Top Factors to Consider When Buying a Rangefinder

A suitable rangefinder can determine if your game hunt will be successful or if you will return empty-handed. Most times, when hunters use guns and bows, they miss the game animals because they did not properly calculate the actual range of the target.


According to the physicist Isaac Newton, as soon as a projectile, which is your bullet or arrow, leaves your gun or bow, it starts descending. Therefore, if you can determine your weapon’s ballistic at various distances, you only need to know the exact distance for you to be accurate. This is where a rangefinder becomes useful.

Maybe you are reading this article as part of your research to find a good brand. You can visit Rangefinder Yard to get loads of information on some of the best rangefinders.

However, before you decide on the brand to buy, there are various factors you need to consider.

Types of Rangefinders

A rangefinder is not only associated with hunting. It can be used for other activities such as land surveying, ballistics, navigation, and golf. Before now, it was only used in photography. However, as technology advanced, the use of the tool became more diversified.

There are various types of rangefinders due to their wide application. But there are three of them that are more prominent than others and can be used for different purposes. They are:

1. Laser

This type is the most commonly used. It combines laser technology with triangulation, flight time, and other technologies to pick an object at a distance.

2. Optical

This type allows you to work out the distance between your location and a particular tangible object. The different types of optical rangefinders include coincidence and stereoscopic types.

3. Ultrasonic

This type is used for navigation and identifying of objects at any distance using sound frequency. Mariners use this tool to detect objects under water.

You can read more about the applications of the tool here:

Things to Consider Before Buying a Rangefinder

Now that you know the different types of rangefinder, here are the things you need to consider before buying one:

1. Maximum Distance

It is important to buy a brand that has a good range for the activity you want to carry out. The maximum distance advertised by the brand is usually measured under best possible conditions. Therefore, if you need one that has a distance of 600 yards, it will be ideal to buy a brand that has a maximum of 1000 yards. The estimate will give room for lighting issues or overcast conditions. You can find the maximum distance on the name of the product.

2. Optics Quality

The optical glass is a serious factor to be considered when making a purchase. This is because it will determine the sharpness or dullness of the view. Buying a brand that has special coated, top quality glass can be quite expensive. However, the quality of the glass is very critical since you need to accurately identify your target. A top-quality glass will result in brighter, less distorted, and crisper images. This is what separates a high-end product from a cheap one.

3. Magnification

This term refers to number of times the target will appear closer through the tool than when viewed with your naked eye. 6x magnification, for instance, indicates that the target will appear six times closer when viewed. Several laser rangefinders use 6x magnification or more and this makes them useful for various activities. Maximum distance is important, but magnification helps you see your target. It also allows the equipment to function as a pair of binoculars.

4. Reticles

Reticles are those crosshairs which you can see when viewing a target through the tool. They are also referred to as the aiming points. They vary by model and brand. Some crosshairs are usually black, and it can be difficult to differentiate when the background is dark or you’re in an environment with low light.

Some brands illuminate the reticles in case of low light situations. This will make it easy for the user to identify the target. However, the disadvantage of illuminated reticle is that it can wash out when used under conditions with bright light.

5. Angling

The angling of the tool will determine how flexible your shots will be. This aspect may appear insignificant, but it can restrict the way you will attack the prey. If you are hunting, you are less likely to shoot the animal when on the same level with it. You will either be on a tree or downhill. Therefore, you need to be sure that the brand you want to buy can adjust angles to enable you get the target without difficulty.

6. Size

The first set of rangefinders were quite bulky. They were effective but difficult to carry around during hunting. However, the brands that are currently available are small and portable. Some of them can even be said to be tiny.

So before buying one, ensure that the tool stays fitted in your hand. If your hands are quite large, then you need to choose a size that can fit in without so much hassle. And if you decide to purchase a tiny one, ensure you have a specific position for it in your gear and always place it back there after use. This will eliminate the stress of looking for it later when you need to concentrate on other things while in the field.

7. Waterproof

You need to plan for all possible contingencies when out in the field. One of such is mistakenly dropping your rangefinder in water. Rangefinders need to have waterproof structures to cover for such eventuality. A top-grade brand will have grip surfaces to enable you hold it easily even when you are using just one hand. It can also be used when it is raining whether heavily or slightly.

However, buying a brand that is completely waterproof will cost you a lot of money. So alternatively, you can ensure that the product you want to buy has a good carrying case to provide some protection under unfavorable weather conditions.

8. The Type of Weapon You Are Using

Irrespective of the type of weapon you are using, whether it is a conventional firearm, a bow, a muzzleloader, or a crossbow, rangefinders are very critical equipment. However, the type of rangefinder to buy will be dependent on the kind of task you will undertake in the field.

If you will be using a rifle in a wide, open country, you need a brand that has an extended range of 1000 yards or more. If you will be using a bow, distance will not be all that important. However, if you use a rifle and a bow at different times, you can consider buying a brand that has a range of about 600 yards.

9. Your Budget

This is one important factor to consider because you need to spend money to get all the great features that you want in a rangefinder. Most people want a product that is budget-friendly, but note that the quality of the product is as critical as its price.

Now, this does not mean that the price indicates the product’s quality. There are very expensive products that are not top quality. So, you can end up spending more for nothing. Consequently, you do not need to look out for the most expensive or the cheapest brand. Focus on getting a quality product at a price that you can afford.

10. Horizontal and Scan Modes

A rangefinder that has a good scan mode allows you to identify and target several objects at the same time. The horizontal mode can be used in a terrain with mountains. It uses the principles of trigonometry to identify objects uphill or downhill. You can watch this video to learn how to use scan mode in a rangefinder.

11. Warranty

Generally, when you buy a rangefinder, you get at least 1-year warranty. This is a form of assurance between you and the product manufacturer.


We have discussed the types of rangefinders and things you need to consider before buying one. However, you need to be sure of the type you want. Different products have different functionality. Hence, knowing exactly what you want can help you save some money as you will pick only the features you need.

Once you get your rangefinder, you can immediately proceed to get the best out of it. Enjoy your hunting, or golf, or whatever activity that made you to purchase a rangefinder.

Cindy Herrera

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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