Binoculars are definitely one of the most important pieces of gear for serious hunters. A quality pair of binos allows you to easily scan your surrounding area for deer, elk or whatever game you're after. However, more and more hunters are now starting to abandon their standard binoculars in favor of a pair of rangefinder binoculars. The best rangefinder binoculars provide hunters with two important tools in one compact package, giving you the ability to not only scan the surrounding area, but also to accurately determine the range of any animals you find.
This makes rangefinder binoculars one of the most important pieces of optical equipment a hunter can own, second only to a quality rifle scope. Unfortunately, the high price of most range finding binoculars means that they're not suitable for everyone. The majority of the top models cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. Nonetheless, if you can afford them, a good pair of range finding binoculars can help improve your shooting accuracy and increase your chances for success by allowing you to precisely determine the distance of your target.
4 Best Rangefinder Binoculars:
Best ranging performance with ballistics tech
Great ranging performance best used with a tripod
Best rangefinder binoculars for the money
Accurate but mainly at shorter distances
Why You Need Rangefinder Binoculars
A quality pair of rangefinder binoculars really does combine all of the benefits of both pieces of equipment into one easy to use package. Instead of having to pack around both a rangefinder and binoculars, you can use one tool to both scan your surroundings and accurately range distances. Still, more than just saving you space, rangefinder binoculars can also help you save time. This can be vitally important when your target presents itself for a shot.
Instead of having to spot the animal with your binoculars and then switch to your rangefinder to determine its distance, with a pair of rangefinder binoculars all you need to do is push the rangefinder button to judge the distance after you spot the game. In addition, many hunters find rangefinder binoculars to be easier to use than a standard rangefinder. In fact, rangefinder binoculars are so useful that many experts predict standard, non-range finding binoculars may become virtually obsolete within a decade or two.
Unlike most rangefinders—which are designed to be held in one hand—the larger design of rangefinder binoculars allows you to firmly grip them with both hands as you would any other pair of binoculars. In addition, the wider body and two-hand grip generally ensures that range finding binoculars offer more accurate range readings. This is because they are much easier to hold steady than most smaller, more compact rangefinders.
Still, there are also a number of compact rangefinder binoculars on the market, which may take up less space in your pack, but are also generally less accurate and more difficult to hold steady than the heavier, wider-bodied models.
What to Look for in Rangefinder Binoculars
The growing popularity of rangefinder binoculars has resulted in the majority of top optics manufacturers producing their own models. However, there are a few exceptions—most notably Leupold. Despite producing some of the top binoculars, rangefinders and scopes on the market, Leupold rangefinder binoculars have yet to hit the market.
Nonetheless, there are now enough models available that trying to determine the best rangefinder binocular combo is not as easy as it once was. This is especially true due to the many newer models being released, such as the Vortex Fury HD rangefinder binoculars. As this model of Vortex rangefinder binoculars is brand new for 2017, it doesn't feature on our list, but that doesn't mean it isn't a decent choice.
The majority of rangefinder binoculars on the market use a laser to judge distances. After pressing the rangefinder button, a laser beam is emitted, which then travels downfield until it reaches the target. The laser is then bounced back off the target to the rangefinder, with the amount of time it takes for the laser beam to hit the target and return back to the rangefinder determining the approximate distance.
Accuracy & Ranging Performance
Generally speaking, the majority of laser rangefinders are quite accurate. However, not all models are built equal, which is why it's important to find a model that provides as accurate distance readings as possible. In addition to the accuracy of the rangefinder, it's also important to look at its ranging performance, which is basically the maximum distance that it can accurately range the target under ideal conditions. Generally speaking, the higher ranging performance a model has, the better it is. However, most of the top models are able to accurately judge distances of anywhere between 800 to 2000+ yards.
Of course, it's also important to pay attention to the quality of the binoculars themselves, as ranging performance is just one half of the equation. In terms of optical performance, you need to ensure that the binoculars offer high-quality optics that provide a clear image. The better image clarity the binoculars offer, the easier it will be to accurately spot your target at distance.
Ballistics Info & Angle Compensation
While optical performance and ranging performance are the two most important factors, you can find a number of models that also include more specialized functions such as ballistics information or angle compensation. The ballistics information can be especially useful for hunters, as some models come with pre-programmed ballistics charts that allow you to automatically adjust your shot based on the ballistics curve of your firearm and bullet. Similarly, the angle compensation function can be useful should you find yourself shooting from a tree stand or otherwise trying to shoot from an extreme angle (such as shooting up or downhill).
Rangefinder Binoculars Reviews
Now that you know what to look for in a pair of rangefinder binoculars, we'll now look at some of the top products currently on the market. For the sake of comparison, all of the models listed below feature similar magnification strengths. However, most of these models are also available in other strengths, should you find yourself needing more or less power.
Hands-down one of the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting on the market! This is both in terms of ranging performance and optical performance. The Leica Geovid HD-B line of laser range finding binoculars is capable of providing accurate ranging at distances over one mile. It also features one of the clearest, brightest images of any of the binoculars we tested.
Still, it’s the ranging performance that really makes this model stand out, as it is much less likely to provide inaccurate readings than the other models—even under less than ideal light conditions.
Another useful feature of these Leica rangefinder binoculars is the Advanced Ballistics Compensation technology, which takes into account info like ambient temperature, air pressure and user-defined ballistics curves to provide you with the most accurate ballistics compensation information available.
With a ranging performance of more than 1,300 yards, the Zeiss Victory line of rangefinder binoculars is another excellent choice. In fact, it generally provides the most accurate ranging distances of any of the models tested. Despite not having quite the ranging ability of the Leica Geovid line, these range finding binoculars should still have plenty of distance for most any hunting performance.
Unfortunately, this level of accuracy generally only extends to when the binoculars are used with a tripod. The accuracy rating suffers quite a bit when using these models off-hand. Nonetheless, when used with a tripod, the performance of these Zeiss Victory rangefinder bino's makes them every bit as good as the Leica Geovid.
In terms of price, the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile rangefinder binoculars are far and away the best. They cost around one-third of the price of the other models on this list. Despite this lower price, they still generally perform almost as well as all of the others. Bushnell advertizes these rangefinder binoculars to have a ranging performance of up to one mile. However, the accuracy rating isn't the best at these distances, and the rangefinder is generally much more accurate at distances of up to 800 feet.
Nonetheless, there is one area where these binoculars tend to excel. In terms of off-hand ranging without a tripod, these Bushnell rangefinder binoculars provide more accurate readings than any of the other models on this list. Combine this with its low price and you can see why so many hunters have chosen this model for their range finding binocular needs.
Although Swarovski produces some of the best binoculars on the market, its line of EL Range range finding binoculars just doesn't quite live up to the rest of the models we looked at. These binoculars have a ranging performance of up to 1,500 yards, but unfortunately, the accuracy at these greater distances tends to suffer quite a bit—even if it does provide extremely accurate readings at shorter distances.
In terms of optical performance, these binoculars are easily the equal of the others. Still, considering the incredibly high price, you'd be better off choosing one of the other models on this list if you're looking for something that allows for truly accurate ranging at distances over 1,000 yards.
At the end of the day, all of the above models easily deserve their place on this list. However, if you're looking for the best rangefinder binoculars in terms of performance, you'd be best sticking with either the Leica or the Zeiss models. On the other hand, if price is your primary determining factor, you definitely can't go wrong with the Bushnell Fusion. Still, no matter which one you end up choosing, you can rest assured that you're getting a top product that combines all of the benefits of both high-end binoculars and an accurate rangefinder in one amazing package.