How Does Laser Rangefinder Work

How Does Laser Rangefinder Work

Laser rangefinders are measuring devices that use laser beams to determine the distance between you and a target. 

If you are into any activity that involves measuring and working with distance, a laser rangefinder will come in handy.

You can find a laser rangefinder in many different activities and industries, including hunting, golfing, real estate, military, and more. 

If you are thinking about getting into any of those activities or simply want to figure out what laser rangefinders are all about, you have come to the right place. 

This guide will explain how a laser rangefinder works.

You will learn everything you need to know about the topic, including what a laser rangefinder is and where the device is used. 

The last section of this article will describe how the device works in easy-to-understand language. 

If you are ready to learn more about this topic, keep on reading. 

What Is a Laser Rangefinder?

What Is a Laser Rangefinder?

A laser rangefinder (which you can also call a laser telemeter) is an electronic measuring device that uses laser beams to measure the distance between you and your target. 

Most rangefinders use a principle called the time of flight principle to measure the distance. We will explain this principle more in-depth below.

In short, the device shoots laser beams out to the target at the press of a button and records how fast the beam of light travels back to the device. The device then uses this data to calculate the distance. 

Some other technologies that you may find in rangefinders include multiple frequency phase-shift and interferometry. 

While there are a few different types of laser rangefinders, most models will look like sideways binoculars, with two lenses on the front and one in the back for you to look through. 

Where Is a Laser Rangefinder Used?

Where Is a Laser Rangefinder Used?

Laser rangefinders are useful for many different activities. This section will cover where laser rangefinders are used the most, such as hunting, golfing, military and more. 


Many professional and amateur hunters use laser rangefinders while on the field. By using a laser rangefinder, hunters can find out exactly how far an animal is from them.

With this information, they can make more accurate shots and have a higher chance of hitting their target. 

While this is helpful for the hunters, it can also be beneficial for the animals.

Since laser rangefinders can help hunters make more accurate shots, it is easier to make clean and fast kills. 

Not only do these rangefinders work well for rifles, but they also work withs bows.

Many devices can even take the elevation into account to help you aim better.

Finally, rangefinders are essential for hunters who take shots from long distances.

Hunting rangefinders typically work well in foggy or rainy conditions. These devices should also perform well in low light. 


It is also normal to find a laser rangefinder on the golf course. Most golf tournaments will allow players to use rangefinders to calculate the distance from them to the target. 

Laser rangefinders are helpful when golfing for a few reasons. First of all, many devices can focus on the golf hole flag, which will help the swing to be more accurate.

Furthermore, knowing the exact distance to the target can help golfers choose the right club for the swing. 

Some golf laser rangefinders can even provide golf club recommendations and account for slope.

However, you can’t use these features during most golf tournaments. 


Laser rangefinders are common for military use. Many snipers will have laser rangefinders on their rifles to help with accuracy.

Furthermore, military personal will also use handheld laser rangefinders to find out the size and speed of distant targets.

Some military rangefinders are also compatible with thermal and night vision technology and are compatible with computers. 

Long Distance Shooting

If you are into long-distance shooting, you have probably come across laser rangefinders. Many long-distance shooters use rangefinders to shoot accurately.

It is almost impossible to make a good shot 600 yards away without a rangefinder. 


The forestry industry uses laser rangefinders to measure the height of trees and to measure distances.

Many forestry rangefinders work well in wet and rough conditions and have leaf filters to increase the accuracy of their readings. 

Real Estate

Realtors often need to measure the size of properties, including each room of the house. Laser rangefinders make this job much easier.

The price of a house is often dependant on the square feet, so getting an accurate measurement is essential to come up with an accurate price.


Another industry that uses laser rangefinders a lot is construction.

Construction workers will use these devices to safely and accurately measure distances on the site.

Laser rangefinders are essential to figure out the slope and size of an area and confirm overhead clearances. 

How Does It Work

How Does It Work

Now that we know what industries use laser rangefinders let’s find out how a laser rangefinder works. 

The Basic Process

The process that a laser rangefinder uses is quite simple. When you activate the device, it sends out a series of laser beams.

Once the beams land on the target, it reflects back and travels to the rangefinder device. 

Inside the device is a sensor. Once this sensor receives the reflecting beam, it uses a high-speed clock to calculate how long the beam took to travel back to the device.

The device will then take this data and calculate the distance between the device and target. 

The rangefinder calculates the distance by multiplying the speed of the laser with the time it took for the laser to travel back to the device.

After the rangefinder calculates the distance, it will appear on the digital screen for you to see. This whole process occurs within a matter of seconds.

Essential Components of a Rangefinder

While this process seems relatively simple, there are a few components that make this process possible.

Below is a list of the main components that are essential for a rangefinder to function properly. 

  • Optics – To get an accurate reading, you will need to be able to find your target. Laser rangefinders will typically come with lenses that have a magnification level of 5x or 10x. If you have lenses with higher magnification, you can see more details and find your target easier. If you go with a device that has a lower level of magnification, it may be a bit harder to find your target.
  • Laser beam – The laser beams of a rangefinder is the most important part. This component is essentially your measuring tape. Most rangefinding devices will send out multiple laser beams. Not all lasers will be the same between different models, but they will all essentially do the same job.
  • Software – Finally, the software is responsible for calculating the final measurement that the device will give you. The software does this by graphing the measurements of the data that the laser beams send back to the device. 


A laser rangefinder is a measuring device that uses laser beams to measure the distance between the device and a distant target. 

The device does this by sending laser beams to the target and recording how long it takes for the beams to get back to the device.

The rangefinder software then takes this information and graphs it, then calculates the final measurement and presents it on the digital screen for the user to read. 

The three basic components that help a laser rangefinder work properly and produce accurate readings are the optics, the laser beams, and software. 

Many different industries use laser rangefinders, including hunting, golfing, military, long-distance shooting, real estate, and construction.

If you are into any of these activities, we highly recommend picking up a laser rangefinder today.