Bows have come a long way.
Modern engineering and design have led to vast improvements in archery equipment since the compound bow was invented over 50 years ago.
Compound bows give target shooters and hunters a distinct advantage over traditional archers by making the bow easier to draw, release, and aim.
If you're in the market for a compound bow, keep reading for a closer look at some of the best bows on the market.
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How to Pick the Right One for Your Needs
Picking the right bow is half the battle. Especially if you don't know what you're looking for.
Whether you're a seasoned bow hunter or a first-time buyer, the compound bow market can be intimidating. Features and technology are constantly developing, and manufacturers come and go.
If you're looking for a bow, let's take a closer look at how to pick the best compound bow for your needs.
- Draw Weight
- Cam Designs
- Bow size
Know Your Purpose
Before you even think about what model or brand you might like, it's important to get a handle on your intended purpose.
Are you just looking for a bow to do some target practice with?
Or, are you a serious hunter looking to challenge yourself or extend your season?
Compound bows come in many shapes and sizes, but most of them are designed with hunting in mind. Target models are out there too though.
There are also bows designed specifically for women or children, with shorter limbs and lighter draw weights.
Picking the Right Draw Weight
Most bows are sold according to draw weight. This is simply a measurement of how much force it takes to draw back the bowstring. Bows with higher draw weights are, obviously, more difficult to draw, but are more powerful.
The great thing about compound bows, is that the initial power needed to draw the bow is much lower than the actual power of the bow—usually somewhere around five or ten pounds. This makes it much easier to draw a bow with a weight of 50 or more pounds.
For adult males who plan to hunt large game, selecting a bow with a draw weight of at least 50 pounds is a good choice. This will provide enough power to take game and the pull should be manageable. Smaller shooters, however, may want to opt for something lighter.
When choosing a compound bow, you'll also want to consider its cam design.
Cams, essentially, are what make compound bows easier to draw than traditional bows. They sit at the end of the bow's limbs and act like a pulley, helping you leverage the weight of the draw.
Most have what's called an eccentric design, making them more of an oval shape than a circle. This oval shape allows them to be more easily drawn.
Typically, cams are classified as soft, medium or hard with soft being the lowest powered and easiest to draw. Hard cams provide the most power but are the most difficult to draw.
Keep your purpose and strength in mind when selecting a bow with varying cam types.
How Much Bow Do You Need?
Another important consideration is your size and how big of a bow you need. Most bows are matched to a user's size and strength, but where you'll be using the bow should also be part of the equation.
Larger bows tend to be heavier and less maneuverable in tight places. This makes smaller or medium sized bows more appealing to many hunters.
From mild to wild, compound bows can be found at every end of the budget spectrum.
If you really want to save some cash, bows can be found for less than $100, but can also easily exceed $1000. For a well-made compound bow that's suitable for hunting large game like deer, expect to pay at least $300 to $500.
Best Compound Bow Reviews for Every Purpose
Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult
The Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult is a great compound bow for beginners.
This bow is highly adjustable, allowing users to adapt the bow to a variety of sizes and needs. From kids who need a bow that can grow with them, to adults just getting started and don’t know what size will best suit their needs, the Cruzer G2 provides enough adjustability to suit them all. The draw length can be adjusted from 12 to 30 inches and draw weights range from 5 to 75 pounds.
The Cruzer G2 is also a complete package. It comes with everything you need to start hunting except the arrows. And weighing only three pounds, this bow is very manageable—even for smaller shooters.
- Arrow speeds of up to 315 feet per second
- Draw length adjustable from 12 to 30 inches
- Weighs just three pounds
- Complete package—includes quiver, sight, stabilizer, and more
- Draw weight of up to 70 pounds
Bear Archery Threat RTH RH
If you’re looking for a great hunting crossbow, the Bear Archery Threat RTH RH 70lb RTXtra A6TT21007R is an effective package.
The Threat gives hunters full size performance with draw lengths of 25 to 30 inches and draw weights of up to 70 pounds. An axle to axle length of just over 32 inches and overall weight of around four pounds make this a light bow that can be easily maneuvered in the woods and tight conditions like a tree stand or deer blind.
This bow is a quad limb design with a single cam at either end. A camouflage design rounds out a complete package that’s ready to hunt right out of the box. All you need to do is add arrows.
- Arrow speeds of up to 330 feet per second
- Draw length of 25 to 30 inches
- Peak draw weights of up to 70 pounds
- Axle to axle length of 32 1/4 inches
- Weighs four pounds overall
- Complete package includes sight, sling, quiver, and more
Bear Archery Finesse RTH 50lb RH
While most compound bows will work just fine for both male and female shooters, sometimes it helps to have a bow that fits your needs a little better. The Bear Archery Finesse RTH 50lb RH is an excellent choice for women archers looking for something a bit smaller and lighter.
The Finesse is a very light bow at just three pounds overall. An axle to axle length of just 28 inches also makes this an especially compact bow that’s easy for smaller shooters to handle and maneuver with.
Power of up to 285 feet per second also makes this bow powerful enough to take down most large game species.
- Speeds of up to 285 feet per second
- Draw weight of up to 50 pounds
- Weighs just three pounds overall
- Axle to axle length of just 28 inches
- Single cam design with 80% let off
Precision Shooting Equipment Stinger X Skullworks #70
If you’re looking for a bow that can perform just as well at the target range as it does in the woods, look no further than the Precision Shooting Equipment Stinger X Skullworks #70 Ready to Shoot Bow Package.
This bow is light but balanced. Weighing just 3.8 pounds overall and only 32.5 inches axle to axle, it is both light and maneuverable. This makes it easy to handle in the field, but also substantial enough for the balance needed in target shooting.
Draw lengths are widely adjustable on the Stinger. Users can choose from lengths of 21 inches, all the way up to 30 inches. Draw weight comes in at 70 pounds, giving shooters plenty of power.
The Stinger is a split, quad limb design that makes use of a solo cam. This keeps the bow light and simple.
- Power is great with arrow speeds up to 315 feet per second
- Made in the USA
- Axle to axle length of 32 ½ inches
- Draw length can be adjusted from 21 to 30 inches
- Weighs just 3.8 pounds
- Camouflage design blends right in
Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro
If you’re just getting started and want a bow that won’t drain your bank account, but can also grow with you, check out the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package.
The Infinite Edge Pro offers newer shooters plenty of draw length adjustment, even going beyond the typical 30 inch draw length. A maximum draw weight of 70 pounds and arrow speeds of up to 310 feet per second also ensure that power isn't lacking as newer archers become more proficient.
This bow also comes ready to shoot as a complete package. With a quiver, sight, whisker biscuit, and everything else you need but arrows, the Infinite Edge Pro is ready for your next hunt or trip to the shooting range.
- Arrow speeds up to 310 feet per second
- Draw lengths adjust from 25 to an extra long 31 inches
- Axle to axle length of 31 inches
- Draw weight of 20 to 70 pounds
- Brace height of 7.5 inches
- Complete package includes quiver, sight, whisker biscuit, and more
For Left-Handed Archers
PSE Bow Madness Left Hand 3G Bow
Lefties often miss out on some of the best products, forgotten simply because of their dominant hand. Thankfully, there are plenty of great bows available in left hand models.
One of the best left hand models available is the PSE Bow Madness Left Hand 3G Bow, 70-Pound, Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity.
The Madness has plenty of power with arrow speeds of over 330 feet per second and a draw weight of 70 pounds. The draw length is also adjustable from 25 to 30 inches, making this bow competitive with most other major manufacturers.
- Arrow speeds of up to 330 feet per second
- Draw length adjustable from 25 to 30 inches
- Complete package comes with everything you need to get started—just add arrows
- Axle to axle length of 33-1/8"
- Brace height of 7 inches
- 75% let off
The right bow is just part of the equation. Before you can head to the filed or the range, you need the right accessories.
What good is a bow without arrows?
Picking the right arrows is just as important as picking the right bow. Choose the wrong arrow weight or length and prepare to be disappointed with your shooting. When selecting arrows, it’s vital that you consider your bow, your draw length, and how you’ll be using the arrows.
The Carbon Express Maxima RED Fletched Carbon Arrows are one of the best choices on the market.
These carbon arrows are a state of the art design and are made with broadhead performance in mind. The ends of the shaft are designed to be stiffer, allowing the center of the shaft to flex more freely. This design allows the Maxima RED’s to fly straighter and more accurately. This design allows Carbon Express to cover draw weights of 40 to 80 pounds with just two spine sizes—250 and 350.
Precision nocks, reinforced with a unique collar system add a nice, durable touch to these arrows.
A good sight is another must have feature on a compound bow. While many bows come with a sight, many of the aftermarket choices are far superior in design and function. If you really want to dial in the accuracy of your bow, it’s best to match it with a quality sight.
For a truly superb aftermarket bow sight, the IQ Bowsights Micro Compound Bow Archery Sight with Retina Lock Technology is one of the best on the market.
Available in 3, 5, or 7 pin designs and both right and left hand configurations, this sight really allows archers to hone in their shots. Tool free, micro adjustment knobs allow for quick, precise adjustment of both windage and elevation. The adjustment knobs also lock in place, preventing accidental adjustment in the field or at the range.
A dual position mount also allows you to mount the sight based on your shooting style.
While you don’t have to have one, bow releases are part of what compound bows so accurate and easy to use.
Releasing the string on a traditional bow is a skill that takes time and effort to learn. Add the stress of competition or trying to get the perfect shot on the deer crossing your path and it’s easy to make a mistake and send your arrow off course.
That’s why using a release like the TruFire Hardcore Buckle Foldback Release is so vital to getting consistent, accurate shots with a compound bow.
This TruFire release has a plush, padded strap that’s both comfortable and easy to hold. The pivoting hook design of the head is designed to twist up to 20 degrees, but is guaranteed not to slip.
Trigger pressure is adjustable from an ultralight three ounces up to 16. Overall length can be adjusted by up to one inch along with trigger travel.
The TruFire Hardcore release is 100% made in the USA.
Every bow needs a case.
Though most are very sturdy, the complex design and shape of most compound bows doesn’t store or transport very well without a case. Plus, anything that’s worth plunking down several hundred bucks for deserves a sturdy, secure home.
For the price and protection, the Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case is a great case for just about any compound bow. And with a cavernous 41” x 17” x 7” interior, this case really can handle almost any bow on the market.
The exterior of this Plano bow case is made of a tough, industrial strength composite material that’s tough enough for most uses. Inside, you’ll find a well padded foam lining and adjustable mounting points to help secure bows of varying sizes. There are also supports so that the center of the case can’t press in on the contents. The upper side of this case also includes a quiver, so arrows can be stored separately from the bow.
Compound bows have a weakness.
As powerful and user friendly as they can be, their lightweight, maneuverable form factor can make them less balanced than traditional bows. Traditional recurve or flatbows tend to be heavier than compound bows, making them easier to balance when shooting.
To counteract the imbalances of compound bows, you need a good stabilizer.
The Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer is a great stabilizer that’s available in a number of sizes to fit your needs. Available in lengths of 6 to over 10 inches, the Bee Stinger has excellent vibration and noise dampening abilities. While the longer length stabilizers will be of more interest to target shooters, shorter and lighter stabilizers tend to work better for hunting bows.
The carbon fiber construction of the Bee Stinger helps keep this unit light, strong, and very capable of absorbing the repeated shock of multiple shots.
Top Brands & Manufacturers
Bear Archery is one of the oldest and most trusted names in archery equipment. Since its founding in the 1940s, has been creating innovative traditional and compound bow designs.
While just about anything Bear makes is worth a look, one of their best models is the Bear Archery Threat.
The Threat gives archers the option of draw lengths of 25 to 30 inches. A draw weight of up to 70 pounds and arrow speeds of over 300 feet per second make this a very capable bow.
An axle to axle length of just over 32 inches and overall weight of around four pounds make the Threat a light bow that can be easily maneuvered in the woods and tight conditions like a tree stand or deer blind.
While they haven’t been around quite as long as Bear Archery or PSE, Diamond Archery is one of the biggest manufacturers of compound bows and archery equipment in the US.
They make a number of innovative, competitively priced bows including the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro .
The Infinite Edge Pro gives archers a generous amount of draw length adjustment, going beyond the typical 30 inch draw length found on most compound bows with an adjustable range of 25 to 31 inches. With a maximum draw weight of 70 pounds and arrow speeds of up to 310 feet per second this bow also has plenty of power for the average hunter's needs.
Like many of its competitors, the Infinite Edge Pro comes ready to shoot as a complete package. With a quiver, sight, whisker biscuit, and everything else you need but arrows, the Infinite Edge Pro is ready for your next hunt or trip to the shooting range.
Precision Shooting Equipment is another trusted name in archery equipment. With over 50 years of experience, PSE was one of the early pioneers in compound bows.
PSE makes a range of archery products—from crossbows to traditional bows—but one of their best compound bows is the Precision Shooting Equipment Stinger X Skullworks #70 Ready to Shoot Bow Package.
The Stinger X is a light and balanced bow, weighing just 3.8 pounds overall. And at only 32.5 inches axle to axle, it’s also highly maneuverable.
Draw lengths are also widely adjustable on the Stinger. Users can choose from lengths of 21 inches, all the way up to 30. Draw weight comes in at 70 pounds and arrow speeds are over 300 feet per second, giving shooters plenty of power.
Top Options FOR EVERY BUDGET
Top Choice For The Money
Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package
If you're looking for the best mix of value and performance, the Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package is an excellent buy.
At under $400 it's not the cheapest bow on the market, but it's far from the most expensive. For just a few hundred dollars, the Infinite Edge Pro provides plenty of power and great accuracy for hunting.
SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30'' Compound Bow
If you're really on a budget, check out the SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30'' Compound Bow.
With a draw weight of 70 pounds and arrow speeds just under 300 feet per second, this bow is a good performer. It may not carry a big brand name, but many hunters are getting great results out of this bow.
Precision Shooting Equipment Stinger X Skullworks #70 Ready to Shoot Bow Package
With less than $500 to spend, you could do worse than the Precision Shooting Equipment Stinger X Skullworks #70 Ready to Shoot Bow Package
The Stinger is a fast, powerful bow with arrow speeds over 300 feet per second and a draw weight of 70 pounds. Just add arrows and you're ready to hunt with this complete package.
The Best Budget Compound Bow For The Money
There are so many compound bows on the market.
With prices all over the map and features that just seem to blur together, picking the right one often feels like one big compromise.
For the money and the level of performance included, it's hard to go wrong with the Bear Archery Threat RTH RH 70lb RTXtra A6TT21007R.
Bear Archery is a trusted, internationally known name in archery, and the Threat is one of their best models. It has plenty of power for hunting and is highly accurate too.
If you're looking to pick up a compound bow, be sure to check out the Bear Archery Threat.