Best Hunting Rangefinders

Use these insightful and useful tips to choose the best hunting rangefinders and learn more about the 7 most recommended options in a range finder here.

The 7 Best Hunting Rangefinders and How to Choose What You Need Most

Hunters may be doing something basic and essential – finding and taking prey to eat – but they require a lot of equipment to do so successfully. The best hunting rangefinders easily rank at the top of the list of must have items. Oddly enough, a lot of hunters don’t realize this, and struggle to bag the game they pursue. In this article, we are going to look at 7 of the best rangefinders for hunting, and answer some of the most common questions about them. We are going to first learn what they are, how to compare them, and how to find hunting rangefinders that work the best for your needs.

A Hunting Rangefinder – An Easy to Use tool for Optimal Results

Hunting and fishing expert Don Sangster summarized a lot of what we’ll discuss here with this paragraph about a hunting rangefinder: “Today’s laser rangefinders are so accurate, compact and affordable that no hunter — whether with rifle or bow — should ever be without one.”

As you might have noted, he said laser rangefinder. There are a lot of different technologies in a hunting rangefinder, but laser rangefinders dominate the market. This is because they are easy to use, and have a level of accuracy that (when paired with all of their other features) become an essential tool in the hunter’s arsenal.

How do they help? Essentially, a laser rangefinder will use a laser that is “bounced” off the target at which it is aimed. It doesn’t actually measure the distance, but instead will feature an internal clock that gauges how much time it takes for the laser to leave the range finder and return. This measurement actually helps to calculate the distance to within a yard or less.

A hunting rangefinder will then use its LCD display to reveal the number of yards (and in some instances, meters) away the object is from the starting point.

What Is the Best Rangefinder for Long Range Hunting?

How far can laser rangefinders or hunting rangefinders measure? That varies and some may be around 600 yards, but some can measure 1000 yards or more. There are also some that measure horizontal distance in a way not designed for rifle hunting but, instead, more for bow hunting. This type of rangefinder will often be capped at 800 yards. When someone uses their rangefinder for bow hunting or archery, there may be models that offer precise measurements as much as 100 yards to 150 yards and in a figure that is a fraction of a yard.

Of course, the best hunting rangefinders are often able to gauge the distance farther on harder or more reflective objects. As an example, a hunting rangefinder might give you a much more accurate measure on a cluster of boulders as opposed to a lone deer standing in a field.

How do you know the distance a range finder will be able to accurately measure? The manufacturers always supply accurate specifications. What can get confusing is that they use their own terminology for this data. Fortunately, most will also describe the distance as true horizontal distance or simply horizontal distance. The maker will usually explain if there is compensation for any changes in the angle or terrain.

For example, if the shot is at a long uphill or downhill angle, laser rangefinder makers will know that there will be an effect on accuracy of an arrow or a bullet. Arrows, specifically, are affected by even slight degree of decline or incline because the target (measured through a range finder) is not on level ground. The impact of the arrow will be lessened. The same goes for rifle hunting, and some of the top rangefinders will provide ballistics compensation details in the LCD display.

As Sangster also explained, this type of accurate ranging “is critical for bowhunters, and extreme degrees of incline/decline, such as when shooting from a tree stand, can have a significant impact because the distance to your target is actually less than on level ground, lessening gravity’s impact on your arrow.”

Does this mean that the right rangefinders for bow hunting are not the best hunting laser rangefinder for rifle hunting? To be fair, as another expert noted, “Bow hunters need accurate estimates for all distances over 20 yards and up to about 70 – 100 yards.” At distances any farther than 100 yards, a rifle is the right weapon for hunting. Though some of the more affordable rangefinders may work for bow hunting, they don’t often hit marks at more than 200 yards, making them unsuited to rifle hunting.

Factors to Use When Choosing the Best Hunting Rangefinders

With those basic details in mind, it is not yet clear just how to go about finding the best rangefinder for long range hunting, the ideal range finder for bow hunting. Essentially, it boils down to several factors:

Magnification

Essential in helping you to better determine the range to target, the most common measure is 6x magnification, but many laser rangefinders have 4x magnification, 8x magnification and even 10x magnification. The higher the number the better the look, but the smaller the field of view. This can make it challenging to find the target in the view.

Objective Lens and Optics

The lenses in any laser rangefinder are crucial and should offer features like glare reduction, optimal light transmission, and chemical coatings that further control the light. Unfortunately, those coatings mean a higher price, but the exchange is good. With greater brightness comes improved clarity and sharpness. You might be able to find a good laser rangefinder with a larger exit pupil that also increases brightness.

Laser rangefinders are not often described by the size of the exit pupil diameter, and are instead described by the objective lens diameter, but you can calculate it using the objective lens size divided by the magnification.

In other words: Magnification is 4x and objective lens is 200mm = Exit pupil diameter is 5mm.

Typically, the larger this pupil the more light, but also the heavier the rangefinder. If bow hunting, this can add up to a pack that is heavier than desired.

Beam divergence

You will see this described as beam divergence as well as beam dispersion, but what it means is simple – it is an angular measurement that reveals the level of focus the laser rangefinder offers. The smaller the beam divergence, the greater precision and greater the distance. If you find two rangefinders of similar quality, it is often beam divergence that becomes one of the key deciding factors, but not the only deciding factor.

What figures do you need to see when looking at beam divergence? The problem is that very few of even the best rangefinders specifically discuss divergence in their product descriptions. Instead, they use terms like target priority, line of sight, and multiple object measurements (sometimes described as modes or other readings).

These matter because they allow the user to get a series of readings that ensure they are hitting the mark. As an example, you might target on an object with both a near and far hill in the field of view. A better rangefinder will give multiple object measurements in the LCD display to offer you a better chance at hitting the intended mark.

Technology

It is important to understand divergence because many of the top rangefinders have different kinds of technology built into their design to overcome any issues caused by everything from incline or decline and lens divergence. Some will call these solutions by names like tilt intelligence, angle compensation, fog compensation, and more.

As you begin to look for the best hunting rangefinders for your needs, pay attention to the information relating to magnification and object, weight, range, and the size of the FOV or field of view at 1000 yards. You’ll also want to know what types of batteries are used and what level of eye relief is built into the design.

Are Rangefinders Worth It for Hunting?

As our first expert said plainly – the modern laser rangefinders make your ability to target accurately so much better that you shouldn’t hunt without them. They are meant to improve your chances at a single kill shot (which is more humane and a much easier way to hunt), and they are considered among the most important items in a hunter’s toolkit.

The 7 Best Hunting Rangefinders Available

Below are the best options in terms of design, capabilities, and technology. What is the best cheap rangefinder in the mix? That is impossible to answer because cheap to you is different from cheap to someone else. Plainly speaking, most of the laser rangefinders are within an affordable price range and will give you the help you need to enjoy optimal hunting. Just be aware of your intended use – bow hunting or rifle hunting – and choose distances accordingly.

Anyork Hunting Range Finder 1000 Yards,Rechageable Wild Coma Rangefinder for Shooting with Angle and Stright-Line Distance, 6X Magnification Laser Rangefinder with Scan, Gift Package

Anyork Hunting Range Finder 1000 Yards,Rechageable Wild Coma Rangefinder for Shooting with Angle and Stright-Line Distance, 6X Magnification Laser Rangefinder with Scan, Gift Package

Designed for all hunters, they have a scan mode as well as other modes, use yards and meter measurements indicated in the LCD displays. The lightweight and portable rangefinder uses an optics ranger or objective lens that incorporates straight line and angled distances.

PROS:
  • Laser rangefinder
  • 6x magnification
  • Line of sight good up to 1000 yards away
  • Optics ranger supplies correction for slope at 500 yards and up
  • Ideal for rifle hunting
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Camouflage for concealment
  • Rechargeable
  • Display indicates slope in degrees
CONS:
  • No lens coating data available
  • No angle compensation recommendations, only angle data provided by the optics ranger

AOFAR HX-700N Hunting Range Finder 700 Yards Waterproof Archery Rangefinder for Bow Hunting with Range Scan Fog and Speed Mode, Free Battery, Carrying Case

AOFAR HX-700N Hunting Range Finder 700 Yards Waterproof Archery Rangefinder for Bow Hunting with Range Scan Fog and Speed Mode, Free Battery, Carrying Case

Described as having pinsensor technology, these are highly accurate laser rangefinders with capabilities of up to 700 yards. With a fog mode, it provides an accurate scan mode display on even questionable hunting days. In fact, it has scan mode as well as range, fog and speed modes making even longer distance shots possible.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Waterproof and dust resistant
  • Automatic power down saves battery CR2 battery life
  • Well suited to bow hunting and archery
  • Accurate to almost 800 yards away
CONS:
  • Not suited to rifle hunting
  • Distance limited to less than 800 yards away
  • A bit bulky for some

Halo Laser Range Finder With 6X Magnification, Features Angle Intelligence for Bow Hunting

Halo Laser Range Finder With 6X Magnification, Features Angle Intelligence for Bow Hunting

Described as an ideal bow hunting laser rangefinder, it features angle compensation and is accurate to 200 yards away. It uses a CR2 battery and has a line of sight up to 500 yards.

PROS:
  • Accurate at 500 yards
  • 6x magnification
  • Long lasting CR2 battery powered
  • Angle compensation means it is a useful optics ranger for bow hunting as well as golfing
CONS:
  • Not among the best rifle hunting rangefinders
  • Will not offer support over 600 yards
  • No line of sight or objective lens data from manufacturer

AOFAR H2 Range Finder for Hunting Archery, 600 Yards with Angle and Horizontal Distance, Shooting Wild Waterproof Coma Rangefinder, 6X 25mm, Range and Bow Mode, Free Battery Gift Package

AOFAR H2 Range Finder for Hunting Archery, 600 Yards with Angle and Horizontal Distance, Shooting Wild Waterproof Coma Rangefinder, 6X 25mm, Range and Bow Mode, Free Battery Gift Package

As its name implies, this is a laser rangefinder designed as a hunting rangefinder, but best suited to bow hunting and archery. With several modes, including fog mode, it is lightweight and waterproof. Offering target priority technology, it can be accurate at 300 yards, but can transition to greater distances thanks to the 6x magnification suitable up to 600 yards away.

PROS:
  • Portable and lightweight
  • 6x magnification
  • Bow and hunting laser modes
  • Accurate at 300 yards
  • Angle compensation
  • Horizontal distance technology
  • Can offer support up to 600 yards
  • Optimal rangefinder for bow hunting
  • Automatic shut off
  • Objective lens design allows eye comfort
CONS:
  • Not a long-distance rangefinder
  • Limited to a range much less than 1000 feet
  • Carrying strap is weak with some complaining of easy loss in the field

Bushnell Laser Rangefinder Bone Collector Cam_202208

Bushnell Laser Rangefinder Bone Collector Cam_202208

High quality optics in this ranger with accuracy from five yards to more than 600 yards. Premium optics provide HD clarity. Single button operation and an easy-to-use LCD display indicates targets accurately. Vertical design with 4x magnification and additional aiming reticle ensures success.

PROS:
  • Incredible accuracy from 5 yards to 600 yards away
  • In-view LCD display
  • Battery life indicator
  • Displays range in yards or meters
  • Weatherproof
  • 21mm objective lens for optimal brightness and eye relief
  • Laser rangefinder suited to both bow hunting and rifle hunting
CONS:
  • Quite heavy at 7 ounces
  • No scan mode

Vortex Optics Impact Laser Rangefinders

Vortex Optics Impact Laser Rangefinders

The Vortex Optics Ranger is a laser rangefinder often described as the very best laser rangefinder. Chosen for rifle hunting as well as bow hunting, the Vortex Optics Ranger is a premium choice. One of the best in terms of design, it can be found in models with accuracy up to 850 yards as well as up to a range of 1000 yards. It is fair to say that any rangefinder by Vortex is one of the best, but for those with a limited budget, this one is likely to be a good solution.

The Vortex Optics Ranger uses an HCD display which depicts angle compensation and offers an advanced LOS mode for gauging long distance or high angles. It offers a scan function for movement, long battery life (with indicator) and premium Vortex optics.

PROS:
  • 6x magnification
  • HDC Mode makes rifle hunting and bow hunting easy by displaying 500-yard LOS
  • Accurate up to 800 yards with rifle and up to 400 yards with slope
  • Display provides angle compensation data
  • LOS mode accurate at 500 yards
  • Premium coated lenses typical of all Vortex optics
  • Scan features
  • Lightweight
CONS:
  • Pricier than some models
  • Limited function at 5 yards
  • May struggle to range out when compared to other, premium models

Nikon Monarch 7I Vr Laser Rangefinder

Nikon Monarch 7I Vr Laser Rangefinder

One of the best laser rangefinders because it is made by the optics giant known as Nikon, this is a hunting rangefinder with a lot of technology. Uses the brand’s VR system that eliminates vibration. It provides amazing readings from 8 to 1000 yards in .1 yard increments. It has hyper read tech that offers accuracy up to 700 yards at a click. Two ranging modes ensure it stands apart from other hunting rangefinders and is among the best rangefinders for all purposes – even golf.

Dual targeting modes and a 21mm objective lens (3.5mm exit pupil) help to support angle compensation and accuracy. Similar to some Sig Sauer rangefinders for its capabilities, it is comparable to the very best hunting rangefinders on the market.

What Is the Best Cheap Rangefinder?

You are now a relative expert in the laser rangefinder and may be able to choose your own, as well as help others, select the ideal hunting rangefinders for their needs. What is the best? We can say that this collection of laser rangefinders (most available at Amazon.com), are going to each rank as the best for every hunter or bow hunter and archer.

The rangefinder by Vortex is comparable to premium Sig Sauer rangefinders, as is the Nikon option. However, you may find that the Vortex Optics Ranger is too advanced, and that something more comparable to the Simmons Volt 600 hunting rangefinder is for you.

Take the time to figure out if the many advances in the rangefinder by Vortex are what you need, or if the more fundamental hunting rangefinder, such as those similar to the Sig Sauer rangefinders and Simmons Volt 600 at Amazon.com, are more of a fit.

Though we did not review the Sig Sauer rangefinders or the Simmons Volt 600 (because they can be costlier than the average hunting rangefinders), we would recommend you explore them as options, too. You can look at the Sig Sauer rangefinders through the manufacturer or Amazon and see how they line up with the best rangefinders we have explored here.

Whether you end up purchasing one of the Sig Sauer rangefinders or the Simmons Volt 600, or you choose one of the very best hunting rangefinders in our list of best rangefinders, we’re sure you’ll be happy with the choice.

Conclusion

You can now say you know how to go about selecting the right rangefinder for your needs. You understand the different factors that go into the selection process, and have seven excellent options, plus recommendations for high end models at hand. Use these details and you’ll easily find the ideal solution.

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