Which is the best? Here’s what you need to know | Panda Anku

what should be in your bag Ben Outhwaite explains the difference and then picks his favorite models for both options

It is one of the most important questions in the age of technology. Should You Use a Golf GPS Device or a Laser Rangefinder? (Who remembers yardage markers, stroke savers, or just using your eyes?)

What we are doing here is to shed some light on the situation. How has the modern world changed the game? Let’s read on…

What is a golf GPS device?

As with any GPS device, these tech devices use satellites to determine your precise location.

Think of it as an electronic caddy.

This is why so many golfers use them – for their ability to provide information about yards, including distance to the green and hazard.

They also come in a variety of forms, not just handheld devices. You can get yards on your phone, your watch, or even your hat clip!

However, there is a downside. While they sound accurate, they don’t give the flag exact meters where the range finder steals the show…

What is a laser range finder?

Literally what it says, really.

Laser rangefinders have been used in the military and hunting world for some time and as such are very tried and tested.

They are accurate to the last fraction of a yard, which is the main reason why some golfers prefer them to GPS devices. The first is that you don’t have to worry about downloading software or setting it up in advance. Just take them with you and let them work.

But also expect to get your brain working harder when using a range finder. Remember that you have to manually point it at the flag to get feedback. With GPS devices, you get yards as soon as you hit your golf ball.

So what’s better?

It’s very much a personal preference. If you prefer detailed information on a big screen, a GPS device might be for you.

But what about the laser rangefinder’s USP of absolutely perfect accuracy? It’s a difficult choice.

That’s what our Twitter followers thought…

We know what you’re thinking: can’t you just use both? Well, and more and more golfers are doing just that.

If you care about stats down to the last detail, then you could be on the winning side with this form of dual technology. Expect to invest more, but if you plan to do everything you can to lower that handicap, eventually you have to…

Whichever option you choose, we’ve rounded up our most popular GPS devices and laser range finders on the market so you don’t have to search for them.

Under each product you will find a Buy Now button. So when we say it’s just a click away, we mean it.

If you’re still thirsty for more great deals on golf equipment then check out the rest of our buying guides right here, but for now let’s dive into the world of golf technology…

The Best Golf GPS Devices

SkyCaddy SX550

SkyCaddie says the SX550 has the largest screen of any GPS device on the market at a whopping 5.5 inches. The HD screen means the graphics are shown in incredible detail, giving you a truly great preview of the hole ahead.

Initially more than 30,000 golf course maps are preloaded. With Wi-Fi connectivity, you no longer need to connect to a computer to update them.

Thanks to the IntelliGreen Pro technology you have a direct view of the green, the hazards and the hole in front of you. It also rotates depending on where you’re playing from to make the yards as accurate as possible.

With all these features combined, this is by far one of the best portable GPS golf devices.


  • Clear big screen
  • Lightweight and slim design
  • The touchscreen is fast and responsive


  • Too big to carry in your pocket and use during a round

Garmin Approach G30 GPS

What will first strike you about this device is how small and light it is. It weighs next to nothing and easily fits in the palm of your hand.

The loading time is also very fast. Simply connect it to your computer with the included USB cable or plug the cable into the plug end of your phone charger.

It has over 40,000 preloaded courses and no login or registration is required.

It’s very much a case of tune in and go, which is often exactly what golfers are looking for.


  • Compact enough to fit in your pocket
  • Preloaded with 40,000+ courses
  • Full color mapping and touch targeting


  • The small touchscreen made clicking some options a little fiddly

Bushnell Phantom 2

As with the original Phantom, the main screen clearly shows the distances to the front, center and back of the green you are playing on.

This is available for 38,000 courses with automatic course recognition and automatic hole advance.

But the best part is the dynamic green mapping that shows you the shape of the green, and the touchscreen element allows you to move pin placement.

Another great thing about the new Phantom 2 is the free Bushnell GPS app that you get with your purchase. The app offers amazing graphics and technology to enhance your round of golf.


  • Generous battery life
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Provides just the right amount of information for the course


  • The built-in app drains the phone battery quickly

Garmin Approach G80 GPS & launch monitor

This is a new approach to golf GPS designed to integrate your range practice sessions and course management. Pre-loaded with over 41,000 maps of golf courses worldwide, this sleek handheld device is highly detailed and full colour, and is easily navigated via the 3.5” sunlight-readable touchscreen.


  • Comprehensive GPS device
  • The starting monitor provides accurate insight into yards and shots
  • Practice modes refine how accurate your distance control is


  • Holemap graphics are underwhelming

Sky Caddy LX5

Golf GPS watches are one thing, yes. The new SkyCaddie LX5 GPS Smart Watch brings the technology of the SX500 and SX400 right to your wrist.

This golf watch is powered by a powerful multi-core processor to bring you an easy-to-use touchscreen interface. This allows you to zoom and pan across the map to get any obstruction, carry and green reading distances you want.

It comes preloaded with more than 35,000 courses that are regularly updated automatically when your watch is connected to WiFi.


  • Crystal clear color punched cards
  • Abundance of information to support the strategy
  • Ability to score and time shots


  • A little bulky on the wrist

The best golf laser range finders

Bushnell Tour V5 Slim

Let the new rangefinder V5 TOUR take the guesswork out of your game. This product has the perfect blend of reduced size, improved speed and distance accuracy with BITE technology that allows you to magnetically place it on your trolley for easy placement.

This fantastic Bushnell range finder features the superb PinSeeker technology with new visual JOLT. This will give you short bursts of vibration and a visible red ring to confirm the laser has locked onto the flag position.

Multi-coated optics and 6x magnification make it even easier to lock onto your target at a greater distance, making objects appear even closer and clearer than ever.


  • The protective cover is ideal for transport
  • Distances are accurate and displayed quickly
  • The clarity of the display is exceptional


  • Limited improvements over the previous version

Nikon Coolshot 20 GII

The Coolshot 20 is a great entry-level rangefinder that isn’t overly expensive and does the job it was designed to do.

If it’s your first rangefinder and you’re not a pro golfer, we recommend the Coolshot.

It’s super small and light and comes with a 2-year warranty.


  • Long range and precise aiming
  • Quick and easy single or continuous measurement
  • Bright images and easy viewing


  • Has no tilt adjustment

ShotScope Pro LX+

It’s hard to believe that this really lasted until 2022. A stroke of genius.

The Shot Scope H4 handheld combines GPS and automatic performance tracking technology. So yes, it’s a GPS AND a laser range finder.

The GPS provides distances to the front, middle and back greens, as well as front and carry distances for each hazard.

The app uses the data it collects to create over 100 stats so you can see exactly where you’re losing shots and what you need to work on to improve your game.

The Shot Scope Pro LX Laser now features Slope Technology which, most importantly, can be turned on and off to comply with tournament regulations within the Rules of Golf.


  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • An excellent, compact device that allows shot tracking
  • Laser/GPS combo improves strategy


  • Manual club tagging required

TecTecTec VPRO500

The TecTecTec VPro500 is exactly what you would expect from a no-frills, budget-friendly golf rangefinder.

The total range of the TecTecTec VPro500 is 540 yards. This is long enough for the average golfer and claims to be one yard accurate.

The TecTecTec VPro500 is also considered an eye-safe laser rangefinder that does not strain your vision through continuous use. Good news if you’re really golf obsessed!

The TecTecTec Vpro500 is very light, compact and portable. The exterior is sturdy and there is a carrying case that comes with the device to keep it safe.


  • 6x magnification
  • Target Lock Technology
  • Shockproof protective case


  • The maximum range is 540 yards

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