Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Laser Rangefinder Reviews - Overall Ranking

Fall 2014 - Reviews, ratings and rankings of the best golf laser rangefinders. Our editors test and compare the latest golf laser rangefinders head-to-head to help you determine which golf laser rangefinder is best.  Rangefinders tested include offerings from Leupold, Bushnell, Laser Link and Opti-Logic.

How We Test

Intro to Laser Rangefinders

Leupold GX-3i

Leupold GX-3i

The Leupold GX-3i has a fancy aluminum body and a vivid red OLED readout, all in a great form factor. Enhancements in this model include more rapid distance readings and flagstick range to 400 yards at +/- six inches. While the device quickly provides distance while panning, we experienced difficulties in locking on to flagsticks and found the blinking distance readings to be distracting. Read on for our detailed Leupold GX-3i review.
Retail price: $499.99
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Score

91

Grade

A-


Bushnell Pro 1M

Bushnell Pro 1M

The Bushnell Pro 1M is Bushnell’s top-of-the-line non-slope laser rangefinder, featuring 7x magnification. It’s not only the largest and heaviest rangefinder on the market, it’s also one of most expensive rangefinders without slope information. The new “Vivid Display” technology helps in reading distances against dark backgrounds, but we were disappointed by the limited panning ability. Read our full Bushnell Pro 1M review.
Retail price: $499.00
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Score

91

Grade

A-


Bushnell Tour v3 JOLT

Bushnell Tour v3 JOLT

The Bushnell Tour v3 retains the same magnification (5x), range performance (5-1,000 yards), and accuracy (to 1 yard) as the previous generation Bushnell Tour V2, but adds Bushnell’s JOLT Technology, providing short bursts of vibration to reinforce that its PinSeeker technology has locked on to the distance. At $299, the Bushnell Tour v3 is one of the least expensive laser rangefinders on the market. Read on our detailed Bushnell Tour v3 JOLT review.
Retail: $299
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Score

89

Grade

B+


Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS

Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS

The Bushnell Hybrid is the first combination GPS and laser rangefinder on the market. Though the Hybird has only 5x magnification and no panning mode, the benefits of having a built-in GPS (with over 16,000 courses out of the box, and no yearly fees) is clear. Given the size and cost, however, users will likely not only be stacking the Hybrid up against the Bushnell Tour V2 and neo+ (which it essentially is), but also against separate dedicated laser and GPS devices. Read more at our detailed Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS review.
Retail price: $499.99
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Score

88

Grade

B+


Leupold PinCaddie

Leupold PinCaddie

Leupold has historically offered golf laser rangefinders at the high end of the market. That changes with the Leupold PinCaddie, which at $315 retails as not just the least expensive Leupold, but one of the lower priced laser rangefinders in our tests. The PinCaddie has an LCD display and features Leupold’s PinHunter technology (targets nearest object, though lacks ability to “lock” onto a prism), 6x magnification, and scanning mode. Read on for our detailed Leupold PinCaddie review.
Retail price: $314.99
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Score

88

Grade

B+


Nikon COOLSHOT

Nikon COOLSHOT

Available during their laser rangefinder relationship with Callaway (branded as the Callaway RAZR), Nikon rolls on selling the COOLSHOT rangefinder on its own with slightly different white and blue design. The Nikon COOLSHOT is the smallest and lightest Nikon rangefinder, has 6x magnification and LED illumination, “First Target Priority” of previous Nikon rangefinders, and can pan for up to 8 seconds. The COOLSHOT was introduced at a price point quite a bit less than the original RAZR, which retailed at $349.95. Read more about the Nikon COOLSHOT golf laser rangefinder.
Retail price: $279.99 (rebates may be available from Nikon – check Amazon.com)
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Score

82

Grade

B-


Laser Link QuickShot

Laser Link QuickShot

The most simple laser rangefinder in our tests, the Laser Link QuickShot only works for reading distances to flagsticks with reflective prisms. While the QuickShot’s lack of versatility is a bit of a non-starter for us, players who appreciate the pistol-shaped form factor and frequently play on a course equipped with reflective prism flagsticks may be drawn to this device. Read our detailed Laser Link QuickShot review for more.
Retail price: $289
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Score

80

Grade

B-


Leica Pinmaster II

Leica Pinmaster II

The Leica Pinmaster II is the supermodel of laser rangefinders. Slim and light, an exceptional form factor. Extremely expensive. You can impress your friends with it. But like a supermodel, it’s blisteringly expensive to acquire, and once you get past the surface, you’ll find it has issues that you really don’t want to deal with on an ongoing basis.
Retail price: $699
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Score

79

Grade

C+


Bushnell 5 x 20 Golf Scope

Bushnell 5 x 20 Golf Scope

The Bushnell 5×20 Golf Scope Rangefinder offers an alternative for players who don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a laser rangefinder. The Bushnell is marketed as “estimating distances to the flag from 50 to 200 yards/meters,” and we appreciate this truth in advertising. In our tests we were able to keep accuracy within 10%, but at 200 yards, that’s about a two club difference. It’s extremely small, has 5x magnification, and doesn’t require batteries, but limitations of targeting make the device, even at $25, desirable to only a specific set of players. And you’d better be playing on a course with 8-foot flagsticks. Read more in our full Bushnell 5×20 Golf Scope review.
Retail price: $24.95
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Score

76

Grade

C


Bushnell Pro X7 JOLT

Bushnell Pro X7 JOLT

The Bushnell Pro X7 JOLT rolls out in 2014 as the top-of-the-line tournament-legal laser rangefinder from Bushnell, replacing the Bushnell Pro 1M. The Bushnell X7 retains all the capabilities of the Pro 1M, and adds Bushnell’s “JOLT” feature that provides vibrating bursts to indicate the X7 has locked onto a target. The Pro X7 offers the next generation E.S.P. that purports to provide yardages faster and more accurately than before. It remains the largest and heaviest laser rangefinder, with a steep price tag. But if you are looking for 7x magnification, this is the (only) way to go. More information is available in advance of our full Bushnell Pro X7 JOLT review.
Retail price: $499.00
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Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT

Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT

The Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT is just what the name implies…the latest iteration of the Bushnell Tour Z6, with the addition of JOLT technology, which provides vibrating bursts when the rangefinder has locked on to a target. Other than that, the device retains all the same specs as the prior generation device: vivid display technology (picture red crosshairs and distances in the display instead of black, but not an OLED display), readings from 5-125 yards with ½ yard accuracy and distances displayed to 1/10th of a yard, and 6x magnification. Read on for more details about the Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT.
Retail price: $399
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Laser Link XL1000

Laser Link XL1000

What on earth?! Laser Link gets crazy with their announcement of a golf laser rangefinder that breaks with their traditional and well-known pistol shaped design. As with most laser rangefinders on the market, the XL1000 is held vertically up to the eye and can target objects other than flagsticks with reflective prisms. The XL1000 introduces magnification (6x) for the first time into the Laser Link family, and the ability to scan across multiple objects for distance readings. Read more details in advance of a Laser Link XL1000 review.
Retail price: $359.00
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Laser Link Red Hot 2

Laser Link Red Hot 2

The Laser Link Red Hot 2 continues the pistol-shaped design that Laser Link is known for and provides the ability to obtain distances to any point on the golf course, unlike the more limited-use Laser Link QuickShot, which is designed to only pick up distance to flagsticks with reflective prisms. The Red Hot 2 (RH2) has a more ergonomically-friendly curved rubber handle, a red dot in the viewfinder for aiming, and the ability for distance confirmation to provide sound, be silent, or vibrate when locked on to a target. While the RH2 is available at a much more attractive (and realistic) price point than the prior generation offering, the downside and biggest difference from the competition remains the lack of any magnification in the viewfinder. Read more details in advance of our Laser Link Red Hot 2 review.
Retail price: $249
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Laser Link Switch

Laser Link Switch

Released in 2012, the Laser Link Switch combines the ease of use of the Laser Link QuickShot with the greater versatility of the Laser Link Red Hot at the flip of a switch. Laser Link is the sole company that provides the easy pistol-like shape that allows users to target objects while holding away from your face. The cost places it above average, and the lack of magnification may leave players looking for more. But if you’re a fan of the form factor, and primarily target flagsticks with reflective prisms but would like the option to obtain distances to other objects on occasion, you may wish to take a look. Read more details about the Laser Link Switch.
Retail price: $399.00
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Leupold GX-3i2

Leupold GX-3i<sup>2</sup>

The Leupold GX-3i2 has a solid aluminum body and a red OLED readout, all in a compact form factor. Enhancements in this model from the prior Leupold GX-3i are slight, but Leupold is now making enhancements on a line that is already exceptional. The device has 6x magnification, provides distances when panning and a flagstick prism lock option. Read on for more details of the Leupold GX-3i2 review.
Retail price: $499.99
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Leupold GX-1i

Leupold GX-1i

Leupold brings their “DNA” technology to the Leupold 1 and 2 “intro” line. The new Leupold GX-1i replaces the Leupold GX-1, which was not revved in 2012. The GX-1i includes all of the USGA-approved Leupold rangefinder features available (scan, fog, PinHunter, Prism Lock), with the exception of the OLED display and aluminum body included in the Leupold 3i. Stay tuned for our detailed Leupold GX-1i review.
Retail price: $374.99
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