Best Crossbow for the Money – 2017 Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Crossbow in Hunters Hand

Are you looking for the best crossbows for the money? Or maybe good, high quality, premium crossbows for hunting?

No matter the level of your archery skills, you can count on Archery-Den to educate you on all you need to know about buying the best bow for your lifestyle and budget with our in-depth crossbow reviews. It is our task to deliver the facts in a relaxed and approachable manner.

When shopping for the best crossbows, you cannot take an “all size fits all” approach. There are a number of variables that need to be taken into account when shopping for a bow that is a right fit for you. Experience, arm length, and size are just a number of factors you will need to take into consideration. If a bow isn’t right for you, it will show in your archery practice.

Here, we will provide you with guided reviews to give you a full view of all your options, breaking it down by skill level, size, expense, and purpose. This information will be crucial in your hunt for the best crossbow that fits you for the long run.

Important:

Please note if you are a beginner bow hunter, the crossbows should be your top choice, as shooting with a one is extremely easy. You can have no experience in shooting with bows, and still be very accurate in your shooting.

Here is what we will cover:

 

1. Best Crossbows Comparison Table

Bow
Power Stroke
Draw weight
Velocity
Length
Weight
Editor Rating
    Price    
Barnett Ghost 410 CRT (Editors' Pick)


15.3"
185 lbs
410 FPS
34.2"
7.3 lbs
9.8
Mid-High
Check Price
TenPoint Turbo GT

12.6"
175 lbs
360 FPS
35"
6 lbs.
9.8
Mid-High
Check Price
Excalibur Matrix Bulldog 400

14"
280 lbs
400 FPS
35.8"
6.2 lbs
9.8
High
Check Price

TenPoint Vapor
15.5"
165 lbs
360 FPS
37.4"
6.8 lbs
9.8
High
Check Price
CenterPoint Sniper 370 (Beginner Friendly)

14"
185 lbs
370 FPS
36.5"
7.9 lbs
9.7
Low
Check Price

Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme

13.3"
185 lbs
365 FPS
35.25"
7.1 lbs
9.6
Mid
Check Price
TenPoint Venom
13.5"
185 lbs
353 FPS
34.6"
6.5 lbs
9.6
High
Check Price
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3

13.5"
165 lbs
330 FPS
37.75"
6.6 lbs
9.5
Mid
Check Price
Barnett Outdoors Ghost 360 CRT

14"
165 lbs
360 FPS
36"
7 lbs
9.5
Mid
Check Price
Barnett Recruit

(Budget Friendly)


12.5"
130 lbs
300 FPS
34.25"
6.5 lbs
9.5
Low
Check Price
Excalibur Matrix 380

13.1"
260 lbs
380 FPS
35.6"
5.9 lbs
9.4
Mid-High
Check Price
Barnett Jackal

12"
150 lbs
315 FPS
32.5"
7.7 lbs
8.9
Low
Check Price
Arrow Precision Inferno Fury

10.5"
175 lbs
235FPS
34.5"
5.85lbs
8.8
Low
Check Price

 

2. Best Crossbows for the Money Reviews

With all of that said, you’re probably still wondering which is the best one for your money. Allow us to give you a few short reviews and comparisons of some of the best crossbows on the market, that range in cost from low to high. There are quality options for all budgets.

2.1. Low Budget Choices

CenterPoint Sniper 370 – Best in this Price Rangecenterpoint sniper 370 crossbow

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is another solid package on the low end of the budget spectrum. It has a 185 lbs. draw weight and is fully adjustable, with a tactical stock and forearm. Integrated string suppressors allow for a quiet shot, free of vibrations. Quad limbs with precision CNC machined cam system It’s lightweight and durable with CNC machined aluminum rail with a shoot-through riser. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Above average firing velocity
  • Illuminated scope
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable stock and forearm
  • Great for beginners and seasoned hunters

CONS:
  • Tactical stock feels flimsy
  • Front-heavy


Barnett RecruitBarnett Recruit Review

This Recruit Compound by Barnett is easy to maneuver, without sacrificing on speed, making it perfect for

hunters of a smaller stature. It also comes with an adjustable butt stock, which gives the option to grow with

your bow. At 300 FPS and 130 lbs. draw weight and 80 pounds of energy, this bow doesn’t leave you wanting for much and can take down anything you’re hunting. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Perfect for women or smaller-framed men
  • Easy to assemble
  • Rope cocking device included
  • Beginner friendly

CONS:
  • Questionable string quality
  • Red dot sight only


Barnett JackalBarnett Jackal Crossbow

If you’re a hunter, the Jackal from Barnett is a phenomenal crossbow. It delivers the power of a high-priced crossbow, at an affordable price, making it a great value. It’s sleek, lightweight and compact. It’s fast arrow speeds are due to compact quad limb high-energy wheels, synthetic string and cable system. With this crossbow, Barnett is introducing a new ADF MIM trigger, giving customers an even 3.5 lbs. trigger pull. It shoots at 315 fps. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Low price for great quality
  • Made for a range of skill levels
  • Durable build
  • Beginner friendly

CONS:
  • No rope cocking mechanism
  • Noisy when shooting

Arrow Precision Inferno FuryArrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow

 

Last but not least in on the Low Budget list, is the Inferno Fury. This package is extremely popular due to its fully equipped package. This kit leaves you wanting for very little.

Crossbow veterans looking for a lighter alternative as well as first-time hunters looking for all the bells and whistles can find what they are looking for with the Inferno Fury. The Fury is a 175lbs recurve crossbow. The kit includes, quick detach quiver with 4 arrows, padded shoulder sling, 3-dot multi range red dot, adjustable scope mount, and even an ambidextrous auto safety and rear stock. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Light-weight and comfortable
  • Comes with safety mechanism for dry firing
  • Great for beginners and experts

CONS:
  • Not for big game
  • Accompanied arrows are of average quality

 

2.2. Mid Budget Choices

Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme CRTBarnett Buck Commander Extreme Crossbow Review

The Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme allows a hunter to be ready for any game big or small. You’ll be amazed when you shoot at an amazing 365 fps accurately as the BCX is only 7.1 lbs in weight and 35.25 in length. With Anti-Dry Fire trigger system you will be able to pull the trigger smoothly. At this price range you are getting a high quality bow with all the bells and whistles. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Good quality with a competitive price
  • Compact
  • Anti-Dry Fire system

CONS:
  • Doesn’t come with a sling

Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3 with ACU-52TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow Review

The TenPoint Invader G3 has been designed to reduce weight and increase strength. The way this is done is with strategically placed cutouts. It has been custom configured with 12.3-inch WL12 limbs, and a new energy wheel. This new configuration allows for a controllable 330 fps, 3.5 lbs. T2t trigger, and a 165 lbs. draw weight. Made with safety in mind, it’s equipped with glass reinforced nylon safety wings and TenPoint’s Dry-Fire-Inhibitor. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth draw
  • Accurate shot
  • Adjustable 3 dot scope

CONS:
  • Loud shot

Barnett Outdoors Ghost 360 CRT – Best in this Price RangeBarnett Outdoors Ghost 360 Review

Some would call this the perfect crossbow, as it offers the perfect weight, speed, and size. The Ghost 360 CRT has a compact design but doesn’t compromise at 360 fps. It weighs only 7 lbs, due to the patented Carbon Lite Rise. And lastly, it has the safety system Barnett bows are known for. A 5-1 safety and trigger system. The Barnett Outdoors Ghost 360 will give even the most seasoned hunter a boost of confidence. This is one of the best all around crossbows for it’s price range. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Compact, and easy to carry.
  • Lightweight
  • Accuracy with adjustable scope
  • 5-in-1 safety firing system

CONS:
  • No cocking mechanism

 

2.3. Mid-High Budget Choices

Barnett Ghost 410 CRTbarnett ghost 410 crossbow

Although the Barnett Ghost 410 is lighter than the Ghost 400, at 7.3 lbs., it has maintained its more remarkable features such as the Carbonlite Riser Technology, which has a 5-to-1 safety factor and give you a perfect balance of weight and speed. This is one of the best compound bow for taking down any big game like moose and elk. This bow is on the expensive side, but you are getting a highly durable and quality bow.   Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Can be used on big game
  • High speed
  • Light weight
  • Accurate and powerful

CONS:
  • String was in necessary to prevent serving separation

TenPoint Turbo GT with ACU DrawTenPoint Turbo GT Crossbow Review

The new and improved Turbo GT has an adjustable Fusion 5 stock and a commanding 13.5-inch XLT bow assembly. It’s an easy to handle speed machine, complete with TenPoint 3x pro view 2 scope, and a 3-arrow quiver and bracket that detaches instantly. Weighing only at 6.5 lbs and 35 inches in width this bow can be carried anywhere. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Remarkable speed
  • Easy to use
  • Good quality

CONS:
  • Doesn’t have integrated suppressors

Excalibur Matrix 380 – Best in this Price RangeExcalibur Matrix 380 Review

The Matrix line from Excalibur is being called the next evolution in crossbows. The Matrix gives you speed, functionality, and reliability. The 380 gives you power while being the quietest on the Excalibur line. You get the reliability and quality the company is known for with the added bonus features of the Matrix line. Excalibur’s compact Tact-Zone scope works extremely well with these fast crossbows, making for a very happy hunter. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Exceptional scope
  • Comes with 4 arrows and field tips
  • Compact
  • Rope-cocking device

CONS:
  • Not enough illumination on the scope

2.4. High Budget Choices – The Absolute Best For Those Who Can Afford Them

TenPoint Vapor with ACUdrawTenPoint Vapor ACUdraw Review

The TenPoint Vapor is equipped with a RangeMaster Pro scope and ACUdraw. It shoots with a 420-grain arrow, at a powerful 360 fps. This Tenpoint premium bow comes with all the latest technologies and features such as the Functionally Superior Bullpup (FSB) system which help improve balance and maneuverability. The Dry-Fire Inhibitor (DFI) help prevents accident when it is not loaded.   Read our full review.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great speed
  • ACU50 draw allows for smooth performance

CONS:
  • Doesn’t fit all budgets

TenPoint Venom with ACU50tenpoint venom crossbow

The TenPoint Venom is on the high end of the budget spectrum, but not without reason. The light and compact crossbow can shoot 372 fps. The Venom is a neat combination of TenPoint’s FSB stock and a woven carbon fiber barrel. This bow comes with a top quaility TenPoint’s RangeMaster Pro scope that cannot be replaced. Read our full review.

 

PROS:
  • Excellent scope
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great speed

CONS:
  • Doesn’t fit all budgets

 

Excalibur Matrix Bulldog 400 with Twilight DLX – Best OverallMatrix Bulldog 400 Best Crossbow

Another Matrix Bulldog from Excalibur, the 400 Mega shoots at 400 fps, while weighing 6.2lb. It features a built-in release for easy uncocking. Safety doesn’t take a back seat either, the Anti-Dry-Fire System is top notch. It also comes with a four-arrow quiver and bracket, four Diablo bolts, and four 150-grain field point. This is the best overall crossbow according to our professional in-depth review. Read our full review.

PROS:
  • The fastest recurve crossbow
  • Excellent quality
  • Good scope
  • Quiet yet powerful

CONS:
  • Draw weight might make it difficult to pull

 

3. Elements of a Crossbow

Strap
The strap helps hunters to carry the crossbow. Since they are relatively heavy (much heavier than the compound bows) the straps are one of the most important elements.

Scope
The scope determines the precision of your shots and is located at the sight bridge. The range, lens and quality vary from model to model. The calibration of the scope and its range should be in the focus when selecting a crossbow. The scopes can also be waterproof, fog proof and shock proof for added functionality and usefulness when shooting.

Foot Stirrup
Located at the front, the foot stirrup is used when you want to cut the crossbow.

Stack
The stack is the part that you will be actually holding. Note that the stack has 3 areas: the butt (this is used on the shoulder when aiming/shooting), the forestock where you place the opposite trigger hand and hold the crossbow and the grip where you actually place the trigger hand and shoot.

Barrel
The barrel is a part of the stack and is the place where the arrow will normally sit when your crossbow is loaded.

Cocking Mechanism
The cocking mechanism is the element where you cock and uncock the crossbow. Usually there are 2 ways of cocking and uncocking. The first one is by hand and it is usually not recommended as it is hard and may cause inconsistency by moving the cocking mechanism out of its position. A much better and easier option is the rope cocking device that will not affect the cocking mechanism.

Trigger Housing
Usually located at the end of the barrel. It also has several components including latch (holds the string back in a cocked position), trigger (used to fire) and safety mechanism that prevents accident shots.

Arrow Retainer
The arrow retainer keeps the arrow in place when you walk or move the crossbow in various shooting positions.

Bow
The bow in most crossbows consists of:
riser – a metal piece that bows until the end of the stack/barrel
limbs – they give the bow’s power and there may be 2 or 4 limbs)
cams/wheels – they are located at the end of the limbs
– string and cables – they connect the cams/wheels

Arrows
The arrow is, of course, one of the most important components that determine the efficiency and accuracy of the best crossbow. From strong aluminum arrows to carbon and composite arrows there are hundreds of different models available in a variety of fixed and mechanical points.

While you can find the best arrows online, use the one recommended by the crossbow’s manufacturer.

At the end carefully read the manufacturer’s manual and keep it as your thorough guide to make use of the crossbow in the best possible way!

4. How to Choose the Best Crossbow for You

The crossbow industry is a big one, and there are hundreds of products to sift through in order to find the one or ones that are the right fit for you. The first question you need to answer is: what purpose yours will serve.

Once you’ve answered that, your selection will dwindle significantly. Your answer will fall into one of two categories, target shooting and/or hunting. You will then want to look at your experience and skill level.

If you are a beginner, you will need to make sure your crossbow is easy to operate and doesn’t weigh more than you can handle in the ready-to-shoot position. If you plan on using it for years to come, you will want to look into durability. Budget is, of course, a factor but there are quality products that cover a large range and accommodate most budgets.

Budget is, of course, a factor but there are quality products that cover a large range and accommodate most budgets.

Once you’ve covered the basics you will want to get into the more technical aspects before choosing the best one for you. Speed, noise, recoil, trigger pull, and again, weight, will play important roles.

Speed
As far as speed is concerned, the average crossbow will shoot on average between 250 and 350 fps(feet per second). 250 fps is substantial enough for most jobs. If you are looking for a harder hit and flatter trajectory then you will want something closer to the 350 fps mark.

Weight
While shooting at 350 fps lessens the issue of judging your distance, it also means heavier limbs, which brings us back to weight. If you can’t hold it comfortably in a ready-to-shoot position, then it’s too heavy for you.

Noise
More speed in most cases can mean more noise. Noise is a huge factor is you’re shooting to hunt. In recent year, design improvement has made a few faster models with minimal recoil, which means less noise.

Recoil
Minimal recoil is important because a crossbow with severe recoil can be difficult to control. These models are the exception to the more speed, more noise rule.

Trigger Pull
Last but not least, trigger poundage and creep effect. Trigger pull has to be perfect on your cross bow. If the trigger has too much creep, you will be unable to squeeze it steadily and accurately. On the other hand, no creep at all is highly dangerous, as it can shoot without warning.

 

5. Our Overall Best Crossbow on the Market

When doing any kind of shopping, customers always want to know which is the best one. In the case of a crossbow, you need to envision yourself in the situation. You’ll be outdoor for hours, exposed to the elements that change on a whim. Mother nature is ever unpredictable, so you’ll want your crossbow to be the opposite, predictable and reliable. In our case, this translates to simplicity. You want to be able to tune and change your bowstrings without too much hassle.

You also do not want a lot of forward-weight. This means the center of gravity is more towards the shooter, making it easier and more comfortable to keep on your shoulders. With your crossbow sitting comfortably on your shoulders, time will be less of a factor, allowing you more patience as you wait for the perfect prey. Furthermore, this level of patience will aid in your accuracy.

You want your best crossbow to be versatile and capable of taking down all game, big and small. You want it to do so quickly and quietly, with a powerful and sure shot. With that in mind, we would have to choose the Mid-High range powerhouse of a crossbow, Barnett Ghost 410 CRT, as our best overall. Whether you’re a target shooter or a hunter, this crossbow will blow your mind.

This powerful weapon shoots arrows at a superb 410 fps, and it does so accurately. This bow can take down anything. Barnett made most of their crossbows with under 200 lbs worth of draw weight. You won’t necessarily need much strength. It comes with a rope cock that you can adjust to fit the need of your height and arm length. Although it comes with a rope cocking device, you might want to consider a crank cocking device to handle all the power. This bad boy is compact and light in weight, which makes it easy to carry around. The Barnett’s Carbonlite Riser Technology (CRT) is one of its best feature, helping shooter’s with better handling, balance and control.

This powerful top rated bow also comes with a 3×32 four reticle illuminated scope already mounted on and sighted in.

6. Best Hunting Crossbows

Every hunter is different and requires different things when looking for the best hunting crossbow for their trade, so it makes it difficult to choose one to name as the best for hunting. Though we can’t narrow it down to one there are a few basic guidelines one has to follow in order to even be considered for the shortlist of the best hunting crossbow in our reviews.

For starters, you have to have the right speed. There has to be a high enough FPS to kill big game from up to 40 yards away. Most hunters don’t shoot from that far of a distance but you don’t want to cut it close. It’s comforting to know if you wanted to shoot from that distance, you could. The minimum velocity for hunting is 250 fps, but you won’t find a real hunting arrow delivering less than 300 fps.

The last thing you want when hunting is to do any heavy lifting. You want to be one with your best hunting crossbow, therefore you want it to fall under a certain weight. Anything over 8 lbs. isn’t recommended for hunting. You hunt for hours at a time, too much weight would be difficult to maneuver after a certain amount of time.

Getting another scope, aside from the one that comes with your crossbow is always an option, but you don’t want to have to make a separate purchase. Your best crossbow should come with a decent scope. How do you spot a decent scope?

Here are some easy tips to recognize a good scope. One, it has to hold zero for a while. Secondly, it needs a good battery that lasts more than a few months. Lastly, it should come with 3 dots or reticles.

This should probably go without saying but we’ll mention it anyway. Your crossbow needs to make minimal noise when cocking it. If it’s too loud you will obviously lose your prey.

Anything else to consider is strictly on a personal level. It needs to be comfortable in your hands, and over your shoulder. You should feel confident with the trigger. With that said, the best hunter crossbows on our review list would have to be the Excalibur Matrix and the TenPoint Vapor. They both have great speed and accuracy while shooting quietly and safely.

 

7. How to get the most from our crossbow reviews

As there are so many crossbows on the market, these reviews can be a bit overwhelming. To get the most from these reviews know what you need. Ask yourself these important questions: How much speed do I need? Will noise be a problem? How much weight can I handle comfortably? Is there a particular manufacturer that I favor over others? Once you’ve answered these important questions you will be able to know which crossbows you need to look at and compare them. Choosing the best crossbow for you will be much easier when you’ve narrowed down your options by knowing your needs and wants. Use these reviews as a tool to combat the massive crossbow industry.

 

8. Time to purchase the best crossbow for you

Now that you’re informed on the best crossbows out there, and have selected a few that fit your lifestyle best, it’s time to choose one. The purpose of this article is to prepare you for this very important purchase. You should now feel confident in your decision. Good luck and happy shooting.

Here’s a teaser video on how to shoot a Barnett Recruit Crossbow with Carbon Express Maxima Hunter bolts

 

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