It’s a versatile weapon with tons of potential.
From target practice, to game of all sizes—the crossbow can cover quite a few bases.
Much easier to work with than a bow—both traditional and not—and generally less expensive to own and operate than a gun, they’re convenient and economical too.
The problem is … there are so many options out there, choosing the right one can be tough. Especially if you don’t know a whole lot about the platform.
Keep reading for an in depth look at some of the best crossbows on the market for every price range and use.
The Top Crossbows on The Market
If you are in a rush, here are the top crossbows in the market. Check Price on Amazon by clicking the link below:
How to Pick the Right Crossbow for Your Needs
Before you jump in and start looking, it’s important to consider your needs.
The best bow for a new hunter, may not be the best choice for you.
As you look for a new crossbow, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
What will you be using the bow for?
This is probably the most important questions to ask before buying a crossbow.
While one of the most common uses for crossbows is hunting, they have plenty of other uses too. Some users may just want to use a bow for target practice. Others may want to have one around for emergencies or survival situations.
If you do plan to hunt with a crossbow, consider what types of game you’ll be pursuing. A lot of the higher end crossbows are pretty powerful—great news for big game hunters, but probably a little much for someone planning to harvest smaller game.
Where you’ll be using your crossbow should be a major factor in your purchase decision too.
Ultimately, your crossbow should be suited to the location and conditions where you’ll be using it.
Some states also limit where and when crossbows can be used for hunting. And there are a few that don’t allow it at all, or only for handicapped hunters.
Make sure you understand what’s legal, and what’s not, before making a final decision.
Like most purchases, picking the right crossbow often comes down to what you can afford.
There are some really great options across the budget range.
Don’t let a less expensive crossbow fool you.
Most crossbows can be had for anywhere from $300 to $1000. Prices do go up past the $2000 mark though. And you can, of course, spend much less than $300.
Crossbows have come a long way.
Though traditional bows have advanced quite a bit in recent years too, crossbows are a bit more complex and have really taken advantage of modern materials and engineering.
Like bows, compound mechanisms have become the most popular option for crossbow shooters. But, recurve crossbows are also available.
Many crossbows also come with scopes or can readily accept one.
Another feature you’ll want to consider is how you want to cock your crossbow. Some newer crossbows now come with integrated, hand-crank cocking mechanisms. Most designs still require shooters to use a separate cocking tool though.
Crossbows are weapons.
That fact alone makes them inherently dangerous if not handled properly.
Crossbows also put very sharp objects under a lot of tension. And with compound bows, there are a lot of moving parts.
For first time buyers and newer users, safety should be a real concern.
Thankfully, most modern crossbows come with a number of safety features—like anti-dry fire mechanisms and trigger safeties—built right in.
Just make sure you pick a crossbow with safety features you understand and that are right for your needs.
Top Brands on the Market
|1||Excalibur Matrix 380
||Recurve||Check Price on Amazon.com|
||For Hunting||Check Price on Amazon.com|
|3||Barnett Ghost 420
||Innovative||Check Price on Amazon.com|
||Lightweight||Check Price on Amazon.com|
|5||Barnett Recruit Terrain
||Youth||Check Price on Amazon.com|
The Best Crossbows for Every Purpose
It all comes down to purpose.
Whether you’re picking up a crossbow for the upcoming deer season or as a gift for your son or daughter, you need the right tool for the job.
Let’s take a closer look at the best crossbows for every need.
Crossbow Reviews by Budget
For many buyers, it all comes down to price.
The good news:
The crossbow market has a lot of great options spanning the budget spectrum.
The Best Crossbow Brands
With so many makers and models to choose from, picking the right crossbow isn’t easy.
Here’s a quick roundup of the top crossbow brands out there right now and their top products.
Ravin hasn’t been around long, but they’ve made quite a name for themselves in record time.
This Minnesota based crossbow maker is made up of a team of industry veterans, dedicated to making premium crossbows right here in the US.
One of their top of the line products is the Ravin R15.
The R15 packs a very accurate and powerful setup into a compact package. Ravin has used some innovative engineering to make their bows very narrow and rifle-like. The R15 is just a little over six inches wide when cocked.
With arrow speeds over 400 feet per second, the R15 is also one of the most powerful and accurate crossbows on the market. Some shooters are actually making accurate shots out to 100 yards with it.
The R15 isn’t cheap though.
Coming in at around $2000, this premium crossbow comes with a premium price. But if the price isn’t a problem, the R15 is worth every penny.
Barnett is one of the oldest names in crossbows.
Since the 1960s has been producing innovative crossbows and archery equipment in the USA.
The Barnett Ghost 420 currently tops their lineup and is one of the most innovative crossbows available today. With carbon fiber limbs and a machined aluminum arrow track, the Ghost is both light and maneuverable at just over seven pounds.
420 foot per second arrow speeds and 153 foot pounds of kinetic energy make this crossbow one of the fastest and powerful bows on the market.
The Ghost also comes equipped with a frictionless release that makes use of a free-floating roller assembly, giving it a very light 3 pound trigger.
You’ll also get a rope cocking device, illuminated scope, and two arrows.
TenPoint is another major crossbow player, producing a wide range of bows and styles.
From basic beginner crossbows to reverse draw designs, TenPoint does it all.
One of their most innovative designs is the Stealth NXT.
The Stealth NXT is another compact, narrow bow seeking to give hunters a more manageable crossbow in the field. At just over six inches wide when cocked, it’s one of the most compact bows on the market.
TenPoint’s Stealth NXT puts out up to 144 foot pounds of kinetic energy and propels arrows at 410 feet per second.
A cocking device is incorporated right into the stock of the Stealth NXT, allowing users to quickly crank back the bolt and skip the need to bring along an extra tool.
The Stealth NXT doesn’t come cheap though. At over $1000 it rivals some of Ravin’s bows, but does provide similar features.
CenterPoint crossbows provide a lot of great options for new and experienced crossbow shooters.
From simple recurve designs to compound crossbow packages, CenterPoint offers a lot of choices.
he Gladiator Whisper tops CenterPoint’s lineup with a lot of power and a few innovative features.
With a draw weight of 200 pounds, the Gladiator is capable of propelling arrows at up to 405 feet per second. CenterPoint makes this possible through the use of a quad limb design.
For guidance, CenterPoint includes a 4×32 scope that sits atop a CNC machined aluminum riser.
To keep things interesting, the Gladiator Whisper incorporates an adjustable AR-style stock, allowing users to quickly adjust the bow’s fit and length.
For over 20 years, Excalibur Crossbow has been producing innovative, recurve crossbows. Excalibur bows are known for their durability and performance.
Though Excalibur solely produces recurve crossbows, their performance is comparable to many of the industry’s other top performing bows. The recurve design also provides a lot of durability given the simple design.
The Matrix 380 is one of Excalibur’s top performers. With arrow speeds of up to 380 feet per second, gives shooters a lot of power in a simple, reliable package.
The Matrix also ships with a scope and a Realtree camo paint job.
If you’re looking for reliability and performance, Excalibur Crossbows and the Matrix 380 are great options at a reasonable price.
Founded over 20 years ago by industry veterans, Parker has since grown to be one of the world’s largest producers of compound bows and crossbows.
One of their top pick is the Hurricane XXTreme.
With up to 380 feet per second of arrow speed and a 165 pound draw weight, the Hurricane is one of the faster, more powerful bows on the market. And measuring a little over 20 inches wide and about 36 inches long, users can expect a standard sized bow.
Another thing the Hurricane has going for it is an adjustable stock. This Parker crossbow is part of a growing trend to adopt an adjustable, AR-style stock that can quickly adjust to the shooter’s needs.
Users will also find an ergonomic pistol grip and an automatically engaging trigger safety and anti-dry fire mechanism.
Carbon Express Crossbows
Carbon Express produces some truly innovative crossbows at a great price.
The Covert is one of Carbon Express’s most innovative options.
With a lightweight 3.5 pound trigger, the Covert is accurate and easy to shoot.
360 foot per second arrow speeds and a 175 pound draw weight come together to give the Covert 109 foot pounds of energy.
For a very reasonable sub $600 price tag, the Covert comes with a lot of great features.
Shooter get a 4×32 scope plus three arrows and a quiver. A crank cocking device is also included.
To round things out, the covert comes with a pistol grip, skeletonized camo stock, and vertical grip.
If you’re looking for a crossbow that won’t break the bank, Jaguar may just have the answer you’re looking for.
The Jaguar CR-013 Series Crossbow gives you everything you need to get started with crossbows for under $200.
With arrow speeds of up to 245 feet per second and a draw of 175 pounds, this Jaguar is a surprisingly good performer. This crossbow also comes with a 30mm red dot optic with seven levels of brightness adjustment and four arrows.
While this crossbow might not be the most feature-rich on the market, it’s a great deal for those looking for something at a reasonable price.
PSE is one of the oldest and most well-known names in archery. They make everything from traditional recurve bows, to compound bows, and crossbows.
PSE is known for making quality products at reasonable prices.
One of PSE’s most popular crossbows is the Fang 350 XT.
The Fang 350 XT comes in at a great price—providing a lot of value and function for the average hunter. Wrapped in a camo appearance, the Fang 350 XT is capable of arrow speeds of up to 350 feet per second.
With the Fang 350 XT, shooters get a complete package, including three arrows, a 4×32 scope, and a rope cocking device.
Mission Crossbows is a newer manufacturer of higher end bows based in Wisconsin.
Much like Ravin, they’ve gone straight for the upper end of the market, creating some truly innovative bows.
The Sniper Lite is one of Mission Crossbow’s most interesting bows. Weighing less than six pounds, the Sniper Lite is nearly unparalleled in terms of weight.
The Sniper Lite is capable of sending a 400 grain arrow down range at up 310 feet per second. While it’s not the fastest bow on the market, this level of speed is more than capable of taking all but the very largest of game.
With this crossbow, you’ll also get a quiver of three arrows and an illuminated, adjustable scope.
Final Verdict: Best Crossbow for The Money
It’s always hard to hard pick just one.
Especially with so many great choices.
But, if you want a solid performer with innovative features and plenty of power, the Barnett Ghost 420 (Check Price on Amazon.com) is the way to go. Shooters get a complete package that’s effective against any North American game for a price that should be manageable for serious crossbow enthusiasts.
If you want something a bit more compact, Ravin’s R15(Check Price on Amazon.com) is a solid performer. But does carry a much higher price tag.
For those who’d like to stay at the lower end of the budget spectrum, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II(Check Price on Amazon.com) provides a lot of value for a great price.