There are many things to appreciate about compound bows. Over the last few years, their designs have been improving, which makes it easier to use them more efficiently. In some cases, you may even find that they are designed and created better than the traditional recurve bow. There also happens to be a huge number of options on the market to choose from, so finding one that fits your needs shouldn’t be a problem.
The issue is that going through all of the options can take a substantial investment of time and energy to ensure you choose one that offers what you want. It can be difficult to cut through all the industry jargon to understand in a straightforward way which bows are better than others. Choosing the wrong bow can be frustrating since it’s something you might be carrying around for days on end.
We’re here to help you decide what the best compound bow for the money is. We want you to have the best hunting bow possible so you can have a lot of fun when you’re out using it. That goes a lot deeper than simply choosing based on the aesthetics or the brand of the bow. We’ll explore the best 11 hunting bows on the market and what makes them special. We’ll also delve into some of the things to consider when doing your shopping.
Top Compound Bows: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
If what you are looking for is a compact compound bow to start learning archery with, the Diamond Infinite Edge is a great place to start. This is an excellent bow for someone who wants to learn and have fun but isn’t really to the point of wanting to compete or go hard. It offers all the features you could need but without packing a punch on your bank account. This is something Diamond is known for and this bow is a classic showcase of exactly that.
This bow is a great value option while still being capable of shooting like bows twice the amount. It may not stand out from the pack, but that isn’t what it’s trying to do. Those who hunt on occasion can easily use the bow for that, but target shooting or 3D matches can also be fun with this compound bow at your side.
This is a bow that has a smooth and comfortable draw that you can easily use all day long without paying the price the next day. The hand shock is very minimum and when at a low draw weight, the rollover is relaxed. If you want a bow without all the extra pressure, this is a good one to consider for your arsenal.
- Offers an extremely smooth draw cycle with no kick or hump to feel
- Ideal for everyone from the beginning to the experienced hunter
- Versatile in terms of draw length and draw weight
- Can shoot arrows at 300 feet per second
- Let off of 80% may be a bit high for some users
When you want something with real versatility, the Bear Archery Cruzer G2 is an option that should be on your list. The Cruzer G2 was created to be a great choice for any archer, no matter their age or level of skill. It is a great bow for hunting as well as target shooting. However, the adjustability of this bow is one of the reasons it is often so highly rated. It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing it for a teenager or an adult, it will offer what they need without being too intensive for a beginner.
When compared to other bows you see on the market, it’s very lightweight at only three pounds. It might seem like that would mean a lower level of performance, but that isn’t the case. It has the potential for excellent performance and boasts a maximum velocity of 315 feet a second to prove it. It also has the ability to have the draw press changed without the use of a bow press, which is a perk. It has great balance and sturdy construction that many will love. Also, check out our in depth Bear Cruzer G2 review to learn more.
- Very lightweight at only three pounds for easy carrying
- Features a versatile draw length and weight
- Engineered for all skill levels and ages
- Adjustments can be made with only an Allen wrench
- May need adjusting on a more regular basis than expected
Raptor is a United States-based brand that has a great reputation and this Raptor Compound Hunting Bow Kit is a great choice if you want everything you need to shoot without paying too much. All of the components are made in the U.S. This bow has an adjustable draw weight and length which can adjust to the needs of the archer and what they plan to do with it. It comes with all the accessories you could need including a stabilizer, five-in sight, level, and a whisker biscuit style rest.
The bow comes with a sight installed, so there’s no major assembly needed. All you have to do are get some arrows and you are good to go. This bow can be used for everything from fishing, to target practice and even hunting. Because of the 75% let-off, you also don’t need to use a ton of strength to draw back. If you want a bow to share among others, this is one of the best options out there.
- Comes with high-quality accessories and ready to use
- Great quality of components made in the United States
- Works well for practice as well as hunting and fishing
- Requires less strength to draw weight
- Cable guard can be a bit looser than average
If you are looking for a compound bow choice perfect for a child who wants to get started with the sport, look no further than Leader Accessories. It is made specifically for a beginner, especially those who are of a smaller stature. While many of the bows on the market for novice shooters aren’t the best quality, this bow bucks that trend and offers many features and the performance you’d expect from something for an intermediate or seasoned archer. It’s also useful that it comes as a kit, so you get everything you need to get out there and start practicing.
This bow comes fully assembled, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time fussing with things before using it. It has a solid construction and will feel sturdy in your hands. It’s compact, especially when you put it up against other models with the same draw weight, making it an ideal choice for a shorter archer. It offers a dual cam system for accuracy and smoothness. With all of this plus the accessories, it’s a solid choice for smaller or younger archers out there.
- Constructed well for long-time durability
- Comes ready to use straight out of the box
- Works well for those of a shorter height such as teens and kids
- Offers great performance and lots of features
- Accessories aren’t of the top quality you might expect
If you are someone who is starting out with archery and you want to have a ton of fun without spending a lot of money on the equipment, the Genesis Original Kit is a great choice. You could pay a lot more and get extra features, but for someone new to the hobby, that might not be the best option. This bow is very popular because it’s versatile while being offered at a very reasonable price.
Because of the low price, this brand and this bow, in particular, are common for schools, clubs, troops, and all other sorts of groups that have an archery focus. It isn’t the most powerful choice you’ll find or even the most accurate, but it’s easy to use and has a smooth draw with a consistent let off. It makes an exceptional choice for someone just venturing into the sport.
- Fantastic choice for a starter
- Offers a reasonable accuracy for a value bow
- Easy to shoot and a lot of fun to use
- Comes with needed accessories and arrows
- Shoots a bit slower than some may like
We’ve looked at a number of compound bows out there which are made to be versatile to all sorts of shooters and which are best used for target practice as well as some field use. The Bear Archery RTH is the exception to that. This is a bow that is specialized for use by hunters who are experienced in the field. It is a bit more expensive than some options, but that’s because it is built for a specific purpose. However, it can also give a novice hunter the chance to start in the hobby.
Another perk is that this package is more than a bow since it also includes a selection of accessories to get you out and hunting. It has a higher velocity than most, which can help a new bowhunter get acclimated to the sport in no time. In the hands of an experienced bowhunter, it will take accuracy and power to the next level.
- Comes with a complete package of accessories for easy use
- Offers a superior velocity to many other bows on the market
- Solid construction that will ensure the bow lasts
- Cable slide is a bit less quality than preferred
The Leader Accessories Compound Bow 25”-31” is a great option for someone starting out who doesn’t want to put a lot of money down getting into the hobby. It comes with an arrow rest along with a simple two pin sight that is reasonable for starting out with. There are no included arrows, so you’ll have to get those on your own. It also includes a manual, but there isn’t a lot of use for it unless you have trouble installing the sight or rest.
This isn’t the quietest bow on the market so you may need a stabilizer and string silencers when hunting. However, it is very durable and sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking down on you after use. It has an aluminum riser and an axle to axle length of 35%, making it compact enough to use in tree stands or carrying in the field.
- Extremely affordable hunting bow model
- Strong and durable to last a long time
- Easy to adjust to your specifications
- Fits most compound bow accessories
- Is a heavier bow than many other models
Those looking for an entry-level kit can’t go wrong with the Topoint Archery Package M1. It offers a flexible and well-designed bow along with tons of accessories to get you going with using a bow right away. It’s quick and easy to set up as well as to shoot so you won’t spend a lot of time worrying about those things rather than enjoying the sport. While you might want to upgrade some of the extras over time, they do the job and make this a powerful package for the beginner or young archers out there.
The bow is compact, short, and lightweight but manages to be made from quality materials that you’d expect on bows that cost much more. It has a large draw length and weight adjustment range so it can work well for younger archers as well as beginners who are larger. The draw length and weight are both simple to adjust by turning screws and bolts.
- Super simple to set up and make adjustments
- Created out of high-quality materials for durability
- Kit comes with everything you need to get started
- Versatile enough for anyone to use
- Accuracy isn’t enough for professional use
The SAS Rage by Southland Archery is a bow that is perfect for those looking to develop their skills without spending too much money to do so. It has high-quality components and is durable, which makes it ideal for expanding on the skills you already have. For an entry level bow, it offers more than many of the others on the market since the materials are high quality and all upgrades and standard parts can easily be used with it.
As far as upgrades go, the arrow rest and bow sight aren’t top quality and you may eventually want to upgrade them but considering all the accessories you get for the price, it’s not that big of a deal. The bow is a great bargain and can offer an exceptional experience for the archer who has a tight budget. If it has the right price, it likely also offers everything else you need.
- Features high-quality materials for durability
- Price is reasonable for quality of this caliber
- Package comes with lots of different accessories
- Sturdy and comfortable to use
- The sight and arrow rest aren’t as high quality as the other parts
You’ve probably heard of Bear Archery and their excellent equipment for hunting. The BR33 is one of the starts of the line when it comes to compound bows. This bow comes in a package with the bow as well as a handful of Trophy Ridge accessories to help you improve your skills as a hunter and enjoy your time in the field. This bow has a hybrid cam system which gives it a smooth draw cycle. However, it’s also efficient and quick with shots that will go exactly where you want them to be.
This bow has a variable draw length and a draw weight that can be adjusted. With 330 feet per second speed on your arrows, this is a compound bow that will be deadly and efficient, perfect for hunters. It’s a little heavier than some bows, but it offers a seven-inch brace for a bit of forgiveness. It’s comfortable to use and should work well for you, no matter your skill level.
- Comes as a ready to shoot package with plenty of Trophy Ridge accessories
- Super-fast and accurate at 330 feet per second
- Height of brace makes for a forgiving experience for beginners
- Inexpensive option ideal for all skill levels
- Sold only in a right-hand configuration
The Barnett Vortex Youth Bow is an entry-level model that is adjustable, which makes it perfect for those who are still growing since there will be no need to buy a new bow a year or two down the line. It is high quality and has a nice finish. It also comes with three arrows with field tips so you can get started right away. These may need to be replaced sooner than expected as they aren’t the best quality, but they do the job until then.
There are five different options for the draw length and all you need is an Allen wrench to swap between them. It also has a quiver the mounts to the bow and the box it comes in can be used for storage. It also comes with a five-year warranty against defects, so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart on you. All in all, for youth, this is a great bow to get you started.
- Has a wide adjustability ideal for children
- Fantastic quality for entry-level
- Great price for those on a budget
- Upgradable for good use as skill level increases
- Arrows and rest are a bit less quality than the bow itself
What to Know When Choosing Between Types of Bows
The first thing to be aware of with bows is that all of them, regardless of type, utilize leverage as a mechanical advantage to store energy in the flexed limbs when you pull them back. This is why an archer is capable of shooting an arrow much more quickly than one can be thrown.
Before you start scoping out bows and choosing the right one to purchase, it’s important to understand the difference between various types of bows, especially when it comes to choosing a compound or a recurve bow.
Traditional Recurve Bows
Recurve bows, longbows, and any other type of bow without the inclusion of a cam stores the energy directly. That means that the further you draw the bow, the most difficult pulling it is. It also means that as you pull it back more, there is more energy that is transferred into the arrow when you release it to shoot a target. So, the more power and effort you use, the faster an arrow will be shot.
As an example, if you were to pull a wooden recurve bow all the way back, you are holding the entire draw weight. If the draw weight is 50 pounds, you are holding 50 pounds in your hands. This can be challenging because your hands are responsible for controlling all of the tension for the bow. It can also be useful, especially when you want to take extra time to aim and shoot at your target.
You can tell you’re looking at a compound bow when you see multiple strings along with a system of pulleys found on each end of the bow. The cams, or pulley systems, are what make it possible for an archer to pull less weight but still shoot off a quick arrow. Some of the best bows are compound bows, which are often used in bowhunting, the field, target archery, and 3D game archery. Many agree that they are the most powerful, accurate, and quickest bows on the market.
Choosing the Best and Fasted Compound Bow
When you are looking for a great hunting bow, there are a number of different factors that you should consider. In order to have the flattest trajectory possible, the bow needs to be fairly fast. A compact bow is also useful, so you are able to easily maneuver whether on the ground or in a tree stand. Choosing a lightweight bow is another important thing since that leaves you carrying less weight when you use it for long periods of time.
Beyond that, the best hunting bow should be accurate enough that an arrow hits the target every time you let loose. It’s also useful to have a bow that draws accurately and shoots smoothly while remaining quiet enough that animals don’t hear it. Many hunters want a let-off of a high degree so the bow can be fully drawn without the user holding a lot of draw weight.
It’s also important to select both the right draw length and weight. The heavier weight can make your arrow go faster, but if you choose one that is too heavy for you, it will be challenging to use. In the same vein, a length that is too short or long will make it hard to use the bow.
Thankfully, most of the modern bows have a large range of adjustments that can be made to both draw weight and length. That means you can customize based on what you’re doing so the bow can handle whatever you need.
How to Choose the Right Draw Weight Range
If you are a beginner to archery, choosing the right bow for hunting or target shooting can be tricky. Selecting the appropriate draw weight range is one of the largest concerns since the heavier the draw weight maximum is, the faster your bow can fire off an arrow and the most energy that arrow will have available when it hits the target.
Because of that, most beginners as well as more experienced bowhunters choose to select a bow with as much draw weight as they can reasonably draw and hold. This means the bow will be as fast as possible when leaving the riser, leading to the flattest possible trajectory.
Most compound bows have a heavier draw weight in order to create more inertia to the arrow and flatten the trajectory in order to compensate for any small errors in terms of distance to the target. This makes a compound bow an excellent option when shooting targets over an unknown distance.
Many states have a required draw weight restriction where the minimum weight is 45 pounds when it comes to compound bows. This is something you want to consider if you plan to go hunting with your bow since it will need to meet the minimum draw weight restriction that is in place for your state. A draw weight of around 45 to 50 pounds tends to work well for youth, female hunters, and beginners, while most other hunters choose something around 60 to 70 pounds.
Deciding on the Perfect Cam Design
When you look at a compound bow, one of the things you will notice is that the limb tips have wheels on them. This is what makes it easy to pull the bow by using pulleys for a mechanical advantage. While there is a huge advantage mechanically, that doesn’t mean the draw weight is any less when the string is fully pulled to its maximum length.
Eccentric cams are incorporated into bows which are pulleys in a somewhat oval shape that are mounted slightly off-center. This is done to cause the force curve to rise very quickly to the draw weight at some point in the draw length before the full draw is reached.
These cams fall rapidly as soon as the draw length maximum is reached, which adds a bit of weight reduction at the upper level of a draw described as “let-off.” Compound bows tend to come in three designs: hard, soft , or medium cam. These different types refer to how quickly the draw weight reaches the peak before the cam flips over and then the draw weight begins to decrease again.
Soft cams are the smoothest in terms of draw cycle and easiest to pull in general, but they also tend to have the least arrow velocity. A medium cam is a good compromise between either soft or hard cams. The hard cam is going to be the most challenging to draw, but it is also going to offer the highest velocity arrows.
Binary, Hybrid, Solo, and Dual Cam Choice
In addition to deciding on a design, there are also different cam designs that various manufacturers use. These include binary, hybrid, solo, and dual cams.
When a compound bow is marked as dual cam, that means it has one cam on each limb. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this design. For one thing, this cam system is super-fast since the design brings in the maximum amount of stored energy from each of the limbs to the arrow. However, to do the best job, both cams have to synchronized perfectly, so they each turn over at the exact same second. If not, the arrow can travel erratically which can throw it off course.
Small differences in the distance of each limb from the string as well as differences in the length of the control cables can cause synchronization to be lost. That means the user needs to check on these things on a regular basis and make adjustments to ensure the bow works the way it should.
Despite the extra effort needed, many believe that dual cam systems are the best choice since they result in high-speed arrows and quick shots.
The solo cam is the simplest design and incorporates a single cam on one limb while there is a rounded wheel on the other.
As you pull the bow, the cam controls the timing of the limbs to keep them synchronized with each other. Since this type of design isn’t affected by tiller adjustments or string strength, the arrow is always going to travel in a straight manner for great accuracy. The solo cam is considered to be the most accurate on a consistent basis, but it also tends to be the slowest option available.
With a hybrid cam system, there are two elliptical, asymmetrical cams where the bottom cam serves as power and the top serves as control. The idea behind a hybrid cam system is that you get the benefits of a straight arrow travel like a solo cam bow offers, without having the synchronization problems associated with a dual cam. Despite that, this system has to be timed well for the best performance and efficiency. When timed well, this system can be faster than a solo cam but not quite as fast as a dual cam.
A binary cam system is similar to a dual cam system three-groove where the top and bottom cams are a team for each other instead of the bow limbs. Rather than using the traditional split harness control cables, this bow will use two cam-to-cam cables. Instead of each pulling on the other limb, they pull on the other cam, which makes it possible to equalize timing differences that can be a problem with some of the other systems. This makes the binary cam system largely maintenance free, which is a boon for most archers.
Compound Bow Safety Tips
Archery is a fun sport and a fantastic way to hunt. However, there is a potential for it to be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. When you are choosing a bow and learning to shoot, safety should always be a primary factor.
Thin about the safety features on the bows you are considering, and make sure you understand how to safely use a compound bow. These are not toys, and they have the potential to be very dangerous.
Safety should always be the first priority when it comes to using any type of bow. Lack of respect for the bow means that there is a greater risk of injury to you or to those who are around you.
You should always have a clear path to the target that you intend to shoot before you fire the bow. This is true whether you are at the range or you are out hunting with the bow.
Never Dry Fire a Bow
Dry firing means that you pull back on the string and “fire” the bow without having an arrow in place. This has the potential to be very dangerous. When there is not an arrow in place, all of the energy that has been stored in the limbs as you drew back the string has nowhere to transfer to.
This means that it will go back into the bow, which can cause damage to the limbs of the bow. It could also be a safety issue for the archer. There are instances where the bow has broken when dry firing, which has caused serious issues to the archer and those in the immediate area.
In addition to the other safety tips, you will also want to think about the condition of the arrows. While you may be able to use arrows repeatedly without any issue, it’s always important that you take the time to inspect the quality and condition of them before using them.
Check the arrow shaft, the nock, and the point for any signs of damage that might be present. If the arrow has any physical damage, it’s best not to use it. Whenever there is damage to the arrow, it will not fly straight.
Not only does this mean that you will not hit your target, but it also means the arrow could head in a direction you did not intend. There is also the risk of a cracked arrow breaking as you draw the string back, which could cause an injury to you.
Taking Care of Your Compound Bow
Once you have found a quality compound bow for sale like those on the list above, you want it to last. It is an investment, after all. Whether you are using it for hunting or for target shooting, you want the bow to stay in good shape for as long as possible.
Here are a few simple tips that will help you keep your bow working great now and for years to come.
For starters, you will want to inspect the bow regularly. Make sure that you are looking for cracks in the limbs, issues with the string, and be aware of any strange vibrations or issues shooting. These could indicate that there is a problem with the bow and that it will need to be repaired or replaced.
Whenever you notice wear and tear on your cables or bowstring, replace them. Typically, they will need to be replaced every year to 18 months, or about every 2,500 shots. This will make sure you have the best possible performance from your bow.
Do not make the mistake of trying to draw your bow past the proper draw length setting, either. If you do, it will stress the cable on the back part of the cam and will eventually break.
Proper storage is also very important. You will want to make sure that you have a case where you can keep the bow when you are transporting it and when you have it stored at your home. Try to keep it in a location that will have a steady temperature, as well.
Keep the bow clean and keep the axles lubricated using high-quality oil. Do not use WD40 or similar sprays, as they could cause damage. If you do not have cams on the bow that have needle bearings, you will not have to oil them. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to proper care for your compound bow.
Choosing the Perfect Compound Bow for Your Needs
You should be sure to really go through your options before buying a compound bow. There are many out there that are great but having your own priorities down is the most important thing. So, think about what matters to you and make that your priority while doing your shopping. Consider things like draw length and weight, and design as they correspond to the things you’ll be doing with your bow.
All the bows listed here have been reviewed and are some of the best you can find. But if they aren’t right for you, just make sure to do some research before buying the one that catches your eye. You’ll be ready to go hunting or to take part in some target shooting before you even know it!