Best Compound Bows Reviewed and Rated for Quality
As one of the first hunting tools to be used by man, bows have gone through a lot of changes that have made them more effective than ever before. A recurve is designed with a leveling system that not only makes it more energy efficient but also improves its accuracy. They can be used for target practice and hunting and is a great choice for people of all ages. The market for this item is vast and varied, and it’s hard to keep up with trends in technology and style. At the heart of all this though, are the core values of a quality compound: reliability, quality craftsmanship, and versatility. A well-researched selection from the outset can provide the hunter with a weapon that’ll last many years and fit varied hunting situations with ease.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 19 hrs of research
Quality beginners option
Great for beginners/under 10’s
- Genesis Original Compound Bow
- Barnett Vortex 45 Compound Bow
- Diamond Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow
- Brave Compound Bow
- Predator Archery Raptor Compound Bow
- Leader Accessories Compound Bow
- Cruzer Compound Bow
- Vortex Hunter – Barnett Compound Bow
- Drive R - PSE Compound Bow
- Diamond Archery Edge SB-1 Compound Bow
10 Best Compound Bows
1. Genesis Original Compound Bow
Quality beginners option
Great for beginners/under 10’s
Additional equipment must be bought
The Genesis Original is a weapon for the kids – although it can be shot by all ages. This is a quality piece of equipment and well worth the investment for the young’un starting out. There is no let-off on this – so it pulls more like a traditional longbow or recurve. This makes it simple for kids to shoot as there is no draw length adjustment required.Read more
Quality without the Gimmicks
The Genesis Original comes as the weapon – that’s it. It’s a great starter and can be set up the way you want. This is the official option of the National Archery in the Schools Program.
With age, muscles tend to change, as in gaining more. Being able to adjust the weight will help as your child grows/ It will prepare them for the amount of poundage they will need to actually hunt. Along with the weight, the length is also able to be adjusted. Perfect for thos growing little arms.
Cost and Value
The Genesis Original isn’t cheap in regards to kid’s weapons on the market, but it is the best quality. Accuracy, shooting ability, and reliability are what makes this worth the money – and are a great encouragement to the budding archer. The best children’s compound option available. If they want a compound and you want something that lasts – this is the choice.
2. Barnett Vortex 45 Compound Bow
Can adjust weight without press
Comes with a holder
Backed by a five-year warranty
Works like a full-size
Arrow rest is fragile
Doesn’t come with a manual
Barnett Outdoors is a prestigious company that produces some of the best slingshot, and archery products in the world. One of their top-selling items is the Barnett Vortex 45 compound, which was specially designed with younger and beginner archers in mind. It was made for right-handed people and has a draw weight ranging from 19-pounds to 45-pounds, allowing some room for acclimation.Read more
Easy Weight Changes
The aim of Barnett is to provide you with comfort and convenience when using their products. The Vortex 45 allows for easy weight changes with a design that eliminates the need for a press.
Comparable to Full Size
As a beginner, you still want the same experiences and feelings professionals have when hunting. This product was built to look and work just like a full-sized compound, even though its dimensions and weight are reduced.
Cost and Value
Made in the USA, you can count on great quality for a reasonable price. It also comes with three arrows to get you started and a holder to keep everything organized and maintained.
3. Diamond Infinite Edge Pro Compound Bow
Wide range of adjustment
Long maximum draw length
Light weightless beneficial for target archery
The Infinite Edge Pro comes from Diamond Archery, an offshoot of Bowtech. This means high-quality products at an affordable price. The Infinite Edge Pro builds on the success of the renowned Infinite Edge.Read more
Light Weight Hunting
The Infinite Edge Pro is one of the lighter options on the market. This is great for hunters who demand a weapon that’s easy to lug around in the field. Any concerns about stability are quashed by the added stabilizer.
Another Versatile Package
The Infinite Edge Pro offers a wide adjustable range in draw weights and lengths; making it another great choice for a long-term investment. It is one of few products to offer a maximum draw of 31” for those archers with a long reach.
Cost and Value
Another great value, the Infinite Edge Pro sits in the middle of the range and makes for a great choice economically. The Infinite Edge Pro is a great choice for beginners through to experienced archers.
4. Brave Compound Bow
Great children’s starter
Comes with everything needed to shoot out of the box
A small weapon with short draw length which will soon be outgrown
The Brave is another kid’s option and fills the niche of the starter for small children. This is a good kid’s weapon but shouldn’t be overestimated as it seems to be by many. A toy and a starter that encourages children to get into archery.Read more
Everything is provided
The Brave comes with a whisker biscuit arrow rest fitted – setting it apart from similar products. A single pin sight is a simple aiming mechanism. Also included are two safety glass arrows, a quiver with space for four arrows, arm guard, and finger tab. It also comes with a 3-month warranty.
This one is lightweight for kids to handle successfully. You can adjust the draw weight giving them ample room to grow. Starting out with this bow makes transitioning into an adult size that much more easy.
Cost and Value
The Brave is an affordable beginner product, justifiably more expensive than simple toys as it provides some adjustability. The Brave is a good choice for the little one who wants to follow dad/mom and look the part.
5. Predator Archery Raptor Compound Bow
No plastic pieces
Cams are made of aluminum
Includes 5 pin sight
Has pre-installed peep sight and d-loop
Some complaints about customer service
D-loop may need to be adjusted
The Raptor from Predator Archer has all the extras and accessories you need to shoot like a professional. This includes a whisker biscuit style rest, a five-pin sight, a peep sight, and a d-loop already installed. The split yoke system lets you adjust the arrow for precise aim and boasts a top speed of 315-feet per second, the best in its class.Read more
Unlike other models in the same price range, the Raptor is constructed from high-quality aluminum with no plastics pieces. This gives you a strong product that will last for many years to come.
Adjustable Draw Length
The Predator Archery Raptor is fully adaptable in order to provide you with comfort and convenience. The draw length can be adjusted between 24.5 and 31", and can be done without a press.
Cost and Value
Considering the quality of the material and all the extra features you get with this item, it has one of the best price to quality ratios on the list. It comes in two different colors and is backed by 30 day 100% money-back guarantee.
6. Leader Accessories Compound Bow
Has a max speed of 310-feet per second
No press is needed
Comes with Allen Wrench for adjustments
Special offers available
For right-handed people
Needs to be adjusted out of the box
The Leader Accessories Compound is the perfect equipment for anyone who wants to try something new when it comes to hunting. This equipment is highly recommended by many reviewers due to its superior quality and general characteristics. It boasts a top speed higher than most in its class and includes an Allen Wrench which can be used adjust the draw length and weight to fit your needs.Read more
High Max Speed
Most archery products nowadays have an advertised speed of 300 FPS. But Leather Compound comes with an enhanced design that favors the speed and allows it to increase until the highest speed reaches 310 FPS.
Easy to Adjust Draw Weight
The main purpose of this hunting tool is to help you excel in what you’re doing while decreasing the effort it takes to do it. Leader Accessories does this with a design that makes it easy for anyone to adjust it with a simple twist.
Cost and Value
This item comes in the lower price range and doesn’t include many of the same features others come with, but is still a great buy. You can usually find it on sale and there are also options that include all the accessories you will need.
7. Cruzer Compound Bow
Limited lifetime warranty
World renowned manufacturer
Not already in your hands!
There are many more expensive options on the market, but in all-around performance and compatibility, the Cruzer can’t be beaten. It easily takes top place in our ranking.Read more
The Ultimate in Versatility
These weapons are built for all kinds of specifications – but the Cruzer takes it all in its stride. With adjustable draw weights from an incredible 5 to 70 pounds; and draw length adjustment from 12 to 30 inches – this may well be the only one you’ll ever need.
Anyone Can Use It
Start the kid out with a product that’ll grow with them all the way to adulthood. Dial back the draw weight for the female archer. Or shoot a ‘man-sized’ 70lb hunting bow all in the one package.
Cost and Value
The Cruzer is a very affordable option, sitting in the middle of the pack on this list. It is well worth the investment. This is a fantastic product for anyone looking to get started in archery or the seasoned hunter. There isn’t much this can’t do well.
8. Vortex Hunter – Barnett Compound Bow
Great for beginners/teenagers
Slowest of the bunch – but suited to game such as hogs
This Vortex Hunter makes the list as it ticks several boxes. In the right hands is as competent as a hunting weapon as most. When you consider this alongside the cost – it’s easy to see that this is a good deal more than a kid’s weapon.Read more
Low Cost Killer
The Vortex Hunter doesn’t compete at the same level as other options in terms of components and materials – but that’s to be expected at the price. Draw weights of 45 to 60 pounds easily put it into the hunting weight category.
Now the weight of the draw offers plenty, but what about the overall weight of the bow? Well, we rest assured that this one won't feel like you are carrying a cinder block. This makes carrying it through the thicket even easier.
Cost and Value
The Vortex Hunter is the low-cost option for beginners and teenagers wanting to shoot something with a bit of power. As a starter weapon, this is a good option. The Vortex Hunter is a low-cost alternative to others on the market. Good to test out archery; but if you’re looking for an investment the Bear Cruzer is the best choice.
9. Drive R - PSE Compound Bow
Pro level at mid-range price tag
75% let off
Not as much adjustment capability as some
PSE offers a great package in the Drive R – leading technology producing a Pro-grade option at a fraction of the cost of some. This packs a punch and makes a great hunter.Read more
Fast and Light
The Drive R throws arrows at up to 336 fps which is plenty fast enough. Add to this performance the lightweight, coming in at 3.8 pounds, and you’ve got a fine weapon for the upcoming season.
Easy to Use
Designed with a cam system that is easy to adjust. Which is perfect for beginners as well as veteran bow users. It takes away some of the complications that can arise while sighting and making adjustments to your bow.
Cost and Value
The Drive R ranks in the upper-middle of the price range. For performance and reliability, this is a great value. The PSE Drive R offers experienced archers a great value alternative to pro-level options.
10. Diamond Archery Edge SB-1 Compound Bow
Great for beginners
Reasonable price point
Might be noisy to use
Whether you are shooting for fun or for competition, the Diamond Archery Edge SB-1 compound will serve you well. That's why it made our list. It's a good shooting bow that won't break the bank all too much.Read more
Great for beginners and seasoned archers
This bow is perfect for beginners. For archers that are just starting out and want the thrill of shooting and hitting a bullseye, this bow is for you. It is easy to use. Likewise, this bow is also great for seasoned archers, too. It will aid you while seeking out the large game.
This bow is made for all sorts of users. Like we said above, beginners and seasoned archers. But also, it has 63 pounds of limb adjustment and rotating modules which accommodate for 15-inches of draw length, which means that this bow can fit almost all archers.
Cost And Value
This bow isn't cheap, but that's a good thing. It's also not the most expensive on this list. What it is, is a well-made bow that is easy to use, is adjustable and versatile. We don't think you can go wrong with choosing this Diamond bow.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Talk to ten different hunters and you’ll get ten different answers regarding the importance of arrow speed. Just to get things in perspective, fully accomplished hunters that take to the woods with a longbow or recurve are generally getting it done with an arrow ‘trundling’ along at around 150 feet per second (fps). All but the Barnett Vortex in this list push arrows at over double that speed (the slow coach Vortex measured at 280 fps).
Of course, there are differences – with the general rule for recurve speed designation calculated at a 70lb bow drawn to 30” firing a 350-grain arrow – between these types. Traditional options usually push heavy arrows slower but obviously with more force.
Speed does have its advantages, though. A key one is a flat trajectory. With the arrow traveling so fast, by the time gravity has shown its strength the arrow is well down the range. This means that it’s easier to shoot targets at longer ranges – which has flow-on effects for your hunting style.
Highly-strung species like whitetail deer are well known for their prowess at ‘jumping the string’ of slow bows. This is something to behold. Upon hearing the release of the string, the deer crouches like a coiled spring before launching into an escape – and slower traveling arrows commonly miss over the deer’s back as it crouches. So speed isn’t necessary, but it’s not half-bad either.
As with any popular and marketable product; prices can vary enormously. There’s big money to be had in the hunting industry and correspondingly manufacturers are happy to throw all kinds of tech into products because they know the return will be there.
Price is an important consideration in the selection. High end, quality equipment costs a pretty penny and is a great investment if you’re planning on using it all the time, but mid-range gear is packed full of features too and won’t break the bank. A lot of the most versatile options fit into this class and offer great performance for value.
It’s hard to keep up with who’s who and who’s leading the pack – but some names are synonymous with quality. PSE is a well-regarded manufacturer and can be relied upon for their equipment and customer care.
Bowtech and Obsession options are known for their state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology. Serious hunters rely on these manufacturers to produce equipment that’ll outshine the competition. Barnett Crossbows also produce weapons for budget-minded archers that give an eye-catching performance.
When you think of shooting an arrow with your bow, you might think that speed is the end all be all. But in reality, there's a more important factor at play: achieving accuracy. Yes, speed is important, but how accurate your shot is with your hunting bow outweighs that.
Shooting as fast as we can is awesome, and we get that. But accuracy is key. One factor that can determine accuracy is brace height. Brace height, along with being a consistent shooter and having a well-tuned bow, will help a lot with accurate shots.
The brace height is the measurement from where you grip the bow to the string where you place your arrow. If the brace height is too tall, the shot will be really slow. If it is too short, the shot will be fast but could go wild. You want the brace height to be on the taller side so that it is easier to shoot the bow.
Most archers will find that a brace height of 7-inches is optimal for them. Speed bows often have a 6-inch brace height while bows for competition often have an 8-inch brace height. Anything outside of the 6-8-inch range has another special purpose. So we recommend looking for a bow that is somewhere in-between that range, and it should help you have your most accurate shot. That, and practice of course.
However, if you are extremely experienced in bow shooting, and you have your form down and can do the same thing every single time, then maybe you want to look outside of the 6-8-inches ranges. Here's why:
A smaller brace height means more speed. So, if you have your form and shot on lock, then look towards a smaller brace height. Maybe, 4-5 inches. Since you have already mastered your accurate shot, then you will gain more speed with a bow with a smaller brace height.
Just know, though, that if you have an off day, if your wrist torques or you are shaky on the draw for any reason, with a small brace height, your shooting accuracy will suffer immensely.
Looking into and considering brace height for your purchase is definitely not a beginners game. This feature is something to look for after you've learned to properly hold and shoot with a compound bow. Brace height is definitely an advanced factor to keep in mind for later on if you are not yet a seasoned archer.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Hunters that spend a lot of time in tree stands or blinds will enjoy the maneuverability of shorter options. This also reduces the chance of a cam accidentally hitting an obstacle on a shot – causing a miss and/or spooking the game before the arrow reaches it. Hunters that do a lot of stalking may prefer longer ones – the little extra weight gives slightly more stability and longer options tend to have better accuracy at greater distances.
Other Factors to Consider
Choosing a bow is a very personal affair. The bow has to be matched to the archer, not the other way round – so take the time to understand your personal specifications and limitations. Then Compare the suitable options to the type of work you’ll be doing. Are you a ‘couple of times a season’ type of person; or someone who dedicates serious amounts of time to the sport? Do you hunt from trees or the ground? Are you chasing turkeys or deer? All of these considerations need to be factored in, but in the end, you’ll have a piece of equipment all but made-to-measure.
The draw weight or poundage is how much force it takes to draw the string back to full draw. Compounds have an ergonomic, mechanical advantage over traditional options in that the action of the cams reduce the effort required by the archer to hold it at full draw. An initial fast increase in energy is followed by a ‘let-off’ in pulling power needed as the cams kick in. This doesn’t take away from the power – it just transfers the energy into the mechanical system rather than forcing the archer to work.
The number one rule for anyone, particularly those starting out, is a comfort. If you can’t draw and hold the weapon comfortably, there’s no chance of maintaining accuracy and consistency – which makes shooting a chore rather than fun. Instilling proper shooting form is paramount to accuracy, so don’t worry about power at first. There’s nothing wrong with starting out as light as you need to and building up from there as you gain strength – and this is a good reason to choose a weapon that can be adjusted to a range of draw weights.
The biggest game walking North America can be killed with a bow in the 40-pound draw class. Native American stick bows never got any more powerful than perhaps 45lb and they did just fine. But generally, ‘hunting weight’ options start at around 50lb and go on up through 70lb. These, with suitably matched arrows and broadheads, are capable of penetrating thick hide and bone and making a real mess to all kinds of game animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are cheaper options reliable hunting weapons?
Yes and no. As with anything, you get what you pay for. The cheapest option capable of hunting in this list packs more than enough punch to take down North American big game – but perhaps at the cost of reliability in components such as string and cams – the things that are under a lot of continuous strain. Top shelf products aren’t going to make an animal more dead than a mid-range one. Shot placement and sharp broadheads are the most important factors in hunting and consistently killing game – bar none.
q: How important is let-off percentage at full draw?
It depends on what you want to do with your weapon. Guys that shoot traditional are happy with no let-off, actually, the opposite happens (called stacking). But for those that like to take their time on the target range, a high percentage let-off makes for very comfortable sighting. This is also a great advantage when hunting sharp-eyed game, as the weapon can be drawn at an opportunity when the animal is looking the other way and the hunter can then wait for the shot to present itself.
q: What is an adult hunting weight bow?
The simple answer is ‘Whatever you’re comfortable shooting that has enough power to adequately penetrate the target species.’ For a small game this might be 40lb; for a moose, it might be 70lb. As has been said, proper shot placement is most important; and this will only be achieved with accurate shooting.
q: Are these ambidextrous?
No. Recurves are either designed for right or left-handed shooters. It will specify somewhere in the technical details (and usually in a designation in the name). A right-handed option is usually designated RH; and LH for left-handed.
q: Which brands are the best?
Cruzer and Bowtech are at the top of their game, and will usually provide the best recurves for their offered prices. Diamond Archery is also at the top of the list and has been singled out by many users as having a superior grasp on the mechanics. Picking any of these three companies will usually get you a quality product, and they’re reliable enough to offer a lot of options for both left and right-handed users. This is across most of their flagship models and gives the buyer a lot of choices from the start.
q: Can a recurve have multiple uses?
Yes, even with specialized types being available. A recurve can be used for hunting, target shooting or even competitions. Whatever its use is entirely up to you, so make sure that your recurve features match up with your intended application. There are so many optimizations and tweaks available for recurves that they are versatile enough to work in any situation.
They have more pros than cons, and with a little bit of effort, a single bow can work for multiple uses. How it is customized is up to the user, but very little effort is required. With a big enough carrying case, you won’t even have to worry about swapping out accessories. This will make you ready for any trip that requires a recurve, leaving you one less thing to pack.
q: Why is draw length and weight important?
Both of these specifications have a huge impact on how useful your recurve is. Draw length tells you how far you can pull the string back before it stops. This ties directly into accuracy, and correct shooting posture. There are also safety concerns associated with not having the correct draw length. The good news is that this can always be customized by the owner or a professional. The bad news is that there is no universal draw length available for everyone to use. Finding the sweet spot for your recurve is one of the first things to do after buying it. Once draw length is set up the first time, doing it becomes a lot easier each time afterward.
Weight is a little more complicated and has a lot to do with your own personal strength. While heavier draw weights will let you give off a faster shot, that extra speed becomes useless if you can’t hold the full draw in place. A comfortable draw weight lets you hold it at the peak without stressing out your joints. Let off percentage is generous across the top tier recurves, and this is what lessens the weight of a peak pull. Factoring in the weight you can handle without affecting your shot should be based on how high the let-off percentage is.
q: Is there a set length ?
If you’re going to be moving around a lot, a shorter option is preferable so it won’t get caught on things. This applies to hunters that are moving around a lot in the fields, or for hunters that are in tree stands with limited space. It’s all about having the most controllable weapon without being weighed down while moving.
For regular recurve users that are simply shooting targets, the normal length is usually longer than the 30-32 inches for hunting bows. They are made longer since the user doesn’t have to worry about it getting caught on things. But once again, these are not rules, and anyone can have as long or as short as they want.
q: How much noise does it make?
This is a question that is important to recurve users that hunt. A loud option will only scare away the prey, and potentially give away your position. Not all of the energy is transferred into the weapon that is being fired so that lost energy becomes vibrations. That is the importance of vibration dampeners in a modern weapon, which serves to minimize the sound caused by firing off an arrow. Even without the use of dampeners, the noise has been reduced a lot in modern design, making it an efficient way to take down game.
q: Is a bare bow superior to ready-to-shoot?
Yes, but it is highly associated with the level of the user. Bare bows provide the highest customizability, letting you turn it into something that favors your style. Ready-to-shoot options come with accessories already attached, even if you don’t desire some of those extras.
For a beginner, this might be an attractive option, and even for some seasoned buyers, it has its uses. There are also many cases where ready-to-shoot weapons came out as a better value than a bare product after buying all the extra attachments. In the long run, bare is the better value since you can turn it into the recurve you’ve always wanted.
q: Can you purchase a top-tier weapon for a low price?
Yes, and it has become easier than ever to get a recurve with all of the accessories. A little bit of research in finding out what features you desire the most will show a lot of compatible options for sale, many of them being used by professionals. The prices reflect how easy it is to get your hands on a recurve that is rated highly, including bare and ready-to-shoot options.
Top tier recurves at a low price have been a thing for years, with their accessories also meeting the demand for more customer-friendly prices. Cases have received the biggest price slash since their creation, and have proven to be just as important as the ammo. With the money saved on buying a recurve, buyers can put the rest of their funds towards a quality hard or soft case. So with some smart shopping around, you can have a complete top tier set without breaking the bank.
q: Why do they feel different at full draw?
Sоmе have a hard back-wall іn the lеt-оff valley whіlе оthеrѕ аrе ѕоftеr. The fееl оf the bасk wall is rеlаtеd to thе shape оf the hаrnеѕѕ trасk іn thе аrеа of let-off. This аgаіn is the аrеа thе harness contacts when іt соmеѕ сlоѕеѕt tо thе axle аt thе еnd of thе drаw. If thе trасk is flаt аnd lоng here, thе саm саn’t rоtаtе аnу fаrthеr – thе harness pretty muсh lосkѕ іt frоm turnіng farther. Thе bасk wаll wіll bе vеrу ѕоlіd. If thе trасk іѕ rounded іn thіѕ area, you саn еаѕіlу рull thе cam a bіt fаrthеr. The bасk wаll wіll bе ѕоft аnd muѕhу.
Dеѕіgnеrѕ аlѕо рrоduсе a solid back wаll bу using drор ѕtорѕ. Thеѕе ѕmаll реgѕ оr modules аttасh to the саm and either contact thе limb at full drаw tо stop the draw оr thеу come аrоund and contact thе hаrnеѕѕ to ѕtор thе саm rotation. Eіthеr wау, these drаw stops rерrеѕеnt a mесhаnісаl mеthоd of ѕtорріng thе draw соld.
Regardless оf hоw thе ѕоlіd wаll іѕ created, уоu dеfіnіtеlу wаnt a bоw that hаѕ thіѕ feature. A ѕоlіd wall рrоduсеѕ a consistent drаw length. Whеn аіmіng аt full draw уоu need something concrete and unсhаngіng that you саn рull аgаіnѕt.
q: How does let off occur?
An eccentric саm іѕ just a convenient way tо расkаgе twо lеvеrѕ – a tееtеr-tоttеr if уоu will. Onе arm of the teeter-totter extends frоm thе hаrnеѕѕ tо thе аxlе аnd thе оthеr еxtеndѕ bеуоnd thаt frоm thе аxlе оut tо thе ѕtrіng. In a ѕеnѕе, thе tееtеr-tоttеr has twо unеԛuаl wеіght сhіldrеn moving in tоwаrd thе pivot аnd back оut toward the end to gаіn an advantage оn еасh оthеr to make іt ріvоt. Yоu саn see thіѕ fоr уоurѕеlf bу watching thе ессеntrісѕ whіlе рullіng bасk оn thе ѕtrіng. At fіrѕt, thе string wіll bе сlоѕе tо thе аxlе аnd then wіll mоvе away. Thе hаrnеѕѕ will ѕtаrt аwау frоm thе аxlе and thеn соmе іn close.
You gеt “lеt оff” when thе harness іѕ rіght nеxt to the аxlе. Thе string nоw hаѕ mаxіmum lеvеrаgе. Thе small child іѕ then ѕіttіng at thе end оf the tееtеr-tоttеr while balancing a much lаrgеr child ѕіttіng rіght nеxt tо the pivot point. Bесаuѕе оf this mесhаnісаl advantage, уоu dоn’t need tо рull vеrу hаrd tо kеер thе ѕtіff lіmbѕ flеxеd аt full draw аnd ѕtоrіng lots of energy.