Archery has grown and evolved a lot over the years. The modern tech and materials that we have at our disposal help us to become more accurate and efficient archers. Some of the biggest pieces of technology that have revolutionized the way we shoot are archery rangefinders.
What Is A Rangefinder?
An archery rangefinder is a small, handheld device that quickly measures the distance between it and a remote object. They are similar to binoculars, but especially useful in archery. They can tell you exactly how far away you are from your target so that you can aim or make the necessary adjustments for a precise shot.
How Does A Rangefinder Work?
Modern archery rangefinders are electronic and handheld. With a click of a button, they fire a laser beam at a distant target or object. When this beam bounces back to the rangefinder, it calculates the distance between the two by how fast the beam was returned. This gives you an almost instant and accurate distance between your rangefinder and the target that you are aiming at.
Rangefinder Features to Consider
Rangefinders come in various shapes and styles, each with its own unique features. Depending on how you intend to use your rangefinder, some specific features might be more important than others. Regardless, there are many characteristics that a good archery rangefinder should have!
This refers to the degree of elevation to your target. Many rangefinders will show you these angles so that you can make adjustments based on how much incline or decline is between you and the target. Some archery rangefinders will even calculate these adjustments for you. They present you with the actual distance and the distance you should aim for considering the angle.
Rangefinders are considered optics because they utilize glass. They magnify what you are aiming at when looking through them. Like binoculars or rifle scopes, they have an objective lens size and magnification number. The larger the objective, the better the rangefinder will do in low-light situations. As for magnification, most archery rangefinders provide anywhere from 5 to 8x magnification.
Because they are electronic, rangefinders use some type of battery. The best archery rangefinders are those with a long battery life. Some models also have batteries that are easier to change than others. Batteries come in many shapes and sizes. The last thing you want while out in the field is a dead battery because your rangefinder is inefficient.
An often overlooked aspect of rangefinders is their speed. This refers to how fast it provides the distance to a target after pressing the button. Some rangefinders are able to scan with their laser and calculate much quicker than others. A faster speed will be able to provide more accurate results and in certain situations (such as bowhunting) this speed is critical.
Shooting a bow is often done outdoors, so it’s not uncommon to eventually battle against elements like rain and snow. A high-quality rangefinder will be completely waterproof in order to protect it from this type of moisture. Not only are the electronics protected from getting wet, but the entire rangefinder unit is better protected against dust and dirt when they are waterproof as well.
If you find yourself hiking or walking long distances, a smaller rangefinder might be ideal. While all rangefinders are handheld, they do come in many different sizes. Some prefer compact models that can easily be carried in a pocket, while others prefer a larger surface area to hold and scan with.
How to Choose Your Archery Rangefinder
So how do you go about selecting the right archery rangefinder when there are so many options to choose from? Here are a few important things to consider to narrow down your search and make your choice a little easier:
Rangefinder Use Case
Thinking about how you intend to use your new archery rangefinder will help you decide on a specific rangefinder more than anything. If you are a bowhunter, you will most likely have different needs and wants than someone who is using theirs for competition purposes. Someone who shoots targets at closer ranges may not need the added magnification or speed of certain rangefinders.
Start by thinking about your rangefinder’s intended use and purpose. You can start to come up with the different features and specifications that are important to you. While having so many options to choose from can make a choice a little more difficult, it also provides the opportunity to find a rangefinder that suits every one of your needs perfectly!
Your budget will make a big difference in the rangefinder that you decide on. Archery rangefinders can be found for as cheap as under $100 all the way to $1500 and more. By setting a certain price point that you are looking for, you can eliminate many choices. A quick word of advice, however: spend as much as you can comfortably afford. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a rangefinder is the higher quality and the more features it will have.
That brings us to quality. You definitely don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a high-quality rangefinder. But spending more than $100 opens up many more options. It is best to do a little research and find a few different companies that are known to produce quality rangefinders. By selecting a rangefinder from a reputable brand, you can ensure it will last you longer. Also keep in mind that should you need any service or work done with the rangefinder, these companies are there to help you out.
Durability tends to go hand in hand with a rangefinder’s quality. Generally speaking, the higher the quality the higher the durability. This is important because rangefinders get dropped out on the archery range fairly often. Durable models will take bumps, scratches, and drops in stride. Frail and low-quality rangefinders might break entirely.
Best Archery Rangefinders
Best Affordable Archery Rangefinders
Getting your hands on a good archery rangefinder doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few options that are great for anyone on a budget but will still provide you with the quality and features you would expect to see on much more expensive models.
1. Bushnell Prime 1300 Rangefinder
Bushnell is a company that has produced rangefinders for a long time. Their products are known for being friendly for a budget but still high quality. The Prime 1300 is a perfect example of this. This rangefinder has a large objective lens to absorb light in dark situations and be bright as possible. Even at its great price point, it is very durable and features angle compensation technology.
2. Sig Sauer Buckmasters 1800 Rangefinder
Sig Sauer produces some of the highest quality rangefinders in the world, but their Buckamsters 1800 model is produced to help archers who might not be able to afford their higher-end models. It provides lightning-fast results with the push of a button and different ballistic profiles that you can customize to your archery setup for angle compensation shooting.
3. Vortex Crossfire HD 1400 Laser Rangefinder
On the higher end of our picks for affordable archery rangefinders is the Vortex Crossfire HD 1400. Vortex makes quality optics that come with an amazing lifetime warranty. Should you ever run into any problems with your rangefinder or even accidentally break it, they will replace it free of cost. It also gives you accurate readings with multiple modes, making it a great option for hunters and target shooters alike.
Quality Archery Rangefinders
1. Leupold RX-1500i Laser Rangefinder
First on our list of high-quality rangefinders is the RX-1500i from Leupold. Made in the USA, this archery rangefinder gives you distances with amazing speeds and with 1/10 yard accuracy. With a more ergonomic design than other rangefinders, it is very easy to hold and aim. It still provides 6x magnification and angle measurements for those that are shooting at various elevations.
2. Vortex Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder
Another offering from Vortex, the Razor HD 4000 is the highest-quality rangefinder produced by this company. Not only is the glass quality amazing, but it has the best battery life, range, and speed of any of Vortex’s other rangefinder models. And, like any Vortex product, it is also covered by their lifetime warranty should you ever need it.
3. Bushnell Nitro 1800 Rangefinder
One of Bushnell’s best rangefinders, the Nitro 1800 rangefinder is a great piece of equipment that is well-built. It is durable, reliable, and accurate with its readings. It is also one of the few models of rangefinders in its price range that comes equipped with Bluetooth compatibility for connecting with Bushnell’s free ballistic app.
The Best Archery Rangefinders
1. Leica Rangemaster CRF 3500.COM Rangefinder
Leica might be an expensive optics brand, but it is for good reason. They produce the highest quality optics, and their rangefinders are no exception. The Leica Rangemaster CRF 3500.COM is crystal clear, fast, accurate, and compatible with Bluetooth for maximum customization and setup options to get the most out of your rangefinder.
2. Sig Sauer KILO 5K Ballistic Rangefinder
The KILO 5K Ballistic rangefinders produced by Sig Sauer changed the game when it was introduced. Not only are KILO rangefinders the fastest and most accurate rangefinders out there, but they feature a ton of included modes, features, and settings in order to customize the rangefinder to you and your needs.
3. Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W Rangefinder
One of Leupolds flagship rangefinders, the RX-2800 is their highest quality and best performing model that is very small and lightweight. It provides excellent accuracy and speed while having one of the best battery life ratings out of all other archery rangefinders.
An archery rangefinder is a vital piece of gear that any archer should own. Whether you are bowhunting, competing in competitions, or simply target shooting, a rangefinder will help you become a better shooter and make more accurate and consistent shots!