best budget golf rangefinder with slope

Best Budget Golf Rangefinder with Slope

by William McDaniel - Last Updated: March 17, 2020

Our top pick for the best budget golf rangefinder with slope is the Callaway 300 Pro. Not only is it made by a trusted manufacturer, but it also gives players quick, accurate yardages they can trust.

What You Want

The laser rangefinder revolutionized golf, at least from the perspective of pace of play. When a group has at least one player who remembered to bring a laser rangefinder, rounds go faster and scores go lower. Rangefinders take the guesswork out of finding yardages.

Modern rangefinders do more than just calculate distances. They can also take into account the slope of the hole, giving you the effective yardage of the shot. Some can also take humidity, temperature and even elevation into account when making distance calculations.

What You Need

Whether you in tournaments or not, you should consider keeping your equipment conforming to the rules of play. Devices that account for slope are typically forbidden in tournament play. The best budget golf rangefinders with slope allow the user to switch off the slope-measuring feature, making them conforming.

Best Budget Golf Rangefinder with Slope – Top Pick – Callaway 300 Pro

From one of the top manufacturers in golf, the Callaway 300 Pro packs in the features yet keeps the cost within most budgets. Its 1000-yard maximum measurement distance is among the longest in the price range, allowing it to be used in other situations, such as hunting.

The Callaway 300 Pro is water and fog proof and simple to use. Pin Acquisition Technology (P.A.T.) allows quick pin measurements up to 300 yards away. There is also a scanning feature that allows users to measure the distance to multiple targets simultaneously. The slope measurement feature is accurate and, of course, switchable.

This budget golf rangefinder with slope measures 4.25 by 1.75 by 3 inches and weighs 7.58 ounces. It’s not the smallest rangefinder on the market, but it will disappear in your bag.

Features

  • Pin Acquisition Technology (PAT) is reliable up to 300 yards away
  • Magnifies 6X to bring distant targets into view
  • Audible chirp sound when target is acquired
  • Scan function will fix several targets at once
  • Range: 5 to 1000 yards

Benefits

Scan Mode Acquires Multiple Measurements

This feature is simpler to use and more convenient than it may sound at first. In this mode, users can acquire the distance to multiple targets within the field of view.

Anyone who has ever tried to position a ball precisely on a dogleg will know how time-consuming that task can be. The group behind can get noticeably antsy as you measure to the nearest tree on the dogleg, then the bushes or tree line just past it. It’s as simple as pressing a button here.

Extra-Long Targeting

Why on Earth would any golfer need a rangefinder with a 1000-yard capability? Simple. For all the things we use rangefinders for when they are not being used for golf. Hunters and target shooters will appreciate this feature more than some others will, but even non-hunters will use it.

How long is my street? How far to that building over there? These are questions easily answered when a rangefinder is in your bag.

A Reliable Product from a Trusted Brand

If you don’t know the Callaway label, you haven’t been playing golf very long. A maker of fine golf products including clubs, balls and apparel, Callaway is a mainstay on golf tours and on courses the world over. This rangefinder is just another quality product from the manufacturer.

In truth, the budget devices on this list are all about as accurate and as fast as the best golf rangefinders of a decade ago. None of those had the added features of this new crop, though the current rangefinders of about double this price are predictably faster and even more accurate.

Drawbacks

Not as Fast as Some Competitors

There is no free lunch in this life. When it comes to rangefinders – as in most other golf-related equipment – you get what you pay for. The best budget golf rangefinders with slope functions all require a bit more patience than their up-market competition.

That said, the Callaway 300 Pro gives the user distances as quickly as any rangefinder on this list. The P.A.T. function works well, even if it requires a steady hand for those 300-yard measurements. Again, this is a drawback shared by every rangefinder in this category.

Cheap Case

There really is no such thing as a perfect product, and the Callaway 300 Pro is no different. The chief complaint here is the lackluster carrying case. It does its job in the most utilitarian of ways, but Callaway could easily have provided its customers with a better case to protect their investment.

 

Best Budget Golf Rangefinder with Slope – Runner Up – Precision Pro – NX7 Pro

Costing slightly more than our top pick, the redundantly named Precision Pro NX7 Pro is otherwise its equal – mostly. It shares the Callaway 300 Pro’s 6X magnification, one-yard accuracy and tournament-legal slope function switchability.

However, maximum distance is limited to 400 yards, and the device is water resistant but not waterproof. Still, the NX7 Pro vibrates inaudibly when it locks onto a distance, rather than the Callaway unit’s chirping sound. Precision Pro also offers free battery replacements for life, which may eventually make the price difference a wash.

Features

  • 400-yard maximum measuring distance
  • Vibrates when a distance is calculated
  • Water resistant
  • Compact, ergonomic design
  • Two-year manufacturer warranty
  • Free batteries

Benefits

Quickly and Easily Acquire Distances

Anyone familiar with laser rangefinders can tell you they don’t exactly burn through batteries. Most use CR2 three-volt camera batteries, which last longer than typical AA batteries but can be quite pricey.

Simply register your NX7 Pro (or any other Precision Pro rangefinder) and fill out a form on the company’s website when your battery starts running low. Precision Pro will mail you a replacement free of charge. None of its competitors has a similar perk.

Quickly and Easily Acquire Distances

With a simple push of a single button (after pressing the on button), the Precision Pro NX7 Pro begins emitting its laser and detecting distances. It will continue to give distances to multiple targets until the user presses the button again to stop it.

If it seems complicated, don’t be so sure. This method of operation can be much less awkward and time consuming than having to press a button over and over again to judge different targets. On an approach shot, the point is moot. But on layups to unmarked locations, this method can really speed up play.

Trustworthy Distances

No matter how much a player spends on a rangefinder, it must be accurate. Giving quick readings is of little use if that reading is off by more than a few yards. The NX7 is normally accurate to within one yard, putting it on par with any device on the market.

You may second-guess it at first, based on its price alone, but you’ll soon learn to trust it. This one works.

Drawback – Pin-Detecting Software is Questionable

Speed and accuracy are no issue for this little rangefinder, but its pin-detecting abilities can be troublesome. Players with steady hands may have less of an issue, but many players struggle getting accurate readings to the pin.

Few rangefinders in this price range excel at pin detection. Hitting distant objects is not quite the problem that marking closer ones can be. You won’t get any reading at all from 400 yards out, and the device will be spot on to equidistant targets like trees or raised bunkers.

Best Budget Golf Rangefinder with Slope – Smallest Size – TecTecTec – VPRO500S

The TecTecTec VPRO500S is an upgraded version over the repetitively named company’s earlier flagship rangefinder. Measuring distances up to 540 yards away within a claimed plus or minus 1 yard, the VPRO500S also has improved pin detection to go with its better accuracy over earlier models from the brand.

Features

  • Measures up to 540 yards
  • 6X magnification
  • Plus or minus 1 yard (claimed)
  • Pin-Sensor measures layers of objects

Benefits

Small Size

The TecTecTec VPR500S fits a lot of technology into a small package. This fits in the palm of any adult-size hand. It stows away easily in the storage compartment of a golf cart, and you won’t be as worried about it there as you would for one of the expensive rangefinders.

Quality Storage Case

Rangefinders spend much more time in their cases than they do out of them, even for players who leave them loose out of the case during a round. Some manufacturers overlook this critical accessory, which protects the rangefinder at home, in transit and at the course.

The TecTecTec VPR500S has a durable hard case that keeps it safe from impacts as well as dust and dirt. Its zipper fully encloses the rangefinder, and the case connects easily to golf bags.

Drawback – Pin-Detection Technology Lacking

Speed and accuracy are no issue for this little rangefinder, but the lack of accuracy when it comes to its pin-detecting abilities can be troublesome. It comes down to the way it functions. The device measures objects in layers, then it drops the farther distance and gives you the closer one.

This works fine as long as the farther object is behind the flag. When the flag is the farthest object it detects, the VPR500S gives you the shorter distance and will be several yards short. Users learn to measure so that the flag is rarely the farthest object, but, “You’re not holding it right,” is not a good explanation for something not working.

Best Budget Golf Rangefinder with Slope – Most Affordable – CaddyTech – Caddy View V2

The CaddyTech Caddy View V2 has a range of 800 yards, but only 250 yards to the stick. Of course, this range to the pin is plenty for almost every approach shot. It just gets a little tricky for players that use the flag-seeker mode to figure out layup yardages.

Otherwise, this unit is the equal of most budget golf rangefinders with slope. It picks up targets quickly enough, giving accurate-enough yardages. It is weather-resistant and tough enough to handle the bumps and bruises of a life in golf.

Features

  • Rated IPX4 water-resistant
  • 800-yard maximum range
  • 250-yard maximum pin-seeker range
  • 6X magnification
  • Protective, quality case

Benefit – Quick, Accurate Measurements

This is the reason we buy rangefinders, right? The CaddyTech Caddy View V2 maybe goes a little too far emulating its more expensive competition, but at least it compares favorably in accuracy. It gives distances quickly, and it repeatedly gives the same yardages.

Some users find it difficult to lock onto pins, and the lack of a buzz or jolt to confirm it is locked can cost time on the course. Those seconds spent trying to confirm a yardage can seem like hours with an impatient group behind.

Drawbacks

No Case

If you’re new to golf, it might surprise you how much abuse your gear. Bag chatter dings up clubs and other hard objects. Rather than including a tough case to absorb that abuse, the CaddyTech Caddy View V2 comes with a cloth pouch. For this price, a little skimping can be forgiven, but it’s a hard life for golf gear.

No Slope Switch

Rather than simply switching from slope mode to rule-conforming mode, the user must swap out the slope chip on the side. While this does make it easy to tell if the rangefinder is in the right mode, it is a hassle nonetheless.

Questionable Battery Life

Some users find the Caddy View V2 depletes its CR2 battery faster than others. These aren’t cheap batteries, so this can become an issue for some players.

In truth, this is an issue for most devices at this end of the price scale. Over the course of several seasons, though, the more expensive models may pay for themselves in batteries alone.

Conclusion

Most players ask only one thing of their rangefinder: give accurate measurements and do it quickly. Our top pick for best budget golf rangefinder with slope, the Callaway 300 Pro, does that almost as well as its more expensive competition. It is a quality product from a brand you know you can trust.

It suffers a bit from the same issues that plague its competition in the budget rangefinder space. The Callaway 300 Pro isn’t as fast or quite as accurate as rangefinders that cost twice as much, but then that makes sense. Most of us simply don’t need 1-yard accuracy, at least not yet.

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