Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 is an entry-level rangefinder that strikes an exceptional balance between practicality and affordability. Somewhat iconic, the 20 was launched in December 2014 as an upgrade to the original Coolshot. So does it still have a place 6 years later?

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Key Features & Attributes

Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder, Standard VersionThe Nikon Coolshot 20 is a remarkably small and compact rAangefinder compared to its predecessor, which makes it an ideal choice for any golfer. Despite its compact construction, the Coolshot 20 boasts an impressive host of features that any discerning golfer will appreciate.

Great to Handle
The Nikon Coolshot 20 weighs at just 4.4 ounces and measures in at 3.6×1.5×2.9 inches, which makes it one of the most compact and lightweight golf rangefinders on the market and the most compact in the Nikon Golf line. In spite of its small size, the Coolshot 20 packs a serious punch.

Thanks to its small size, the Nikon Coolshot 20 is really ease of use.  You’re going to enjoy using it on every shot since it’s just so easy to pick up and shoot.

High-Quality Optics
The Nikon Coolshot 20 is one of the few golf rangefinders that will offer you an incredibly crisp and clear view of the green; which doesn’t come as a surprise considering Nikon is a leader when it comes to optics, completely revolutionizing laser rangefinder technology.

Target Priority Mode
The Nikon Coolshot 20’s First Target Priority Mode is intended to show you the distance reading of the nearest targeted object, no matter the number of objects up ahead. This functionality can be of great assistance when trying to range a flagstick that’s in front of a group of trees.

While fairly convenient, we feel like this feature isn’t quite as good compared to other features that do the same thing which you can find in other laser rangefinders. Case in point, the pin jolt mode which makes the device vibrate whenever you lock onto a flag amidst a group of objects or trees.

We think the Coolshot 20 could’ve benefited from a pin jolt mode, as it’s a more convenient way to show the distance between the flag you’ve locked onto, but considering the price of this unit, we can’t really complain. And the First Target Priority Mode is convenient enough anyway.

Great Magnification
Thanks to its impressive 6x magnification capacity, the Nikon Coolshot 20 is capable of scoping yardages between 5 and 650 yards, depending on various environmental factors. Even if you zoom in all the way, the Coolshot 20’s high-quality optics will still provide super clear imagery. Why you’d want to find the range of something that’s 5 yards away is beyond me, but you can if you really must.

This feature is especially beneficial for golfers with poor eyesight or that rely on glasses in order to see clearly. You won’t really need that much range from a golf rangefinder, but it’s still good to have more than needed. The Coolshot 20 allows you to view an entire hole from the tee box.

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User-Friendly Device
You don’t need to be a tech-savvy person in order to figure out how to use the Nikon Coolshot 20.  All you really have to do is look through the lens, point towards the target, then push the rear button in order to calculate the distance. And that’s really where the Nikon scores. It’s a beautifuly designed bit of kit thst does exactly what it’s supposed to do very well.

8-Second Scanning
As soon as you push the power button on the Nikon Coolshot 20, the unit will begin to range for 8 continuous seconds. This feature will be of great help when trying to obtain measurements for either multiple objects or minute objects, from hazards and pins to mounds and trees.

Another cool thing about this feature is that it helps save battery life because, after 8 seconds of scanning, the Nikon Coolshot 20 Golf Rangefinder will automatically be switched off, which adds to its already-impressive battery lifespan. This is especially useful when you’re on a golf trip.

Weather Resistance
Nikon Coolshot 20 GII Golf Laser Rangefinder, Standard VersionThe Nikon Coolshot 20 is entirely weather-resistant with protection against wet conditions. It has a rainproof cover that’s constructed from extremely durable materials that will prevent the device from being damaged in the event of falling on a hard surface. It might be small, but it’s mighty!

Even if it starts pouring heavily, you don’t have to worry about the Nikon having any issues. And it’s not just resistant to rainy weather conditions, it’s resistant to all weather conditions, be it wind, rain, or snow (and I’ve played in them all!).

Lengthy Battery Life
The Nikon Coolshot 20 houses a CR-2 battery that offers an astounding battery lifespan. Also, it has a battery life indicator that you can read as you’re looking through the scope which helps you keep an eye on the battery. Also, the 8-second scanning mode serves as a battery saver.

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Performance
There’s no denying that laser rangefinders can be quite annoying from time to time, not because of any inaccuracies, but because of their aiming. With other laser rangefinders, you just can’t tell whether you’re aiming at the flagstick or aiming at the bunkers or trees behind the flagstick.

You won’t face this problem with the Nikon Coolshot 20 because it delivers insight on the yardage of the closest targeted object ahead so that you don’t have to second-guess yourself. It would’ve been cool if the unit featured jolt technology like Bushnell devices, but it is what it is.

We tend to preach the need to invest in rangefinders that feature vibration pin lock technology a lot, but we’re so confident in the Coolshot 20’s accuracy that we exclude it from that rule. It’s just that good of a golf rangefinder at finding key yardage to flags, hazards, bunkers, and trees.

We’ve compared the Nikon Coolshot 20 to other reputable, high-end rangefinders from Bushnell and Precision Pro, and to our surprise, the Nikon Coolshot 20 managed to surpass them when it comes to accuracy. However, the Coolshot 20 isn’t a perfect rangefinder by any means.

The Coolshot 20 isn’t the fastest to lock in on a target, which some golfers may find annoying. If you have shaky hands, it can be a bit tricky for you to get used to the Coolshot 20’s functionality. Considering the price, however, we think the Nikon Coolshot 20 is an all-round excellent unit.

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Nikon Coolshot 20 – Customer Consensus
According to customers who have purchased and used the Nikon Coolshot 20, the device is one of the most accurate rangefinders in its price point and beyond. The most talked about feature is the Coolshot 20’s remarkably clear lens which allows for crisp image rendering.

On the flip side, some user reports indicate that the laser-driven rangefinder has problems trying to pick up a flag over 200 yards in windy conditions. This isn’t the general consensus, really, but we felt the need to point that out. All in all, the majority of reviews seem to be positive.

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Pros & Cons


  • Remarkably rugged construction
  • Resistant to all weather conditions
  • Picks up on the closest objects
  • As accurate as high-end models
  • Lightweight and extremely compact
  • Crystalline clear 6x magnification
  • Goes to safe mode after 8 seconds
  • Remarkably lengthy battery lifespan


  • Lacks vibration pin lock technology
  • Not the fastest to lock onto targets
  • Can be hard to keep steady for long
  • Not the best unit in windy conditions

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Who’s It Optimal For?
If you’ve never used a rangefinder before or if you’re simply a casual golfer, the Nikon Coolshot 20 would be an excellent pick for you. However, if you’re an experienced golfer or just someone who golfs a lot and is looking for a uni that offers elevation, the Coolshot 20 isn’t for you.

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Nikon Coolshot 20 have a pin locking feature?
Sadly, the Nikon Coolshot 20 doesn’t offer a pin locking feature. However, you’ll be able to tell if it locks onto the flagstick as it’ll offer you a distance reading. Even after the unit offers a distance reading, the rangefinder will keep providing readings on various targets as you move.

Does the Nikon Coolshot 20 feature a Scan Mode?
The Nikon Coolshot 20 allows you to pan the green for a period of 8 continuous seconds. This is pretty much what Scan Mode is, but it’s not named Scan Mode with Coolshot for some reason.

How does the Coolshot 20 show increment readings?
The Nikon Coolshot is capable of rendering increment readings in one-yard increments, which is typical for an entry-level golf range finder. What’s sad is that the predecessor was able to render distances in half-yard increments, so one-yard increments are more of a downgrade.

What are the Nikon Coolshot 20’s measurements?
The Nikon Coolshot 20 spans 3.6×1.5×2.9 inches and weighs in about 4 ounces, which makes it the smallest rangefinder in Nikon’s range of rangefinders. Just to put things into perspective, the Nikon Coolshot 20 probably weighs less than your phone and can be stored in your pocket.

Nikon Coolshot 20 – Final Thoughts
For a laser rangefinder in its price range, the Nikon Coolshot 20 definitely has a lot to offer. From it’s lightweight and compact construction to its clear imagery and superb magnification, it’s truly a brilliant piece of machinery that we highly recommend for the beginner/casual golfer.