Knowing the accurate distance to a target can make or break the perfect shot. Here are the best rangefinders on the market today to help you do so.
A laser rangefinder is handy in all sorts of situations. But for hunters, in particular, it can make the difference between meat in the freezer and a missed opportunity.
And the following rangefinders can do just that. I’ve been careful to include budget-minded options as well as burly long-distance spotting machines. And you’d be surprised just how far some of these contraptions can spot.
Rangefinders are, of course, useful for a variety of folks. Golfers, archers, competitive shooters, long-range shooters, and photographers are among the many looking to delineate distances.
And although many rifle scopes do have rangefinding capabilities, hunting legalities for these scopes do vary across states. In this article, we focus on more hunting- and archery-specific uses for rangefinders and rangefinding binoculars.
Below you’ll find handheld rangefinders and a few rangefinder/binocular combos for use in the hunting field. Happy ranging!
Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:
- Best Overall
- Best Rangefinder/Bino Combo
- Best App-Supported
- Best for Archers
- Amazon’s Bestseller
- Best Lightweight
- Best of the Rest
The Best Rangefinders of 2021
Note: I chose distance to deer rather than simply using nonreflective distance, as many companies use this as a measurement.
Atmospheric conditions, landscape, and more can shorten or lengthen your ranging ability to nonreflective distances, so think of that number as less black-and-white and more variable.
Read our Buyer’s Guide below for more on reflective versus nonreflective distance, magnification, how rangefinders work, and what to expect.
Best Overall Rangefinder: Maven RF.1
I used the Maven RF.1 ($400) for the entirety of my 2020 season, and I found it wildly impressive. From ranging a deer at 887 yards in -8 degree weather to helping me dial in a shot on a pronghorn at 71 yards, this was a must-have on any and all hunting endeavors.
The high magnification combined with a large objective lens also lends itself to regular use as a monocular. Of course, it’s not as powerful as 10×42 binos, but it holds up for most of a hunter’s needs while on the move in the field. Is it a spotting scope? No. But I used it often to identify deer and objects within range of sight.
The only con I found with the RF.1 is its size and weight. At 10 ounces, it is heavy. And it didn’t fit into the zippered pocket in my bino harness where I typically stash a rangefinder. With most of my hunting being on foot and moving, I decided to leave the binos in my truck and pack the RF.1 in the bino pocket of the harness instead.
I didn’t miss my binos, and I often used the RF.1 to help me figure out long distances for hiking from one place to the next in addition to glassing and ranging game. It didn’t fail once. I rarely missed my binos. Impressive.
For the price, this is the most powerful rangefinder in its class. Although deer are easily ranged at over 2,000 yards, larger targets like elk or nonreflective objects could be ranged as much to 1,000 yards farther out. In addition to badass products, Maven also offers a killer lifetime warranty and great customer service. Done deal.
- Distance to Deer: 2,700 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 5,000 yds.
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 7×25 mm
Best Rangefinder/Bino Combo: Vortex Fury HD 5000
The Vortex Fury Rangefinding Binocular series ($1,200-1,500 on Amazon) offers a wealth of information paired with Vortex’s high-quality glass. It ties the RF.1 for the farthest-ranging device on the list. And it beats out Swarovski’s rangefinding binoculars by 3,000 yards while clocking in at half the price. Yowza.
Though it’s heavier than some binos, it cuts down on bringing two options into the field. And reviewers love it; it’s got a solid 4.8 stars across nearly 200 reviews. For an extra $300, the Vortex Fury 5000 Applied Ballistics pairs with the Vortex app to offer similar ballistic and shot information as other apps on the list. This also pairs with Kestrel wind meters and Applied Ballistic Garmin devices.
All high-tech aside, this is a really cool piece of gear on its own. It’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. And it can easily be stacked on a tripod for stable glassing and ranging. Vortex also has what may be the best warranty in the industry. If you buy Vortex and anything goes wrong, have faith in the incredible and generous nature of their customer service. It is the best, bar none.
- Distance to Deer: 5-1,600 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 5,000 yds.
- Weight: 32.2 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 10×42 mm
Best App-Supported Rangefinder: Leica Rangemaster CRF 3500.COM
The Leica Rangemaster CRF 3500.COM is another high-end option at $1,200, and you get what you pay for. With Leica’s hunting app, you can dial in ballistics, atmospheric data, clicks for your rifle scope, and more with each range.
And you can get a ton of distance in between you and your ranged object while maintaining accurate readouts. Leica prefers not to denote the distance to nonreflective objects, as it can vary with atmosphere and landscape. However, it wouldn’t be out of scope to range deer at 1,500 yards and larger objects or critters at 3,000+ within 0.3 seconds. Lightning fast.
Like the RF.1, the high magnification and optical lens bring a high level of visibility via the monocular output. If techy is your thing and you’ve already got decent binos, this is a heck of a piece of equipment.
- Distance to Deer: 1,500 yds. or more depending on conditions
- Reflective Distance: 3,500 yds.
- Weight: 6.7 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 7×24 mm
Best Rangefinder for Archers: Leupold Rx Full Draw 4
Leupold’s latest in the Rx Full Draw series brings some really interesting options to a hunting- and archery-specific rangefinder. The Rx Full Draw 4 ($500) adds the capability to enter “your arrow weight, arrow velocity, and peep height to calculate extremely accurate ballistic solutions out to 175 yards.” This also incorporates angle compensation to get the accurate shot distance no matter the angle.
This isn’t the longest-ranging device on our list, but it is the most archery-oriented. And taking this into consideration, most archers are shooting well within 100 yards when hunting.
Beyond hunting, many folks utilize this particular rangefinder for dialing in their shots at 3D archery competitions like the Total Archery Challenge.
- Distance to Deer: 6-900 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 1,200 yds.
- Weight: 7.5 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 6x
Amazon’s Bestseller: GoGoGo Sport VPro Rangefinder
If you’re in need of a rangefinder and short on cash, Amazon’s best-selling rangefinder clocks in at $120, but it’s often on sale for under $100.
Reading through some of the 2,400 reviews, this unit is mostly used by golfers, but it can certainly serve archers or hunters for a variety of needs. This is especially true of folks who are hunting within shorter distances and are less apt to use their rangefinder for other activities.
The GoGoGo nets a 4.5-star review. Folks seem to like GoGoGo’s products across the board, so if you’re looking for a budget rangefinder, this is the brand to look into. They do offer a camo option as well, and it clocks in at just $70.
- Nonreflective Distance: 6-650 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 5-900 yds.
- Weight: 6.5 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 6×25 mm
Best Lightweight Rangefinder: Sig Sauer KILO2200BDX Rangefinder
If you’re backpack hunting, every ounce matters. And the Sig Sauer KILO2200BDX ($330) shaves a few ounces off the average weight of a rangefinder. At just 4 ounces, it’s featherlight. And Sig packs a heck of a lot of technology into this little pocket-worthy rangefinder.
At $330, I’d mark this as one of the better-value rangefinders on the list. It pairs with Sig’s own app technology to determine ballistics and more. This can also be paired with a riflescope for long-distance shooters, though you should know your legalities if you intend to hunt with said setup.
Its distances hold up with the higher-priced, app-pairing items on this list, though the glass is likely markedly different compared to more expensive Leica and Swarovski options.
- Distance to Deer: 1,000 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 3,400 yds.
- Weight: 4 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 7×25 mm
Best of the Rest
Highly rated and beloved by reviewers, the Bushnell 1700 ($200) deserves a spot as one of the best of 2021. Though it states its reflective distance out to 700, reviewers have ranged animals and objects farther out. And the lasting quality of the rangefinder is touted by many.
Angle Range Compensation, a water-resistant EXO exterior, and a brighter display than previous models offer great value at one of the more budget-conscious prices on the list. The Bushnell 1700 boasts a 4.7-star rating with 200+ reviews, and some folks purport it to be better than higher-priced rangefinders they’ve used.
- Distance to Deer: 700 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 1,760 yds.
- Weight: 5.9 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 6×24 mm
Swarovski’s El Range ($4,032) with Tracking Assistant is wildly techy, perhaps a bit complex, and one of the cooler pieces of gear in the rangefinding genre. In tandem with the Tracking Assistant app, the El Range does a wide variety of calculations far beyond your typical distance-finding tool.
Between the binos and the app, the El Range delineates distance, individual ballistics data, atmospheric data, and more. It will not only adjust your shooting distances based on angles but will also give you the required amount of clicks for your scope.
The distance can be given with either the angle or the adjusted shooting distance due to angle. This is highly complicated stuff the El Range will drill down to with the press of a button.
And the Tracking Assistant does just that. It tracks your shot to target, giving you precise information as to where a dead or wounded animal may be. This all comes as a bonus to Swarovski’s phenomenal glass, which is likely accounting for the vast difference in price between the Swaro and other competitors.
The whole system is indubitably over the top, and for that, it’ll cost you. The El Range with TA starts at $3,600. But if you’ve got the bread, they’ve got the data.
- Distance to Deer: 10-2,000 yds.
- Reflective Distance: N/A
- Weight: 32.6 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 10×42 mm or 8×42 mm
Another affordable and lightweight option, the Nikon ProStaff 1000i ($200) is a solid choice for the weight-conscious and wallet-conscious hunter. Though it’s not the longest-ranging device on the list, it hangs in the needed range for the majority of folks. And it can compensate for angles of ±89 degrees, allowing you to calculate accurate shots with its help.
A 5-year warranty also stacks a sense of safety onto this product. Though if it’s like most Nikon products I’ve owned, it’ll march on and on beyond that.
- Distance to Deer: 600 yds.
- Reflective Distance: 1,000 yds.
- Weight: 4.6 oz.
- Magnification & Objective Lens: 6×20 mm
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Rangefinder
Rangefinders are essentially tiny, nerdy mathematical wizards we can stick in our pockets. Pull it out, press the button, engage laser wizardry, and know more about your surroundings and potential ballistics in a mathematical way.
There are a lot of weird things involved in these tools most of us plebes aren’t caught up on. I break down a few of the more confusing aspects of rangefinders below.
Reflective vs. Nonreflective Distance
A rangefinder uses a laser to figure out a distance via parallax, or triangulation. This can get very boring, but what you need to know is it’s easier for a laser to pick up something that’s reflective (like a mirror) than something that’s nonreflective (like a deer).
So, most rangefinders will have an easier time picking up something reflective at a longer distance. If we could strap mirrors onto elk and deer, we could lengthen that nonreflective distance. But let’s not and say we did.
Additionally, it’s important to think of nonreflective objects as relative to size. The bigger the nonreflective object, the more likely you’ll get a laser readout on it at distance. Therefore, it’s easier to range a moose at 2,000 yards than a deer.
It’s also important to not take the specified ranging distances as gospel. A variety of environmental conditions can alter results — be it weather, humidity, heat, cold, etc. In reading reviews, many reviewers rated much greater (and lesser distances) than stated across the board.
This is as much a result of your ranging conditions as it is the rangefinder itself. If you’re disappointed in one scenario, try it in a few others before making a call on the equipment.
All of the rangefinders on this list offer some sort of angle compensation. Angle compensation technologies essentially take in the slope of the landscape up or down. Then they do a calculation to better account for bullet or arrow drop at distance.
For instance, if a deer is at 500 yards on a 30-degree slope, the angle-compensated distance is 433 yards. This is nearly a 70-yard difference!
This is more important than most hunters pay it credence. Many shots have been missed or poorly estimated due to this concept, resulting in wounded, lost, or missed animals.
Thankfully, rangefinders with this technology can help hunters take the most ethical and effective shot without having to run through the math in the field.
Hunting Distances and a Fair Chase Ethic
With long-distance shooting becoming a more popular recreational endeavor, long-distance hunting has also seen an uptick. And though you might be able to range a deer at 1,000 yards with some of these instruments, it’s wise to consider your own shooting ability in addition to a fair chase ethic in the field.
Defined by the Boone & Crockett Club, fair chase is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal.
A hunter dedicated to fair chase might take their average shooting ability at the range and shorten it in the field to account for nerves, adrenaline, and environment.
If you can shoot your bow comfortably at 60 yards, a 50-yard maximum might be a great fair chase option for your hunting journey. The first few years I shot a rifle, I was only comfortable taking shots under 200 yards in the field. And many rifle hunters I know — no matter how experienced — say 400-500 yards is a maximum ethical shooting distance.
Incorporate a Rangefinder, Take More Accurate Shots
Each rangefinder on this list reaches far beyond many hunters’ appropriate shooting distances. This is helpful for figuring out a wide variety of things beyond shooting distance. And I often use a rangefinder to figure out just how far I have to hoof it to get within my personal shooting parameters.
A good rule of thumb is to underestimate your abilities in the field, work as hard as you can to get within ethical shot distance, and take shots that are only in your personal defined ethical range.
And don’t forget to carry an angle-compensating rangefinder to aid in taking the best shot you possibly can. It’s a worthy companion in the field.