Finding the perfect rangefinder is an issue which every archery enthusiast goes through. With so many good, bad, and average archery rangefinders available in the market, the process gets tricky. There are a number of factors which you have to keep in mind before making the purchase. The measurement distance range, durability, features, battery life, modes, and more. It is a process which requires a lot of research. And most of you might find it to be a tedious affair.
Archery is a sport which has been on the rise in popularity over the last few decades. More and more people are being attracted to the sport in both competitive and leisure mindset. Even the traditional way of hunting involves archery. So, to excel at this craft you need top quality equipment. And the bow rangefinder forms a great part of this equipment. Without it, you will find it difficult to calculate the distance of the target.
With so many archery rangefinders, you might end up in confusion not knowing which one to purchase. So in this article, we have listed some of the best bow rangefinders you can buy. We have put in the research and used these archery rangefinders to give you the most unbiased opinion on each of our picks. So sit back and take a look at the best archery rangefinders of the year 2019.
Do you need a rangefinder for bowhunting?
While the use of a rangefinder is not necessary for success while bowhunting, it’s highly recommended. Getting an accurate range of your target ensures a better chance at a clean harvest, something every hunter strives for.
Are these the same as RF binos?
Rangefinders and rangefinder binoculars are the same concept, combined. We wrote about some of our favorite rangefinder binoculars on the market in another post so we won’t dive too far into it here. The bottom line is, people who need less distance sighting and less weight, generally choose a rangefinder for bowhunting. Rangefinder binos generally add weight to a kit that isn’t completely necessary.
Related: Best Bowhunting Backpacks
What is the best bow hunting rangefinder this year?
1. Nikon 8376 Archer’s Choice Max Rangefinder – New ID Technology
Nikon is one of the pioneers in developing not just bow rangefinders, but any kind of rangefinders. They have developed an arsenal of great rangefinders which have made our lives easier. The Nikon 8376 model is no different. It offers everything we always wanted in an archery rangefinder. It has an active brightness control viewfinder which has the ability to automatically control the brightness of the reticle depending on the brightness of the target. Depending on the brightness, the reticle turns into either orange LED or gray LCD to give you a clear view of the target.
It has a distance accuracy of +/- .1 yard for a maximum of 200 yards. The archery rangefinder is equipped with ID Technology which compensates for the decline and incline of shooting angles. It is shown that it can compensate up to +/- 89 degrees. Nikon 8376 has two modes – Distance target priority mode and First target priority mode. The former displays the range to the target which is furthest to you. This is ideal if you are aiming at targets which are covered by trees or bush. The latter is great for aiming at targets which are small. For example, a lone buck or a fence post.
The LCD screen provides uncluttered view and the multicoated optics has the ability to deliver 6 x magnifications. It operates on a single button making it easier to take measurements. Also, it comes with the power saving option of switching off after 8 seconds. Click here to see the best price.
2. Bushnell G-Force DX ARC 6x 21mm Laser Rangefinder – Extreme Speed and Precision
Bushnell is another major player in the rangefinder market. They have come up with a number of rangefinders over the years known for its use of latest technology. The vertically designed rangefinder boasts a number of features to make it stand out from the rest. The display has a red screen opposed to the usual black screen display. It has four different brightness levels to be used according to the amount of light. You can adjust the brightness manually to get the ideal brightness for reading the measures. The rangefinder has the ability to calculate the compensated angle on MAO and MIL.
The rangefinder is equipped with ESP 2 feature (Extreme Speed and Precision) which helps to work out the range and speed with great accuracy. The distance accuracy delivered by the archery rangefinder is .5 yards for 199 yards. The previous version could deliver the same only for a distance of 125 yards. The bow rangefinder is made with metal casing and the area which is held has a rubber grip. Built strong, the rangefinder can take the blunt impact without any damage. The metal grip also diminishes any chance of slippage. Weighing at 8 ounces, it is lightweight and compact.
The rangefinder is expected to give a range of 1300 yards on reflective targets, 900 yards on trees, and 600 yards on deer sized targets. It is one of the best vertical bow rangefinders when it comes to its range. It has three modes namely, rifle mode, bow mode, and regular mode. Depending on your requirement, you can switch to the mode you want. It is fully waterproof with even the lens coated with a water-resistant material. Click here to see the best price.
3. Nikon 16228 ARROW ID 5000 Laser Rangefinder – A Balance Between Budget & Performance
Developed to be the ultimate bow rangefinder, Nikon 16228 ARROW ID 5000 is the perfect balance between performance and budget rangefinder. Equipped with incline/decline angle compensation feature, you can take the shot with confidence. ID angle compensation calculates the range accurately and shows the adjusted range. It has a range of 600 yards on a reflective surface. The LCD screen is black and gives clear and uncluttered images to the reticule. Powered by CR2 battery, it has an amazing lifespan. But the battery is not easily accessible and does not hold the charge for more than two hours.
It has a scan and target mode which you can use depending on the requirement. When you have the target in sight, target mode can be switched on. If you want to scan multiple targets, the scan mode can be switched on. The scan mode lets you scan multiple targets for 8 seconds. A great feature of the ARROW 5000 is the battery meter on the display. It helps you monitor remaining power and use it accordingly. You can carry around the archery rangefinder with ease as it comes with a strap and neoprene carry case. It is waterproof and the whole gadget is backed by a limited warranty of 2 years. This rangefinder is equipped with all the features which are needed for a good bow rangefinder. Click here to see the best price.
4. Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector Edition 4x Laser Rangefinder – Accurate and Operational With One Hand
Bushnell 202208 Bone is specifically designed for hunters. It does not matter whether you have a rifle or a bow, this archery rangefinder works for both. It is not a piece filled with features but does the job for you. The design is great and it weighs less than 10 ounces. But do not let the lightness get you off track; it is built like a tank. Though it has a carry case, you can easily slip it into your pant pockets as it is that compact. It comes in a variety of colors. But the best choice would be not to choose bright colors while taking it to the bushes.
The rangefinder is vertical in its design and operates on a single button. It has the autofocus feature which lets you focus on the targets with ease. The single button operation also lets you use only one hand to operate the gadget. It is waterproof and can withstand rainy conditions. But it will take damage if fully submerged in water. It uses a 9-volt battery to power which is readily accessible everywhere. The battery will be hard to remove as you may need a screwdriver. But it makes sure that the battery is safe from moisture.
It has an objective lens of 20mm, with 4x magnification, and has a range of 1000 yards with +/- 1 accuracy. The LCD screen illuminates in low light to make it easy for you to read. It does not have brightness adjusting function though. It has a battery low indicator which comes in handy. Click here to see the best price.
5. Bushnell 202442 The Truth ARC 4x20mm Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder – Clear Shot System
Going through this review you must have already realized that Bushnell is a pioneer at manufacturing rangefinder. The pocket sized rangefinder is known for its high-quality optics to provide accurate readings. The optics are supported by the HD clarity display. It has an ergonomic design which is ideal for comfort and the anti slip rubber coating avoids any kind of slippage. It comes with 4x magnification and the horizontal range of the bow mode is from 7 to 199 yards. It has a range of 850 yards on reflective surfaces and 600 yards if you are targeting trees.
But the most important feature of this rangefinder is the Clear Shot System. It is a bit complicated system, but ones you master it you will be amazed at how you can take shots. To make use of it, you will have to correspond the speed of your bow with the rangefinder. Once it is set up, you have different modes to choose from. And it can be operated with the single button operation. It also has a button to zoom in and out, placed at the ideal position.
With the Clear Shot System, you get the instantaneous feedback on the shot you have just taken. No, you do not have to worry about hitting obstructions or clipping branches. The LCD display does not come with adjustable brightness. This can be an issue as it becomes difficult to read while the lighting is low. Click here to see the best price.
6. Nikon 16224 Arrow ID 3000 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder – Tru-Target Technology
The size and appearance of the rangefinder are similar to that of Nikon Aculon. But it has been built on the success of its predecessors. It has more features, sturdy make, long eye relief, and great range. Arrow ID 3000 is a masterpiece from Nikon ID and True Target Technology. The ID Technology delivers the horizontal distance to the target by nullifying the incline or decline angles at which you are shooting. It is extremely useful to those who bow hunt from elevated tree lines.
But the real treat is the Tru-Target technology which depending on the situation lets the user change modes. This is especially useful when the target is behind trees or bushes. Also, the ability to switch between modes in just clicking and holding a button for two seconds is an advantage. The rangefinder is dark green in color and has a compact design which makes it ideal to carry around in your pocket. The 20mm eye relief is developed to make the viewing comfortable and at the same time to make the ranging process easier.
The LCD display is clear and uncluttered. You get a range of 550 yards with a distance accuracy of +/- 1 yard. The distance is displayed under the reticle as opposed to over it, which is how it used to be in the previous models. It is one great bow rangefinder which you would not want to miss out on. Click here to see the best price.
7. Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC 6 x 21mm Laser Rangefinder – Extra Features At The Same Price
Scout 1000 ARC was one of the best rangefinders of its time. It came with some great features and a perfect built to be the companion of many bow hunters for years. But now, Bushnell has come up with a successor. Basing on the true Scout 1000 ARC, they have manufactured Scout DX 1000 ARC. The DX in the name is to imply to the upgrades in features it has with Scout 1000 ARC. Designed to be sleek with durable plastic instead of metal housing, it has rubber armoring which provides grip and also the ability to take a fall with grace. It is also completely fog and waterproof, which is always an advantage.
Scout DX 1000 boasts a range from 5 to 1000 yards in ideal conditions. It has 6 x magnifications with +/- one yard of distance accuracy. The range would vary in real world conditions with the range on a reflective or large object to be around 650 yards. It has built in inclinometer developed based on accelerometer which helps you calculate the angle when shooting uphill or downhill. You have different modes such as rifle and bow mode, the Bullseye and the Brush mode. The G-force is upgraded with the Extreme Speed and Precision (ESP) technology to give accurate readings.
Some of the other features of the rangefinder include adjustable diopter, tripod mount, 10 ballistic charts, and a two-year limited warranty. The archery rangefinder is powered by a 3-volt CR2 battery. The Scout DX is absolutely a beast of a rangefinder with great upgrades compared to its predecessor. It is worth every penny you pay. Click here to see the best price.
Buying Guide – Things to Look Out For In an Archery Rangefinder
Buying a rangefinder can always be a tough task. With so many options available in the market, it can get you confused while choosing one which is ideal for you. There are many factors which you have to take into account before making the purchase. A patient research of the market and your requirement is necessary to lead you to the bow rangefinder which would suit you the most. So here we have a buying guide which would help you understand the factors which have to be checked before purchasing a rangefinder.
Define your requirement
You should find out what you are expecting to do with the rangefinder. The features you need and how you are going to use it. It is kind of an elimination process. Once you know your needs, you can look at the rangefinders which fall under that category. The rest will be eliminated then and there. So define your needs before you go on looking for an archery rangefinder.
It is one of the most important things which it comes to any kind of purchase. You should know how much money you can allocate for the purchase. It will help you eliminate the ones which are over and under that price range. You can research on only those rangefinders which are in your budget slab. Also, you would not end up buying a rangefinder which is over your financial ability or which is way below what you can afford. This gets rid of the regret factor too.
Some of the manufacturers have an advantage over the rest. They might have certain technologies integrated into their rangefinder which distinguishes them from the rest. So looking out for good brands always helps as they deliver mostly the best quality products. You get the opportunity to experience the best features probably at a bit higher cost. But it is most of the times worth it. It is also a known fact that all the good brands have great customer service. This makes it easier for you to get help in the case of any damage repair or replacement issues.
As the name rangefinder suggests, the main purpose of buying a rangefinder is to calculate the range. The longer and accurate range it provides, the better the rangefinder is. So make sure to check the range of the rangefinder before the purchase. Bow rangefinders usually have less range in comparison with rifle rangefinders. But an ideal archery rangefinder will be able to deliver up to 800 yards if the target is a reflective surface.
Having more features does not mean the rangefinder is good. An ideal rangefinder would have the ability to measure the range accurately, correct the incline or decline angle, have a good battery backup, readable display and high-quality optics with good magnification. Also, look out for rangefinders which are made of durable materials. When it comes to the display, there are three things for you to note. The screen of the rangefinder should be large enough for you to view comfortably. The optics should not be too bright or too dull. And it should bear all the information you need in the right color and clarity.
We might have a notion that the greater the magnification, the better the product. But that does not hold true in the case of a bow rangefinder. It is better to have 4x magnifications in comparison to 6x magnification for an archery rangefinder. The 4x magnification will be able to deliver more field of view. This is better because there are chances of your view being blocked by trees and bushes.
Investing your money on something on a long-term can be a terrifying experience. The same applies when you are on the lookout of archery rangefinders. But do not worry; take a look at this article and do some research over that. You will definitely be able to find the best rangefinder for yourself.
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