How Long Do Rangefinders Last? — (and Why They Fail)

how long do rangefinders last and why do the batteries fail due to processor or battery failiure

Golfers love laser rangefinders and golf GPS devices for giving them accurate readings and distance measuring out on the golf course.

However, a high-quality rangefinder or GPS device isn’t cheap, and the wear and tear they take during a round can affect their durability.

How long does a golf rangefinder last? And what can golfers do to ensure they work for as long as possible?

The Tell Me More Golf pros will tell you all you need to know about the durability of golf rangefinders and GPS devices and how to best take care of them so they last longer.

how long do rangefinders last and why do the batteries fail due to processor or battery failiure

How Long Should a Golf Rangefinder Last?

How long your rangefinder lasts depends on what type you use: a golf laser rangefinder or a golf GPS device.

Golf Laser Rangefinder

A high-quality golf laser rangefinder made by companies like the Bushnell Tour V5 Shift, TecTecTec, Nikon Cool Shot, Callaway, Leupold, Precision Pro, and others should last for a minimum of five years if used carefully.

These are typically made with high-quality materials and water-resistant for enhanced durability.

There is a certain amount of wear and tear from how often a golf rangefinder is used during a round of golf to get accurate yardages.

Still, with proper care, they should last well past the terms of the warranty.

How Long Do Rangefinder Batteries Last?

With frequent use, the battery life of a golf rangefinder will last about a season before they die.

Golf rangefinders typically use CR2 or CR123 lithium batteries.

Storing your rangefinder in a cool, dry place can help the batteries last longer than keeping them in your golf bag in the trunk of your car.

Golf GPS Device and Watches

A high-quality golf GPS device or watch like those made by Garmin will typically last you for 3-5 years. Golfers don’t have to take them out to shoot targets to get distances, but for GPS devices, you may have to pick them up to read them.

Golf GPS devices do have added functionality, like a virtual scorecard and stat-tracking that a laser rangefinder won’t have. However, most GPS devices do not have slope settings. As a result, they cannot account for elevation changes when providing readings to golfers.

The battery life of golf GPS devices varies from model to model.

However, most of these devices have rechargeable batteries that will eventually lose their ability to hold a charge after repeated recharging. Storing your golf GPS device in a cool, dry area can help the battery life.

You will often not be able to replace the rechargeable batteries, so the device will stop working when the battery fails.


Laser rangefinders and GPS devices die for many of the same reasons other sensitive electronic devices fail.

Common reasons that rangefinders fail include:

  1. Mechanical Failure
  2. Damage from Drops
  3. Water Damage
  4. Damage to the Optics
  5. Damage to the Laser
  6. Misuse
  7. Processor Failure
  8. Rechargeable Battery Fails

Assessing distance from the tees or getting in and out of your golf cart to assess distance from a bunker means that a golfer will handle a rangefinder a lot.

As a result, they will get dropped occasionally, and even the most rugged ones will break from time to time.

Not storing your laser golf rangefinder properly and having something scratch the lenses is another common way a device can die.

Dropping a Golf GPS device onto a hard surface or immersing it in water can also damage them. Finally, incorrectly charging a golf GPS device can impact the performance and the life of the rechargeable battery they hold.


Battery Replacements

Golf rangefinders typically come with one of two-sized lithium replacement batteries: CR2 or CR123A. You can find these batteries at drug stores, camera stores, or online retailers.

The cost of the batteries varies by the brand name, where you’re buying them from, and the number of batteries you’re purchasing. Like batteries of all types, it is recommended that you store them in cool, dry places to ensure they last longer.

Golf GPS devices often have built-in rechargeable batteries that cannot be replaced.

The inability to replace the rechargeable battery is ultimately why many of these devices fail after 3-5 years of depleting and recharging the battery. 

FAQ Section

How long should a rangefinder last?

A high-quality laser rangefinder like Bushnell Rangefinders should last a minimum of 5 years with proper use and care. The batteries should last about a season but can be replaced when they die.

With proper use and care, golf GPS devices and watches will typically last 3-5 years. However, most models come with built-in rechargeable batteries, which cannot be replaced and will eventually lose their ability to recharge and hold a charge.

Are rangefinders worth the money?

Yes, golf laser rangefinders and golf GPS devices are worth the money for the average golfer. 

The price point will change as features and functionality change and with the best golf rangefinders like the Bushnell Pro XE and the Garmin Approach S62.
Getting accurate yardages to targets on the golf course is like having your caddie. They can help you select the right golf clubs for shots from the tee and the fairway.

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A golf laser rangefinder with slope technology can help a golfer’s game by giving accurate yardages to hazards like bunkers from the fairway and the rough. Or in areas on the course where yardage markers are placed less frequently.

A golf GPS device can give accurate distances to hazards on the course and the front, back, and middle pin placements. It can also help you keep score and track on-course golf statistics that can help you practice your game after the round.

With the proper use and care of golf rangefinders, you should be able to use them for many rounds and multiple seasons. A golf laser rangefinder should last a minimum of 5 years, while a golf GPS distance for a minimum of 3 years.
Using golf rangefinders can help you score better on the golf course and practice better away from them. Treat them like you’d treat other sensitive electronic devices, and you can enjoy them for years.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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