Best Rangefinder Binoculars for Hunting

Hunting Binoculars

When it comes to hunting, binoculars are one of the first and most important tools on a hunter’s checklist. A couple steps down that list you will find a rangefinder. Rangefinders become even more valuable when bow hunting, long-range shooting, or planning stalks in more open country.

In the field, hunters have a lot to manage; whether it be on the mind, in hand, or in the bag. When those critical times come, with an animal in sight; juggling and swapping between the use of binoculars, callers, rangefinder and weapon (whether firearm or bow), can be a balancing act that makes or breaks your hunt.

Having a high quality set of rangefinder binoculars turns two pieces of gear into one, making for not only an easier carry in the field but less fumbling when it comes to the crunch.

In this article we will take a look at what rangefinder binoculars are, how they work, what to look for, and a review of some of the popular and the best rangefinder binocular options.

What are Rangefinder Binoculars?

Rangefinder binoculars are combination of binoculars and a rangefinder, all-in-one. The binocular aspect functions as expected, but comes with the addition of functions for measuring the distance of objects you are looking at through the lenses.  Rangefinders work by bouncing laser beams off of the target’s surface and measuring how long it takes for them to return.  Range-finding binoculars tend to offer greater magnification, a wider field of view and in turn a clearer overall image than stand-alone rangefinders.

Best Laser Rangefinder Binoculars

NamePictureMagnification + Objective LensCostRating (1-5)
1. Vortex Optics Fury HD 500010x42$$$$4.8
2. Nikon LASERFORCE Rangefinder10x42$$$$$4.5
3. Bushnell Fusion X10x42$$$4.9

Best Budget Rangefinder Binoculars

NamePictureMagnification + Objective LensCostRating (1-5)
1. Mentch Waterproof Military Marine Binouclars7X50$$4.6
2. USCAMEL Marine Binoculars10X50$$4.4
3. LAKWAR Marine Binoculars10x50$4.4

Important Considerations

Magnification –  Magnification determines how far you can see and how big the image will be.  However, more magnification is not always better.  Higher magnification comes with the trade off of having a smaller field of vision. For in-close and forested hunting an 8x magnification is usually recommended, whereas for more expansive/western hunting 10x or 12x is preferred.

Objective Lens – Larger objective lens will provide better low light vision because they allow more light into the lens.  Often the larger these specifications the greater the weight, and the greater the cost.  An objective lens width of 42mm is most common in hunting, with 50mm being a close runner-up. Smaller than 42mm usually does not offer a wide enough field of view, whereas greater than 50mm tends to become impractically heavy.  Check out this short video on selecting binoculars for more information.

Weight – By nature of the combination of integrating the technology of binoculars and a rangefinder into a single unit, the overall weight is substantially increased in comparison to having separate units. Weight considerations become a considerable factor when hiking deep into the backcountry or spending a long time freehand glassing.

Weight difference example: The Leica 10×42 Rangefinder Binocular weights 4.4 pounds, whilst a separate combination of Vortex Crossfire 10×42 binoculars, with a Nikon Monarch 2000 rangefinder comes in at just below 2 pounds in total.

Cost – Price is one of the main considerations when determining whether to get range-finding binoculars, and which model. Decent quality models generally run anywhere from $750 upwards, although some cheaper versions are also accessible.

Warranty – Many of the reputable optics companies offer a lifetime warranty on their products. This can be especially important given not only the price tag of rangefinder binoculars, but factoring in the complexity of the technology and the conditions in which they may be subjected to.

Tripod Adaptability – Having a pair that can mount effectively onto a tripod will helps to make the best use of your glassing time. Being able to accurately and steadily focus over distance will not only make for better spotting, but also clearer distance readings.

Durability/Weather Resistance – Most rangefinder binoculars come with a level of waterproofing and weather resistance to reduce potential damage during the highly varying conditions of hunting season. They tend to also come with a durably designed exterior to minimize shock or drop damage.

Rangefinder Button Position – This can be an overlooked consideration which affects how practical the use of the rangefinder binoculars can be, pre-shot. Assuming the hunter is right-handed, whilst holding a bow with your left you want to be able to hold up the binoculars and press the ranging button with your right hand. That same person during a rifle hunt will be holding the rifle to the right, leaving your left hand free to hold and range with the binoculars. This isn’t necessarily make-or-break, but worth acknowledging.

Common Questions About Range Finders

What are the differences between expensive and budget models?

There are a few major points of difference between cheaper and more expensive binocular/rangefinder models.  Higher end models are usually built with hunting and tactical use in mind, so much of the price difference goes into durability and precision.  Many budget range finders are designed for less demanding circumstances such as boating or bird watching.  They can still be effective for hunting, but may be less reliable.

Lens coating methods affect how sharp the image may be. Glass quality will affect the amount of light coming through. Due to these factors eye fatigue with cheaper models tends to become an issue, especially during longer glassing sessions.

Durability and warranty also matter. Higher end optics are designed to hold up to the rigors of hunting, being dropped and getting knocked. Lesser optics may become damaged through use or impact; and do not often come with the same level of warranty that the higher end optics do, which are usually lifetime guaranteed.

Do I need rangefinder binoculars?

Not necessarily. However, binoculars are a hunting essential and a rangefinder is a near-essential. The consideration then is whether you prefer to have separate units, or to have them combined into one single unit. This is based on weighing up a few of the previously mentioned factors such as product weight and cost.

To what distances can I range?

This depends on the specifications of the rangefinder and binocular components. A rangefinder’s listed distance is usually based on ranging reflective surfaces, which allow for a much further reading than non-reflective surfaces (such as animals or trees). Many companies will now also list that soft range within the product details.

Range example: For the Vortex Fury HD 5000, the reflective range is 5000 yards, whereas the “deer range” is listed as 1600 yards.

Final Thoughts

Rangefinder binoculars are one of those pieces of hunting equipment we would all love to have in our arsenal. When factoring in the combined cost of individual binoculars and rangefinders, along with the added practicality of an all-in-one product, the higher price tag on a quality pair of rangefinder binoculars becomes much less of a hurdle.

As with most other hunting gear its worth comes down to how much it can assist and improve your hunting endeavors. Spending your days afield with a good set of rangefinder binoculars open up a whole ‘nother experience.

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