Traditional binoculars are great for viewing objects and landscapes clearly while at a distance, but they come with a number of built-in limitations. Without an accompanying map or GPS device, it’s difficult to know exactly how far away a place or thing is from where you are viewing it through the lens of your binoculars. Using a binocular rangefinder combo solves this problem by adding a distance-measuring component to the distance viewing abilities of standard binoculars.
Click the item in the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or continue reading the entire article below.
- 1 What is a Rangefinder Binocular Combo?
- 2 How Do Rangefinder Binoculars Work?
- 3 How Do I Use Rangefinder Binoculars?
- 4 Which Rangefinder Binoculars are Best For Me?
- 5 Golfing
- 6 Name brands for optics
- 7 Hunting
- 8 Field of vision
- 9 Tactical
- 10 Easy to carry
- 11 Rugged
- 12 Why Buy a Binocular Rangefinder Combo?
- 13 Tailored to you
- 14 What Are My Buying Options?
- 15 Warranty
- 16 The Last Word
What is a Rangefinder Binocular Combo?
In the simplest sense, what is sometimes referred to simply as a “rangefinder”, is a set of binoculars with a rangefinder built in.
Most are true binoculars, designed to look through with both eyes, but many rangefinders are also designed with just one lens instead of two and could technically be called a monocular.
Either way, it’s a piece of equipment designed to clearly see an object at a distance as well as give the viewer detailed information about the exact distance between them and their target.
How Do Rangefinder Binoculars Work?
Bats have extremely poor eyesight, but they navigate and hunt in the dark using a technique called echolocation. A bat produces an ultrasonic sound in order to create an echo.
When the echo returns to their highly sensitive ears, the bat’s brain determines how far away they are from an object. They do this by measuring the time it took for the echo to return after bouncing off it.
Rangefinder binoculars work the same way by emitting a laser beam that bounces off an object and returns to the receiver inside the unit.
How Do I Use Rangefinder Binoculars?
Each binocular rangefinder combo will be different depending on the unit’s manufacturer, model number, and features. Most rangefinder binoculars operate like a point-and-shoot camera.
You view the object you want to measure the distance to through the lens and then push down on a button to emit a laser beam.
Make sure the laser is striking your target object. The beam will reflect back to the receiver in your rangefinder user to determine the distance. The best binocular rangefinders will give you an instant read out of the distance.
The best models will adjust in real time as you pan around to other objects. Less expensive models will take a few seconds to calculate and display the distance. They will also take longer to adjust to a new target. For hunters, speed is critical. It’s okay for golfers to take their time. The family won’t be expecting you back soon anyhow!
Which Rangefinder Binoculars are Best For Me?
It depends! If you’re in the market for a binocular rangefinder combo, it’s likely you love the outdoors. Do you regularly engage in activities enhanced by this technology? Lovers of the outdoors will surely answer yes in most cases.
A great number of outdoor activities would be enhanced with the purchase of a new binocular rangefinder. If you’re a golfer, hunter, or tactical enthusiast, a rangefinder is a must-buy at a certain point in your hobby.
Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from rangefinders to help them determine distances on the course. To aid in proper club selection, a player needs to know exactly how far they are from the pin at all times.
There are many relatively inexpensive rangefinders on the market that cater to golfers as well as top of the line models that account for elevation and slope when calculating distance.
You’ll need to carry your rangefinder out on the course. A unit that is compact, lightweight, and doesn’t feel bulky in your pocket or add unnecessary weight to your bag is ideal.
Look into buying a monocular rangefinder instead of a binocular rangefinder. These products are more compact and lightweight than traditional binoculars. Less weight also means that they can be easily operated with one hand.
Name brands for optics
Stick with a brand name in optics like Nikon, Bushnell, or Leupold rather than a golf brand like Callaway. These companies know what they’re doing when it comes to lens, viewfinders, and optics! Start by looking at a great product like the Nikon COOLSHOT 40i.
The most compact rangefinder in this series is the baseline model Nikon COOLSHOT 20. The Nikon COOLSHOT 40 is 0.8 inch more in length, but also shorter and narrower. The 40 model comes with an added feature called Hyper Read. This feature helps stabilize measurement response at all distances. You can get in accurate reading in about 0.5 second.
The Nikon COOLSHOT 40i has the same dimensions and features as the 40 model while adding ID Technology which factors in the slope of the terrain when measuring distance so you get an even more accurate reading. The 40i model is by far the best bang for your buck as it’s packed with advanced features without too much additional cost.
Getting up early and climbing into a cold tree stand is hard enough without having to worry about missing your shot when the time comes. Judging distance on a clear day over open ground is difficult enough as it is for the human eye. It gets even more difficult in the middle of a forest of tree trunks and limbs playing games with your depth perception.
Ideal times to get out and hunt are in the early morning or at twilight when visibility is poor at any distance. Even the most experienced hunters will welcome the aid of a good rangefinder. Since you’ll be carrying your rangefinder in and out of the field, size and weight are key aspects to consider.
Field of vision
Field of vision is more important for hunting. The luxury of one-handed operation isn’t as necessary as on the golf course. You can definitely consider going with a monocular for hunting. We recommend sticking with a traditional binocular rangefinder combo instead. Binoculars do come with added weight, but their field of vision is wider as a result.
When trying to spot that trophy buck surrounded by a thickly wooded backdrop, you need help picking up on small details. Binoculars are also easier to stabilize and better for scanning a large area in order to pinpoint a target.
Catching the flutter of white from a twitching tail or noticing a cloud of exhaled breath can be the difference between a successful hunt and going home empty handed.
Bushnell is a leader in optics industry and for good reason. They have a great reputation for quality and a wide array of products catering to every niche in the world of optics. For hunting, the Bushnell 1-mile ARC is a great value for the money. This model combines a high-quality set of Bushnell binoculars with a world-class rangefinder.
The 1-mile Arc Elite utilizes Angle Range Compensation (ARC) technology and is accurate out to 1,760 yards. This set comes in three sizes, is 100% waterproof, and has modes for both rifle and bow hunting. There isn’t game out there that you wouldn’t be able to hunt effectively with this binocular rangefinder combo.
A highly-rated binocular rangefinder combo packed with this many features can have a price tag over $3,000, but the Bushnell 1-mile ARC retails for about a ¼ of that price. Hunting is an expensive hobby, so keeping your powder dry
Military and law enforcement personnel have countless uses for a good binocular rangefinder combo. The same goes for tactical enthusiasts. Spotting a potential threat from a distance is the best way to prepare defensively for a possible fight.
In an age of satellite imagery, GPS, and drones, it’s easy to forget personnel on the ground can need handheld optics. Good tactical binoculars should also work in an analog mode should batteries wear out while you’re in the field.
When using binoculars with a rangefinder for tactical purposes a wide field of vision is essential. A compact and lightweight unit is also paramount.
Unlike with hunting or other outdoor leisure activities, in a tactical or survival situation you can’t go home when you get tired of carrying around a heavy set of binoculars.
Easy to carry
Something that packs easily in a pocket or on a tactical belt would be ideal. A neck strap is very useful while looking through the lenses, but not if you’re trying to move quickly and quietly, especially in rough terrain. You want the maximum ease of use possible.
Another important aspect is a unit that is low-profile and easy to use from a concealed position. Spotting the opposition at a distance is only helpful if they can’t see you as well.
Tactical binoculars also need to be rugged, waterproof, and comfortable to handle for long periods of time. You don’t want to find yourself in a tactical situation and end up wasting time worried about accidentally dropping your gear or getting it wet.
Taking in all of these considerations, we recommend taking a long look at the Barska 8×30 Waterproof Battalion Binocular with Rangefinder. These binoculars include an internal rangefinder for measuring distance. There is also an illuminating directional compass to aid in navigation. The compass design meets actual military standards.
This unit is 100% waterproof and fogproof. The rangefinder set includes rubber-armored shock protection for worry-free use in rugged terrain and inclement weather. This is serious piece of optics gear that can take anything you throw at it without breaking the bank when it’s time to check out.
Why Buy a Binocular Rangefinder Combo?
Buy one if you’re serious about any of the outdoor hobbies we discussed above. All outdoorsy types get to the point where adding a binocular rangefinder combo makes sense.
Serious golfers will love knowing exactly how far they are from the pin at all times. Hunters will have more success with an accurate first shot. A clean hit to the vitals leads to a quick and humane kill. Military personnel, surveillance experts, and tactical hobbyists will find plenty of uses for a good rangefinder from scouting to navigation.
Tailored to you
A binocular rangefinder combo is a welcome addition no matter what outdoor activity you’re into. A set tailored to your specific needs is a worthwhile investment. We find these brands and models to be good value for the price in each niche.
Still, it’s certainly possible to spend much more or less on a unit that suits you. If you have a specific need for your business, it’s possible to spend four or five figures on a binocular rangefinder combo.
Solo navigation is also a good reason to have a high end unit. At times you may just want to view on a hike or from the top of your apartment building. For this there are much less expensive models available.
What Are My Buying Options?
Buying a binocular rangefinder combo online is your best bet. It’s easier to compare features and options side-by-side online. Large sporting goods retailers don’t carry a wide array of binoculars. You won’t have many brands or models to choose from if you shop in store.
More expensive binoculars will likely be under lock and key. We all know that finding an associate to help you shop in store is going to be a hassle!
Prices and shipping costs vary depending on the retailer. Shop around for the lowest out-the-door cost. The holidays are a great time to look for special pricing, discounts, and offers. Get on e-mail newsletters to get the best offers right to your inbox.
Remember that the best brands will carry a lifetime warranty. Question anything less than a 1-year year manufacturer’s warranty. Remember that this is high end gear. Expect to pay a little more and you will get a higher level of assurance. The very best brands have a no-fault repair or replace policy.
Check with the manufacturer for detailed information as the retailer likely has little to do with warranties and guarantees. Buy enough renter’s or homeowner’s insurance to cover all your outdoor gear. You want to be fully covered in the event of theft or fire.
The Last Word
Nothing will substitute for hands-on use of optics gear. Finding out which unit is the best for you will take some time. Try out different brands and various models in the field. High-quality gear from a reputable retailer should come with a good return policy and satisfaction guarantee.
Well cared for optics maintain their value over time. You will get some of your money back if you sell them on the used market. Offset some of the cost to upgrade later on.
Try out one of these binoculars with rangefinder combo. There is no better time than the present. Add some optics gear to your shopping list as soon as possible. Once the weather is conducive to outdoor activity, you’ll be ready to hit the links, hunting ground, or shooting range. Do no wait!
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