Best Nikon Rangefinders Reviewed & Rated For Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Buyers will use their rangefinders several times a day, so ease of use was important. We rated this category with the number of user-friendly functions, comfort and whether the device was weather or water-resistant. The last thing you want to deal with while carrying golf clubs is an overly complicated unit.
Measuring distance should take seconds, not minutes at a time. When you find yourself fumbling around with options/buttons and still not coming up with the information you need, then it is time for a change. There is a small learning curve with all models, yet nothing that should prevent you from mastering the basics in a short amount of time.
Hunters can relate since wasted time can cost them a lot. One that is difficult to use can really get in the way of a successful hunt. Usually, the models that had an informative instruction booklet proved to be easier to get into. Since this is Nikon, that pretty much covers them all. So we isolated manuals that specifically pointed out golfing and hunting specific features of a device. These were better to use out of the box since the most important instructions were front and center for a user to read.
Accuracy was the second thing we rated, with a lot of time going into how well the device focused, what the max magnification was and also how it handled low light conditions. Across the board, all of the Nikon rangefinders performed exceptionally well in the daytime.
Trying to measure them just based off of daytime usage would be splitting hairs. Because of their superiority in the light, we measured them based on low light performance. That doesn’t include dark since it would be more optimal to see how they performed in their intended conditions. It didn’t take long to see which ones were the best in this area, with some making the top three while the others went to the bottom.
All of the Nikon products were able to perform in low light, but some required a lot more changes to their settings than others. Think of the top of the list as the portion that worked right of the box with low light, and the bottom of the list as the rangefinders that needed a lot of tinkering to make them efficient. Max magnification was an easy feature to sort out the list, and we only included the rangefinders that held focus when they were at max. This reordered the list a bit by itself, with a lot of the high powered Nikon models really showing what they were made of.
Weight was an important part to measure with all of these, even if it separated some by a few ounces. In an ideal situation, you would want to have the option to put yours in a pocket-sized space. It would have slightly more bulk than an average smartphone, and possibly the same or less length.
There is no technical reason to have a larger one, so smaller and lighter gained the most points for us with this criterion. We had no problems reordering the list by weight, and buyers will be surprised at how big a difference a half-inch can be. For someone that doesn’t have any extra space to store one, it could make all the difference in the world.
A lot of the Nikon rangefinder choices were resistant in some way, and at the very least absorbed shock. So it is no surprise that water and weather-resistant models are at the top of the list above all others. This was a very important criterion to consider since it helps to determine the durability of the product.
Low or no resistance leaves them open to harm and possible destruction in the wrong situation. Even if you keep your equipment in a case and away from danger when possible, it’s still a good idea to favor the more durable choices from Nikon. Surprisingly, not all of them meant that the price tag would be higher. There are many instances of the price being lower at the top of the list.
Popularity, battery usage, and design were the last three things we looked at. The design may seem like a superficial criterion for some, but it is worth noting that designs influence a lot of purchases. They also led to some models being more popular than others, even if the other model had superior features.
You’ll be able to see that a bit in Nikon’s lineup, with some of the popular choices, also getting the added benefit of being tournament approved. It’s more likely that a popular Nikon rangefinder will be on an approved list than one of their lesser-known models. You should still check the current list for the sport you plan on using it in, just to be sure. We’re happy to say that battery usage was the same across all but one of the models, so the only change based on that had to do with the last on the list. The Nikon Inc D Nikon Laser is an older model, so by default had the worst battery usage.
Best Nikon Rangefinders
1. Aculon 8397
Big things come in little packages, which is why the Nikon Aculon has been chosen as the best in their lineup. What this little unit does in its uncluttered design is amazing, with the compact design allowing for a lot of customization options and settings.
Smallest In Their Lineup
Nikon is proud that this is the most compact in their lineup, not just because of the size, but because of what it can do. Having a compact rangefinder that has the power of a model twice its size is a big achievement. It can do everything that the other models can do while also fitting in your pocket.
This one is pretty easy if the 550-yard range meets your necessities. If you need something more, then there are plenty of others on the list. Otherwise, enjoy the best product out of Nikon’s lineup.
Cost And Value
A low price ensures that this compact model is purchasable by all customers. It is the lowest priced on the list, which is a great thing since it is also the #1 choice.
2. Arrow ID 3000
With the #2 spot comes the Nikon 16224 Arrow ID 3000, and while it is billed as a bow hunting rangefinder it has the power to be a lot more. Some of the features in this model are not available on others which makes it a bit of a niche product, which is always a good thing!
A Lot of Eye Relief
Since this was made for bow hunters there is a lot of eye relief at 20.3mm. That is something that bow users look for, and it doesn’t get much better than that number. Finding your target and ranging it is quick and easy and will lead to higher accuracy on the shot.
Good for all kinds of Hunters
Regular buyers may think it is unorthodox to purchase a model that is marketed towards bow hunters. If the Arrow ID 3000 has proven anything, it’s that multiuse products are always a great sell.
Cost And Value
This is a high-end option with a low price tag. The reason it is in the #2 spot rather than #1 is due to it being made more for bow hunters. But the superior power and features of the unit make it suitable for all users.
3. Nikon Coolshot Pro Stabilized
The coolshot is well named. It’s a sleek elegant design that’s easy to carry around but it also gets the job done. Its stabilizer allows you to keep a steady eye on whatever you’re looking at and it has locked on technology to make sure you can keep your quarry or your ball right in the viewfinder where you need it.
The Nikon exclusive stabilization technology stabilizes not only the image that you’ve got a bead on but it also stabilizes the outbound laser to allow maximum control of your long-range quarry. One look at the steadiness of the shot through the viewfinder and you’ll be hooked on this finder.
Locked on Technology
This is a unique feature that can be annoying but most of the time is really valuable. The locked on technology automatically focuses on the closest object to you. Usually, that’s what you’re looking at and this is an incredibly helpful little tool. But the great thing is that it also lets you easily switch to further away objects and the viewfinder tools make it easy to tell the difference.
Cost and Value
A fairly pricey little tool but we really love all the high-end tech that goes along with this viewfinder so we think that if you have the money you’re going to be really satisfied with this viewfinder.
4. Forestry Pro
Power is the first thing that comes to mind when customers look at the Nikon Forestry Pro. At the #4 spot, it strikes a great balance with its powerful features and strikingly professional design. There are so many different points to touch on with this model, yet amazingly it is just out of the top three.
Internal and External LCD Display
An informative LCD display on the side of the unit gives you all of the information you could ever want. And the best part about the external display is that it runs independently of the internal one. The external shows all information, while the internal one shows selected information.
High-Quality LCD Display
There is no other on the list that has a better setup of LCDs than the Nikon Forestry Pro. If that is a feature you can’t live without, then this will be the best purchase you ever made.
Cost And Value
The Nikon Forestry Pro is very competitively priced, proving that value can be found in products that are priced in the midrange. It isn’t the best product on the list but may very well be the best value.
5. RifleHunter 550
With the Nikon Riflehunter 550, you’ll never have to guess the distance of your target again. Made for the hunter, it can easily fit in the palm of your hand and has advanced technology features that allow it to compensate distances for varies decline and incline shooting positions.
Nikon's' unique and exclusive Tru-Target system allows you to zero in on smaller and harder to reach targets with the simple push of a button. It also has a half yard accuracy on targets less than 100 yards and one-yard accuracy measure on targets ranging from 100 to 550 yards.
High-end second Priority Range Finder
If you are a rifle hunter and spend a lot of time in wooded and wet areas, then this item will be great for you. It is more costly than others on the list, but it is worth it.
Cost And Value
This is a little on the expensive side, but its accuracy is unbelievable. It’s compact and very portable. It’s also designed to withstand water and fog, for a very durable product.
6. Nikon 16224 Arrow ID 3000
The Monarch has a number of nice features for a really reasonable price. There’s front first focusing technology that makes the app automatically focus on what’s closest to you and then easily shift to further away objects. It’s also waterproof and will resist fogging.
Tru Target Technology
This has become a fairly standard bit of technology on most of the Nikon rangefinders and what it does is automatically focus on what’s right in front of you. But it also allows you to move that front object off-center and the finder will then shift to background objects. It’s handy and really valuable.
What this does is automatically take into account height when predicting your distance. What that means is that the number you see in the viewfinder in some cases isn’t the actual distance but will display shorter if your target is downhill, and farther if the distance is uphill.
Cost and Value
This Nikon rangefinder is in the middle range of pricing and while it doesn’t come loaded with all the bells and whistles it is a great little model and it will give you almost all the information you need to get a bead on distant objects.
7. Laserforce Rangefinder Binocular
If you’re a serious hunter looking for the best, then look no further. This rangefinding binocular has a 10 to 1900 yard range and a bright OLED display that can read under the toughest lighting condition. It can also measure continuously for eight seconds.
It’s important that you keep track of your target in the wilderness, and having to look away to find a button, is all the time the animal needs to disappear. Having the mode and power buttons ready at your fingertips is a big plus with this item.
Although this is a very costly item, if hunting is your passion and you want something you can depend on in the toughest conditions, then this would be a good choice for you. It’s also built to last a lifetime, so if you have many years of hunting in front of you, then this can actually save you money in the long run.
Cost And Value
This item is by far the most expensive on the list, but it is also the most durable. This was built for the serious hunter who isn’t afraid to face harsh weather conditions. It is built from a lightweight aluminum-alloy that will last a lifetime.
8. Monarch 7i/ 16210
Nikon went all out with the Monarch 7i, which has been the first choice of many looking for an all-around rangefinder. This model covers speed, information, distance and even has the usual Nikon killer accuracy.
New to this model is the Optical VR Vibration Reduction system. This is similar to the anti-shake feature found on high-end cameras. Not only does it work well, but it adds an entirely new dimension to how you use these.
With the most advanced internals so far on the list, the Monarch 7i is a really good purchase to make. There are barely any cons attached to it, and the price seems about right for the technology.
Cost And Value
It’s a little pricey but nothing out of the ordinary. It’s worth the price for the Vibration Reduction technology, which by itself can justify the purchase. There are only about 3-4 others on the list with similar features.
9. Nikon 16224 Arrow
We have to call this the little beauty that can. It comes in at one of our lowest prices and gives you a great 550-yard ranging capacity, is easy to carry, has a long eye relief and has a really low power output and takes into account height when displaying the yardage
Again we’ve talked about this before but this is really interesting and valuable technology that allows the unit to take into account the height, up or down of the object you’re looking for. This will come in particularly for golf, but also if you’re hunting. We just know that it works.
Long Eye Relief
This might not seem like such a big deal but when time is an issue the long eye relief means that you’re going to be able to get a bead on your target quickly and without eye fatigue, if you’re using it a lot.
Cost and Value
This one comes in at a low price but still has a lot of the great features on some of the more expensive versions. If you want a range finder but don’t want it to break the bank this is the finder for you.
10. Inc D 600
Sometimes the aesthetics of a device can make the buying decision a lot easier. When you get beyond the how pretty this Nikon looks, you’ll notice that the hardware isn’t half bad. It’s in a fitting position on the top ten list for more than just looks, and will prove a reliable unit for years to come.
This is the best looking on the list, which is saying a lot since there are sleeker ones further down. Underneath the beautiful design is a powerful Nikon Laser 600, which is easy to miss if you get lost in the outer qualities.
A beautiful art piece wrapped around the Nikon Laser 600 makes for a formidable pair. It’s an awesome model in its current state with a price that doesn’t offend.
Cost And Value
The price is idling at around the middle in the industry, so it is worth the buy if you like the design. Buyers that want something a little more powerful will end up with something further down the list.
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