Best value golf rangefinder

Best value golf rangefinder

We noticed the other day that none of our group actually was using the same rangefinder which quickly turned into a discussion about which one of us was in possession of the best value golf rangefinder. Between us we had many of the typical top contenders in hand making the data and experiences with the rangefinders much more in-depth. Nonetheless we did look to the market to get our hands on some of the other option to wee what we were missing.

One thing we did feel strongly about is only putting forward options from what we considered reputable manufacturers. It is not to say that we only considered the big names in golf but we felt especially when dealing with electronics it was important that if you needed to use the warrantee for some reason that you could actually find the manufacturer to deal with. 

Having spent time in Asian electronics markets I have had a lot of fun with finding gadgets to bring back home. But this was always under the understanding that their life expectancy was limited and this is not the expectations we want to pass on to you. 

Just to be clear and to make sure your expectations are in alignment with the review, the best value golf rangefinder is not related to being inexpensive but rather that the relationship between what you are getting and spending is favorable. We understand that for some golfers the expectations and demands from a rangefinder may be less and therefor a cheaper alternative more suitable to their needs. If that is more where you are leaning then you can take a look at our recommendations in our best golf rangefinder under 200 dollars and our best budget golf rangefinder with slope articles where we talk about the other options that can be found at more economic price points. 

So, after all of our debate here are our top recommendations for the best value golf rangefinder, we hope it helps.

Our contenders

Our Choice
Garmin Approach Z82  Nikon COOLSHOT PROII Stabalized Callaway Tour S

Magnification 6X 6X 7X
Battery internal rechargeable lithium-ion CR2 3-Volt Lithium Battery CR2 3-Volt Lithium Battery
Battery Life 15 hrs 2200 Uses 100 Rounds
Measuring Accuracy 10 inches .75 yds .5 yds
Slope Calculation Yes Yes Yes
Max Distance 450 yds 1200 yds 1200 yds
Dimensions 4.8 x 3.1 x 1.7 3.9 x 3 x 1.7 4.5 x 3 x 1.65
Weight 0.5125 lbs 0.3937 lbs 0.425 lbs
 FlagPole-lock YES YES YES
Flag lock distance 450 400+ 400
Waterproofing Proof Proof >Resistent
Pulse Vibrations Yes Yes Yes
GPS Yes No No
Warranty 1-year 5 years 2 years
Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon

Our Choice

Garmin Approach Z82 – Best value golf rangefinder

Best value golf rangefinder - Garmin Approach Z82


  • 450 yards laser range to flag
  • +/- 10″ laser accuracy
  • flag finder
  • image stabilization
  • Dimensions 4.8″ x 3.1″ x 1.7″
  • Full color OLED display
  • 2 oz weight
  • Internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 15 hours battery life (GPS mode)
  • IPX7 Water rating
  • 42,000 preloaded courses
  • Calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course
  • Digital scorecard
  • Stat tracking
  • Full vector map
  • Green view
  • Hazards and course targets            
  • Plays like distance
  • Handicap scoring
  • Wind speed and direction (requires connection to Garmin golf app)
  • Tournament legal
  • Find my garmin (helps locate lost device)

We understand that some may challenge how the most expensive rangefinder we have on any of our current reviews and rankings makes it as our choice for the best value golf rangefinder.  But after we all gave the Garmin Approach Z82 a try there was little argument just how much technology and features have been packed into this rangefinder.

We can start by saying it is the only rangefinder in our rankings with GPS and when coupled with the 41K preloaded courses in the Approach Z82 you never are in doubt of not only the distance to the flag but are instantly aware of the flag position and shape of the green as well as all of the hazards along the way. The imagery and graphic display of all of the information is intelligently done so not to make it cumbersome for the times you just want a straight reading of the distance to the flag.

The Approach Z82 keeps pace with the market standard 6X magnification but the clarity of the image when looking in the rangefinder is a notch above most. One of our group compared it to be looking at a monitor. And with the image stabilization finding the flag even at the Approach Z82’s 450-yard range is manageable without much effort. It is slightly larger than the other option’s on our rankings but it fits comfortably in the hand and automatically turns on when you take a proper grip of the unit.

What most golfers are looking for these days from their rangefinder is slope calculations to give a hand for those holes when towering over a green. The Approach Z82 not only is able to calculate slope but when coupled with the Garmin golf app can also factor in the current wind conditions to give you the most accurate distance evaluation possible. 

And then accuracy…… an unreal +/- 10 inches!!! This is of course a level of accuracy that is far beyond what more than most golfers can exert on the flight of a golf ball. However, the bigger point is the demonstration of just how well the Z82 is made.

While some prefer the changeable lithium battery I will side with the environment and support Garmin’s internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery. With approximately 15 hours of charge there is more than enough time to find yourself the occasion to recharge the unit. 

The only place where we felt that the Approach Z82 did not hit the mark was on the warrantee. At one year it is the shortest of the group and at this price point we might have expected a little more. Now having said it, we have yet to have a reason to exercise the warrantee after more than a year’s constant use. 

There are many other great features in the Z82 such as the find my Garmin application that allows you to track the GPS via your mobile device in the case it would fall from your bag and tournament mode that quickly disables the slope functionality to be compliant with golf regulations. 

If we have not done enough to convince you then I would suggest you get your hands on one and give it a test for yourself because it really is a great piece of equipment and this is why it is our recommendation for the best value golf rangefinder.

Approach Z82’s key selling points:

Set your sights on something greater

The Approach Z82 laser range finder with GPS gives you the most accurate reading on the market within
10” of the flag.

Green view

The map overlays show the hole layout, so you know the distance to the back, middle and front of the green.

Laser Range Arc

The Laser Range Arc feature draws an arc on the 2-D CourseView map at the distance the laser ranged, so you can see everything in play at that distance.

Hazard view

Quickly scroll through each hazard and layup distance on the map to see how far it is to reach each one.

Account for wind

The range finder now displays wind speed and direction, which makes figuring out which club to use and which direction to swing much easier.

Find the pin

On blind shots, the Pinpointer feature will tell you the direction to the pin. So even if you can’t see, you’ll know where to aim.

Our Runner Up – Best value golf rangefinder

The runner up on our best value golf rangefinder rankings is the Nikon COOLSHOT PROII Stabalized. Don’t let the runner up status lower your opinion on this rangefinger since there is a ton to really like about it.

Similar to our top pick the COOLSHOT PROII has a 6X magnification and great optics providing great clarity and contrasts when homing in on the pin even at long range. With lock on flag capabilities greater than 400 yards even the longest hitters will never have to worry about accurate distance measurements. And with a .75-yrd distance measuring accuracy the camera is bound to outperform the most capable golfers.

The PROII uses a CR2 3-Volt Lithium Battery power source and is pegged at 2200 uses so it should not be something that needs to be managed too often. Nonetheless we always prefer to keep the spare battery tucked away in the golf bag to avoid any needless hassles.

The fog and waterproofing of the PROII is top notch so you really don’t have to worry about the elements with this rangefinder. Add the fact that the PROII is backed with a market leading 5-year warrantee should remove any concerns you have about its performance and durability.

We found the slope and anti-shake features performance at par with Garmin’s so either should more than meet your demands in these areas. The COOLSHOT PROII does retail about 25% less than the Approach Z82 so if you are looking to save a few dollars and are not looking for a GPS rangefinder then the PROII might be a great fit for you.

Nikon COOLSHOT PROII Stabalized

Best value golf rangefinder - Nikon COOLSHOT PROII Stabalized

  • 8-1,200 yd. Measurement Range Distance
  • ±0.75m/yd. Accuracy (shorter than 700 m/yd.)
  • 6x Magnification
  • 21mm Effective objective diameter
  • 7.5°Angular Field of View
  • 1 CR2 Lithium battery (DC 3V) power source
  • Automatic power shut-off (after approx. 8 sec. unoperated)
  • Dimension 3.9 in. x 1.7 in. x 3.0 in. 
  • 6.3 oz weight (Without Batteries)
  • Waterproof (up to 1m/3.3 ft. for 10 minutes)
  • Battery chamber is rainproof – JIS/IEC protection class 4 (IPX4) equivalent
  • Fogproof
  • Battery Life Approx. 2,200 actuations (at approx.68°F)

COOLSHOT PROII’s key selling points:

Unshakable confidence

Borrowing technology from Nikon’s innovative cameras and lenses, the COOLSHOT PROII counteracts hand shake and environmental factors to steady both your view and the ranging laser. It’s easier to find your target, and it’s easier to lock onto it.

Fast. Accurate.

HYPER READ technology provides near-instant measurements (approx. 0.3 seconds) that are comfortably visible within the bright, crystal-clear OLED display. Explore more options for your shots without slowing down your game.

Slope-adjustment when you want it

Turn on ID (incline/decline) mode, and your distance will factor in slope, crucial for uphill and downhill shots. When slope must be off for competitive play, an onboard Actual Distance Indicator (ADI) LED signals compliance.

Waterproof. Fogproof.

A little bad weather or rain won’t keep you off the course, and it won’t stop the COOLSHOT PROII from performing.

Get the lay of the land

Press and hold the power button for continuous measurement mode to see distances in real-time as you survey your surroundings (up to 8 seconds). Know the exact distance of trees, water features, sand traps and other hazards.

Years of great play

The COOLSHOT PROII is backed by one of the best warranties available. Season after season, you’re covered.

Our next Pick – Best value golf rangefinder

The other pick for our best value golf rangefinder rankings is the Callaway Tour S. It is another top rangefinder that the majority of golfers would be happy to use. Like our other picks the Tour S is slope calculation capable and can find targets at 400 yards. It’s accuracy falls between our other picks at .5 yards and similarly as mentioned for our other picks, this level of accuracy exceeds the practical needs of the vast majority of golfers.

Like the PROII, the Tour S uses a CR2 3-Volt Lithium Battery and estimates approximately 100 rounds of use before the need of a battery change. It is of course hard to be precise for such measures but both rangefinders are able to provide quite extensive use before requiring a battery change. Both the Callaway and Nikon are also priced in the same range so cost is not a differentiator between the two.

For us the whole decision regarding the order of our 2nd and 3rd place picks actually came down to this….

The Callaway Tour S offers a magnification of 7X which pretty much puts it at the top end of the market today with respect to magnification capabilities. There are actually few rangefinders currently offering this capability. The Tour S also comes with a 2-year warranty which is more than many but does not reach the standard being set by Nikon here.

The biggest point where we feel the Tour S did not keep up was in the waterproofing or in the case lack of. It is a water-resistant rangefinder but nowhere near the same level of resistance to the elements of either of the other top picks. 

So, if you would prioritize the extended magnification offered by the Tour S over the waterproofing capabilities then it may actually climb up a spot on your rankings. For us the image quality at 6x was more than adequate so we preferred not to worry about keeping both our balls and our rangefinder out of the water so this is why we ranked our best value golf rangefinder’s as we did.

Callaway Tour S

Best value golf rangefinder - Callaway Tour S

  • Slope Technology: Device measures angle of incline/decline then calculates the slope adjusted distance (side button to turn on/off)
  • P.A.T. (Pin Acquisition Technology) – lock on to the pin up to 400 yards away
  • Prism Mode: Locks on to flag mounted reflectors for exact distances
  • Laser Mode: Scan landscape to acquire multiple targets
  • OLED Red Display
  • Superior accuracy [+/-.5]
  • Measures in yards or meters
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Water/Fog resistant
  • Legal for tournament play (slope disabled)
  • Includes premium molded hard carrying case

Tour S’s key selling points:

The Callaway Tour-S Laser Rangefinder utilizes our most advanced laser technology in one device. With superior magnification and range, P.A.T. (Pin Aquisition Technology), Slope Adjustment and Prism Mode, the Tour-S is capable of providing exact distance measurements to virtually any target!

This year I am tracking all the balls I find during my golf rounds to come up with this years winner of the OFF PIST GOLF BALL OF THE YEAR. If you would like to see if any of our recommendations strayed from the fairway come take a look.