If you need to take measurements and don’t want to use your standard tape measure, don’t think twice and update your toolbox with a laser rangefinder. These devices are more accurate and easier to use than traditional meters and can also take measurements from greater distances.
These devices are highly regarded in long-distance sports such as golf. Some professionally used rangefinders are capable of measuring distances greater than 2 kilometers. So that you won’t have a problem choosing, we’ve put together a complete list of the best laser rangefinders today.
the most important
Laser rangefinders are highly accurate tools. They have different measurement ranges, some so broad that space station astronauts can measure their distance from Earth.
Rangefinders measure the distance that separates them from a specific object. To do this, they focus a laser beam, send it onto a thing, and bounce it off and back into the lens. The time it takes to get there is a calculation of distance.
Laser rangefinders are highly valued in outdoor sports such as golf, target shooting, and archery. They measure not only distance but also the speed of objects. Modern rangefinders can also read areas, volumes, and direct and indirect lengths using the Pythagorean theorem.
Buying guide for the best laser rangefinders in 2022: Our favorites
There are various laser rangefinders on the market. Some are suitable for professional scope work and can measure distances over 10 kilometers. Others are compact and ideal for indoor work. The choice isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together a list of the best ones on the market.
The built-in magnet keeps the rangefinder secured to the golf cart. Our NX9 Slope Golf Rangefinder is built with a shock-proof design for enhanced durability and strength.
Precise measurement with bright 6X magnification viewfinder
Accurate measurement with vibration alert
What you should know about laser rangefinders
Laser rangefinders are high-precision devices that replace tape measures and other large-scale projects. They are used in outdoor sports like golf and are highly appreciated by hunting enthusiasts.
What is a laser rangefinder?
A laser rangefinder is a measuring device that uses a laser beam to determine the distance from your location to a specific point, usually determined by an object. The most common laser rangefinders are based on the “time-of-flight” principle, sending laser pulses to a target in a narrow beam.
Due to the high speed of light, this technique is unsuitable for high-precision submillimeter measurements, where triangulation and other methods are often used. A powerful laser rangefinder can measure up to 20 km, mounted on a tripod with an angled stand.
What is azimuth, and how does it relate to laser rangefinders?
The azimuth is the angle between the reference direction and the line connecting the observer and the point of interest in the same plane as that direction. It refers to the orientation angle on the surface of a natural or virtual sphere. The term’s meaning is specific according to the discipline in which it is used.
In astronomy, azimuth is the angle or arc length measured on the horizon of a celestial body that forms the vertical projection of the north cardinal point and the star on the horizon of latitude. It is also used for navigation, as a magnet or a compass. It is also used in cartography, measuring from the north base point.
What is the range of a laser rangefinder?
The compact model is designed for indoor measurements, similar to a laser rangefinder, and can measure up to 50 meters without problems. Outdoor laser rangefinder models have higher capabilities, ranging from 600 meters to 20 kilometers, as long as you don’t encounter obstacles.
Although the beam is narrow, it travels long distances due to the divergence of the laser beam, as well as the synchronization of the beam caused by the presence of air pockets (explained in the next question) and the rod effect—lenses, ranging in size from microscopic to half the height of the laser beam path.
What is synchronization?
Synchronization is a phenomenon of beam spreading of a laser beam. This happens when the laser beam hits the air pocket that shatters it. This can also occur when using a laser beam in sunlight; if it falls directly on the shaft, the beam spreads, causing it to lose some of its intensity.
What technology does the laser rangefinder use?
Rangefinders are capable of making complex and very long-distance measurements. Unlike other tools, they not only measure distances, but we can also measure direct and indirect lengths, volumes, and areas straightforwardly. For this, the techniques we detail below are used:
Time of flight – measures the time it takes for a light pulse to reach its target and return. The distance can be calculated by knowing the speed of light and accurately measuring the elapsed time. Several pulses are triggered in sequence, with the average response being the most commonly used. This technique requires exact sub-nanosecond timing circuits.
Multi-Frequency Phase Shift – This technique measures the phase shift of reflections at multiple frequencies. It then simultaneously solves some equations to give the final measurement.
Interferometry – The most accurate and helpful technique for measuring distance rather than absolute distance changes.
What are the applications of laser rangefinders?
Laser rangefinders have a variety of applications. As we mentioned, the compact model is for DIY or construction work. They are also frequently used in cartography, 3D modeling, sports such as golf or archery, hunting, and various industrial production processes.
Below is a detailed list of the most common uses of laser rangefinders.
- Military – Laser rangefinders provide precise distances between targets outside the effective artillery range. They are also used for the distinction of areas and military engineering work. Military rangefinders have a range of up to 25 km. They measure azimuth, inclination, altitude, and length.
- 3D modeling: They are used for 3D object recognition and modeling and other fields related to computer vision. This technology is superior because it usually includes a 3D scanner with a 360º field of view. Their algorithm can combine distance data for a single object obtained from multiple angles.
- Forest Engineering: This quest uses a unique laser rangefinder. They have leaf filters and work with retroreflectors. The laser beam is only reflected by its retroreflector, thus ensuring accurate distance measurements—laser rangefinders with anti-leaf filters for forest inventory.
- Sports: They are very effective for sports that require exact measurements over long distances. They are mainly used for golf, hunting, and archery. Many rangefinders have advanced features such as CAD (distance compensated angle) and multi-range capabilities.
- Surveying: These rangefinders are used for road construction work and surveying on construction projects. They are very similar to forestry engineering models.
- Industrial production processes: for the steel industry’s automation of raw material management systems and production processes.
- Laser measurement tools are used for many tasks such as construction, DIY, and renovations. It is an excellent alternative to tape measures; they are more precise and practical because they measure angles and areas. They store information, and their screen makes it easy to read the results.
How does a laser rangefinder work?
Its operation is based on a mathematical method of triangulation. Using this method, it is possible to measure distances on Earth and distances to stars. When using a rangefinder, the fixed distance between two points between the viewfinder and the distance to the equivalent object is calculated by mechanical and optical means.
The distance is calculated by adjusting the viewer’s vision of the two images. Then, the object whose length is measured through the two viewfinders is observed, and two non-coincident photos are seen in the eyepiece, i.e., decoupling.
How accurate is the laser rangefinder?
The instrument’s accuracy will depend on the laser pulses’ rise or fall time and the receiver’s speed. Rangefinders use very sharp laser pulses and have high-speed light detectors to determine the distance to objects with a small margin of error between 1 and 5 mm.
How to use a laser rangefinder?
Rangefinders are used to measure distances without physical contact with the point to be measured. The device manages to determine the extension between two points with very high accuracy. The equipment is widely used in industry and carpentry, construction, locksmiths, and interior design.
Here’s how to use the rangefinder step by step.
Getting Started: The first thing you should do is read the instructions for use and learn about the accessories. Install the battery and press the power button.
- On-screen interface: it plays a vital role as it displays the measurement results and also gives us information about how we use the device.
- Once the device is turned on, you can check all the details and guide through the interface.
- Measurement Type: Use the on-screen interface to select the type of measurement you want to perform.
- Most models have options for measuring direct and indirect lengths, areas, and volumes.
- Measure: Put the rangefinder in place and take a measurement. The rangefinder contains bubbles so that you can position the device correctly. After placement, press the button to start the size and wait for the results to appear on the screen.
When choosing a laser rangefinder, you must evaluate certain aspects of the product. This is a guide to the most important buying criteria. Don’t worry; many rangefinders and brands are on the market.
You first need to know what you plan to use it for. If you want to use a laser rangefinder indoors, look at the minimum measurements you need and make sure you choose a device that can reach it.
Compact rangefinders for DIY and construction use are typically capable of measuring between 10 and 40 m. Also, for this type of use, they should have the option to take speed readings and, most importantly, see what accuracy and measurement range you need (comprehensive or precise).
Many models allow you to use different metric measurements and select another with just one button. For example, in the US, the feet/inch system is used, but you may need to use the metric system or any other system for other measurements. Most models allow you to choose the design you want.
They also perform the functions of distance, area, volume, continuous measurement, multi-surface, pile, angle, and speed. The more options you have, the better. We recommend you have all the features you need to complete the job.
Dimensions and Weight
Size and weight are critical factors when choosing a laser rangefinder, whether you want to use it at home or professionally. The lighter and more compact it is, the better. That way, you’ll be able to handle it better, and you’ll be able to use it more easily because you won’t be as tired.
Another factor to consider when buying is the battery and how it is charged. You must be aware that not all batteries have the same duration, so you must buy a model that will give you a good quality battery, especially for professional use.
The beam is narrow but has a long-range. The more concentrated the shaft, the further away it will be. The receiver must have a fast reading, as this factor also affects the accuracy of the measurement. Professional models have high-capacity lenses, although they are often outdoors in the sun.
Outdoor models do not have a screen, and the range and measurements are displayed inside the lens. These systems can be more complex, and if you’re not used to using them, you’ll have difficulty understanding them. The compact device has an LCD screen that accurately displays all measurements and numbers.
One of the direct indicators of the quality of a laser rangefinder is its measurement range. This feature lets you know the maximum distance you can stand so the rangefinder can complete the process of measuring a given object. There is no recommended standard measure as it depends on the usage.
It should be clear that there are models on the market with measuring ranges of 5, 10, 50, 100, 150, and 200 meters. Sport and outdoor models can have a measurement range greater than 1 km.
While it may not look like it, the design is an essential factor. It will determine the portability of the laser rangefinder and directly affect the size and weight of the device. Indoor models are compact enough to fit in your pocket, while outdoor models are bulkier and require a tripod to measure.
In terms of operation, you should ensure that it has buttons for quick access, which will make it easier for you to use. Also, make sure the functionality is easy to understand. Remember, these are complex teams that require specific skills: the simpler the device, the better for you.
Laser rangefinder data transfer is when a device sends measurement data to another device. Currently, many models combine wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The most basic models still require the user to write down various measurements.
In some cases, you will find models that record all your measurements. This is great for measuring large areas without having to measure again when you stop writing or forget something. This feature is invaluable if you plan to use a rangefinder for construction.
What is a laser rangefinder used for?
Laser rangefinders can be used to monitor or measure distances or object lengths. They can also provide positional locations over long distances, e.g., several kilometers, without physically touching the observed object. The laser range finders are regularly used in geodesy, sports, hunting, or the military.
How does a laser rangefinder work?
How does a laser rangefinder work? Laser rangefinders emit electromagnetic pulses in laser beams via their optoelectronic systems. The laser beam is reflected off the target’s surface and returns to the rangefinder. Next, the rangefinder’s systems process the shaft to measure the distance.
Which type of laser is used as rangefinders?
continuous laser beam
In most cases, the devices use a continuous laser beam with a modulated intensity and measure the phase shift of the laser beam reflected by the object compared to the output beam (phase measurement process).
Do laser rangefinders work through glass?
Rangefinders won’t work correctly on all objects. Here are a few examples… When the beam strikes a pane of glass, almost all of it passes through and isn’t reflected. So reading is difficult to achieve.
How accurate is a laser rangefinder?
Laser Rangefinders are much more accurate; most will get you the correct measurement within a yard; some even claim to be valid to 1/2 or even 1/10 of a yard. This can ease your mind when picking a club by knowing that the flag is 126 yards away and not 118 yards away.
Do all rangefinders use lasers?
Laser rangefinders (LRF) all work using the same basic concept. The rangefinder emits laser beams at the push of a button. Those beams bounce off distant objects, and the rangefinder’s high-speed clock measures the total time it took from when the rays left the unit until they returned.
Why do some rangefinders have three lenses?
Triangulation? Optical Rangefinders use triangulation to give you an accurate distance. The back lens points straight, and the front lens points to the left or right by 90 degrees. Once we get both lenses to focus on the same target, the pin, it uses basic trigonometry to read the distance to the flag.
How much should I spend on a rangefinder?
Golfers used to spend upwards of $500 – $600 for a laser rangefinder. However, that is no longer the case. Plenty of models in the $150 – $250 range will perform very well for you on the golf course.
How far can a rangefinder shoot?
Most laser rangefinders will do an adequate job of detecting highly reflective targets out to 1,500 yards. That’s great if you’re hunting highway signs. The objective measure of a hunting rangefinder is its ability to detect targets the size and reflectivity of deer out to about 1,000 yards.
How do handheld rangefinders work?
The Laser Rangefinder uses a laser beam to determine the target’s distance. A laser is beamed to the target, like the pin, and reflects the rangefinder. The time it took the laser to reflect the device is used to calculate the distance.
How accurate are laser distance meters?
The laser measure is accurate to within 1/8″ and steps to 50 feet. This measuring tool is more accurate, easier, and faster than a tape measure.
Is slope on a rangefinder worth it?
If you are using your rangefinder during practice rounds, a slope feature comes in very handy. The more sophisticated devices factor in a shot’s uphill or downhill trajectory and then factor in the slope for an accurate yardage reading.
Can rangefinders be used as binoculars?
You can use rangefinders as binoculars, but you can’t get the magnification and distance better in a rangefinder as compared to a pair of binoculars.
Who invented the laser rangefinder?
Barr and Stroud
The first rangefinder was developed by a Scottish company called Barr and Stroud in the 1880s. It wasn’t until World War II that the first electronic rangefinder was used. But you can go back much further than that to see proof of other devices being used to tell the distance between two objects.
Measure twice and cut only once. Measuring is one of the essential parts of any job, so you should have a practical and precise tool to do it. Laser rangefinders allow you to measure great distances without moving, and they measure accurately, which will make your life easier.
They are complex devices used for various tasks, from measurements to sports like golf. It would help if you considered many factors such as accuracy and measurement range of memory. Now it’s your turn to follow our buying guide to choose the best laser rangefinders on the market.