This guide will help you find the best recurve bow for your needs. There are so many models out there that it can be hard to find the gems—the recurve bows that are really worth buying.
I will give you all the facts and details about each bow and compare them so can you pick the recurve bow that you like the most.
All the bows on this list are worth every penny. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but I highly suggest you find a bow that suits you and your archery activities.
The 8 Best Recurve Bows Reviewed and Rated
Here are eight recurve bows that I personally think are the best in their field.
1. Samick Sage – Best Recurve Bow for the Money
The Samick Sage is the bow that gives you the most value for your money. It’s easy to spend hundreds of bucks when you are looking for a good recurve bow, but the Samick Sage gives you the same experience as the more expensive bows at a lower price.
It’s a great bow for beginners as well because it will grow with you! A lot of beginner bows out there force you to buy a new bow when you have advanced your skills, but the Samick Sage allows you to continue to use it as you advance your skills.
The Samick Sage has everything you need and more. It comes complete with a string and an arrow rest. It even has pre-installed brushings for a quiver, a sight, stabilizer, and the plunger. Since it already has brushings for a sight, I recommend you look into buying one. Here is a great guide on the best single pin bow sights that you can choose from.
At this price, there must be catch—maybe the limbs? But no, the limbs are strong as well. They are made of maple mixed with fiberglass. They are durable, light, and overall, a great pair of limbs with metal pockets to hold them sturdily in place.
With a 25-60 lb draw weight, both right- and left-handed versions, and flexibility for both hunting and target shooting, the Samick Sage fits anyone. However, more experienced hunters will prefer a more advanced hunting bow.
This bow is a takedown bow as well, which you can separate the limbs from the riser, making it smaller and more portable. This is a lot easier for traveling or simply storing it in a smaller space.
You don’t have to be afraid to take it apart, either, because it’s actually very simple to set up.
2. Bear Archery Super Kodiak – Best Recurve Bow for Hunting
This is a bit pricier, but that is for a good reason. The Bear Archery Super Kodiak is a bow of high quality. You can clearly see that Bear Archery has put a lot of hard work and planning into this well-made recurve bow.
This is a 60-inch bow, so it’s not ideal for a complete beginner. It has a long riser made from black or gold charcoal wood with two stripes of maple wood running through it. On the back of the riser and limbs there is black fiberglass to increase the durability and strengthen the bow.
On the tips, there is one layer of black and one layer of white phenolic, so it works well with any modern string material.
This is personally my favorite hunting bow, and I have been drooling over it for months. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased it a few days ago. I wasn’t sure whether to buy the Bear Archery Grizzly or this one, but after some reading and talking to someone who already owned the Super Kodiak, I had to go with this amazing recurve bow.
I am happy with the purchase, and I think it will be an awesome bow to bring along on my hunting adventures. I strongly believe that this is one of the best hunting bows out there.
3. Bear Archery Grizzly – Best Recurve Bow for Target Shooting
The best recurve bow for target shooting is the Bear Archery Grizzly. This a bow that was designed to be the best all-around bow 50 years ago. And to this date, it still is!
This is a legendary bow that delivers accuracy that crushes its competitors. This bow does not have the same power as the Super Kodiak, but it has the accuracy. It is a great bow for both target shooting and hunting.
The weight of this bow is only 2 lbs, which is great for beginners. For advanced archers, the accuracy will be the most valuable reason for purchase.
The Bear Archery Grizzly is a bow that can handle all weather conditions! If you want to practice your archery skills on a rainy day, there is nothing stopping you.
When I shoot with my bow there is one thing I dislike: Sound. With this bow, that’s a problem you don’t have to think about. It’s silent as a mouse, which makes it great for quiet hunting or areas with angry neighbors.
This is a high-quality recurve bow that shoots smoothly and accurately. However, if you’re going to take a trip out in the woods to hunt, there is no reason to use the Grizzly Bow. On this list of bows, this is the bow I would purchase for target shooting.
4. Southwest Archery Spyder – Best Recurve Bow for Beginners
This recurve bow is equipped with a beautiful riser that fits perfectly in the hand. One of the biggest perks of this bow is that it has a very smooth draw. Every mid-range bow aims for this, but not every manufacturer or brand masters it.
The Southwest Archery Spyder is 62 inches long. It is the perfect size for both women and men up to about 5’11” inches, and has a 29-inch draw length, which is very similar to the Samick Sage.
This beginner recurve bow is a little stiffer than the Samick Sage and the riser can be a little easier/better to grip for some people. The riser also gives you a lot of options when it comes to accessories.
5. SAS Spirit – Best Budget Recurve Bow
Sometimes it can be smart to purchase a cheaper bow just to test the waters. If you are buying your first bow and are unsure if you are going to continue with archery, then this budget recurve bow is a great choice for you.
Even though it’s cheap, it is capable of being used for both hunting small game and target shooting without any problems. You won’t get the quality and feeling that high-end bows offer, but still, this a great bow that works for most use cases.
If your main purpose for buying a bow is to hunt large game, then I do not recommend this bow. It can work perfectly for small game if you shoot well, but it does not have enough power for larger game.
If you are an advanced archer, you could use this as a backup/fun bow on your backpacking trips or for bow fishing, for which it works perfectly.
The bow is lightweight since its made of fiberglass. It’s a great option for kids or teenagers that are looking to get into the sport. The archer’s height must be under six feet.
The Sas Spirit comes in both left- and right-handed versions, and the draw weight is from 28 to 34 lbs.
6. Southwest Archery Tigershark – Best Takedown Recurve Bow
This beautifully-designed bow is a great choice for those looking for a takedown recurve bow.
If you look at the riser, you can see that there is some serious effort put into this bow so that it looks great and stands out. It is made out of four types of wood, which makes it colorful and unique.
As you know, I am a huge fan of the Samick Sage and it is a bow I recommend often. The reason I mention this is that the Southwest Archery Tigershark is made by the same manufacturer! They have created high-quality bows for decades, and this bow is no exception.
The bow comes in two versions: The pro, and the standard. The difference between the two is that the pro version offers a precision pin locking system on the limbs so that they are always installed correctly. This will help you achieve optimal accuracy and performance.
7. PSE Archery Anthem – Best Traditional-Style Recurve Bow
Using a traditional-style bow is always fun, especially when they look and feel like the PSE Archery Anthem. This bow has been used for decades and is still used to this date for a good reason.
There are several older traditional bows such as longbows, but these can be a lot harder to learn and master. If I were to convert to a traditional bow, this would be my first choice.
This recurve bow is a solid piece, which means that the limbs are not removable or changeable. This is the only bow on this list that is a solid piece. Since they are not changeable they must be good, and they are! I have tested this bow many times, and the limbs are nothing but great.
8. Bear Archery 1st – Best Recurve Bow for Youth
If you have a child who wants to begin to explore archery, it’s smart to buy a cheap bow with a low draw weight. That way, they can learn how to shoot and perfect their stance before they move to bows that are harder to use and more expensive.
It’s not a good idea to invest 500+ dollars for them to quit after a week, so start slow with this Bear Archery Bow. This is the best youth bow out there, and it is made by the big and famous archery brand Bear Archer, which have made some of the best hunting bows out there.
At the link below you will find this bow plus a set. This set includes everything you need in order to start shooting straight away! Target, arrows, and a complete bow—it doesn’t get much better than that!
This bow is aimed at children ages 4-7, but if your child is under ten the set will likely work for them. The best thing about this recurve bow is the price. It’s probably one of the cheapest archery sets out there.
Recurve Bows – Making Archery Easier
Archery has existed for centuries. It was a great tool for both hunting and war, but there was always one issue: They couldn’t seem to shoot far enough or fast enough without having to drag around a very long bow.
As we know, the length of the string decides how far and fast the bow can shoot, so if you have a bow that is short, it won’t shoot very far.
Those who needed to shoot long distances had to create very long bows, but often their own height and strength stopped them from achieving their distance and speed goals.
Then, the recurve bow was invented. Recurve bows have limbs that bend inwards, with tips that turn outwards. This way, archers can have longer strings, resulting in farther ranges without having to extend the length of their bow as much.
Since then, the recurve bow has been a standard bow that most archers have in their arsenal. It has helped both competitive archers and hunters. From the day the recurve bow was born, there was no need to carry around a very long bow and hard carry.
How to Pick the Correct Recurve Bow
There are three measurements that you need to calculate before you purchase a recurve bow. These are the draw length, bow length, and draw height.
First up is the draw length. This is a measurement of how far the archer pulls the string before they release it and shoot the arrow.
Finding the correct draw length is as important as picking the right size running shoes. It is not something you just pick and go with, but rather something you spend extra time on, test, and validate in order to find the draw length that is comfortable and efficient for you.
Choosing the wrong draw length will impact your arrow length and bow length, because these are calculated from the draw length.
How to Measure Draw Length
There are two ways to find the draw length. You can go to your local pro shop and let them figure it out.
Or, you can do it yourself simply by putting your back against the wall and raising your arms, forming a (T) with your body. Then, measure the length from the tip of your right hand to the tip of your left hand. Divide this number by 2.5 and you have your draw length. If you still are confused, here is a full guide on the topic.
The draw length is the most important measurement to figure out before you make a purchase, so make sure to do it right. If your draw length is way off, it will be hard for you to shoot accurately.
I don’t recommend that you find the draw length yourself if you haven’t done it before, but if you do, here a few things to do in order to get the correct draw length.
Make sure to align your shooting arm and shoulder. If these are not aligned, your draw length won’t be either. Relax your upper body.
When you are measuring the draw length, don’t move or use your back muscles because this will push your entire shoulder forward and mess up your measurements.
Bow length is an important factor that you should choose carefully. The rule of thumb is that the bow length is double the draw length. This is not 100% accurate, so test this theory for yourself and find the bow length that feels right to you.
How to Find Your Bow Length
Finding your correct bow length when you have measured your draw length is simple. I have made a chart for you to make it even simpler.
There is some wiggle room. Your next recurve bow doesn’t have to be within these criteria, but it is a great starting point.
The draw weight is the measurement of how difficult it is for you to draw your bow.
The lower the draw weight is, the easier it is to draw the string towards you. The higher the number is, the harder it is to draw the string and shoot.
The draw weight is a very important measurement that you need to know before you buy your next recurve bow. It’s not fun to buy a bow that you are not able to draw.
A lot of archers overestimate their strength when it comes to drawing weight, so don’t do that. A good starting point for most beginners is about 20-30 pounds of draw weight.
Consider your age, gender, and body weight when picking your draw weight, and keep in mind that this number can change.
Most people will eventually increase the draw weight they can handle. This is especially true for beginners, who see a rapid increase in draw weight because of increased muscle strength and tolerance.
For children, a recurve bow with 10-14 pounds in draw weight is a good starting point.
For women, I recommend that you start with a draw weight between 25 and 35 pounds. A good starting point for most average men is around 4o-55 pounds. I started out with this, and it was hard enough for me in the beginning.
You can always adjust from there; the most critical part is to find a draw weight you can comfortably handle.
Know the Purpose for Your Bow
I have listed a few of the top-performing recurve bows, but which one of these should you pick? One of the biggest factors that you should consider before you pick one is to know what you want your bow to do for you.
You don’t need the best recurve bow in the world to shoot through cardboard or foam in your backyard. Any recurve bow will do for this purpose. If this is your plan, I recommend that you choose the best budget recurve bow, or the best recurve bow for the money. These are two great bows for a low price that you can buy to get your feet wet or to use for years to come in your backyard.
However, if you’re looking to hunt game and pierce through skin and bone, then you need a recurve bow with a draw weight of 40 pounds or higher.
If you want to be safe, you can choose our recommended best recurve bow for hunting, but if you don’t like it or don’t want to invest that much money, there are lots of recurve bows out there that will work.
The only case where I would go higher than 40 pounds of draw weight is if you are going to hunt some BIG game like buffalo or bears. In these situations, to be safe I would personally aim for a 55-pound draw weight or higher.
How to String a Recurve Bow
When you have finally bought a new recurve bow, it’s important that you can take it apart, set it up, and string it correctly. If you don’t do these steps correctly, you are risking destroying your new recurve bow.
To avoid this, here is a simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1 – Buy yourself a bow stringer. I wouldn’t tell you to do this if it wasn’t game-changing. These will save you time and add to the lifetime of your bow. Make sure it’s designed for recurve bows and not longbows.
Step 2 – Thread the bowstring over the limb tips. Thread the biggest loop on the upper limb and thread the smallest loop on the bottom limb.
If you are struggling to see which limb is which, check where the draw weight is written. If you have found that, you know that it is the bottom limb.
Step 3 – Place the smallest pocket on the upper limb. Then, place the leather piece 8 cm behind the string loop on the bottom limb. The string loop should be the one closest to the tip.
Step 4 – Hold your bow horizontally.
Step 5 – Step on the bowstring while holding your bow. This will cause your recurve bow to bend and you will see the bowstring slide upwards. If not, help it out and push it towards the tip of the limbs.
If you are struggling to slide the string into place, your stringer may be too loose. You can fix this by tying knots on the bottom of the stringer in order to make it tighter.
Step 6 – Check if the string is secured, then slowly lower the bow. Don’t rush this; if it’s not secured properly and you drop it down right away you can easily be injured or hit by a limb.
Step 7 – Now you are done! Take off the bow stringer and you’re ready to go.
When you have successfully attached your string, it’s time to set up your nocking point as well. The arrow should be at a 90 degree angle when its placed on the nocking point and the arrow rest.
How To Use a Recurve Bow – Shooting, Standing, and Aiming
Congratulations, you have now purchased a fantastic recurve bow, and you know how to string and tune it. Let’s jump to the fun part: How to actually use it!
When you pick up your new recurve bow, place your feet shoulder width apart, at a slight angle towards your target. If you are a right-handed archer, you should place your left hip towards your target, and if you are left-handed, you should put your right hip in front.
So, point your hip towards the target and make sure to not step over the shooting line. Done? Great, now place your dominant foot slightly in front of the other. This will make your stance more comfortable and gain you some extra stability. Remember to keep your feet at a 45 degree angle to the shooting line.
You are now all set to pick up an arrow and lift the bow to shoulder height. Nock the shaft and make sure your arm is safe and away from the string so you don’t get hit when you release the draw.
Keep the arm that is holding the bow straight at all times. Having it bent will make it hard for you to hold the bow while drawing.
Use a Loose Grip
When we get new members in our archery club, there is one mistake that shows up far too often, and that is the tight grip. A lot of beginners hold the bow as if it would be the end of the world if they dropped it.
It’s understandable that you want to hold on to it, but don’t do it too tightly. The less you squeeze, the better.
That’s the reason that Olympic archers drop their bow into a sling after each shot. They don’t squeeze at all, and let the bow drop into the sling instead so that they can stay perfectly relaxed in order to get the best shot possible.
How To Use the Tab Hand
By now you should have an understanding of your holding hand. Now let’s take a look at your tab hand.
Basically, you should make a hook with your index and middle finger. These are the two fingers that you will use to grab the bowstring and charge the power into the arrow. Make sure to relax the pinky finger inside the palm throughout the shot.
When you have hooked the bowstring with your tab hand, draw the bowstring towards you using your back muscles, not the biceps. This is very important! If you are not sure if you are doing it correctly or not, ask someone that has been doing archery for a while to take a look at your form.
Pull the string towards you until your index finger is aligned with your jaw and try to put the string in the center of your nose. Don’t be afraid of it; this is something I have seen a few times as well.
A lot of beginners have been in the situation where they have been slapped by the string on their forearm, so they don’t want to put the string anywhere close to their face. Avoiding doing so will have a negative impact on your form and overall accuracy.
Now, all that’s left is to aim and release. When you release the bow, don’t do it like it’s a hot rock, but rather like you are putting a bag of eggs down on the floor. If you are struggling with this part it can be a good idea to purchase a bow release.
A rapid movement on the release will have a negative impact on the whole shot. This applies to your body as well. Once you have shot the arrow, remain in your shooting position until the arrow has hit the target. This is to make sure you don’t move while the arrow is flying through your bow, which will obviously mess up your shot.
I hope you enjoyed this article! This is everything I know on the topic that can help you with your purchase.
If you don’t agree with my top choices, please add your vote on what you think is the best recurve bow with some facts, and I will consider adding it into the article with a small mention.
Andy Ryan is an archery enthusiast who has been practising hunting and target shooting as long as he can remember. He is known for his accurate groupings and humming laughter. His texts are packed with experiences and knowledge about the archery sport that few obtain.