Our first side-by-side rangefinder test of three mid-cost golf rangefinders. The Bushnell Hybrid Golf Rangefinder & GPS, Bushnell Tour V3 with Jolt, and Nikon Coolshot 40i w/slope. Each have their own list of pros and cons that can be seen on their individual reviews, but here we are going to take a side-by-side look to rank these golf rangefinders against each other.
Golf Rangefinder Considerations
Manufacture Listed Accuracy:
The manufactures claim +- 1 yard or less of accuracy for each of these rangefinders. We won’t have the full results to known targets until October; I will update this post with this information when it’s available.
Value for the money:
1st (tie): Bushnell Hybrid Golf Rangefinder
At a range from $199 – $249, this is what we would consider a low-mid price unit. While there is a bit of lack in the range, the unit makes up for it with the GPS feature included
1st (tie): Bushnell Tour V3 Golf Rangefinder
The Bushnell Tour V3 has great range, locks on to flags quickly and has good optics. We really don’t have any complaints except it is the largest of the tree units tested. Also in the $199 – $249 low-mid price range, this rangefinder is a good value.
3rd: Nikon Coolshot 40i w/slope Golf Rangefinder
This unit is pushing towards the higher price range at $249 – $299. While it includes the slope feature that may be helpful for some, it isn’t a big factor for me as you can read about here. This unit had a bit of a lack in ease of picking up the flag. We were able to get a reading from the longest distance away, but the unit often picked up background noise even after we had already locked in on the pin at one point. The optics on this unit were the worst of the three. With a smaller lens, the viewing angle was also the smallest.
Range & Speed:
All three of these rangefinders have manufacture ranges covering 10-650 yards, well beyond what is necessary for a golf rangefinder.
1st: Bushnell Tour V3
This unit was super quick to lock onto flags, and rarely had issues picking up background noise. Once the flag had been locked into you could hold the button down and look at the background and it would keep the pin distance as the target. The range to pick up the flag is around 300 yards; I was unable to pick up the flag from around 330 yards out.
2nd: Nikon Coolshot 40i
This unit had the longest rage to be able to pick up the flag, we were able to get a reading from 333 yards out. The main issue we ran into was that the rangefinder didn’t always stick to the closest target. I had times where I picked up the flag, and then unintentionally moved away to trees in the background. Even though the rangefinder had picked up on the closer target being the flag, the reading changed to the background distance. It was set on “pinseeker” mode, so it should stick to the closest object; this wasn’t always the case though.
3rd: Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder
There are a lot of perks with this unit, but its range with the laser is not one of them. I frequently struggle to pick up the pin outside of 200 yards with this rangefinder. The only saving grace that keeps this rangefinder in contention with others is the fact that it has the built in GPS. Many people don’t need an accurate reading from outside of 200 yards, others may still have several different clubs to choose from in the is range.
Build quality, size, and features:
All three of these units are built similarly. All are plastic shells without any sign of metal. They all feel well built and I don’t have any concerns with them. They all have carrying cases to help protect them while they are rattling around your golf bag. The carry cases for both Bushnell rangefinders are made to clip onto the outside of your golf bag for quick access.
Is it tournament approved?:
The Nikon Coolshot 40i is not tournament or GHIN handicap approved. The Bushnell units are both approved for use in Tournaments and for handicap purposes.
The right size for a unit is always a little subjective. Between these three, the weight difference is minimal. The unit with GPS is just over 8 oz. while the other two are around 6 oz. None are heavy enough that I would be concerned to carry one over the others. As for the dimensions, the Nikon Coolshot 40i is the smallest of the 3, the Bushnell Hybrid is the widest of the 3, and the Bushnell Tour V3 is the tallest of the 3. I found the Bushnell Hybrid most comfortable for my hand, but your hand size will play a large role in what feels best. Overall the size of these units is a wash.
1st (tie): Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder & Bushnell Tour V3
With a zoom rating of 5x on these units, I never had issues seeing the flag. Maybe a slightly greater zoom would make it easier to pick up a flag with the hybrid, but I’m not sure it would matter. My vision was always clear; both have black readouts through the lens.
3rd: Nikon Coolshot 40i
This unit fell behind a touch when it comes to optics. The viewing angle is much tighter than the two Bushnell units, and although the zoom is rated at 6x, it didn’t appear any easier to see. This unit has also had reviews online with issues of oily spots appearing on the inner lens that cannot be cleaned. I didn’t notice any issue with this, but the number of similar reviews is definitely a cause for concern.
From left to right: Bushnell Hybrid, Bushnell Tour V3, Nikon Coolshot 40i.
Two of these units have unique features and the third is a straightforward rangefinder. While the Nikon Coolshot 40i has the slope feature, it ranked lowest in my on-course test. The Bushnell Hybrid has great versatility as it includes the GPS feature. If you are looking for a GPS unit and a rangefinder, this is a great value option. As a rangefinder only, the Bushnell Tour V3 took the cake on this one. It has the range needed for nearly any golfer, was quick to pick up the flag and I never had to question if I picked up the flag or not. Add on the jolt feature and it perks up the unit even more. My choice is the Bushnell Tour V3.