Budget Golf Rangefinders

Laser rangefinders have slowly become must-have items in every respectable golfer’s paraphernalia, due to their inherent ability to improve one’s game via providing accurate distance readings. It’s pretty obvious that having the right “intel” on the “battlefield” will help with making the right decisions during your game, and here laser rangefinders come into play, as success is clearly dependent on how well you can appreciate distances to flags and hazards.

Since we’re living in the “current year” and technology is everywhere, giving us an edge in almost every aspect of our lives, the same stands true for golf; and speaking of golf, today’s article will present you with 4 of the best budget golf rangefinders out there, thus helping you with making an informed decision in regard to your next purchase.

Today’s contenders are the TecTecTec VPRO500S, the GolfBuddy LR7S, the Nikon Coolshot 20i and the Callaway 300 Pro. So, keep reading, because you’re in for a real treat.

Budget Golf Rangefinders Comparison Table

Brand

Magnification

Range

My Rating

TecTecTec VPRO500s

6x

540 yards

4.5/5

GolfBuddy LR7s

6x

880 yards

4/5

Nikon Coolshot 20i

6x

800 yards

4/5

Callaway 300 Pro

6x

1,000 yards

3/5

Let’s begin with the TecTecTec VPRO500S, which incidentally makes for one of Amazon’s best sellers, and that’s not a coincidence, since we’re talking about a seller’s market. The thing about the TecTecTec VPRO500S laser rangefinder is that it makes for an amazing gadget that comes with all the bells and whistles you can expect from a modern product, i.e. it’s packed full of technology, boasts a sleek design and delivers fast and accurate readings. However, the cherry on top is that the TecTecTec VPRO500S is amazingly cost-efficient, but let’s not anticipate.

Here are the specs:

540 yards range

Measures in Yards and Meters

+/- 1 Yard Accuracy

6x Magnification

Slope Measurement

Dust & Rainproof

Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 3 inches

Display Type: LCD/Black

Tournament Legal: Yes

If you’re not really familiarized with the company, you must learn that TecTecTec is a European based startup, headquartered in France, with representation in Houston, Texas and Bali, and they’ve entered the rangefinder manufacturing business relatively recently, in 2014 respectively, focusing at providing golfers world-wide with high quality yet affordable products.

The same philosophy applies to the TecTecTec VPRO 500S (S stands for Slope by the way), which makes for the perfect addition to your golf bag, provided you’re on a limited budget (or you just don’t want to spend a fortune) yet you’re looking for a high quality laser rangefinder.

This baby comes packed to the brim with the latest and greatest features available in a “current era” laser rangefinder, including Auto Target Acquisition technology, which allows it to discriminate between objects behind the flag and the flag itself (think along the lines of buildings, trees etc. ), PinSlope technology, which delivers slope-adjusted distances on a flick of the switch (yes, it’s Tournament legal, don’t worry about that), a 6x magnifying lens featuring a multilayer coating for bright and clear images in any weather, 1-yard accuracy for up to 540 yards, and, the cherry on top is that it’s compact and lightweight, weighing a mere 7 ounces, which is an important feature for golfers who appreciate portability and ergonomics in their gear.

Moreover, the TecTecTec VPRO 500S is designed to be both dust proof and rainproof, and that’s crucial (maybe a deal breaker for some) if you’re an “all weather golfer”.

Pros & Cons

  • 6x magnification lens
  • Accuracy up to 540 yards
  • High quality optics for a budget range finder
  • Slope compensation technology
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Continuous scan mode
  • Auto Target Acquisition Technology
  • Easy to set up and to use
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Dust- and rainproof
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Comes with cleaning cloth and carrying pouch
  • 2 year warranty plus lifetime customer support
  • Rainproof doesn't mean 100% water resistant
TecTecTec Laser Golf Rangefinder VPRO500S Slope - Great Range Finder

Next in line, we have the GolfBuddy LR7S, which makes for a relatively affordable laser rangefinder built with an emphasis on delivering long distance performance. And by long distance performance, we’re talking about up to 880 yards, which is kind of impressive by any “metrics”, though we doubt many of our readers are capable of shooting the ball that far away, i.e. this can be regarded as an “overkill”/marketing feature, but let that go. Here are the specs:

880 yards range

Measures in Yards and Meters

+/- 1 Yard Accuracy

6x Magnification

Slope Measurement

Pin finder with vibration

Water resistant

Dimensions: 4 x 1.63 x 2.85 inches

Display Type: LCD

Tournament Legal: Yes

As you can see from the specs, the GolfBuddy LR7S is the “longbow” of laser rangefinders, with the S particle standing for Slope compensation technology. Being built mostly out of plastic, the LR7S is lightweight and well designed, sits well in hand and even if it may lack in “premium feel”, it’s rock solid and very grippy. 

Speaking of features, this long-range gadget delivers laser accurate slope adjusted distances for elevation (yes, the slope feature can be turned on or off, i.e. the LR7S is Tournament legal), pin finder with vibration and slope, accuracy +/-1 yard and an interesting “default to last used settings” thing. On top of that, you’ll get four targeting modes (standard, pin, pin finder and scan), automatic shut-off after ten seconds when left unused, an ergonomic design, and eyepiece adjustment.

Pros & Cons

  • 6x magnification lens
  • Accuracy up to 880 yards
  • Multi-coated optics
  • Slope compensation technology
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
  • Scan Mode with Pin Seeker technology
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Water resistant
  • Very good battery life (up to 3,000 actuations)
  • Not 100% water proof
GolfBuddy LR7S Golf Rangefinder - package overview

Now, it’s time to take a look at the Nikon Coolshot 20i, a very interesting laser rangefinder which comes from one of world’s most reputable companies. Nikon is a global Japanese brand, and well known for their experience in crafting lenses and digital cameras. Until recently, Nikon has built rangefinders for Callaway, but now they’ve started selling them under their own brand, which is great news for Nikon aficionados.

Specs:

800 yards range

Measures in Yards and Meters

+/- 1 yard accuracy under 100 yards distances

+/- 2 yards accuracy over 100 yards distances

6x Magnification

Slope Adjusting ID Technology

Advance Pin identification technology

8-Seconds continuous measurement mode

Nikon optics for viewer and laser

Dimensions: 3.54 x 2.75 x 1.5 inches

Rainproof

Tournament Legal: Yes

One of the main selling points of this Japanese rangefinder is its incredibly small size. Standing at just 3.54’’ by 2.75’’, the Nikon Coolshot 20i is arguably the smallest laser rangefinder in the world, a feature that will make it your best buddy on the golf course. If you’re looking for a lightweight (4.8 ounces) and compact range-finder, look no further, you’ve just met your match. Design wise, the Nikon Coolshot 20i sits well in hand, it’s grippy enough to use in a hurricane, and comes with all the technological features expected from a state of the art rangefinder: ID Technology for slope compensation, 8 second continuous measurement, Vibration Reduction technology, Long Eye Relief and First Target Priority.

Needless to say, this laser rangefinder is pretty accurate up to 800 yards, and also very easy to use, i.e. all you have to do is point and shoot.

Pros & Cons

  • 6x magnification lens
  • Accuracy up to 800 yards
  • High quality Nikon optics
  • Slope-Adjusting ID technology
  • Fast readings
  • Ergonomic design
  • Scan mode of 8 seconds continuous measurement
  • Turns off automatically
  • Rainproof
  • Supremely comfortable even for people wearing glasses
  • Locking on the flag gets quirky above 200 yards
Nikon Coolshot 20i GII Golf Rangefinder - Bright High contrast 6x magnification viewer

Finally, we must talk a little bit about the Callaway 300 ProCallaway is a “sacred monster” in the golf industry, and their 300 Pro laser rangefinder is one of the best in the world, even if it was first launched way back in 2015. However, its price has dropped dramatically since its inception, hence even if we’re talking about a premium laser rangefinder from a reputable company, the 300 Pro can be best described as a high end yet affordable rangefinder with slope technology, and that why it made it to our list of “budget rangefinders”.

Specs:

1,000 yards range

Measures in Yards and Meters

+/- 1 yard accuracy

6x Magnification

‘Birdie’ technology chirps when locked on the pin

Slope measurement technology

Scan mode with multiple readings on multiple targets

Sleek, ergonomic design

Dimensions: 4.25 x 3 x 1.75 inches

Water and fog proof

Tournament Legal: Yes

To sum it up in a few words, the Callaway 300 Pro is a no-nonsense laser rangefinder, i.e. the company basically stripped away all “fancy” features, thus ending up with a highly accurate and affordably priced product “for the masses”. If you’re looking for a premium rangefinder which is very easy to use and does an awesome job in regard to delivering laser accurate distances to the flag with zero hassle, the Callaway 300 Pro should rank high on your shopping list.

Speaking of premium features, the 300 Pro boasts Callaway’s proprietary PAT technology, which is a fancy name for pin acquisition technology, together with high-end optics. Accuracy-wise, the 300 Pro is capable of locking onto the pin from up to 300 yards and due to its slope measurement technology (an on/off kind of a deal which makes it Tournament legal) you’ll also get a second slope-adjusted reading, if one so inclined. And then there’s the scan functionality feature that provides you with multiple readings on multiple targets at once.

Pros & Cons

  • 6x magnification lens
  • Accuracy up to 1,000 yards
  • Pin Acquisition Technology
  • Slope compensation technology
  • Easy to use (point and shoot)
  • Premium built design
  • Scan mode
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Fog and water proof
  • Weighs just 7.5 ounces
  • Slow on target acquisition
  • Accuracy not very stable
Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder - pin acquisition tech

 

Conclusion

Now that we’ve finished talking about our four contenders for today, let’s see about the most important part, the meat of the article so to speak: which one is the best of the bunch?

Since today’s topic is revolving around budget golf rangefinders, it comes as no surprise that if we’re talking about deal-breakers, the price is clearly a big issue. In this regard, even if the difference is minimal, the TecTecTec VPRO500S really stands out from the crowd. Why? To give you a hint, this baby is currently available on Amazon for a great price, yet it offers all the important features one would expect from a laser rangefinder in 2019, including on/off ( tour legal) slope measurement technology, 6x lens magnification, excellent accuracy, great ergonomics and ease of use, as well as a rainproof/ergonomic design; and yes, at this price-point, the French company is hard to beat.

Truth be told, all four of our contenders offer basically the same features and functionality, as expected from a short line-up of the best budget rangefinders in 2019 (6x magnification lens, slope technology, pin seeking technology and so on and so forth), but when it comes to price versus features/functionality, the TecTecTec VPRO500S gets the laurels, as the most affordable (price is king), portable and lightweight laser rangefinder on the market today.

The GolfBuddy LR7S comes very close as the second-best budget rangefinder, as it offers basically the same features (slope measurement, pin locking technology) in a lightweight and compact design, but the price-tag is a tad higher, and since price is the main metric in our comparison, well, you do the math.

The Nikon Coolshot 20i gets an honorable 3rd place, and that’s because of the quirky readings we experienced with distances above 200 yards and because of the steeper price tag, while the Callaway 300 Pro comes in fourth. Don’t get us wrong, the 300 Pro is a premium-quality laser rangefinder and relatively affordable (well, for a Callaway), but it’s slower and the accuracy wasn’t found to be very stable.