Which is Better Recurve or Compound Bow

When it comes to archery, three main types of bows – recurve, compound and longbow. Both have their advantages and disadvantages which make them unique.

What is a recurve bow?

Recurve bows has been used for centuries going back to 2000 BC used in hunting, warfare, and sports. It is not as old as a longbow which goes back to 10,000 BC, but older than the compound bow. It consists of a curved arm with one end attached to a string that is drawn back when shooting an arrow.

The curve in the arms helps increase power when drawing back on the string by increasing tension on it as you draw further back. This makes recurves more powerful than say a long bow, but will be less accurate than a compound bow.

What is a compound bow?

Compound bows are newer models designed to be more efficient than traditional ones like recurves because they use cams or pulleys to reduce the amount of effort needed for each shot while still providing accuracy and power similar to that achieved by using a recurve bow. These cams rotate when pulling on the string make it easier to pull back while also increasing the tension. This allows users to shoot farther distances with greater accuracy without having to exert as much force into each shot compared to what is required with a recurve bow.

The most important factor between deciding which type of bow will work best for you is your individual preference based on how comfortable you feel using either one given its design characteristics such as size, weight, draw length (for compound), etc.

Recurve vs Compound Bows

When comparing recurve and compound bows, it’s important to consider what type of shooter you are looking to be. For example, if you are looking for a traditional style hunting setup then a recurve may be your best option. If you plan on competing in tournaments where accuracy is key then you may want to opt for a compound setup instead since they typically offer greater accuracy potential.

Draw Weight Differences

Compound bows have higher draw weights than recurve bows, typically ranging from 40-80 pounds. This makes them ideal for hunters looking for more power behind their shots. On the other hand, recurve bows generally have lower draw weights of around 20-60 pounds.

Recurves can be more difficult to draw back at full draw length in comparison to compound bows.


When it comes to bowhunting, accuracy is the name of the game.

A compound bow you will find that they offer increased accuracy due to their adjustable draw weight as well as improved speed and range over recurves thanks to their mechanical advantage system.


Recurve bows require less maintenance than compound bows since there are fewer moving parts. This type of bow has less recoil when shot due to its smooth design which can help improve accuracy for those just starting out in archery.


Compound bows use cams and pulleys instead of simple limbs, making them much more powerful and efficient than a recurve model but also more complicated for beginners.


Recurve bows tend to be more lightweight than compound bows, and they also require less maintenance over time due to their simple design. Compound bows also tend to be bulkier than traditional recurves which can make transportation somewhat cumbersome.


Recurve bows tend to be cheaper than their compound counterparts due to the simpler design and fewer parts required for construction. The initial purchase cost of a recurve bow is usually lower than that of a compound bow.

Buying a compound bow usually involves more upfront expenses due to its complex design and need for more components such as cables and pulleys which must all work together efficiently for optimal performance.

Servicing Requirements

A recurve bow is much easier to maintain than its compound counterpart. With a recurve bow, strings must be waxed regularly and checked for fraying or damage. Strings may also need to be replaced every few years depending on how often they are used and their quality. The limbs of a recurve bow should also be inspected periodically for signs of wear or damage such as cracks or splinters that can reduce accuracy and performance when shooting arrows.

Compound bows come with additional maintenance needs beyond those required by a traditional recurve bow. The cams on either end of the riser must remain lubricated so they move freely while drawing back the string; if too dry they will become stiff and make it difficult to draw an arrow properly which could result in injury from slipping off the string during release. Cables tend to stretch over time causing changes in draw weight so adjustments may need to be made accordingly by replacing them or using cable dampers at each end of the cable system where tension can build up when drawn back tightly against itself repeatedly over time due to use.

Peep sights may need adjusting as well since these can shift slightly after repeated use resulting in inaccurate shots unless calibrated regularly according to one’s individual sight alignment preferences before shooting arrows again each time out hunting or practicing archery skills outdoors on targets set up at various distances away from where you stand aiming your bow upwards towards them ready with nocked arrow already loaded onto its string waiting patiently until released upon demand.

Which Bow is Right for You?

When choosing between a recurve or compound bow recurve bows are generally easier for beginners to learn on since they require less maintenance and setup than compound bows do. However, if you want more power and accuracy out of your shot, then a compound bow is likely the better choice as it has much greater draw weight capabilities than recurve bows do.

If you’re looking for a traditional archery experience that emphasizes form over speed and power, then the classic look of a recurve bow might be just what you need. These bows are designed with simplicity in mind which makes them great for those new to archery who don’t want to spend too much time tinkering with their equipment before they start shooting. These types of bows tend to be lighter than compounds which can make carrying them around during long sessions in the field more comfortable.

On the other hand, if precision is paramount or hunting larger game is part of your plan, then a compound bow may be best suited for you due its increased power potential at full draw as well as its adjustable features like let-off which helps reduce felt draw weight when aiming at targets from farther distances away. Compound Bows also come equipped with sight pins that can help improve accuracy making this type of bow ideal for target practice or competitions where fractions-of-an-inch counts matter most.

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