The Best Crossbows for Every Price Range and Use

The crossbow:

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:

The Barnett Ghost 420

The Ghost 420 is an impressive performer with plenty of power, a modern innovative design, and great features like an integrated cocking mechanism.

The Excalibur Matrix 380

Simple, reliable, and powerful. The Matrix 380 is a tough, recurve design made to stand up to the most demanding conditions.

Ravin R15

The R15 is one of the most compact, maneuverable crossbows on the market. Designed to have a rifle-like feel, this bow is just over six inches wide when cocked and delivers excellent accuracy and power.

The Mission Crossbow Sniper Lite

Mission Crossbow's Sniper Lite is another lightweight bow, designed to be easy to carry in the field. At under six pounds, it's one of the lightest crossbows around.

The Barnett Recruit Terrain

For a simple beginner's or youth bow, it's hard to go wrong with the Barnett Recruit Terrain.  With performance that rivals far more expensive bows, the Recruit packs a lot of features into a simple package.


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:

Purpose

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.

Location

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.

Budget

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.

Features

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.

Safety

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

Item Product Purpose
1 Excalibur Matrix 380
Recurve Check Price on Amazon.com
2 Ravin R15
For Hunting Check Price on Amazon.com
3 Barnett Ghost 420
Innovative Check Price on Amazon.com
4 Sniper Lite
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.

The Best Crossbow for Hunting: Ravin R15

When it comes to hunting, you want the best.

Seeing an animal get away or leaving one wounded because you didn’t bring the right tool for the job is every hunter’s worst nightmare.

When it comes to power, accuracy, and effectiveness, the Ravin R15 is one of the best crossbows available.

The R15’s compact size and light weight make it a great choice for hunters looking for a more maneuverable crossbow. At just over six inches wide when cocked, it’s one of the slimmest choices on the market.

Power isn’t in short supply with this Ravin either with arrows moving at over 400 feet per second.

The biggest drawback to the R15 is the price. As one of the higher-priced models on the market, it isn’t for everyone.

Ravin R15 Specifications:

  • Weighs only 6.9 pounds overall
  • Arrow speed of 425 feet per second
  • Powerful 160 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy
  • Just 12 lbs. of draw force
  • Just over six inches wide when cocked
  • Comes from the factory with 100 yard illuminated scope, but picatinny rail mount also works with other rifle-style optics
  • Ships with six matched bolts and field points

The Best Crossbow for Beginners: Southern Crossbow Risen XT 350 Crossbow

If you’re looking to pick up your first crossbow, Southern Crossbow’s Risen XT 350 makes for a great first-time option.

The Risen XT is a complete package with plenty of room for customization on the included accessory rails.

Shooters get plenty of power too with 180 lbs. of draw force, ensuring that newer crossbow users are not left wishing for more.

One of the Risen XT’s best features is the addition of an adjustable, AR-style stock. This allows the bow to be quickly and easily adjusted for shooters of all sizes.

Southern Crossbow Risen XT 350 Specifications:

 Weighs just over 11 lbs. overall

  • Arrow speeds of up to 350 feet per second
  • 180 lbs. draw weight
  • Telescopic stock ensures a good fit for shooters of all sizes
  • Built in picatinny rails for mounting a scope, lights, or other accessories
  • Vertical foregrip included for greater control.

The Best Youth Crossbow: Barnett Recruit Terrain

Looking for a great crossbow for smaller shooters?

The Barnett Recruit Terrain provides smaller crossbow shooters with a more compact, simple to use platform.

The Recruit Terrain is no lightweight though.

Shooters will still see arrow speeds of up to 330 feet per second and a kinetic energy of over 90 foot pounds.

The Recruit Terrain also ships with a scope, arrows, and everything a younger crossbow user would need to get started. The included picatinny rail also means shooters can upgrade the bow down the line.

An anti-dry fire release and trigger safety makes this a safe option for younger users as well.

Barnett Recruit Terrain Specifications:

  • Weighs just 6 pounds overall
  • Lightweight 3 pound release
  • Arrow speeds of 330 feet per second
  • Over 90 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy
  • 140 lbs. draw weight
  • Ships with 4x32 scope, but picatinny rail mount also works with other optics and accessories
  • Comes with two arrows and cocking device

The Best Recurve Crossbow: Excalibur Matrix 380 Crossbow

If you’re looking for a simple crossbow that doesn’t rely on a set of complex pulleys for power, a recurve crossbow is the answer.

Recurve bows use two limbs that have been curved toward the front of the crossbow to provide power and speed.

Excalibur makes a number of recurve crossbows, including the Matrix 380. Known for their simplicity and durability, Excalibur bows provide durability in the most adverse conditions.

The Matrix 380 gives shooters a powerful 260 pound draw weights and an arrow speed of 380 feet per second.

Excalibur Matrix 380 Crossbow Specifications:

  • Weighs a little over 10 pounds overall
  • Arrow speeds of 380 feet per second
  • Durable, ergonomic stock
  • Powerful 260 lbs. draw weight

The Best Mini Crossbow: PSE Viper SS Crossbow

Looking for something a bit smaller?

A mini crossbow can be a fun way to get in a little target practice or even hunt small game.

The PSE Viper SS packs a ton of fun and power into a tiny package.

With a size not much larger than most handguns, the Viper is far smaller than the average crossbow. But even with its diminutive size, this little bow propels bolts at a surprising 215 feet per second.

The Viper SS comes fitted with an open, iron sight and an integrated cocking system for easy use.

PSE Viper SS Crossbow Specifications:

  • Super compact and lightweight
  • Arrow speeds of up to 215 feet per second
  • Durable recurve construction
  • Draw weight of 50 lbs.
  • Automatic safety and anti-dry fire mechanism

The Best Tactical Crossbow: Barnett Recruit Tactical

If you’re looking for something a little more tactical, the Barnett Recruit Tactical gives crossbow shooters some truly tactical features at a great price. With a lightweight composite construction, the Recruit Tactical sports a blacked-out tactical look in a solidly built package. The recruit tactical ships as a complete package with arrows and a rope cocking device. The Recruit Tactical sends arrows downrange at 330 feet per second with a draw weight of 130 pounds and comes equipped with a 4x32 scope.
Barnett Recruit Tactical Crossbow Specifications:
  • Lightweight composite stock
  • Arrow speeds of up to 330 feet per second
  • Comes with 4x32 crossbow scope
  • Draw weight of 130 lbs.
  • Automatic safety and anti-dry fire mechanism
  • Compatible with crank cocking devices

The Best Pistol Grip Crossbow: Carbon Express Covert CX-3 SL

While most modern crossbows have a pistol grip of some sort, most are little more than a cutout. For those that prefer a true pistol grip, similar to a modern sporting rifle, the Carbon Express Covert CX-3 SL provides a great platform. With the Express Covert, shooters get both a true pistol grip and a folding forward vertical grip. Users also get plenty of power with 119 pound feet of kinetic energy and a 355 foot per second arrow speed. But, light the Express Covert is not. Tipping the scales at just over ten pounds, it is a bit on the heavy side.
Carbon Express Covert CX-3 SL Crossbow Specifications:
  • Solid CNC machined aluminum build
  • Arrow speeds of up to 355 feet per second
  • Includes lighted, multi-reticle 4x32 optic
  • Draw weight of 175 lbs.
  • 119 lbs. ft. of kinetic energy

The Best Reverse Draw Crossbow: Barnett Vengeance Crossbow

Looking for a more balanced crossbow? The Barnett Vengeance takes the typically front heavy design of most crossbows and shifts more of the weight to the rear and center of the bow with a reverse draw design. This innovative bit of engineering allows shooters to more easily balance the bow when shooting. With an arrow speed of 365 feet per second and a draw weight of 140 pounds, the Vengeance also provides plenty of power for game of all sizes. And at a little over 18 inches wide, the Vengeance is comparable in size to most of the competition.
Barnett Vengeance Crossbow Specifications:
  • Arrow speeds of up to 365 feet per second
  • 3x32 optic included
  • Draw weight of 140 lbs.
  • Reverse limb design with lightweight carbon limbs
  • Comes with 3 arrows and cocking rope


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 Cheap, Affordable Crossbow: Arrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get into the sport of crossbow, the Arrow Precision Inferno Fury provides users with a lot of features at a great price.

For under 100 bucks, the Inferno Fury gives you an arrow speed of 235 feet per second and a draw weight of 175 pounds. Plus, four arrows and a red dot sight.

While it might not give quite the same performance as a bow that costs five or ten times as much, this crossbow packs a lot of value into a low priced package.

The Best Crossbow Under $300: : CenterPoint Sniper 370

If you’re looking for something under $300, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 gives crossbow shooters some truly valuable features at a great price.

With a composite and aluminum construction, the Sniper 370 also incorporates a CNC machined rail and adjustable AR-style stock and grip. The foregrip is also adjustable and interchangeable.

The Sniper 370 sends arrows downrange at 370 feet per second with a draw weight of 185 pounds and comes equipped with a 4x32 scope.

 

The Best Crossbow Under $400: Barnett Whitetail Hunter II

For just under $400, you can’t go wrong with the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II.

At only 6.4 pounds, the Whitetail Hunter is very lightweight but still packs a punch with arrow speeds of up to 350 feet per second and total kinetic energy of over 100 foot pounds.

This crossbow is made in the USA and also comes equipped with a 4x32 scope.

The Best Crossbow Under $600: Excalibur Matrix Grizzly Crossbow

Excalibur’s Matrix Grizzly crossbow brings the legendary accuracy and durability of Excalibur's Matrix line to shooters at an affordable price.

With a draw weight of 200 pounds and an arrow speed of 305 feet per second, the Matrix grizzly delivers some serious power.

The compact thumbhole stock sports a Mossy Oak camouflage exterior that’s great for a range of hunting environments.

 

The Best Crossbow Under $1000: TenPoint Titan SS Crossbow

If you really want to invest in a solid crossbow hunting package the TenPoint Titan SS Crossbow is a consistent performer with a lot of great features.

For under a grand, shooters get a stock with adjustable comb height and length. A 3x scope is also included and three arrows.

And with a draw weight of 175 pounds and arrow speeds of up to 340 feet per second, users get plenty of power for most North American game.

The Best Crossbow Over $1200: Ravin R10

If budget isn’t a concern and you want the best, the Ravin R10 is one of the best crossbows available at any price.

With a compact profile—it’s just over six inches wide when cocked—a very light overall weight, and impressive accuracy, the R10 delivers in the field and on the range.

The R10 propels arrows at nearly 400 feet per second with 135 foot pounds of kinetic energy.


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 Crossbows

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 Crossbows

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 Crossbows

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

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.


Excalibur Crossbows

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.


Parker Crossbows

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.


Jaguar Crossbows

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 Crossbows

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

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.

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