Accuracy and aim are the requirements for a good hunter. Without these two critical pieces, success in the field is not only more difficult, it can be borderline unethical.
Since their invention in 1940, the laser rangefinder has exploded in popularity. Today, they’re one of the most important pieces of gear an outdoors person can buy. A rangefinder improves your shot accuracy by determining the exact yardage necessary to place an accurate shot. Rangefinders have dramatically improved their technology since the earliest versions, offering critical data about distance, drop,
These are the top three rangefinders we recommend for 2021.
- Vortex Ranger 1800 (Unanimous #1 All Around Best Hunting Rangefinder)
- SIG Sauer Kilo 2400 BDX (Best Tech Features)
- Halo CCL 300 (Best Budget)
The technology continues to improve, with things like bullet drop compensation and wind factor prediction. As the tech behind rangefinders develops, smaller, less quality brands that specialized only in budget rangefinders have begun to disappear.
If you are an avid hunter or outdoorsmen, get the top rangefinder that you can afford. It just makes sense, no hassles in the field and better performance overall. Generally the higher end rangefinders have better warranties as well, should something happen.
Best Hunting Rangefinders 2021
When we write about products, we’re not just making things up. We’ve used and reviewed the pieces we write about. This ensures that our hunting rangefinder reviews will help you make a well-informed decision. There are a number of things we look at in the rangefinders for hunting category, namely, price and overall effectiveness. Realistically, if you’re considering buying a new rangefinder, you’re looking to buy something that’s going to stand the test of time. As a rule, spending a few extra bucks on something that’ll make your hunting experience more ethical is highly worth it and we recommend a top quality rangefinder to everybody.
In all of our hands on testing, this year, the all around best rangefinder for hunting is the Vortex Ranger 1800. Vortex flipped the outdoor optics industry on it’s head with their no questions asked lifetime warranty, so their #1 rangefinder ranking should come as no surprise. Of the rangefinders we’ve tested, the Vortex Ranger is by far the easiest to use right out of the box.
Our team of outdoorsmen and women is committed to helping you succeed in the field and finding the best gear to help you do that is no different. Keep in mind that these are the top rated laser rangefinders for hunting in our opinion. Any price goes.
Breaking down our top hunting rangefinders by category:
- #1 Rangefinder for 2021: Vortex Ranger 1800
- Best Tech Specs: SIG Sauer 2400
- Longest Distance Rangefinder: SIG Sauer 2400 Digital Ballistic Rangefinder
- Best Under $1000: Vortex Razor 4000
Vortex Ranger 1800: #1 Rangefinder for 2021
The Vortex Ranger 1800 has earned Best Rangefinder for 2021 because of it’s high rankings on out of the box use, price, and overall effectivness.
Having now personally used this as my go-to rangefinder for the past 3+ years, the Vortex Ranger 1800 Rangefinder has our vote for the unanimous Best Rangefinder of the Year Award. We’re huge fans of Vortex optics for two reasons. First and most importantly, they work for just about any hunter (guides included).
Second, the warranty on these products make them easy to recommend. If it breaks, send it back. They’ll replace it.
This started the year as our number 3 rangefinder on this list, but by popular request, and our own extensive testing we bumped it to the top rangefinder.
You can use this rangefinder for long range shooting or bowhunting, either way you aren’t going to be disappointed.
It’s got great scanning technology and is an overall rugged piece of equipment. Just what most hunters like you and me like to carry out into the woods…
There isn’t a more popular rangefinder on this list that the Vortex Ranger 1800.
Overall, you aren’t going to find a better quality rangefinder for the price.
Testing the Ranger 1800 in the field.
Having used Vortex rangefinders in the past, upgrading my 1500 to the 1800 was an easy decision. I actually purchased this on a mule deer hunt near Dickinson, North Dakota several years ago and have been using it ever since. The 1800 comes out of the box ready to go and only has two buttons.
As far as ease of use goes, there is hardly a reason for Vortex to include instructions with this rangefinder as it’s simply point and click.
Photo to the left shows off the 32mm lens on the Vortex Ranger 1800.
I hunt largely Whitetail and Mule deer throughout the Upper Midwest and occasionally out west, so the 1800 suits me perfectly. It’s one of the most popular rangefinders of all time for it’s the combination of price, warranty, and ease of use. If you’re hunting larger game in the Western US, I’d take a look at the Razor HD, but be prepared for a price jump of about 2x the price of the Ranger 1800.
What I love about the Vortex Ranger 1800:
- Industry leading warranty, lifetime
- Range deer out to 900 yards, targets out to 1800 yards
- Built in angle compensation designed for tree stand hunters (yes!)
- Line of Sight (LOS) mode displays actual line of sight range.
- Waterproof (huge bonus)
- Easy to use menu
- Maybe a little out of some hunters price range
Tech Specs of the Vortex Ranger 1800:
- Range Reflective (yards): 10-1800 yards
- Range Deer (yards): 10-900 yards
- Accuracy: + / – 3 yards @ 1000 yards
- Max Angle Reading: + / – 60 degrees
- Magnification: 6x
- Objective Lens Diameter: 22 mm
- Linear Field of View: 315 feet/1000 yards
- Angular Field of View: 6 degrees
- Eye Relief: 17 mm
- Length: 3.9 inches
- Width: 3 inches
- Weight: 7.7 ounces
- Battery: CR-2 lithium battery
If you want the highest quality without spending upwards of a 1000 bucks, this is the rangefinder to go with.
The video above is an in depth product demonstration of the Vortex Ranger 1800 from our friend Sean Burrows. By far one of our favorite parts of the Ranger 1800 is it’s compact size. The Ranger 1800 is tiny and has a nice rubberized exterior. The belt clip can be moved from one side to the other, as well as the lanyard attachment.
SIG Sauer KILO 2400 BDX – Best Tech Specs
The KILO 2400 Rangefinder has earned Best Rangefinder On The Market for its outstanding performance and build.
If money were no option, we highly recommend going with the Kilo 2400 BDX. Simply put, the Kilo 2400 BDX rangefinder is one of the best on the market.
When Sig Sauer originally created this unit, they didn’t have it designed for their BDX technology, however, even then it was still the top rangefinder on the market.
By adding BDX (ballistic data exchange) tech to the rangefinder, Sig Sauer took a phenomenal product and made it even better.
What does BDX do? This technology allows your Sierra 3 BDX riflescope to display an automated illuminated holdover dot via bluetooth and an app.
It’s got an impressive long range, coming in at over 3400 yards for reflective targets.
It gets better. The Kilo 2400 without their BDX technology was actually more expensive than their new unit. You read that right. It is now more affordable to own this machine than it was previously.
Sig Sauer took a great product and made it much better.
- It uses BDX tech, communicating with your riflescope (if equipped)
- 4 range updates per second in scan mode
- Angle modified range for tree stand hunters
- Automatically calibrates brightness for changing light conditions
- Lifetime warranty, hard to argue with that
- Upgraded product, cheaper price
- Range: Up to 3400 Reflective / 1400 Deer / 1800 Trees
- Battery: CR2
- Reticle: Circle + Milling Grid
- Length: 4.4 in (110 mm)
- Width: 1.3 in (33 mm)
- Height: 3 in (76 mm)
- Weight: 7.5 oz (215 g)
- Field of view: 6.78 degrees
- Eye relief: 15 mm
- Objective clear aperture: 25 mm
This is our #1 ranked rangefinder for 2021. It features a lot of great technology and is overall one of the most advanced rangefinders you can get.
The bottom line: How does Sig Sauer describe the Kilo 2400? As the “worlds most advanced rangefinder”. The Kilo 2400 comes with a hefty price tag for some, but with an incredible ranging ability, we say it’s well worth the price.
Even further reason to buy, this unit is covered under Sig’s INFINITE warranty. Similar to Vortex, if your product breaks they’re covering it. No receipt, for life.
At the end of the day, it’s tough to argue with a company that stands by their products.
Halo CL 300
The Halo CL 300 is one of the better budget option rangefinders you are going to find on the market. It by no means is going to be the one you take on a western elk hunting trip, but if you’re a hunter that doesn’t need to be ranging out to 1000+ yards, this is the way to go.
Not that it needs mentioning, but Halo does produce some of the best optics in the market.
The ranging capabilities of this finder are out to 300 yards. In testing it, we found that it is surprisingly quick, despite it being one of the least expensive rangefinders on this list.
A couple other cool features about the CL 300 is that it has a nice ergonomic feel to it.
It has 5x magnification and also is water resistant.
You should have no concerns of taking it out into some of the worst weather…
A CR2 battery comes included with the rangefinder.
Overall, this is a solid rangefinder option for hunters that are going to be taking shorter range shots.
You definitely aren’t going to be getting the same quality of finder as the two above or several below, but quality and performance aren’t necessarily the reason this rangefinder made the list.
It made the list because it’s one of the best bang-for-your-buck rangefinders.
The Halo CCL 300 rangefinder is one of the best budget options for hunters in 2021. It has ranging capabilities up to 300 yards with non-reflective targets.
Leica CRF 1000-R
A rangefinder which has the necessary features and at the same time is designed to fit in one’s pockets.
It features a 7x magnification which is a set more than the usual magnification levels offered by the rest of the rangefinder manufacturing brands.
This is what many would consider to be one the top long range, rangefinders on the market.
1000 in the name implies the range in yards, which is a number ideal for any best rangefinder for hunting.
It not only has such a great range but also has the ability to deliver a super fast line of sight distance to the target.
It also provides the equivalent horizontal range by taking into account the inclination or declination angle. It gives accurate measurement to a max distance of a 1000 yards.
The physical dimensions and specifications of CRF 1000-R and its predecessors remains the same. Only the functionalities are different. Also, the new model comes at the same price as the older ones which mean you get extra features for the same price.
The objective lens measures 24 mm and it will perfectly complement the 7x magnification. It is waterproof and comes with an AquaDura coating which will help you to use it in rainy weather and also avoid any case of slippage.
The power source used by the device is a CR2 battery which has a long lifespan. At 7.8 ounce it is highly portable.
IF you are willing to pay the price, this rangefinder will never let you down.
- Great range ideal for bow and rifle hunting
- 7x magnification with 24 mm objective lens
- Compact and lightweight
- CR2 battery used in the device is not easily accessible
Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000
Vortex is one of the top rangefinder brands on the market. It’s no surprise that the Razor HD 4000 made this list…
- 7x magnification and 25mm lens
- 4 target modes (normal, first, last, and extended laser)
- 2 range modes (had and los)
- Exceptional scanning technology
- High resolution and awesome in low light conditions
- It is on the spendy side of things
- Slightly larger than most rangefinders
In our first field test with this rangefinder, we found that it works as well as some of the highest priced rangefinders on the market (800+).
While it is a little bit larger than some of the other options on the market, it is built with a sturdy, ergonomic case. You can expect to take this one to hell and back and still have a working rangefinder coming back with you.
Its max (reflective) range is 4,000 yards, which is beyond what most hunters will need.
This is one of the elite few rangefinders in the world that has ranging capabilities up to 4,000 yards. Take this elk hunting with you next fall, you won't regret it.
To make things easier, we categorized the Vortex Ranger 1800 as the best all around. It’s a bit more expensive than the Nikon Aculon system, but offers the same incredible warranty as Sig Sauer.
It comes in two different finishes, Realtree and Dark Green. This rangefinder is something that just about every hunter can afford and it does everything it’s asked. The Nikon Aculon is an extremely popular bowhunting rangefinder, for that very reason.
This is, one of the best affordable rangefinders on the market…
- Takes readings out to 550 yards
- 6X magnification
- Measure continuously for up to 20 seconds
- The everyday hunter can afford it
- Excellent starter rangefinder
- It’s a cheaper rangefinder
- Battery: CR-2 lithium battery
- IPX4 water-resistant housing.
- Minimum distance: 6 yds.
- Eye Relief: 16.7
- Color: Dark Green / Camo
- Dimensions: 3.6“L x 1.5“W x 2.9“H
- Wt: 4.4 oz.
For this reason alone, we had to include it on this list…But how do its other features fair?
RX-1600i delivers a maximum range of 1600 yards under ideal conditions.
It is capable of angle compensated readings and has the digitally enhanced accuracy feature which is a change of processor from its predecessors.
The device is made of aluminum housing which can take the blunt of an impact. It has a rubber grip which ensures that there is no possibility of slippage.
This hunting rangefinder is 100% waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The RX-1600i is true ballistic range with wind, an awesome feature that should be mandatory on all rangefinders.
The red LED provides crystal clear and uncluttered images for you to scan. This is a major improvement from the older versions. It has a range of 1200 yards for reflective surfaces, 900 yards for trees, and 800 yards for deer under the ideal circumstances.
It has two major modes, namely rifle and bow mode.
The wind correction calculation allows for a much more accurate shot depending on what you are hunting with.
- The wind correction features are the highlight of this rangefinder
- 6x magnification ideal for both bow and rifle hunting
- 3 reticle options (Plus point, duplex, and Duplex With plus point)
- The functionalities are quite complex
- It’s not the cheapest rangefinder on our list
Leupold continues to dominate the rangefinder industry with the Rx-1600i. This medium priced rangefinder has a max range of 1600 yards and a two year warranty.
Bushnell G-Force DX ARC is a laser rangefinder that is fully loaded with features. It is rangefinder which can be used for both rifle hunting and bow hunting too.
It has blended in new technology with the existing features to deliver a rangefinder which would make your experience totally worth it.
It gives angle compensated readings to the user which is ideal to make an accurate shooting.
In this model it shows the line of sight reading and just underneath the angle of the shot is displayed for a second and a half.
Once it disappears, the information about the angle compensated is displayed there.
This model of Bushnell strays away from the traditional display by the use of the Vivid Display Technology. It has a red display instead of the black which can be adjusted to four different brightness levels.
The levels can be changed manually by the click of a button depending on the lighting conditions of the area. The holdover measurements are displayed in inches if you have set the unit in yards and it changes to centimeters when you have set the unit of measurement to meters.
It is equipped with the Extreme Speed and Precision (ESP) technology which brings in speed and accuracy while measuring the range.
The previous version could give a plus or minus .5 yards accuracy for a range of 125 yards. But in this model, it gives the same accuracy for a range of 199 yards.
It comes in three modes, namely rifle, bow and regular. The rifle and bow mode shows the angle compensated in the display for you to take into account the incline or decline angle. Under ideal circumstances, the rangefinder has a range of 1300 yards.
It has a 900-yard range in case of trees and 600 yards if the target is a deer. Weighing at 8 ounces, the rangefinder has a metal casing with a rubber coating to provide grip. It is both lightweight and compact.
- Target priority feature
- Adjustable screen brightness
- Sturdy construction
- The three modes can be hard to switch back and forth from
Started in 2004, Vortex Optics is relatively new in the rangefinder market. But that does not mean they have not learned the rules of the market. In their 13 years of existence, they have come up with a number of great hunting rangefinder. And one of them is the Optics Impact 850.
The design is simple and you might find some similarities between the device and Leupold. It weighs and feels the same.
The functions are controlled using two buttons which are on top of the rangefinder.
The gadget is coated with rubber which absorbs the impact of a fall gracefully and also keeps out the chances of slippage.
You get the ability to focus on targets accurately with the 6x magnification and the 22 mm objective lens. It is rated as waterproof with the O-ring sealed. It is set to withstand any harsh conditions.
The reflective targets would give a range of up to 850 yards and non-reflective targets over 550 yards. It has two modes for you to choose from- Horizontal Component Distance mode and Line of Sight mode. HCD calculates the distance to the target by taking the angle compensation into account.
LOS is used for more advanced shooting process using ballistics.
While this isn’t Sig 2400 BDX quality, it’s a solid rangefinder for the price.
- Budget friendly
- Lifetime warranty
- 850 yard ranging capacity
- Compact and waterproof
- Non illuminated screen
This is one Vortex's budget rangefinders with 1000 yard ranging capabilities and advanced modes that calculates angle compensation.
Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector
Built sturdy and weighing just 10 ounces, it is the ideal rangefinder that you can carry around in your pocket during a hunting trip.
It does not have any flashy colors but has instead gone with camouflage style which is perfect to provide the invisibility you need.
It operates on a single button function, which is quite straightforward. The button is located right under your index finger, which makes the whole process lot easier.
It uses a 9-Volt battery which is a bit hard to swap as you need a screwdriver to take it off the device.
The LCD display is extremely comfortable to read under low light as it illuminates the readings. The display switches off after 30 seconds of being idle to save power. It shows the targeting reticle, the unit of measure, and the battery life.
The gadget has a range from 10 to 600 yards under ideal conditions. The 600-yard mark is reserved for reflective surfaces. For trees, it will drop down to around 400 yards and for targets like deer, it will further go down to 200 yards.
It does not have the ability to measure the range by calculating the slope differences. It comes with the ability to toggle between yards and meters. It is also waterproof and can be used in rainy conditions.
- One-button operation
- High-quality optics
- Auto power saving mode
- Battery hard to swap
- Have to switch the device off to toggle the units
- Cannot calculate slope differences
Another popular rangefinder on amazon, this one has over a 1000 ratings with a 4.5 star average. It has out to 600 yards of ranging capabilites.
Related: Best Golf Rangefinders
Simmons 801600 Volt
Things can never go wrong if you are using Simmons’ rangefinder. They have been known for manufacturing hunting rangefinders that are durable and have great features. They have kept their reputation intact with the new Volt 600.
With a vertical layout, it has a unique design which makes it easy for you to carry it with you anywhere.
With 4x magnification, it gives a great field of view for you to track targets which are close.
When combined with the 20 mm objective lens, it is a match made to help you hunt easily.
It works on a single button operation which makes it easy to work around with.
The button aligns itself with your index finger and makes all the operations very easy to handle.
The LCD display is exceptionally great for this price range. They have used high-quality optics technology to provide a clear and bright display to make the process of taking measurements easier. Offering a range from 10 to 600 yards, it has a distance accuracy of +/- one yard.
The range is obtained under ideal conditions and on reflective surfaces. For objects such as trees or deer, the range will be less.
It has a water resistant housing to protect it from the effects of rain. The housing is also strong and sturdy to help it take a fall or two with just a few scratches and no serious damages. The design gives you a great advantage to carry it with you easily.
It is compact and lightweight, making it an ideal companion for you on your hunting trips. The package consists of Volt 600, the instruction manual, and a carry case.
- It features a perfect design
- Simple and easy to use
- Uses 9-volt battery
- Not so effective in low lit areas
- Does not have great range or many features
Rangefinders vs. Rangefinder Binoculars?
Recently, rangefinder binoculars became a hot ticket item in the field. And for good reason. Combining the two makes perfect sense, as it reduces overall weight and gives readings on the spot, for things further out.
Do rangefinders still have their place? Absolutely. They’re phenomenal for things like bowhunting, or in tight whitetail deer hunting, where adding a heavier piece of equipment like binoculars doesn’t always make the most sense.
The bottom line is, if you’re not used to carrying binoculars around, or do not like the idea of adding weight, a simple rangefinder is your best friend.
Check out our article, rangefinders vs rangefinder binoculars (which is better?) for more on that topic.
Rangefinder Buying Guide
Buying a rangefinder is not as difficult as it looks. With proper research and market study, you will be able to find out which hunting rangefinder suits you the most.
But if you do not put enough time in finding the right one, there is a great possibility of you ending up with a rangefinder which is not ideal for you. So make sure to take a look at the following points before you make the purchase of a new hunting rangefinder.
And again, if some of these units are out of budget, feel free to take a look at our top rated cheap rangefinders for 2021 article! You can check that out here if you would like!
A hunting rangefinder needs a good range. As you are out in the wild, you may never know how far your target is. So it is a requisite to have a longer range to be able to look out for the targets.
An ideal hunting rangefinder will have a range of anywhere over 800 yards. Anything less than 800 can hugely hamper your ability to find targets which are not as close as you think.
The design has to be compact, lightweight, and durable. You are carrying the rangefinder around with you anywhere you go. This makes it susceptible to slippage and falls. The rangefinder should be able to take some impact with no damage.
A good metal casing or an absorbing rubber casing is ideal for you to take with you for hunting. These will definitely save the core of the rangefinder from damaging if it slips and falls.
A good rangefinder will have features such as a good LCD, powerful optics, great range, angle compensation ability, water resistance, and a sturdy built.
These functions make your ability to hunt easy. So you have to choose the rangefinder according to the functions you want in it.
Ease of use
On the other hand, having a number of features can also lead to complications. A single button operation rangefinder would always be a better choice as it lets you take measurements fast and without any complications.
Having many modes and different functionalities which you are never going to use will affect the way you work with the rangefinder.
So always look for rangefinders which you can be comfortable with. Never go for too many features by compromising the ease of use.
Your need and budget
This is the most important part when it comes to the purchase of a rangefinder. You need to find out what you are expecting from the rangefinder.
The features, range, different modes, and everything that you are expecting from a rangefinder should be noted down to make the process easier.
Secondly, you should fix on a budget before you start searching for rangefinders. If you are able to fix a budget, you will be able to eliminate whichever rangefinder that comes below and above that price range.
You will be able to concentrate on the ones which you are able to afford. Talk about saving time.
These are some frequently asked questions surrounding laser/ hunting rangefinders…
How does a laser rangefinder work?
Similar to throwing a ball at the wall and having it return, all rangefinders work using a similar concept. The user pushes a button, laser beams hit a desired target and bounce back, providing an accurate distance reading based on the time it took the beams to return.
How much does a rangefinder cost?
Similar to other hunting optics, rangefinders vary greatly in price. A high end rangefinder will run anywhere from $250-$700 while the cheaper, lower end models cost $70-$250.
What is the best golf rangefinder?
The Bushnell Tour V4 JOLT Laser Rangefinder is the best golf rangefinder on the market. It’s used by many of PGA Tour Pros as well as club professionals across the United States.
Who makes the best rangefinder?
Vortex, Swarovski, Leica, Leupold and Bushnell all make a quality rangefinder. Remember, when it comes to optics, you get what you pay for (so, spend what you can afford).
That is going to wrap this post up. From everything we talked about, rangefinder prices, quality, value, durability and more… make sure to buy a rangefinder that is going to suit your needs.
If you are hunting in the woods of Wisconsin, you probably don’t need a 1000 dollar rig. But, if you’re going on a moose hunt in Alaska this fall, well, you might want to consider getting yourself a nice rangefinder.
That being said, we hope this helped you out! Good luck on your next hunt!