Many hunters never go out hunting without a rangefinder. However, it can be challenging to pick one out with so many choices, especially if you’ve never owned one before.
I’ve done my fair share of research to offer you some top of the line recommendations for the best rangefinder for hunting.
You never have to miss a shot due to the wrong range again. But first:
Best Rangefinders for Hunting:
Best Hunting Rangefinder Reviews:
1. Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder - Best Rangefinder for the Money
Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 laser rangefinder is the best value for money ranger. It’s the perfect option for long-range shooters, bowhunters, and golfers.
One of the best things about this Vortex laser rangefinder is that it’s backed with a lifetime warranty.
There’s no worry if you want to resell it later on. To top it off, this device can last you for many years without any issues.
The Vortex Optics is a long range hunting rangefinder that comes with a maximum range distance of 4,000 yds in ELR mode.
For deer, the maximum range is 2,000 yards with a minimum of 5 yards of distance.
This device comes with an HD Optic system and XR™ Plus Fully Multi-Coated, which provides ultra-bright transmission.
It’s even brighter than the Vortex 1800 model, offering a more precise picture but keep in mind that it’s not classified as Leica (more on that later).
Illuminated red readout
The illuminated red readout is easy to adjust with five brightness levels. If you set it to the lowest, it is easy to read in dim conditions.
The reading time is also powerful as it instantly ranges objects in 2,000 yards under 0.25 seconds!
The laser rangefinder by Vortex Optics is exceptionally accurate, with accuracy within a yard or 2 if you shoot in under 200 yards.
You can range a small target yard in tenth. I verified it with Google Maps, and it’s true.
Angle compensation features HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) mode - with a max angle reading up to 70 degrees.
These data are valid and even necessary for rifle shooters - primarily for ballistic calculations to adjust windage and bullet drop.
As for the archers, it allows you to adjust sight pins. They are great for shooting on terrain.
Great build and design
The Vortex Optics range finder is quite heavy compared to other models in this list. It clocks in at 9.9 pounds since it’s made out of magnesium.
As for the size, this device is relatively compact, measuring only 4.5 inches long.
So it fits in your hands comfortably and conveniently packs into a hunting backpack.
Easy to use & learn menu
It’s worth noting that the rangefinder is easy to attach to a tripod or a shooting rest.
Oh, and I should mention that the device is IPX-7 waterproof, meaning it can withstand snow, rain, and dust without any issues.
I don’t like this rangefinder because you do need a tripod if you range over 2,000 yards to avoid your hands shaking.
There is no Bluetooth connection.
The reticle is relatively small, without a center dot, as I feel that the bigger reticles are better for precision.
2. Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX - Best Rangefinder for Long-Range Shooting
Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 BDX is the go-to choice for long-range shooting. It’s primarily intended for long-range shooters, but you can use it for golf, too!
Pair with SIG BDX App
The app is pretty straightforward to set up, and it can provide you with accurate ballistic data for long-range shooting, such as elevation, windage, angle, distance, etc.
It works amazingly well with a BDX rifle scope and exchanges real-time data.
Excellent clarity and magnification
The optics come with an auto-adjust of the brightness according to your environment. But you can also change it manually according to your preferences.
There are three red reticles, so it’s easy to read distance in low light or extremely bright conditions.
The magnification is more significant than any other device in this price range - it’s 7x compared to the usual 6x.
The unit boasts a total range capacity of about 3,400 yards - although you should expect your accurate measurements to be 2,200 yards and 1,300 for deer.
The rangefinder can even range through a blind mesh if you are on a ground blind.
Incredibly Fast Reading
The reading is relatively fast, giving you the shooting distance instantly and accurately.
It even comes with a scan mode, which is quick as lightning. It keeps up with moving targets such as deer or elk by updating 4 times/ second.
Automatic angle compensation
The ARM mode automatically adjusts the angle, which is a must to hunt with a rifle from a treestand.
I should add that the device is waterproof and pretty lightweight. Thanks to magnesium housing, it weighs only 7.5 ounces.
This ranger comes with a 5-year warranty on electronic parts and a lifetime warranty for the rest.
Simple to operate
It’s straightforward to use, too, as it has only two buttons.
What I didn’t like as much about this rangefinder is the lack of the archery mode.
Also, this unit can’t be paired with Kestrel devices. And there is no tripod mount available.
3. Leica Rangemaster CRF 2800.com - Best Rangefinder for Deer Hunting
If you're searching for the best rangefinders for hunting, here comes the Leica Rangemaster CRF 2800.com! It’s the go-to gear for many long-range shooters out there.
Integrated Ballistic Calculator - Leica Hunting
With Bluetooth, you can connect your smartphone and enter ballistic data to get curve info. The calculator allows you to adjust the number of clicks for your rifle.
It comes with four modes:
Note that the calculator works only for distances up to 1,000 yards.
The maximum distance is 2,800 yards, allowing you to have fun shooting long range.
It’s pretty accurate, too. So, if you range below 200 yards, it will show decimal numbers, allowing pinpoint accuracy for bow archers.
The Leica lenses have been famous for decades in the photography world, so there is no doubt about glass quality.
The glass offers high clarity, which is excellent for the spot-and-stalk hunting style.
The red LED is easy to read out in dim conditions.
The best part?
It can auto-adjust the brightness according to the environment.
Given the dimensions of only 4.5 x 2.25 x 1.25 inches, this unit is super compact.
Thanks to the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic housing, it’s super lightweight, too, weighing just 6.7 ounces.
It’s portable and ergonomic.
The Leica measures quickly, with repeatable and immediate responses within 0.3 seconds.
Oh, and I’d like to add that the warranty is two years on all parts.
Easy to Use
You can easily use it with two buttons:
One potential issue is that shooters with glasses might be uncomfortable with the eyecup.
The “go to sleep” time is too short, and it can be annoying when the gear is connected to Kestrel.
4. Vortex Ranger 1800 - Best Vortex Rangefinder for Bowhunting
For bowhunting, there is no better rangefinder than the Vortex Ranger 1800. It’s a great device to use by gun hunters, target shooters, and bowhunters alike!
The Vortex VIP Lifetime Warranty is unconditional and unlimited. The company can send you replacement parts without asking any questions! How great is that?
A fantastic range for archery
The range is more than decent, measuring at 1,800 yards. But I recommend using the working distance of 900 yards.
High quality optics
The multi-coated lens can increase the light and get a clear picture of your target.
The bright red readout is easy to read at dawn and dusk (thanks to the large objective lens). Plus, you can adjust the 3 brightness levels to get some extra light.
The accuracy is within 3 yards, so it’s not as precise as the Leupold RX FullDraw. However, it’s dead-on accurate at hundreds of yards.
This rangefinder easily fits in a pouch with a slim profile, and it’s nice to carry around.
The utility clip makes the rangefinder easy to attach to the waist belt.
Speaking of convenience, the gear is light, weighing only 0.7 ounces. The lanyard allows you to hang the rangefinder around your neck.
Easy Set up
The menu is straightforward to use, featuring large buttons that are easy to access.
It also offers quick results, allowing you to get immediate reading consistently.
The compensation feature ensures that you have the correct distance, whether you are shooting uphill or downhill - which is excellent for hunting from treestands.
It even comes with a scan mode, ranging multiple or moving targets without issues.
Shaky hands don’t pose a problem, and the device works perfectly in all conditions, even when it’s freezing and snowing.
Oh, and the device can be attached to a tripod.
I didn’t like the short eyecup and the fact that the case doesn’t fully cover the ranger, leaving room for dust and dirt to get in.
The device also isn’t great for non-reflective objects - such as dark archery targets.
5. Leupold RX-FullDraw 4 - Best Archery Rangefinder with Angle Compensation
Angle compensation is pretty significant for incline shots. So, if you’re an archer in need of a new rangefinder, consider the Leupold RX FullDraw 4.
It’s intended for bowhunters and rifle hunters.
I instantly liked that this model measures distance within half a yard.
The Archer’s Advantage software needs the user’s input of parameters to give an extremely accurate range - such as speed, arrow weight, and peep height.
As such, it’s perfect for Western hunters or 3D archers.
More Clearance Information
When ranging an object, the flight path is shown as a line above the reticle, indicating the highest point of the arrow.
It can save you from hitting a small branch or bush - or missing an animal altogether. So, it’s perfect for cramped spaces.
Great Glass Quality
With the 6x magnification and clear multi-coating, these optics are excellent.
The red reticle has an OLED display that is easy to read in low light conditions and allows you to quickly range the target.
The device is straightforward, with just a couple of buttons and a few modes available.
The device is also quite robust and durable, so it should last you at least a couple of years. The rubber coating makes the device sit nice in your hands, too.
This model is waterproof and fog proof - and, more importantly, versatile.
With the compact size and weight of 7.5 ounces, it can fit in your pouch or bino harness with no issues.
One thing I didn’t like is that there is no image stabilization.
And you have to enter data on your first use. On top of that, the product is made in China.
What Are The Different Types Of Rangefinders?
Before you settle on a particular rangefinder, you should become familiar with what types of rangefinders are there.
This section will cover the common types of rangers for archery and target shooting to make things easier for you.
Ballistic rangefinders’ purpose is primarily focused on hunting or target shooting using firearms. They allow the user to shoot over long distances without experiencing any issues.
Contrary to other rangefinders, the ballistic rangefinder is installed on the actual firearm, and the ranger uses lasers to measure the distance.
When the device locates the desired target, the dot appears.
The ballistic rangefinder was initially used for army purposes - but now, many people shooting firearms use this type of rangefinder to achieve pinpoint accuracy.
The maximum distance of a device like this is about 1500 yards.
For photography and similar purposes, there are rangefinder cameras - and for these purposes, the ranger comes with several benefits:
The user of the rangefinder camera can measure the object that is about to be photographed to get the best focus possible.
The rangefinder camera can improve the quality of the photo or video tremendously, which makes this such a nifty tool for photographers.
If you’re seeking the highest quality, you should consider investing in a rangefinder camera.
Golf rangefinders are commonly used when golfing, hence the name, but you can use them for other purposes.
It allows the golfer to measure the distance to their next target, and the rangefinder uses GPS (or a laser) to get the length.
GPS rangefinders require the golfer to download the golf course map to be able to measure the distance.
On the other hand, laser rangefinders rely on lasers to estimate the distance to their desired target right on the spot.
Generally speaking, laser rangefinders are a bit more accurate - and they usually come with other convenient features.
Forestry rangefinders are, as the name says, most commonly used in forestry - as in, surveying in forestry. They allow the user to measure the required distances across the forest - and boast other valuable features.
The forestry rangefinder can also measure how high the trees are and measure volume and distance from one point to another.
There are two types of forestry rangefinders - lightweight and heavyweight rangers. You can use them according to your preferences.
Hunting Laser Rangefinder
Hunting rangefinder is the type we are most interested in here.
Hunters have to keep up to date with the new technology for hunting, as it makes their job a lot more manageable.
There are rangers to be used with rifles, bows, arrows, and even special rangers for shooting practice.
For rifles, the rangefinder usually comes with at least 7x magnification to allow the hunter to get the best accuracy possible.
The rangefinders for bowhunting will typically feature angle compensation - and they are generally lighter than others.
Lastly, rangefinders usually come with other features that can help the shooter achieve better results for target shooting.
Golf Rangefinder vs. Hunting Rangefinder:
So what’s the difference between golf rangefinder and hunting rangefinder? Let me tell you:
Hunting rangefinders are most commonly used to track how far away the game you are hunting is - and sometimes, you can even use them to measure the distance of the hike.
However, the real difference between hunting rangefinders is that they allow the user to change the trajectory to hunt at different ranges - from short to extra-long distances.
Hunters using a rifle can also benefit from a rangefinder, but they will generally use it for longer distances. Many rifle hunters don’t need a rangefinder for short distances because the few extra hundred yards won’t make a real difference.
Some people would argue that rangefinders for golf are more accurate, but they don’t offer the extra-long distance as hunting rangefinders do. So, there’s a trade-off in that sense.
The golf rangefinder even allows you to lock onto the flags to ensure a highly accurate reading.
However, the golf rangefinder is easier to spot in the woods, as they never have the camo print, so they won’t be of much use when you want to go in there unseen.
The main difference is the battery life - as hunting isn’t something you do daily, battery life isn’t great, and it usually doesn’t have to be.
On the other hand, golf rangefinders have long battery life.
Also, the waterproof feature is a must-have in the hunting world - while golf rangefinders often aren’t in the least bit waterproof.
On the other hand, golf rangefinders look pretty similar to hunting ones, but they are specifically designed to be used when golfing.
They’re built and designed for the golf course and have specific features for golfers.
Another important thing is that many golf rangers don’t consider slopes, and for hunting rangefinders, that’s a must.
The best hunting rangefinders are also more compact, making them easier to carry in your pack.
In contrast, golf rangefinders have proven to be heavier and bulkier, as many golfers don’t need to carry the ranger on them all the time.
Rangefinders made for golfers are built to last a very long time.
No golfer wants to get a new one every once, so they’re made with quality components and don’t wear out - even with consistent daily use.
Hunting rangefinders are not made to be used daily, though - and they usually aren’t as durable.
So, does that mean that golf rangefinders are better in general?
Well, no. Sure, there might be aspects where golf rangefinders may seem better - but generally speaking, hunting rangefinders are still better for hunting-related purposes.
A golf ranger may suffice if you already have one and don’t want to invest in a separate hunting rangefinder right now.
But keep in mind that the features of a dedicated ranger will make hunting a more enjoyable experience overall.
How To Choose The Best Hunting Rangefinders?
Choosing a rangefinder can be tricky if you have never done it before. You need to pay attention to several things if you want your rangefinder to suit your needs perfectly.
Luckily, I’ve put together a convenient buying guide to help you find what you’re looking for here!
First, you will need to figure out what you intend to use your rangefinder for archery or firearm shooting.
Then, take your time to think about your desired range, be it short or long-range.
Long range shooting
Long-range shooting - over 600 yards - is most suitable for rifle hunters.
If you are hunting with a rifle, it could be worth the extra money to go for a rangefinder to help you shoot from such long yardage.
However, always do the calculations for ballistics.
As for the actual distance, you will typically get about half the max range, sometimes even a bit less than half, on animals, compared to a reflective target.
LED vs. LCD glass
When it comes to optics, there are two essential options - LED and LCD glass.
I’d advise you to stick to LED glass for the optics since it offers better light transmission for brighter screens and optics.
The red displays allow easier sighting in low light and are better for aging eyes.
Be sure to avoid displays that appear faded and are no longer readable.
LCD (Black display)
The black display might appear in cheap rangefinders, but it can be hard to get a read on dark targets in low light conditions or deep in the woods.
Do note that it isn’t all about the range; it’s about the accuracy of the rangefinder, as well.
A 2000-yard model will undoubtedly be more precise than one with a 1000-yard range - even if you plan to shoot at distances shorter than 500 yards.
Better accuracy means better consistency.
So, the main thing to look at is the beam divergence if you plan to range deer or elk at 600+ yards reliably.
I would get the most expensive ranger you can afford, without a doubt.
You may not shoot at targets 2000 yards away, but sometimes you want to know how far you have to hike, and your ranger can be of service there, too.
It’s good to know the distance, and it doesn’t have to be for shooting only.
For instance, if you've set aside a $500 budget, spend it all on a new rangefinder.
You should never find the cheaper solution, as you’ll most likely regret it.
It’s the same old story as with scopes - you get what you pay for.
Angle compensation was once calculated by hand, but now, some best rangefinders come with the option of angle compensation.
Not every user can appreciate the angle compensation, but hunters using the bow certainly can.
Arrows don’t fly the same as bullets do, and angle compensation allows you to pinpoint accuracy as if you’re using a rifle.
Another excellent use for a rangefinder with angle compensation is for extreme angles, such as hunting downhill or uphill.
Your rangefinder must be waterproof - and that’s something you must keep an eye on.
Water and moisture could damage rangefinders that aren’t waterproof.
So, if you want to enjoy hunting or shooting without worrying about your rangefinder getting damaged, please stick to a waterproof one.
Weight and Size
As for the weight, it’s generally best to focus on lightweight models.
Heavier rangefinders will add weight - and you are already carrying plenty of gears.
Look for a rangefinder that weighs under 10 ounces.
The ranger you have your eyes on must be robust when it comes to the ranging speed.
More powerful rangefinders ensure a faster reading which is essential for hunting.
Nobody wants to lose a potential kill waiting for the ranger to set in.
The rangefinder should come with a warranty of at least 5 years. However, it is best to find rangefinders with a lifetime warranty:
That’s not only convenient if you come across problems with your rangers. It’s a good sign of quality, too.
When I say “a good sign,” I mean that it’s a sign that the company is very confident in its design.
Products with a lifetime warranty are less likely to break or sustain damage, and even if they do, you can always use your warranty to get it fixed - or get a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
No, you do not need a rangefinder to hunt, but having a rangefinder can make it easier.
It helps you achieve better accuracy, improve your form, and be more successful - which is everyone’s goal with rifle hunting.
Well, it’s difficult to say how much a rangefinder costs since it all depends on the quality of the build, the extra features, and the level of magnification.
A decent rangefinder can cost anywhere from $200 to more than a thousand, and, as I already said, you should save some money to buy a high-quality rangefinder for yourself.
Absolutely yes - hunting rangefinder can make it much easier and give you an exceptional advantage.
The angle compensation feature can also help you remain perfectly accurate despite the steep hills you’re on when hunting with a rifle or a bow.
Finding the best rangefinder for hunting has been a true challenge. And only Vortex Optics Razors HD 4000 is the best hunting rangefinder in my opinion.
It’s a dual-purpose unit, meaning it can be used for traditional archery and long-range shooting, making it a great pick.
Even if you don’t intend to hunt long-range, the extra distance option can be handy if you are in a large area and want to see how close you need to get to a target to achieve the ideal shooting range.
So far, it’s the best rangefinder for hunting for the money!