Choosing the best compound bow for the money can be a long and overwhelming process. We’re here to help!
Here at Archery-Den, we have made it our mission to make this a fun and easy process for you, whether you are a beginner or a professional archer. We are dedicated to educating you on factors relevant to buying the best bow for your budget while showing you the best bang for your buck.
There is no such thing as an “everyone bow”. The perfect bow for you comes down to many factors such as your experience, arm length, strength, and size. Finding a bow that is just right for you can make a world of a difference.
This is a guide to help you narrow down your options and give you an idea of what to look for and what compound bow will be the best selection for your money, experience, size and purpose.
You can take the information provided and apply it to your selection process and ultimately purchase a bow that will serve you well and give you plenty of use.
Here is what we will cover:
- 1. Best Compound Bows Comparison Chart
- 2. Elements of a Compound Bow
- 3. Technical Considerations for Choosing the Best Compound Bow
- 4. Best Place to Buy a Compound Bow
- 5. Best Compound Bows for the Money
- 6. Best Overall – For Target Shooting and Hunting
- 7. Fastest Compound Bow on the Market
- 8. Best Youth Compound Bow
- 9. Buying Advice
Below is a comparison table to give you an idea of what quality bows are available on the consumer market and present you with some of their most important specs.
1. Best Compound Bows Comparison Chart
2. Elements of a Compound Bow
A compound bow is characterized by the cams that are present at both ends of the bow. These cams allow for the string tension and create the resistance of the draw.
Provides a spot for the arrow to rest upon before shooting it to the target. It is screwed into the riser and in come cases, it is designed to retract during the shot.
The bow string is a string that runs between the cams on a two cam bow. The string will end at each cam unless a single cam bow is being used. For single cam bows, the string goes around the idler wheel and both ends end at the cam located at the bottom of the bow.
The cable runs between cams and allows for the execution of the shot.
The cable guard is a rod that runs from the direction of the riser toward the bowstring. The cable guard serves to keep the cable out of the arrows path when shot.
This cable sets the draw weight and is used for the timing of the bow’s cams.
3. Technical Considerations for Choosing the Best Compound Bow
The draw length of the bow refers to the setting that is matched to your physical size to create an optimal draw and finally the shot. The draw length is mechanically set to match your size and is set for that specific length.
You will draw your bow to only that distance and that is as far as it needs to be drawn. Most bows will not allow for an overdraw so be sure not to struggle or strain to go farther than the length that has been set. If it needs to be changed it will have to be manually reset first.
The draw weight is the amount of force that it takes to draw back the bow and is measured in weight. The weight will increase as muscles become conditioned to shooting the bow. Start with a lower weight and work your way up as needed.
Some bows are adjustable to grow with you as your draw weight increases. A greater draw weight will increase velocity to the arrow and it is advised to hunt with a higher draw weight.
The axle length is the measurement of the distance between the two cams on the compound bow. This is important to consider when purchasing a bow.
Have a good idea of what a good length for your size would be. Axle length is crucial because you need to find a bow that fits your body for stability.
This is the distance from the bowstring to the grip. The brace height controls the amount of force that is needed to draw the grip to the drawstring.
A shorter brace height will create more tension and velocity to the arrow, which in turn make the arrow faster.
This is the overall weight of the bow in its entirety. Take note of this when shopping for a bow. Some larger individuals should use a heavier bow as opposed to a lighter on. The bow weight helps determine the overall feel which help determines accuracy.
The let off is the point during the draw when the weight on the string decreases at a given percentage of the total draw. Once the let off engages, the archer can take their time aiming. The full amount of effort is required up until the let off point.
The percentage is usually between 60% and 75%. This is helpful especially when hunting. If you have to pause to track the animal then you will be able to hold your draw until you are ready to shoot.
All things being considered, these are the most important technical considerations when you are shopping for a compound bow.
4. Best Place to Buy a Compound Bow
You may immediately think that you need to go to a big box store or specialty shop to look for a compound bow that is suited to you. Although traditionally that is what most people have done, it doesn’t necessarily mean that purchasing your bow at a brick and mortar store is the best route to take. You can order from a reputable online site and still be completely satisfied with your purchase.
Shopping online has advantages that a local retailer can’t compete with. A local retailer will only have a limited selection to choose from. A major online retailer will have tons of choices and models from which to choose.
You will be able to find better deals too. Prices online tend to be much cheaper.
Alternatively, you can try several bows out at a retailer and to find the draw weight and fit that you are most comfortable with before going online to see a wider variety of options with more competitive pricing.
Now… Where do you start?
The options of online shopping are absolutely enourmous. We wouldn’t suggest that you trust every site out there, because you can’t know for sure how realiable they might be. We’d suggest going for something reliable like Amazon.com.
Amazon offers price matching and great package deals. Their reviews are from real users, that actually bought the bows and share their unbiased experience with them.
5. Best Compound Bows for the Money
There are plenty of great choices as far as compound bows are concerned. You should first establish a budget and then figure what your best choices are in the price range that you have set for yourself.
Every person is different and has different needs. Thankfully, many compound bows are easy to adjust and accessorize which will give you the custom fit that you need.
Even if you have a slimmer budget, there will be plenty of options to fit your needs. Here are some of the best buys for the money that are grouped by cost.
5.1. Low Budget Choices
Genesis Original Kit
The Genesis Original Bow may be on the lower end of the budget range, but it delivers high quality and an excellent feel. This is a great choice for both beginners and the more experienced archers alike. This single cam bow does not require adjustment and is great for students to grow into.
Specs: This bow features an aluminum riser, aluminum cam and idler wheel. The draw weight is 20Ibs but is able to be adjusted lower to 10Ibs. The draw length can range between 15″ and 30″. This model is one of the lowest cost bows on the market, ranging from $150 to $200.
This bow is both quiet and smooth. It will allow for precision while not being too difficult to draw or shoot.
- Quiet, smooth & precise
- Easy to draw & shoot
- Excelent starter bow
- Perfect for a smaller person (teenager/female)
- Comes with great accessories
- Not for large framed person or tall with long arms
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our Genesis Original Full Review
SAS Rage Compound Bow
SAS has done it again! Another great priced compound bow that is one of the best deals for the money.
One of the best parts about the SAS Rage compound bow is how upgradable it is.
That’s what makes it such a cool option for someone looking for something to build upon. This bow can easily grow with you.
The SAS Rage is great for those that are looking for a more powerful bow to transition to from lower draw weight models. It’s fast on the target range, clocking in up to 270 fps, but like any beginner bow, not as high impact as the higher end hunting bows used for large game. SAS did make a fast compound bow for its price.
Specs: The draw weight is 55 to 70Ibs. Some of the features of the bow are a draw length 26″ to 30″, a draw weight of 55 to 70Ibs. The let off is 70% and the axle to axle measurement is 35″. The price is a really competitive one, ranging from $150 to $200.
- Very upgradeable
- Great option for beginners
- Powerful & accurate bow
- Fast bow for its price
- A little loud
- Draw is a bit harsh, still very accurate
- Limits you to smaller game, so for the serious hunter, there are better options
- Only right-hand version
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our SAS Rage Full Review
5.2. Low-Mid Budget Range
Diamond Archery Infinite Edge
The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge is the hobby archer’s best friend. Diamond Archery named its Infinity Edge perfectly because there are infinite amounts of versatility. One of the great features about this bow is the fact that it has an extended draw for those individuals that have a longer draw.
Specs: The draw length is 13″ to 30″. The let off is 75% and the speed is 310 feet per second. The axle to axle measurement is 31″. The draw weight is 5 to 70Ibs divided in 3 setting ranger. Range A goes from 5-30lbs, Range B is 31-50lbs. Range C is for over 50lbs.This versatile bow is a great buy because is have a good variety of features that would be found on the higher priced variety of compound bows. The price range on this bow is from $300 to $400.
- Very versatile for the money
- No expensive accessories needed
- Comes as a package, adding to it’s factors of adjustments
- Arrow rests, sights, it’s all there!
- Takes more time to set up for a beginner
WHO’S IT FOR?
Bear Archery Cruzer
The Bear Archery Cruzer makes a great bow for those who like something on the low maintenance side. Bear Archery brags about how universal the fit of the Cruzer is and we have to agree! It has room to grow with while delivering power and precision.
The parts on this bow are great for it’s price including a Trophy Ridge whisker biscuit and MV cams. This makes it a great buy for those that don’t want to spend larger amounts of money on equipment yet. Considering Trophy Ridge’s individual pricing, this is one of the best compound bows under $500.
Specs: The draw length ranges from 12″ to 30″ and can be adjusted in half-inch increments. It delivers extra power with its max preload quad limbs. It has aluminum construction and offset string suppressors. lt also has an improved grip to allow for better accuracy.
The draw weight is between 5 to 70Ibs. The axle to axle measurement is 32″. The max speed is 310 feet per second. The let off is 75%.
- Low maintenance
- Universal fit
- Ready to shoot
- Delivers power & precision
- Great value for money
- Great for younger archers & seasoned hunters
- A bit limited on mods
- Fast bow, but sacrifices noise and impact power
- Not great for larger game
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our Bear Archery Cruzer Full Review
5.3. Mid-Price Range
The PSE Surge Bow is a great buy because it is moderately priced but delivers top quality and power.
This single cam bow is very adjustable and powerful. It was designed to be used as a hunting bow and is ready to shoot right out of the box.
Specs: The maximum speed is 320 feet per second. The axle to axle measurement is 32.5″. The draw length is 19.5″ to 30″.
The Surge delivers performance at a great price which is why it gives you the most for your money. The price range is $450 to $550.
- Good value for money
- Adjustable and powerful
- Quiet & low vibration
- Ready to shoot
- Great for hunting
- Not so light
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our PSE Surge Full Review
Great features and a moderate price starting around $500, PSE made the Prophecy to be one of the fastest bows on the market. This single cam bow is like lightning.
This particular bow is something for bow enthusiasts to get excited about. It is super fast and really packs a punch. This is a bargain for the money as it gives you all you could ask for from a moderately priced bow.
Specs: You’re looking at a Planar Flex riser, past parallel limbs, and the secret to its speed and performance, the Backstop 2 cam. It has a 701b draw weight, an axel to axel measurement of 32″. It is a left-hand bow with a 75% let off.
- Extremely fast!
- Great for target shooting & hunting
- No expensive accessories needed
- Value for money
- Has a bit of a kick
- Not recommended for beginners
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our PSE Prophecy Full Review
Martin Archery Lithium
The Martin Lithium is a piece of art. This high-quality hunting bow delivers a smooth feel with speed and accuracy. This bow combines a great deal of power and speed with precise accuracy.
Hunters everywhere give this quality bow high marks for the overall performance and value. This is a great buy for the more experienced archer as it has power, speed, and accuracy. It is fun to use, built to last and can take whatever you can dish out in the woods.
Specs: This bow features Nitro 3 cams, an axle-to-axle measurement of 33.25″. It has a 7″ brace height, a draw length adjustment between 31 and 38 inches. Its speed is 335 feet per second. The price range for this compound bow ranges from around $700- $900.
- High-quality hunting bow
- Smooth feel
- Powerful, speedy & accurate
- Built to last
- Good value for money
- Not a starter bow
WHO’S IT FOR?
Read our Martin Archery Lithium Full Review
6. Best Overall – For Target Shooting and Hunting
The Bear Cruzer is a great choice for both target shooting and for hunting. This quality bow does double duty and is also priced competitively. It can be used easily by younger archers and just as easily by the seasoned hunter.
Although there are more expensive models that can be used for both, this particular bow will give you as many features as the more expensive types but is also budget friendly for those wanting to get the most for their money.
7. Fastest Compound Bow on the Market
The PSE Prophecy is our pick for the fastest compound bow on the market. This bow is a single-cam style that delivers 340 feet per second, which is incredible, especially from a single cam model.
The great thing about the PSE Prophecy is that both the experienced user and the novice will find it thrilling to use as it delivers big power with precision shooting.
8. Best Youth Compound Bow
The best youth compound bow by far is the Genesis Original. It is the most widely used bow for training archery students and has a variety of features that make it a great buy.
This is a great bow for anyone of any skill level. It is adjustable to grow with young people and is sturdy and has just the right amount of power and accuracy.
9. Buying Advice
Here at Archery-Den, all the reviews are written by actual archers and stem from real experiences they have had with the said bows. When researching the options that you have when it comes to purchasing a compound bow, you definitely want to read the compound bow reviews.
Reviews are important because they give in-depth insight about the product and any issues you may encounter that would otherwise be unexpected. By reading our reviews, you can get a pretty good idea if the bow you are interested in is right for you.
We know there isn’t a magical bow that is designed for everyone. Compound bows will never be a one size fits all, but we are dedicated to helping you select your best compound bow for the money.
What’s the hurry?
If you are new to the sport then start off with a lower priced compound bow and start with a lower draw weight. As with anything, learning how to comfortably and accurately shoot a compound bow will take time and practice. It is key to train technique and accuracy before upgrading draw weight to become a successful archer.
Rushing into things by purchasing expensive equipment that takes a great deal of strength to operate is not going to help you learn the right way, and will actually slow you down. In time you will develop the correct muscle group to be able to advance and grow.
Don’t rush things and take your time learning! When you ask yourself what is the best compound bow, you are asking for a bow that will last a long time before an upgrade. Take the time to select the best compound bow for your needs that will grow with you instead of upgrading as much as your smartphone.
For those of you that are more experienced, our bow reviews will provide you information on the best bang for your buck. The more powerful options give you all the features that you need to be effective without costing a fortune. Many in the mid price range will give you years of enjoyment and help keep you on a budget.
Left or right hand?
Left or right is determined by which eye you use to focus. It is often the same side that you write with, but not always the case. If you are unsure or want to test to see if you might be one of those rare individuals that this rule of thumb does not apply to, then there is a simple test that you can do to find out.
To test, hold your hands in front of you at arms length. Make a triangle with your thumbs and index finger. Center an object across the room from you. It can be anything as long as you hold your arms all the way out. Close one eye and look at the object through the triangle. If your object stays in the same spot rather than moving, that is the dominant side.
See the video demonstration of this test:
Just like with writing, right handed archers are more common then left handed. Keep in mind that some compound bow models are only made right handed for this reason. Many of the compound bows featured on Archery-Den have options for both sides.
NOTE: Archers are categorised into left and right handed shooters based on the hand they pull the string with, and not the hand they hold the bow with. In other words, if you draw the string with your right hand, you are a right handed shooter and vice-versa.
More information on left and right handed bows:
What’s your purpose?
The type of bow that you purchase may well be determined by the activity that you plan to use it for. There is a difference when it comes to target shooting and hunting. Be sure that you know what type of activity each bow that you consider is designed for. Different bows are designed for specific uses.
Lighter weight bows won’t have enough impact to humanely hunt with. For hunting, you’d also want a quieter bow as to not scare away the quarry. Bowfishing requires enough impact power to penetrate the water, but not too much as to push the fish too far away.
If you are a beginner you don’t want to select a bow that was designed for an experienced user and likewise, you don’t want to select a low power bow when you are used to using a bow with a higher draw weight and a good deal of speed because it was priced within your budget.
There are quality bows available in all price ranges for all experience levels. Be sure you know the qualities you are looking for when shopping and then narrow down according to budget.