If you’re looking for the best compound bow in a budget, you’ve come to the right place. If you are in a hurry we have made a short summary for you here.
It doesn’t matter who you are. A pro archer wanting to improve, a first-timer who wants to experience the joy of hunting, or a young soul being curious, I’ve got just the right suggestions!
Truth be told, finding the right compound bow isn’t easy. Ask me because I’ve been in the game for close to a decade now, and information overload on the internet still confuses me.
But I’ve done the research to make your life easier, so there’s no need for you to go from website to website. Hi, I’m Andy from good old’ Texas, and in this guide, I’m going to be giving you some of my best compound bow reviews.
And you’ll also learn how exactly you can pick the best bows. Just like I do!
So, keep reading.
1. Diamond Infinite Edge Pro- Best Overall
- Wide draw length range between 13 and 31 inches
- Accelerates arrows to up to 310 ft/sec
- Redesigned cam system for a flawlessly smooth draw
When I’m not “chasing” whitetail deer across the savannah, I’m usually practicing at my make-shift archery range at home. I tried the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro after hearing a lot of good things from my huntin’ pals. Near perfect ratings on Amazon also made it tempting to go for a quick buy and take this baby out for a spin.
What I found out after over 100 hours of use left me wanting to talk about it more than ever.
This is the best compound bow when it comes to adjustability. Period! Right from my very first use, I was amazed at how the manufacturers provided so many options to suit every preference. Weighing a mere 3.2 lbs, this bow comes with a solid aluminum construction that’s stronger than it might look.
The handmade string by Octane also brings the same level of durability as the rest of the bow.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a left-handed or right-handed hunter, you can use this bow all the same. The draw length and draw weight also offer a lot of variety, ranging from 13” to 31” and 5 to 70 lbs, respectively.
And in the hands of the right marksman, the arrow can reach a velocity of 310 feet/second. I think I reached that level at least a couple of times while hunting in Newton County.
The things that’ll help you hunt even better is the deadly combo of the 3-pin tundra sight, a stabilizer, and an arrow rest. The tundra sight aided by the peep sight will help you aim accurately and get the shots you deserve.
Its stabilizer and arrow rest are also crafted in a non-complicated way, eliminating the need for mechanical parts as much as possible. That’s to reduce the risk of breaking.
One underrated aspect I don’t see people talking about enough is the fact that this bow is deadly silent. And this is thanks to the ultra-light stabilizer that stops the string vibrations in its tracks. When you’re out on a hunt, silence is exactly what you need to land the perfect kill.
What could’ve been better?
Unfortunately, not everything is right as rain with the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro. After a month of shooting, I noticed the knob that holds the string feel kind of “loose.” And if I didn’t take it to get repaired, I’m sure it would’ve broken and cost me a lot of money for a replacement. Also, you might need to tune the bow a bit before taking it out.
- Incredible adjustability options to suit every preference
- Get build quality and stabilization elements
- More silent than most bows
- Aiming and shooting becomes a breeze thanks to the Tundra Sight
- Some elements of the bow could’ve been sturdier
2. Southland Archery Supply SAS Outrage- High-quality at a low price
- Compressed ABS Limbs for long life
- Net weight: 4.4 lbs
- Draw Length: 25" - 31"
For those of you who find the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro out of budget, I bring you the SAS Outrage. Costing almost as half as the former, this is one bow offering a ton of VFM. I borrowed it in pristine condition from a buddy of mine who always preaches that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good hunting bow. And I agree!
The first aspect I noticed about this bow (as I usually do) is its build quality). Its riser is made of sturdy aluminum, and it lends a high strength to weight ratio, something that many beginners and pros would be fond of. On one hand, the bow gets the ability to withstand high-pressure, and on the other, the weight remains light for easy carrying.
This compound bow gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to accessories. I especially like how it has been constructed to be compatible with a broad range of quivers and sights. In place of a stabilizer, the manufacturer has placed an adaptor, which could be a bit problematic in case yours starts producing noise. I suggest using a custom stabilizer for the best results.
Newbies will appreciate the 35” axle to axle measurement, which is easier on string torque. Apart from that, I really liked how the cam system works with this bow. The dual eccentric cam makes shooting more accurate by reducing nock travel. Overall, I’d say the bow performs quite well in the shooting department, given its price.
I wouldn’t complain about the 4.4 lbs weight (which is higher than Diamond Infinite Edge Pro at 3.2 lbs). However, this bow is a bit noisier, which is a surprise because more weight almost always tends to correlate with less noise.
Thankfully, you have the choice of buying limb dampeners and string silencers. Using some custom parts, I scored good game during hunting sessions.
What could’ve been better?
As I mentioned before, noise is a bit of an issue here. Especially if you’re trying to hunt at the dead of night. Also, this bow is NOT for left-handers. So, I advise caution despite what other left-handed users and reviewers might be saying. The tradeoff is entirely yours to judge.
- Super affordable and comes with great features
- Sturdy aluminum and fiberglass construction
- Allows for a wide array of customizability
- Accuracy is good along with overall handling
- Can make noise if you’re not using a dampener
- Dual cam system can take some time to get used to
3. Bear Archery Species RTH- Best for Hunting
Now this one is all about hunting. The Bear Archery Species RTH is marketed as the ideal bow for the “beginner hunter,” but does it live up to the claim? Well, I got a chance to try it out alongside my nephew (who’s a young adult btw), and I must say, I was modestly surprised how it performed. In the end, we both were satisfied with the outcome.
Starting with the build quality, I must give props to the manufacturer for how well they managed to balance the weight to the overall “feel” of the product. Although, this product weighs 6 lbs (which is greater than the first two bows I reviewed here), holding it steady doesn’t feel like work at all.
In fact, my nephew held it longer in sight than I expected. And this was probably his 3rd time on a hunt.
User-friendliness is one of the areas where this model excels, as you get everything fully loaded right out of the box. Just unpack and take it out for a spin. I did have to readjust the peep sight a little, but that’s just the finicky me being extra careful. The Endurafiber Limbs feel solid to touch and lets anyone customize the weight and fit to their preference.
Out on the hunt, we spotted a whitetail at a distance of no more than 150 meters away. Naturally, I went for the shot and noticed how smooth its draw is and how fast it shoots the arrow. According to the brand, this bow can shoot up to an impressive 320 FPS!
I also need to mention that this bow is super silent thanks to its limb dampeners that mask the shock and vibration.
The impressive single cam system will let you shoot from anywhere, in any situation, without experiencing a harsh draw. And even if you do feel severe string angle, at 23-30 inches, the feeling of string angle steepness will feel drastically low. I highly recommend this bow to every young adult hunter.
What could’ve been better?
Truth be told, I didn’t find any single attribute that can be seen as a shortcoming. Sure, I was expecting it to be even more silent, given how much it weighs, but it’s a minor flaw that I’d happily overlook. Aside from possible manufacturing defects, I don’t think you need to be cautious about anything.
- Excellent bow for amateur hunters
- Staggering speed of up to 320 FPS!
- Super smooth draw and precision
- Excellent value for money
- Can be used right out of the box (may need minor tweaks)
- Nothing significant (really!)
4. Quest Radical Bow- Best for Beginners
- Easily adjustable cam system that requires no bow press
- Draw Length: 17.5-30 Inch
- Suppressor, quiver, rest, stabilizer, sling, peep and a 4...
I say the Quest Radical is ideal for beginners sheerly due to its ease of use, made possible by low weight and adjustability features. To be honest, the first time I heard about this brand was when a friend of mine lend me his. “I want your opinion,” he said. Well, despite my reservations, I ended up falling in love with this.
With a total heft of three and a quarter pounds, this model is one of the lightest in its class. But light doesn’t mean unreliable because its aluminum parts make sure that the bow can withstand rough handling. In a way, I’ll say that this model is deceivingly simple in appearance.
Some parts, however, are made of plastic. Those parts are not that impressive to look at, but I won’t complain. As far as performance is concerned, I didn’t find anything severely lacking in comparison to the other products I reviewed before.
The default draw length is set at 25 inches but can be adjusted between 17.5 and 30 inches. This, when combined with the draw weight of anything between 15-70 lbs, your arrows will reach a maximum speed of 295 feet/second.
The two cams you get are easily adjustable and does not need the help of a bow press. This lets everyone tweak the settings to their own convenience in order to get the perfect precision and force. Regardless of the speed, this bow always maintains its ability to keep shots smooth. With a little practice, you should be hitting the bull’s eye in no time!
Another underrated element of this bow is its silent nature. Yeah, I know I talked about this before, but I cannot stress enough how important it is. Sometimes, the noise a bow makes right after releasing a shot could mean the difference between a successful hit and a miss. Surely enough, this product will give you enough options to adjust features to suit you best.
What could’ve been better?
Although it’s no big deal to me personally, but I know for a fact that many hunters and marksmen will be put off by the plastic bits in its body. To a newbie, visual elements may not mean much, but I have to admit that the plastic portions do feel a little flimsy too.
And that could be just my brain telling me to find faults. Don’t let this aspect of the Quest Radical Bow deter you from buying it.
- Good build and excellent user-friendly features
- A multitude of adjustments for every user
- Suitable for both beginners and pros
- Contains some plastic parts
5. iGlow Archery Hunting Compound Bow- Best for bow fishing
- 30 - 55 lbs Draw Weight (Adjustable) with Arrow Speed at...
- Draw Length: 19" - 29". Axle to Axle: 28". Let off: 70%....
- Aluminum Riser. Compression Molded Fiberglass Limb.
Now, this compound bow is one which people who really want something cheap can get. However, as affordable cheap it might be, the bow isn’t the one to fail on its promises. I found that out first-hand after taking it out for bow fishing. Somehow, I wasn’t convinced it would be suitable for an actual hunt. But boy, oh boy, was I wrong!
Say whatever you want, but the whole idea of bowfishing doesn’t entice me that much. I think it has something to do with shooting in the water. Well, my friend, Alex, convinced me to go “shoot some fish,” and I swear my whole idea of bowfishing changed. Turns out, you actually do need skills to catch fish with a bow. And most importantly, you can have fun doing it!
The iGlow Hunting Bow is a great product, having commendable build quality. It’s light due to the combination of the aluminum riser and molded fiberglass limb, making it very easy to carry around. This bow would be ideal for women and teens too, come to think of it. And it’s best for bow fishing in particular because you have to move around to keep the aim on point.
What I loved the most while shooting carp is how natural the draw and hold feel. The 50 lbs draw, and 25 lbs hold felt just right, considering the fact that I’m used to twice those numbers when hunting deer. And when you finally let loose, the shooting speed can reach higher than 296+ FPS.
THAT from a 3.3 lbs bow? Impressive! Plus, you get a few decent adjustability features to tweak settings. The peep sight (which you have to install yourself btw) is decent and can be removed/replaced if you so prefer. I didn’t try anything custom, but many people do suggest getting better sights and arrow rest.
The manufacturer recommends using carbon arrows for the best results. By the end of the day, I was smiling ear to ear with our catch of Carp and Gar thanks to this bow.
What could’ve been better?
One thing that could be a drawback for some people is the fact that you’ll need some time adjusting the draw weight and length. Also, the instruction manual doesn’t come in much handy. Given this is a starter bow, I wouldn’t complain about the arrow sight and rest feeling cheap. I’m sure you can do better with after-market sets.
- Excellent starter bow, available at a low price
- Good build quality
- Easy to use and carry around
- Sight and arrow rest feel flimsy
6. Gen-X Bow- Great for target practice
- Ready for field and range.
- Provides shooters with an easier, smoother draw cycle that...
- Compact and lightweight, this bow won’t hinder a trip to...
It’s remarkable that even after hunting for such a long time, I still hear about brands that I’ve never heard about before. This bow by Gen-X is one such product that managed to take me by surprise. Even though not as popular, this bow brings all the goodness of higher-priced variants at a more affordable budget. And you get to choose between left and right-hand options too!
Compact and lightweight- that’s how I’d describe the build quality of the Gen-X bow. Weighing only 3.4 lbs, it is one of the lightest products in the market. You’d think the machined aluminum riser and the aluminum idler wheel and cam would make the build flimsy, but you would be wrong! The company has well-balanced aluminum features with the composite limbs to make it feel robust.
The single-cam in this bow will let you shoot in your ideal velocity as the draw weight goes high as much as 40 lbs. The progressive let-off construction will allow you to make an adjustment to the draw weight easily, allowing steadier shots in changing situations. But if you’re someone who happens to prefer lighter draw weight, it could be brought down to 25 lbs.
I’d highly recommend this product to beginners as it has features like adjustable draw length (21” to 30”), 35 ½” axle-to-axle construction for better aim, and lower weight. BUT it never feels like a starter bow at any point. In fact, I was convinced at one point that this would be my go-to bow from now on. But then realized, I have to keep trying new things to keep y’all informed.
Oh, forgot to mention the smooth draw circle. It makes things a hell lot easier if you’re a beginner and significantly improve your shooting. The machined aluminum riser, since it comes tapped and pre-drilled, you can attach accessories easily. This further increases its utility to a newbie. Overall, I highly recommend this model.
What could’ve been better?
As great as this Gen-X bow is, I wouldn’t recommend it for hunting sessions unless what you’re after, is small game. Also, the square grip might take some time to get used to, which was the case with my friend. However, if you plan on using this bow in the archery range, I don’t think there could be anything better since its features will allow you to improve constantly.
- Built durability with components made in the US
- Excellent adjustability features
- Ideal for beginners due to its low weight
- Affordable enough to be gifted
- Might not be the best for hunting
7. RAPTOR Compound Bow- Complete kit with all you need
- PERFECT PLATFORM – Whether you’re a hunter, bowfishing...
- FULLY ADJUSTABLE – With an axle to axle length of 30”...
- HIGH QUALITY MACHINING – Both the cams and modules are...
Now, we’re settling into the serious category. Although the RAPTOR Compound set doesn’t cost much, it comes with plenty of items that may confuse a newbie. To me, this is terrific because even though the market has enough ready-to-shoot sets, it’s tough to find anything as good as this one. And that too at such an affordable price.
How did it perform? Let’s find out.
Given the weight, you might expect the limbs of the bow to feel cheap, but that’s not the case at all. I was surprised at how good it felt to hold. And the fact that all the accessories that come with this package feel equally well just says how much the company cares about their customers.
Additional accessories include a whisker biscuit arrow rest, a stabilizer, and 5 pin sight with light and level.
This is a proud, US-made product that’s suitable for both bow hunting and bow fishing. And I can understand why. It is lightweight, weighing only 3.6 lbs but can shoot at a speed of a staggering 315 FPS, allowing you to hit any target at a super-fast speed.
This is made possible by the combination of highly customizable draw length and weight, ranging from 24.5-31” and 30-70 lbs, respectively.
As you can understand, the Raptor is an excellent choice for anyone seeking versatility. And one of the cool things about this is that the peep sight comes with the installation and doesn’t need assembly. However, I did have to do a bit of tinkering with the alignment of the rest and sights. Once that was done, I was already hitting bulls’ eye in the archery range.
To summarize, I can say this bow can be perfect for a person of any size, weight, and experience. If you’re looking for something the whole family can use, then this is it! The ranges in draw weight and length are flexible, and with a 75% let off, it’ll even let people (who usually cannot draw a heavy bow) shoot under normal circumstances.
What would’ve been better?
Although this product is highly recommended, it is not without its share of minor faults. The biggest one is that the instruction manual is just bare bones. For someone with no access to the internet (which is rare, I know) and no knowledge of tuning and adjustments, getting the bow ready can prove to be a challenge.
- Fantastic value for money, with the kit included
- Shoots excellent right out of the box
- The build is durable enough to last you years
- Great adjustability elements
- The instructions manual could’ve been better
8. Bear Archery Cruzer G2- Versatile bow at a great price
Finally, last (but not least) on our list, comes the Cruzer G2 compound bow by Bear Archery. Like most products I’ve reviewed here, this one also caters to a wide range of users and preferences. It’s not your average “one-size-fits-all” bow, it offers superior performance, sturdy construction, and most of all, unparalleled adjustability features.
Did I oversell too much? Well…let me explain.
This bow is built to last for years. Don’t believe me? Well, the manufacturer offering lifetime warranty stands as the testimony you need as proof. Since I don’t go after big game anymore (it’s not my style), I tried taking out whitetail deer with this bad boy. And for as long as I was out on the field, this bow proved to be more than my money’s worth.
Its limbs are made of Endurafiber, which lends the right combination of flexibility and rigidity to shoot your arrows at a high velocity. I don’t think there are many bows that offer flexibility in draw weight ranging from 5 to 70 lbs.
The draw length, too, is not bad and can be changed to any value between 12 inches to 30 inches. So, regardless of your height and body frame, this bow will suit you right.
Major props to the company for keeping this bow light, at only 3 lbs, and still be able to shoot arrows at a velocity of 315 FPS. And you won’t even have to break a sweat as the perfect limb design balances the weight of the bow and load distribution. As long as you tune things properly (which, I admit, isn’t easy for everyone), this bow will have you shooting in no time.
I’m a huge fan of bows that are silent as they let me creep up on my target on days when I’m not feeling my most confident self. And if you’re like me, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the RockStops suppressor in this bow that dramatically cuts down on the vibration and noise.
Oh! Almost forgot to mention, this model also comes with some nifty accessories such as an arrow rest, four-pin sight, a peep sight, a quiver, and a loop.
What could’ve been better?
Despite the bow’s overwhelmingly positive traits, there are a few negative aspects that are worth talking about. First, the tuning of this bow can be all over the place, right out of the box. And that could prove to be a huge hassle for someone who has no idea about bows.
Secondly, when adjusting the draw weight, I experienced the limbs popping out a couple of times. I hope the manufacturer takes note of these issues and fixes them soon.
- Fantastic starter bow for novices
- Excellent hunting bow for pros
- Got great build and shooting mechanics
- Deadly silent
- Lifetime warranty
- May need serious tuning before use
How to choose the best compound bow: Buyer’s guide
Now that you’ve read my reviews of the best compound bows, wouldn’t you like to know how I pick them? Well, the process isn’t as tough as many “experts” would like you to believe. Though the market is filled with manufacturers, all claiming to produce the best quality bows, finding one could take a little bit of knowledge on your end.
That’s why I’m writing this beginner’s guide to make things easier for you. So, whether you want a bow for target practice or something more serious, like big game hunting, you’ll find the right advice here. And all you have to do is keep these things in mind:
Bow draw length
First and foremost, I suggest you take the bow draw length into consideration. Because a bow can only draw till a certain distance before the string stops… or snaps. Since most compound bows come with an adjustable draw length so that the user can tweak it to their comfort, I suggest you do the same.
If the length is too short, it’ll affect your accuracy by making the reference point for aiming too challenging to maintain. When the bow is at full draw, too short of a draw length will lead to the shooter experiencing a floating anchor, which will then cause inconsistent shooting. Short length can also produce increased torque, in which case the bow will also lose accuracy.
What happens when the bow length is too long? Well, aside from lower accuracy, it might also lead to the painful condition- what is known as “shooter’s bow arm.” It is caused by the bow holding arm extending more than it needs, thereby placing the inner elbow right in the string’s path.
Your compound bow draw length has to be of just the right length to let you shoot safely with consistency and accuracy.
Bow draw weight
The draw weight of a bow is as important as its length, and you must understand that matching the weight to your strength is crucial! Sure, heavier draw weights produce more velocity, but is that more important than finding the level where you can hold at full draw? I don’t think so. That’s why you must find a balance for maximum effectiveness.
Even though compound bows come with something called “let-off,” which lessens the weight at full draw, not having the right let off percentage can cost you dearly. Hunters especially have to hold their draw for a longer time to find the right opportunity to take the shot. So, for them, all these elements are even more critical.
To test a bow’s draw weight, try and hold it at full for 20-30 seconds to see if you can last without shaking. If you can’t, then the draw weight has to come down for you to take a more accurate and comfortable shot.
Bare or Ready-to-Shoot bow?
If you’re a beginner, you might be unfamiliar with the terms “Bare” and “Ready-to-shoot” in bows. As the terms imply, a bare bow is something that doesn’t come with many (or any) accessories. Since the compound bow is designed to make full use of accessories, Ready-to-Shoot bows are most popular as they come with a quiver, sight, arrow rests, etc. to help you get started.
In case you buy a bare bow, you’ll have to outfit it with accessories separately. A bare bow might cost less up-front, but you’ll have to pay up in effort and cash before taking it out for a test run. I only recommend buying a bare bow if you’re short of funds and need something basic for a specific job. Otherwise, Ready-to-Shoot is the way to go!
The right bow length
How long your bow is (from end to end) is an essential factor in assessing its stability and maneuverability. You might have seen pro archers using longbows and hunters using short bows. Well, that’s because longer bows tend to come with features that are optimized for accuracy while the shorter (and lighter) variants are more comfortable to carry and control on the field.
Since bow length is measured from axle to axle, hunting bows tend to measure at around 30-32 inches. But that’s not to say archery bows always have to be longer. You can choose what suits you best, and it all boils down to user preference.
Bow noise and speed
It’s common knowledge that more silent a bow is, the easier it is to hunt out in the wild. When you fire a bow, energy stored in its functioning components is transferred to the arrow. However, some energy is not transferred and is lost through vibration caused during the arrow’s release, producing a sound.
Thankfully, you can now buy accessories known as vibration dampeners that reduce the sound by absorbing vibrations.
Speed and noise are correlated more often than not as Kinect energy created by arrows contributes to the noise. Since modern bows can shoot at a velocity of more than 350 FPS, they naturally come with dampeners. But should you ever compromise on speed just to reduce noise?
No, you shouldn’t. After all, it’s the speed that gives the bow and arrow its knock-down and penetration potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much draw weight does it take to kill a deer?
It depends on what type of deer you want to kill. For a regular whitetail, 40 pounds should be enough; 50 pounds or greater will be required if you’re going to hunt larger game, such as an elk or a moose.
What is the highest draw weight for compound bows?
The compound that had the most substantial draw weight was designed by PSE. It had a draw weight of 100 lbs. Most compound bows today, however, max out at 75-80 pounds.
Which bow is best for beginners?
For beginners, a bow with decent draw length (17.5 and 30 inches) and draw weight (15-60 lbs) would be perfect. Since people need time to get acquainted with shooting a bow, starting off with lower values help a lot.
How do I choose a compound bow?
To choose the best compound bow, you have to keep different factors such as draw length, draw weight, bow length, bow type, bow noise, speed, and accessories in mind.
Can you dry fire a compound bow?
Dry firing a bow (for whatever reason) can severely damage the bow parts like axles, string, cams, etc. That’s because when there’s no arrow loaded, the stored kinetic energy goes back into the bow.
How long will my compound bow’s string last?
It depends on how often you use the bow, how well you maintain it, what’s the draw weight, and other environmental factors.
Does your bowstring need replacing?
Companies usually recommend that changing bow strings once a year if you’ve been using it for archery/target practice, and every two years if you’ve been using it for hunting.
Who makes the fastest compound bow?
It’s hard to state a brand because the definition of how “fast” a bow shoots is always progressing. Right now, you’ll find quite a few bows that can shoot up to a speed of 370 FPS.
So, there you have it. Our complete guide to the best compound bows in 2020. Which one would you pick? If the answer is not yet clear, then read the guide again, and I’m sure you’ll come close to finding a solution. If you find this guide useful, share it with your friends!
Till next time!