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Garmin Approach Z82 vs Bushnell Pro XE vs Nikon COOLSHOT PRO II STABILIZED | Golf Rangefinder Comparison

The Nikon COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED vs the Bushnell Pro XE vs the Garmin Approach Z82

We compare the top brands in high-end golf laser rangefinders

Short on time? Jump to the PlayBetter Bottom Line on these premium laser rangefinders or click on a subject in the Table of Contents in the next section.

If you're thinking of investing in a high-end golf laser rangefinder, you may be wondering which brand makes the best one.

Once you venture into the premium end of golf rangefinders, you'll find that most of them are extremely well-made with powerful optics and advanced technology.

So the only way top-of-the-line laser rangefinders can stand out is to offer unique features and technology. As the consumer, you'll want to be aware of these features in order to determine which ones could benefit your golf game and help you play better.

In this article, we compare three of the best brands in sports optics and golf gadgets — Bushnell, Nikon, and Garmin — so that you can decide which premium golf laser rangefinder is right for you.

Table of Contents

vs Garmin Approach Z82  

How These Rangefinders Are Alike

Slope Compensation

All three golf laser rangefinders have their version of slope-adjusted distance, which factors in uphill and downhill shots.

The Approach Z82 calls it PlaysLike Distance; the COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED calls it ID (incline/decline) mode, and the Bushnell Pro XE calls it Slope-Switch Technology.  

Tournament Legal

Be competition approved!

Both the Garmin and Nikon premium rangefinders have lights that indicate that the golf laser is not in slope mode. The Bushnell laser rangefinder has a switch on the side that reveals a red crescent when slope is enabled.

Dual Flag Confirmation

Be confident and precise!

Each of these high-end golf lasers has two types of confirmation for when the rangefinder has locked on to the pin. The Garmin Approach Z82 and the Bushnell Pro XE give visual confirmation along with a vibration. The Nikon COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED rangefinder gives a visual along with audible confirmation.

Similar Price Range

All of these premium golf laser rangefinders come with a price tag in the $400-$600 range.


Bushnell Pro XE: $549.99

Garmin Approach Z82: $599.99


A little rain on the course won't knock any of these golf laser rangefinders out of play. They are all waterproof with an IXP7 water rating.

How They Are Different

Stabilization Tecnology

While both the Approach Z82 and the COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED have image stabilization capability, the Nikon premium rangefinder takes it to the next level with stabilization technology that reduces hand shake by up to 80%.

Magnet Mount

Out of these three top-of-the-line golf laser rangefinders, the Bushnell Pro XE is the only one with BITE magnetic technology. Golfers love the grab and go ease of sticking it to the golf cart or their clubs.

Garmin for Connectivity

Get more detailed stats! The Garmin Approach Z82 is the only laser rangefinder of the three that has Bluetooth connectivity, making it compatible with your smartphone and the Garmin Connect app. You can keep score and use the Find My Garmin feature.

Size and Weight

The Nikon is the most compact and lightests of these three golf rangefinders, followed by the Garmin, and then the Bushnell, which is the only one to include a magnet.

Nikon COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED: 3.9" x 1.7" x 3.0"; 6.3 oz 

Garmin Approach Z82: 4.8" x 3.1" x 1.7"; 8.2 oz

Bushnell Pro XE: 4.5" x 3.1" x 1.8"; 11 oz


Golfing Features

With over a dozen built-in golfing features, the Garmin Approach Z82 dominates in the features category. Like the Approach S62 GPS golf watch, this rangefinder is loaded with golfing features like Green View, Laser Range, Arc, Hazard View, and more! Plus, it's preloaded with over 42,000 golf course maps worldwide.

The Best Golf Laser Rangefinder to Reduce Hand Shake — The Nikon COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED

The Nikon COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED Rangefinder — What You Need to Know

The number one feature that makes this golf rangefinder stand out is the stabilization technology.

If you've ever used a laser rangefinder, you know that hand shake —either natural or due to the wind—can be a problem. And what good is lightweight, top-of-the-line technology if you can keep it still enough to get accurate reads on distance?

Nikon has solved the problem with an advanced optical stabilization system to reduce vibration. This technology made the first generation of this Nikon rangefinder extremely popular. With this model you get an 80% reduction in hand shake.

Other features include:

    • Rapid Measurement — Keep the game moving with HYPER READ technology. Get accurate measurements in as little as 0.3 seconds.
    • The COOLSHOT PROII STABILIZED features DUAL LOCKED ON ECHO technology. Skip guessing the distance with audible and visual confirmation of your target.
    • 4 Measurement Display Modes — Includes an Actual Distance mode with green LED indicator for use at official golf competitions. Additional modes include slope adjusted distance , actual distance and height mode, and a horizontal distance and height mode.
    • Provides a measurement range of 8-1,200 yards, accuracy of ±0.75m/yd, 6X magnification, and waterproof and fogproof construction.

Nikon also offers the COOLSHOT 50i, a versatile yet stylish mid-level golf laser rangefinder with an attractive price. Read more about all Nikon rangefinders on the PlayBetter blog:

Nikon COOLSHOT 50i Upgrades

Nikon COOLSHOT 50i vs Bushnell Tour V5




The Golf Rangefinder with the most Advanced Slope-Compensation — The Bushnell Pro XE

The Bushnell Pro XE — What You Need to Know

Advanced, tour-tested slope technology is what makes this golf laser rangefinder stand out.

Bushnell went next level with their Elements feature — that's the "E" in the Bushnell Pro XE. Temperature and elevation above sea level (Barometric pressure) have been added to their patented slope technology to give golfers even more precise compensated distances.

This is an invaluable feature to have if you play on a lot of different golf courses with varying conditions. That must be why the pros love it so much!

Other features include:

    • BITE Magnetic Cart Mount — This is another feature golfers love! The integrated BITE magnetic technology in the Bushnell Pro XE golf laser rangefinder allows you to easily grab and reattach the rangefinder to the cart.

    • An Enhanced Slope Algorithm — Provides golfers with even more precise distances to account for the hole’s incline/decline. It's tournament legal too. Most tournaments don't allow slope adjustment. Slope-Switch Technology lets you easily switch in and out of slope mode. The red crescent next to the switch shows that slope is disabled.

    • Target Confirmation — Know when you've targeted the flag with Bushnell's PinSeeker technology with JOLT. Get double the confirmation with a visual flashing red ring and a vibrating pulse.
    • With its 7x magnification, stunning definition, vivid color, and yardage accuracy within 1-yard, the Pro XE laser rangefinder will elevate your sightline and your game!

Bushnell also offers the Tour V5 with and without Slope as mid-level golf laser rangefinder option with an attractive price.

The Golf Laser Rangefinder That Has Everything — The Garmin Approach Z82

The Garmin Approach Z82 — What You Need to Know

This amazing golf laser rangefinder is the most expensive of our lineup of top high-end rangefinders ... But that's because it's LOADED with features found in both the other models—and more!

It doesn't have the Elements slope technology like Bushnell Pro XE, but it offers a ton of other golfing features.

It doesn't have the magnet mount that the Pro EX has either, but this is likely because the Approach Z82 has image stabilization like the Nikon model, which may be affected by the magnet.  

HOWEVER, this Garmin golf laser rangefinder is crammed full of golfing features, like Green View and PlaysLike, and is preloaded with over 42,000 maps worldwide. Watch a review from our partner Gabe at Let's Play Through (below), to see some firsthand experience with this golf laser rangefinder.

Other features include:

    • Green View — The map overlays show the hole layout, so you know the distance to the back, middle, and front of the green.
    • Laser Range Arc — Draws an arc on the 2-D CourseView map at the distance the laser ranged, so you can see everything in play at that distance.
    • Hazard View — Quickly scroll through each hazard and layup distance on the map to see the distance to each one.
    • Account for Wind — The Approach Z82 displays wind speed and direction, which makes it easier to figure out club selection and swing direction.
    • PlaysLike Distance — This is Garmin's version of slope compensation.
    • Lock in on the flag with image stabilization and a confirmation vibration.
    • PinPointer — Tells you the direction to the pin. So even on blind spots, you’ll know where to aim.
    • Shows tournament mode with an indicator light.
    • Flag Lock On —Image stabilization makes it easier to find and range the flag. A vibration tells you when you have found the flag.

The PlayBetter Bottom Line

Great for
Shaky Grips

Nikon COOLSHOT PRO II Stabilized

Best Overall Rangefinder

Bushnell Pro XE

Most Feature-Rich

Garmin Approach Z82

For smooth and stress-free measurement every single time we recommend the Nikon COOLSHOT PRO II STABILIZED with dramatically reduce hand shake! Once you try it, you'll never go back to a lesser rangefinder!

If you get to play on a variety of golf courses, the advanced slope-compensated technology with Elements makes the Bushnell Pro XE the golf laser rangefinder for you! And the magnet mount makes it an ultra convenient golf gadget!

If it's a fully loaded golf laser rangefinder that's made with the highest quality materials you want, the golfing feature-rich Garmin Approach Z82 will take your golf game to new levels and help you find the edge you've been looking for!

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