Any seasoned hunter can tell you how important an effective rangefinder and pair of binoculars is to their success. Binoculars are built with powerful lenses to magnify the view of the terrain they are covering, and a rangefinder uses an infrared laser to calculate the distance between you and your target. Combined together they make an essential hunting tool and eliminate one more thing to carry. After thorough research, we have found the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting and have listed their benefits below.
How to Choose a Rangefinder Binocular?
The specific type of rangefinder binocular that works the best for you may depend on your hunting style (rifle, bow hunting, etc.) However, there are a few key features to keep in mind while shopping for a rangefinder binocular.
The maximum range on a rangefinder is the maximum distance of yards it’s able to measure between you and your target. Most decent rangefinder binoculars will offer a distance of at least up to 1,000 yards, some going up to 2,000 or more. This maximum is controlled by the amplitude of the laser employed in the device. The higher the amplitude, the longer the maximum distance.
Be wary of advertised maximum ranges that seem too good to be true. Sometimes manufacturers will put a higher range that includes reflective objects measured in the distance.
Field of Vision (FOV) is a feature which measures the wideness of the binoculars produced image. It is measured against 1,000 yards, so if your FOV is 400 feet you can see 400 feet of width from where you are standing.
Another key feature to identify when purchasing a rangefinder binocular is its optical performance. The optical performance is measured in the magnifying multiplier and the diameter of the lens. For example, if the rangefinder binocular had “10x42mm” in its description that means it uses a 10 times magnifier (multiplying what the human eye can see by 10), and a 42-millimeter objective lens diameter. The varying magnification and diameter result in different levels of clarity and sharpness the binocular lenses unveil with use.
Besides the magnification and objective lenses, different manufacturers use different techniques to create a clear image result. Objective lenses can absorb and reflect light back in a more realistic way (no chromatic aberrations, or color fringing) when multilayer-coated. There are also lens features such as HD lenses, anti-reflection coating, and roof prisms which all enhance the image seen in clarity, color and sharpness.
Precision and accuracy in hunting is the difference between missing a target by inches, and executing a perfect single-kill shot. The more precise and accurate of data a rangefinder binocular can give you, the better equipped you are. Accounting for your elevation angles, your coordinates, the temperature, the barometric pressure, and more all enhance your hunting ability. It is crucial to understand what level of data you need for your level of hunting before making a purchase.
Ballistic configuration helps eliminate inaccurate data produced from external forces such as temperature, density, coordinates, humidity levels, and barometric pressure. All of the above can lead to inaccurate distances and angles measured, but with either inputted data or pre-set calculations ballistic configuration can adjust and correct such inaccuracies. The most advanced ballistic configuration will allow you to both input data and select various pre-set levels of calculation. Most hunters can get by with the predetermined calculations.
The weight and durability of a rangefinder binocular are more of a personal preference, but still something important to consider in your purchase decision. A lightweight device is more convenient, but remember you are already eliminating excess weight by using a combined rangefinder and binocular.
The pricing of most all available rangefinder binoculars indicates the inherent high-quality of the product. It is worth purchasing a more durable, long-lasting product as you will use it on almost all hunting endeavors. Additionally, if you buy a new device and it breaks within the first couple days of an extended trip, you may be out of luck. Investing in a rangefinder that will last is worth the cost.
Another key aspect of durability is withstanding the weather. Many different products now come specifically built for night mode, rain, fog, storms, and more. Understand and anticipate your needs for durability when it comes to weather on hunts.
Ease of Use:
Most rangefinder binoculars come with non-slip grip handles which will help you hold onto the device better when in the field. Different products come with various button and knobs designs, and vary in levels of usability. Other aspects of use you will want to consider are whether it can be used on a tripod or not, if it has a neck strap and/or case, if it has a long-lasting battery and if the battery comes with the purchase.
Top 10 Recommended Rangefinder Binoculars:
With all these features in mind, we have listed the top 10 best rangefinder binoculars for hunting available on the market today:
1. Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC Binocular Laser Rangefinder
In the hunting community, this product is considered the best price for some of the best possible features. It has a 8 times magnification with a 32mm objective lens. Its maximum range is of 1,760 yards; specifically a range of 500 yards for deer, and 1,000 for trees. They have advanced XTR technology that enhances images more clearly, and roof prisms (BAK4 prisms) that enhance visibility in poorer weather conditions such as rain and fog. It has a FOV of 305 feet.
While the Bushnell Fusion gives off a high-quality image, one of it’s best features is the angle range compensation. The ARC feature calculates the degree of an angle you are at, revealing the holdovers for you to then correct the drop. It also has Line of Sight (LOS) features that allow you to measure both direct distances with the angle as well as the exact horizontal distance.
Lastly, it is durable and convenient with a non-slip grip handle, an included carrying case and a neck strap. It is also weatherproof.
2. Nikon LаѕеrFоrсе 10Х42 Віnосulаrѕ
This product has the popular 10 times magnification with a 42 mm lens. It has 1,900 yards maximum range and FOV of 320 feet. It includes O-ring sealed extra low dispersion objective lenses that keep out moisture, dirt to keep the image unobscured and optimizes images rich in contrast.
The Nikon LaserForce includes Advanced ID (Incline/Decline) technology that measures the horizontal distance of the target from an incline/decline up to -/+90 degrees. This helps single out distant targets and provides more accuracy when determining distance. The Advanced ID technology makes the Nikon LaserForce one of the best hunting rangefinders.
Despite the high optical performance, the Nikon LaserForce has design limitations. The button is in an inconvenient place, and the product can get dirt stuck on the outer rubber.
3. Vortex Optics Fury НD 10Х42 Віnосulаrѕ
The Vortex Optics Fury has the popular 10 times magnification with a 42mm objective lens. It has 1,600 yards maximum range with a 314.5 feet FOV.
It has two settings to measure distance; Horizontal Component Distance (HCD), and Line of Sight (LOS) using ballistic calculations. HCD is typical for flat-terrain bowhunting and rifle shooting, but LOS provides both direct distance from an angle and the incline of the angle. It also has XR multi-coating, anti-reflection coating, HD lenses and dielectric phase-corrected prisms that produce an outstandingly clear image.
The primary downfall of this product is it can only be used by right-handed people. If you’re left-handed, read on.
4. Lеіса 10Х42 Gеоvіd-R Віnосulаrѕ
The Leica 10×42 Geovid has a 10 magnification and a 42mm lens. It has multiple layers of HD coats on the lenses and anti-reflective coats that prevent obscuring light reflections. It also has an LED display on the device. Its maximum range is 2,200 yards, and a FOV of 342 feet. It has a high optical performance that reveals a clear, sharp image. This product is one of the best rangefinder binoculars for long-range hunting.
One of the best features on this rangefinder binocular is it’s Advanced Ballistic Compensation (ABC) system. This system offers aim correction by improving accuracy on location data, sight distance, temperature and atmospheric pressure details. It has up to 12 settings you can choose from for optimal performance.
It is heavier than other versions and slightly more expensive. However, it does have more advanced ballistic compensation features and has high optical performance.
5. Swarovski Еl Rаngе 10Х42 With Fіеld Рrо Віnосulаrѕ
The Swarovski El Range is a user-friendly, high-resolution product with a 10 times magnification, 42mm lens, 1,500-yard maximum range and a 330 feet FOV. In the center wheel, you can easily access the knobs to adjust lens focus when holding the binoculars in your hands.
The completely multi-coated lenses include roof prisms that reduce light reflections whilst increasing image quality. The device can measure both horizontal distance as well as approximate distance.
Most notably, the Swarovski El Range is known for its weatherproof design (due to its magnesium alloy outerwear). It’s a more expensive, high-end brand, but you would be buying higher quality optical performance with a higher price.
6. Ѕtеіnеr LRF 1700 Віnосulаrs
The Steiner LRF’s primary benefit is its durability. This military-styled rangefinder binocular has 10 times magnification with a 50mm objective lens. The larger lens allows for more light to be taken in, resulting in high optical performance. However, despite the larger objective lens, this product still has a maximum range of 1,600 yards and a FOV of 348 feet. Lenses are also multi-coated, and nitrogen purged to keep out any weather or dirt.
The main problem with this set of rangefinder binoculars is the lack of angle adjustment. You will have to do manual adjustments, but if you are primarily hunting on flat ground this should be less of a problem for you.
7. Zеіѕѕ Vісtоrу 10Х42 Rangefinder Binoculars
The Zeiss Victory by Carl Optical is one of the most high-end, high-functioning rangefinder binoculars on the market. It has a 10 times magnification, with lenses of 42 mm. In this case, the larger lens does produce a significantly better quality picture. Lenses automatically adjust to ambient temperature.
The lenses include an illuminated reticle, allowing for superior night vision. They are also multi-coated resulting in superior light transmission. It has a FOV of 360 feet and a maximum range of 2,500 yards making it one of the best rangefinder binoculars for long range hunting. It is also one of the most durable, weather-versatile products on the market built with rain protection and a tough outer exterior.
It also has an advanced Absolute Ballistic Configuration system that can overcorrect for temperature, and barometric pressure with a low .5% of error, and six presets available as options. This product also comes with a mobile application that can easily be connected to enhance your hunting experience.
8. ATN BinoX-HD Rangefinder Binoculars
Instead of roof prisms and multi-layer coated objective lenses, this rangefinder “binocular” has two high-resolution screens in each binocular barrel. This makes this product slightly different from other products, but the switch still proves for an effective product. The screens include a GPS, compass, photo and video recording, gyroscope and has a zoom feature.
This rangefinder binocular has magnification ranging from 4 to 16 times with a 65mm objective lens. The product does offer up to 300 yards of night vision. The FOV is 220 feet.
Technically, this is also not a rangefinder because it does not use an infrared laser to measure distances, but rather the rangefinder binocular uses the size of the object to make calculations.
9. USCAMEL 10×50 Military Waterproof HD Binoculars
The USCAMEL product has lenses with BAK4 prisms and multi-layered coating that produce high quality, HD images. It’s best known for its durability because of military grade. It has 10 times magnification, 50mm objective lens, and a maximum range of 1,000 yards with 396 feet of FOV.
Because of its military grade, the rangefinder binocular is highly weatherproof with a shock-absorbing body, mold, moisture, and dirt-proof exterior, and water and nitrogen purged and sealed lenses. This is the best pair of binoculars for severe conditions and temperatures because it’s built to last.
The downside is the rangefinding capabilities are limited because a laser isn’t used.
10. The HOOWAY 7×50 Marine Binoculars
The Hooway offers a 7 times magnification and a 50mm objective lens. It is a cheap, versatile option for both land and water. It has multi-coated lenses with BAK4 prisms resulting in a sharp, clear image. It also has a FOV of 396 feet.
Although especially less slim, this pair of rangefinder binoculars are built to withstand both weather and temperature with nitrogen purged and sealed lenses.
The main capability of this rangefinder binocular is its versatility and affordability.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does a higher magnification indicate better quality?
A higher magnification is not necessarily better. If you use a binocular with too high of a magnification relative to the hunt you’re on, too much light may enter, and you can end up with over-magnified trees that obscure your ability to clearly see your target. For a hunt in a dense woods with lots of objects potentially in the way, a lower magnification (7-8x) would suffice. For a hunt in an open, clear space, you can rest-assured using a higher magnitude (10+).
Does a larger objective lens indicate better quality?
The larger the physical objective lens size (longer diameter) and the farther the distance, you will be able to see with more clarity.. Again though, larger is not necessarily better. While a larger diameter allows for more light and thus more distance to be seen, it can make for a bulkier and heavier rangefinder binocular. The marginal benefit from a larger diameter doesn’t always outweigh the marginal cost of carrying more around.
Does the maximum range mean I can see everything within the listed yards?
It’s a common misconception to understand the full yardage listed on a rangefinder binocular as the farthest you can see for anything. However, you will likely not be able to see all objects from the listed yardage. For deer, a general rule is half of the listed yardage, whereas trees you can see at the full yardage distance listed.
When purchasing a rangefinder binocular, be sure to identify features that are most important to you. Consider the optical performance, maximum range, durability, ballistic configuration and the ease of the product you would prefer before purchasing. Using one of the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting will enhance your accuracy in measuring distance, enhance your ability to see your surroundings, and overall enhance your ability to hunt successfully.