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Best Golf Laser Rangefinders YEAR

Golf Monthly logo Golf Monthly 5/17/2022 Joel Tadman
inesis-golf-900-laser-rangefinder © Provided by Golf Monthly inesis-golf-900-laser-rangefinder

Technology has become a huge part of golf not just in terms of the new futuristic designs and materials used in golf clubs, but also in terms of shoes, apparel, balls and of course GPS.

Laser rangefinders have massively grown in popularity over the last few years primarily because they give golfers pinpoint flag accuracy. No longer do players have to find sprinkler heads, go to the course guide, or ask a playing partner for a yardage because with the best golf laser rangefinders it takes seconds to zap the flag or hazard to give you clear and concise numbers. As such this informs club choice and strategy which could help you avoid mistakes and bigger scores as a result. Indeed not only do the best models have accuracy at the core of the design, but other factors like ease of use, waterproof protection, longevity, durability and some degree of value are vital as well.

Ultimately convenience and speed are two reasons many golfers favor lasers over the best golf GPS watches and other devices. They also usually run on batteries and so can be left in your bag between games for a much more hassle-free user experience than GPS units, which need regular charging.

We’ve recently tested the best golf laser rangefinders currently available, and these are our picks of the best. All the rangefinders here have been reviewed by our team, which means testing over multiple rounds out on the course, and this guide is updated on a regular basis to make sure it includes the latest releases.

We test out the leading laser rangefinders on the golf course

We also recommend checking out our guides on the best golf GPS devices, best golf launch monitors and the best golf grips should you be looking to upgrade other areas of your bag. 

Best Cheap Laser Rangefinders

As our other equipment guides have proven, we have become fans of Inesis gear of late and the same can be said of this rangefinder.

Competitively priced, this unit boasts a Slope Compensation switch so you can toggle  on and off slop-adjusted distances. We put this laser up against a more expensive model and we found it more than kept up with accuracy and ease of use. A First target priority function isolates the flag while measurements are confirmed by vibration. It is accurate to +/- 1 yard and can measure in yards or metres.

You also get 6x magnification so you get a clear view when looking through the viewfinder, and we liked the weight, durability and it sits well in the hand. Additionally you also get a very sturdy case which is really nicely made, along with some instructions, a cloth for cleaning the lens of the rangefinder, a CR2 battery and a clip that allows you to attach the laser to your bag

ZOOM is a brand that has made big strides in the laser rangefinder category over the last few years. First came the Focus X, then the much-improved Focus Tour – and now we have the new Focus S, which combines the best of the two previous models.

The S tested well for us thanks to excellent vision, fast target acquisition, impressive accuracy, x6 magnification, vibration feedback and slope mode. It comes in a sturdy case and the overall look of the laser we liked as well - both the black and black/silver options look stylish, whilst its ergonomic design allows the device to sit perfectly in the hand.

Offering fast measurement of 0.5 seconds, this entry-level Laser Lit from GolfBuddy vibrates when the target is locked, provides slope adjusted distances and boasts three modes (Normal, Scan, Pin) for different situations.

Normal mode enables you to get a distance for anything you aim at and confirms it with a vibration when you’re locked onto something. Scan mode allows you to move between different targets with their distances each displaying, up to a total of 10 seconds. Pin mode helps you identify the flag when there are obstacles behind it by starting off it and then moving onto the pin, with a vibration when it locks on.

In our testing we found Normal mode to be effective and Pin mode is excellent. However Scan mode seems a bit redundant given the quality and ease of use of the other two modes. Finally, it weighs just 143 grams and also offers IPX4 Level water resistance, making it one of the best laser rangefinders on the market given the modest price tag.

Blue Tees Golf is a relatively new name in the industry and it has a simple strategy: to create premium performance products at an affordable price. On the whole we think the Series 3 Max stuck to that ethos. One of its best features is the crystal clear display – it’s beautifully clear,  meanwhile, the lock and vibration features assures the user that they have the correct target, which means less guesswork and time spent on reshooting for distances.

Another feature that really stood out to us in testing was the speed at which the distance was displayed - there really is no delay in getting the number you need. All in all, and aside from the magnetic strap which could be improved, this is an eye-catching device, especially given it is available in three colors: navy, black and pink.

Compact and weighing just 130g, the Nikon Coolshot 20 GII features a First Target Priority algorithm that measures the distance to the closest of overlapping subjects to pick out the flag and other hazards more easily. It can also measure continuously for up to eight seconds when scanning the terrain.

This is an excellent feature to make sure you get the yardage to the flag if your hands can be a bit shaky or give yourself as much information as possible about where hazards, trees and mounds are positioned around the flag. From an aesthetic point of view this Nikon really looks good with the white and black contrast. it also offers good value given the modest price tag. 

The TecTecTec KLYR laser rangefinder is a standout at its price point. It's compact and easy to handle, and it weighs less than a 1 1/4 pounds. The KLYR offers clean, vibrant display optics and retrieves yardages quickly. It also proved to be extremely accurate in our testing and it has many of the features that golfers look for in a rangefinder, including slope functionality, which can be disabled during tournament play, and target lock vibration.

The KLYR has a range of up to 800 yards and fares well when shooting from longer distances. It also has a magnet on its exterior that allows the device to be secured to a riding cart during play, and it comes with a magnetic belt clip that allows golfers to essentially wear the device when they're not using it during round. The KLYR also is available in three stylish colors: yellow, black, and white.

Best Feature-packed Laser Rangefinders

The Shot Scope Pro LX+ is the first of its kind, offering three-in-one functionality that combines the pinpoint accuracy of a laser rangefinder, the convenience of a handheld golf GPS device and shot tracking performance analysis. The GPS and shot tracking functionality goes through the H4 GPS which is a very compact device that magnetically attaches to the front of the Pro LX laser rangefinder. To learn more about this technology and how it performed in testing be sure to have a read of our in-depth review. 

In terms of the laser itself, we liked its ergonomic shape, Slope mode and the option of a red or black display depending on the light conditions. The speed at which the distance is displayed is much faster than on the Pro L1 rangefinder, but it struggled at times when the flag was set against a busy background.

The cutting edge SL2 Active GPS Hybrid from Voice Caddie is sure to be popular amongst Tour players and club golfers who are keen to shoot lower scores. 

There are numerous features to get to grips with in what is a state-of-the-art device, none more impressive than the hole layouts and green yardages. Getting a bird’s eye view of the hole help you to identify danger, and gives you a green light of when to attack. However, what really sets this laser apart is the undulation data that it provides. Each green looks like a heat map, with different colours highlighting the severity of the slopes up ahead on the putting surface.

Finally the design team at Voice Caddie took their inspiration from luxury yachts, and and as such it has white leather and aluminium exterior which really is premium. The case adds to that allure as well.

The Approach Z82 provides 2-D overlays for both full-colour Course View and Green View detail through the lens. When looking through the viewfinder, a full-colour 2-D Course View mapping is displayed on the left-hand side of the lens view, showing distances to hazards and the green. The flag finder feature will lock on the flag and give precise distances to the pin.

The Laser Range Arc will be drawn on the green at the distance ranged to the flag, so the golfer can see if the pin is in the front, middle, or back of the green. The arc can also be used to see what else is in play when ranging other targets on the course.

There's also a PlaysLike Distance feature that accounts for slopes and Pin Pointer feature, which points to the middle of the green on blind shots. If you like Garmin products, make sure you check out our guide on the best Garmin golf watches too.

This is undoubtedly one of the very best golf laser rangefinders you can buy. While it's premium priced, the user experience is second to none and the way GPS technology and hole maps have been incorporated into a rangefinder is extremely impressive.

Bushnell are a brand synonymous with high-quality GPS equipment and the Tour V5 and V5 Shift continue that trend. Both come packed full of technology such as Bite, which is a magnetic mount and Pinseeker with visual JOLT technology which is a red ring that flashes as JOLT vibrates to give the golfer even greater feedback and confidence to know they have locked onto the flag.

In terms of ease of use, it couldn’t be simpler. Just point, shoot, and the flag is picked out quickly thanks to the crystal clear display and adjustable Fast Focus System toggle. You can also change from metres to yards in a flash with the button on the side too.

The difference between the Tour V5 and the Shift is that the Shift comes with a new and improved slope algorithm and Slope-Switch technology which allows the user to turn the slope function on or off. Both are waterproof which is an excellent feature and they also come with a sturdy carry case as well, making it one of the best golf laser rangefinders on the market right now.

For golfers that love their gadgets, the R1 Smart will be right up their street as it is so much more than just a laser rangefinder. It is this, of course, but it also partners with a free app to provide unique, personalised distances by taking into account your launch monitor data as well as altitude, wind, temperature and humidity in real time for unprecedented accuracy.

It sound complicated, and you do need to invest some time in getting launch monitor data with all your clubs for the MySlope information to be fully functional. But the benefits are an app/laser combo that will suggest what club to hit taking everything into account - you can no longer pull the wrong club by mistake.

The laser rangefinder on its own is fine - it’s bulky but vibrates when the flag is found and the display is bright and clear. To get the most out of it will take time, but many will enjoy the return on investment.

Nikon’s all singing and dancing Coolshot Pro II Stabilized laser is packed full of assistance to get you quick and accurate distances to the points you want.

The stabilisation feature is said to reduce hand shake by approx. 80 per cent and while it takes some getting used to, with practice it certainly seemed to help us lock on to a flag more easily. There’s nothing more frustrating that not being able to get the correct distance and this rangefinder should help. This laser can provide an audible and visual flagstick confirmation for extra reassurance and there are four different measurement modes for golfers that play lots of hilly courses.

It’s a lot of money, but the waterproof protection and automatic brightness adjustment level goes a long way to justifying it, helped by the unique stabilisation feature. If your hands are unsteady, you play a lot of different courses and money is no object, it’s probably your perfect match.

One of the best Bushnell golf rangefinders you should consider is the Pro XE. There are many factors that influence the distance the ball will travel and how far the pin is away from you. The Pro XE takes even more of these into account, including temperature and altitude as well as Slope, to give you an unprecedented level of accuracy on compensated yardages. Admittedly these features aren’t legal for competition use, but a button on the side quickly and easily disables them for your monthly medal.

In tournament play, you can benefit from the improved PinSeeker with Visual Jolt feature, on which a red ring now appears through the viewfinder along with a vibrating burst when the flag has been detected from the background. This extra reassurance should boost your confidence as to the club required for the upcoming shot. Another unique feature of the Pro XE is the Bite magnetic mount. This allows it to be stuck to almost anything metallic, the most convenient of which being the frame of a buggy.

Best Laser Rangefinders For Simplicity

On the Tour V5 Shift Slim Edition laser, the battery housing has moved to the back of the unit and the outer casing has been slimmed down so it fits more snugly into the palm of the hand. This creates minimum interference when acquiring a target on the golf course and means these lasers can be held steady by all users in all conditions, creating greater confidence in distances when out on the course.

It still features the magnetic Bite feature and vibrating Jolt when the flag has been detected, while the Tour V5 Shift Slim Edition has the improved slope algorithm technology ideal for hilly courses.

The Coolshot 50i strikes a nice balance between being reasonably priced while offering a competitive level of features. In your hand, the tacky textured sections on the top and bottom mean you’re unlikely to drop it but coming in well under 200 grams means it’s a little shaky in the wind and it doesn’t have the stabilisation feature of the Coolshot Pro II Stablised model to negate this.

The red graphics in the display are bright - helpful in overcast conditions - and the optics generally were very impressive. We were able to gun everything we wanted to, with the distances flashing up quickly. This laser is for the golfer with a steady hand who plays a lot in a buggy and wants the option of slope-adjusted distances available.

While the gold trim provides an element of tackiness, we can’t fault the user experience this rangefinder provides. We liked how in flag mode, the distance locked will stay in the display for 15 seconds so if you do go to get a club, get distracted and then forget the distance, you haven’t got to zap the pin all over again. Although the process is made easier by the Priority loc feature, which ignores background images and prioritises focal points.

It’s got a scan mode and slope that can be toggled on and off with a button underneath the eyepiece. The distances we clocked stacked up well against other lasers with more premium prices. The carry case is budget and basic but for golfers looking for performance on a budget, it’s a strong contender for a place on your bag.

One of the lightest laser rangefinders you’ll find and also one of the smallest. Despite this, it still seems to fit well but keeping it steady is a little more tricky. The display is surprisingly wide and bright, especially in dim conditions, and you can change the opacity of the graphics if you feel the urge.

You can a decent level of features here and on the whole, it seems intuitive to navigate through them and get the distances you want. It perhaps lacks the wow factor but for the price, there is competitive value for money for golfers seeking a faff-free user experience as well as the option of slope-adjusted yardages.

The Aim L10V is the brand’s most advanced laser rangefinder to date but it also incorporates simplicity of use. The unique audio option in the L10V gives spoken confirmation of distances, providing extra confidence and ease of use to the golfer. This combines with three targeting modes – standard, scan and pin – and 6 x magnification to ensure precision and clarity of results through the wider LCD screen. Additionally it comes with a slope on/off option to provide increased accuracy for various elevations.

How we test for the best golf laser rangefinders

At Golf Monthly we have a comprehensive testing procedure around laser rangefinders. As you would expect, this involves using different models out on the course, over a number of rounds and importantly in different conditions too because this gives us an idea on how particular models deal with sunlight, rain and wind. 

As the entire team are regular golfers, rangefinders usually get a thorough testing and often get compared to one another side by side to test for things like accuracy, waterproofing, durability and other features. That way we can give honest and insightful feedback to you, the reader. The final thing we wanted to mention in this section is no manufacturer can buy a good review. Our testing team reviews golf equipment and makes its own opinion on how good or bad the product is. 

How to choose the best golf laser rangefinder

So you have decided you want a laser rangefinder, but what are some of the things you should be aware of before buying? Let's take a look.

Accuracy - This is the most important factor when buying a laser. If it isn't accurate, it is pointless because it will provide misinformation which could lead to you playing the wrong club and a bogey or two may ensue. Accuracy is what usually separates the models we have selected above, and the ones you can find on Amazon, so be wary of how inconsistent and unreliable some very cheap models can be.

Slope - Do you want your model to offer slope measurements too? If so check out the technical specifications of certain models. Always be careful here though, because if a model is not clear on whether it is in slope mode or not, if you use it in competition you could be in trouble. 

Waterproofing - A good laser will work just as well in the rain as it will in the sun, which makes waterproofing important. Here we would recommend doing research on which models offer full waterproof protection, and those that are only water-resistant as that can be a big difference especially if you play a lot of golf in the rain.

Strength - Linking with the above point, good lasers have to be able to sustain a drop or two because we all drop things every now and again. Here, check out which models have some degree of impact resistance, and be sure to check if the laser comes with a case because lots of models come with strong cases that conveniently clip onto your golf bag now.

Convenience - Speaking of convenience, lasers have to be quick and easy to use. Get it out, measure the flag, put it away in its case. If a laser is complicated or takes a while to display a measurement, then it adds time rather than saves it. To work this out, we would often recommend trying out some models in retailers and pro shops.

Budget - Be aware of how much you are willing to spend on a laser because there are good models at every price point these days. For example the Inesis 900 is one of the cheapest on this guide and we thought it offered excellent performance, whereas if you want to spend more and go towards the premium end of the spectrum, you can also do that with models like the Garmin Approach Z82.

FAQ's

How accurate are laser rangefinders?

Accuracy will be dependent on the model as some are better than others but we have found from our testing that most are accurate enough to give you a clearer yardage, which will then inform which club to use. 

Should my device offer slope measurements?

More and more lasers these days offer the ability to measure yardages that take into account slope. It can be very convenient especially when faced with steep downhill or uphill shots and if this is very important to you we would always recommend getting a model that has a slope function, but it can be turned off. This is because you are not allowed to use it in competition.

Should my laser rangefinder be waterproof?

Yes we think a good laser rangefinder should offer some degree of protection from water and rain. This is because golf is an outdoor activity and as such the weather can change dramatically over the four hours we are on the course. We would therefore recommend taking a look at product specifications to see the level of waterproof protection on offer. 

Are golf laser rangefinders worth it?

We think laser rangefinders are definitely worth it. They save a lot of time, last a long time, are convenient and simple to use, offer in-depth detail of the shot you face, and can sit easily on your golf bag. With a laser no longer do you have to find a sprinkler, or guess yardages because you can simply zap the flag or hazards to help you plot your way around the course. 

We hope you found this guide on the best golf laser rangefinders informative, and if you want more tech, check out our best golf simulator piece.

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