It’s truly an exciting time to be looking for a rangefinder. For years the market was stagnant with the same rangefinders being re-skinned and trying to be passed off as the newest and greatest. Recently we are finally seeing some trickle down technology from the top performing military style units. We have legitimate 1000 yard rangefinders cheaper than ever before.
Many of the rangefinders I am going to recommend I have personal experience with. I’ve either owned them or used them at shooting competitions. This is not just a random thrown together list. I am very passionate about hunting and shooting, and just as passionate about having great gear.
Find out why the Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 is the best value rangefinder for hunting and where the other excellent options stack up in their respective price ranges.
Best Value Rangefinder for Hunting:
- Simmons Volt 600
- Bushnell Scout DX 1000
- Vortex Range 1000
- Sig Kilo 2000
- Leica Rangemaster
What to Look for in a Best Value Rangefinder for Hunting
- Durability: If you are a hunter, shooter or even a golfer, lots of resources go into enjoying your particular activity. Nothing can be more frustrating than when an important piece of equipment goes down. For hunters this can mean having to pass up that buck because you can’t distinguish the correct distance, or worse, taking a bad shot.
- Versatility: Take note as to what you want to use your rangefinder for. Certain rangefinders are geared towards certain disciplines such as only taking into account angle compensation out to a certain yardage. If you only golf then take advantage of the cheaper pricing on golf specific models. Generally, golf rangefinders are the same internally to their hunting counterpart. The difference is usually waterproofing and increased durability.
- Ease of Use: Even the most quirky of models become easy to use with practice. One thing to keep in mind is the read speed of some of these units. Some rangefinders have a relatively long read time which can result in no-reads or bad ranges if the person ranging isn’t holding steady enough.
- Changing brightness: There is a huge disparity in how rangefinders change reticle and readout brightness. If new to rangefinders this can sound like I’m nitpicking but being able to quickly and easily change display brightness according to how bright or dim it is outside can be a make or break deal.
- Angle Compensation: Most rangefinders these days have some sort of angle compensation mechanism built in. For archery hunters or rifle hunters who are in mountainous terrain, this is a requirement. Some low end models will not have this feature included. Some high end models have this included b
ut it doesn’t work until ranging past 100 yards, obviously that isn’t going to work for an archer.
Best Value Rangefinder Under $100
Simmons Volt 600
The Simmons Volt 600 is a true budget unit. You are going to have to pass up on features such as a backlit display and angle compensation. The unit is rated for 600 yards but as with most rangefinder’s distance ratings that is very optimistic. You can safely range game out to 300 yards with this unit but try not to expect much more than that.
Note for bow hunters: This particular unit does not have angle compensation built in. If you can afford another $30 or so make the jump to the Simmons Volt 600 with Tilt which does have angle correction built in. Keep in mind that unit will not correct for angle past 99 yards. No issue for bow hunters but could pose a problem to rifle hunters. If you don’t hunt from a tree stand or in mountainous terrain go with the cheaper model.
For under $100 its hard to argue with the value the Simmons Volt 600 gives.
- Good response time for the price
- Outstanding for archery
- Gets the job done if you stay within its limits
- We absolutely love it
Best Value Rangefinder Under $200
Scout DX 1000 ARC
Bushnell does not have much competition in the sub $200 rangefinder category. They have several models that fall within this range but I personally think the Scout DX 1000 ARC comes out on top. One of the biggest things you will notice when jumping up to the $200 category is the build quality. Most of these units feel much more substantial than the units costing $50-$100 less.
This is a near fully featured rangefinder. It includes Bushnell’s ARC (Angle Range Compensation) technology which, you guessed it, shows you the adjusted distance you are from the target. The unit is labeled as being capable of 1000 yards but I will tell you right now thats not going to happen. You may be able to range very reflective targets out that far in perfect conditions but in my experience the practical max of this rangefinder is around 500 yards. I believe Bushnell undersells this unit a bit on its game ranging capabilities however. They list it at 200 yards max for deer but in my experience it can do around 300 yards.
The unit itself has a very small footprint and fits very nicely in most hunting shirt front pockets. This makes it an excellent companion for an archer or hunter that wants to keep their rangefinder with reach.
- Great rangefinder for hunting
- Excellent rangefinder
- Compact and easy to carry
- Best bang for the buck
Best Rangefinder Under $300
Vortex Optics Ranger 1000
The Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 sure made a big splash when it launched a couple years ago. Its over-molded rubber finish gives this unit a very premium feel and the built in belt clip makes you wonder why every rangefinder doesn’t have it.
This unit normally would be too expensive to be in the sub $300 range but due to Vortex releasing its bigger brother, the Vortex Optics Ranger 1500 Rangefinder RRF-151, this unit now fluctuates around the $300 mark.
Your biggest upgrades with going with this unit over something from a lesser price point is the illuminated display and a massive boost in ranging potential. This was one of the first rangefinders I’ve used that actually ranged what the manufacture said it could. The first time out we were able to range ar500 targets out to 1025 yards during an overcast day. Unfortunately I was never able to hunt with this unit but it had no problems ranging cattle out to 400 yards.
Another bonus of going with this unit is Vortex’s VIP warranty. At this point most of you are probably well aware of how amazing their warranty program is but basically as long as you didn’t destroy it on purpose they will cover you.
- Absolutely great rangefinder
- Best value rangefinder out there
- Fantastic warranty
- Perfect Rangefinder for the money
- The glass is clear
Best Rangefinder Under $500
Sig Sauer Kilo 2000
Never in my life has a piece of gear come along and blown me away like the Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 has. I purchased this unit back in early November of 2015 and immediately knew I had a piece of gear that was going to be with me a long time.
First off, size and other basics. Before buying this unit I was using the Bushnell ARC 1600 (older version of the Bushnell ARC 1-Mile) which is a pretty hefty unit. The Sig Kilo is pretty close in size to the Vortex Ranger 1000 which is a very small unit. This was a welcome change as I was getting more and more into archery and the Bushnell was just too clunky hanging around my neck. With the Sig Kilo you can easily put the lanyard around your neck and either have the rangefinder just hang or slide it into your front pocket. The construction is top tier and has a very solid feel to it. The eye piece moves in and out easy enough although my unit has now developed a slightly gritty feel. No doubt due to how dusty it can get out here in Arizona. Also, this unit does have built in angle compensation.
Before I get into the ranging capabilities I just want to give a quick mention to the illumination system. Every other rangefinder I’ve used that has an illuminated display must be adjusted manually for brightness. Sig not only came out with an auto dimming illumination system but came out with one that is absolutely perfect.
Alright, one more quick note before ranging capabilities. The ranging speed on this thing is absolutely ridiculous. If you are ranging sub 1200 yards it returns ranges in what seems like a half second. No holding the button and praying a range comes back with this unit. I leave the unit in “scan” mode, it gives instant readings even if moving to different targets. This also allows one to range while unsupported and standing a lot easier than with other rangefinders.
Onto the ranging capabilities. My first outing with this unit a friend and I tested it on a telephone pole we knew was at 1130 yards. Pull the Sig up and boom, 1130 yards exactly. Started moving back, semi-truck at 1910 yards, billboard at 2230 yards. Out at our main coyote hunting spot there is a road with a slight decline for miles. We were able to tag a standard sized stop sign at 3210 yards. Yes you read that right.
If you are a target shooter that likes to set steel out far this is going to be a delight to use as its performance on reflective surfaces is top of its class. As far as game goes the farthest I’ve tested was a mule deer in Utah at 1410 yards on an overcast day.
I’ll go on the record saying this right now. You cannot beat this rangefinder for under $2000 let alone $500. Can’t do it. If you want to beat this unit you have to go buy a Vectronix Terrapin (which has been discontinued) on the used market for $2k+.
Stay tuned for a full review on this unit!
- Best Range Finder period
- Sig Kilo beats out many more expensive rangefinders
- Challenges units costing 4 times more
- Compared to the Terrapin this unit is incredible for the money
- One of the best rangefinders you can buy
Best Value Rangefinder Under $1000
Leica RangeMaster CRF 1600-B
I know I know, why would I recommend anything more expensive than the Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 after saying its the best rangefinder you can get for under $2000? Two reasons. The Leica 1600-B has been the goto rangefinder for years under the $1000 mark, and it has the best glass you can get in a rangefinder (note: I’m excluding rangefinder binoculars in that statement).
If you absolutely must have the best glass quality in a rangefinder, this is your best bet. In true Leica fashion this unit has edge to edge clarity that is truly remarkable.
If you are wondering what the “B” stands for and how this unit differentiates from its non-“B” predecessor, it stands for “Ballistics”. Leica integrated their ABC (Advanced Ballistics Compensation) system into this unit so you can get the correct drop for your rifle right when you range your target. Just to clarify, you have to set your ballistics ahead of time for this to work.
I’ve found that Leica has underrated this rangefinder a bit on max capabilities. In fact, on a semi-reflective target it seems to hold its own with the Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 out to about 1760 yards (furthest I’ve witnessed with the Leica). Getting that range took being prone and supported over a backpack. With a tripod I’m guessing you could squeeze another couple yards.
Important Note for Archers: While this unit does have angle compensation built into it, it does NOT work under 100 yards. I do not know why Leica decided to do this but it is what it is. Please be aware of this if you have been looking at this unit. Besides this issue the rangefinder is otherwise a fantastic unit.
- Very fast rangefinder
- Wonderful rangefinder and worth the money
- Crystal clear glass, top notch
- Worth the higher price
- Top of its class