder 2020 - Results

 ProductAccuracySpeedOpticsDisplayFeaturesTotal
Bushnell Pro XE

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1st3rd1st3rd2nd95.5
Nikon CoolShot Pro Stabilized

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6th7th1st2nd3rd94
Bushnell Tour V5 Shift

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1st3rd1st9th4th93
Bushnell Tour V5

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1st3rd1st17th10th91
Garmin Approach Z82

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4th16th18th1st1st91
Sureshot Pinloc 5000iPS Laser

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6th1st7th4th13th90.5
Voice Caddie SL1

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4th7th5th12th7th90
Precision NX7 Pro Slope

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14th7th9th4th4th88.5
Sureshot Pinloc 5000iP Laser

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6th1st7th17th14th88
Precision Pro NX2

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14th7th9th4th14th87
Golf Buddy Aim L10

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12th7th13th9th7th87
Inesis 900

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12th7th14th4th7th87
Nikon Coolshot 20i GII

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6th14th11th12th10th87
Precision Pro NX7

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14th7th9th4th13th87
Leupold GX-5i

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11th6th14th9th14th85.5
Nikon CoolShot 20 GII

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6th14th11th18th14th84.5
Blue Tees Golf Series 2 pro slope

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17th17th14th12th10th81.5
Blue Tees Golf Series 2 Tour

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17th17th14th12th14th80

The Best Rangefinders of 2020 – FAQ

Q: Are more expensive rangefinders better?

A: Not for everyone. Keep in mind that a good bit of the cost associated with the most premium units is a result of features that not every golfer needs or even wants. If you’re looking for every bell and whistle the market has to offer, expect to pay more. That being said, there are several lower-cost units that, while not feature-rich, cover the basics every bit as well as the more expensive units. Brands like Inesis and Precision Pro offer excellent products that won’t break the bank.

Q: Do I need a laser with slope functionality?

A: It really comes down to use. For serious golfers, Slope technology can help you make smarter decisions on the course. It can be an invaluable tool for tournament golfers looking to learn the nuances of a new course during practice rounds. Golfers who just want to know the yardage to the target and are happy to figure the rest out on their own should consider skipping the Slope feature and saving some money.

Q: What’s the best rangefinder for a shaky hand?

A: If you struggle to hold a rangefinder steady, there’s really only one model to consider. The Nikon CoolShot Pro Stabilized “freezes” the lens and allows you to lock on to the target. While the Nikon is on the upper end of the price range, it is well worth the money if you have shaky hands.