The Best Range Finders For Hunters

What is a range finder?

A range finder is a very useful tool for all hunters, but especially for those that use archery as their primary means of hunting. Because a bow or crossbow uses a very heavy projectile shot at a relatively slow speed (as compared to a rifle bullet) the projectile tends to drop rather quickly, and as such it is paramount to know the range of your target such that you can properly aim the arrow.

Modern rangefinders work by way of an invisible laser that is sent out which reflects on a target object, then the beam is returned to the unit which then calculates the distance. Most systems use an optic with a magnifier, typically between 4x and up to 7x, depending on the range capabilities of the range finder. Most modern range finders can be grouped by magnification power, and then by range capability. For purposes of this buyer’s guide, we will be looking at range finders that measure under 1000 yards, 1000 yards to 2000 yards, and 2000 yards and above.

Knowing the hundreds of products on the market today, we understand that most people simply do not have the time or resources to evaluate the many products they might be looking at. Luckily, we have created this buyer’s guide to take the guesswork out of selecting the best range finder. We make our recommendations based on the usage of various range finders by our field staff and also by talking to our many readers to get their takes on the best range finders out there.

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Range finders with under 1000 yard range

The range finders in this section all have a maximum range of under 1000 yards, making them a good selection for anyone who is only going to archery hunt with them (or maybe take them out for a game of golf as well). These are typically going to be less expensive than range finders with greater distance calculation ability which makes them more attractive to the average bow hunter.

What is the best range finder with arrow flight computation?

Top Pick: The Bushnell 202442 4 x 20 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot

The Bushnell 202442 4 x 20 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot is designed to offer bow hunters more than just a simple 4 power range finder, but rather a useful tool to ensure they have a clear shot for the entire flight path of their arrow. The unit has an ergonomic design with a non-slip grip. The optics are very clear and the unit is designed to range from 7 yards all the way out to 850 yards. Two aspects of this range finder that sets it apart from the rest of the pack is the inclusion of the ARC (angle range compensation) as well as the Clear Shot technology. The ARC allows for a computation of the angle of your shot to ensure you know the true distance to your target. The Truth with Clear Shot technology tells you with a dot in the reticle the max height your arrow will travel for a given shot under 200 yards, thereby allowing you to be sure you aren’t going to hit a limb midway through the flight path. This is something you will need to calibrate, and is really designed for vertical bows, but if you play with it enough, you may be able to get it to calibrate for your crossbow, depending on speed.


  • Gives you a good idea of arrow path to ensure no obstructions.
  • Clear optics.

  • Difficult to use Clear Shot function with crossbows.

What is the best range finder with 4x magnification with under 1000 yard range?

Top Pick: The Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4 x 21 Laser Rangefinder

The Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4 x 21 Laser Rangefinder is an excellent choice for those hunters who are looking for a simple to operate range finder. The unit is designed to measure distances from 10 yards to 600 yards and have an accuracy of +/- 1 yard. This range finder does not calculate arc or elevation, but then again, we picked this because of its simplicity…just look through the reticle, line up on the target and push the button. One aspect we noted was that it specifies that it is for ranging game out to 200 yards and the further range finding was for larger targets. In our testing, we found it did a good job out to a bit over 200 yards, but it did have some difficulty in ranging deer beyond that. If you are looking for a simple to use range finder and not needing to take really long range shots, this might be one to look at.


  • Simple one button operation.

  • May not accurately range game animals beyond 200 yards.

What is the best range finder with 6x magnification with under 1000 yard range?

Top Pick: The Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT Laser Range Finder

The Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT Laser Range Finder offers a lot of features in a compact unit. The range finder will read from about 6 yards all the way out to its advertised maximum of 500 yards. We actually got it to read quite a bit further than that, but don’t want to give a maximum beyond what the manufacturer claims. The scan mode is nice as it will offer continuous readouts on a moving target. We found the optics to not be quite as crisp as with other units we tested, but gave it our nod due to the value it brings at its reasonable price point. If your vision isn’t quite what it used to be, you might look at some of the other units on our list as the black readout can be a bit difficult to see in lower light conditions. All in all, this is a good unit at a good price.


  • Good value for the price.
  • Allows constant ranging in the scan mode.

  • Low light operation can make it difficult to see crosshairs and readout.

What is the best budget range finder with under 1000 yard range?

Top Pick: The Elkton Outdoors Range Finder

The Elkton Outdoors Range Finder is an economical alternative to many of the more expensive range finders on the market. It will range from 6 yards out to over 650 yards, although as you get way out there, you might find it a bit difficult to hold steady, so it might take a couple of tries to get the yardage just right. The operation is very simple and straight forward which is a positive thing if you don’t want to get bogged down with a lot of features you won’t use. This is a unit that gets the nod based on its simplicity of use and its price point. There is also a feature that will actually give you speed readings of a target, but only in kilometers per hour with no settings for miles per hour. Not sure exactly what you might use that for, but at least you know you have it!


  • Simple operation.
  • Good value.

  • Can be difficult to hold steady on distant targets.

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Range finders with a 1000 yard to 2000 yard range

There are some hunters that hunt with both archery as well as rifle and do not want to have to invest in multiple range finders. Typically, as a range finder increases in distance finding ability, the price is also going to increase, assuming all things equal. Range finders in this category will typically be more than a lot of hunters want to spend, but are worth it to the hunter that has the need to not just know archery distances, but also distances well in excess of 1000 yards.

What is the best range finder for 1000 yards up to 2000 yards?

Top Pick: The Bushnell Scout DX 1000 Laser Range Finder

The Bushnell Scout DX 1000 Laser Range Finder offers plenty of power when it comes to accurately ranging distances. The claimed range capabilities of this unit are 5 yards to 1000 yards, although the claimed ranging for deer sized game is 350 yards. That might not sound like much, but to all but the most practiced of hunters, that is going to be outside their shooting capabilities. The accuracy of this range finder is about 0.5 yards so you are going to be right on in terms of distance. The 6x magnification is enough to allow you to see what you are ranging, and the optics will work in low light, but are best suited for a bit brighter conditions. The unit does have dual settings to allow for ARC use in bow mode (5 – 99 yards) where it will provide a true horizontal distance and rifle mode as well, where it provides bullet drop/holdover in inches once calibrated. All in all, this is a good unit that will work for most realistic hunting situations.


  • Has rifle and bow settings making it almost like 2 range finders in 1.
  • Can give bullet drop/holdover once calibrated.

  • Won’t range game animals past about 350 yards.

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Range finders for over 2000 yards

Range finders in this category are few and far between. This is going to be a category for someone who may want to bow hunt, but who also has the need (or desire) to range targets at distances that are only going to be truly hittable by someone with true sniper training. These range finders are going to be some of the most expensive on the market, but they are also going to have some of the best capabilities. Keep in mind that just because a range finder claims 1000 or 2000 yards, doesn’t mean it is going to be able to achieve those ranges on any but the largest and most reflective of targets.

What is the best range finder for over 2000 yards?

Top Pick: The Sig Sauer Kill 2000 Range Finder

The Sig Sauer Kill 2000 Range Finder offers a lot of power in a compact and portable package. Sig Sauer claims this will range out to over one mile, and some of our tests proved it. We were not able to range small targets out to that distance, but then again, with only a 7x optic looking that far out, you would be hard pressed to be able to pick out a small target at that distance. It has a very fast refresh rate so this isn’t a range finder you are going to be waiting around for it to give you a readout. Speaking of readout, the Kilo 2000 actually has a proprietary OLED display that automatically adjusts to the ambient light conditions to always give you a readout that you can see. We found the realistic distances for a deer sized animal were in the 600 – 1200 yard range, depending on a number of variables. All in all, this is a range finder for the shooter that is ready to tackle the longest shots out there while still being able to use this for bow season.


  • Long range abilities even on deer sized animals.
  • Display adjusts automatically to ambient light.

  • No tripod adapter.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Jay January 18, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Those Canon LTM rangefinders are very nice. I had a Canon 7 for a while which I picked up for around $100 body only, and it was really well built and nice to use. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough eye relief in the finder for me to see the 35mm framelines with my glasses on, and there’s no diopter adjustment so I ended up selling it along. Just something to keep in mind if you wear glasses, but if you don’t I’d definitely recommend giving them a look.

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