Once you start using rangefinders, you will no longer have to rely on your eyesight alone to make that perfect shot. In other words, this is a device that determines the distance between yourself and your target with a high level of precision.
We’re going to talk a lot about rangefinders in this article and figure out which one(s) will be right for you.
To put things into perspective, imagine your grandfather hunting back in the day. He’s aiming at an unknowing deer and is confident he has a perfect shot; he shoots, realizing he miscalculated.
If you’ve ever gone bowhunting, you’re probably already aware of the difficulties you face once you’re out there. You need a high level of accuracy, and luck, to be able to make that shot; adverse weather conditions make it seem impossible.
Those issues used to be a problem which you could overcome only by sheer skill. Luckily, today, technology is there to give us a helping hand.
For that reason, we are here to give you an overview of the best archery rangefinders we came across. After all, not everyone wants to get brave and go all-natural for the sport; some are there to enjoy and bring home success.
OUR TOP PICK
The ProWild rangefinder can calculate distances of up to 540 yards, and scanning is constant with this device. Alongside the 6X magnification, it promises a precision of +/-1 yard!
There is a slight negative related to this spec. While being top-notch when used for long-distance shooting, it is not as helpful with close-range aspects of shooting.
The lens is multilayered and guarantees a clear image, and the LED display is well-organized for increased effectiveness. However, the screen doesn’t come with illumination settings, making it more challenging to use in low-light conditions.
We loved the waterproof body and its camo-patterned rubber design.
What Makes it Excellent
To take things to the next level, this little gadget comes with a built-in speed meter.
The excellent, all-encompassing measurement combined with continuous scanning gives you a helpful companion for your hunting trip. This device is virtually hassle-free.
Plus, it is incredibly lightweight and comes with a wrist strap. This product is also cost-effective, producing an excellent value-for-worth.
- Speed meter
- Comes with a wrist strap
- LED display hard to read at night
- No angle compensation
- Performance for close-range is not excellent
In 2018, Vortex decided to up their game and create the Vortex Optics 1300 laser range finder. They focused their attention on precision and it is perfect for veteran shooters looking to improve their accuracy.
This rangefinder is capable of processing up to 1300 yards of distance. If you’re shooting for deer, the range is up to 600 yards.
The specifications promise a +/-3 yard accuracy of up to 1000 yards.
The Vortex Optics range finder has a 22mm objective lens as well as 6X magnification to further enhance your chances of a successful kill. You won’t be straining your eyes using this one, either, as the display comes with an eye-relief feature.
The glass of the lens is excellent, and it is multi-coated throughout, for taking in more light. The device angles are adjustable, giving you an increased focus regardless of your position.
When it comes to the body, it’s weatherproof. Rubber covers the entirety of the device, protecting it and reducing chances of it slipping from your hand.
We could only find two real negatives. The first relates to focusing on the target – it’s not a single press process, but requires three steps. Also, this brand is new on the market, so not a lot of consumer input is available online.
What Makes it Excellent
The HCD (horizontal component distance) mode increases the precision even further, as it can calculate the angle of your target before displaying the range. Besides, there’s a straight-distance mode which allows you to make an opportunity shot quickly.
There is also a scan functionality which measures the distance between you, still and moving targets that are in range.
For extra convenience, The Vortex 1300 also includes three illumination settings so you can view the screen in various lighting conditions. There is also a detachable clip allowing you to comfortably carry it.
- Three modes for versatility
- Long-distance range
- Durable, rubber cover
- Enhanced precision
- Complicated activation of modes
- New on the market
Bushnell has created a rangefinder based on precision shot technology and superb image quality. The sophisticated features promise you won’t be wasting shots or your nerves.
Bushnell’s range is from 7 to 850 yards; when bowhunting, it promises precision of up to 200 yards for shooting deer. Trees and reflective surfaces allow for longer distances, of 600 and 850 yards respectively.
Unfortunately, there’s no field scan mode, so you will rely on your eyes to spot your targets in the first place.
The 20mm objective lens comes with ARC (angle range compensation) technology, Further enhancing your hunting abilities. You can magnify whatever you’re observing by four times, too.
The unit is lightweight and comes with a battery saving mode – it shuts down automatically if you don’t use it for 30 seconds. The LCD screen allows you to see your target in low-level light conditions due to the multiple illumination settings.
Covered in rubber, the device is sturdy and weatherproof. Plus, the lasers operate in mist, dust, and fog with reasonable quality.
What Makes it Excellent
Precision shot technology makes this product stand out. The device gives you instant feedback on the clearance of your target and possible obstacles to your shot – the decision is yours afterward, but it allows you to consider all factors.
The usage is straightforward, and every function is just a click of the button.
The nylon pouch with a magnetic opening is convenient. However, if you prefer to stay traditional, you could also use the straps, which also come with the item, and carry it around your neck.
- Precise shot technology
- Easy to use and carry around
- ARC technology
- Battery saving mode
- Lower range and magnification
- No field scanning
This tried, tested, and trusted brand decided to use their expertise to help bowhunters. They created their Arrow ID compact, affordable, and packed with features to satisfy the needs of any hunter.
The ranging capacity is from 6 to 550 yards, and the image quality doesn’t falter throughout the range. For max precision, the image will display in 1-yard increments for nullifying the guesswork altogether.
The 18mm lens is of high quality, as one would expect from such a name in the optic device business. However, there is no magnification, so you might need to take some binoculars with you if you expect to be shooting long-distance.
The unit is extremely light and compact. That, along with the ergonomic design, promises that you won’t even notice the extra weight – and, there is a neck strap, so it will always stay within reach.
However, remember that you must not submerge this one underwater. While a drizzle won’t harm it, In heavy rain, be extra cautious.
What Makes it Excellent
The ID (incline/decline) technology provides a high-quality angle compensation. It is capable of reading vertical distance no matter your angle at the time.
Additionally, the True Target technology will be invaluable in tall-grass areas.
It will delight you to hear that Nikon designed their product with a 20.3mm display to protect your eyes.
- Slope Measurement
- True Target technology
- Eye-relief feature
- Ergonomic and lightweight
- Not water-proof
- No magnification
This two-in-one rangefinder, suitable for bowhunting, packs quite a punch while remaining affordable. It seems that Wosports kept functionality in mind when designing this product, and it shows.
With a range from 5 to 650 yards, it guarantees that your accuracy will be a mere +/-1 yard. However, if you’re shooting from an angle, remember that it lacks angle compensation.
Unfortunately, the astonishing accuracy may suffer if you decide to go up a hill.
The objective lens is a bit larger than with the previous devices we reviewed – at 25mm, it will take in a bit more light than the others. It also comes with a satisfying 6X enlargement feature.
The display is super functional, and comes with a fog mode, making it easy to read even in the most adverse weather conditions. Sadly, though, extreme conditions will affect the laser path, and thus the accuracy, on this one.
As expected, it is light and compact. The partial coverage of the product gives it beautiful aesthetics but might make it dangerous to use in the rain.
To save battery life, Wosports rangefinder will shut off automatically if you don’t operate it for a while.
What Makes it Excellent
The speed measurement and scanning make it a great assistant. It accounts for the walking or running speed of moving targets, and it can continuously scan the movements around you, displaying them on the screen as you move around.
This device will respond to your input in seconds, making it great for tense situations. While the measurement boils down to approximation in non-ideal conditions, it will be great for those wanting a little help while still keeping the rush they get when they make the perfect shot.
Also, it’s incredibly affordable. If you’re starting to use these devices, it is an excellent entry-level choice which allows you to see just what rangefinders can do for you.
- Quick detection of targets
- Speed measurement
- Lightweight and compact
- Great range-to-price quality
- No angle compensation
- Measurement affected by weather conditions
- Not water-resistant
Best Archery Rangefinder Buying Guide
Archery Rangefinders 101
Not everyone is familiar with all equipment available to help archers shoot their best. Before we go on to give you our top recommendations, we’re going to take a look at what these neat gadgets are and how you can use them to your favor.
How do Rangefinders Work
Most used in hunting emit laser beams, but there are optical finders based on mirrors, and ultrasonic functioning with sound waves, as well.
No matter which you choose, it will emit a beam of light (or a sound). The beam reaches your target and bounces back, and the device then calculates the distance between you and the destination.
Operating the device is as straightforward as pressing a button and reading the result. Plus, they are small enough to place around your neck.
This technology is straightforward and doesn’t change much, but it does leave room for some mistakes. Of course, no device is perfect.
What to Look for when Choosing
As with every product, specific features make or break the sale. There aren’t many different kinds of these devices, but these are worth reading up on before you choose to buy:
Luckily, the basic design doesn’t leave a lot of room for extortionate prices. A good rule of thumb is the more you pay the better quality of rangefinder you will get.
While the basic functions of the product will remain the same in most items, your budget will ultimately determine what extra features your rangefinder will have. Our advice is to consider what type of bow you use and how much you’re willing to spend so you could narrow down your search.
If you are ready to relatively splash out, though, go for a fancy, high-quality product with a high number of extra features to boost your performance.
As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of rangefinders according to the kind of light used.
- Laser rangefinders are the most common, and generally, present the best choice for outdoor hunters. They tend to be highly accurate and come in a variety of models.
- Optical rangefinders use mirrors and will require some time and patience if you want to operate them properly. They justify it by their generally lower prices and are an excellent way to test the waters before you go for a full-fledged finder.
- Ultrasonic rangefinders employ sound waves to determine the distance and can be extremely accurate in doing so. However, we wouldn’t recommend it to the usual hunter in the wild, as it’s easy to disturb the wave; they also tend to be on the pricier end of the spectrum.
These are crucial to any high-quality rangefinder, as the product becomes obsolete if it can’t find its way to your target. There are several factors to consider within this category.
- The range you choose depends on your budget as well as your shooting requirements. Also, if possible, go for a bit longer range than you expect to need, as non-ideal weather conditions tend to shorten it.
- Angle compensation maintains the precision of your device when you shoot from land that is not perfectly flat – it turns approximations into correct results.
- Magnification allows you to make a more precise shot from a long distance; with most conventional devices, you can get up to 8 x the magnification.
- All come with optical lenses, but the coating can vary depending on the quality of the device; the more layers of surface, the brighter and more detailed the image. Larger lenses also allow for more light to enter, but tend to cost more because of that.
As a rule, these devices are compact, so the size shouldn’t have a lot of effect on your hunting experience. However, if you go for a larger, higher-quality gadget, beware that it will increase the weight of your baggage and might lower your speed.
However, size comes with advantages, too. Our best advice is to feel it out and consider if it’s big enough to use quickly and in the dark; your conditions won’t always be ideal.
You need to be able to act quickly.
Considerations Before Buying
Again, boiled down to basics, none of these devices differ significantly from others. However, some characteristics make some of them stand out from the crowd.
Buying from tried-and-tested brands will be more likely to lead to a successful purchase. While your local indie shop may have amazing devices to offer, the probability of a branded item lasting you for decades is considerably higher.
Buying branded, besides implying high quality, means getting more support. We’re talking about online info from other people using the same product, but you’ll also have access to more after-purchase customer support.
While archery is quite a popular hobby, the community isn’t enormous. So, is there a better way for a manufacturer to earn the trust of their clients than by proving they are the best in the business?
It’s the age of technological development, making it possible to acquire an item with many functionalities for a reasonable price. Don’t settle for the basics if you can get even more with just a little research.
It is more than possible to pick a lightweight, durable product with many neat features. Go for powerful lenses, reliable sensors, and an excellent magnification.
If possible, also choose speed measurement.
With the development of this field, a more comprehensive array of devices is now available for the prospective buyer. You can now go for a color scheme and design precisely to your liking.
Choose a product which comes in different models and then test them out. Don’t be afraid to nitpick, as the details are what make it a worthwhile purchase.
Advantages of Using Archery Rangefinders
In the past, rangefinder technology was awkward. The gadgets were rudimentary, and the signal they emit could upset the target.
Yet, the improvement in the field has eliminated most of the drawbacks of using such a device on your hunting trip and made the benefits that much more prominent.
- Modern rangefinders come with a considerable range; you don’t have to sneak in the woods and lose your prey due to a misstep.
- When you’re not shooting from flat land, it’s difficult to estimate the distance correctly, and we all know how much closer the target looks from a certain height.
- Sure, for some people, these devices seem like an easy way out; however, if you want to go natural, they could still be a useful practice for determining your estimating skills.
We hope our explanations have cleared up the basics for you.
We must say that the clear winner is the Vortex rangefinder. It does have its drawbacks, as do all devices.
However, you can surpass the negatives we found with a little practice and keep your performance at the highest level. It provides the best range and image quality.
Being so durable, this implies years and years of shelf life!
When it comes to the budget pick, we would go for the Nikon model. While you must be careful not to submerge it and it doesn’t magnify your image, it does everything else expected from a modern-day rangefinder.
Besides, the brand producing it is quite prominent, promising reasonable warranty and responsive customer support. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, and are not ready to invest a lot, Nikon is the way to go.
Rangefinders aren’t shortcuts, either. You will need to develop an entirely new skill to use them – so don’t think a bit of assistance will damage the raw experience.
We hope this helped you choose the best archery rangefinder, or at least to know what to look for if you decide to buy one. Share it with your hunting crew and make those hits successful.