There’s nothing quite like bowhunting. It’s a direct connection to our distant past as hunter-gatherers. It’s also far more sporting than hunting with a gun, and forces you to use your wits and available assets to overcome your prey’s natural advantages. However, anyone who has ever shot a bow has experienced the vibration and noise that occur when you release an arrow.
If you have never used a bow stabilizer, though, it can be a little challenging to determine which is the right model for your needs. Do you want a fixed-weight option? How long do you want your stabilizer? What about body style or construction? We’ll answer those questions and many others.
In this guide, we will bring together the best bow stabilizers, offer thorough stabilizer reviews, and then wrap up with a buying guide that ensures you’re able to make the right choice.
Our Top Bow Stabilizer List: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Now that we have taken a broad view of the top bow stabilizer models on the market today, we need to dig in. Below, you’ll find our detailed bow stabilizer reviews, including pros and cons for each of the models that made our list
One of two models from Trophy Ridge, this bow stabilizer is our top pick from all options. It offers an ultra-lightweight design thanks to the unique body material and numerous other benefits. The polymer chosen for the body is as strong as aluminum, but even lighter, ensuring better performance. The stabilizer is also hollowed and contoured to allow wind to blow around and through it, further helping your accuracy even in windy conditions. There is also a Ballistix coating on the exterior of the stabilizer to offer a soft touch.
You can adjust the weight by adding or removing one-ounce weights from the back of the stabilizer. Note that it comes with a total of two ounces. This stabilizer also comes with a wrist sling to make carrying simpler and ensure a good hold while shooting. While the nine-inch model is our preferred pick, you’ll find other options, ranging from as short as three inches, all the way up to 12 inches.
- Lighter than aluminum
- Includes two 1-once weights for customization
- Contoured and hollow to allow for airflow
- Available in black and Realtree camo
- Some users may prefer a solid stabilizer
Our second-highest rated bow stabilizer is the Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme. Unlike the previous option, this stabilizer is solid, which means air cannot blow through it. It is also made from aluminum. It is available in six, eight, and 10-inch versions to match your needs, as well.
Like the previously reviewed stabilizer, this one comes with one-ounce weights to help customize your shooting experience. Unlike the other model, these are discs and you get multiple weights to help get the perfect amount for your shooting. You can also choose between camo and flat black to suit your shooting needs and preferences.
- Available in multiple lengths
- Available in black or camo
- Works as a damper and de-resonator
- Comes with a quick disconnect mount
- Some users may prefer a hollow body for improved airflow
- Does not come with a side bar mount
Looking for a basic bow stabilizer that will up your accuracy, but that doesn’t come with a lot of extra frills? The SAS Archery Aluminum Bow Stabilizer might be just what you want. It is precision designed from a single block of aluminum and offers powerful vibration dampening technology. The body is also hollow to allow wind to flow through it, further improving your accuracy during windy shooting periods.
You’ll find that this bow stabilizer is available in black or camo, and it comes in five, eight, and 11-inch sizes. The smallest one weighs in at 5.3 ounces, while the mid-length is 6.5 ounces. The longest stabilizer is 10 ounces. However, note that there are no weights that can be added to this stabilizer.
- Solid aluminum construction
- Hollow to allow airflow
- Three different lengths to choose from
- Weight is not adjustable
The second option from Trophy Ridge to make our list of the best bow stabilizers, the Hitman is one of the most unique choices on offer. It features multiple adjustable weights, as well as colored rings to help you customize the look of your stabilizer. It is also made from a combination of plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum.
This stabilizer can be purchased in six, eight, 10, or 12-inch versions. It features two removable one-ounce weights, as well. The stabilizer has a wrist strap, as well as a mounting bar, and the quick connect/disconnect is easy to use. You can also purchase additional weights if necessary.
- Quick disconnect kit
- Multiple length options
- Adjustable weights to get the perfect option
- Carbon fiber construction
- Some users have noted that the colored bands can be visual distractions
Looking for something that goes beyond what’s possible with a standard bow stabilizer? Enter the Apache Predator LED Stabilizer. Made by NAP, this stabilizer combines the weight and stability you need with a high-powered LED flashlight so you can always see what you’re doing, whether you’re hunting at dawn or dusk.
This hunting flashlight comes with a 3 watt LED bulb for outstanding illumination. The on/off feature can be operated remotely – a cable connects the button to the body of the light, allowing you to operate it while holding the bow ready to release. The flashlight also offers removable weights (three) to help you customize the feel of the bow. It includes three spare batteries for the flashlight, as well. The flashlight assembly is six inches long and weighs .375 lbs. with all weights installed. It is also water resistant for worry-free operation.
- Light projects up to 100 yards
- Scratch resistant
- LED light lasts for a long time
- Removable weights
- Not a traditional bow stabilizer
- Some users may find the flashlight distracting while shooting
From the same company that brought you the flashlight bow stabilizer comes the basic Apache stabilizer. It is matte black with six removable weights to help you get the heft that you want. You’ll also find it available in five or eight-inch increments, and you can opt for black or camo.
If you order the eight-inch bar, you also receive a three-inch carbon fiber accessory bar that attaches to the standard five-inch bar made from aluminum. The total weight of the longest bar is 7.5 ounces.
- Available in two lengths
- Longer version includes carbon fiber extension
- Multiple removable weights to customize the heft of your bow
- Some customers have noted that this stabilizer does not work well with a quick disconnect kit
The final entry to our list of the top bow stabilizers is the Doinker Flex Hunter. This is a unique, solid construction stabilizer bar available in black only. It can also be ordered as a six, eight, or 10-inch model. The body is made from machined aluminum, and it features a rigid carbon tube.
The internal weight is located at the very end and is not removable. However, you can add other weights to the stabilizer if you like, but they are available only as a separate purchase. The weighted end is rubberized.
- Simple to use and easy to install
- Made from machined aluminum
- Additional weights can be added
- Internal weight cannot be removed
- Rubberized material can rip
A Guide to Bow Stabilizers: What Buyers Should Know
We’ve covered a wide range of bow stabilizers, each of which brings something else to the table. However, if you have never purchased your own stabilizer bar, you may still be a little confused about how to choose the right one. Is a long bow stabilizer better? Are shorter stabilizers more appropriate for you? What should you expect in terms of performance improvement? In our bow stabilizer buying guide, we’ll explore these topics and others that should affect your buying decision.
Bowhunting requires a unique combination of skills. It also requires that you have specialized equipment. This goes well beyond the bow and the arrows you choose. Among other things, a stabilizer may be something to consider. If you’ve never used a stabilizer before, or you’ve had limited experience, this buying guide will help lay the groundwork for your purchase.
What Does a Stabilizer Do?
The point of this accessory is right in the name – it helps to stabilize your shot. It can also offer at least some noise reduction, but remember that the primary purpose here is to help increase your accuracy by reducing vibration, not silencing. The longer and heavier the stabilizer is, the more accurate your shot will be.
This is why you’ll see very long models used in professional target shooting, such as at the Olympics. However, those are usually poorly suited to use in the field, where you’ll encounter obstacles like the front of your blind, tree branches, or your tree stand, that make using very long bow stabilizers impossible.
One of the most important considerations when buying a new bow stabilizer is its length. As mentioned, the longer the stabilizer, the more accurate your shot will be. However, it also makes your bow more cumbersome to use. When it comes to options on the market today, anything 10 inches or longer is best suited to use in the open, not from in a tree stand or within a blind.
Conversely, you’ll find very short bow stabilizers. These can be as short as just three inches. They do very little to improve your accuracy and are best suited to vibration dampening only. You’ll usually find these being used by those new to the sport.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, medium-length bow stabilizers are the best choice for most people. They’re long enough that they offer improved accuracy, but short enough that they don’t become an encumbrance. They also help with vibration absorption and silencing. If you’re hunting from a blind, you’ll probably want a stabilizer that is between five and six inches long. If you’re shooting from a more open area, you would likely best served by a seven or eight-inch stabilizer.
Weight is part of what helps provide the stabilization. A longer stabilizer bar with a decent amount of weight set forward of the bow helps to offset elements that throw off your accuracy. However, everyone will have different weight preferences. What seems “just right” for one person may be far too much weight or far too little weight for someone else.
Many (but not all) of our top-ranked bow stabilizers offer adjustable weights for that reason. In addition to customizing it to your specific weight preferences, you will find that adding more or less weight to the bow stabilizer bar also helps you shoot better in specific weather conditions, such as when you’re fighting a head or tailwind.
When you start comparing weight customization, there are a few things to think about. One of those is the amount of weight that can be added – if you need three ounces of additional weight, but the stabilizer will only support two, then it’s obviously the wrong choice. You should also consider how many weights come with it, as this will affect your overall price. Finally, think about how easily you can add or remove weights from the stabilizer, as this will affect your overall usage experience.
You’ll remember from our stabilizer reviews that there are both solid body and hollow body options on the market. Is there a difference? Yes, there is and you’ll need to make sure that you take that into account when buying one.
Solid – Solid body stabilizers are basically just metal bars with weights on the end. They screw onto the mount location of your bow and that’s about it. Solid body stabilizers are best suited to those who want minimal distractions and who shoot where wind is not an issue.
Hollow – Hollow body stabilizers are usually sculpted with multiple holes in the body that allow air to move freely through the stabilizer, rather than blowing against the body. If you shoot in the open and conditions are often windy, a hollow body design might be worth considering.
Should you buy one over the other? If you’re new to the whole bowhunting thing, then a solid body stabilizer is going to be the better choice. You need to master using one in the first place before you need to worry about wind resistance and drag. However, if you’re really in need of improved accuracy and you shoot a lot in windy conditions, then a hollow body model might be the right option out of the gate.
Standard or Offset
You’ll find both standard and offset bow stabilizers on the model. They’re not the same and many shooters find that offset models are really a waste of money. The difference is in how the stabilizer attaches to the bow and how it lines up with your shot.
Really, the only time you would need an offset option rather than a standard stabilizer is if you have other accessories that take up the center portion of your shot, like a quiver or a special sight. If you do not, then a central stabilizer will be more than ample. Note that all of the models we reviewed are standard – offset models are rarer and significantly more expensive.
Do You Need Side Rods?
None of the bow stabilizers we reviewed came with side rods, but they are available on the market. Do you need one? What do they do? Side rods do the same thing as front-facing stabilizers, but to the side. They add weight. However, where a conventional stabilizer adds weight in front of the riser, side rods add it behind the riser and to the side.
What’s the point? It’s more about offsetting other weight on your bow and creating a harmonic shooting experience. Some archers actually attach two side rods to form a V, which is supposed to provide them with a rock-solid shooting experience. Does this mean they’re the same as an offset stabilizer? No, they’re not. They’re very different and (in our opinion) not necessary unless you’re target shooting.
Can You Use It?
Before buying any bow stabilizer, you’ll need to make sure that you can actually use one with your current bow. Not all bows are equipped for these. On the belly of the bow (the side facing the target), you’ll find a threaded metal mount. This is where the bow stabilizer screws on. If you do not have one, you cannot use a stabilizer. If you use a modern compound bow or a recurved bow, then you will probably have a mounting location. However, some recurved bows, some lower-end compound bows, and most long bows lack a mount for a stabilizer.
Will a Stabilizer Make You a Great Shot?
No. A stabilizer will not make you a great shot. It will help you shoot longer distances. It will help you improve your accuracy. However, if you’re not a good shot without a stabilizer, you’re not going to magically improve by adding one to your bow. Practice is the most important thing. You must have archery skills or there’s little point in buying accessories for your bow. The good news is that practicing the bow is simple and fun. Plus, adding a stabilizer to your practice will help you improve faster. It’s not a magic wand, but it is a nice thing to have.
How Do You Decide on Length, Weight, and All the Rest?
Each archer has unique, specific needs and preferences. Your bow will not be set up identically to anyone else’s. Your needs in terms of a bow stabilizer will also be different from others. The best way to determine what you need in a stabilizer, including length, weight, mounting location, and all the rest, is to try several different options and see how they feel, how they affect your performance, and more.
How do you shoot? Where do you shoot? What are the weather conditions when you shoot? The first step toward finding the right bow stabilizer is to know what your needs are and then test out different options.
Ultimately, a bow stabilizer is not strictly necessary. You can shoot just fine without one. However, if you want to really dial in your accuracy, make your bow easier to use, and add several yards to your maximum distance, you should consider adding one to your setup. Take your time, compare the different bow stabilizers on the market, and make an informed decision that helps you be the best archer you can be.