Not many years ago a set of rangefinder binoculars was reserved for the military or those willing to spend over $15k. These days consumers and hunters have a handful of options available to them.
What to Look for in the Best Rangefinder Binoculars for Hunting
- Durability: Whether you are looking to spend less than $1k or more than $3k durability should be at the top of your list when considering rangefinder binoculars. Having a rangefinder go down on a hunt can be the difference between taking home a nice trophy to the family or going home empty handed. All of the rangefinding binoculars on this list are considered very robust.
- Versatility: All of these binoculars have built in rangefinders so by default they are all versatile. However, some models also have built in ballistic calculators. If you are looking to consolidate your equipment as far as possible, grabbing a unit with built in ballistics may be the ticket for you.
- Ease of Use: Most of these rangefinder binoculars have similar controls as your current pair of binoculars. Adjustable diopter and focus wheel in the middle, adjustable eyecups but with the addition of button on the bridge for ranging. Some may feel more awkward than others at first but with a little use any of these binoculars will feel natural.
- Warranty: Most optics these days have 20 year+ or lifetime warranties. Since rangefinder binoculars have electronics in them some manufactures set warranty periods much less than this.
Best Budget Rangefinder Binoculars for Hunting
Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC
Bushnell seems to be the only manufacture that’s concerned with offering a set of rangefinder binoculars under the $1000 mark. Lucky for us, the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC is a solid option for those buyers on a budget.
Right in the title, the Bushnell gives you the impression that these binoculars are capable of ranging 1 mile. I can say with experience that these rangefinder binoculars can consistently range over 1000 yards but asking them to consistently get to a mile is going to be a tall order on anything other than a reflective target.
In a hunting situation, the Fusion’s ranging capabilities will be enough for all but the longest range hunters. One area some may be disappointed in is glass quality. I’d say glass is about on par with a pair of Vortex Viper HD’s. Definitely good enough for most but will leave some wanting more if spending a lot of time glassing. Another thing to note is the Fusions have a distinguishable blue tint to their glass. It is fairly minor but there is no doubt that it is there.
Even though this is the most affordable unit on this page, it’s also packed with a ballistic readout that you can match to your rifle’s drop.
Bushnell offers a 1 year warranty along with a 100% money back guarantee on these rangefinder binoculars.
What Customers are Saying:
- Awesome value for the money
- Excellent rangefinding abilities
- Pretty good glass quality
Steiner Military BRF
The Steiner Military BRF is going to be the most bombproof rangefinder binocular for hunting…or pretty much anything. First off, this unit has some heft to it at around 45oz. About the same weight as most 15x56mm binoculars. With that being said, when you pick this pair of rangefinder binoculars up you instantly feel the quality.
This set of ranging binos is “only” rated for 1600 yards. I put only in quotes because they are extremely underrated from the factory. This 1600 yard rating isn’t like the Bushnell Fusions rating where you can only get to 1600 yards in perfect conditions. The Steiners are going to be able to pull 1600 yards in bright sunlight, overcast, etc.
When I first witnessed what these rangefinder binoculars could do it was at last year’s Sniper’s Hide Cup. One morning there was so much fog that even the Vectronix Terrapin could not range an 800 yard target. Luckily one fellow in our group had a pair of the Steiners (in the 8x variety) and was able to cut through the fog and range those targets.
Glass wise these are quite a step up from the Bushnell’s but not yet at the level of the Leica’s and Swaros. Ranging wise, they smoke the Bushnells and nudge just above Swarovski El’s. In fair weather (sun, overcast, light rain, etc) the Leica Geovid HD-B is going to outrange it most of the time. If weather turns to crap or there is heavy fog the Steiner will be unbeaten.
These Steiners are for real. They may not have the absolute best glass but if you need the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting in the harshest conditions than look no further.
What Customers are Saying
- Seem to be bulletproof
- Ranging in the harshest conditions
- Worth the money
Leica Geovid HD-B
The Leica Geovid HD-B may just be the gold standard for the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting. These binos are rated for 2200 yards and they mean it. Decent weather permitting, these rangefinder binoculars will get you well over a mile with great consistency.
Glass quality is second to none but perhaps tied with the Swarovski EL Range. Coming in under 30oz, the Leica Geovids are very comparable in size and weight to other high end binoculars that do not have rangefinding capabilities.
The Geovid HD-B also has an internal ballistic calculator that works off of your rifle’s bullet weight, ballistic coefficient and velocity. One thing that sets the Geovid apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that they take into account angle and barometric pressure. This is important because if you are hunting at different elevations your drop can vary greatly, the HD-B’s will modify your drop accordingly automatically. It’s worth noting that ballistics do not read out past 1000 yards.
If the ballistic capabilities are not needed for your application keep any eye out for the Leica Geovid HD-R model. Ranging ability is the same just without the ballistics calculator.
At the time of posting, Leica has a decent warranty of 5 years on this particular model. They are known for reasonable repair cost on out of warranty units.
If you want the best of the best the Lecia Geovid is a great unit to go with.
What Customers are Saying:
- Best binocular you can buy
- The absolute best
- Extremely clear
Swarovski EL Range
The Swarovski EL series has been the upper echelon of hunting optics for years and the EL Range is no different. Swarovski rates this unit to 1500 yards, which is a fairly accurate limit. The EL Range doesn’t have the raw ranging power that the other high end units have but for most hunters having the ability to solidly range past 1000 yards is plenty.
Glass quality is top tier as you would expect. The El Range runs neck and neck with the Leica on resolution but may have slightly better edge clarity.
The Swaro EL range also is equipped with SwaroAim. Basically a fancy name for angle compensation.
Swarovski specifically states that the electronic components have a 2 year warranty which leads me to believe the optics in this rangefinder binocular is covered under their stellar lifetime warranty.
- Best Value Rangefinder for Hunting