Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting in 2024 Tested And Reviewed

Written By John VanDerLaan 

Updated

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As a bowhunter, you need to know the exact distance to your target in order to make a killing shot. The only way to know the exact yardage is with a rangefinder. Our team of expert bow hunters have spent numerous hours in tree stands and blinds testing out rangefinders. Below you will find their top picks for best rangefinder for bow hunting.

Our Top Picks

Best overall

Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder

vortex razor hd

editor's choice

leupold rx full draw

Best value

TIDEWE Hunting Rangefinder

Tidewe rangefinder

Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting At A Glance

How I Tested Rangefinders To Find The Best For Bow Hunting

Maven RF.1 rangefinder in a hunters hand

I took each of these rangefinders to my tree stand and ranged a variety of targets. I evaluated each unit on how fast it returned the distance, how accurate it was, how clear the optics were and how comfortable each unit was to use.

I used every unit in each of their ranging modes and compared the accuracy between the different units. I also tested the line of sight distance and compared the angle compensation distance numbers.

Finally, I evaluated the price and warranty to determine the best value based on how the rangefinder performed compared to its price and warranty.

The rangefinders below performed the best in my testing.

Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting: Reviews And Recommendations

Best Overall: Vortex Optics Razor HD Laser Rangefinder

Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder

At nearly $500, the Vortex Optics Razor is targeted to the serious bowhunter – but the investment will pay dividends if you want to make sure you have the best possible rangefinder in your kit.

It features a 25mm objective lens and 7x magnification, so you'll never fall short of your long-range targets. 

The Vortex Razor HD comes equipped with four target modes (normal, first, last, and extended laser range) as well as two range modes: HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) and LOS (Line of Sight).

HCD Mode is what we use in tree stands, as it calculates the angle for more exact shooting yardage.

LOS mode gives you the exact distance on line of sight, which is used for shooting on flat ground.

Its non-slip grip and durable external protection, however, makes doing so much easier.

One of our favorite parts of this rangefinder is the handy clip that allows you to clip it to your belt, a pocket, tree stand safety harness, or even a backpack.

Best of all, though, it's tough and built to last – no matter how tough you are on your optics. 

What We Like

  • We love the Horizontal Component Distance for shooting from tree stands or uneven ground
  • Durable and built to last
  • Feels good in your hand
  • Lightweight at only 9.9 ounces
  • Fully multi coated glass
  • Vortex VIP Lifetime Warranty

What We Don't Like

  • The $500 price tag puts the Vortex Optics Razor out of budget for many hunters.

Here's a video showing all of the features of the Vortex Razor 4000.

The Vortex Razor is the top choice of the bow hunters on staff here at DeerHuntingGuide.net. It has everything that you need to get the job done quickly and accurately. Throw in the Vortex VIP warranty and it is the last rangefinder that you will ever buy.


We love this fully-loaded, top-spec rangefinder, which uses Archer's Advantage software to take into account your arrow weight and velocity to calculate ballistics with seriously impressive accuracy.

This Leupold rangefinder features 1/2 yard, angle compensated distances, so you are always 100% confident that you are using the right bow sight pin for the shot.

It will calculate out to 1,200 yards, so you'll be able to get tabs on how much distance you need to close to get a good shot at your target.

The Leupold RX-FullDraw 5 also has a hefty 6x magnification and an impressive 3000 actuation battery life.

Plus, we found it was the most ergonomic of all the rangefinders we tested, which is always a perk on a long day out in the woods.

We also loved the red OLED display, which gave us a clear read-out even when we were out in the woods at happy hour with nary a sunbeam to help us along.

It's not one of the cheaper options, however, in our opinion, it's worth every penny – and while new rangefinders with all sorts of tech specs are constantly flooding the market, the Leupold RX FullDraw 5 is one rangefinder that will never go out of style.

What We Like

  • We love the way this rangefinder fits in your hand. It is the most ergonomic rangefinder we have tested
  • Durable and built to last
  • We love how the Flightpath™ technology displays your arrows highest point, so that you can see if it will hit branches or leaves in its path
  • Aluminum coating for enhanced durability
  • Super lightweight at only 7.5 ounces
  • Batteries included with purchase

What We Don't Like

  • High price point. However, you almost always get what you pay for with Leupold products
  • The warranty is not as good as the Vortex VIP Warranty

Here's a video where you can learn more about the features of the Leupold RX FullDraw Rangefinder.

The Leupold RX-FullDraw 5 is definitely a lifer and one of the best rangefinders on the market. We're confident you'll be satisfied with its performance.


Vortex Optics Impact Laser Rangefinder

With an accurate range spanning from 5 yards to 1,000 yards, the Vortex Impact is a no frills rangefinder that gets the job done at less than half the price of its aforementioned Vortex and Leupold counterparts.

The Vortex Optics Impact Laser is less than $200, but it comes packed with useful features that'll help you maximize your time on stand or in the field..

We found ourselves primarily using the HCD (horizontal component distance) mode, which has an impressive angle compensation feature that came in handy when hunting from tree stands.

We also appreciated its scan feature, which gives continuous range readings to pan across a landscape or to track a moving target. All modes can be set to read in yards or meters.

It is completely waterproof, thanks to being o-ring sealed.

It is also very small and lightweight, fitting perfectly in your hand, as you can see in the image below.

Vortex Impact Rangefinder in a hunters hand

This model does fall short of the higher-end choices, as the optics are not as high end, but it does include the incredible Vortex VIP Warranty, which basically will repair or replace the rangefinder NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TO IT!

That is a huge feature in a rangefinder at this price point.

What We Like

  • We love the way this rangefinder fits in your hand. It is the most ergonomic rangefinder we have tested
  • Durable and built to last
  • We love how the Flightpath™ technology displays your arrows highest point, so that you can see if it will hit branches or leaves in its path
  • Aluminum coating for enhanced durability
  • Super lightweight at only 7.5 ounces
  • Batteries included with purchase

What We Don't Like

  • High price point. However, you almost always get what you pay for with Leupold products
  • The warranty is not as good as the Vortex VIP Warranty

Overall, though, the Vortex Optics Impact Laser is a good rangefinder that provides excellent value for money.


Best High End: Maven RF.1 Rangefinder

Maven RF.1 Rangefinder

When we are buying high end hunting products, we prefer to buy from the manufacturer. The price is always comparable and you eliminate all chances of encountering counterfeit products.

Next up on our list of rangefinders, it's the Maven RF.1. The Maven brand is driven by technology specifically developed for brightness, clarity, and accuracy, which bodes well for its rangefinders.

Whether you’re a bowhunter, rifle hunter, or long-range shooter, all rangefinders within the RF Series are designed to take the guesswork out of establishing accurate distances.

However, if you're in the market for cheap rangefinders, then just keep scrolling. At nearly $500, the Maven RF.1 rangefinder isn't a bargain-basement buy, but it is well worth the price it commands if you're serious about bowhunting.

As stated by the brand itself, it's the clarity that really sets Maven apart from its competition. No matter what conditions we used it in, we got a crystal clear view and spot-on accuracy to boot.

The Maven RF.1 is extremely durable. One of our field testers purposely dropped it from his tree stand, which was 20 feet high. 

He climbed down, picked up the Maven RF1 and it worked perfectly.

As a matter of fact, it is still working perfectly as of this writing.

It has a minimum range of five yards and a maximum range (reflective range) of a whopping 4,500 yards, or 2,000 yards to a deer. This makes it one of the best rangefinders for bow and rifle hunters on the market.

In addition to its durability, the Maven RF1 features line of sight and angle compensation features. We love the Field/Forest feature that allows you to switch between searching for small targets while ignoring background features, or to track targets as they dart between trees.

It is slightly larger than some of the other rangefinders on our list and could be a little awkward for hunters with smaller hands, as you can see in the photo below.

It also comes with a lifetime warranty – though we can't see you needing it. This thing is tough.

What We Like

  • We love the durability of this rangefinder. We purposely dropped it from 20 feet up and it still worked perfectly
  • 100% waterproof and fog proof
  • Excellent low light operation, which is imperative for bow hunters
  • Award winning glass and scratch resistant lens coatings 
  • Batteries included with purchase
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like

  • High-end option and likely out of budget for many
  • It is bigger and heavier than other rangefinders. Weighing in at 10 ounces

Here's a video showing you all of the features of the Maven RF.1 rangefinder.

When we are buying high end hunting products, we prefer to buy from the manufacturer. The price is always comparable and you eliminate all chances of encountering counterfeit products.


Sig Sauer Kilo 1000 Laser Rangefinder

If you need to keep costs down but want plenty of bang for your buck, the Sig Sauer Kilo 1000 rangefinder will give you all the features you need at an attractive sub-$200 price point.

Despite its much lower price point than several similar alternatives, this model has 5x20 mm monocular with SpectraCoatTM anti-reflection coatings for superior light transmission and optical clarity. This is particularly useful when hunting in low light.

The HyperScan feature proved an excellent example of scan mode, and the 5x magnification was handy, though it is less than the 6x magnification on many other rangefinders.

Still, it offered everything we needed and its compact, lightweight body makes it a really useful accessory for getting out and about with a bow, particularly on those days when the last thing you want is one more tool to weigh you down. We've all been there.

Another benefit of this option is a high transmittance LCD display for superior low-light performance. The one downside? Unlike other Sig Sauer rangefinders, the readout on this one is black, not red. This is not a huge issue, but it does make it harder to read in low-light situations.

What We Like

  • We were very impressed with the clarity in a rangefinder at this price point 
  • Great price for all these features
  • 100% waterproof and fog proof
  • One of the lightest rangefinder we tested at only 5.5 ounces
  • Both line of sight and angle compensated modes

What We Don't Like

  • Only a 5 year warranty
  • Black readout is hard to read in low light conditions

Overall, we are impressed with this option. It's a good rangefinder that provides plenty of value for money, ideal for hunters working with a tighter budget.


Nikon Prostaff Laser Rangefinder

Nikon is a world leader in optics, and their foray into hunting rangefinders is no exception. 

With its slick back color and a ‎CR2 lithium battery included in price, this option will not disappoint users aesthetically, nor in terms of features.

It has a long-range capacity of up to 1,000 yards and 6x magnification, so it's no slouch. And we love some of the features it comes with.

We particularly enjoyed the fact that the continuous scan mode provides eight seconds of feedback, and its target priority switch mode means you can hunt multiple targets easily, whether they're six yards away or 1,000.

In fact, this model comes with two range modes. The first is its First Target Priority Mode, which displays the distance to the closest subject, and the second is Distant Target Priority Mode, which will provide the distance to the furthest subject.

It's durable too. While it may not be as bulky and weatherproof as some of the aforementioned alternatives, it's rugged and waterproof, meaning it can take some abuse when you're out hunting.

What We Like

  • We love Nikon optics. They make great rangefinders and they are our top pick for best binoculars for deer hunting
  • Very small and only 4.6 ounces
  • Waterproof
  • Multilayer coating is applied to lens and prism surfaces, giving bright and clear images

What We Don't Like

  • Only a 5 year warranty

If you want angle compensation and a decent maximum range, backed by a name you can trust, you can't go wrong with this excellent Nikon standby.


Bushnell Broadhead Laser Rangefinder

The Bushnell Broadhead was designed in conjunction with world record archer Tim Gillingham. The Broadhead features Bushnell's Full Spectrum Ranging System which consistently ranges targets with varied reflectivity and lighting.

I love the fact that due to superior optics and coatings, the broadhead produces 2X  brighter imaging which is ideal for low light bowhunting. It is one of the brightest rangefinders that we tested and is certainly one of the best bowhunting rangefinders on the market, considering its features and price point. Although it's not one of our bargain choices, at under $300 it's still a reasonable price for what it is, providing users with great value for money.

The Bushnell Broadhead features a variable long-range that'll take you up to 1,500 yards (yes, you read that right) to a reflective target. You'll also get 800 yards to a tree, or 500 yards to a deer.

We found that its larger 25mm objective lens meant that it gave maximum brightness, which was a godsend on early morning hunts when lighting is low or certainly limited.

The scan mode was efficient and effective, and being able to switch between Brush Mode and Bullseye helped us to move between multiple targets without risking it locking onto a bit of foliage and losing the quarry.

Bushnell is generous when it comes to accessories for your rangefinder. This model comes with a case and cover, meaning you won't need to buy these components separately.

In addition, you can benefit from its durability; the aluminum shell should stand the test of time and can take a knock or two without trouble.

What We Like

  • We like the Mid Range price and should fall within budget for many hunters
  • The large objective lens lets in 2X more light making it ideal for use at dawn and dusk
  • Durable with hard shell and case included
  • Fully Multi Coated Optics for more true to life colors
  • ARC technology for accurate shooting distances from tree stands

What We Don't Like

  • Battery not included

TIDEWE Hunting Rangefinder

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the TIDEWE Hunting Rangefinder. Many might question its quality based on the low cost, under $100. But we were surprised by the range and measurement capabilities of this one.

Warning: it's not designed specifically for hunting. In fact, this range finder was originally developed for golfers, so it's a great dual-purpose tool for the busy hobbyist who'd rather not spend big on separate toys for their sports.

Despite this, you can absolutely use it to hunt. And if you're new to the game, on a budget, and in need of a starter rangefinder that will get the job done, then this could be the perfect option for you.

One thing you won't do by investing in this option is break the bank; this under $100 rangefinder is the perfect no-brainer buy for short-range shooting on a budget.

While it'll only give you accurate readings up to around 660 yards, its accuracy within those confines is seriously impressive: we're talking within 0.3 yards up to 220 yards and 0.5 yards from 220-660 yards.

One factor we've discussed frequently when referring to the best rangefinders is durability. A downside of this model is that it's made from plastic, so you'll have to take care of it when you're out and avoid any knocks or falls.

Despite the material, it's seriously good value for money and a great option for complete beginners or those on a budget.

What We Like

  • Best archery rangefinder under $100
  • Higher accuracy and angle compensation than you would expect at this price range
  • Rechargeable with a charging port built in
  • Case and charging cord included

What We Don't Like

  • Made from plastic and not very durable
  • We prefer name brand optics from companies we know 

Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting Compared


Model

Features

PRICE

Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder

Best Overall  Vortex Razor HD Laser Rangefinder

 7x Magnification

25mm Objective Lens

HCD and LOS Modes

Weighs 9.9 oz

Range to 4000 Yards

Best Warranty In The Business

Leupold RX-FullDraw Rangefinder

Editor’s Choice  Leupold RX-FullDraw 5 Rangefinder

 6x Magnification

22mm Objective Lens

ARC Mode

Weighs 7.5 oz

Range to 1200 Yards

Vortex Optics Impact Laser Rangefinder

Best For The Money

Vortex Impact Laser Rangefinder

 6x Magnification

20mm Objective Lens

HCD and LOS Modes

Weighs 5.5 oz

Range to 1000 Yards

Best Warranty In The Business

Maven RF.1 Rangefinder

Best High End For Bow Hunting

Maven RF.1

 7x Magnification

25mm Objective Lens

LOS and ARC Modes

Weighs 10 oz

Range to 4500 Yards


Sig Sauer Kilo 1000 Laser Rangefinder

Best Affordable

Sig Sauer Kilo 1000 Laser Rangefinder

 5x Magnification

20mm Objective Lens

Angle Modified Range Mode

Weighs 5.3 oz

Range to 1200 Yards


Bushnell Prime 1700 Rangefinder

Best Bushnell For Bow Hunting 

Bushnell Broadhead Laser Rangefinder

 6x Magnification

25mm Objective Lens

ARC Mode

Weighs 5.9 oz

Range to 1500 Yards


Nikon Prostaff Laser Rangefinder

Best Nikon For Bow Hunting 

Nikon Prostaff Laser Rangefinder

 6x Magnification

20mm Objective Lens

Weighs 4.6 oz

Range to 1000 Yards


Nikon Prostaff Laser Rangefinder

Best Value

TIDEWE Hunting Rangefinder

 6x Magnification

20mm Objective Lens

LOS and ARC Modes

Weighs 5.6 oz

Range to 1000 Yards


How an archery rangefinder calculates distance

When you push the button on an archery rangefinder, it sends a laser out that bounces off whatever it reaches and returns to the rangefinder.

This then calculates the time the bounce has taken and converts that into a distance. That's a straightforward enough system if you're working on flat ground, in a relatively short distance, and without other objects that could potentially get in the way of the beam.

This is the same way the best rangefinder binoculars work.

Of course, that's rarely reflective of the reality of hunting, which usually involves variable terrain, multiple potential game animals, tricky conditions, and irritatingly non-reflective targets.

But that's where all the different modes of use in a good rangefinder come in handy. Perhaps the most useful is angle compensation, which helps you get an accurate read of the correct distance between your bow and your target when you're shooting up or downhill rather than at a horizontal distance.

Angle compensation modes take into account even extreme angles to show you the equivalent horizontal range to the target.

Shooting at an angle like this actually lessens the distance more than you might expect. And, because it has such an effect on the way gravity works on your arrow, it's essential to use an archery rangefinder to make the calculation, as it's nearly impossible to do so by eyeballing it yourself.

You may even see a rifle mode option on your rangefinder, which can help you to gauge the bullet drop and holdover compensation for rifle hunters.

The importance of a bowhunting rangefinder

The earliest rangefinders appeared on the market back in the 1880s, and though the technology has developed considerably since then, the need for such a device is greater than ever for bow hunters.

Before rangefinders, archers had to make an educated guess as to the distance to the target.

A range finder takes all – or most – of the guesswork out of calculating the exact distance of your target, and as the technology has improved, so has their ability to work out angles.

This means that they'll help you make an accurate shot, whether you're shooting on a hillside or from the high vantage point of a tree stand.

Rangefinders also make it easier to sight in your bow and are ideal for walk back tuning your bow.

For you crossbow hunters out there, some manufacturers are now making crossbow scopes with built in rangefinders, eliminating the need for a separate rangefinder.

Rangefinders aren't just for hunting. They are also a valuable tool to use when sighting in a crossbow or compound bow, giving you the exact distance to the target as you get zeroed in.

To help you streamline your archery rangefinder shopping process, we've rounded up some of our best-in-show picks.

RELATED: Best Headlamp For Hunting

What To Consider When Choosing A Rangefinder For Bow Hunting

It's easy for us to tell you our favorite bow hunting rangefinders, but ultimately, choosing the best archery rangefinder is largely subjective and will depend on you.

It depends where you shoot, what you shoot, the conditions you shoot in, and so on.

With that in mind, here are some of the factors you'll need to consider when searching for a quality rangefinder to add to your hunting gear.

Durability

It's a no-brainer, really – you'll need something tough and watertight that'll deal with variable weather conditions and a few knocks.

We're all a bit rougher on our hunting gear than we'd like to be, and if a rangefinder can't handle being dropped on the forest floor or solidly clunked in a bag, it's not making our shortlist.

Look for durable casings and coatings, and check out reviews, too. You'll want plenty of assurance that it can go the distance, particularly in wet conditions.

A good quality case will help to protect your rangefinder. We have found that our top picks for best binocular harness come with a rangefinder pocket that keeps all your optics at your fingertips while hunting.

RELATED: AGM G2 Guardian Review

Battery Life

While this is generally less of a concern if you solely dabble in target shooting at a range, you'll certainly want to keep battery life in mind if you're a bowhunter.

There's nothing more frustrating than getting into the heart of a hunt to discover your rangefinder is totally drained – and this can be exacerbated by extremes of weather. So, do your research here, and consider buying backup batteries to keep in your kit.

That'll be more of an investment if your range finder uses rechargeable batteries, but it's well worth knowing you've got back-up. And even better if you know that your rangefinder is good for thousands of actuations before then, anyway.

Here's a bow hunting tip for beginners

Always carry an extra battery in your hunting pack, so you will always have a working rangefinder. I learned this the hard way on a deer hunting trip to Ohio.

Angle Calculation

Angle Ramge Compensation

It's rare that any of us will spend our entire hunting careers shooting targets on totally level ground or hunting from a ground blind. So, unless you never plan to leave the ground, you'll want to keep angle calculation in mind.

Not every angle compensating rangefinder is created equal – some have the bare minimum technology and can measure a horizontal distance and a gentle up or downhill, but struggle with anything more complex.

Look for superior angle intelligence technology and an emphasis on compensation for horizontal and vertical views so you can nail the trigonometry and get the angle and actual distance spot on.

This is even more important if you tend to shoot from a tree stand, so don't skimp on built-in angle compensation when you're shopping for bow hunting rangefinders.

A quality rangefinder will also share all the information on its display, so you know the angle you're shooting at and the exact distance.

Eye Relief

Eye Relief

This is one of those features that many hunters don't think much about – until it's too late.

There's not much point splashing out on top-of-the-range hunting optics and great glass if the range finder's performance will be limited by subpar eye relief.

Eye relief is, in short, the distance your eye needs to be from the lens in order to get a full picture of what you're looking at.

This is very important if you wear eyeglasses!

Low Light Performance

View Through Rangefinder in Low Light

You can't always guarantee perfect lighting for hunting: you may find yourself looking at the buck of a lifetime at dusk or dawn, or under a particularly thick cover of trees, or in gloomy weather, and for all these reasons, you'll need a rangefinder that's able to cope with all the conditions bowhunters deal with and make the most of the available ambient light.

The best bowhunting rangefinders will have features built in to cope with low light, including bright optics, red displays for ease of use, and even extras like fog mode.

Features to look out for include:

  • Red reticles
  • A large objective lens, which lets in more light
  • Thermal imaging
  • Organic light-emitting diode (OLED)
  • Lumatic display for added brightness

Optics

The glass and coatings used on the lenses in your bow rangefinder are also important to consider.

The best rangefinders are fully multi-coated, which means that there are several layers of protective coating on every air-to-glass surface. This tends to give more brightness and more clarity but at a cost.

At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find coated optics, which refer to a single coating applied to one lens surface, and in the middle of the spectrum is fully-coated, which means a single layer has been applied to all glass-to-air surfaces, and multi-coated, which means multiple coatings have been applied to one lens.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're in the market for a cheap rangefinder for bow hunting or you want a tricked out multipurpose rangefinder with all the bells and whistles, you now have the knowledge to make an educated decision about the right rangefinder for you or as a gift for your favorite hunter.

It doesn't matter if you shoot a crossbow or a traditional bow, the best rangefinder for you might, of course, not be the best rangefinder for another hunter. So, don't get too caught up with following the pack in terms of brands and trends.

Instead, take stock of your own unique needs, the circumstances in which you shoot, and the hunting challenges you're hoping to overcome, and use those to govern the purchase you make.

There will always be features. For example, back target priority or fog mode – that you're willing to pay a premium for, but there may be others, such as a colossal maximum range or top-spec angle compensation – that you can save some pennies on if you know you won't really need them.

Knowing your own priorities will help you narrow down the (let's be honest, overflowing) market of commercial bow rangefinders and help you find the perfect tool to ensure your range measurement is spot on, every time.

Photo of author

John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at DeerHuntingGuide.net. He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

1 thought on “Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting in 2024 Tested And Reviewed”

  1. Leupold RX is my go-to choice, however, Vortex is a strong contender. Bought my Leupold around 5-6 months ago and now considering if I should get something to compare it against from Vortex. Most likely going to wait till sales and grab one for cheap. Bushnell looks interesting too tho!

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