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Last updated: March 26, 2021
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Golf is a game of skill and practice, but that doesn’t mean technology can’t help you improve your game. With the best golf rangefinder under $100, you can more accurately estimate the distance to the green so that you always know how to choose the perfect club. Plus, you don’t have to break the bank.
But how do you know which rangefinder is best for you? We sorted through dozens of top golf rangefinders based on characteristics like accuracy, maximum range, and magnification. All of these features play a huge role in helping you figure out just how far the hole is. We also considered whether a rangefinder was able to measure slope angle, whether it is waterproof, and how much it weighs. With all that in mind, we narrowed down to five of the best models on the market today – read on for our full reviews!
The AOFAR rangefinder does almost everything right for a budget-friendly product. This rangefinder offers key features like a slope angle measurement, which estimates the play distance of a hole in addition to giving you the actual range to the flag. It also offers a flag-lock mechanism that vibrates when it locks onto your target, so you know exactly when the range is ready for you.
We particularly liked that this rangefinder is accurate to within just 1.5 feet at a maximum distance of 600 yards. That’s precise enough to use for tournament play and for important putts. The viewfinder also offers 6x magnification, which is more than enough to enable you to clearly see a distant flag.
Another plus is that AOFAR stands behind its rangefinder. The company provides a two-year warranty and lifetime technical support in case you ever have trouble with your device.
What makes it special? This rangefinder is fully waterproof, which is a major advantage if you plan to make your tee time no matter what the weather. It also comes with a hard-sided carrying case to help protect your device inside your golf bag.
What cons did we find? The rangefinder is a little bit on the slow side when it comes to locking onto a flag. Whereas other models can give you an accurate reading within one second, users found that the AOFAR rangefinder can take up to five seconds to offer a distance estimate.
It’s hard to believe that the 650Y laser rangefinder retails for under $100. This rangefinder offers a fully multicoated viewfinder lens like the kind you’d find in high-end binoculars. The lens coatings cut down on glare and bring more light to your eye, leaving you with a much clearer view of the course in front of you. The lens offers 6x magnification, but users note that it feels like more than that because of the image quality.
Users also liked that this rangefinder offers several features to help you get an accurate reading quickly and easily. It includes continuous range readings in scan mode and vibrates when it locks onto a flag. The rangefinder also supports pin mode, which can help you get an even more accurate reading when you’re within 150 yards of the flag.
The only thing that this rangefinder doesn’t offer is slope angle measurement. That’s a major reason why it remains under $100 despite being built with excellent optics.
Why are we impressed? This rangefinder is powered by standard AAA batteries, which are very inexpensive. In addition, it’s easy to carry spare batteries in your golf bag and to swap out the batteries in seconds on the course.
What negatives must you be aware of? The lack of a slope angle measurement feature is disappointing, especially since all of the other golf laser rangefinders under $100 we reviewed have this functionality.
If you play on courses with long par-five holes, then you need a rangefinder that can handle long distances. There’s no better choice for this scenario than the TACKLIFE MLR01, which offers a maximum range of 900 yards. Incredibly, the laser rangefinder is accurate to within just three feet from that massive distance.
The key to this rangefinder is that the viewfinder offers 7x rather than 6x magnification. That allows you to see the flag much more clearly so you can get a lock on it. Importantly, the rangefinder can also be set up on a tripod. The added stability is hugely important if you need a perfectly accurate range estimate from hundreds of yards away.
The rangefinder offers several modes, including a standard range mode, a flaglock mode, and a scanning mode. It can also measure objects’ speed, although it won’t work for measuring the speed of an opponent’s golf ball in most cases.
Why did it make our list? The display inside this rangefinder is extremely clear, particularly in scanning mode. That makes it easy to quickly evaluate the range to the hole, the slope angle, and any other details you need to take into account when selecting a club.
What is not ideal about it? The instructions that come with this rangefinder aren’t very helpful. Plan on taking some time when you first get it to figure out what all the buttons and settings do.
If you prize accuracy above all else, consider this precision laser rangefinder from MiLESEEY. The rangefinder offers accuracy to within just 1.65 feet at up to 660 yards – a degree of accuracy that is only matched by our Editor’s Choice pick from AOFAR.
The accuracy of this unit comes in part from its use of time of flight technology, which measures how long it takes for a laser to reach its target. The 6x lens is fully multicoated to help you see your target more clearly, too. Once you’re trained on the flag, this rangefinder can lock onto the target to offer a highly accurate distance.
Another nice thing about this rangefinder is that it comes with a slope angle measurement. The slope-adjusted distance gives you a better idea of how a hole will play, which in turn allows you to pick the right club for the job. The scan mode also works well for gauging the distance of multiple hazards on the fairway at once.
What makes it special? This rangefinder is extremely compact and light. Most users can easily grip it with a single hand, and it’s easy to forget that it’s in your golf bag since it weighs less than six ounces.
What cons did we find? Although this rangefinder is advertised as waterproof, users noted that water can leak inside the housing when it rains. The rangefinder should be fine during light rain, but it may not hold up to a downpour.
This capable rangefinder from BOBLOV is another great option for golfers looking to take their games to the next level. The laser rangefinder offers three different modes, including a flag-lock mode to help you quickly lock onto your target and get an accurate distance estimate. Once it locks on, the rangefinder will vibrate to let you know the range is correct. It also has a scan mode, which works well for estimating distances across an entire fairway in seconds.
The rangefinder is accurate to within three feet at a distance of up to 650 yards. The lens is coated to reduce glare, although the optics aren’t on par with some of the other rangefinders we looked at. Still, most golfers won’t have a problem locking on the flag thanks to the 6x magnification.
Another benefit to this rangefinder is that it offers slope angle measurement. The display tells you not just how far the flag is, but how far your ball will need to travel to reach it based on the slope angle.
What are its best features? This rangefinder comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 20 rounds of golf. All you have to do to add juice is plug in a micro USB cable, which means you can recharge this rangefinder on the go with almost any portable battery pack.
What could be improved? For the price, we’d like to see a fully multicoated viewfinder lens. It can be difficult to see the flag at long distances if you’re playing in the early morning or late evening when there is less light available.
Things to Consider
Now that you know more about our five favorite budget golf rangefinders, how do you decide on the one that’s right for you? In our Buying Guide, we’ll explain what you should expect out of a cheap golf rangefinder and highlight top features that can help you get the right device to improve your golf game.
A golf rangefinder for under $100: What you should and should not expect
Golf rangefinders range in price from well under $100 to several hundred dollars. Importantly, choosing an affordable rangefinder doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. A budget rangefinder should be just as accurate as a more expensive counterpart. At the end of the day, no rangefinder is worth the cost if you can’t trust the range reading.
That said, you will miss out on some premium features when sticking to budget models. Only a handful of golf laser rangefinders under $100 offer slope angle measurement, for example. This can be a helpful feature if you tend to play on hilly courses where the range to the flag alone might not accurately reflect the club you need.
The quality of the viewfinder lens can also suffer in cheaper rangefinders, although this isn’t a huge problem if you are primarily playing on wide-open courses with a clear view to your target.
Overall, though, you should get most of the functionality you need from a golf rangefinder without paying more than $100.
Features to consider when choosing rangefinder for golf
What should you be looking for when considering golf rangefinder models? There are a number of features that go into the best rangefinders. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know in order to get the rangefinder that’s right for you.
There’s simply nothing more important to a rangefinder than its accuracy. A rangefinder that doesn’t report ranges consistently and to within a few yards of true isn’t worth your money.
Not all rangefinders are accurate to within the same range, either. Ultra-accurate models like the AOFAR and MiLESEEY rangefinders can report distance to within two feet. Other models could be off by as much as 3.5 feet, although this shouldn’t be enough of a difference to affect your decision-making.
Not all distances ‘play’ the same. If a green is uphill from your current position, you might need a heavier club than if the course were flat. Having a rangefinder that is capable of measuring the slope angle along with distance can be a huge help in these situations.
All of the golf rangefinders we reviewed except for the Gogogo rangefinder come with a slope angle measurement feature.
Modes: Range, scanning, flag acquisition
Golf rangefinders come with several different modes to help you measure distances. The most important mode, which is essentially standard for every rangefinder, is the first target priority mode. In this mode, your rangefinder automatically finds the flag and filters out all the trees and other objects in the background to give you an accurate distance to the hole.
Some golf rangefinders also come with a flag acquisition mode, which is a specialized version of first target priority mode. In this setting, your rangefinder can zero in on the flag pole to yield a faster and more accurate distance reading. Most of the rangefinders we reviewed, including the AOFAR and BOBLOV models, have flag acquisition settings.
Finally, all of the rangefinders we reviewed have a scanning mode. This allows the rangefinder to automatically calculate distances to any object in the viewfinder as you sweep your view over the course. This mode can be very helpful for knowing how far any object is, not just the flag.
In order to lock onto a target, you need to be able to see it. That’s why most modern golf rangefinders offer 6x or 7x magnification in the viewfinder. More magnification is generally better, since it allows you to more clearly and more quickly lock onto the flag – no matter how far away it is.
Size and weight
You’ll be carrying your golf rangefinder with you across all 18 holes. So the lighter and more compact it is, the better. All of the rangefinders we reviewed weigh half a pound or less, so weight isn’t a huge differentiating factor.
But be wary if you find a rangefinder that’s significantly heavier than around six to seven ounces.
Ease of use
If your rangefinder isn’t simple and fast to use, it won’t come out of your golf bag. Make sure that you choose a golf rangefinder that’s simple to set up and can quickly lock onto a target. Having the ability to hold your rangefinder with one hand is nice, and features like vibration when it locks onto a target let you know that you’re getting accurate distances.
Even cheap rangefinders come with some added features. Look for extras like carrying cases to protect your rangefinder when it’s inside your golf bag. Having a warranty on your device can also ensure that you’re protected in case something goes wrong.
A golf rangefinder absolutely must be accurate in order to be useful. Typically, ranges are considered accurate enough if they’re within about five feet of your target. Some rangefinders are accurate to within 1.5 feet.
Most modern rangefinders use very little power. Depending on whether it uses a replaceable or a rechargeable battery, you should expect to get several hours of battery life out of your device. That’s several rounds of golf with heavy rangefinder use for most people.
Our three overall favorite budget golf rangefinders are the AOFAR GX-2S, the Gogogo 650Y, and the TACKLIFE MLR01.
The TACKLIFE laser rangefinder offers superior accuracy at long distances up to 900 yards, which few other models in the under $100 price range can match. Even better, the 7x fully multicoated viewfinder ensures that you’re able to see your target from that tremendous distance.
The Gogogo rangefinder doesn’t have slope angle measurement, but it’s a terrific rangefinder if you can do without this feature. It offers excellent accuracy and a superior optical system compared to all the other rangefinders we considered.
We think the AOFAR rangefinder is the overall best golf rangefinder under $100. It includes a flag-lock mode with vibration, slope angle measurement, and extreme accuracy in its range estimates. Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty and lifetime technical support from AOFAR to help protect your investment.