Garmin Approach Z80 vs Z82 – what’s the difference between these golf laser rangefinders?

Garmin Approach Z80 vs Z82

When it comes to a laser rangefinder, especially those used for golf, Garmin keeps evolving its products to match their superior innovation. Remember the days where you had to apply clunky mental calculations, aka best guess, or wait while other players marked their yardage from the nearest sprinkler head? With Garmin’s modern technology applied to the laser rangefinder, this is no longer a problem to overcome.

Garmin Z80 vs Z82 Rangefinder Comparison

Both the Garmin Approach Z80 and the Garmin Approach Z82 combine the best golf GPS features known to the brand with the technological innovation of a laser rangefinder. The Approach Z82 is a slight upgrade over the Approach Z80, with a few noteworthy Garmin features to be aware of.

In this guide, we will take a look at both of these golf rangefinder devices to find out what the main differences are between each. You will find that the Garmin Approach Z82 carries over many of the features found in the Approach Z80, but there are both additions and some omissions to be aware of.

If you are trying to decide which device is best for your golf game, read on to find out more.

Quick Overview: Garmin Approach Z80 vs Z82 Comparison
Garmin Approach Z80
  • Laser Range to flag: 350 yards
  • Tournament mode: Disables non-conforming features
  • Battery life up to 15 hours
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Garmin Approach Z82
  • Laser Range to flag: 450 yards
  • Tournament mode: External indicator light on top of unit
  • Hazard View (scroll through each hazard on the map
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At a Glance: Garmin Approach Z80

The Garmin Approach Z80 laser range finder with GPS is one of the most accurate laser range finders available.

This highly regarded golf rangefinder gives you a new perspective on more than 41,000 courses worldwide.

You actually see a full-color CourseView and Green View overlay in 2-D for the hole you’re playing, and it shows distances to the front and back of the green.

Apart from these standout features and GPS functionality, when you activate the laser range finder, you get an amazingly accurate distance to the pin within ten inches.

Plus, you can also see accurate distances to hazards at the same time.

Like all rangefinders, this is beneficial because it speeds up play because there’s no need to range them separately.

The Approach Z80 automatically determines which hole you are currently playing to provide course layout and par information accordingly with the Garmin app.

The PlaysLike Distance feature adjusts yardages for uphill or downhill shots based on the change in elevation from where you are standing to the location labeled on the map.

This makes figuring out which club to use for uphill and downhill shots much easier.

And for tournament mode, you can turn PlaysLike Distance on or off. There’s even a pinpointer feature that helps show you the direction to the green on blind shots.

Perhaps, best of all, is the Laser Range Arc, laser rangefinder feature that draws an arc on the 2-D course view map at the distance the laser ranged, so you can see everything that is in play at that distance.

At a Glance: Garmin Approach Z82

With the Approach Z82, you can get the most accurate reading within 10 inches of the flag, in addition to 41,000 preloaded courses.

This laser rangefinder features image stabilization, PlaysLike Distance, flag finder with vibration feedback, and now displays wind speed and direction just like the Approach Z80.

The image stabilization makes it easier to lock on the flag of any hole, letting you know through vibrational feedback, while the Green View automatically shows distance to the front and back of the green through the lens, delivering clear, crisp views with map overlays that show the hole layout.

Featuring 6X magnification readings with accuracy to within 10 inches of the flag, up to 450 yards/411 meters away., and accessibility that allows you to get front/back/middle distances on the green, as well as hazards and layups, the Approach Z82 is feature-packed.

The playing distance lets you adjust yardages for uphill or downhill shots, plus the on-off slope switch that makes it tournament legal since there is no need to focus on a hazard view and actual distance mishaps.

The Approach Z82 also features wind speeds and direction display to help you figure out which club to use, and take a swing in the right direction.

Also on board with this model is the Laser Range Arc feature, and the GPS data on the Approach Z82 is incredibly dynamic in terms of GPS devices alone, let alone golf rangefinders.

What is the difference between the Garmin Approach Z80 and Z82?

The Approach Z80 was the first device to combine a GPS with a laser rangefinder, and this Garmin feature was in line with the hybrid models and experimentation that the company has become known for.

The Approach Z80 was great at giving you insight into some of the more challenging levels of your playing, specifically blind shot, flag lock, and blind holes that could ruin an otherwise well-functioning golf game.

But the Approach Z82 managed to retain nearly all of the features of the Z80, with some new additions to be aware of. Some of the most prominent new additions with the Garmin Approach Z82 are slope mode, as well as a great feature known as hidden hazards, which allows golfers to see increasingly hard-to-find blind spots on the green.

Due to the different variations of each model, let’s explore the differences between the two models by category.


Both rangefinders are nearly identical in terms of design. Golfers will not find any noticeable differences between the design of the two models, and the Garmin Approach Z82 is slightly thicker around the palm holder section of the device, but again, this will not be noticeable.

Garmin Golf App Syncability

Both models sync to the Garmin Connect App seamlessly, and you can play golf on over 41,000 different courses of your choosing, all of which can be stored in the app.

Wind Speed

Both models have distance features that adjust yardages for uphill or downhill swings based on the change in elevation from where you are standing to the location labeled on the map. This makes figuring out which club to use for uphill and downhill swings much easier. 

Additionally, with both models, when you activate the laser finder, you get an amazingly accurate distance to the pin within about ten inches give or take an inch. Plus, you also see accurate distances to hazards at the same time, and this speeds up play greatly because there’s no need to range them separately. 

Laser Range Arc/Yellow Arc

With both models, the Laser Ranging Arc feature draws an arc on the 2-D course view map at the distance the laser ranged, so you can see everything that is in play at that distance.

Golf Rangefinder Accuracy

Both models have incredible accuracy, and this is all the more impressive considering that the technology of rangefinders is consistently upgrading with each new model.

The Garmin Approach Z82 can factor in things like barometric pressure and other additional features, but the accuracy is well-represented in both models with roughly 10 inches as the threshold.

Battery Life

The battery life of both rangefinders is between 10-15 hours, and this is all dependent on overall use, the frequency of use, and how long the device is used within a 24h-hour period.

differences between garmin approach z80 and z82

Should I Buy the Approach Z82 or Z80?

This decision is truly hard to reconcile since both rangefinders present superior technology with not many noticeable differences between the two. In summary, the Garmin Approach Z82 is the model you should consider the most, and this is only because it is the latest model in the line -directly succeeding the Garmin Approach Z80.

As it stands now, the Garmin Approach Z82 is the quintessential Garmin golf rangefinder because its capabilities and performance accuracy statistics are so well-balanced and presented.

In terms of battery, it’s all based on how often you charge a rangefinder. The battery life for both models runs for up to 15 hours, which is much longer and more sustained than many previous models in the Garmin Approach line such as the Garmin Approach G80 which features less battery performance.

In terms of minor differences that lead to a Garmin Approach Z82 recommendation, the Green View automatically shows distance to the front and back of the green through the lens with a bit clearer accuracy in the Z82.

The view through the rangefinder shows the hole at 6-times magnification for clear, crisp views with map overlays that show the hole layout. In the Approach Z80, the hole view is spot on, and the range-finder feature works perfectly, but the Pin Pointer was not as accurate when I did some side-by-side comparisons between the two models.

The Approach Z82 is a bit more expensive, but not by much.


When did the Garmin Z82 come out?

The Garmin Approach Z82 was released in the spring of 2020, and quickly became one of the most innovative and popular hybrid rangefinder models on the market.

The Z82 model directly replaced the Approach Z80 model, which was itself, the first of its kind in terms of combining the features of a GPS device along with the rangefinder technology that measures golfing accuracy.

Does the Garmin Z82 have a slope?

Yes, the Garmin Approach Z82 is able to detect and accurately record slope. To see the elevation changes you have to have the PlaysLike set to “on”. If not, you will only see the distance you are measuring. There are some things to keep in mind though.

Coincidentally when the elevation is simply 1, 2, 3, or 4 meters the PlaysLike and elevation change is about the same and may give the impression that the small number below is this difference but it is actually the elevation.

It can take some trial and error to get exactly right, but always remember to set to PlaysLike to get an accurate elevation reading.

Is Garmin Z82 magnetic?

Due to the advanced image stabilization that is found in the Garmin Approach Z82, there is no magnet mount technology that can commonly be found on many other rangefinder models, such as the Bushnell Pro Xe.

Is the Garmin G80 worth it when compared to the Bushnell Pro XE?

The Pro XE by Bushnell is an incredible rangefinder and is consistently ranked alongside the Approach Z80 and now the Approach Z82, as some of the best golf rangefinders on the market.

In terms of if the Garmin G80 handheld launch monitor is in some better than the laser rangefinder of the Pro XE, that answer is not easy to deci[her since launch monitors and rangefinders are two entirely different types of golf devices.

With this in mind, the Approach G80 does have Touch Targeting, which gives distances to front/back/middle of the green, hazards, or points on the fairway, in addition to a PlaysLike Distance feature that measures adjusted for uphill or downhill shots with an applicable PinPointer feature that tells you where the pin is.

All of these features exactly mimic some of the technology that is found in rangefinders, but in terms of sheer accuracy for these purposes, the Bushnell Pro XE stands out more.

If you would like to know about the Garmin G80, then check out our full review.


When compared to something like the Bushnell Pro XE, both the Garmin Approach Z80 and the Garmin Approach Z82 have a decent price tag and other features of superior quality to stand out in a crowded rangefinder field.

Rangefinders are awesome products for golfers, and a great device is almost always found just as soon as a new model replaces a previous model. With that in mind, the Garmin Approach Z82 is a great device to consider; it does everything you need and then some.

It holds a line across the green at pin level to let you know what happens if you hit the right distance and miss the left or right of the stick. The downside, if there must be one, is that you cannot just pull it out of your bag and shoot distances- it needs to set the GPS for the course and calibrate. 

Ultimately, rather you choose the Approach Z80 or the Approach Z82, you are making a great decision when it comes to rangefinders.

You might also be interested in the best Garmin Approach golf watches.

Best GPS Tech

At Best GPS Tech we found it frustrating that there were limited websites available, willing to provide an honest opinion on the latest GPS technology to aid our interests. We enjoy creating content around GPS products from the industry leaders such as Garmin, FitBit and more. We hope you find the site informative in helping you make the right buying decisions.

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