A compound bow is guaranteed to take your archery practice to the next level. The ease of using a compound bow means more arrows on target and a lower likelihood of coming home from your next hunting trip empty handed.
Compound bows utilize a levering system of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs. Through this system, the user only needs about 20-30 percent of the effort that would be required to draw and shoot a traditional bow, such as a recurve bow or longbow (1).
Compound bows also shoot arrows much faster than traditional bows. This means the arrow flies through a flatter arc and increases its relative accuracy. It also means arrows arrive at their target with greater force, which will improve the likelihood of a kill when an arrow hits its mark.
Our list of the 10 Best Compound Bows includes the best on the market today.
1. Diamond Archery Infinite Edge
The lightweight and sturdy construction of the Infinite Edge bow make it great for beginners and young archers. It also features easy-to-adjust draw length and weight and offers a total weight of just 3.2 pounds.
An excellent multi-shooter bow, Diamond Archery has designed with an extended draw length for longer draw archers and an infinite draw setting. The package that comes with this bow included a 3-pin tundra sight, Hostage XL arrow rest, DeadLock lite octane quiver, tube peep sight, BCY string loop, comfort wrist sling, and 5-inch ultralight octane stabilizer.
2. Predator Archery Raptor
The RAPTOR compound bow from Predator Archery is a great bow for hunting, bow fishing, target practice, and more. A great option for experienced archers that desire adjustability, it features an adjustable draw length range of 24.5 to 31 inches. The bow’s draw weight can also be adjusted between 30 and 70 pounds without the need for a bow press.
This bow boasts fully machined aluminum cams with zero plastic. Capable of firing a 350-grain arrow at speeds up to 315 feet per second when at max settings, it offers an axle-to-axle length of 30 inches and an overall weight of just 3.6 pounds. The accessories that come with this bow package include a 5-pin sight with light and level, Whisker Biscuit style rest, and stabilizer. The peep sight and loop come pre-installed.
3. SAS Rage
Specifically designed to be easy for first-time archers to aim and draw, the 4.4-pound SAS Rage compound bow offers an adjustable draw weight of 55 to 77 pounds and is capable of producing enough power to take down small and medium prey.
This bow features a draw length of 26 to 30 inches and will shoot at a maximum speed of 270 feet per second. The package includes the bow as well as a 5-pin bow sight, arrow rest, stabilizer, braided bow sling, and peep sight.
4. Martin Archery Featherweight
Designed specifically for right-handed archers, this bow from Martin Archery uses Kestrel cams to provide impressive arrow speeds up to 340 feet per second. Constructed from carbon, this bow is both durable and lightweight.
The Carbon Featherweight bow delivers excellent power and accuracy and comes with a flashy black finish. It also boasts quiet, vibration-free performance and its rounded grip is formed for the comfort of your hand.
5. Bear Archery Moment
This is a bow designed to provide improved accuracy for archers that do most of their shooting from ground blinds or tree stands because it offers a compact shooting platform capable of delivering top-end speed and balance.
Bear Archery designed the Moment compound bow with quick-grip Acquisition technology and a 31-inch ATA length. It also features SonicBonds that absorb vibration and sound and a high-strength barrel nut for fully adjustable pivoting movement of the limb pocket.
6. Quest Radical
Another amazing bow for right-handed archers, the Quest Radical offers an easily adjustable cam system that requires no bow press. It also boasts an adjustable draw length ranging from 17.5 to 30 inches.
With an axle-to-axle measurement of 29.25 inches and a draw weight of 15 to 70 pounds, this bow is capable of firing arrows at speeds up to 295 feet per second. The Quest Radical Right Hand Package also includes a string suppressor, 6-arrow quiver, Halo rest, G5 stabilizer, sling, peep, and a tool-less 4-pin sight.
7. Bear Archery Cruzer
This bow from Bear Archery is an excellent option for anyone that needs a bow that’ll have you ready to start hunting from the moment you take it out of the box. The bow’s string suppressor and stabilizer are designed to smooth and quiet the bow’s performance.
The Cruzer is constructed from lightweight and durable aluminum and designed to last for years. It has shot arrows that have been clocked at 310 feet per second and is adjustable for draw lengths from 12 to 30 inches and peak draw weights from 5 to 70 pounds.
8. PSE Drive R
A great option for archers looking for pro-level performance at a reasonable price, this bow measures 30 inches from axle to axle and offers a brace height of 6.75 inches. With a 75-percent let off, this bow can shoot arrows at a speed up to 336 feet per second.
This bow also boasts a draw length range of 25 to 30.5 inches and a draw weight of 60 pounds. The PSE Drive R Package includes an AMP Pro Sight, Phantom Dropaway Rest, Spire Stabilizer, Raven Quiver, PSE Neoprene Sling, Red Aluminum Peep Sight, and Nock Loop.
9. Hoyt Carbon Defiant
Hoyt is commonly known as one of the best designers of carbon bows. Carbon offers several advantages in bow construction, including vibration reduction, cold weather comfort, lethal accuracy, and rugged durability.
The Hoy Carbon Defiant compound bow uses offset riser technology to reduce vibration and increase strength and stiffness. This bow also features dual cable stops for a solid back wall, a brace height of 7 inches, and a total weight of just 3.6 pounds.
10. Obsession DefCon M2 7
Manufactured by Obsession Bows, the DefCon M2 7 is one of the quietest bows on the market today, which makes it excellent for stealth hunting. It also offers impressive arrow speeds of more than 340 feet per second.
The DefCon is designed with a solid back wall and interchangeable half-inch increments draw length mods. It features a draw length of 27.5″ – 31.0″, a brace height of 7 inches, a draw weights of up to 70 pounds, and an overall weight of 4.4 pounds.
The oldest known archery artifacts were found in Europe and date back to the late Paleolithic era, between 11,000 and 9,000 years ago (2). Bows have grown in complexity and efficacy since then, and this guide will focus on several characteristics that’ll help you decide which bow is right for you.
The first step to finding a new compound bow is determining your dominant eye. Often referred to as “ocular dominance,” most of our brains actually prefer visual input from one eye or the other. Usually, your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant writing or throwing hand.
If you’re unsure, there are three easy steps to find your dominant eye. First, place hands at arm’s length and press thumbs and forefingers together to form a triangle. Next, keep both eyes open, look through the triangle, and center it on something, such as a doorknob.
Finally, close one eye and then the other. Your dominant eye is the one that keeps the doorknob centered in the triangle when the other eye is closed.
A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used to transform rotary motion into linear motion, or vice versa (3). Cams are at the center of the mechanical advantage that compound bows provide over traditional bows.
The cams in every compound bow have a specific profile. A cam’s profile details the actual geometry of the cam system, which determines how soft or aggressive the bow’s power stroke will be. In general, a more aggressive, harder cam equates to more energy storage and faster arrow speeds.
The video below will explain some of the intricacies of cam adjustment.
Draw Length and Draw Weight
Determining the correct bow for you requires an understanding of your draw length. This can be found by measuring your wingspan from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other while your arms are spread wide. Now divided that number by 2.5 to find your draw length. It’s important that you don’t buy a bow with a draw length that’s too short or too long.
Draw weight is a measurement of how many pounds you can pull back with the bow. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect formula for determining draw weight like there is for draw length. A good recommendation for novice archers, however, is to start with a low-poundage bow.
As you gain experience and strength, you’ll be able to draw more weight and, as a result, you’ll be able to shoot further. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to find compound bows with adjustable draw lengths and draw weights.
Most new compound bows start around $299 on the low end and top out over $1,000. Deciding how much to spend depends on your unique budget, but it’s important to remember that a higher priced bow doesn’t necessarily mean a “better” bow.
Many flagship bow brands today boasts about arrow speeds, but you should remember that a faster bow doesn’t necessarily cost more to produce. At the end of the day, a compound bow is a muscle-powered machine. If a bow is capable of shooting faster, it typically requires more total muscle energy to draw back.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first known use of bows and arrows in combat was in 2340 B.C. by the Babylonians (4) and many consider archery to be one of the oldest sports in the world. To help you learn more about this age-old tradition, we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions about compound bows.
What is the main advantage of a compound bow?
With a standard recurve bow the amount of energy stored follows a more or less even curve with very little energy stored in the first few inches of the draw and progressively more energy stored with each successive inch. Because of cams the compound bow achieves peak energy within the first few inches of the draw and this energy remain more or less constant throughout. As a result the compound bow stores more energy and shoots faster than a recurve bow.
What are the disadvantages of a compound bow?
To begin with, they have many more moving parts than a recurve bow. More parts mean more potential points where the bow could fail. Also, because of the greater amount of energy stored dry firing is more likely to damage the bow. In addition, they are on average heavier than recurve bows, and replacing strings can be a complicated matter too. Finally, a mechanical release aid is often recommended in order to avoid derailing the string.
What does the term “brace height” mean?
Brace height is the difference between the “throat” of the grip and the string when the bow is at rest. A shorter brace height means the string remains in contact with the arrow over a longer distance. The effect of this leads to faster arrow speeds, but also means a longer period for movement of the shooter to transfer to the arrow. Shorter brace heights, then, are typically less forgiving of shooter error.
What is a “riser”?
A riser is essentially the chassis of the bow. It functions to hold the limbs of the bow and provide a place for a handle. It is also where the arrow rest, stabilizer, sight, and other items are typically mounted. A good riser should be light, strong, and inflexible.
What is “creep”?
Creep happens when an archer is at full draw but allows the bowstring to ease forward slightly before releasing an arrow. This form flaw is usually caused by poor skeletal alignment and a loss of back tension.
How fast can an arrow shot from a compound bow go?
IBO Speed (5) is a standardized measure for stating the speed at which a bow shoots its arrow. The fastest shooting production bows in circulation have fired at speeds up to 370 feet per second (fps). In comparison, the fastest traditional bows are lucky to reach speeds of 180 fps. Add these kind of speeds to a good broadhead and the result will be deadly.
At what distance is a compound bow effective for hunting?
In general anything beyond 60 yards is considered outside the effective range of most compound bows. But there are exceptions to every rule and if you have the right bow and are an experienced bow hunter you may be able to take down sizeable game at twice that distance, as you will see in the video below.
How does draw length impact accuracy?
If draw length is too short, accuracy can suffer because it will be harder to maintain reference points when aiming. Conversely, if draw length is too long the natural tendency becomes to tilt the head back slightly in order to see through the peep sight. This causes a host of other issues, including poor shooting form and improper back posture.
How do you determine draw length?
Draw length is typically measured in inches. Start by measuring your wingspan when determining draw length. Today’s compound bows are mostly adjustable, so finding a bow that is within one inch of your wingspan should be your goal.
How long should your arrows be?
The proper arrow length depends on your draw length. A good general rule is to NEVER buy arrows that are shorter than your draw length. For beginner’s, it is recommended to find an arrow that is one or two inches longer than your draw length.
How is arrow length measured?
Arrow length is found by measuring from the nock’s deepest groove to the end of the shafts. Arrow length doesn’t include the point or insert.
How long does it take to become a good archer?
The answer to this question will be different for each individual. Like any new hobby, the more you practice the better you’ll get. When starting out, however, we always recommend getting help from an experienced instructor.
Are there compound bows for men and women?
There are. Most bow companies manufacturer bows specifically for men and women, with some also making bows especially for kids. Women’s compound bows will usually weigh less, be physically smaller and have smaller grips to accommodate women’s smaller hands. Kids bows will be even smaller and lighter with even smaller grips.
Should I buy a used bow?
While it’s entirely up to you whether to buy a used compound bow or not, we would argue against it unless you are highly experienced and know how to identify possible defects or damage. Buying and using a defective bow could be hazardous to your health.
A good compound bow will be a fun and effective tool for target practice or small-to-medium game hunting. We hope you’ve found the reviews of these ten bows and the information in our buyer’s guide useful in selecting a new compound bow!