You don't need to spend a fortune for a great golf rangefinder anymore.
I've tested almost every golf rangefinder and golf distance finder you can imagine. Loads of manufacturers send me their products to review on my Youtube channel all the time. My favorite part of playing so much golf equipment is finding a good deal to pass onto you, especially when it comes to cheap accurate rangefinders.
The best budget laser golf rangefinder is the Voice Caddie L5.
7 Best Budget Golf Rangefinders for The Money
- Voice Caddie L6 (Editors choice - best speed in the category)
- Nikon Coolshot 20 GII (high quality Nikon optics in a range finder)
- Precision Pro NX7 (best range finder for shaky hands)
- Shotscope L1 (best new kid on the block)
- Precision Golf NX9 (best quality budget rangefinder)
- Callaway 300 Pro (best golf brand rangefinder)
- Blue Tees Pro 2 (best external branding and construction)
Quickest on the list and best rangefinder with a slope feature
The Voice Caddie L6 rangefinder is my rangefinder of choice and it is the best golf rangefinder for the money hands down. I've got a lot of rangefinders in my cupboard at home and give them away or lend them to pros when they need one. But the L6 rangefinder is my favorite. There are many reasons I like this rangefinder but as always, the number one reason is it reads distances FAST. Not just relatively fast, I mean fast.
What sets it apart from every other rangefinder on the list is the V-algorithm to calculate the distance on slope readings. The engineering team at Voice Caddie have gone through iteration after iteration to improve the precision of the distance finding. This is their most precise model yet.
I prefer the way you can switch slope feature on and off with the L6. I just press the M button and it toggles on and off. My main gripe comes when there is a decimal point on slope mode. It's a personal preference to have whole numbers but when I switch it over to Tournament mode without the slope featrure, it does go to whole numbers without a decimal point.
A big difference in the viewfinder that I found is that the slope calculation is not in degrees but in yards so you can see the true elevation. The rangefinder tells us that the pin is +12 yards or -3 yards above or below us.
My experience with the Voice Caddy L6
I tested the L6 against every rangefinder I use regularly (Inesis Tour 900, Bushnell V5, Coolshot, Precision Pro) and the distances were consistently on target and as quick or quicker than every other model. The display is better than most and the small bullseye crosshair is what makes it so easy to hit the top of the flag.
The L6 has an 'M' button on the top of the device to change between 4 modes: slope mode general, slope mode pin, no slope general, no slope pin. It's super easy to toggle between the modes and I noticed the Slope mode uses 1 decimal point in the reading while the No-slope mode uses whole numbers only.
Because I have used so many rangefinders, accurate numbers didn't surprise me but I was surprised how accurate AND FAST the rangefinder is. I didn't struggle to hit the target and rarely had to shoot a distance more than twice. The vibration when you hit the target is pleasant without feeling like an earthquake is hitting you either. I like this model and it is my gamer.
The Voice Caddie L6 is compact and the build quality is top notch. There's a 30 day full refund guarantee if you don't like it. That's a winner.
Nikon optics for durability and reliable distances
Finding decent rangefinders can be a challenge, not knowing the quality level, but when you see the name Nikon, your eyes just settle on it. The Coolshot 20 GII is a very simple to use point-and-shoot no frills rangefinder. Put it up to your eye, find the target, press the button, done.
Pro Bo Chalisa Lim on my Youtube channel uses this rangefinder and she is on the Thai LPGA. Here's what she says about the rangefinder.
"As a lady pro golfer, it's nice to have a small rangefinder for my hands while playing practice rounds. The cheap price of the Nikon Coolshot 20 rangefinder is the main reason I bought it but love that it fits snugly in the palm of my hand and can even be put in my pocket when I wear shorts on the course. Picking up targets inside 200 yards is easy but if we go beyond 250 yards, the crosshairs in the viewfinder do struggle to pick up the pin. That's okay though because only my driver goes around 250 yards.
Because it is so light and small, you do need slightly steady hand. The reason you don't want the Nikon waving around is that the crosshairs used to pick up targets are not 100% efficient. The battery lasts for about a year and to have Nikon optics in your bag at this price is a steal and comes in as one of the best budget golf rangefinders."
Reliable right in the sweet spot of the wallet
The Precision Pro range took over the best budget golf rangefinder market a few years ago The NX7 is a slightly older model but it does what it says on the box and it is a distance measuring device.
When I used an NX7 with subscriber Einar who was here in Bangkok, I learned more about this model. It has a scanning mode where I was scanning constantly while depressing the button and it told me distances to the different objects as I moved over them. Despite being a budget golf rangefinder, the pin lock feature was a nice addition so it vibrated when I hit the pin while measuring the distance.
If you've never used a golf rangefinder before, the vibration makes a big difference, giving you that extra feeling of reassurance. I enjoyed the slope function of the Precision Pro NX7 because the course we played had a lot of elevation changes.
I found the carry bag of the rangefinder is a bit low quality and is hard to get your rangefinder in and out of but there are enough generic ones out there to replace it. The accuracy on this device is equal to the Bushnells but the big difference is the speed of getting the reading. My Bushnell is super quick but that is because it costs triple the price. We have to accept this is a lower priced option. It's also a great option for guys with shaky hands.
We have to compare apples to apples and Bushnell of course is triple or quadruple the price. In the budget range, the Precision Pro NX7 is a winner especially with the slope function. I also found that the magnet feature which is in so many rangefinders was frustrating as we left it lying around the cart instead. This can be solved with a magnetic strap.
- Build construction is high end
- Accurate and consistent measurements
- Free lifetime battery replacements from Precision Pro
- Slope functionality helps select the right club
- No magnet to stick on the golf cart
- I found yellow flags were a problem for this rangefinder
Premium quality in a budget package
Shot Scope PRO L1 Golf range finder is a pretty small sized rangefinder and can fit in your pocket between shots. When you play with cheaper rangefinders as much as I have over the last few years, you expect that they will feel cheap and nasty. But the Shot Scope Pro L1 feels high quality and the external materials are upper end with a solid construction.
May favorite aspect of the Pro L1 was the Precision Clear Lens where you can change either red or black optics by flicking a switch so you can see the readings clearer. Like all rangefinders, even the budget golf rangefinders, you can change between yards and meters.
My next favorite feature is the scanning mode where I was holding down a button, and the rangefinder was giving me readings to trees, bunkers or whatever was int he way as I moved.
Despite being a cheaper model, I liked the pulse vibration when the rangefinder thinks it finds the the flag. The range is stated at 875 yards which is extreme but I found the rangefinder works best inside on distances inside 220 yards. The inflated 875 yard or 600 yard claims mean nothing because we will never use the rangefinder for those lengths. The longest I have ever needed to get a reading on the Shot Scope was 340 yards on a par 4, to know which club to hit off the tee so leave a pitching wedge to the green.
With flag lock technology, as well as slope it's a great deal. The styling is just so much better than the really cheap models I have played with as well. It's quick, comfortable in the hand, accurate and comes with a hard case. Good value.
Best rangefinder for the money
The Precision Pro NX9 is just as the name says, precise. It's also really easy to use. Precision Pro Golf keep your wallet in mind when creating their rangefinders. The devices are fantastic and don't cost you your children's' college funds. Plus you get free lifetime batteries!
I found I got readings within a yard of my very expensive Bushnell V5 and with good consistency.
The distances if you check and recheck won't change more than a yard or so which eliminates a lot of confusion and frustration associated with only the lowest end product. On top of that, the funky green and black make this a very good looking model.
If you drive a golf cart when you play, like I did a lot in the USA, there is a magnet in the rangefinder so I was able to stick it to metal surfaces. It just stays there. Be careful with the almost entirely black color, because I left it on the golf cart multiple times and the worker at the course had to give it back to me.
I had a small issue with the viewfinder because of the wide crosshairs in the viewfinder. This means sometimes, it gets frustrating as you try to lock onto a pin with tree trunks in the background. The crosshairs take in too much of the surroundings which is why the higher end optics always have smaller bullseye or crosshairs.
The company behind this lovely device is responsive and you'll hear back from them rapidly when you have questions or issues and are known for calling you on the phone as a follow up. They also offer free battery replacements for life.
Big name brand makes a superb rangefinder
I have seen and used these all over Malaysia and Thailand and it's a very nice, simple piece of machinery. Two professionals I have played with use the Callaway 300 Pro because it's so widely available out here.
The built in magnet makes it perfect for the times you have to ride a cart, which is often the case in Malaysia and USA I found while I was there. When I have to take my golf clubs across the fairway when it's buggy on track, I stick the rangefinder onto a club head and shaft. The magnet inside the Callaway makes it stick to the clubs!
It's not just some cheaply made rangefinder. The bullseye is a great SMALL size which is what I want so I can hit the small top of the flag easily . You want it to be a bit smaller because it picks up smaller targets (like a pin) MUCH easier. There is no silly decimal point in this rangefinder. I hate the decimal point in the budget golf rangefinders because they are meaningless and cause confusion.
I like the slope function on every rangefinder. It's very rare that I would use one without slope function. This budget golf rangefinder has the slope function which can be toggled on and off.
The unit is comfortable and small. It comes with a very nice bag with a D clip on it so you can tether it to your. I never do - I always put it inside the bag. Overall, this is one of the best rangefinders for the money and is a very reliable product from a big name brand.
Well-made and well-thought out branding but optics in budget range
The Blue Tees rangefinder is fast and accurate for this category of budget rangefinder. I got to try one in the USA after I bought a model at the PGA Superstore in Fairfax VA.
Looking through the viewfinder is a pleasure and the quality is clear and easy. The rangefinder is very comfortable to hold, unlike some of the very cheap ones with weird names. But please be aware that I found the Blue Tees model I had to be out by a few yards. You could get readings between 1 and 6 yards difference on the exact same measurement.
I would stand and shoot the flag and notice one distance is 165 and the next is 167 then 159 then 171 so I was not 100% impressed with it. It certainly is a better feeling quality exterior but internally, it's not perfect. It's much better than a lot of the poorly named models you will see. The models where you can't pronounce the names as the ones to avoid.
You'll need to have a steadier hand when you're measuring over about 180 yards. It has a harder time picking up the flag but the flag lock vibration is included so you know when you do hit the flag, it vibrates.
The slope model is excellent for taking into account the difference in shot length depending on elevation up or down. The rangefinder lets you know if the shot is playing longer or shorter, and tells you the adjusted distance. This is so helpful especially if you do not understand elevation and how it affects your shots.
I would stock up on some batteries as well. Batteries that are included in rangefinder sets usually do not last as long as the ones you can get at the camera store.
The best cheap rangefinder including slope, for both accuracy and speed is clearly the Voice Caddie L6.
Slope is the calculation that the rangefinder does for you to tell you how far the pin is playing taking into account the elevation change between your golf ball and the pin.
These rangefinders generally cost a bit more but it's becoming normal to include slope in every model. In the viewfinder, the digits will display the real distance plus a second distance below that one, where the rangefinder tells you if it plays longer or shorter. The distance will play shorter if the pin is below you and further is the pin is above where you are standing.
Frequently Asked Questions about budget golf rangefinders
Can I use a hunting rangefinder?
I firmly DO NOT recommend buying a cheap hunting rangefinder.
Use a range finder for golf. Having a golf-specific rangefinder gives you so much peace of mind knowing you have something that will work out of the box. Why purchase a hunting rangefinder for a similar price to a golf rangefinder when the range finder for golf has been programmed specifically for the game you are playing?
Golf rangefinders have software to give preference to a target closer to you rather than further from you. For example, if the pin is 50 yards in front of bushes, the golf rangefinder has been designed to give preference to the closer object (the pin). This technology has a few names like First Target Priority Mode(Callaway/Nikon), PinHunter (Leupold), Pinseeker (Bushnell).
The hunting rangefinders generally give preference to the more distant object like a deer behind a tree. Golf rangefinders have been designed for golf-specific purposes.
Golf rangefinders also have pin seeking technology that recognizes the pin and can zero in on it easily. Some have technology which makes the device vibrate to let you know once it’s found the pin.
With a hunting rangefinder you will have trouble picking up the pin and it will only be effective for larger targets like hills, slopes and bunkers. It can be very frustrating to pin point exact distances to precise spots on the golf course. It takes many readings to eventually get a distance to a flagstick.
What are the differences between cheap and expensive golf rangefinders?
When it comes to a rangefinder for golf, you really get what you pay for.
If you're going too low on price, you lose on accuracy. The discrepancies may be 1-3 yards but they could be as big as 7 or 8 yards in which case, it might affect club choices. I have excluded the very bad ones from this list and I promise, if it's on the list it works. If it is not on the rating list above, then it did not make the cut. You do need to make trade-offs when going budget but if your sole purpose is to get a number for your shot, then there isn't too much to stress about!
The more well-known and pricier the rangefinder, generally, the better the optics. This means superior accuracy. I cannot in good faith recommend some brands in this guide that I know are junk so you will find the good ones here only. Leica, Bushnell and Swarowski make the best optics in so many fields that to expect the level of quality and attention to detail from models 1/4 of the price is unrealistic.
Which Golf Rangefinders should I avoid in this price range?
These are made for hunting and aren't suitable as a range finder for golf. Best to avoid them to avoid disappointment. They have cheap construction and feel awful.
Gogogo Sport Vpro 6X
Gogogo Sport Vpro Laser Golf/Hunting Rangefinder
Should I use a rangefinder or a golf GPS watch?
At this price point, there is the option of using a golf GPS watch and some other golf distance measuring devices besides only rangefinders. There are pros and cons to both. I suggest the rangefinder if you want to know the carry to many spots on a hole while I suggest a GPS watch if all you want to know is the distance to the front, back and middle of the greens.
GPS Golf Watch
The verdict: Best budget golf distance finder
The best budget golf range finder is the Voice Caddy L5. It's got all of the features of a premium model for a fraction of the price.
There's no need to go for the very expensive rangefinders when any of the above best budget golf rangefinders will do. Another safe bet is the Precision Golf NX9 due to overall quality and design and the fact that they will replace the batteries for free. The Wosports is hard to beat on price though!
If you want to have The higher priced premium options in rangefinders check out the guide.
Happy golfing and remember, a rangefinder is definitely worth the investment.