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Binoculars with rangefinders are undoubtedly one of the most popular pieces of optical equipment today. You can spot more and more of them out in the woods, as well as on the shooting range. Rangefinder binoculars are actually so popular that some industry leaders predict that traditional binoculars, which don’t have any distance information built-in, won’t exist in 15 to 20 years.
Why? Because rangefinder binoculars are relatively common and the technology pretty ubiquitous. Now many of us won’t really think that we need binoculars with rangefinders for hunting or the shooting range but, the truth is, having one will prove to be useful sooner or later. Let’s take a better look at them.
Nikon Laserforce Rangefinder Binocular
The Nikon Laserforce offers the esteemed quality you’d expect from a Nikon product. While not the cheapest product on our list, the investment ensures superior quality.
The Nikon edges out the competition with a powerful product in the Laserforce Rangefinder Binocular. These bins have 10x magnification and 42mm lens diameter, ensuring both magnification and brightness. The rangefinder feature is top class, as are the optics.
Best Budget Choice
The Hooway 7×50 rangefinder binoculars are an easy choice for the top budget pick. If you’re shopping on a budget, the Hooway will provide 7x magnification, an impressive 50mm lens diameter to assist in low light performance, forgiving 20mm eye relief, as well as all the features we’d expect from a rangefinder binocular.
Let’s start with the basics – what are rangefinder binoculars, exactly?
Before we look at some of the best options on the market today, you must understand what they are. This will also help you understand why earlier we said that having one will be pretty handy.
A rangefinder is more or less the same as a pair of binoculars or any piece of optics that you can use when you want to zoom in on a target. However, there’s one major difference: binoculars with rangefinders have distance measuring capabilities. Sure, they weren’t too accurate when they first came to market; however, the technology has improved dramatically; nowadays, they’re pretty precise.
Originally, they were used by military organizations. They wanted their soldiers to have as much real-time mission data as possible, and this technology let them have just that in specific situations. That technology later trickled down, and we now have it available in the hunting and commercial enterprise world. They’re so common, actually, that people who use a pair of binoculars daily won’t even take a look at anything else but binoculars with rangefinders for hunting or for anything else for that matter.
How do they work?
Figuring this out doesn’t seem like rocket science. However, there are actually many tools and technologies that you’ll find in today’s rangefinders. This makes it a bit trickier to answer the “how” of rangefinder binoculars.
At the basic level, we have laser rangefinder binoculars. They use a laser light that is actually shot out to a target and reflects the rangefinder. The binoculars measure the time it takes for that laser light to come back, which results in the distance.
There are some limitations, though. The laser light technology might not work that well if you have ambient sources of light that are interrupting it, and the readings might not be that accurate. This seldom happens, but when you have a day that’s either too sunny or too foggy, those distances might not be as true as you think.
10 Best Rangefinder Binoculars
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best binoculars with rangefinders. We have 10 on our list, and you’ll undoubtedly find one that suits you. You pretty much can’t go wrong with either of them, so let’s begin.
1. Nikon Laserforce Rangefinder Binocular
Seeing as all of the major manufacturers of optics have a pair or two of laser rangefinder binoculars, it’s no surprise that Nikon wants to be in that game as well. The LaserForce 10×42 is among their best offerings, but what really makes it stand out is the 1900 yards distance; however, that number should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even Nikon themselves mention that the number was achieved under their measurement conditions, and you might not be able to achieve the same in less-than-ideal conditions. Aside from that, its features and specifications are more or less on par with other premium offerings from that price range. Let’s take a better look at the specs.
As its name suggests, there’s a 10 times magnification and an objective lens size of 42 mm. These are respectable numbers that are similar to other models. The ranging distance begins at 10 yards and ends at 1900 yards; however, a more realistic expectation could be set at around 1100 yards, which is still a pretty respectable number.
You will also get their Extra-low Dispersion glass, something they often use for their camera lenses, as well as +/-89 degrees of incline and decline. The ED glass is what corrects much of the chromatic aberration that often happens, and this is something that should be important if you intend to use these binoculars with rangefinders for hunting. The glass is actually the same one you have in the Monarch 7, a tested and proven amazing line of optics.
The angle and distance display can be set to one of four different intensities, which can be a pretty useful feature if you intend to use the binoculars in various lighting conditions. When you have a moving target, there’s the ability for continuous measurement, and it lasts up to 8 seconds. The accuracy of the measurement is incredible, with a tiny margin of error – at 100 meters or less, it’s accurate to 0.1 meters, which is very impressive.
All in all, aside from a distance, the binoculars are pretty similar to other competitors’ models, such as Swarovski’s EL series discussed above. However, since we’re comparing them to the Swarovski, they actually come in at a third of the price, which will mean a lot to a lot of people.
2. Hooway 7×50 Marine Binoculars
Going back to marine laser rangefinder binoculars, we have the Aomekie 7×50. This is a pair that’s truly made for marine life. Seven times magnification is actually amazing; you won’t feel the need for anything more. With a 50 mm lens and a 24 mm eye relief, you can be sure that your eyes are protected, regardless of what’s going on. And a great thing about them is that even if you’re wearing spectacle glasses, using this pair of rangefinder binoculars won’t be an issue for you due to the way they’re made. All in all, they’re a great pair of binoculars. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
As far as the build quality goes, they won’t disappoint you. They were designed with fairly high-tech military standards, and nowhere is that more obvious than the armor. The non-slippery armor will both give you grip that’s more than sufficient for any user and provide fairly good shock absorption in case it’s something you happen to need, as it’s actually a rather rugged option. Inside, there is nitrogen gas.
As mentioned with some of the previous models we spoke about, this will ensure that your lenses don’t get fogged up, even in high humidity situations or rainstorms. And wrapping things up with the build quality and construction is the fact that these binoculars with rangefinders are IPX7 water-resistant, which should be more than enough for various situations.
Inside, things are more or less what you’d expect from a pair of binoculars like these. The prism is a Hi-index BAK4 prism, which has been proven to give you a sharp and bright image with plenty of contrast. When you’re looking at an object, you can be sure that you see every little detail of it. The 22 mm lens design won’t cause any eye fatigue or dizziness, and your view will be a combination of HD and wide-angle.
The 50 mm objective lens, on the other hand, is large enough to ensure that even in low light conditions, such as at dawn, or dusk, or even at night, you will receive as much light as possible inside, making the image bright.
When you consider everything we just spoke about and then factor in the price, you will find that the Hooway 7×50 is an amazing pair of rangefinder binoculars. They won’t be the perfect binoculars with rangefinders for hunting, but for marine life, they’re great, and they’re more than likely to satisfy your needs.
You can find a full review of this product here.
3. Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC
If you’re looking at the best possible pair of rangefinder binoculars, you’ve got them. This is hands down one of the best pairs you can get, and the value they give is also amazing. In ideal conditions, the Fusion 1-Mile ARC can give you the range on targets that are up to 1 mile out. You will find that the ranging performance can easily beat some competitors that cost even twice as much. Being somewhat of a successor to the Bushnell Fusion 1600, you will find that Bushnell actually made some significant improvements in the ranging capabilities.
If you take a look at precise tests, you will find that the binoculars actually provide a very accurate reading, save for the target at 1200 yards. This actually depends on the target. Most of today’s rangefinder binoculars produce a beam that’s shaped like a horizontal rectangle. However, the Fusion actually has a vertical beam. According to Bushnell’s engineers, this helps optimize the performance for some of today’s most common hunting scenarios. A vertical beam can easily hit the intended target instead of a nearby bush by mistake.
As far as scientific terms go, you’ll find BAK-4 prisms, XTR coatings, as well as what Bushnell calls the Matrix Display Technology. This might be of interest, as the feature enhances display readings as much as possible. If you haven’t used a pair with this technology before, you might not think you need it.
However, it undoubtedly proves to be very useful in situations where you find it tricky to see the display. Those BAK-4 prisms are coated with PC-3 phase corrective coating. This ensures that you get a clear, sharp view and, with the magnification levels you get, you will actually get a clear view of every fine detail you might need.
When we’re discussing physical characteristics, the binoculars are on the heavy end. At more or less 31 ounces, you might find them a bit too heavy for your liking. The Nikon LaserForce mentioned below is a lot better in that regard; however, with all the tech and quality materials, you shouldn’t really be complaining. You’re getting a great pair of laser rangefinder binoculars that will do the job exceptionally well and that are robust.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that each of the device’s independent diopters is adjustable. This is something you won’t find on many rangefinders. But, since this is a binocular combo, you’re actually getting a pretty good deal. The unit is right-eye-dominant, and the right diopter will focus on the reading display, and you have the main focus adjusting the distance.
To sum things up, the Fusion 1-Mile ARC is one of the best rangefinders Bushnell has ever come up with, and they’re often found on “best of” lists, such as the one here. Sure, the price might seem a bit steep, but when you consider what you’re getting, you really shouldn’t be complaining. If you can afford it, getting this pair of binoculars with rangefinders is a decision you won’t be regretting anytime soon.
4. BARSKA Deep Sea 7×50
Continuing the trend of good options for budget-minded individuals, we have the BARSKA Deep Sea 7×50 binoculars. Similar in style to the previous two offerings, this pair is excellent for water lovers and boating enthusiasts. They offer a similar set of functionalities as the previous two binoculars with rangefinders on our list, but their style and color choices are slightly different. They don’t have that green military-style but instead come in a black and blue color combination. Nevertheless, they look pretty good.
Their build quality is good, which is actually a bit surprising, as many manufacturers’ first place for cutting corners when they want to save money is build quality. Fortunately, BARSKA decided to go against that, and you have an ergonomic, non-slip grip that won’t fall out of your hand. The rubber armor is shockproof and heavy duty and will hold in various rough conditions.
Another great thing while we’re discussing the build quality is that the binoculars are floating, and even if you do manage to drop them in the water, they’ll stay on the surface, making them easy to find. Like you’d expect, they’re fully waterproof and sealed with O-rings. They are also filled with nitrogen, which means they won’t fog up or get damaged by moisture, regardless of the weather conditions. By now, this might be a common sighting with binoculars of this class, but you don’t notice how useful it is until you’ve had to use a pair that doesn’t have that kind of protection.
As far as the optics and functionality go, you’ll be pleased to find multi-coated optics with BAK4 prisms. You can read more about the different optic types here. They’ll make sure that you have high contrast images regardless of the weather, and details are easily discernible and clear. Almost a standard set in the binoculars on the list, you have an internal rangefinder and compass, which are pretty accurate.
Honestly, they won’t measure up to the Bushnell Fusion. However, if you don’t really want to spend that amount of money on a pair of binoculars with rangefinders for hunting or boating, the BARSKA Deep Sea 7×50 will give you a lot of binoculars for your money. It’s an option that’s absolutely worth checking out.
5. Carl Zeiss Victory 10×56
Zeiss is in no way a new player in the field of optics. They’re synonymous with extremely high quality if you can afford them, and with the Victory RF 10×54, they live up to their name. Let’s kick things off with the build quality. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t really take a lot of care about their things, you’ll be good to go with these. They’re built to be sturdy and maintain their performance even if you drop them once or twice.
This build quality also extends to waterproofing, which is always appreciated. They’re also nitrogen-filled, which won’t let your lenses fog up on the inside, as mentioned a few times above. Cleaning the lenses is a breeze, which is, in most part, thanks to a coating that Zeiss put on their lenses.
If you can afford them, as they cost a pretty penny, they will give you clarity unmatched by anything else. When you’re looking at something, you’ll feel like you’re actually looking through your own eyes and not through a pair of rangefinder binoculars. This is the best of the best, the crème de la crème if you will.
The premium optics have multi-layer glass and fluoride, which results in a lot of light is inside the lens. You’ll be able to see objects right before it gets completely dark, with ease. That coating we mentioned is LotuTec, and it also plays a big role in the vividness of the image.
The laser rangefinder in the binoculars is extremely accurate. And they’re made in such a way that even when lighting conditions are less than ideal, you won’t have a problem. We’re not talking about big objects only, but even with small things such as a squirrel or a rabbit, they can be seen with ease if you’re using them for hunting. Even with a bit of shaking, the laser is still accurate.
To sum things up, if you can afford them, as they carry a pretty hefty price tag, you will never regret getting them. For anyone who can appreciate a pair of binoculars that offer more than supreme clarity, as well as vivid images, it doesn’t get any better than this. Add to that the build quality and finishing touches, and you’ve got yourself a real winner here.
6. Swarovski 10×42 EL Range
Swarovski’s EL 10×42 is a fantastic pair of rangefinder binoculars. The specifications only confirm that, but you’re more than likely more interested in how they stack up rather than numbers. They look very good, with a dark green armor that’s actually very pleasant to hold with its texture and warmth. The cutouts on the back make them even more comfortable to hold. It has a Hawk badge embedded, which gives it a very classy look, and Swarovski claims that it’s also hypoallergenic.
The bridge area has the same armoring, and all together, this is an exquisite pair of binoculars with rangefinders. The body has an open-bridge design, and it’s a bit longer than the Zeiss Victory we’ll discuss a bit later on. The weight is around 840 grams without the strap or caps, which is a pretty respectable weight for a premium pair of binoculars. The body makes use of magnesium alloys, and it is sealed against water up to 4 meters.
The focusing action on the binoculars is very smooth and stunningly precise. The lock-to-lock is around two turns; you might think this is slow, but going from a few meters to infinity only takes one turn. Why then does it take two full turns for the full travel? Because their focus distance is very close, at 1.5 meters. Optics are what you’d expect from Swarovski. The prisms are conventional roof prisms with mirrors. Again comparing them to the Zeiss Victory, they transmit around 3 to 5% less light than those models due to the mirrors’ scattering.
As far as the objectives go, you will find a pretty complex design with around 12 optical elements on each side. Among the most important parts that Swarovski included in its battle with Zeiss and Leica are the HD lenses. These lenses have high-fluoride glasses, which, similar to apochromatic telescopes, reduce chromatic aberration. With a fairly large air gap, you will find at least four elements in the Swarovski EL.
For a pair of high-powered rangefinder binoculars, they do give you a state-of-the-art view. You’ll want to take them outside and use them for a while if you want to see just how good the view is. The fact that they have very few aberrations means that you’ll be able to see every imperfection in a window. In both barrels, the optics are very sharp. Focus snap, as mentioned, is extremely precise, which is a sign of high-quality optics. All in all, they’re among the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting or wildlife observation that you will come across.
7. ATN BinoX-HD 4-16x
We’ll finish off this list with a pair of binoculars with rangefinders that are slightly different from the other offerings above. The binoculars we’re discussing are ATN’s BinoX-HD, 4-16x. You might think they aren’t exactly a budget offering, but they’re very far from the premium ones by Nikon and Carl Zeiss. Factor in the functionality they offer, though, and you might be inclined to change your mind on the “budget” part.
When you try to look at some traditional night vision devices online, you will find that many quality options tend to be upwards of $2,000. Many people don’t want to spend that amount of money on such a product, and you can’t really blame them. The BinoX-HD breaks that pattern by providing Gen1 night vision with a price that’s a fraction of the competition
Now, the BinoX-HD is not typical night vision equipment. They aren’t your typical pair of rangefinder binoculars either. Typical night vision devices have image intensifier tubes, microchannel plates, high sensitivity, and improved frequency response. However, these have a charge-coupled device that provides the night vision capability. In terms of binoculars, typical ones tend to magnify the object by using a series of lenses.
These, however, have a sensor – much like the one you’d find on a digital camera. When you’re looking at the object, it’s the sensor that magnifies the object between 4 and 16 times, and it does so digitally instead of optically. You can’t do wonders with it, such as zooming it at something that’s 1000 yards away at night, but the products that can do this are at least six or seven times the price.
There is also a lot of additional functionality with the BinoX-HD. For example, seeing as you have a sensor that’s capturing the image, there’s the ability to take a picture, or record video. The video can be either 1080p, at 30 frames per second, or 720p, at 60 frames per second, which is pretty good. At night, they’re very good, until you go past 10x magnification. This is where you’ll be having some issues, which is to be expected, honestly. However, when you consider the package of functionality you’re getting at the price ATN ask for the BinoX-HD, you’ll find that it’s very much worth it.
A buyer’s guide – what to keep an eye out for when buying rangefinder binoculars?
If you aren’t well versed in binoculars and what the terminology means, you might be fooled into buying something that’s absolutely not worth the money. Not all premium binoculars are worth buying, and some budget offerings can absolutely hold their own against competition that’s often a couple of times more expensive. You will find many choices, but going for the right one is a challenge in itself. Therefore, below you will find a guide that touches on the basics, what to look out for, and where it’s actually worth investing a few extra dollars.
What do the numbers mean?
Looking at the basics, you’ll find that all binoculars come with a set of two numbers. They can be 7×42, 7×50, 8×42, 10×52, etc. This is a pretty important number with rangefinder binoculars and any binoculars in general. The first number will tell you the magnification. For example, a 7×42 will show you objects 7 times closer than the naked eye. The second number tells you how big the objective lens is in mm. A larger objective lens lets in more light, and you’ll be able to see a brighter image.
This could be especially beneficial in darker conditions. You should know that higher magnification will reduce the amount of light available, and a large objective lens will make the binoculars large and heavy.
Now, as far as rangefinders are concerned, the most popular size is 7×50. There are sometimes 10×42, or in Zeiss’ Victory, 10×56. These are all numbers that you could go for. However, less than 7 times magnification won’t do the job. On the other hand, more than 10x, you won’t get as much light as your eyes, and the image will be darker. As far as the objective lens size goes, if you can’t mount the binoculars on a tripod, you will need something with an objective lens not larger than Zeiss’ 56mm, as it will be heavy and difficult to handle.
This is a rather challenging topic when it comes to discussing binoculars. They are typically heavy products, and keeping them steady might be an issue. The problem is, the larger the magnification, the more difficult it is to get a clear image, as even the smallest vibrations can manifest as a shaky, unusable image. A popular option is to mount them on a tripod. But if you’re on a boat or in a car, the fact that they’re moving will counteract the tripod’s effect, and you’ll still get a shaky image.
If you get a pair of binoculars with rangefinders with image stabilization, the IS will counteract the vibration and movement, thus giving you a relatively clear image. You may not even need a tripod, even if you’re using a 10x binocular, and you’ll get an image that’s more than satisfactory.
Zoom vs fixed
You’ll recognize zoom binoculars by their name – the magnification factor is actually two numbers, such as 8-16×42. This tells you that you can go from 8x to 16x magnification. You will notice that none of the binoculars on our list are zoom binoculars. There’s also the fact that there aren’t many high-end options as far as zoom binoculars go, only some lower-priced pairs.
Due to the construction required for the binoculars to work at both 8x and 16x magnification, you will get a severely crippled field of view when you’re using 8x. The easiest way to see the difference is to compare a pair of 8x binoculars to a pair of 8-24x. The field of view at 8x will be very different. Seeing as zoom requires glass parts to move and have a complex construction, there is some pretty noticeable loss of quality compared to a fixed pair of rangefinder binoculars. Your best option is to see what kind of magnification works best for your specific environment and then go for that with a fixed zoom setting.
What if you need boating or marine binoculars?
We did include a few of these on our list. When this is your requirement, there’s a list of things that need to be checked to get the most out of the binoculars. First of all, you’ll need them to be waterproof and fog proof. Having them float is a nice addition too.
Waterproofing is pretty much a given with them, and they’re commonly filled with nitrogen, so the lenses don’t fog up on the inside – this is a great thing and a must in this situation. The models commonly have lower magnification, such as 7x, because you’ll get a pretty blurry image with higher magnification. Image stabilization is a great option here – if you have it, you could go higher than 7x and still have a crisp image.
Roof prism vs porro prism?
The difference here isn’t that much in quality but rather in size and bulkiness. All binoculars need a prism, as, without one, they’d produce a reversed, upside-down image, which isn’t very useful. You get binoculars with a straight profile with a roof prism, and the eyepiece is right behind the front lens. This is a fairly compact design compared to a Porro prism. On the other hand, a Porro prism has an offset lens and eyepiece, which is the more common, traditional model. Both are great in terms of functionality, and it’s pretty much a choice of do you need a compact pair or not.
Regardless of whether you’re an expert with an extensive collection of rangefinder binoculars or someone who’s only getting their first pair, choosing the right ones can be tricky. Making the wrong choice can cost you $90-100, or it could easily go into the thousands if you buy a premium pair of binoculars. When you consider all of the variables, making a wrong choice isn’t that hard. Things such as zoom or fixed, image stabilization, or even the numbers in the name can be confusing for someone who isn’t well versed in the topic. However, as you saw above, clearing them up isn’t that difficult, and if you do know what you need, getting the right pair isn’t all that difficult either.
Now, it’s no secret that there are plenty of choices. From cheap, sub-par quality pairs of binoculars with rangefinders to high-end, premium options from reputable manufacturers with supreme build quality and optics, the market is fairly saturated. This means that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re after an entry-level option that’s great for only a few things that you really need, or a premium binocular from the likes of Carl Zeiss and Swarovski that have everything you need, and more, as well as some added benefits in terms of quality and optics, you can get something that’s right for you.
With the list and buying guide above, you should be on your way towards making an informed buying decision. The binoculars that we wrote about above are some of the best rangefinder binoculars you can get today. There are both budget options and premium ones, depending on your budget and your level of expertise. What can be said about all of them is that you really can’t go wrong with anyone pair, regardless of whether it’s the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC, the Nikon LaserForce, or the Aomekie 7×50. Just take a look at your budget, take a look at your needs, then make your choice!
Nikon Laserforce Rangefinder Binocular
The Nikon Laserforce offers the esteemed quality you’d expect from a Nikon product. While not the cheapest product on our list, the investment ensures superior quality.