13 Best Rangefinders for Hunting 2022 [Long-Range, Bow, Budget]

Hunter in camo looking through a black rangefinder

Best Rangefinders For Hunting in 2022: Long Range, Bow, Budget & More

 

You, the discerning hunter, have stumbled upon the definitive guide to the best rangefinders for hunting in 2022. You’re lucky, too, because the internet is an abyss of lousy information and computer nerds trying to sell you something. EatElkMeat.com’s writing is exclusive to what we know: our passion for all things hunting. That passion is what drove us to write up this in-depth guide to the very best rangefinders for hunting that money can buy. 

There are hundreds of hunting rangefinders on the internet, and we have whittled down the list to 13 of the best on the market. We believe you should have the right tool for the right job, which is why we’ve made recommendations for every hunter and their budget or specific needs. 

Are you looking for the best no-frills budget rangefinder? We have you covered. Are you looking for the top-of-the-line best archery/bowhunting rangefinder? You came to the right place. Do you need the best long-range shooting rangefinder? Check. Are you thinking of switching things up and getting the best rangefinding binoculars? We have recommendations for you, as well! We review top brands like Sig Sauer, Bushnell, Leupold, Vortex, and more, so stick around.

Table of Contents

Why Picking the Right Rangefinder is Vital to Your Hunt

A male and female hunting in the snowy woods with rifles and the male looking through a rangefinder

Picking the right rangefinder will take your upcoming hunt to the next level

 

When I began hunting as a young boy, we didn’t have fancy gadgets like rangefinders. Heck, I was lucky to wear some hand-me-down orange vest from my older brother. But, today, as a life-long outdoorsman, I’ve come to enjoy some of the finer things in life. I also have my own vest these days. 

Hunting success is about putting together all the right pieces at the right time to make a perfect and ethical shot. Few gadgets are as crucial to that process as a precise and reliable rangefinder. The importance of being able to determine your shot distance accurately can’t be overstated.  

That’s why I keep a quality rangefinder in my hunting pack at all times. When I pick a hunting spot, the first thing I do is take out my hunting journal and record accurate ranges for all possible shot opportunities. This data gives me an upper hand in heat-of-the-moment situations because I know the distance of my shots. You can use these recordings for close-range bow hunting and long-range hunting and shooting; a quality rangefinder helps in each case.

Best Rangefinders for the Money

For the first section, we’ve chosen a couple of options that meet perfectly at the intersection of quality and value. The two products listed here have been thoroughly reviewed, tested, and determined to be the absolute best bang-for-your-buck.

2022 brand Leupold best hunting rangefinder

Leupold RX-FullDraw 3

The Leupold brand has created optics for the hunting world since the invention of their no-fog nitrogen-filled rifle scope in 1947. Their legacy is extended here with the RX-FullDraw 3, one of the best rangefinders for hunting you can find in 2022. 

The RX-FullDraw 3 is my favorite value from Leupold as it has all the features I need and then some, but for a lower cost than some of their other models. It’s useful for bowhunters and long-range rifle hunters as it accurately reads short and long distances.

No matter how far away you are, Leupold rangefinders register some of the fastest reading times, which comes in handy when every split second counts. It also has a unique “Trophy Scale” that accurately tells you an animal’s size to determine if it’s a shooter or not.

Specs

  • Range: 1,300 Yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Trophy Mode
  • Bow mode
  • Black LCD Display

Pros

  • Compact, Lightweight
  • Lightning-fast range time
  • Extra features for bow-hunters
  • Crystal clear glass helps with dawn and dusk low-light hunting

 Cons

  • Kind of barebones for rifle hunting, as it just tells range
  • Not as many features as more expensive models

Grey and black ranger brand rangefinderVortex Optics Ranger 1800

Net up is the Vortex Ranger 1800, which is suitable for both bow hunting and long-range shooting. The Ranger 1800 made the list of best rangefinders for hunting because of its reliability and high ratings. But, it’s the best selection for the money because Vortex offers a lifetime warranty.

I owned a pair of Vortex binoculars, and the eyepiece broke off during a hunt. So I sent them in, and Vortex had a new pair shipped to my home within a week. Because of that experience, I believe Vortex is unmatched in customer service.

So how well does this thing work? The Vortex Optics Ranger ranges accurately to 1,800 yards! It’s also excellent at adjusting for low-light conditions due to its three reticle brightness settings that match ambient light conditions.

Specs

  • Range: 1,800 yards
  • Objective Lens: 22 mm
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Linear Field Of View: 315 ft @ 1000 yards
  • Angle Compensation and Line of Sight

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Easy to use
  • Good for low light 

Cons

  • Inability to range some non-reflective surfaces past 550 yards
  • It may not be the best for ballistic range as it measures in whole yards

Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting and Archery

If you’re an archery sport shooter or a bow hunter, a rangefinder is an absolute necessity. It’s non-negotiable, so don’t even think about hunting without one! Not only do you need a quality rangefinder, but you need one with angle compensation, a.k.a. bow mode. 

So, what is angle compensation?

Angle compensation is the change in measurement from the line-of-sight distance to the actual distance with the angle of your shot accounted for. I understand this may not make sense if you are a new bowhunter, so here is a picture from Vortex Optics that explains it better.

Rangefinder hcd shooting range chart

Angle compensation chart

 

Along with angle compensation, there are other essential features that a good rangefinder for bowhunting will have. These features are: fast-ranging, waterproof (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten mine wet), and can see well in low-light situations. 

Most archery shot opportunities present themselves during the first 30 and last 30 minutes of shooting light. That’s why you must have something that’ll range well even in shallow light. 

It’s also critical that your rangefinder can range quickly. The reason being is that every microsecond counts when an animal presents you with a shot opportunity — the quick and the dead. Some rangefinders can take three seconds to show you a reading, and in the world of bowhunting, that’s 2.5 seconds too long!

We considered all these factors and made three recommendations for rangefinders that are good for bowhunting and archery. I’ve also included a budget option for those bowhunters just getting started.

Brown and black Leupold brand hunting rangefinder

Leupold RX-FullDraw 4

The RX-FullDraw 4 has it all, including advanced ballistics for archery and bowhunting. It takes arrow weight, velocity, angle compensation, and a maximum arrow height function to help you make the most challenging shots in the field. 

Its lightning-fast range time helps you save precious seconds when setting up for your shot. Although a bit more expensive than other options on this list, you get what you pay for when it comes to optics. 

What you’re paying for with the RX-FullDraw 4 rangefinder are all the bells and whistles. It’s perfect for the no-nonsense hunter who wants to give themselves the absolute best advantage they can while hunting. 

Specs

  • Range: 1,200 Yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Red OLED: Easy-to-read measurements
  • Ballistics and bow mode

Pros

  • Amazing bow-hunting functions
  • Easy to see through the crystal-clear glass
  • Good for low-light conditions
  • Accurate to ½ yard
  • Lighting-fast ranging

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Only a 2-year electronics warranty

Cheap camo hunting rangefinder

AOFAR HX-1200T

If you’re looking for an entry-level rangefinder for bow hunting, then here it is. This trusty gadget from AOFAR is an excellent budget option for bow hunting newbies and those looking for value. Yes, it’s inexpensive, but that doesn’t make this a cheap archery rangefinder. 

The AOFAR HX-1200T still has the same features mentioned above, such as angle compensation, accuracy, and quick range time, but for a fraction of the cost. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t Leupold, but it will do the trick nonetheless.

The HX-1200T is well-reviewed on Amazon, and many users report being surprised that such an affordable rangefinder can perform so well. This is excellent news for many entry-level hunters as they don’t have to break the bank for this piece of gear. 

Specs

  • Range: 5 -1,200 Yards
  • Magnification 6x
  • Objective Lens: 25 mm
  • Bowhunting mode
  • Angle compensation

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Accurate
  • Reliable

 Cons

  • Cheap plastic housing: may not survive a drop
  • Harder to read screen against dark backgrounds, hard to use in the dark
  • Experienced hunters should consider a more durable option

VIEW ON AMAZON

Camo Bushnell brand rangefinder

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme ARC

ARC stands for “Angle Range Compensation.” This feature, included with the Trophy Xtreme ARC, makes it one of the best rangefinders for bow hunting in 2022. It can accurately determine proper horizontal distance from 7-199 yards, helping bow hunters make that perfect shot. 

This is a perfect choice for middle-of-the-line bow hunters that packs the same punch as other more costly rangefinders on this list. Its reviews are excellent, and users report that it’s truly waterproof, easy to use, and durable.

One thing we love about the Trophy Xtreme ARC is its one-button operation. That means you get the reading you need without fumbling around and trying to figure out which button to press. Again, precious milliseconds can mean the difference between a clean shot and a hurried one. 

Specs

  • Range: 850 yards
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Angle range compensation
  • Accurate to 1 yard
  • Black OLED

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • A trusted brand in optics
  • Targets dark objects easily
  • Fast range time

Cons

  • Users report having a hard time in low-light situations
  • Only good to 850 yards, not an equitable option for long-range rifle hunting 
  • Magnification is only 4x, a bit to be desired for anything past a few hundred yards

VIEW ON AMAZON

High-End Rangefinding Binoculars

Alright, enough horsing around! We wrote this section for the discerning hunter that wants to invest heavily into their hunting optics. If you’re willing to spare no expense for dead-accurate ranging, then look no further.

Brown rangefinding binoculars

Sig Sauer KILO3000 BDX

This is one unique hunting gadget made by Sig Sauer. It not only accurately ranges to 3,000 yards but has integrated ballistic technology. This makes these rangefinding binoculars a handy rifle hunting tool. 

This pair of rangefinding binoculars can pair seamlessly with Sig Sauer rifle scopes. They accurately determine ballistics like bullet drop over a distance, then use Bluetooth to send that data right into the reticle of the rangefinder. We particularly like these binoculars’ hyper scan feature, which allows you to range hillsides or multiple targets four times per second. 

Now, if you aren’t sold already, Sig Sauer features an unlimited lifetime warranty that is transferable to anyone who owns them. In our opinion, this creates massive value to have the assurance that if anything happens to this expensive piece of gear, your butt is covered. 

Specs

  • Range: 3,000+ yards
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Advanced built-in ballistics
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Advanced OLED display

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good for one-handed operation
  • Excellent scan mode

Cons

  • Some users say it’s a little bit heavy in their pack
  • Need to be an advanced hunter/shooter to take advantage of the features

Black and grey rangefinding binoculars

Vortex Fury HD 5000 BD

Like the previous recommendation, these rangefinding binoculars certainly pack a punch. They’re highly accurate, angle-compensating binos that take the guesswork out of long-range shots. 

The “AB” in the name refers to advanced ballistics. When paired with the Vortex app, this becomes a powerful tool for long-range shooters looking for top-notch ballistics and shooting data. These advanced electronics take windage, weapon caliber and grain, and other vital factors into account for those long shots. 

As mentioned above, Vortex has top-of-class customer service, and if anything ever breaks on these bad boys, you can send them back to Vortex with no questions asked. 

Specs

  • Range: 5 – 5,000 yards
  • Two range modes: HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) and BAL (Ballistics). Both ways offer a Scan feature
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens: 42 mm
  • Advanced Red OLED

Pros

  • Ranges up to two miles 
  • Great for archery and rifle hunting
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Has adapter for a tripod for long-range shooting and glassing

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • AB version may be too advanced for novice hunters; they offer this same model without the ballistics capabilities for considerably less money

Expensive black rangefinding binoculars

Leica Geovid 3200

We saved the best glass for last here. We’ve had the privilege of using these on a few hunts, and let us tell you: these are the cream of the crop when it comes to rangefinding binoculars. 

What sets these binoculars apart is the Leica glass. They are in a world of their own, creating unmatched image quality. 

From Amazon, “the patented Perger-Porro prism system and state-of-the-art glass types deliver exceptionally bright, color-neutral images with unique three-dimensional plasticity and provide excellent contrast and maximum light transmission.”

But that’s not the only bit of technology. Leica has a newly created hunting app that pairs nicely with a cellphone via Bluetooth. This feature provides angle compensation and ballistic information that reads directly to the Leica OLED. 

Specs

  • Range: 3,200 yards
  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens: 42 mm
  • Advanced angle compensation features
  • Advanced ballistics when paired with the mobile app

Pros

  • Unmatched optical quality
  • Great for low-light conditions
  • Great in inclement weather conditions

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Users report a learning curve, and the instruction manual leaves a lot to be desired

Best Rangefinders for Long-Range Shooting

Long-range shooting and hunting are challenging sports because you must account for so many different factors. Distance, angle, wind speed, temperature, and barometric pressure all must be accounted for. To accurately shoot at a distance, you’ll most certainly need a long-range shooting capable rangefinder that has all these features and the ability to account for ballistic information like cartridge size and grain.

This is one piece of hunting equipment that you just can’t skimp on, and unfortunately, there are not many budget options for such powerful gadgets. But, then again, long-range shooting is an expensive sport, and somehow I think you’ve already figured that out by now!

Long-range shooting binoculars for hunting

Bushnell Elite 1-Mile with Kestrel

Here’s a somewhat affordable option for long-range shooters. Bushnell is synonymous with entry-level optics; however, the Elite 1- Mile performs surprisingly well according to many long-range shooting reviews.

The downside with this rangefinder is that you’ll likely need to purchase a Kestrel unit to take full advantage of it. 

By pairing the Kestrel with your Elite 1-Mile and the mobile app, you can account for weather, barometric pressure, and wind speed. These powerful tools give you every bit of help you need to make accurate shots at a distance.   

Specs

  • Range: 5-1,760 yards
  • Magnification: 7x
  • ARC Rifle Mode: provides bullet-drop/holdover in MOA or Mils and vs I allows sight-in distance options of 100, 150, 200, or 300 yards
  • Bluetooth wireless
  • VDT: Vivid display technology

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable 
  • Waterproof
  • Tripod ready

Cons

  • Users report occasional bugs in the Bluetooth functions when paired with Kestrel

Black long-range shooting rangefinder that looks like a spaceship

Vectronix Terrapin X

This rangefinder is easily the most widely-used option among skilled and professional long-range shooters. You get all the toys from applied ballistics to highly accurate and fast-ranging capabilities. 

It’s so good that Vectronix also makes it for both military and civilian use. With a maximum range find of over 3,200 yards, you can tell why Uncle Sam gives it his seal of approval. 

Reviews report an unmatched crystal-clear view and ease of use. Another long-range shooter review says, “This rangefinder is perfect. Life is too short for cheap rangefinders.” For long accurate applied ballistics, this unit pairs via Bluetooth to a Kestrel unit. 

Specs

  • Range: 3,260 Yards
  • Advanced Ballistics
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Built-in compass
  • Military-grade material strength

Pros

  • Extremely durable 
  • Compact
  • Perfect in low-light situations
  • Tripod ready

Cons

  • Expensive

VIEW ON AMAZON

Best Overall 1000-Yard Rangefinder for Hunting

We included this recommendation for the no-frills, no-fuss hunter that just needs a simple but quality rangefinder that is great for 1,000 yards or less. Look no further than the Vortex Ranger 1000, because it comes highly rated by a number of life-long hunters.

Brown and black 1000-yard range rangefinder

Vortex Ranger 1000

Vortex Optics makes the list of 2022’s best hunting rangefinders for the 3rd time. This 1,000-yard model is the gold standard for those hunters looking for something that will work and has all the functions and features they need and nothing more. 

If you didn’t read the other Vortex reviews on this post, know that Vortex has unmatched customer service and a lifetime unconditional warranty. This provides excellent value, especially for someone looking to spend less than $200.

This exact model is regularly listed as one of the top ten choices on hunting blogs, and when you consider the price and capabilities, this may just be the best overall rangefinder on this list.

Specs

  • Range: 1,000 Yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Scan mode
  • Angle compensation
  • Red OLED

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy-to-read Red OLED
  • Fast range time
  • Fast scan feature

Cons

  • Bare-bones and no-frills features

Budget Rangefinder Under $200

If your budget is limited, and you’re looking for the absolute most bang for your buck under $200, we’ve got you covered. While the Vortex Ranger 1000 above also fits the bill, the following recommendation will undoubtedly work out for you as well.

Black and grey budget rangefinder

Halo Z 1000-Yard Laser

Simple, affordable, accurate. There’s not too much more to say about this Halo Z. I own one personally, and it has all the features I need (and none that I don’t).

While it doesn’t have the same warranty as the Vortex Ranger 1000, it certainly has all the features. This reliable piece of gear is surprisingly functional, ergonomic, and durable.

Specs

  • Range: 1,000 Yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Angle compensation mode
  • Scan mode

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable and water-resistant

Cons

  • Lacks advanced features
  • Occasionally hard-to-read OLED

Cheap Hunting Rangefinder Under $100

You’re unlikely to find advanced angle compensation mode and 3,000-yard rangefinding capabilities at this price point, but that doesn’t negate your need for a rangefinder altogether. That’s why I’ve included a low-cost but decent-quality option for those newer to the sport and those taking a bare-bones approach to buying their gear.

Cheap camo rangefinders

AOFAR HX-800

Like the other AOFAR rangefinder on this list, the HX-800 is a helpful and powerful little gadget. But, perhaps most importantly, archery hunters report highly accurate shots courtesy of its angle compensation feature.  

While it is helpful, it is also cheap and a bit plasticky. Plus, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to add-ons and bells and whistles, but it does the trick in the end. Ultimately, you can squeeze several seasons out of the HX-800 before you’re ready for an upgrade.

Specs

  • Range: 800 Yards
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Angle compensation mode

Pros

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Cheaply made and may not last several hunting seasons. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

Frequently Asked Questions About Rangefinders

A man dressed in brown looking through 2022's best rangefinder for hunting

There’s a lot to know about rangefinders

 

There are several different routes you can go when choosing your next rangefinder. A lot of this decision will come down to a simple question: How much can you afford? Just because your budget isn’t $1000 doesn’t mean you can’t find something that will work well for you.

How Does a Rangefinder Work?

Typically, a rangefinder consists of nothing more than a viewing monocular and a laser. Think of it like a bullet leaving a rifle, hitting its target, and then bouncing back to the gun. The laser in your rangefinder works a lot like the bullet; when you press the button on your rangefinder, it shoots a laser beam to the target and then returns to the rangefinder to give you a distance reading.

Nowadays, rangefinders do a whole lot more than that. An advanced rangefinder will provide you with ballistic information and the proper distance of your shot with the angle of the shot taken into account.

How Much Should I Pay For a Rangefinder?

Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s cheap, if you know what I’m saying. There’s no reason you can’t find success with a rangefinder under $200. With that said, many top-quality brands with all the bells and whistles can run you upwards of $1,500+. We think it’s important to look at the whole range of prices, so we’ve made sure to account for every budget.

What Makes a Good Rangefinder?

We’ve ensured that our recommendations all hold the same high quality, reliability, and durability standards. It also really helps to have angle compensation, which is a fancy way to say accounting for the angle of your shot. Angle compensation enables you to adjust your shot for distance. At a minimum, the products on this list must meet these criteria:

  • Must range to at least 800 yards: We consider this the bare minimum
  • Water-Resistant: You are hunting with it, so it’ll probably get wet
  • Sturdily Built: No plasticky gimmicks!
  • Good Magnification + Optics: You want to be able to see what you are ranging

What are Rangefinding Binoculars?

Not to insult your intelligence, as you are probably already aware of what they are, but we have some novice hunters who read our blog, so we have to break things down into simpler terms. Rangefinding binoculars get two birds stoned at once by combining two critical pieces of hunting gear — the rangefinder and binoculars.   

While costlier than buying each individually, a good pair of rangefinding binoculars will save room in your pack and save you precious time when ranging and glassing for animals.

Advice from Experienced Deer & Elk Hunters

Hunter looking towards the woods with a set of rangefinding binoculars

Finding and utilizing the proper rangefinder will make your a better hunter

 

We asked for the honest opinions of two lifelong big game hunters about which rangefinder brand they use for hunting. These guys routinely harvest elk and deer yearly, so we tend to look to them for advice when buying a new gadget. We want to share their valuable experience with our readers.

Any rangefinder is good IF it will calculate angle on the fly for you. Especially helpful for archers. Leica makes some 10×42 binos with rangefinder capabilities down to seven yards. If it were me, I’d trade up and buy those — one complete lightweight package deal. If money is the biggest issue, Bushnell used to run a special for $299 for laser rangefinder 1000yd/Arc pro, meaning it will show angle and calculate distance; this package also came with binos. I don’t know if they still offer it. I am running a Leupold rangefinder right now and bought it because it goes out to 4,000 yards. It was helpful mountain goat hunting last year to see how far we needed to close any chance at a shot.”

– Lance Fitzgerald – Owner, “Aspen Camouflage LLC”

“The only rangefinder I carry and have always recommended to other hunters is the Vortex Ranger 1000. I’ve harvested more big game animals than I can count, and this rangefinder does everything I need to gain an advantage in the field. It’s reasonably priced, and Vortex has exceptional customer service. Look no further.”

– Kyle Clarke – Lifelong big game hunter on multiple continents

Which Rangefinder Will You Choose For Your Upcoming Hunt?

Female wearing camo looking through a best rangefinder for hunting towards elk and/or deer

Choose the best rangefinder for your upcoming hunt and your 2022 season will be bountiful

 

If all goes as planned, you’ll get an opportunity to take a shot at an animal this season, but will you have what it takes to rise to the occasion? Preparation is vital, and having the right gear — like one of 2022’s best rangefinders — could give you the extra advantage you need. 

Hopefully, you leave this article with a better idea of which rangefinder you need for your upcoming hunt in 2022 and beyond. There are hundreds of different options on the market, and we gathered the 13 best for hunting, just for you. 

Whether you are a long-range shooter, an archery hunter, or are simply looking for the absolute best rangefinder for the money, then look no further than the options above. We would never steer our readers in the wrong direction and are 100% confident that picking any of the hunting rangefinders on this list will help you out immensely during your next hunt.

Eatelkmeat.com is passionate about the sport of hunting, nature, and its bounty. We strive to direct hunters to the best gear, tips from experts, and sustainably and responsibly sourced game meat. If you are interested in purchasing elk meat and getting it shipped straight to your door, check out our buy elk meat page.

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2 Comments

  1. Obviously you didn’t spend much time or money on this article when it came ti high end reviews. Gunwerks has probably the best high end ballistic range finder available.

    1. Thanks for your input, Cory. We’ve heard a lot of good things about it, so we’ll consider adding it to the list when we have time.

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