This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.
What can $500 buy you? It can land you a rangefinder with every luxury perk that you'll ever need for your hunt.
With these prices and distance reaches, you'll be welcomed into the elite world of rangefinders.
With over 1,000 yards to cover, let's see how these top optic brands measure up to win your dollar!
QUICK LIST: 6 Best Rangefinders for Under $500 In 2021
- Vortex Optics Ranger 1800
- Sig Sauer Kilo 2200BDX
- Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W with DNA
- Bushnell Nitro 1800
- Athlon Midas 1 Mile
- Leupold RX FullDraw 4
Our 6 Top Rangefinders Less Than $500
Spending this much on a rangefinder isn't the most popular option. It's obvious why - price. However, the quality glass that comes with being able to get distances out past 1,000 yards is something only the true, long-range hunter will appreciate.
On this note, don't be discouraged if you see piddling review numbers. They may be lacking because the units are most likely out of most people's budgets for a rangefinder.
However, if you find yourself in this range for a new unit, you've got to be experienced with how one works to comprehend and appreciate the quality. Golfers won't need this kind of distance reach, so it's up to you hunters to put the following lineup to the ultimate test!
|Vortex Optics Ranger 1800||CHECK PRICE|
|Sig Sauer KILO 2200BDX||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W with DNA||CHECK PRICE|
|Bushnell Nitro 1800||CHECK PRICE|
|Athlon Midas 1 Mile||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold RX Fulldraw 4||CHECK PRICE|
The Best Rangefinder Under $500
1. Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 Laser Rangefinder
This is the best you can get when it comes to the traditional-style of a rangefinder from Vortex Optics. The Ranger 1800 is the top-of-the-line unit for your distance needs, unless you want to spend about 3x the price for very sweet laser rangefinder binocular. But, we're not quite there yet, so the Ranger will have to do.
In fact, the Ranger 1800 is more than adequate for the job. You can range out to 1,800 yards with this lightweight and compact baby. Far-grazing deer will be within your reach at 900 yards. Enabling you to see all these details are the anti-reflective coatings, adjustable diopter, and LED display.
Furthermore, you have those luxury features in the palm of your hand like Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) for angle compensation. If you wanted to, you can increase stability and rangefinder performance by mounting this baby on a tripod - yeah, it's tripod adaptable! With the Ranger 1800 in your hand, you may as well be considered a professional - thanks Vortex.
2. Sig Sauer Kilo 2200BDX Rangefinder
- This Sig Sauer Rangefinder is easy to use and features a 7 x 25 mm monocular with our trademarked SpectraCoat anti-reflection coating for superior light transmission and...
- This Kilo 2200 is an ideal hunting rangefinder for shooting, and works as a golf distance measuring device. This model is capable of ranging up to 3,400 yards.
It wouldn't be a luxury rangefinder if it couldn't range a kilometer plus some! The Kilo 2200 is capable of so much more than just ranging a mere 2200 yards - ha! Since when was 2200 yards mere feat? It ranges out to a maximum 3400 yards with 1400 yards to deer. Quite impressive for a rangefinder that tops out other authoritative brands for more than half the price.
But, that's not all it's got going for it. The Kilo 2200 is also a BDX optic that is compatible with BDX riflescopes from the prominent brand. Equipped with Bluetooth technology, you can range your bull elk out in the field and expect instant dope ballistics to your scope with an illuminated point of aim.
The possibilities of using BDX and Sig Sauer's associated apps allow for numerous opportunities to tighten your groupings and make the most accurate shot from any distance. With an OLED display that has 10 brightness settings and an automatic lumatic display, you can stay out until last legal light to fill your tag.
Wait, are we talking about a rangefinder or a rifle scope? That's how good this rangefinder is. You wouldn't know the difference if you're using it the Sig Sauer way. This is collaboration of optical technology at its best!
3. Leupold RX-1600i TBR/W with DNA Rangefinder
- Model #173805: RX-1600i in Black with an easy to read red OLED display, 6x magnification and accuracy within 1/2 a yard from 5 yards to 1,600 yards with selectable bow or...
- True Ballistic Range with Wind (TBR-W) technology provides ballistically calculated ranges for extremely accurate shots at longer distances and steeper angles. Also...
Rangefinder technology is moving at drag race speeds, and the competition is tight. This budget class holds some of the best rangefinders you'll ever find in the current market, and the Leupold 1600i is right at home.
It tops the charts with its hefty price tag, and yet, it's a lot less than what you'd expect for the premium features it sports. TBR takes the cake with its angle compensated distances that ultimately churns out a holdover in MOA, MIL, or number of clicks. Seriously, what can't a rangefinder do these days?
We're not done. The RX 1600i continues to up its value with its ability to calculate for wind up to 800 yards. Pre-loaded reticle options are highlighted with the OLED display, and you max out target acquisition at 1600 yards with 1000 yards to deer.
The Leupold rangefinder has a lot to offer, and with it, you must make sure you understand how the high-tech features work to get the most out of your unit.
If you want to improve the odds of first-shot success, this RX rangefinder might be just what you need. Get every available feature there is today without paying over 500 bucks!
4. Bushnell Nitro 1800
If you’re in the market for an advanced rangefinder with Bluetooth for the lowest price possible, you are likely to run into the Bushnell Nitro 1800.
- 5-2000 yards
- LCD display
Whenever you have Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll know that dealing with apps and possibly other devices present their own set of issues. But when you figure it all out and have streamlined communication between them, it can be an effective tool in the field.
The Nitro 1800 aims to be one of those highly advanced units for hunters, long range shooters, bow hunters, and precision shooters. Sadly, without the benefits of an illuminated display.
It has long-ranging performance with max detection of deer up to 900 yards. But to acquire increased accuracy, do you know what wind drift is, what the decline is, or how far your bullet will drop over these distances?
The Ultralite ranging engine will do the math for you. If you have a Kestrel, pair that up with it and get even more real-time data for ultimate accuracy. If you want more from your unit with increased ranging performance, upgrade the ranging engine one or even two levels.
As it stands out of the box, the Nitro 1800 is an advantageous buy for its price point. When you want more out of your unit, the Nitro LRF offers it all. You can spend more if you want to – to each their own… but why?
5. Athlon Midas 1 Mile
The Midas 1 Mile LRF may hover between price points as it becomes available across the board. At retail cost, it falls here. At street prices, it’s definitely on the cheaper end of the scale. Does it still make it as a high-end rangefinder?
- 1 mile range
- LED display
- Circle reticle
- No tripod mounting
Obviously, the 1 Mile LRF can range to a mile, but that is on reflective targets. Its deer ranging capability is 800 yards. If you want the angle of the incline, it can do that. If you want the compensated distance, it can do that. If you want the vertical distance, it can do that too.
Use Scan in either Horizontal or Vertical distance modes right up to max distance, that is, if you’re steady enough. The Athlon rangefinder has no mounting point, and with 1760 yards of ranging capability that may be a legitimate issue.
Getting rid of the LCD display, the new unit features an illuminated one with manual brightness intensity settings. You also have a circle reticle that does not obstruct the target which is especially important to range small varmints and out to max distance.
The gray Midas 1 Mile predecessor wouldn’t have made the cut as a high-end unit. There were one too many outdated features about it. Fortunately, the new model saw some upgrades that should boost its popularity between both hunters and golfers.
6. Leupold RX-Fulldraw 4
What more do bow hunters want on a bow hunting rangefinder? Ballistics would be good start. Flight trajectory projections would be even better. But a solid price always wins out when it really comes down to it. Well, the RX-Fulldraw 4 has it all.
- 1200 yards
- Archer’s Advantage
- TRIG mode
- Battery life
3000 actuations aren’t bad for a souped-up, illuminated rangefinder on a single CR2 battery – it’s actually very good. But we were grasping at straws in finding a legitimate thumbs down design feature, so there it is.
The Archer’s Advantage software is a biggie as it allows you to put in specific data about your setup so that it can calculate precise ballistic solutions relative to your position. Nifty, right?
What else is convenient is that the new Flightpath technology takes that data and displays the highest point of the arrow path. What’s so great about that? Think along the lines of keeping clear of obstructions - it’s need-to-know information so that you can tag out instead of striking out.
Even if you’re not using the ballistic features 24/7, the Fulldraw 4 still has value. You have Scan, LOS, and TRIG (angle compensation without ballistics) to grab long-range distances. 1200 yards of ranging with up to 900 yards on deer will help to make critical decisions relative to the success of your hunt. At less than 4” in size and 8 oz in weight, it’s a non-issue when it comes to adding more bulk to your already heavy pack or hunting vest.
What more do bow hunters want on a bow hunting rangefinder? With the RX Fulldraw 4, zilch.
What to Look for in a $300-$500 Rangefinder
Luxury takes a new spin when you've got the extra cash to splurge. But, with the extra quality, you need to be specific about what features you want that will be realistically utilized in the hunt. It's all too easy to get every premium perk only to find yourself fiddling and farting around in the field - precious time wasted why your prey leaped away. Avoid the hype of unnecessary features and focus in on what 500 bucks should really get you.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better. In this price range, you want excellent glass coatings on the inside lenses and exterior.
- Magnification: The more expensive you go, the more likely you're going to purchase a higher-powered unit, around 6-7X magnification. It may be more difficult to use free-hand, so look for tripod compatibility or magnetic systems for mounting purposes to increase image stability.
- Ease of use: With extra perks, user-friendliness may go down and complexity issues may arise. Ensure an intuitive platform to keep ease of use, well, easy.
- Eye relief: Look for something between 16-20 mm. Long eye relief will make for a comfortable ranging experience.
- Durability: Fully weatherproof housing is required in this price range. Protect your investment so that you're not at the whims of the sky.
- Accuracy: This is vital in this price range as distance reach significantly increases. Being accurate to within 1/2 to 1/10 of a yard should be expected.
- Features: Everything from angle compensation, various target selection modes, and display modes should be expected. You might also see other options such as multiple reticles, a tight beam divergence, and automatic display adjustments according to ambient light available.
This price range offers the top-of-the-line rangefinders with the traditional design. You'll see practically every feature you can get for 500 bucks. Of course you can spend more than this and land an unparalleled optic, but this is quite practical for the intermediate and even pro hunter.
You might want to consider spending more than this on a rangefinder that will land you in the laser rangefinder binocular market. Mm, we wonder what that has in store for you?