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You may want a rangefinder but think that you have to shell out hundreds of dollars to get one that will do the job. Nothing could be further from the truth. Improvements in technology in recent years mean that you can get a rangefinder that performs beyond your expectations, at an affordable price.
Of course, bargain hunting can be a risky proposition. Our review of the best rangefinders under $150 is designed to help you find great value, without ending up with one you’ll dislike. We’ve also included some information about rangefinders in our buyer’s guide, so you can make a good decision even if you’ve never owned a rangefinder before.
|Best Overall||Nikon ACULON AL11||
|Best for Hunting||TecTecTec ProWild||
|Best Value||Naturalife Laser||
|Sig Sauer KILO1200||
There’s a ton to like about the Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder (for Golf & Hunting). It’s one of the most portable rangefinders on the market, as it measures less than four inches in any direction. It’s also extremely lightweight. At just 4.4 ounces, it’s not something that will leave you feeling especially burdened, even if you’re carrying it around all day. Those two features combine to make this an extremely portable tool. It can also switch on the fly between meters and yards, so you can loan it out to foreign friends or use it in applications where you would need one measure or the other.
If you need any more convincing that this is a great overall rangefinder, just consider the lenses. They’re made by Nikon, which is already famous for its multicoated binocular and camera lenses. With those lenses, this device produces an incredibly clear view. We wish it didn’t use the somewhat uncommon CR2 battery for power, but that’s just a minor complaint. If you’re looking for the best rangefinder on the market at a low price, this is easily the choice for you.
If you’re looking for a great rangefinder for hunting, you’ll love the TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder. One of the best things about this rangefinder is that it can measure both speed and distance. That way, you can precisely calculate your next shot with full information about how far away an animal is and how it’s moving. It can switch between meters and yards, which is useful for group hunting trips. It’s also incredibly accurate, to within a meter of the true distance, which makes it great for long-distance shooting.
We also like this model for hunting because of how compact it is. It measures four inches or less in all dimensions, so it’s easy to hold and won’t take up too much space in your pack. Plus, it’s not bulky and will be easy to hold even when you’re wearing gloves. Unfortunately, TecTecTec isn’t known for great customer support, so if you have an issue with this product, you’ll likely have trouble getting it serviced or replaced. That’s enough to knock this otherwise great rangefinder out of the top spot. Still, it’s a good rangefinder and an excellent choice for hunters who need accurate range and speed information.
The Naturalife Laser Rangefinder is another great choice for both golfers and hunters. Most people will love the range, which works up to 656 yards away. It’s accurate to within .55 yards, so your measurements will be more than close enough for most kinds of activities. It has an adjustable diopter, so you can change the focus on the fly for quick target acquisition. This rangefinder also has an auto-scanning feature, so you can hold down the button and move quickly between objects to get a feel for how far apart they are, as well as changes in height.
However, the best thing about this rangefinder is its price. It costs far less than the top two models on our list, but provides really good performance on par, or possibly better than them in some areas. This rangefinder only measures in meters, so if you’re more used to dealing with non-metric measurements, you may find that you have to do a lot of mental math on the fly. Overall, this is a great rangefinder, and its price is low enough to leave most buyers pleased.
The Sig Sauer 4×20 KILO1200 Laser Rangefinder is a semi-professional grade rangefinder that you can sometimes get for less than $150. If you’re looking for a product with superior measurement performance, you’ll love this rangefinder. It updates its measurements four times a second so you can get an accurate picture of what’s going on, even if the target is moving. Plus, it has one of the longest ranges on the market, measuring distances up to 1600 meters away, though you can switch it to measuring yards if you want. It’s accurate to within .1 meters or yards, so you know that you’re getting great information no matter how far away the object is.
Unfortunately, it isn’t illuminated, which greatly reduces its usefulness on nighttime hunting trips. You won’t always be able to make out the readings on darker nights. It’s also larger than many of the other options on our list. That means it’s not as much fun to cart it around. Ultimately, the decision on this model comes down to whether you value extreme accuracy and range or compact, lightweight devices more. If you’re the latter, this rangefinder isn’t for you.
The Zamkol Golf Laser Rangefinder is a good choice for both golfers and hunters. It has 7x magnification, which is more than you get on most rangefinders in this price bracket. This model is a little unusual in that it comes with a rechargeable battery, so you won’t have to find a replacement when you drain it. That gives it a low cost of operation, which is a big deal in addition to its overall low starting price. This rangefinder is capable of measuring distance, speed, height, and even angles in two planes.
However, it isn’t terribly accurate. While it seems to be close to spot-on in distance, the other measurements have a lot more uncertainty in them. If you just need distance measurement, this could be a good choice, but if you’re looking for more measurements, you might be disappointed. The rechargeable battery isn’t replaceable, so if it dies, you’ll have to replace the rangefinder. That’s not a huge deal, but it could cost you money in the long run. Some people will like this unit, but others will be frustrated with its general inaccuracy.
The TACKLIFE Laser Rangefinder is another choice that you can get for a low price. Like the previous model, it comes with 7x magnification, which is more than many rangefinders provide. It also includes a rechargeable battery and a USB cable, so you’ll have some options for charging it on the go. One of the unique things about this laser rangefinder is that it has a 1/4-inch mounting thread, so it’s ready to be mounted on most kinds of standard tripods right out of the box.
However, it struggles to lock onto smaller objects. If you want to use it for golf, you may want to choose something else, since it’s going to be very hard to get a precise measurement to the pin. It also suffers from distance inaccuracy, and some users have found it to be five to ten percent off the true measurements. That can make a big difference when hunting or golfing with this rangefinder, making it a very frustrating device to own. Overall, it won’t leave most people satisfied with their purchase, despite its very low price. Thankfully, you have other options.
The Halo XL450-7 Hunting Rangefinder is designed for bow hunting, but like many rangefinders, it has the potential to be useful for more than just hunting. It’s very good at calculating vertical change in angle, which is hugely important for bow hunting. It also has a theoretical range of 450 yards. That’s longer than you’ll need for most bow hunting, but that gives it potential for other kinds of hunting or golfing. However, this isn’t the best-made rangefinder, and it gives most users the feeling that it won’t last forever. The price isn’t super high, so it’s not surprising that this is the case, but most people will want to invest in a more durable device.
It also suffers from poor light collection. That makes it harder to use at dawn and dusk, which are prime hunting times, and you can forget about trying to use it at night. If you wear glasses, you won’t like this product, since it has short eye relief. You’ll likely have to take your glasses off to use it, which is inconvenient. This isn’t a great rangefinder, but you can get better ones for a similar price.
When buying a rangefinder, optical clarity, range and accuracy are the most important qualities to consider.
Optical clarity is important because you have to look through the eyepiece to lock in on a target to measure. If you can’t see the object well, then you can’t aim at it effectively. Higher-end rangefinders have diopter adjustment that changes how close you have to hold the rangefinder to your face for increased comfort.
Range is also important, but you should keep in mind the things that you’ll be doing with your rangefinder. You typically won’t need distances in excess of 600 yards for golf, and many holes will require far less than that. While some rangefinders have ranges in excess of 1000 yards, most people won’t need to measure things that far away.
Accuracy is also very important. Most rangefinders boast accuracy to within a yard, but astute shoppers can find ones with .5- or .1-yard accuracy on our list. While the difference may not be significant, getting that extra value for the same price is always a good deal.
RELATED READS: An overview of the 5 Different Uses for a Rangefinder
The Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder (for Golf & Hunting) is the best rangefinder for under $150 overall, due to its compact and lightweight frame and its Nikon lens coatings. In second is the TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder, which measures distance and speed, works in meters or yards, and is very accurate. It loses out on the top spot due to poor customer support. The Naturalife Laser Rangefinder has a very long range, fast focusing, and an auto-scanning feature. Its great price means it’s the best value for the money overall.
In fourth, the Sig Sauer 4×20 KILO1200 Laser Rangefinder has fast measurements, incredible accuracy, and a very long range, but its large size and lack of illumination hurt its value. Fifth place is taken by the Zamkol Golf Laser Rangefinder, which has good magnification and a rechargeable battery. It loses places on our list due to its inferior accuracy and the fact that you can’t replace its battery.
Sixth place goes to the TACKLIFE Laser Rangefinder, which has good magnification and is tripod-ready, but struggles to find small objects and has distance inaccuracy. The Halo XL450-7 Hunting Rangefinder is designed for bow hunting and is great at finding angles. Its poor overall build quality, underwhelming light collection, and poor eye relief put it in last place on our list.
We hope that our reviews have given you a better feel for rangefinders, and have helped you find one in your budget range that you’ll love.
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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