You will probably agree that when you go hunting, is not easy to spot your targets, sometimes it’s a game of patience, other is instead, a game of smart and quick reactions. Targets either show up after a long time of waiting, or they are very quick to move. That’s why having an instrument to spot the targets easily and from far away can be of great use. And, sometimes, the best cheap range finder is all you need.
Fortunately rangefinders were made for that reason. They are similar to binoculars, but with a few extra features that make them the huntsman best friend, but we’ll talk about that later on with more detail. For now, we just want to tell you that there are many brands, varieties and even types of rangefinders, so we understand how hard it can be to choose one.
Luckily, we came up with a list of the top budget friendly rangefinders in the market. By reading this article you will be able to start by understanding what features to look for on a rangefinder, so that you buy one that suits hunting and not golfing, for example. Also, you will be able to compare different models based on what you have in mind. Hopefully, by the end you’ll have a better idea of what you need and you can make an informed purchase.
Our Top Picks
|Simmons LRF 600 Laser||9.6 ounces||10 - 600 yards||Easy to read LCD display||Check price on Amazon|
|Leupold RX-650||11.2 ounces||10 - 650 yards||Comes with a case||Check price on Amazon|
|Redfield Raider 650A||5.7 ounces||10 - 650 yards||Comes with a lanyard||Check price on Amazon|
|Nikon Aculon AL11||5.6 ounces||6 - 550 yards||Single button operation||Check price on Amazon|
|TecTecTec VPRO500||11.4 ounces||10 - 540 yards||2 years warranty||Check price on Amazon|
|SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez||14.4 ounces||10 - 1500 yards||Water resistant||Check price on Amazon|
|Simmons LRF 600||9.8 ounces||10 - 600 yards||Comes with a carrying case||Check price on Amazon|
|Wild Game Innovations Halo XRT||12 ounces||10 - 500 yards||Water resistant||Check price on Amazon|
Features To Consider Before Buying
Before you go on to buying a rangefinder, you have to know what you will use it for. The two most common uses are golfing or hunting, so you should start from there, as they are a bit different. Then, you might want to look into the weight and other things, but we plan to help you.
The first thing to consider before buying a cheap rangefinder is its purpose. Rangefinders can be used for different activities, and you might have to decide on whether you want one jut for golfing, bow hunting, rifle hunting or a multipurpose.
As you may know, a rangefinder calculates the distance to a target, hence why in golf having one comes really handy when you need to take a long shot. The same applies to hunting, you’ll need to calculate the distance from a target.
Now, the difference is that when you are hunting you want a smaller and lightweight rangefinder, so that you’re not uncomfortable. You also want one that’s very easy and quick to operate so that you don’t miss targets that move quickly.
With golf you can be more patient, have one that might not be as lightweight or small, but that will give you even more accurate measurements.
This is pretty straightforward. Depending on what you want, you should buy a rangefinder that fits your desired purpose. The range distance measurement becomes really important, 500, 600 or more yards? Only you know the answer to that, but we can tell you that a range of 500 to 650 yards is the common one between rangefinders and it is usually enough.
Take into account that most rangefinders advertise a maximum range, but depending on the weather and light, that can change. For example, heat waves, hazy conditions, and even glare, can affect the object and distort the maximum range capabilities.
Most rangefinders are nowadays advertised to come with a magnification feature, just like cameras or binoculars. This can be extremely useful, especially when hunting. The magnification does not increase the yardage range or it is not necessarily a very clear image.
However, it does help spot better far away objects. Let’s say you are hunting and target something 500 yards away, you might not distinguish properly, so the magnification will help you with that.
This is a very important feature that will differentiate a multipurpose rangefinder form one just for golfing. Most rangefinders have a First Priority Mode, this means that the laser on the rangefinder will range the first object in sight and ignore more distant objects. If the line of view is full of different objects, like trees or other things, a First Priority Mode rangefinder will not be your best fit.
In golfing it would be perfect. For hunting you will want one with a Second Priority Mode, which makes the objet more versatile, as it allows it to pinpoint objects further away, so if there are trees or other things in the way, you can choose what to target.
Also, you have Horizontal Mode and Scan Mode. Horizontal is for hunting in mountainous terrains, as it uses trigonometry to calculate the distance to a target between different angles. Whilst, the Scan Mode will allow you to measure a distance to an object by scanning multiple objects after hitting the Scan button and moving the rangefinder across the viewing area.
Top Product Reviews
Now we will focus on the best-reviewed rangefinders on the market. We will analyze them based on price, pros, cons, and their features. Then, you will be able to take a deep look into each one and decide which one might be the suitable model for you.
Simmons LRF 600 Laser Rangefinder
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 2.6 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, 4x magnification, an increment reading of 1 yard, easy to read LCD display
Range: 10 – 600 yards
Best use: Mutlipurpose
The Simmons LRF 600 Laser Rangefinder is one of the best out there. It serves a multipurpose one thanks to its many features. First of all, it’s compact as well as lightweight, making it ideal to be carried anywhere, from the woods to the golf course, it makes no difference. Second of all, it has a good yardage range that measure sup to 600 yards, good enough for any situation.
Not only that, but it is a reasonably priced object, that comes with most of the features you need. Now, it might not be the fanciest or the most advanced one, but certainly a reliable and useful one. It includes a horizontal mode, ideal for mountainous terrains, and the LCD display makes it extremely easy to use.
Combine that display with a practical magnification of 4x, and you’ll be able to see the objects very clearly even if they are far away.
Finally, it is completely waterproof, meaning you can feel safe under the rain. As to other weather conditions, strong glazes as well as foggy or hazy conditions affect it, but most of the rangefinders do too.
- Fairly priced
- After 400 yards it’s hard to use
- Affected by strong lights
- No tilt feature
Related: The Caldwell Target Stand is a favorite amongst people buying rangefinders. Use it to test your finder as well as your shooting accuracy.
Leupold RX-650 Micro Laser Rangefinder
Weight: 11.2 ounces
Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 3 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, comes with a case, can switch from yards to meters
Range: 10 – 650 yards
Best use: Multiple purposes
This Leupold RX-650 Micro Laser Rangefinder is one of the best ones. Leupold is a company that has been designing precision instruments for over a hundred years, and after testing this rangefinder we can tell you it is definitely noticeable that they know what they are doing.
The yardage range is a bit more than what other rangefinders usually advertise, and that’ because it actually works very well. In contrast with other rangefinders that tend to not work as accurately after 400 yards, this one is a bit more consistent. Some users even say that it has worked for them perfectly even further than 650 yards, but maybe that’s a stretch.
It is also compact, lightweight and has a very reasonable price. That is another reason why so many people like it. Yes, it lacks many features, but for a basic one it is fantastic. It is very clear when looking into it, might it one of the best in that sense.
It’s only problem is that early in the morning or at dusk it doesn’t work as well. Most rangefinders aren’t as good in darker conditions, that are a fact, but this one in particular isn’t as clear, and users have complained about that.
- Good price
- Very clear when looking into it
- Excellent yardage range
- Complicated to use when it is dark
Related: The Veridian Lithium Batteries are a must with this rangefinder, as it uses them. So buying an extra package is good, just in case.
Redfield Raider 650A Angle Laser Rangefinder
Weight: 5.7 ounces
Dimensions: 3.90 x 1.70 x 3 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, comes with a lanyard, 6x magnification, LCD display
Range: 10 – 650 yards
Best use: Golfing
The Redfield Raider 650A Laser Rangefinder is a bit of a more basic rangefinder compared to the other two already reviewed above. Although it has a bigger magnification of 6x, and a very good yardage range of up to 650 yards, it is not as accurate or as easy to use as the others.
This doesn’t mean it is not a good rangefinder, not at all. It is good, but you just have to make sure you use if for what it is good: golfing. If used during the day, with good light, good weather conditions, this can result in a great rangefinder. If used for hunting, in not great light and weather conditions, it’s not going to be great.
It doesn’t include a lanyard so it’s not easy to attach to anything, but it is lightweight enough to take anywhere. It has a great short-range accuracy, so good to even use inside shooting ranges, but again, not as accurate when used for long distances in more natural conditions.
- Very lightweight
- Excellent in short ranges
- Good price
- Not good for long ranges
- Not great in not so optimal weather conditions
Related: The Hardstorage Carrying Case for rangefinders is the ideal carrying case for this and many others. Store it safely and avoid it getting damaged whilst transported from a place to another.
Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, single button operation, LCD display, multilayer-coated optics, displays 1-yard increments
Range: 6 – 550 yards
Best use: Various purposes
The Nikon Aculon AL11 Laser Rangefinder is one of the best rangefinders for those on a budget, out there, as expected from any Nikon item. It is extremely lightweight, which makes it ideal for hunting. It is so small and compact, that it can even fit in your pocket.
It has a one-button feature, so with that single button you can basically operate the whole object. Some find it very good and simple to use, others like more buttons to choose things more quickly.
As for the other features, it measures only distance, so no horizontal or scan mode. However, it does come with a distant priority mode, meaning that it will target the furthest target among all. This is ideal for hunting, as it will not be distracted by closer targets.
Probably it’s best feature is it’s the speed, as this rangefinder will locate the target really quickly, probably faster than most of the others. This is perfect for hunting as it very quickly locates any target, giving you an advantage.
- Sped target locator
- Distant priority mode
- Not the best yard range
TecTecTec VPRO500 Rangefinder
Weight: 11.4 ounces
Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.8 x 4.1 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, 1 yard accuracy, eye safe rangefinder, 2 year warranty
Range: 10 – 540 yards
Best use: Golfing
The TecTecTec VPRO500 Rangefinder is a very good one, although a bit more expensive than other models. It is specifically designed for golfing, so not the best one if you are planning on going hunting, but it can work out too.
The optics of this rangefinder are fantastic. Literally, you will be able to see the target in such a clear way that you will be impressed, it is definitely the best one of all the models when it comes to optics. Plus, it comes with a 6x magnification, just to make it even simpler to look at your target. The yardage isn’t as long as with others, but it is very accurate even at 540 yards, something that most rangefinders aren’t.
It comes with a carrying case, it is lightweight, and it has a fast reading, almost as good as the Nikon, and again, that is rare. Plus, a 2 year warranty. If you plan on golfing, this might be your best option if you have the money needed to buy it.
- Fantastic optics
- Really fast to read targets
- Lightweight and good carrying case
- Pricier than others
- Only for golfing
Related: The Stick it Magnetic Rangefinder Strap is a very good product to have if you have a rangefinder and want to carry it around easily. The Velcro system makes it ideal to wrap it around the rangefinder and then magnetically attach it to any metal things you have, to have it easily with you.
SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez Rangefinder
Weight: 14.4 ounces
Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 3 inches
Specific features: Water resistant, 7x magnification, LCD displays
Range: 10 – 1500 yards
Best use: Multiple purposes
The SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez Rangefinder has the longest yard range, up to 1500 yards, and that is impressive. We must tell you that although it is advertised up to that yardage, it won’t be that accurate all the time. Remember that rangefinders have a difficult time in tough weather conditions or when the light is too bright or not very good. Same applies here.
However, it does reach further away than all the others, and up to 1000 yards it is going to work perfectly, and honestly, that’s a lot. Biggest setback is the price, this is a much pricier rangefinder, although it still sticks to the cheap rangefinders.
Overall, this is a good rangefinder, multipurpose, with a great magnification of 7x, water resistant, and as said above, the longest yard range amongst the ones we are reviewing here. It also comes with a very clear and easy to use LCD display, so you can clearly see your targets wherever you are.
- Excellent yard range, the longest
- Very good magnification
- Not as good after 1000 yards
Related: The Mildot Master is commonly bought alongside rangefinders as it will help you convert inches into yard decimals for even more accurate measurements.
Simmons LRF 600 Rangefinder
Weight: 9.8 ounces
Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 5.5 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, 1 yard accuracy, comes with a carrying case, 4x magnification, LCD display
Range: 10 – 600 yards
Best use: Hunting, golfing
The Simmons LRF 600 Rangefinder is a very good model of great quality, and very easy to use. Either hunting or golfing, this rangefinder is ideal, as it makes very accurate readings even after 600 yards. On top of that it has a not complex, but good enough, 4x magnification, ideal to clearly see objects or targets further away.
Thanks to the very clear optics that it has, it will not be a problem to spot those further away targets. It comes with a handy carrying case, although it does not include batteries, and it needs 9-volt batteries. It seems to be a bit of a problem the fact that it runs out the batteries a bit faster than others, and that is mostly due to the LCD display, which on the upside is a very good one.
Also, the class 1 laser is excellent, hence the reason why this rangefinder is such an excellent and multipurpose one, it will be accurate anywhere.
- Very good optics
- Easy to use
- Excellent yardage accuracy
- Good laser
- Batteries run out quickly
Related: The Pine Ridge Archery Wrench Set is commonly bought alongside this rangefinder, since the rangefinder is used for archery too. Having a wrench set to tweak or fix your arch, is always handy.
Wild Game Innovations Halo XRT Laser Rangefinder
Weight: 12 ounces
Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 2.5 inches
Specific features: Water resistant, 1 yard accuracy, 6x magnification, 1 year warranty, comes with a carrying case
Range: 10 – 500 yards
Best use: Golfing
The Wild Game Innovations Halo XRT Rangefinder is an excellent golfing rangefinder for a very cheap price. This is probably one of the cheapest models, and although it is good for mostly, golfing, it is surprising the great quality for such a cheap price.
It has a 500 yard range to reflective target, and it works really well, especially when there is good light in the field. The 6x magnification is excellent, allowing you to see your target even clearer.
It comes with a Scan Mode, which allows you to do a very constant ranging, and scan surfaces and objects all along the scanned area. This is perfect to understand how the terrain is and look, so you can better calculate your shot.
The main concern is the durability of the item. If not taken care of properly, for example, if it takes many bumps, it will break easily, and it is not completely waterproof, just water resistant.
- Very accurate
- Scan mode
- Not waterproof
- Not as resistant as other models
Related: The iTrack Finder is a good device to have to be able to find your rangefinder via Bluetooth in case you don’t remember where you left it.
It is time to come to an end. We have taken a closer look into rangefinders, explored their world and found out that some are great for hunting, some are ideal for golfing and others work for both. We have understood they have different features and how they can be affected by weather conditions or even light.
We hope that after reading this article you now know which cheap rangefinder is the best one for you. It is important to remember that weight is a fundamental factor if you will go hunting, sometimes more than the range or the magnification, you don’t want an object that is full of cool features but too heavy and uncomfortable to be easily carried.
Finally, we hope you have made up your mind. Will you buy it to go hunting or golfing? Is there ay other model we might have left out? If you have any comments or questions, please write them below, we’d like to hear from you!