There was a time when hunters had to make do with a best guess when judging how far away they were from their prey.
Technology has come a long way since then. The best rangefinder binoculars could probably tell you exactly how far it’s come.
Rangefinder binoculars combine the best of both worlds for the hunter – they will show you your prey in great detail and clarity, and then give you a precise range reading, so you can take the guesswork out of the hunt.
But rangefinder binoculars are not cheap, and the idea that you get what you pay for doesn’t necessarily stack up. Here, we pinpoint the best rangefinder binoculars on the market, so you can hunt them down.
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Best Rangefinder Binoculars - Comparison Table
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Best Rangefinder Binoculars - Reviews
Recently there’s been a move by some companies to bring the price of rangefinder binoculars way down and put them into the hands of hunters everywhere.
Winning points for being on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, the Hooway 7x50 Marine binoculars pack all the essentials you need into their water-friendly casing.
Providing 7x magnification, they deliver a field of view of 396 feet at 1000 yards, with individual eyepiece focusing and no stabilization issues.
You could argue that the Hooway Marines aren’t true rangefinder binoculars, as they use a focus ring and mil dots to calculate size/range, rather than a laser, but the difference in technique is unlikely to give most hunters any trouble.
In fact, some users have reported actively preferring the Hooway system over the standard point-and-click laser rangefinding methods. And the Hooway binoculars excel in terms of image quality at the price, using Nitrogen-purged fog-proofed 50mm objective lenses.
Lightweight and convenient to carry, with an in-built illuminated compass, the Hooway 7x50 Marine binoculars edge themselves ahead of the pack through a positive user response – many users claim they’re among the best binoculars they’ve ever used – the optical quality, and the price point.
For all these reasons, the Hooway Marines are our top pick.
Matching the Hooway on price, the BNISE Military HD binoculars deliver 10x50 magnification and a range of something more than 1000 yards with reflective targets (and around half that for soft targets).
Some of the fancier options of higher-priced binoculars are missing on the BNISE – there’s no angle measurement or compensation for instance, BNISE offering a simple line-of-sight on the target instead. That means you get a rugged pair of stripped-back rangefinder binoculars that delivers an optical performance higher than you’d expect of products in its price range.
The image quality impresses many of those who’ve used them, with some users calling them the best binoculars available without stabilization. Despite dropping the bells and whistles, they’re sturdy enough for hunting use, with a magnesium chassis that’s rubberized to resist shock and water damage.
There’s a bonus to the BNISE binoculars too – they come with a no-quibble lifetime warranty, with a full refund should the worst happen to them.
While not at the high end of the market, BNISE has created a great ‘grab and go’ pair of rangefinder binoculars and priced them at a point where most hunters can afford to take them out every time. That warranty promise just sweetens the deal, making them an affordable, worry-free choice.
Another at the lower end of the price range, the Uscamel 10x50 Military Waterproof HDs use oversized 50mm objective lens and a BAK 4 prism to give you the optical quality you’d expect at the price, and accurate ranging on hard targets at 1000 yards (or 500 yards on soft targets).
Add a military-grade compass with rangefinder to the mix and you’ve got yourself a low-price pair of rangefinder binoculars that punch above their weight. They’re also relatively versatile for the price.
They’re made of the same materials as some higher-priced binoculars, and are IPX 7 waterproof, which means they can be fully submerged without fear of damage. That means they’re suitable for most environments and can handle most weather conditions too.
With a field of view of 396 feet at 1000 yards, an illuminated compass and internal rangefinder offering accurate measurements of distance and object-size, the Uscamel 10x50 rangefinder binoculars are another strong contender for ‘grab and go’ use, at a price-point that won’t break the bank.
Less a standard pair of rangefinder binoculars, more a hunter’s smartphone, the ATN BinoX-HD will be thought of as a ‘cheat’ by some hardline hunters, but they make their way onto our list for taking a totally different approach to the needs of their users.
For a start, when you look through the BinoX, you’re not really looking through lenses at all, but at two miniature high-resolution screens. The point of that isn’t just to tear the heart out of traditionalists – it allows for additional information to be displayed to the hunter on the same visual display.
On the BinoX, you get your angle up and down as well as your compass heading, so whereas some models on our list dispense with in-built angle compensation altogether, here you can get the angle instantly.
Rangefinding in the BinoX is not done by laser. Here, it’s done by calculating the distance to an object by measuring the object’s relative size, which is not as precise as a laser rangefinder would be.
The field of view at 1000 yards is significantly less than some other models on our list, at just 220 feet, which is definitely something to consider when deciding which model to buy – as is the fact that the BinoX model is three or four times the price of our list leaders.
But where the BinoX binoculars score highly is in the range of other useful things they do. Being more a computer than a true pair of binoculars, they’re packed with extra functions, like infra-red illumination for night-time use, integrated GPS, compass, and gyroscope, digital zoom, 1080p photo and video recording, and Wi-Fi streaming.
All of which leads you to wonder why they didn’t go the whole hog, add a couple of extra chips and an earpiece and make them useable as a smartphone.
The downside of bringing a computer to a binocular-fight though is that, apart from the cost, you lose out on the functions experienced hunters will tell you are more important – like field of view – at the expense of cute, social media-savvy add-ons like in-built video recording and Wi-Fi streaming.
Also, when you put all this tech into one basket, everything is fine until something breaks the basket – while the BinoX binoculars are described as ‘weather-resistant,’ they aren’t especially ruggedized, and with computer-based technology, there are more components to break down, go wrong or inexplicably stop working, in which case with the BinoX, you lose all the add-on functionality they bring to the rangefinding party.
Overall, the BinoX-HDs add a whole range of new options to your hunting trip, which can be especially useful in the age of blogging, Youtube and Patreon to support your hunting season, and for which they deserve a mention on our list, but as a pair of serious rangefinder binoculars, there are more technically impressive options out there for significantly less financial outlay.
Nikon is a brand with a reputation for optical excellence earned over decades. Naturally then, its entry into the world of rangefinder binoculars is impressive.
The 10×42 Laserforce Rangefinder binoculars use Nikon’s own extra-low dispersion glass, which keeps light focused directly to the prism for good vision even at lower light levels. All of the lenses, as well as the prism, are also coated to improve light transmission.
That means you get some of the best and crispest images out there in the Laserforce Rangefinder binoculars.
You can almost feel the quality upgrade when you look at the rangefinding capabilities of these binoculars – for hard targets, you’re looking at accurate rangefinding up to 1400 yards. For soft targets, you can get accurate readings up to 1000 yards. That’s double the capability of some of our list leaders.
It’s worth remembering then that a pair of Nikon Laserforce Rangefinders retail for around ten or eleven times the price of some of our leading recommendations. That’s what pushes the value of the Nikon offering down the table, even though the build quality can’t be argued.
Nikon’s ID (Incline/Decline) technology gives you a compensated distance to your target, though you also have the option for a line-of-sight and a scan mode, if you’re more used to them from less pricey models.
The binoculars are fully waterproof and resistant to fog, dust and much else besides, but in a battle to keep them as lightweight as possible, they’re only lightly rubberized.
Like BNISE at the lower-cost end of the market though, Nikon offers offer a no-fault lifetime repair or replacement warranty, meaning that although they’re priced as an investment rather than a grab and go piece of equipment, you can afford to use them as you need to, safe in the knowledge that your binoculars are not about to ruin your fun with a hefty repair or replacement bill should anything unfortunate happen to them.
The Nikon Laserforce Rangefinders of course offer a real laser rangefinder, sophisticated enough to pick out individual animals at the distances mentioned, which puts them head and shoulders above some other binoculars on our list in terms of performance.
The issue with the Nikons will be the investment pricing over the grab and go convenience of some of the higher-placed, lower-cost options.
Best Rangefinder Binoculars - Buyers Guide
There are two schools of thought on rangefinder binoculars. On the one hand, there are hunters who say they’re an investment, who are prepared to spend thousands of dollars on them because of the accuracy and opportunity they add to a hunt.
On the other, there are those who wince at paying the big bucks when something less accurate and cheaper is on the market to help them just enough. Neither of these schools of thought are wrong – they just speak to different needs, wants and levels of disposable income.
1. Choose your prey. In other words, decide what you need your rangefinder binoculars for. What functions do you need them to add to your hunting experience? Adding range of vision at a distance? If so, how much distance, and are you willing to pay out for clarity and quality of rangefinding at those distances? Are you aiming to share your hunting experiences with the world? In which case, look for something that combines technologies into the binoculars that make that part of your hunt easier. Do you need them to be extra rugged? Waterproof or just weather-resistant? Definitely laser-based, or would an alternative rangefinding option work well enough? Know what you want to add to your hunt by the purchase, and don’t be swayed or seduced by additional details that don’t bring anything useful to your particular hunting party.
2. Choose your budget. There are fillet mignon binoculars, cheeseburger binoculars and squirrel binoculars, and they all taste great to someone. Decide whether you need the tip-top laser rangefinding you get at fillet prices, or whether for now a cheeseburger-level pair will do. Or whether ten pairs of squirrel binoculars will be of more long-term use to you than a single fillet pair. Decide how much you’re willing to spend for the additions any pair of rangefinder binoculars will bring to your hunt.
3. Look at the fine print. Across the price range, some companies will give you no-quibble warranties, and others won’t. It makes good financial sense to choose products that offer these warranties, so long as their products add to your hunting experience. That said, as with smartphones, be aware that technology is advancing rapidly and prices are coming down, so ask yourself how much value is in a no-quibble repair or replacement warranty if you’re going to be upgrading your binoculars in a few years anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What am I looking for in a pair of rangefinder binoculars?
That depends on what your hunting looks like. Every pair on the market does essentially the same thing – magnifies your view of distant prey, and gives you a range reading so you can hunt it more effectively at a distance.
But what you’re looking for will depend on you as an individual hunter – do you want simple, accurate, push-button rangefinding? That’s going to cost you, and you’re going to be looking for higher-end laser technology, like the Nikon. Are you willing and able to do some calculation yourself?
That can save you big money, but can add minutes of time to your hunt if you want to get it right. Rangefinding binoculars should offer you significant magnification and some degree of accuracy in rangefinding so you can hunt more effectively – the rest is a discussion between you and your bankroll.
2. Are rangefinder binoculars really worth the money?
As with most things, money talks when we’re measuring value. Ultimately, the worth of a pair of rangefinder binoculars depends on everything they add to your hunting experience – pinpoint rangefinding at long distance, or just ‘good enough to do the job’ rangefinding, and what you can afford to pay for them.
There are options at the very price-conscious end of the market, so they don’t need to cost you the farm. But with more money to splash around, you’re going to get full laser rangefinding, higher quality lenses and coatings, and often better protection from the elements and from accidents. Choose the pair that suit both your needs and your pocket today.
Technology is evolving and prices are coming down over time. If you want the best performance, it’s out there for the best money. If you want just enough of a boost to increase your kill-rate at a distance, you can increase the value of your choice by coming down the price-scale and still getting good results. Either way, happy hunting!