What Is Better a Golf GPS or Rangefinder?

Are you thinking of buying a golf GPS or rangefinder? If so, you may be wondering which is the better option. In this article, we will compare and contrast golf GPSs and rangefinders to help you decide which is the best purchase for you.

The main difference between a Golf GPS and rangefinder is that a Golf GPS gives distances to the front, middle, and back of the green, while a rangefinder only gives distances to the front of the green.

A Golf GPS is also much more expensive than a rangefinder. Rangefinders typically cost around $200, while golf GPS units can cost upwards of $500.

Keep reading to learn more!

Laser rangefinder or GPS: What Should You Use?

Playing with a GPS or rangefinder will help your game by providing more information on each shot.

golf GPS will give you yardages when you are to your golf ball and ready to hit.

rangefinder requires you to pull it out and aim at a target each shot to receive the distance.

It comes down to what you type of information you are wanting on each shot. Do you want a set number, use a rangefinder. Do you want to know more details about your target and its surroundings, get a GPS.

What Is The Difference Between a Laser Rangefinder and a Golf GPS?

Golf GPS’ and golf rangefinders are fantastic tools that each golfer should have. These tools provide the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green… or whatever you are aiming for.

Knowing the distance to your target is vital to playing well. But some may ask themselves, what is the difference between a rangefinder and a GPS?

A GPS will give the distances to the front, middle and back of the green. While a rangefinder will only give you the distance to the object you are able to shoot to.

We have found that rangefinders are on average more accurate with distances. Golf GPS’ are not exactly inaccurate – but, they give you more of a general distance than a precise distance.

We wouldn’t recommend holding a nose to a GPS’ distance though.

Knowing more general distances can be a positive. If you know that the pin is in the back of the green, you may benefit by knowing that you can hit it a little short and still be on the green.

You can hit safer shots and play smarter.

Pros and Cons of a Golf Rangefinder

A golf rangefinder or laser rangefinder is arguably the more popular distance tool used today. Rangefinders don’t require any app downloads, set up time or course maps that have to download.

You only need an object to aim at and your rangefinder. Using a rangefinder is simple and intuitive. Point the rangefinder at the flag, press the button – and you have your distance!

Rangefinders are typically more accurate than GPS’s. If you have ever stood on a tee box and wanted the exact distance to a water hazard or bunker, rangefinders can help you.


Improved Accuracy: The biggest advantage of rangefinders is their accuracy. They do not rely on a satellite, only your ability to pick and lock onto a target. With a laser rangefinder you will have exact distances. Your main concern will be getting an exact line of sight to your target.

Charge (or the lack-thereof): One of the largest drawbacks to a GPS is that you have to charge it each round. We ran a poll on social media asking golfers what the most common reason they forget their GPS was. The main response was that they left it on the charger. With a rangefinder, you should only need to keep a few extra batteries in your bag. You will be never be without your distance tool!


Price: There is no avoiding this, the price of rangefinders is steep. You can buy a GPS for half the price of a rangefinder. We don’t have any advice to avoid this. It should be noted that there are good deals for rangefinders every black Friday and Labor day.

Line of Sight: One drawback of a rangefinder is the need for a line of sight. You will need to have an uninterrupted view of your target to get an accurate distance. If you hook one into the trees, you may have to walk back out into the fairway to get a view of the flag and an accurate distance.

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Pros and Cons of a Golf GPS

A golf GPS is going to provide more information at one time, than a rangefinder. GPS’ are designed to provide the distances to the front, middle and back of the green. Some also show distances to various hazards on the course.

The main drawback of a GPS is that most GPS’ do not know where the pin is on the green. You only know the distance to the front, middle and back of the green complex.

It is up to you to figure out each hole where the pin is and what distance you should be hitting to.


Quicker to use: A GPS (specifically a GPS watch) is going to be faster to use than a rangefinder. With rangefinders you have to pull them out of your bag every time you use one. With a GPS you can usually mount it to a push cart, cart, or your bag and you will need to glance at the distance and hit.

More information per shot: With the layout of each hole, you will start to consider different strategies on each hole. You may learn that you can hit a 3 wood on a difficult par 4 when your driver normally puts you in trouble off the tee.

GPS’ Track More Data Than a Rangefinder: A GPS has more uses than a rangefinder. A GPS can track the miles walked, steps taken, some even track how far you hit your clubs! These GPS watches can receive texts, phone calls, emails, etc.


Golf GPS’ also may not have every course that you play. This can be frustrating when you discover that your main source of distance information is obsolete. You will need to research the GPS you buy before purchasing to avoid running into this problem. Golf GPS’ distances can also be a little off. I am not saying this is a common problem, but during our GPS testing, we found a few shots that always were a little off.

Should I Use a Golf GPS or a Rangefinder?

Hopefully, through this blog post you were able to sort out which distance tool is better for your game. Both rangefinders and GPS’ offer different advantages.

You need to consider your game and what information you need on each hole to play the best.

If money is no object, we at Bestgolfaccessories.net recommend that you pick up both. Use the GPS to strategize each hole and use both the rangefinder and GPS to get a distance to the pin and pick the smartest club.

Read more golf blogs such as, how to make a golf yardage book.