We tested the top 3 (measured by Amazon customer ratings) golf rangefinders and have no hesitation in nominating our best of the best. Our pick for the best golf rangefinder is the newest offering from Bushnell, the Pro XE. Here's our review.
Bushnell Pro XE Best Golf Rangefinder Review
Here's what Bushnell say about their new Pro XE Golf Rangefinder:
SIMPLY THE BEST
A big claim, but we think it stacks up.
Honestly, we have never seen golf technology this good, or this accurate.
Tour-trusted compensated distances have been taken to the next level with “Elements.” Temperature and Barometric pressure have been added to Bushnell’s patented Slope technology to give golfers the most precise compensated distances ever.
We'll come back to how the Bushnell is the best golf rangefinder technologically but how does it stack up day-to-day. Will it survive your golfing lifestyle?
We are happy to report that this laser checks both those boxes.
Like the more recent versions of the Bushnell rangefinder, the new Pro XE fits nicely into the palm of my hand for an easy, natural feel. Its strong metal housing is itself covered with a tough rubber armor, which not only feels great to hold, but it makes the rangefinder highly resistant to damage. This is important as you will continually be transferring it it from your car to your hand, from your hand to your golf cart, from cart to golf bag and from golf bag to your luggage luggage.The chances of dropping it are high.
I (accidentally) dropped it several times and am happy to report, completely without damage. Unlike some other rangefinders I've tested. Not only is the Bushnell XE Pro accurate and feature-rich, it's one tough cookie as well.
The Best Golf Rangefinder Should be Waterproof
I also tried out the Bushnell Pro XE on a day that was, well, pissing down.
If you’ve only ever played in fine conditions, you may not understand how important this is. But the fact is you want a laser rangefinder that can handle anything from being dropped on wet, dew-covered grass in the early morning to being caught out in a thunderstorm and pouring rain.
I'm happy to report that the Pro XE is completely waterproof.
Superior Jolt Technology
A lot of laser rangefinders leave you uncertain of whether you've zeroed in on the right target or, for example, a tree sitting behind it.
The best golf rangefinder has Bushnell's Jolt technology. It's been added to Bushnell's existing PinSeeker facility and provides short vibrating bursts that reassure you that you are in fact measuring the exact distance to your desired target, typically the flag.
Here's a review from a certified buyer:
"I've had my last range finder (Bushnell Pinseeker 1500) for over 12 years but it recently is having hard time locking on pins. At first I thought is me getting older at 66 years of age. But when I tried newer range finders that my friends played I had an easier time. So - which one to buy as there are so many out there cheaper than Bushnell. I read tons of reviews and tried out many but ended up selecting Bushnell's top of the line Pro XE because my last one lasted fore 12 years and has served me very well. The newer model is smaller but very fast to lock onto the pin - even when you have hills or trees right behind the green it is very easy to lock onto the pin with confidence. The optics are crystal clear. When reading reviews I saw that people were not always able to get the visual red ring and vibration affect when locking onto pins. I concur with this finding as it does not always work, however, it still locks on the target and you know with confidence that its accurate as you can easily select a target behind the pin and compare - its that fast! My hands are at times a little shaky when targeting longer distances (over 200 yards), but the laser feedback is so fast that all I have to do is touch the fire button a couple of times and it hits the targets before my hands jitter off line. The Pro XE allows you do adjust the brightness of the red text - I found that you will want to adjust it to the higher setting and leave it alone - that way you can easily see the text in any kind of light including bright sunlight. The focus ring is "tight" and you will need two hands to adjust the focus for you and you will not have to adjust it again as it will not slide with use. I wear contacts and find now fault with the optics. My friends with glasses tried it out and they were also very pleased with the optics. I did find that I have to hold it just about a fingers width in front of my eye and its works great and is easy to hold steady that way. The Pro XE is very well build - rugged and easy to hold - its water proof as well. I took it to Ireland and it had no issues with cutting through the morning fog. If this range finder lasts me half as long as my last Bushnell (and I expect it will) its a deal. I paid $500 on Amazon Prime. I golf four times a week and highly recommend this to any golfer."
The Bushnell Bite Magnetic Mount
I absolutely LOVE Bushnell's built-in BITE magnetic cart mount.
You are always moving your rangefinder from your cart to your hand to your eye and then back again to take your shot.
Other rangefinders cater to this need with magnetic bands that go around the cart bar so you can clip your rangefinder onto your golf cart for easy access. Bushnell cleverly saves you that step by putting that magnet directly onto the side of the rangefinder itself.
A simple thing, but so convenient.
Oh, and one other thing: I absolutely hate it when you look at your rangefinder in bright sunlight and simply can't read it. How frustrating is that? You've got all the info you need at your fingertips but it might as well be invisible.
With the Bushnell Pro XE, high performance optics deliver superior clarity and resolution to easily focus on your target. The back-light works perfectly even under the brightest conditions.
So those are the features that make this unit convenient and easy to use. Let us now get back to our technological best golf rangefinder review.
Bushnell Pro XE. What Does the "E" Mean?
The “E” in XE stands for “Elements.” Why is this significant"?
It's because the natural elements, such as the temperature, humidity, air pressure and weather generally have a big impact on both the distance and the trajectory of your golf shots.
We've tested others for our best golf rangefinder review but haven't found anything that stacks up to the Bushnell Pro XE in its ability to account for the conditions of play.
With 7X magnification and the ability to measure distance from 5 to 1,300 yards, the Pro XE is ready for any course. Now add in Slope Technology and element compensation.
Bushnell’s classic Slope Technology now includes element compensation. The new “play as” distance factors in:
- Adjusted altitude
The Bushnell Pro XE calculates all details like temperature and altitude to determine the real playing distance for that particular hole on that particular day and in those particular climatic conditions.
If you’ve played the same course in both cool, early morning spring conditions and during a hot, humid summer afternoon, you will have noticed that your driver and your irons hit different distances, even if you’re swinging in exactly the same way.
This is because temperature, altitude, air density and barometric pressure all have a huge impact on distance and trajectory. These all influence how far your ball travels in the normal course of play.
The new Bushnell Pro XE is designed to help you take even more of the playing conditions into account when planning your strategy for each shot. The end result is simply fewer wasted strokes.
So let’s say you use your Pro XE to determine the actual playing distance to a target on level turf in 45-degree weather. You could then laser the distance to a target that’s technically exactly the same distance, but this time, you’re shooting uphill on a 75-degree day. The conditions are different and in that you are working with a different temperature and barometric pressure. The Pro XE will then show you the distance you need to hit in order to reach your destination under these conditions. How good is that?
I've personally acquired a Bushnell Pro XE and now wouldn't be without it. As far as I'm concerned, it represents an incredible advancement in laser rangefinder technology and almost gives me an unfair advantage.
Full Product Specification
4.5” (length) x 3.1” (height) x 1.8” (width)
Enhanced Ultra-Bright Backlight
Field of View
Magnification x Obj Diameter
3-Volt Lithium (CR-2)
5-1,300 yards (500+ yards to a flag)
Note that you can set the Pro XE to measure in yards or meters.
For your total peace of mind, the Bushnell Pro XE is totally waterproof and comes with a full 2 year warranty.
While we have no doubt that the Bushnell Pro XE is the best, there's no doubt that it's a pricey bit of kit. If your budget doesn't stretch that far, you should check out our 2020 Best Budget Rangefinders, all under $200.